Strawberry Banke

If you love colonial New England history and architecture, there are few places better to visit than Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth, NH. Strawberry Banke is living history as it’s finest; a colonial village of historic homes that guests can stroll through at their leisure. Each home is decorated in a different historic American style, and docents at each home explain who lived there and what happened at the homes. There are also people dressed in period clothing who are sprinkled throughout doing various colonial jobs and tasks such as basket weaving, cobbling leather shoes, and tending the beautiful gardens.img_4028img_3971img_4035We made a special trip to Strawberry Banke for their annual Harvest Festival, which is held every October. If you look at the photo above, you can see the white tent set up. The tent was filled with local craftsmen and artisans selling their wares and works. There were also demonstrations going on, such as sheep herding and more animals on display than usual. The festival gave a lively and bustling atmosphere to an already wonderful place. We were a little worried about crowds, but it didn’t feel overly crowded because most people stayed around the main lawn where the tents were set up.img_4021My favorite thing about the place were the gardens (surprise, surprise). The big one behind the main ticket office is very formal and beautiful, with a fountain in the center. Most of the houses have a small section of garden near them, which are all beautiful in their own way. There are also many whimsical touches scattered around: a wooden tower made from weathered saplings decorated with strands of seashells and gourds, a little china tea set laid out on a log table, a dwelling made of branches kids can crawl into, and various arbors and trellises climbing with vines. We also enjoyed seeing the old greenhouse, filled with interesting plants, garden tools, and pretty vignettes.img_3965img_4009img_4002
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Most of the houses were open for self-guided touring, so we poked into many of them. The colonial decor varied in each house for different time periods, which kept it really interesting. I really liked the weaving house, and a nice woman there taught me the very basics of how to weave on a loom and let me give it a try.

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I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Strawberry Banke. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting there during autumn and the Harvest Festival, but I’m sure it’s beautiful at any time of year. Also, check with your local library to see if they offer passes to the museum. We used our library’s passes, and were able to save $19 each on admission (the full cost). That made it an even better time at such a lovely place. img_4076

Sheep & Wool Festival

We went on up to Tunbridge, Vermont last weekend for the annual Sheep & Wool Festival. Nestled in a lovely green valley in the quaint village of Tunbridge, the festival is a fiber lovers’ paradise. Ethan and I were most interested in the sheepdog demonstration and the sheep shearing and we arrived in time to see both. We took a very long, meandering route up north, through the White Mountains of New Hampshire first and then cut over on route 302 to Vermont. Taking the long way was worth it. The fall foliage is beautiful up north, and driving through all of the small New Hampshire and Vermont towns was glorious. We especially loved the little town of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire where the following photo was taken. Sugar Hill definitely deserves further exploration. I will be going back up there again, and will surely do a more in-depth post on the area.
Processed with Snapseed.But anyways, back to the sheep and wool festival! I will admit, I was slightly disappointed in the festival. That being said, I think a large part of that feeling is due to the fact I am not  much of a knitter anymore. I realized last year that I had to give up a few hobbies or else I would never be able to focus on anything or accomplish anything. So, I still knit Ethan his one hat a year come November, but that is pretty much it. I’ve given up my aspirations of knitting sweaters and other complicated things that I never could wrap my mind around anyways (reading patterns, nope! haha) But the festival was still enjoyable and we had a good wander around for a couple hours, and that was really all the time it took to see everything and watch the two demonstrations- herding and shearing, which were interesting and worth seeing..
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The goat barn was fun to go through, there were so many different varieties. I also liked seeing all of the various vendors. The handmade tapestries were among my favorite things. The flowers around the barns were beautiful as well.

The sheep and wool festival is held at the beginning of October every year. I would go again simply to enjoy the foliage on the drive up there. And next time I may have to pick up some of this gorgeous yarn… Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.