Pickity Place

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go! Isn’t that Little Red Riding Hood? I think so. Well anyways, Pickity Place is the place to go if you want to step into a real life fairy tale. In fact, the cottage that now houses the restaurant was what the Little Golden book illustrator used as a model to illustrate her version of Little Red Riding Hood.

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It is indeed a cozy, fairy tale cottage. An enormously old tree full of character towers over the little red cottage. When it is time for your meal to begin (they do 3 seatings a day) the hostess rings a bell by the door. The waitresses hustle and bustle in the relatively cramped space (little cottage after all) to get you all 5 courses in the proper order, explaining each edible herbal addition.

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IMG_8900The quality and creativity of the food alone is enough of a draw to go to Pickity Place, never mind the quaint setting. Each month, a new menu is revealed, with 5 new courses to try: A dip appetizer, soup and bread, salad, main entree, and a yummy dessert. There are always 2 entree choices, one of them being a vegetarian option. It’s usually a hard decision, as both entrees are always excellent. All the food is prepared fresh using herbs grown right there at Pickity Place.

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pickity-place_24003837942_oOh, and I can’t forget about the beverage options! They have a few fun options including a lavender lemonade, a strawberry basil tea, an orange tea, and Mocha coffee (complete with cinnamon stick straw). They let you change which drink you try each time you run out, making for a fun variety- I always save the mocha coffee to have with my dessert.

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The fun doesn’t stop when the meal is over; then it is time to explore the gardens! I’ve gone at all times of the year, and it is always beautiful. June, of course will be the best month to explore the flower gardens. However, even in the winter, the garden blanketed with snow, the cozy cottage nestled in, and the big tree watching over is still charming. During spring and summer months, stop by their greenhouse to get herbs and flowers for your own garden! Their plants are reasonably priced and I’ve found them to be of high quality.

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They book up fast (special days sometimes over a year in advance) so be sure to make a reservation! If you really get hooked on Pickity, they have a frequent diners card; I’ve never been that committed to it, but some people go once a month! I like it for special occasions; it’s a great place to take someone visiting the area. Pickity Place is a quintessential New England experience!

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Portrait of a Small Town: Harrisville

Perhaps the most special of all the New Hampshire small towns is Harrisville. Situated in the Monadnock Region of the state (which is special in general), it is a lovely old mill town right on a lake. It has a yarn shop which is quite fancy and esteemed, and a general store that makes some of the best food ever. Seriously. Most of the old mill buildings are converted to artist’s studios (sometimes they are open to the public). Harrisville doesn’t have to be a little place you stop to on the way to somewhere- you can make it a destination. Bring a kayak for the lake, take a poke around the yarn store (there’s a lot more in there besides yarn) and have an excellent meal at the store. Just a little stroll around town admiring the quaint houses is fun too.

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The Lake, Yarn from Harrisville Designs, and a fresh cider donut from the General Store: All in a day’s visit to Harrisville!

I like going to Harrisville in any season and (of course) my favorite thing is having lunch at the store. I mean, look at this food! They always have a  variety of fresh creative salads available, their decaf iced coffee is the tastiest ever, and the desserts just scrumptious (I will be forever craving that strawberry rhubarb pie!)

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The mill building in front of a sunrise; the village cozy under snow

Kayaking in Harrisville Pond is delightful. The Public Library is that little brick building right on the edge of the water! If you look closely, you might see a beaver swim on by 🙂

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I love going to Harrisville. Any season or time, it is always a joy to go there.

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Hancock Through the Seasons

Here are some photographs of Hancock, a gorgeous little New England Village tucked away in Southwestern New Hampshire. I was fortunate enough to work as the Children’s Librarian there for one year, so I enjoyed Hancock through each season.

Spring:

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Flowers sprouting up around town. Budding trees in front of the Hancock Inn. Apple trees with new leaves in the orchard on Norway Hill. Irises on Main Street. Trees in bloom in front of the Hancock Town Library.  Lilac bushes in front of a colonial house.

Summer: img_6197

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Processed with Snapseed.old dublin roadElliot's GardenMy most favorite view off of Old Dublin Road. Flowers at the farmer’s market in the old circular stables. A place of sanctuary at the Harris Center. Giant bubbles from a performance I planned at the end of summer reading.  Scenes from the Tour Hancock Gardens summer garden tour. A walk down the dirt sidewalks of Main Street. Storm clouds approaching Nubanusit Lake. Walking Old Dublin Road. The Elliot’s amazing private garden.

Autumn: img_4153

hancock main streethancock autumnwillard pondHancockInnnorway hillGolden trees on Main Street. Ivy growing up an old colonial house. Norway Pond stillness. Main Street littered with leaves. A walk on an old dirt road. Kayaking on Willard Pond close to sunset. The historic Hancock Inn. The fall colors starting to appear at the apple orchard on Norway Hill.

Winter: 

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hancock winterA snow storm in February blankets an old colonial home. Lilies brighten up the winter day inside Fiddleheads Cafe. The huge tree outside of the library covered in snow. The Hancock Inn and it’s Fox tavern is a cozy place for a winter’s evening meal. Frost patterns inside the library’s windows.

No matter what season you visit Hancock, it is always going to be beautiful.

Lake Towns: Meredith & Center Harbor

The biggest lake in New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee has always held a special place in my heart. My grandfather has owned cabins on the lake for decades so my family have taken summer trips up to Center Harbor for many years. Center Harbor is a special little town full of unique spots, and nearby Meredith is bustling with arts and antiques. Both towns have awesome little shops and food options. And both towns are right on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee, are right down the road from one another, and are definitely worth a visit. The photos are not in any real order, and my descriptions of places will provide links when available if you’d like to know more particulars. img_8293

I’ll start with one of Center Harbor’s best restaurant, Lavinia’s. Though I’ve only eaten take out there once (and it was great food!) everyone who has dined there that I know has always thoroughly enjoyed it. My sister told me that you can eat in the very top cupola section, which has an amazing view out over the lake. I’m not sure if they still offer that, but if they do, I’d recommend a reservation. Two of my favorite shops in Center Harbor are the yarn shop, Patternworks and the book shop, Bayswater Books. Both are fun places just to browse. The book shop has lots of beautiful little trinkets and gifts which are fun to look at as well. Sandwiched between the yarn and the books is Keepsake Quilting, a large quilting shop with tons of fabric choices. This was my favorite shop to go in when I was younger, before I realized how much time quilting takes and how difficult it is. I would also pick out my fabric with high hopes, but I never did get around to finishing a quilt. Hopefully I will someday. Now I don’t even go in the quilt shop because I don’t want to be tempted into another hobby, but I hope to have the time to do quilting eventually 😉

img_8291Another classic Center Harbor spot is the Yikes Craft Gallery which features work from various local artists and craftspeople. If you’re looking for a unique gift to give someone, I bet you could find them something in Yikes. And my favorite place in Center Harbor is Dewey’s Ice Cream Parlor! They have my favorite ice cream flavor in all the world: Phantom Berry! It’s black raspberry ice cream with chunks of brownie and swirls of brownie batter. YUM. I made sure to get a cone of that good stuff every day we were there 🙂 For a summery eating experience, try Red Hill Dari for all your classic summer food, ordered at a pick-up window and eaten outside.

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Moving on to Meredith, the Main street winds up and around uphill, and is filled with antique shops, art galleries, and a really yummy coffee shop with a book store inside and a cozy fireplace. There’s a shop that sells homemade soap, a kitchen gadget shop, and a cool health food shop. All of my photos from Meredith are places that can be found just by wandering along the Main street. When going between Meredith and Center Harbor on Route 25, be sure to stop at Moulton Farm. It’s a huge farm store filled with gorgeous produce and other products. I think they even have a corn maze in the fall.img_8231

img_8237 img_8331And no trip to Center Harbor or Meredith is complete without walking down to the docks and just gazing out at the water. If you can catch a sunset, that’s even better. Though these local spots highlighted in the post are fun to visit, my favorite part of being there is to wake up very early and kayak across the glassy water, and hear loon calls echo from one end of the lake to the other. I’m thankful to be so familiar with these fun New Hampshire towns. I hope you will be able to visit them too 🙂

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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