Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella On a Rainy Day

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Capital Plaza is decorated with over 200 colorful umbrellas! Owner Steve Duprey was inspired by the Umbrella Sky Project in Portugal and recreated it in Concord, New Hampshire.

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See the two umbrellas holding each other’s handles? So sweet! Relationship goals!! 🙂

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I’m loving these brilliant colors. They have brightened my day and have inspired me to look up more! 🙂 I hope everyone smiles today. (Even if it’s forced! You will feel better. I promise.)

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The Elms

June 23, 2016

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Rhode Island is an ultimate New England summertime destination for sure! The mansions in Newport are breathtaking to say the least! The Elms is one of nine mansions in Newport, which was Mr. and Mrs. Edward Berwin’s “summer cottage”.

IMG_0666Yes. Summer cottage. Edward Berwind hired architect Horace Trumbauer to design and model his Bellevue Avenue summer residence after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris. The Elms measures 60,000 square feet and contains 48 rooms.

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It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and today is open to the public.

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The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost of $1.4 million.

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These are some of the lovely statues that are scattered around the grounds.

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Lovely, and spooky!

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I attended the Servant Life Tour, which I would recommend, yet only if one has seen the regular mansion tour. The Servant Life Tour does not show off the magnificent rooms: the living rooms, sitting rooms, ball rooms, etc. Instead, the tour starts at the four-story marble back staircase which goes up to the third floor where about 40 staff lived.

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In the middle of the hallway is one of the house’s three “annunciators,” a wall box that could be rung from 29 different places in the house. It moved a little labeled flag telling servants where to go. A cow, jingle and tea bell indicated specific rooms.

Pictured below is a portion of the glass floor.

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The servants’ quarters opens onto a roof deck where the mansion’s 10-acre grounds can be seen, along with Newport Harbor.

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The tour heads back down the stairs and into the basement kitchens, laundry rooms, boiler room ice making room, and coal cellar.

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There is a railroad track in the cellar that travels through a tunnel leading to the street where coal was delivered.

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The Servant Life Tour was exciting, unique and full of interesting behind-the-scenes stories. Take a trip back in time at the Elms, then head over to Flo’s for fresh seafood and spirits! See ya there!

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HOPKINTON, NEW HAMPSHIRE

May 24, 2017

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A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

-Robert Frost

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I curiously drove past the rode I usually turn onto to get home to see what was beyond and happily stumbled into Hopkinton. Since 1915, Hopkinton has been home to the Hopkinton State Fair, which attracts thousands of visitors each year during the Labor Day weekend.

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The town was granted by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher in 1735 as “Number 5” to settlers from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, who renamed it “New Hopkinton.” First settled in 1736, colonists were required to build homes, fence in their land, plant it with English grass, and provide a home for a minister, all within seven years.

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I took a stroll through Old Hopkinton Cemetery.

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HopFense

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The Stanley Tavern is a historic tavern building standing at 371 Main Street. The oldest portion of this Georgian wood frame structure was built c. 1791 by Theophilus Stanley, to serve as a tavern in the town, which was at the time was competing with Concord to be the state capital.

It is the only surviving tavern of three that were known to be present in the town in the late 18th and early 19th century. The building originally consisted of a typical five bay wide, two bay deep, Georgian house with a central chimney, to which a single story kitchen wing with rear chimney was built on. Around 1800 the roof of the kitchen wing was raised to a full two stories. A two story wing added in 1875 was demolished during restoration of the property in the early 2000s. The building served as a tavern until 1864, and has since gone through a variety of commercial and residential uses. The property distinctively includes a shed that is as old as the main house. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

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A substantial portion of the town in the north was named “Contoocook Village” for a tribe of the Pennacook Indians who once lived there. It became a center for water-powered industry, particularly lumber and textiles, due to its position along the Contoocook Rivier. The Contoocook covered railroad bridge in the village is a remnant of the Boston & Maine Railroad and is the oldest covered bridge of its kind still standing in the United States. Next to the bridge is the Contoocook Railroad Depot, one of the original railroad depots for the Concord and Claremont Railroad.

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TACO TALK

May 5, 2017

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I’ve been seeing many recipes online about homemade tortillas and I’m always intrigued. I decided to give it a try! Just in time for Cinco de Mayo!

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Who knew it was so easy to make flour tortillas? The best part is it only requires five ingredients, unlike those prepackaged flour tortillas.

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Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, then mix in the coconut oil and water. Turn onto a floured surface and knead about 10 times. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into eight portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7 inches circle (…or circle-like shapes.. :))

pinpitaIn a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned.

pitasI was in the mood for chicken tacos, so I cooked chicken breasts in a crock pot. Once the chicken was shredded, I mixed in taco seasoning.

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Who said tortillas had to be round?!  I topped my tortillas with shredded lettuce, cheese, avocado and sour cream mixed with a bit of taco seasoning.

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They were delicious! Eating a fresh tortilla with simple ingredients makes all the difference. Tip: Do not refrigerate! I placed the leftovers into a plastic container and left it out on the counter.

      Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup water (use a bit more if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in water and oil.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface and knead about 10 times. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into eight portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7 inches circle.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned. Keep warm. Yield: 8 tortillas.

Pour a margarita and enjoy!

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5things_SummerMuseumSeason

It’s the kick off to summer museum season! Here in New Hampshire there just may be too many seasonal museums to choose from. Which museums are your favorite to visit? These are my top choices!

1. American Independence Museum, Exeter, New Hampshire

Founded in 1991, the American Independence Museum is a place where all can learn and celebrate what it took to create the freedoms that we as Americans continue to enjoy hundreds of years later.

On May 5th the museum opens with a weekend full of festivities, including children’s games coinciding with Exeter’s Kids’ Fest and free admission on Saturday for all New Hampshire residents. Check it out at: https://independencemuseum.org/

2.  Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Strawbery Banke is an authentic 10-acre outdoor history museum dedicated to bringing 300+ years of American history in the same waterfront neighborhood to life.

The 32 historic houses are are staffed and open for touring starting in May. You will also find eight heritage gardens, preservation programs, hands-on activities, stories told by costumed role-players and changing exhibits. Plan your visit at: http://www.strawberybanke.org/

3. Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, New Hampshire

May 6th marks the reopening of the idyllic Shaker Village with Maypole dancing, food, crafts and the beloved Heifer Parade. Canterbury Shaker Village is an internationally-known non-profit museum founded in 1969, dedicated to preserving the heritage and 200-year legacy of the Canterbury Shakers.

The village has 25 restored original Shaker buildings, 4 reconstructed Shaker buildings, and 694 acres of forests, fields, gardens, nature trails, and mill ponds under permanent conservation easement. Visit http://www.shakers.org/ for more details.

4. Aidron Duckworth Art Museum, Meriden, New Hampshire

This quirky Sunapee region museum kicks off the season with an opening reception on April 29th. There will be an artist talk with Dartmouth studio art lecturer Gerald Auten. Check it out at: http://www.aidronduckworthmuseum.org/events/.

5. Wright Museum of World War II, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

The museum is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to recognizing and honoring the contributions and enduring legacy of WWII-era Americans.

On exhibit May 1 to June 25, 2017: Saturday Evening Post Covers 1941-1946: The Art of Mead Schaeffer, Norman Rockwell and Friends. Learn more at: http://wrightmuseum.org/index.html

 

*Find these events and more at: http://www.nhmagazine.com/May-2017/Opening-Dates-for-Summer-Museum-Season/

Happy museum season!

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THE PIERCE MANSE

April 25, 2017

IMG_0573editThe Pierce family lived in what is now known as the Pierce Manse from 1842-1848. The Manse sits on Horseshoe Pond Lane, which connects to North Main Street. These streets are part of the Concord Historical District.

PMside2Franklin Pierce, son of Revolutionary War veteran and New Hampshire Governor Benjamin Pierce, was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire in 1804. Before becoming the 14th President of the United States in 1852, he was elected to the New Hampshire State Legislature, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Pierce was the youngest Speaker of the New Hampshire Legislature and served as a Brigadier General in the Mexican War.

Pierce married Jane Appleton in 1834 and had three sons. All three of the Pierce sons died as children, a tragedy from which the President and Mrs. Pierce never fully recovered.*

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PMside1TV1Mister turkey vulture stopped for a quick break to check out the view on one of the Manse’s chimneys.

conservationareaPresident Pierce reduced the national debt by 60% from $75 million to $35 million, established the office of the United States Attorney General, modernized the Army and Navy, improved relations with Canada, established trade with Japan and expanded our national borders. He kept the nation from war and was said to be the most honest and ethical president up to that time.
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The attached barn was added to this site in 1993. In 2007, the Manse underwent a second renovation to expand space and capacity to host members of the public and student groups.*

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*http://www.piercemanse.org/

 

BLOSSOM HILL

April 19, 2017

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The Perkins Chapel at Blossom Hill Cemetery sits at 207 North State Street in Concord, New Hampshire. It is built of rock-faced Concord granite, with cut stone trimmings, and slated with Vermont red slate. The tiny 40 by 45 foot chapel is finished in cypress with the floor of Georgia pine, and seats about 100 people.

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“The Clara B. Perkins Memorial Chapel was donated to the City of Concord in 1904 by Miss Susan George Perkins, sister of Commodore George Hamilton Perkins, whose statue stands behind the State House. Susan Perkins was a devoted Concord philanthropist who also made gifts to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, to St. Mary’s School, to Norwich University, and to Phillips Exeter Academy. Miss Perkins designated the chapel as a memorial to her mother, Clara Bartlett (Mrs. Hamilton Eliot) Perkins. The chapel has remained essentially unaltered since its construction”*.

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I imagine this is the exact color of mermaid scales. The chapel’s windows are stunning!

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*https://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/publications/documents/blossomhillchapel.pdf