Appetizers of My Christmas Party Past

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I can still taste my mother’s delicious appetizers she would make year after year. It all started back when my Nana would hold her famous Christmas Eve parties. This was before I was born. Tables were packed with food, drinks flowed, people laughed and danced to Christmas music all dolled up in their party best! The party wouldn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. I can picture my grandparents full of happiness and.. well, adult beverages.

Times changed, grandchildren were born and Nana and Bubba’s Christmas Eve parties became mellow, yet just as fun! One of my happiest childhood memories is going to their house on Christmas eve, sitting around the living room, listening to Christmas music, exchanging gifts and simply being together.

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When I was young, my mother would throw a Christmas party in early December for extended family we rarely saw, but once they stepped inside, it felt like we had never been apart. As the years passed, the guest list became shorter, life became busy, and eventually the annual extended family Christmas party came to an end. I can still remember the feeling of our warm inviting home dazzled up for the season. It’s one of those magical feelings that will always live inside of you. Karen Carpenter’s voice filled the living room with joy, Christmas scented Yankee candles softly flickered, and the scent of home cooking coming from the kitchen made mouths water.

The kitchen island was packed full of Christmas party food, but the following are my top five favorites:

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Do you have any family favorite recipes? Please share! I’d love to know what they are!

Happy cooking!

xoxo

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The Inn at Jackson

IMG_3352editMy husband and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary by staying overnight at the Inn at Jackson. My parents watched our daughter (who we missed to much, bought things for and talked about constantly!) and we drove about two hours north to beautiful Jackson, New Hampshire. The leaves were bright oranges and yellows- but that’s for another post! This post is dedicated to our lovely stay at the bed and breakfast which sits high on a mountain overlooking trees of oranges and yellows and – You know, it’s difficult to not go on and on about New Hampshire’s gorgeous foliage! IMG_3335edit

Some history of the b&b: The Inn at Jackson was built in 1902 as the summer home of Kate Corrine Baldwin of Brooklyn, NY and of Baldwin piano family fame on land purchased from her friend Katerine Wormeley. For a number of years prior to the purchase, Baldwin had been a regular guest at Wentworth Hall in the village, during which time she befriended Wormeley, another Summer Jackson resident. *IMG_3336edit

The inn transferred ownership on 3/31/05 from the previous owners of 22 years, Bob Bowman and Lori Tradewell, to Don and Joyce Bilger, formerly of Pennsylvania. The Bilgers renovated the property in May of 2005 and the result is what you see today. The Inn at Jackson is the last original Stanford White structure remaining in Jackson, NH.*

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The “Harry Potter” closet across from our room.

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We stayed in the Horace Greenley room, which was the brightest and sunniest suite in the inn.

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Breakfast was delicious, the rooms were clean and comfortable, and the company was warm and inviting. We enjoyed our stay at the Inn. We hope to visit again!

Do you have a favorite bed and breakfast? Please share! I’d love to know!

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*http://www.innatjackson.com/history.htm

 

Return of the Pumpkin People

Each October the Pumpkin People return to Jackson, New Hampshire! Area businesses create pumpkin characters based on popular culture, literature, and seasonal themes. Pumpkin People are displayed near stores, golf courses, hotels and bed and breakfasts. Almost everywhere you turn, there’s a pumpkin person waiting to have its picture taken. These are a few of my favorites from my trip up north.

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Pumpkin couple in front of Flossie’s General Store
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Trolls at the Inn at Jackson
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Santa at the Christmas Farm Inn & Spa

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Three men in a tub!

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Eagle Mountain House & Golf Club
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Harry Potter at the Red Fox Bar & Grille

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Linus: “Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

 

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On my honor, I will try…

 

 

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Roaming around antique stores and coffee shops is one of my favorite pastimes. In a way I feel like they are both very similar. Nostalgia and treasures are lurking around every corner in antique shops. Antique shops carry items that hold lifetimes of memories. Coffee shops, on the other hand, are full of love, laughter and the divine smell of fresh brewed liquid of the Gods.  (More to come regarding coffee..)

Downtown Concord is home to Concord Antique’s Gallery.

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I used to be a Girl Scout and have happy memories of that time in my life. When I spotted this gorgeous green handbook, I could help but to flip though to see what was inside.

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To my surprise, it was filled out and still had a certificate of membership card tucked in the front cover!

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I styled the book a few ways in the living room, but ultimately chose to keep it alongside a few nature books in the bathroom. I’m loving the book’s front cover design and colors.

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Items like this one adds history and magic to a home. Have you ever come across any antique store finds you couldn’t pass up?

 

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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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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/