Mt Washington Chocolate Festival

Mt Washington Chili + Chocolate Weekend 2016

Chili Meets Chocolate

Every year for the last 13 years on a weekend in late February Chili meets Chocolate in Mt Washington Valley in North Conway, New Hampshire.

photocollage MT WAshington Chocolate FEstivalThe Chocolate Festival has been going on for 27 years to be exact. It’s a Chocolate lovers dream. Participants can visit  a trail of chocolate from gourmet hot chocolate, brownie sundaes, chocolate fondue with a variety of dippers, handmade chocolate confections, hand dipped pretzels and more. 

Visitors enter to win a $200 gift certificate at each of the  trail-side chocolate destinations. You can experience some of New Hampshire’s finest accommodations  as they are participants in this event. The 1785 Inn  Adventure Suites  and The Buttonwood Inn  are just three of the man other inns of North Conway to visit who participate in this event.

The one day event held from 11-4 is always  a winning combination for the weekend Chili Festival. It’s the ultimate combination of sweet and spicy. Plus, you can mix in a little skiing and shopping and dining.

13th Annual Chili Cook Off

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Over 400 people attended this years Chilly Chili Cook-Off  25 Chilies participated and prepared tastings for the crowd and 6 judges. 16 retail shops in North Conway Village offered cheese samplings and wine tastings to ticket holders for the event.

Here’sMWV Chili Cookoff2016-BigDaves a list of winners  for BEST CHILI Professional Category:

BEST Chili: Big Dave’s Bagels $300 Prize. Judged by 6 individuals from the White Mountain Culinary Association and two food writers from Taste of the Seacoast and NH Magazine.

People’s Choice: Big Dave’s

BEST Cornbread: Stowe Corner Store

BEST Creative Table: Chef’s Bistro

 

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 In the Non-Profit Category the winners are:

People’s Choice BEST Chili: Leadership MWV Sponsored by Red Jacket  $125 Which helps in their annual fundraising to support repayment of student loans as one effort in the MWV to keep young professionals in the valley. 

2nd Place People;s Choice: Vaughan Center Sponsored by Hannaford  $100

3rd Place People’s Choice: Valley Promotions Sponsored by Eastern Propane  $75

BEST Cornbread: American Cancer Society, Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk Sponsored by Stonehurst Manor

BEST Creative Table: American Cancer Society, Making Strides Breast Cancer Sponsored by Stonehurst Manor

Sponsors of the event are: Cabot Cheese, Green Thumb Farm, Ragged Mountain, Horsefeathers, North Conway Community Center, Gibson Center & Tuckerman Brewing

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Thank you to Marti Mayne PR Manager at Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce for the photos of the Chilly Chili Cook-off Event.

MWV Chili Cookoff2016-Stonehurst-BeatCancerMWV Chili Cookoff2016-Stow Corner Store

 

 

 

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I LOVE Movie Set Places

I LOVE movie set places and in New England there are many!

Straight Warf - Nantucket

Straight Wharf

What I really love are waterfront and coastal towns that have a vibe to them. Yes, sometimes they are very busy, especially in-season.  I like to visit them off-season, early in the morning or at sunset….You know the magical times! Which is not to say the magic isn’t there when things are bustling. Here’s a look at three of my favorite places that evoke that magical feeling.

Perkins Cove

I’ve been going to Perkins Cove for over 25 years. Guess what, every time I go it’s just as magical as the first time I was there! I love the small paths with shops and restaurants. I still remember going into the Pottery Shop at Perkins Cove for the first time and being in awe of their hand crafted goods. I love finding true New England finds in all the shops here. Restaurants like Barnacle Billy’s and MC Perkins are casual and relaxing and serve good food.

I’ve taken Finest Scenic Cruises to Nubble lighthouse and I’ve walked the Marginal Way in all seasons.   Beyond the shops, restaurants and bustle, it’s the moments you experience! The moments when the sun is rising and there is barely anyone there as you take photos. Or the windy winter days where snow is hitting you sideways. Or it’s the smell of salt water while you are enjoying an ice cream or coffee. That ‘s the movie set life of scenic places I love. I can’t wait to breathe it all in again on my next visit to Perkins Cove.

Sunapee Harbor

Sunapee Harbor is a movie set! Well at least it looks like one! This has been a popular destination for summer vacations since the days of the steamship, when people use to come from Boston and New York City. The Grand Hotels are long gone but beautiful custom homes dot Lake Sunapee.

It’s a great place to visit in Summer when the few shops in the harbor are open. Lunch or dinner at the Anchorage is a must as is ice cream from the Quick Shack. A highlight here is Sunapee Cruises narrative scenic and dinner cruises.  The views on their sunset cruises are great and the air is so clean. Being in the center of Lake Sunapee is one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been. 

  Nantucket

Cru Nantucket

View from Cru Nantucket. Every seat in the house has a great view!

I have a funny story about Nantucket. I was there twice over 30 years ago…pretty much just around Straight Wharf and town for the day. So that was my early Nantucket experience, no beach and the shops are not what they are today! Then for many years, when I would hear or read about Nantucket in tourism pieces I read there was barely any electricity on the island and you needed a bike to get around the island.

Two years ago I lived on Cape Cod for a year. I went to Nantucket several times because it is one of the most coolest places I have ever been! I have met a circle of people  who are the most creative individuals I have ever met! Enter Serendipity Again! I have learned more from these people and about about myself in the last two years than I could have ever imagined!

My admiration for these designers, shop owners, entrepreneurs and creative people that promote the island runs deep.  Honestly, almost daily, when I am not there…I am thinking about it…wishing I was there. In my opinion, there are more creative trend-setting things happening on Nantucket than in New York City!

 There is a coastal vibe from people who live and work here year round who literally travel all over the world for their work.  Nantucket is pure eye candy! From the shops on the wharf which catch the most amazing light. Each shop is creative in its own way and the staff are always so hospitable,  smiling, helpful and so upbeat!

From Sankaty Lighthouse to Brant Point the ACK feeling is amazing! Sconset can only be described as breathtaking + delicious. View some of the best sunrises and walks on the beach and sunsets at Galley Beach are speechless.

The food and presentation at ACK restaurants like Cru, Straight Wharf and Town Restaurant are among the world’s best! Plus, there are many other restaurants that are open during the season that are equally as good. If the best in shopping and dining weren’t enough…Nantucket has some of the world’s best beaches.  You can see the sunrise and sunset like nowhere else! Everywhere you turn, there is magic on this island! 

There is peace! There is  a quiet that I have only experienced while living on Cape Cod. Clearly, there is a creative vibe among the people who live, work and play here that is second to none! No wonder people call Nantucket their “Happy Place”! It will be good to be bACK!

All Photos by Melissa Tyler

 

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Mt Washington Chocolate Festival

Mt Washington Valley Ski Touring Chocolate Festival

Ski + Snowshoe + Chocolates and More! It Must be North Conway!

Mt Washington Chocolate Festival

Every February people come to ski, snowshoe, walk, or ride from Inn to Inn and receive free chocolate treats at each inn. Stay at least 2 nights at 1785 Inn that weekend and receive 2 comp tickets to Mount Washington.

1785 Inn & Restaurant is a quaint country inn nestled in the White Mountains of NH and well-known for its spectacular mountain views, fine dining, cozy pub, friendly service, comfortable lodging rooms, and reasonable rates.

Call 603-356-9025 to reserve. Event Fee $35 per person.

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Sunapee Cruses - Lake Sunapee New Hampshire

Crusin Lake Suapee with Sunapee Cruises

There’s a place where the air is cleaner, the water is clearer and the harbor is like a movie set! There’s just something magical about this place!  Where is this place?  Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire. Lake Sunapee is listed under the “1,000 Places to See Before you Die“.

What’s a great way to find out about the history, lore, beauty and points of interest and lighthouses of Lake Sunapee while experiencing the great outdoors? Aboard  Sunapee Cruises  is the correct answer!

Sunapee Cruises - Lake Sunapee New Hampshire

MV Mt. Sunapee II  – 2 Hour Narrative Boat Tours

Memorial Day Weekend – Columbus Day departs from the Sunapee Harbor at 2pm Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Memorial Day – June 15th – Boats leave Sat & Sun at 2pm.

June 16th – Labor Day – Boats depart Daily at 2pm

**Tickets to the Narrative boat ride may be bought 1 hour in advance at boat. You can purchase Dinner  Cruise tickets in advance by clicking on link above and making a reservation.

sunapee cruises

Dinner Cruises aboard the MV Kearsarge – 2 hour Dinner Buffet Cruise

This 2 hour buffet dinner with the captain as your guide offers 2 levels of enclosed dining. A full bar is also available with dinner cruises. Dinner Cruises are available from May through October.  Charter boats for special occasions and weddings are also available.

Sunapee Cruses - Lake Sunapee New Hampshire

 

Memorial Day Weekend – Fri, Sat & Sun departs at 6:30pm

June 2nd – 14th Sat & Sun only departs 6:30 pm

June 14 – Labor Day cruises departing Tuesday – Sunday at 6:30pm

Both the sightseeing tour  and the dinner cruise are very enjoyable and  memorable experiences.  The MV Kearsarge also is available for weddings, parties and charted events of up to 75 people. Season passes are also now available!

Photos By Melissa Tyler

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New Hampshire Wine & Cheese Trails

I LOVE IT HERE!

 One of the perfect combinations as many of us know are Wine and Cheese ! New Hampshire has done a wonderful job in pairing wines and cheeses not just at wineries but at restaurants, farm stands and many other unique experiences in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire is committed to bringing the best, locally grown foods, including fine wines and cheeses, to your restaurant dinner table through a movement known as New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection. Visit New Hampshire and experience the culinary passion thriving throughout the state.

The Sandwich Creamery is known for its cow’s milk, farm stand, cheeses and terrific ice cream. Tours are available by appointment but you can purchase cheese and ice cream around the clock in their honor system store.

Stonegate Winery & Vineyard is just two miles from Lake Winnipesaukee, the vineyard grows cold climate French hybrid grapes and wines include Marechal Foch, Leon Millot,Frontenac, Seyval, Cayuga, Steuben, Elvira and Aurore. Call ahead to arrange a tour.

Agape Homestead Farm – head north on Route 28 from Lake Winnipesaukee to Ossipee for their dill-and-garlic spreadable cheese and marinated Feta.

Via Lactea Farm & Brookfield Dairy – on Route 16 in Brookfield where you can meet the animals and purchase farm-fresh chevre in a variety of flavors.

Flag Hill Winery and Distillery in Lee welcomes visitors to their tasting rooms to sample the red, white and port wines produced from varietals that thrive on the coast. Their Ferguson-Davis Dining Room offers seasonally themed regional cuisine, incorporating ingredients from local farms.

Candia Vineyards  is a boutique vineyard that specializes in fine wines from grapes.With New Hampshire’s only Diamond, Frontenac, LaCrosse, Noiret and LaCrescent wines, Candia Vineyards was named New England’s #1 most awarded vineyard at the 2008 Eastern States wine competition.

 Zorvino Vineyards  in Sandown produces quality wines from both local grapes and grapes grown in Tuscany, Chile and Northern California. Tours, tastings and special wine dinners at Castello Zorvino, the terraced manor house on the property.

 LaBelle Winery located in the heart of Alyson’s Orchard in Amherst, is a unique winery that incorporates a variety of fresh fruits into distinctive wines. Seasonal wines are made with orchard-grown apples, peaches, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, jalapeño peppers and pumpkins. Call ahead for a tour and tasting schedule.

This is just a sampling from the 22 stops on the New Hampshire Wine & Cheese Trail.  For more information click the above link and start tasting and sampling on your own…and make sure to let us know your favorites and why!

 

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Cookie and Candy Tour

Inn to Inn Cookie and Candy Tour

Celebrating 15th Anniversary with Trees, Treats and Treasures!

WHEN: December 10th – 11th,

TIME: 11am – 4pm

Cookie and Candy Tour

Popular Mt Washington Valley, NH Inn to Inn holiday cookie tour will offer holiday decorating ideas & trees, recipe cards, collectors ornaments, prizes plus plenty of sweet treats.

“C” is not only for Christmas but also for cookies, candy, collectors’ ornaments and cards with recipes this holiday season in Mt. Washington Valley.  When innkeepers from the Country Inns in the White Mountains wish their guests sweet dreams on the second weekend in December they can guarantee that visions of sugar plums, holiday cookies and beautifully decorated trees will dance in their heads. December 10-11, 2011 is the weekend the Country Inns in the White Mountains assure holiday revelers the ultimate in sweet dreams at the 15th Annual Inn to Inn Holiday Cookie and Candy Tour® held from 11 am to 4 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.   Participants will not only tour inns decked in all their holiday finery offering signature decorations, holiday cookies and candies, but this year they will also view beautifully decorated trees created by local businesses in honor of their favorite nonprofit organization.  With a “Let It Snow” theme, collector’s brass snowflake ornaments and recipe collections from each inn will round out the opportunities for tour goers. To celebrate the 15th anniversary of this event, a cookbook collection of recipes from all 15 years of cookie tours will be given to overnight guests taking advantage of the Cookie Tour package. Chosen by editors of New Hampshire Magazine as “The Best Sugar High”, here’s one chance to participate in the ultimate cookie walk.

Each of the twelve inns on the 15th Annual Inn to Inn Cookie & Candy Tour will feature original holiday cookies and candies, along with exquisite decorations offering tour goers the bonus of taking home holiday decorating ideas as well as scrumptious cookie and candy recipes for themselves.  The participating inns have developed original recipes for everything from sweet to savory holiday treats, with each inn featuring a new recipe for this year’s tour. Additionally, tour participants visiting all 12 properties will receive a keepsake brass snowflake ornament, intended to be the sixth in a collection of Cookie Tour ornaments to be distributed in years hereafter.  This year, local businesses will be recruited to create and sponsor decorated trees. Participating businesses will either internally create the themed trees or recruit artists or school groups to create them. Tour goers will then vote for their favorite, and the winning tree will receive $300, $200 or $100 donations for the non-profit organization to which the tree is dedicated. The tour stretches from Harts Location, to Chocorua, NH, with twelve inns opening their doors to those in search of fabulous holiday treats, recipes and decorating ideas.  No inn is more than fifteen minutes from the next, with many much closer.  Additionally, this year two businesses have joined in the tour. Enjoy samples of cookies and candy from Grammy Gordon’s Bakery and White Mountain Café.

Each participating inn will offer a Cookie Tour package.

Packages will include: Two nights accommodations, Breakfast each morning, two Cookie Tour tickets (a $54 value), Best of 15 Years Cookie Tour Cookbook, Discount voucher for Valley Originals 23 Restaurants  (Buy one entrée and the second of equal or lesser value is 50% off ), VIP pass for Settlers Green Shopping Outlets, Grand Prize  – A chance to win a grand prize valued at over $1000 of gifts and prizes donated from Country Inns in the White Mountains, Basket Creations, Applebee’s, Solar Fun 2010, Inn at Ellis River, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, Settlers’ Green Outlet Village,White Mountain Café and Jewelry Store. Some inns have added dinners to their packages. For a complete list of cookie tour packages: http://www.countryinnsinthewhitemountains.com/holiday_cookie_tour_packages.htm

Tour tickets are available in advance by reserving a lodging package from participating inns and this is the best way to secure a ticket for a weekend of cookie, candy and holiday tree fun. Those not wishing to reserve an overnight package may purchase tickets December 1-6, 2011 for $27 per person by calling 800-338-1356 or  603-356-2642. Tickets reserved by phone will be available for pick up at designated pick up locations.  Tickets are limited.  Any unreserved tickets will be sold for $27 per person on the day of the event at the 1785 Inn, Notchland Inn and Riverbend Inn.   Those interested in booking the Inn to Inn Holiday Cookie & Candy Tour package may make reservations at the inn of their choice.  To learn more about the tour and the inns’ lodging packages, call 800-338-1356 or  603-356-2642.

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History of the Steamships on Lake Sunapee

 In the late 19th century, Lake Sunapee became a popular destination for people that lived the city life in New England, New York and New Jersey. It was the Steamboat Era in which passengers came to the large resorts and lakefront cottages…AND GET AWAY THEY DID!

There were major steamer landings at Sunapee Harbor, Georges  Mill, Lakeside Landing Blodgett Landing, Brightwood, Pine Cliff, Lake Station (which was also where the train station was located), Soo-Nipi, Burkehaven and Granliden. They would take the tourists to the grand hotels that surrounded the lake including Soo-Nipi Park Lodge, Granliden Hotel, Ben Mere Inn and Indian Cave Lodge.  One of the first commercial boats in 1854 was actually propelled by horses!

N.S. Gardner purchased Little Island for $1.00 and put a bowling alley on it!  He then launched the Penacook (latter named Mountain Maid) to carry passengers to Little Island and so the STEAMBOAT ERA BEGAN!

The Woodsum Brothers launched the Lady Woodsum in 1876. It was 50 feet long and could carry 75 passengers. In 1885, The Edmund Burke was launched. It was a 90 foot steamboat carrying 600 passengers. The Amenia White was launched in 1887, it was 101 feet long and carried 650 passengers and was the flagship of the Woodsum fleet and the biggest steamer to ever sail Lake Sunapee! In 1897 the MV Kearsarge was launched at 70 feet carrying  250 passengers with daily sails in the summer months. In 1902 the Weetamoo a 50 footer was launched and after 25 years service on the lake was suddenly scuttled in the middle of the night near Newbury. This ship is still intact and is visited frequently by local SCUBA clubs. The Sunapee Historical Society Museum also is home to the SS Kearsarge’s wheelhouse that was salvaged from the lake in the 1960’s. The 50 foot MV Mount Sunapee was launched in 1965 and takes passengers on lake cruises in summer months. The original Mount Sunapee was named Susie Qand had been a rum runner in Damariscotta, Maine.

Following the extension pf the B&M Railroad into nearby Newbury, Lake Sunapee became a popular vacation area long before the introduction of the automobile. The main rail station was at Newbury Harbor at the southern most point of the lake. Today, the village contains a colorful antique caboose commemorating the railroad line. 

The Grand Resort Hotels

The grand resort hotels and family estates that were nestled around Lake Sunapee  catered to the wealthy escaping the summer heat and hectic life of the city life in Boston and New York City. The hotels attracted many musicians for
their house orchestras to entertain at the grand hotels.But with the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930’s the Grand Era of the many hotels ended.

 The Lighthouses

The Woodsum Brothers , who owned the steamships in the area are also responsible for building the 3 lighthouses on Lake Sunapee in the 1890’s. The Burkehaven Lighthouse, Herrick Cove Lighthouse and Loon Island Lighthouse.  These lighthouses were built to help direct the steamships of the day.

The Islands

Lake Sunapee is about 9 miles long and is the highest lake of it’s size in America!  It is 1100 feet above sea level and it contains 11 islands: Elizabeth Island, Emerald Island, Great Island, Isle of Pines, Little Island, Loon Island, Minute Island, Penny Island, Star Island and Twin Islands.

Today

 There are public access places for swimming at Sunapee State Park Beach and boat launch ramps at Sunapee Harbor and

Sunapee State Park Beach

 

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