Mother’s Day weekend at the Mountain View Grand

I have always been enamored with the days of the big old wooden hotels in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. Sadly, many of these hotels burned down or were torn down from disrepair due to financial hardships brought on by easier transportation. The days of the grand old hotels came to an end when patrons could drive to the mountains for a day trip. Only a few of the grand old hotels remain and I have made it my mission to see them!

This past mother’s day weekend, we stayed at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield NH. This beautiful hotel dates back to 1865 and began as many hotels did in that time. William and Mary Dodge opened their family farmhouse to boarders passing through the area and named their inn the Mountain View House. Many additions later, the hotel has 200 guest rooms and the very well known tower rose to 89′. Due to financial issues, the hotel actually closed in 1985. It was reopened with new life in 2002 after many renovations.

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There is a hot tub up at the top of the tower that you can reserve for a truly romantic evening.

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Adirondack chair heaven
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One of the beautiful little spots at MVG, imagine wedding photos here
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View of the mountains on the golf course, look at that alpen glow!

While at the hotel, my husband and I played tennis on their Australian clay courts. We ran on their trail system and swam in the indoor pool. They also have an outdoor pool but it was still a bit cool for that. They also have farm animals and gardens at the Mountain View Grand. A popular activity that we didn’t participate in is the axe throwing! There is also an 18 hole golf course onsite.

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Lower tennis courts, the red building there is the farm!
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Beautiful mountain views while playing tennis on the upper courts
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Ruined chimney seen on our trail run!

For dining options, they have a restaurant and bar onsite for casual dining called the Harvest Tavern. We ate dinner at the bar and did the breakfast buffet in the restaurant. Their fine dining option is called the 1865 Wine Cellar and requires reservations. The menu is a fixed price menu and I believe there’s only a handful of tables down there. They do a daily tour of the wine cellar, otherwise you can’t really go see it unless you are eating down there. There is also a menu available across the street at the clubhouse by the the pool. We ate there once a couple years ago with a group after my husband’s grandfather’s funeral and the only thing I will say is the service was a bit slow. Before dinner we did partake in the smores at the firepit over by the pool clubhouse. It was fun making a smore and enjoying the mountain views.

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View from the tavern for our Mother’s Day breakfast buffet
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The buffet was amazing!

So what mountains are you viewing…..well you can see the Presidential Range and the Twins from the front veranda. In the back you can see Waumbek and Cabot I believe. I love the views….but I will admit the views from the Mt. Washington Hotel veranda are more impressive.

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I took this photo with that tree strategically covering the wind turbine 🙂

I really enjoyed our stay at the Mountain View Grand. There was a wedding going on the last time we were there and the ballroom and outdoor spaces for a wedding were just gorgeous. There is a spa right there at the hotel too. They also have some great green initiatives. They have their own wind energy turbine and they use paper straws. We stopped at a couple breweries on the way too which was fun. Schilling Beer Co in Littleton, NH and Reklis Brewing in Bethlehem, NH both have great beer, atmosphere, and food!

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Stroll around Phillips Exeter Academy

So the April Fool’s Day snowstorm was crazy….we had about 10″ of snow from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening. It was heavy, wet snow, the kind that makes all the branches droop. Sunday was a really nice day though and the snow is already on its way out! I wanted to get out of the house and go to Laney & Lu’s for a treat, so I took Mizpah along for a walk around Exeter NH’s historic district after.

There were so many others out and about walking so it was the perfect walk for Mizpah to do some socializing. Mizpah is a dalmatian and they have a reputation for not always being the most social breed. She’s a dog who needs exercise daily, but more than that, she needs mental stimulation too daily. Having to walk on a sidewalk to my left and manage all the new smells and say hello (or not say hello) to other dogs on leashes, children, and adults is a lot of stimulation.

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The Squamscott River looking good with all the snowmelt! This river eventually empties into the Atlantic by Portsmouth NH
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The Jeremiah Smith House, built in 1730. There are quite a few historic homes in Exeter but I sorta fell for this one because its green! You don’t see a lot of historic homes in green! Jeremiah Smith was a governor of NH BUT I didn’t think he was born until the 1750s, so not sure how this house is connected.
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Here is the Jeremiah Smith Hall, the main administration building at Phillips Exeter Academy
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The Academy Building at Phillips, home of the assembly hall….totally in love with the tall ship weathervane
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Phillips Church, built in 1895 as a congregational church in Exeter and later sold to Phillips to be their school chapel
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Here is the tower of the chapel, the stonework is beautiful and reminds me of a similar chapel at Groton School in Groton MA.

So these images are of the Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH, not to be confused with Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. Phillips Academy in Andover was founded by Samuel Phillips, Jr in 1778 and Phillips Exeter Academy was founded by his uncle, John Phillips, three years later. As you can imagine, there is quite a rivalry between the two schools. Phillips Academy is the one that the Bush’s went to as well as JFK Jr. Phillips Exeter is where Franklin Pierce, Ulysses S. Grant, and Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert went. Also if you ever read A Separate Peace by John Knowles, he is a Phillips Exeter alum soooo Devon School is really based on his alma mater.

The classic New England boarding schools with the brick buildings, crisp white accents, stone chapels, and grassy courtyards are beautiful. I wonder sometimes if I could live the teacher life at a boarding school. Maybe when I have retired from public school teaching and have gotten my PhD in biology (which I totally want to do, I will be the old lady shuffling around the lab with the 25 year old post docs saying things like “Back in my day..”), I will teach at a private school to supplement my summer travel account!!

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Sites in Historic Concord, MA

This past weekend, my husband and I spent the day in Concord MA checking out some of the historic sites and houses. We went to The Old Manse, North Bridge, The Orchard House, The Wayside, the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and finally the Colonial Inn. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter  and The House of the Seven Gables, two books that I actually read and loved in high school. He was born in Salem and then lived in The Old Manse in Concord, moved to the Berkshires, and then came back to The Wayside in Concord. Rev. William Emerson was the first inhabitant of The Old Manse, and Ralph Waldo Emerson lived there for a time too with his grandmother. Hawthorne lived there in his first three years of marriage with his wife, Sophia Peabody.

We walked from The Old Manse over the North Bridge and checked out the grounds there. The original North Bridge is no longer there. I think its actually been rebuilt a couple times. April 19, 1775 was the big day, the shot heard round the world, the battle of Lexington and Concord. A few ancestors on my mother’s side, Phillip Robbins and his son Jeremiah Robbins, Sr., were there that day. Minute Man park is really beautiful, its really hard to picture the battle that actual happened there.

From here, we went to The Orchard House and The Wayside. I have read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott probably a dozen times. It is such a good story, and at this point because I have read it so many times through my life, it feels like it has become part of my story. Alcott  set and wrote Little Women living in The Orchard House (1858-1877), but many scenes were inspired by earlier times living at The Wayside (called The Hillside when they lived there). The Alcott family lived at The Wayside from 1844-1848 and then rented it out until they sold it to Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1852.

The Orchard House was cool because of the book, but I definitely fell for The Wayside .

The gorgeous piazza was added by the Lothrop family who lived there in 1887. The tower in the center of the home was added in the time that the Hawthornes lived there. Harriet Lothrop wrote the children’s book series Five Little Peppers under the pen name Margaret Sidney. The photo of the window above is actually the loft above the little barn where Louisa May Alcott and her sisters staged the plays that inspired parts of Little Women.
From here we went to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. A section of the cemetery is referred to as The Author’s Ridge and thats where Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcott, and Thoreau are buried. A founder of WPI, George Frisbie Hoar is buried nearby, and his gravestone brought me to tears.

Here is the George Frisbie Hoar Grave.

Finally, after lots of walking it was time for a snack at The Colonial Inn. The actual building has been there since 1716 and it served as a storehouse and a hospital during the American Revolution. Room 24 was the operating room, and Room 27 was the morgue! Eek! Post-war, the hotel was a store and boarding house. Henry David Thoreau lived there from 1835-1837 while he was attending Harvard. It started operating as a hotel in the mid-19th century.

We sat outside, Jon got a 1716 Colonial Inn Ale which is made by Sam Adams for the inn, and I got a shirley temple. We had dinner plans so just grabbed a spinach artichoke dip. There are all different rooms inside the hotel for small gatherings/meeting, and multiple areas to eat. A cool spot was the Village Forge Tavern- it was dark, earthy, lots of equestrian/farrier stuff for decor….you can almost picture militia having a tankard of beer in there. It was such a beautiful day we had to be outside. Historic Concord is an amazing place to visit because while there are many sites related to the American Revolution, there are just as many sites related to the transcendental literary revolution. Next year we want to try and make it for the reenactment they do for Patriot’s Day!

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The Grand Mt. Washington Hotel

Before the automobile, there were many grand hotels and boarding houses in the White Mountains, called the Great North Woods back then, where people from the cities in Massachusetts would stay for a month or two in the summer for some fresh air and recreation. The Mt. Washington wasn’t open in the winter until 2000. They would arrive by trains and ‘tallyhos’ which were horse drawn carriages. It took so long to get anywhere, you would stay longer. The Mt. Washington Hotel broke ground in 1900 and opened for guests in 1902. It was built by Joseph Stickney, who also owned the Mt. Pleasant Hotel (which is now where the Lodges at Bretton Woods are) across the street.

It is breathtaking, the largest wooden structure in New England, all white exterior with that bright popping red roof against the most beautiful backdrop- the Presidential Mountain Range. I have driven by the hotel many times in my hiking adventures, and looked down upon it from many peaks in the area. Last week was the first time I actually stayed there, and honestly I could have moved in. We stayed Wednesday night and Thursday night, and it was really great being there midweek. It was a lot less crowded from what I have heard. There was rain on Wednesday, but Thursday and Friday were gorgeous. Wednesday night we sat out on the veranda overlooking our beloved mountains. They sat tucked under a blanket of clouds until the sun set and the alpine glow set in. We went to dinner that night at Stickney’s, a restaurant in the lower level of the hotel that used to be the men’s billiard room back in the day. After, we had a couple drinks in The Cave, a space that was originally squash courts that became a speakeasy during Prohibition years. They drank from tea cups and had a view out the window to the driveway to see if any officials were coming up.

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The beautiful mountains under the clouds

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Red clay tennis courts, new from when the conference center/spa addition took up space where the old courts were.
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The Ammonoosuc River
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The Bretton Arms Inn on the property
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The carriage house that is now the stables/equestrian center
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The alpine glow at around 8PM. From left to right, the peaks are Jefferson, Clay, Washington, Monroe, Franklin, and you can just see the slope of Eisenhower.
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Out on the roof of the newer section of the hotel which houses a conference center/spa

Thursday we hiked Zealand Mountain which was fantastic because it was only 15 minutes from the hotel. I will write up the hike in a separate post 🙂 Thursday night we did a little fly fishing in the trout pond out front before eating out on the veranda. After, we got a couple glasses of champagne, a book titled A Self Guided Historic Tour, and meandered around the hotel.

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No trout caught unfortunately, we just caught some creek chubs

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A place is always set for Carolyn Stickney, the wife of the original owner of the hotel. He died just a year after the great hotel had been built, and Carolyn remarried French nobility and used to summer at the hotel. The main dining room was built as a circle so that no table was inferior off in the corner, but the table just to the right of the entrance is always ready for the Princess.
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All the different place setting patterns over the years
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When Carolyn was summering at the hotel, she would watch all the dining guests make their way to the dining room and she would change if anyone was dressed more finely than her.
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The great hall aka the lobby of the hotel.
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The moose head above the grand fireplace in the lobby
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Ornate ceiling and chandelier where Carolyn would have private dinners. Now it is used as a lounge area, nice for getting a drink before dinner
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The veranda above, and Stickney’s dining below.

Friday we had breakfast and took a last lap around before heading out on a couple more adventures. We went to the Gale River right by the trailhead to hike Galehead and I happily read my new book, Kaysen’s Cambridge, while my husband caught around 5 brook trouts. From there we went to the Bretton Woods ski area and took the free ski lift up to the Latitude 44 restaurant. Bretton Woods is a part of the Omni Mt. Washington Resort as is the hotel. The view from the restaurant looking across to the hotel and the mountains was beautiful. What a great ending to our trip.

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It was an amazing place to stay. So many families and couples there were taking the cog railway up Mt. Washington, or driving up during their vacation. I heard excited children talking about their upcoming journey, parents telling them about the wind, or the pizza at the top! I have hiked all the Presidentials, and I will never forget hiking up Mt. Washington. A day in March when the world up there was still snow-covered and barren. The pizza wasn’t open, and there was no wind. It’s a beautiful place no doubt, but looking up from the plush cushions on whitewashed veranda wicker furniture to see mountains that you regard as familiar friends as opposed to awesome strangers is truly a gift.

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Stroll around historic Portsmouth NH

This past weekend we were up in NH for a cookout Saturday. It was in honor of two of the cutest kids in the world, a little boy who turns six this coming Saturday, and his little sister who turned three in May. My husband’s friends in NH are friends that he has had since high school. They are a really tight knit crew and its always fun getting everyone together for something. It poured on Saturday but Sunday was all sun! We decided to walk around Portsmouth a little bit on Sunday to just enjoy the sunshine and give Mizpah some exercise. We walked down by the Strawberry Banke which is one of my favorite areas of Portsmouth and walked around Market Square. Portsmouth is on the Piscataqua River that separates New Hampshire and Maine and empties out into the Atlantic. Portsmouth isn’t actually on the ocean, Rye and New Castle NH to it’s east have that coastal privilege. I snapped some pics of some of my favorite historic houses and a little bit of the lovely Piscataqua!

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The Governor John Langdon House, a Georgian mansion built in 1784…the portico, the balustrades, the dormers, I don’t even know what I love the most.
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Strawberry Banke.
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The Oracle House, built around 1702 it is one of the oldest houses in New England. It was the home of the first daily newspaper in New Hampshire, The Oracle of the Day, in the 18th century
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The Goodwin House, built in 1811 and owned by Ichabod Goodwin, the governor of NH during the Civil War. This house is right near the Strawberry Banke museum.
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Adorable tea setting in the gardens of the Goodwin House.
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The Treadwell Jenness House, 1818. I love the eagle above the front door.
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The Liberty Pole, standing tall right near Prescott Park in Portsmouth. Again, the gold eagle that sits atop the pole is perfect.
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Market Square 🙂
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Nice little spot to see the Piscataqua near Old Ferry Landing. Mizpah got a lot of love from kids and adults hangin out here!
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My anchor tshirt is an oldie from J Crew Factory, jean shorts are from American Eagle, Sperry Topsiders, and my very first KJP bracelet!
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The Jacob Wendell House, 1789, he was a merchant ship owner and insurance agent. The carving above the door is a whale oil lamp. I love the gabled dormers.
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So this house may not have a plaque announcing its historical significance, but I just love it! It has a cute little backyard/garden and the size is a little understated but the Georgian door! I don’t know, its a favorite for me 🙂

Portsmouth is a really dog friendly city. There is an awesome dog park, Pierce Island has an off leash area, and dogs are allowed in many of the outdoor seating areas for restaurants/cafes. Dogs are not allowed in Prescott Park which is a really pretty park on the Piscataqua, and I don’t think they are allowed in the Strawberry Banke historic area. There are so many beautiful old houses in Portsmouth, it was a perfect day to walk with my husband and pup. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

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Dinner at Groton’s Gibbet Hill Grill

Groton is an adorable New England town. Cute Main St. with cafes, bakery, and pizza shop, great conservation land and trails, a rail trail for walking & bike riding, plenty of picturesque horse farms, and not one, but two boarding schools. Groton is home to Lawrence Academy & Groton School. Both schools owe their founding in some part to the Lawrence family, which I am actually a descendant from! I am planning to run around both schools this summer, they are gorgeous, you will love them. Groton School was actually in School Ties!

Anyways, Gibbet Hill Farm is walking distance to Lawrence Academy and they have both a restaurant called Gibbet Hill Grill and a function/wedding venue called The Barn at Gibbet Hill.

The menu at the grill is amazing. Entrees were priced from the teens to twenties and steaks could be a little more expensive, but the ingredients are all local. The produce for the most part comes right from their farm! We started with a bowl of the clam chowder. Living in New England, we are kinda spoiled in the clam chowder department. The Gibbet Hill version did not disappoint! It was very creamy, big clams, and great flavor. I do like it a little thicker, but it was delicious. It came in a cute little cauldron too.

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Then for entrees, Jon got the shepherd’s pie and I got the potato crispy haddock with bacon and potato corn chowder. Both entrees were amazing. The beef in the shepherd’s pie was awesome, which shouldn’t be a surprise because it is a steakhouse, and the corn chowder that came with my haddock was so good. Jon also got a side of mac n cheese which was huge, so we had that with our dinner the next day too! The bar was great, many choices for wine, beer, and spirits/cocktails. I got a Belgian wit beer and Jon got the Gibbet Hill Brew which is an IPA made by Berkshire Brewing Company.

Below are just some pictures I snapped in the restaurant. The building has the big beautiful wooden beams, a fireplace, adorable navy blue/cream checked table cloths, and an open counter/window into the kitchen which I love. The artwork was all farm related, portraits of prize steers and vintage memorabilia/farm items.

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There is some historical significance to the property and a trail system that you can explore seen here. I would really like to go back with the pup to explore and watch the sunset from the hill, and then head into the grill for some chowder 🙂 Jon and I don’t go out to dinner all that often, maybe once a month, so when we do, we like to go somewhere nice and sort of have an experience I guess too. The other places I have on my list are the Colonial Inn in Concord and the Wayside Inn in Sudbury! Where do you go for your special dinners with friends or family?

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Bridal Shower at Gov. Rolland Spaulding Estate

This past Saturday, my mother and future mother-in-law hosted my bridal shower at the Rolland Spaulding Estate, now a part of the Governors Inn Hotel. There were 27 ladies in attendance, and we had the best afternoon. The estate and inn were built back in 1920. Brothers Huntley and Rolland Spaulding lived in the two buildings and both of them were governors of NH! The Spaulding children actually grew up in Townsend MA, went to Lawrence Academy in Groton and then Philips Exeter Academy in NH when they moved up to NH. Their father, Jonas, and their uncle Waldo started Spaulding Brothers in Townsend, a leatherboard manufacturing mill. They expanded into millwork in Rochester NH making fiberboard and thats where the estate and inn are!

We had a fabulous luncheon, bridal shower bingo, so many amazing gifts, and then read through some wedding advice. Some of the gifts included a Kitchen Aid Mixer (so excited) and a Ninja blender (also so excited). Jon and I are so blessed to have such generous family and friends. For the occasion I wore a cerise cashmere & merino crew neck sweater  for $36 (I think its down to $34 now!) and an older Lilly Pulitzer crab embroidered skirt that I got from Ebay for $36 with navy tights and riding boots. The Lilly skirt is white label….but its not “The Lilly”, so its probably from the early 2000s, not exactly vintage, but its one of my favorites 🙂

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One of my lovely bridesmaids Alex, also in her Lilly 🙂
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I loved the rich green upholstery of this chair with the carpets. It was a great occasion to wear my J Crew Factory bracelets! I love them but usually feel they are too dressy for everyday life.
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Can you believe my future MIL made this cake? Talented lady, and it was delicious too!!!
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Beautiful centerpieces
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Fireplace in the parlor room #fireplacegoals
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Loved all the fox hunting prints in the estate

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View out the windows of the oval dining room where the food was set up. They do weddings out on this lawn in nicer weather….the snow is just about gone!
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Oval dining room where our food was set up
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There are guest rooms in the inn and the estate. Presidential candidates and dignitaries traveling through NH often stay here because of the historical significance of the property and its founders.
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Walking out to the sun porch.
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Sunning out on the sunporch
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With the other half out on the sun porch after he lugged all our gifts out 🙂

Jon and I actually went to a wedding at the Governors Inn Hotel this past summer, and I fell in love with the place. Now I have a whole new set of memories at the property which makes it so special.

I hope that you all had a great weekend! It was so nice today in the 50s here in MA, what do we think? Is it officially spring or do we think winter will have one big storm left??

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Sunny morning at the barn

This weekend was beautiful in Massachusetts. We are in a weird warm spell here…snow is pretty much melted and we have been in the 40s/50s. Last year at this time I believe we had 3 feet of snow on the ground!!!

Saturday AM, I had such a nice ride with my buddy Sterling. Sterling is a quarter horse and has been used in lessons since I was at the barn. He had an owner who was in college and came maybe a couple times a year to see him, and finally last year he was pretty much gifted to the barn. He has some costly medical issues, melanomas & PSSM. He has had a couple surgeries to help with melanomas and he is on some supplements/meds for the PSSM. He is a huge asset to the school because he is totally capable of just slowly walking around in circles with a beginner, or packing around a small jumper course with a more advanced rider. He has typical quarter horse issues for dressage because he is lower in front than behind, but my dressage lessons with him are so rewarding. You can see such a huge difference from a horse who is expecting to just carry someone around for an hour to a forward horse using his muscles and stretching his topline. Dressage type exercises are great for all horses, sort of like power yoga.

Here are a few pics from my lovely morning at the barn!

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Sterling 🙂 , his show name is Shades of Gray
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View out the window of the indoor to the dressage arena
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View of the original portion of the farmhouse where owners live. The home has been added onto and renovated, its absolutely gorgeous.
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Oh just a quaint little gazebo on your way to the paddocks
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View of paddocks and off to the left where that trail goes is the cross country course
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Alfonse, or Alf for short, arguably the cutest little pony. He was so cute snoozing in the sun, couldn’t help but take his pic!

Friday night, I went out to the Red Raven in Acton with my fiance and his coworkers for some drinks. They have an awesome little loungy area when you first walk in and I couldn’t resist snapping this fireplace. The brickwork is so unique and fun.

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Saturday afternoon, I headed out on a NH brewery tour in the Londonderry/Derry area that finished in Nashua…so fun, I will fill you all in tomorrow! I can’t believe today is February!! How was your weekend?? Tell me all about it! Enjoy the day everyone!

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My Last Semester at Umass Lowell

I can’t believe that I am writing this, but this is the first full week of my last semester at Umass Lowell. I went to WPI in Worcester MA for my undergrad degree, but both of my master’s degrees will be from Umass Lowell. I got my Master’s of Education there in 2009, and I will have my Master’s of Science in Biology this May. What can I say, I like school. I was told once, don’t remember by who, that your education is the only thing that can’t be taken away from you….and so as I have lived my life amassing furniture, sporting goods, whatever…I have also been amassing courses.

Umass Lowell was inducted into the University of Massachusetts family back in 1991. It is the second largest MA state school, Umass Amherst is the largest. I have watched over the years as Umass Lowell has transformed from a largely commuter school to a thriving community for students and faculty. There are three campuses at Umass Lowell. North Campus was originally the Lowell Technological Institute (started as Lowell Textile School in 1895) and South Campus was originally Lowell State College which really began as a teacher’s college back in 1898. They are on opposite sides of the Merrimack River and merged back in 1975. The third campus, East Campus, is over by LeLacheur Park, the home of the Lowell Spinners, a minor league team for the Boston Red Sox. That campus has a lot of the dorms and a big dining hall.

Now, there has been construction on campus pretty much since I started there back in 2008. A lot of the buildings have the geometric (ugly) style to them….they kinda look like tetris pieces? There are some buildings that I love though.

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Via Pinterest

This one is Coburn Hall on South Campus. The South Campus is where the health sciences, humanities, grad. school of education, and some dorms/student center can be found. I love this building. This where the Lowell State College started. The building was designed by Stickney & Austin. It was named after Frank Coburn, the first principal of the school.

The next three are all on the North Campus where the textile school/technological institute was started.

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JFK at the official opening of Cumnock Hall in 1956. This building has a big auditorium, conference rooms, and offices.  Via Pinterest
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Southwick Hall, opened in 1903, dedicated to Royal & Dierexa Southwick for the textile program. Now it’s just classrooms & offices. From a site called flickriver.com, seems to be a dead site now though. 
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Alumni Memorial Library, built in 1949. One of two new buildings along with Eames Hall for the textile school. This is my picture, I kinda have a building crush on it 🙂

The Southwicks were Quakers and abolitionalists and they started the Lowell Carpet Company. Textiles and mills were the main industry in Lowell for the industrial era. Frederick Ayer was the grandson of the Southwicks, and he had a big influence on the textile market in Lowell & Lawrence. The textile program shut down in 1971.

Rejuvenating the mill district in Lowell has been a process. I grew up nearby and have watched the industry come back to Lowell…..new restaurants….mills converted to apartments….new community activities. Lowell is home to the Tsongas Arena, canals that are a beautiful and educational stroll, LeLacheur Park which has more activities than just baseball, and a lovely mill museum. The Textile Regatta in Lowell is usually the first big fall headrace for crew, so much fun, and they have a great folk festival too.

Umass Lowell has been a huge part of bringing Lowell back to life. The school has expanded, made jobs possible, and has really become one of the most underrated schools in a really underrated city. When we think of Massachusetts, maybe our coastline comes to mind. Cape Cod, Boston, and Cape Anne are GORGEOUS, but mill towns have been important to Massachusett’s history too. Lowell is totally worth a visit and Umass Lowell is worth a look for a great (& affordable) university. I will be sad to finish up this spring.

Hope you all had a great weekend!! I will do a post maybe tomorrow with some trail fun pictures from this weekend 🙂

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The Old Bromfield School, Est. 1878

In 1878, Margaret Bromfield Blanchard founded the Bromfield School in Harvard, MA. The building was designed by Peabody and Stearns in the beautiful Queen Anne style.   In 1960, it was home to just 100 students. A new Bromfield School was built just next to it that had a gymnasium, and the high school moved out of the old school officially in 2003. In 2007, the building reopened as the Harvard Public Library.

The old Bromfield School is beautiful, and due to its proximity to the center of town and all of Harvard’s schools, it is a vibrant meeting place for people of all ages. They have a children’s room, a teen room, and silent rooms. Oh, and down the hill behind it, past the athletic fields is a beautiful pond, Bare Hill Pond. People row, paddle board, and even sail a bit out there. I will have to go back and snap some pics this summer.

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Above are two photos of the exterior front. Looks like the Mass version of Hogwarts right?? Off to the right and back there is an addition to expand the library. I was there around 3:30 and the library was full of adults,kids, and many students. Students in Harvard can walk just a short distance  to the library to do homework after school.

This is a reading room in the library, there were probably 3 rooms that not only housed books, but were silent spaces for studying, reading, and reflection. This reading room is a half circle, the same half circle you see from the outside in the front.

Here are some of the historic items set aside in a foyer of the library, a lovely grandfather clock, a portrait of Margaret Bromfield Blanchard, and the wooden sign declaring the purpose of this beautiful building.

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There is a room upstairs used for functions/concerts called Volunteers Hall. They did a Sound of Music singalong in December that I would have loved to go to if I hadn’t gotten a root canal that afternoon hahaha. I did end up getting a couple books- All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot and Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams. I read All Creatures Great and Small by Herriot a few years back and just never continued, and I read Williams’s first 2 books which were both pretty good.

I love libraries. I love book sharing of course because its free, but the buildings themselves are often repurposed or given to the town and have rich histories. Harvard’s public library is an important part of the community, I can only hope that wherever Jon and me end up settling will have such a nice, supported library.

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