I love syrup. I mean, I’m sure there are not many people in the world who DON’T love syrup, but I consider myself to be in a league above the Average Pancake-Eating Joe. In a pinch, I have been known to settle for cheap grocery store imitation stuff, but living in the land of maples has spoiled this sugar queen rotten. That’s why I am constantly on a quest to find and consume as many different syrups as I can from Amber to Dark, from each and every town in the Monadnock Region. If I catch a glimpse of that maple leaf flag flying at a farmstand, you better believe I am slamming on my brakes. And friends, I have found a new favorite—Tippin Rock Farm in Swanzey, NH.
This quaint, serve-yourself farm stand is located down a country road nestled in the shadow of picturesque Hewes Hill. Open daily from 10am to dusk, the farmstand offers homemade woodcrafts, seasonal produce from the family’s organic garden and, of course, plenty of syrup. Owners of the farm Chris and Cheri Domina have been running the operation since 2018, but the property has been in the family for decades. In fact it was Chris’ ancestor, the blacksmith Wyman Richardson, who built the home and farmed the land back in 1804.
Now working with their partner, Grayson Smith, the Dominas produce upwards of 60 gallons a year (that sounds like just enough for a pancake breakfast at my house).Together with Smith, the Dominas have about 1000 taps, 200 of which use the old fashion bucket and spout method you can see on the ancient maples when you visit the farm. Speaking of your visit, be sure to check out the lovely scenery in the surrounding area by hiking up to the Tippin Rock itself.
Just down the road from Tippin Rock Farm, you’ll find a trailhead to Hewes Hill and an easy half mile hike. Those who reach the top of the trail are rewarded with spectacular vistas of undeveloped wooded hillsides. Tippin Rock is a massive glacial boulder that can be made to sway gently with a shove of the shoulder in just the right place. It has been a hiking destination for more than a century. So if you’re in need of a lovely destination and a taste of something sweet, head on over to Tippin Rock Farm for a pint or two of the good stuff. Follow Tippin Rock Farm on social media here.
Lauren Judd, Executive Director at Cornucopia Project
Kat Wood and Aaron Shields opened Mudita Massage & Wellness in Keene, NH in 2018, naming it for the joy one finds in others’ success and happiness. Kat writes, “Yoga is a practice that is for YOU.” Bodies come in every variety and life experiences change a person’s comfort level. Getting away from what social media commonly dictates yoga to be, genuine yoga as a practice respects everyone’s need to perform at an individual level regardless of how much time you have to practice, how much money you can spend on your practice, and what your ability level is.
Mudita’s practitioners understand that every minute spent in yoga is a minute well spent. While some people use yoga to exercise, strengthen, increase flexibility, it can also provide the practice of self-study. Yoga can teach breathing techniques, self-discipline, the ability to focus and be present, even personal contentment.
As my hands connect to my yoga mat, I take a breath of relaxation knowing that I have committed the next moment of my life to my own well-being, my mental, physical and spiritual health. My stabilizing heart-rate echoes gratitude for that commitment and my back muscles realign my spine through strength rather than stress. This is a place to get grounded.
Uniquely, Mudita offers a yoga class to live music, with a rotating schedule of artists and teachers. They believe that art and music are an integral part of movement and healing. Every Friday, a local musician connects with one of their yoga instructors to offer a moderate practice that can be scaled for all degrees of ability. They have hosted all types of local musicians including classical guitarists, flutists, hand pan drummers and bass players. Each class differs depending on the students, instructor and musician and can be upbeat and energetic or mellow and melodic. It all depends on the attending community.
The team at Mudita also believes in giving back to and building a healthier community by offering yoga scholarships to community members that are in active recovery. For Mudita, yoga practice and the studio itself are tools for connection. If you’d like to learn more about their approach, follow their blog or find them on Insta or Facebook. You can also book a class or a massage on their website.
Granita Enoteca – It means wine bar in Italian and plays off of what New Hampshire, the Granite State, is known for. Owner Rick Cohen wanted to open a restaurant that offers food you would expect to find in Boston or New York right here in the town of Keene. Rick, being a wine connoisseur, has brought in over 5200 different world class wines from all over the world. Due to his vast knowledge and wine offerings, Granita Enoteca won the “Wine Spectator” Award for 2021.
Wine is offered by the glass, bottle, or flight. The modern cocktails are designed to pair with Chef Joaquin's menus which use fresh local ingredients. Not sure what to order? Just ask your server for a recommendation. They are friendly and knowledgeable about all offerings - from the bar to the kitchen. Every cocktail is perfectly measured and made to guarantee you will have the perfect drink every time. Visually appealing, they are creatively unique and delicious cocktails.
Let's talk food now! Prepare for a unique dining experience. The dishes are Italian-inspired with locally sourced ingredients, focusing on beautiful presentation, taste & quality. The menu changes seasonally to ensure they have the best there is to offer. I started with the Roasted Beet Salad, made with fresh crisp greens, kiwi, peaches & goat cheese, then topped with a tarragon vinaigrette. I could have been happy with just the salad! For an appetizer I had the Risotto Milanese with seared diver scallops, which was grilled to perfection and accompanied by kale chips, caramelized onions and edible flowers. Meanwhile, my partner in crime tucked into a steak. Granita's three steak options are all sourced from Allen Brothers and served with six-hour mashed potatoes and Wichland Woods local mushrooms.
Make sure you leave room for dessert! I sampled two, and I loved both but highly recommend the cocoa crème. Made with rich chocolate mousse, pastry crème, gold-leafed blueberries, caramel semifreddo, caramel tuille, and coconut, it was absolute heaven. I enjoyed all the different flavors, a pleasurable surprise that they married perfectly. I actually told my husband to stop talking— I just needed a moment to appreciate this dessert.
In the future Chef Andres Joaquin and manager Moe Kelly said they hope to offer wine dinners that offer intimate cooking demonstrations while guests enjoy, paired glasses of wine in a fun and comfortable atmosphere.
Outdoor seating is available, Sunday brunches are popular and feature bloody mary flights. Bring your favorite people, a big appetite, and prepare to be amazed.
Visit Granita Enoteca at 51 Railroad Street in Keene, NH or call 603-355-5242 for more info.
Experience the beauty of the woods with a hike, read a book next to the warmth of a woodstove, and prepare a wonderful dinner while sipping a glass of wine.
Antiquing always seemed to be “the way” in Jennifer Fox’s family. For as far back as she can remember, Fox’s nana was going to antique auctions and happily passing along her wealth of knowledge on the beautifully crafted objects she had acquired over the years. Because of this, Fox is well-versed in the art of thrifting, estate sales, and auctions, and savvy folks in the field quickly took notice.
Fox’s family of antique enthusiasts helped to pave the way for her Etsy page, Chasing Relics. The page has now become a full-time job for Fox, who is thrilled to be able to pour all her energy into her proverbial cup and watch it overflow with carefully crafted vintage items and ecstatic customers.
Fox first started out on Etsy over a decade ago selling handmade jewelry, but it was tough to be recognized on such an oversaturated platform. It wasn’t until she was gifted some costume jewelry when the light bulb went off – she already had the antiquing background, and loved learning about vintage products– why not combine the best of both worlds?
Fox is always trying to keep it fresh, new and different when it comes to Chasing Relics. Although she tends to lean toward items from the Victorian era or the early 20th century (the 1950’s was a great decade for a myriad of fun, mechanical reasons), the page isn’t designated to a specific niche, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Chasing Relics is a hodgepodge of brooches, rings, wall décor and furniture, clothing and purses from every decade - her eclectic taste and savvy eye shines through with every item.
Fox’s journey into “soloprenuership” has proven to be worth all the hard work she’s dedicated over the years; with a recent milestone of 800 sales on her page, the possibilities are certainly endless.
Jennifer is always open for questions, and if there’s something you’re specifically looking for, send her a message! She can never predict what she’ll find next, but she’s happy to keep an item in mind when looking around!
In a celebration of rural living and community, the Monadnock Region is excited to welcome a brand new event this autumn, Harvest Festival, which is being hosted by Monadnock Table and Stonewall Farm. The festivities will take place Oct 2 from 10am to 4pm with lots to look forward to.
For starters, Stonewall Farm's gorgeous grounds will be packed with local food vendors, as well as breweries, distilleries, and wineries. So bring your taste buds and get ready for some big fall flavors.
There will also be an array of local artisans, making it a great place to get something special for yourself or to find gifts for the upcoming holiday season. All the while, it's a chance to give back to local artists, makers, farmers, and producers, who have felt the weight of the last couple tumultuous years. What better way to show our gratitude than to celebrate the harvest together and lend our support?
Games, live music, hayrides, and lots of other fun activities will be on tap for families, as well. Not to mention Stonewall's beautiful backdrop, which is free and open to the public year-round.
If you'd like to spend a day in nature and perhaps cheers with a neighbor on a fine fall day, then mark your calendar. This brand-new festival is not one you want to miss. To learn more, visit Monadnock Table on Facebook.
Joni Mitchell sang, “Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees. Please.” Old Settlers Cider is doing just that while making a mouthwatering, thirst-quenching fall treat.
Their mission is to make the best possible all-natural hard cider from local, unsprayed apples. They exclusively source apples from Vermont and New Hampshire orchards that are 100% free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
For a true apple flavor, Old Settlers Cider is uniquely one of a kind! The orchard in Alstead, NH was planted with apple varieties designed to thrive in New England climates and be hardy without the assistance of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Each pressing is made into a single batch of cider, and flavor depends not only on what is ripe each week but also varying factors like soil, climate and sunlight. They never add any sugar to their product, instead enjoying the naturally dry quality of hard apple cider.
Owner and founder, Walt demonstrates that there is nothing more important to him than the interdependency of the local economy. For him, the “local economy is the foundation for local culture and community.” Walt believes that “a strong culture and community rooted in a physical place, with shared weather and other experiences, is the heart of regional governance and decision making. And governance, like food, benefits from the shortest possible supply chain and for all the same reasons.”
Old Settlers Cider is looking for more local abandoned, wild, or backyard orchards to be cultivated and cared for. Walt explains, “This is a very low-energy operation. The apples grow only a few miles from the cidery, there is no cooking or boiling involved, and a good portion of the cider is sold right from the cidery in reusable growlers. Global supply chains could break down, fossil fuels could dry up, and we will still have cider!”
If you are looking for a fun (and adult!) way to celebrate the local economy, reducing climate change, and fall flavor, look no further than Old Settlers Cider. Walt says, “The best way to buy Old Settlers Cider is by sampling a flight and filling a growler right at the cidery,” which is located at 18 Main St in Gilsum NH and open Fridays 3-7pm. They have games, sometimes live music and always great conversation. Walt adds, “Alternatively, the cider can be purchased at general stores in Acworth, Alstead and Hancock, as well as the Monadnock and Putney food Co-ops, with more co-ops being added soon.”
Locally produced cider from locally grown apples for local people!
It’s that time of year again! Everyone in New England is gearing up to enjoy the last of the beautiful, warm weather while buckling down for the cold season ahead. Leaf peepers everywhere are trekking around our charming region and enjoying the views that many of us take for granted every day. Even though autumn comes and goes in the blink of an eye, there’s still plenty of time to get your foliage fix in while staying active and enjoying the great outdoors comfortably while we still can – biking! Luckily for us, bike paths are abundant here in Southwestern NH.
The best place to start would be at the largest state park in the state, which happens to be in our neck of the woods. With 13,500 acres of pure woodland magic, Pisgah State Park has 20 miles of multi-use trails, including a variety of advanced, intermediate, and beginner bike paths. Located in Winchester, Chesterfield and Hinsdale, this part protects seven ponds, several wetlands and four highland ridges, making for some awesome views along the way!
Luckily for us, our home is abundant with a series of recreational rail trails that stretch for miles, passing through numerous towns along the way. The Cheshire Recreational Rail Trail is a whopping 42 miles long, running through North Walpole, Westmoreland, Troy, Keene and Fitzwilliam. There’s a beautiful arch bridge crossing on the Ashuelot River, and access to downtown Keene, giving riders a variety of scenic options if they so choose!
The Monadnock Recreational Rail Trail is another awesome bike path, stretching about seven miles, beginning in Jaffrey and ending on the Massachusetts border. This rather scenic route is flush with mesmerizing Contoocook River views, breezy and quiet open fields, and plenty of paved flatland for those wishing to take their time and stop along the way. The end of the trail gets more challenging due to a dirt and grass surface (hybrid or mountain bikes are recommended for the last leg). This trail comes equipped with boat launch out on the Contoocook with plenty of parking space. Hop out on the lake mid-bike path to get a fresh take on foliage – you definitely won’t regret it!
These are just a few of the best bike paths around. Be sure to wear a helmet, keep an eye out for oncoming traffic and enjoy those picturesque views along the way. Happy biking!
A crisp, chilly air is approaching our little corner of New Hampshire, and with it, of course comes pumpkins. We New Englanders are all familiar with the glorious cliches of autumn; the scarves, the apple picking, the sweater weather, but most of all an endless array of Pumpkin Spiced Everything. But no matter how delicious the lattes are, how sweet smelling the candles or the pie, the only gourds that will always have my heart are the delicate, handmade pumpkins crafted by the artisans at Terrapin Glassblowing Studio.
A staple of the Monadnock Region, Terrapin glass is a women-owned and operated private glassblowing studio located in Jaffrey, NH. The in-studio artists create a variety of pieces from jewelry to glassware and specialize in thoughtfully handcrafted Glass Memorials which are created by infusing cremains into glass pieces. But during the fall season, Terrapin Glass is known best for their intricate glass-blown pumpkins in a multitude of sizes and colors.
These beautiful trinkets are perfect for a seasonal display in your home, a tablescape for your holiday dinners or a thoughtful locally made gift for friends and family. Although the studio has also been a longtime haunt for aspiring glassblowers to learn the craft and create their own artwork, this year’s workshop offerings will look a bit different. Because of the hands-on, close quarters nature of the craft, the pandemic has put on hold many of the favorite classes offered at the studio. But with the help of a grant through the Hannah Grimes Center, Terrapin has modified studio space with better ventilation and social distanced work stations.
With all safety precautions in place, the studio is able to offer a variety of awesome new classes for beginner artists this fall including a workshop on crafting beautiful pumpkin pendants. Right now, sign up one person for a class and get 50% off of the second person with 10 class options to choose from. Act fast as the coupon expires at midnight on Monday, 9/27/21. Register for one of their amazing fall classes here, and don't forget to enter the discount code "FallClassDiscount" before checking out.
For a behind the scenes look at how the pieces are made, be sure to check out their weekly live stream demonstrations on their Facebook page. You can also buy your new favorite pumpkin here or find them locally at Post and Beam Brewery in Peterborough NH.
We don't like to be obvious, but honestly, how could we round out the Fall Playlist without including apple-picking??? A time-honored tradition in New England and one that is well-loved in the Monadnock Region, apple-picking is perhaps the definition of a must-have experience when autumn rolls in.
It's also a time when we can set aside our differences. Whether you're a diehard Macintosh fan or more of a Honeycrisp lover, there's a little something for everyone. Not to mention perks like pies, cider donuts, farm animals, hayrides, and more. If you're excited to check this one off your list, here are a couple places we highly recommend.
Washburn's Windy Hill Orchard in Greenville is just an all-around lovely place to pick. And there's almost too much to take in. Hayrides out to the orchard, a place to visit the animals, a corn maze (if you're feeling brave!), and totally delicious & decadent fall foods, including a signature donut sundae—it's just a blast!
Great place to bring the kiddos with long stretches of trees, room to spread out, and plenty of action. There's also a sweet farm store bedecked in pumpkins and mums for sale and filled with treats and gifts to take home. You really can't miss with this one.
And how could we possibly talk apples without visiting the stunning views of Alyson's Orchard just across the region in Walpole. Set atop an expansive hillside, Alyson's is renowned for its views and even holds a reputation as one of New England's premiere wedding destinations.
But it's also a wonderful place for local events, a visit to the quaint farm store, and yes, Pick-Your-Own heaven. Seemingly endless apples spill out of this orchard and appear piled high in front of the store. Little goats, wagon rides, a playground, and weekend food trucks make this a must for any apple aficionado.
(Photo by Bryan Maleszyk)
These are, of course, just a couple local faves. We'd love for you to drop us a note on social media and tell us where you like to pick. Here in the Monadnock Region, any day spent in the orchard is a good day. Enjoy!
Local, traveler, climber, dreamer—whatever has brought your boots to the base of Monadnock in autumn, you're in for a remarkable summit experience. Looking out on the canvas of colors from up in the clouds is something you simply won't ever forget.
But to make your visit to the top of one of the world's most-climbed mountains even more memorable, Hobbs Jewelers in Peterborough has a little something special.
(Photo by John Sepe)
Their hand-engraved Mt. Monadnock pendant is a beautiful memento of time spent in a beautiful place. Often gifted to someone who lives here or someone who grew up in the region, these tokens capture the grandeur of the mountain that stands alone. And they let you take it with you wherever you go.
Hobbs offers the pendants in three different sizes in Sterling Silver, Gold Plate, and 14K options. Pay a visit to the shop in Peterborough's picturesque Depot Square, a great destination for an autumn afternoon anyway.
Hobbs, which is nestled amongst localvore foodie faves, a beloved bookshop, an avenue of antiques, and all sorts of other places to explore, has been in business since 1964. That's when the family-owned shop first opened its doors, and it has been the area's go-to jeweler since. Repairs, gifts, engravings—they make it happen.
So stop in, say hello, and pick out your Monadnock memento. It's a lovely way to welcome fall and keep this special corner of the Granite State close to your heart.