Live music, brunchy eats, live crafting demos and projects, and of course, handmade everything!!! Come get your local on with us! Find details here.
Place the full description here. Speak directly to your ideal client, to create an undeniable bond with you and your values.
Place the full description here. Speak directly to your ideal client, to create an undeniable bond with you and your values.
For this autumn’s Local Lifestyle Playlist, we enjoyed an intimate conversation with Geoffrey Settles, a local photographer with a passion for precise landscape shots. Browse his work and you’ll find each piece framed thoughtfully by the stretch of a covered bridge, the welcome bent of a tree, or the curve of a stone wall.
During our time together at the Keene studio of Lisa Arnold, who brought this video and Settles' portraits to life, he told us why photography is so close to his heart.
“I’ve loved photography since I was two years old,” he said. He recalls being fascinated by his mom’s photo albums and into video recording as a teen. Documenting the moment has always been a focus, and he’s kept a daily journal for the past 30 years. Out of all that time, “I'm probably the calmest, happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I'm 54 and it’s the best I've ever felt,” he said.
Settles works a full-time job and makes his photography magic happen on weekends, choosing a general destination, pulling up Google Maps, and then letting his sense of adventure take the wheel. His wife is usually his co-pilot. “We're best friends and we just love doing things together, being together. We're just soulmates,” he said.
A very spiritual person, Settles believes the scenes he’s led to are no mistake. For instance, one evening he drove to a spot he felt drawn to, got out to capture the sunset, and was struck by the angel-like presence that came through in the resulting photos. When he posted them on social media, the response was unbelievable. “To me that was so special because it was like I was told to go there take that shot and it resonated with people in a very, very unique way,” he said.
Each of his photos evokes a sense of place familiar to any Monadnocker. But oddly enough, while Settles grew up in New England, he only discovered the Monadnock Region a few years ago. After living in Arizona for 22 years, he and his wife decided to move back to the northeast. With no house or job lined up, he came upon Peterborough. “I just fell in love with it. I live very close to downtown and it started with that couple of walks. I was just in awe of the beauty I saw---the rivers, the trees, and the architecture.” Through his photographs taken across the region, he’s come to make each of those features his own.
It's hard to believe his favorite tool is his phone's camera. “I felt insecure about that when I first started, but I think people are actually fascinated,” he said. The detail in every picture is mesmerizing. “For me, lighting is everything,” he said. He loves to sneak a light fixture in, especially when he’s shooting on a gray or snowy day. He’s known to drive and trudge through any kind of weather when he’s on a mission.
“I always go one step above and I’ll drive 10 miles to somebody’s house in the snow just so I can give them that special print and see the look on their face,” he said. You can find canvas, framed, and metal prints of Settles’ work on his website, follow along for the adventure on Facebook, or look for him locally. He has classic postcards at 12 locations across the region and two different 2023 calendars available at Peterborough Camera Copies & More, a wonderful gift idea for your favorite Monadnocker.
Lisa Arnold, Owner of Lisa Arnold Photography
Personal branding & portraits that are a reflection of who you really are.
We’ve all heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” right? Well in the Monadnock Region, there’s nothing but treasure to find, especially with all the antique shops we have to offer. Southern NH is known for spots filled to the brim with trinkets and treasures, each tucked away in their own unique, New England style spaces. Towns like Peterborough have several shops, making for a great place to start. Take a day this fall to grab a bite to eat or a drink at any of the local restaurants and mosey around the charming town on your very own treasure-hunting adventure.
📷 from Laurel & Grove
We’ll start with Bowerbird & Friends. Established in 2008 by Kathleen Forrest, Bowerbird & Friends is nestled in Peterborough’s Depot Square. The dainty shop features an eclectic variety of furnishings and antiques that range from 18th to 20th century styles, ultimately offering a little something for everyone’s palate. Between the farmhouse style tables, chairs, cupboards, ironstone and glassware, this cozy spot features the work of several locals, including the Serendipity House in Peterborough and Jenny Lee Hughes Fine Landscapes in Stoddard, NH. Serendipity House produces beautifully painted furniture and accented decor and jewelry. Jenny Lee Hughes Fine Landscapes has a range of unique and hard to find trees, shrubs and perennials each spring through fall season, adding a little extra greenery fun to the typical antiquing experience.
Next up is Laurel and Grove. A beautiful boutique located in five annexed rooms off the James Thomas Salon settled in downtown Peterborough, this charming space was founded in 2009 by James Thomas O’Connor. O’Connor’s inspiration stems from interior accents and designed furniture with a weathered, European flair. Many pieces include restored woods and resins and unique historical-esque textile patterns, side tables and lamps, wall art inspired by London street signs, and some simply remarkable work by local artisans. Understated yet contemporary, Laurel and Grove is great for finding gifts for friends or adding a little something special to a newly renovated room in the house.
Perhaps one of the coolest antique locations in the area would be Twin Elm Farm - an old country barn with finds big and small! Located right on Route 101 in Peterborough, this multi-dealer, group shop can be found in a 19th century farmhouse and barn, giving a real authentic antique shopping experience. Between the vintage goods, home and garden accessories, and unique artwork, each room in the house is carefully laid to provide the customer with a great idea of what the piece could do for a room in their home. The items range from reupholstered furniture to jewelry and candles, making sure to cover every cozy detail along the way.
Antiquing gives anyone a chance to let their imaginations run wild and see their artistic visions come true for their own personal spaces. Fortunately enough, these are just a few of the awesome spots in the area, so there’s always a reason to come back for another trip this season. Happy hunting!
📷 from Laurel & Grove
Patti Powers, Owner of Cheshire Garden - A small, organic farm specializing in heirloom berries, fruits, herbs, and preserves. Products available at their Tiny Farmstand on Burt Hill in Winchester or by mail order from their website.
Peterborough is known for being a community that strives for environmental consciousness, strategic community involvement, and locally sourced, organic consumption. Whether it’s the local Toadstool Bookshop, the ever worldly Joseph’s Coat shop, or some locally brewed beer at Post and Beam, Peterborough business owners always keep the community at the forefront of their enterprises. It’s no surprise that one of the newest food spots in this charming town - appropriately named Vital Provisions - fits the criteria perfectly.
The Vital Provisions space is welcoming from the moment you walk in: co- owners Kyle Murphy and Heather Vaillancourt have managed to create an environment that radiates creativity and positivity. The walls are adorned with local artists’ pieces, only adding to the Peterborough-esque theme of community involvement. For the months of September and October, they have featured local artist Jocelyn Brown. Her whimsical, woodsy-themed pieces catch your eye almost immediately, effortlessly brightening up the room and easing the customer into the calming and enjoyable food experience they are about to have.
Murphy and Vaillancourt based their culinary vision on their own personal dietary struggles. Murphy struggled with weight gain and mental health for years before overhauling his diet almost completely with a little help from his culinary background. Meanwhile, Vaillancourt (a licensed massage therapist) suffered from unexplained severe body pain for years before she realized it could be managed through a regimented diet. Through trial and error, the duo perfected a nutrient-rich, hearty menu, free from all dairy and gluten. Smoothies, acai bowls, soups, salads, broths, sandwiches - the Vital Provisions menu leaves nothing to the imagination while filling up the stomach and soul with hefty, healthy portions of local, organic good-ness.
A personal recommendation would be the Legs and Eggs breakfast sandwich - steak, eggs, avocado, mixed greens and a special spicy sauce on zucchini waffle bread. Pair that with a Green Goddess smoothie (banana, kale, broccoli, spinach, spirulina, hemp protein, collagen and oat milk) and you’ll be set for the morning, and maybe even the day! Vital Provisions is open 7 days a week, 8am-4pm. They also offer delivery through a collaboration with SweenEats Food Delivery Service. For more info, all-around, feel-good posts and regular menu specials, follow Vital Provisions on social.
I love getting tattoos. It’s like walking around with your own personal art gallery and you’re the curator. Here in the Monadnock region, there is certainly no shortage of talented tattooists. The challenge is finding the right artist, the perfect vibe for your piece, and most importantly, a place where you feel comfortable and safe. Let’s take a look at three of the best!
Dark Mark Tattoo is a favorite of many in the Keene area of the region. This unique and devastatingly cool space is the perfect spot for you to get inspired! Not long after opening, owner Cynthia Finch and the rest of her staff were soon named the “Best New Tattoo Studio of 2015” by the Keene Sentinel and have won MANY awards since. Come to Dark Mark for their nostalgic, colorful, pop culture aesthetic. Dark Mark Tattoos is appointment only. Take a peek at their portfolios here and email your favorite artist directly for booking.
A real hidden gem tucked away in Swanzey, NH, The Revenant Rose is a lovely single artist studio owned and operated by the talented Samantha Warner. This quiet and sweet setting has the aura of a spa and offers a personalized experience for each client. Samantha specializes in delicate and intricately designed pieces and works intimately with each client to create something beautiful and unique. The Revenant Rose is open by appointment only. Contact Samatha directly by email to book your free consultation today!
The youngest shop on our list is the chic and artistic Humble Ink in Jaffrey, NH. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Luis and Amber Gonzalez, this beautifully designed shop just opened its doors eight months ago and has been doing amazing business ever since. With four artists and two apprentices of varying styles and techniques, Humble Ink is a perfect place to explore your options of design and get exactly what you want.
Luis and Amber work hard to make this space a homey environment where everyone can feel welcome. Enjoy complimentary snacks and lively conversation as you browse products from local artisans while you wait. You can also purchase a surprise flash tattoo from their cute and kitschy gumball machine! Humble Ink is open to walk-ins and welcomes everyone to swing by and check out their new space. Follow them on social media here.
The only question now is, what will your next piece be?
Jeni Archer, Owner of Gaia's Blessing
An all-purpose shop for metaphysical necessities...crystals, herbs, jewelry, decor, tarot readings, workshop, and more!
Big smiles and a warm welcome is what you will receive when you walk into Bacon Me Crazy located in the heart of Hinsdale, NH, on Main Street. A place where “you can't buy happiness but you can buy bacon, and that's kind of the same thing.” The restaurant's main focus is bacon and the dining room is filled with fun bacon and pig décor giving it an old-diner feel.
They have many flavors of bacon on the menu to choose from, and if you can't choose, then why not pick a few different styles? The bacon is perfectly crisped then topped with your choice of sauce/flavor you chose. A unique concept, kind of like what you'd expect with wings but with bacon. I wasn't sure if it was going to for me. But WOW, they know what they are doing! Pleasantly surprised, I could have been happy with just my bacon, but I also ordered the Reuben Omelet. The omelet was inspired by the classic sandwich we love and was nicely browned on the outside, filled with corned beef, sauce & plenty of cheesy goodness on the inside.
Bacon Me Crazy is breakfast at its finest with so many great items to choose from. They offer the classic breakfast choices, too. The hours of operation have recently expanded and they are looking into acquiring a liquor license in the future. So stop in and see what this little gem of a place is serving up. You will be glad you did!
“In the waning days of World War I, William K. Dean was brutally murdered, his body hog-tied and dumped in a rainwater cistern on his farm in the quiet town of Jaffrey, New Hampshire.” The crime, steeped in mystery and mishaps, has been known for generations as the Dean Farm murder, a case that resulted in lasting divides between local families. Whether you’re a longtime local who grew up with whisperings of the story or a newcomer looking for your spookiest read of the season, Deep Water won’t disappoint. Meticulously told by seasoned local author Ken Sheldon, this is a must-read to pick up on your next visit to Toadstool Books.
Deep Water based on extensive research of the Dean murder, including thousands of pages of FBI documents, grand jury testimonies, newspaper accounts, private correspondence, and the archives of the Jaffrey Historical Society. “It was like being given a 1,000-piece puzzle, but you don’t have the box and there are pieces missing,” Sheldon said. He delved into his research after being asked to write a play commemorating the 100th anniversary of the murder. And what he found became the basis for his book. “The Dean murder is a bit like an Agatha Christie mystery, with multiple suspects, plenty of red herrings, and plot twists to keep you guessing,” Sheldon said.
So far, many local readers have been drawn to the book. “It’s such an iconic event,” Sheldon said. And believe it or not, while the barn where the murder took place is long since gone, the house Dean lived in still exists today. Sheldon hopes people will come to the book with an open mind because after decades of tale-telling, rumors and assumptions abound.
“There are issues that we are still dealing with today, like fears about terrorism balanced against a tendency to blame foreigners and outsiders for problems. Social, economic, and political agendas or biases that influence what we believe and don’t believe,” Sheldon said. (Photo of Dean)
But even with all those elements at play, it all comes down to one question: So, who did it? “I’ve come up with a possible explanation—and I emphasize possible—but I’ll leave it to readers to decide if it’s convincing or not,” Sheldon said. “The truth may be a little different than we think.”
To get your hands on a copy, visit KenSheldon.com or stop by Toadstool Bookshop.
Christine Semler & CJ Holman, Owners of Holsem Living
Handcrafted, organic solutions for the mind, body & home
Do you love dancing? When no one is home, do you crank up some Taylor Swift and slide down the hall in your socks like Tom Cruise in Risky Business? There really is no better way to get out that tension and ease your stress than to move your body and feel the flow. As a self-proclaimed old lady at heart, I am WELL past my clubbing days, but sometimes I wish there was a place where I could be free to express myself through movement beyond my living room. Sidestream Studio is that place.
Nestled in the artistic and hip town of Brattleboro, VT, Sidestream is an open and welcoming space located in the stunningly renovated Cotton Mill, a 3-story, 145,000 square foot mill building dating back to 1910. The studio specializes in a wild and wide variety of weekly classes, both in person and streaming online. You can sign up for traditional course offerings such as Hip Hop, Contemporary, Modern and Improv. But they also host more unique classes, like Belly Dancing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitzu, Knight Training, Historical Fencing, Dancing With the Moon and, my personal favorite, Gyration Nation!
Best of all, the classes are inclusive and welcoming to dancers of all levels. Founder and lead instructor Toni Nagy posts often on the studio’s social media about the importance of building a community of dance and movement expression that is supportive of all dancing abilities. In order to create more accessibility to their studio, the team at Sidestream brilliantly added a virtual component to their classes. Most courses are live-streamed online and available for purchase on their website.
In person or online classes can be purchased in packages and day passes. You also have the option to purchase access to their complete on-demand library. Coming soon, Sidestream will be announcing some new classes including Tantra Yoga Instructor training and a winter time Burlesque dance class with performances in the spring! Check out their website for more information.
Set on a grand hill in Jaffrey at 16 Colls Farm Rd. is where you will find the quaint Optimist Cafe. Well-known, local owner Chef Keith is very passionate about serving high quality homemade food that will make people feel good. Happiness in every bite is his goal, and he is (rightfully) optimistic he will achieve it.
After placing my order at the counter, I chose to sit outside to appreciate the beautiful view and my food. I ordered the special, a BBQ Chicken Quesadilla and corn chips. The quesadilla was filled with fresh astonishing flavors that seemed to jump from my plate and land happily in my belly.
Make sure you save room for dessert! I had the tiramisu. I'm a bit of a dessert snob and hands down this is the best tiramisu I have EVER had. It was layered with the just right amount of cream, coffee and chocolate.
The Optimist Cafe is open Fri-Mon 8-3 and one night a week on Wednesdays, alternating between Burger Night and Coffee House Night from 5-8 pm.
No matter when you show up, you can't help but leave the Optimist Cafe in a better mood than when you arrived.
The Monadnock Region has been known as an inspiration for artists - the magical, mysterious woods, the ombre’d reds, oranges, and yellows that blend together effortlessly in autumn, the clear craftsmanship in every charming colonial building in town - there’s an abundance of artistic opportunity tucked away in the timeless charm that is southern NH. It’s no wonder Chad Creighton, a Greenfield native, found his artistic path in the field guides and nature walks that the Monadnock Region has to offer.
Creighton - now a Portland, ME resident - is a recent graduate of the Maine College of Art with a degree in printmaking. He recently took to honing his craft with pallet wood, and found the medium to be exactly what he wanted to work with. “The idea of giving life to an old, battered material is interesting to me,” Creighton writes in his website’s Artist Bio. “I like to think of where the pallet has been, or where it could have ended up while I pull the animals out of the wood(s).” The idea of giving new life to old, re-circulating material back into the world with a new purpose, and illuminating the consumer on the idea that humans and animals aren’t all that different are all strong concepts in his work.
Between the larger pieces, the prints, and the stickers, Creighton has some stunning work to sift through on his website. His studio is out of Westbrook, ME, but he also travels around Maine and parts of New Hampshire - his art was just featured in Peterborough this summer at Vital Provisions as well as Post and Beam. Between the eclectic colors contrasted with the black and white focus, Creighton’s work makes for unique home decor, with each piece sufficiently standing alone in its own right. Sort through his collection or find out where his art is going to be featured next on his website here. Creighton also does commission pieces for those who want something more personal!
I wanted this article to be an inspiring, informative share about everything that is magical about fall veggies, and we will get to that don’t worry, but as a farmer myself, I have to start with sending out my positive energy to the other area farmers struggling with severe drought. This time of year is alway tough, but when you have to choose which crops to water - and save - and which to watch slowly wilt and die after months of careful tending; it's almost heartbreaking. So, if you know your local grower, send them a little September love.
That being said, farms like Tracie's Community Farm in Fitzwilliam have still managed to feed their neighbors beautiful food all summer, and they're not slowing down for fall. According to Farm Manager, Jack Rixey, “The fall CSA Share is the farmer’s favorite share!” Why? Glad you asked. He went on to explain that “it is the culmination of a long growing season and includes all the veggies that will last you through the winter.” That is certainly something to inspire in the kitchen!
You are probably familiar with this popular style of crop sharing, where community members invest in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share at the beginning of the season and act as an insurance net celebrating what is bountiful and foregoing failed crops. In this way, the farmer can rely upon an income and we all play a role supporting the intrinsic “lottery” nature that is farming. This system of farming provides deep value to famer and consumers.
This year at my farm, tomatoes won the lottery while cucumbers withered on the vine. At Tracie’s Community Farm, Rixey said shareholders can expect a bounty of carrots and beets, plus baskets packed with scrumptious onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, spinach, cooking greens, salad greens and winter squash, and more! My mouth is watering already.
What do you do with a basket of carrots and beets? My favorite way to consume loads of these nutrient dense veggies is to turn them into fresh juice. There is no better way for your body to absorb fresh vitamins and minerals than fresh veggie juice. My absolute top combo is carrot/beet/cucumber with apple or lime added in for fun if you are feeling a bit fruity. Of course, not everyone has a juicer at the ready, so simply toss carrots on the stove top or bake in the oven with some thyme and butter for a wonderful savory side dish. Beets, I lightly steam and serve.
Celebrate your fall CSA harvest by sharing your bounty over the holidays. I always center my main veggie dishes for the big feast around what has been saved from the garden. Heaps of buttery squash and piles of mashed potatoes. Baked onions and pickled garlic dilly green beans. Canned tomatoes and frozen peppers for the winter chili soup. This way, sharing farming burdens and bumper crops benefits whole communities of consumers.
However you enjoy your locally grown produce this fall, take a moment to feel the gratitude of the season. Through your hard working local farmer, you have the opportunity to reduce food miles, build healthy soils, preserve biodiversity, support a small business, and consume top quality healthy food.