Holiday Local Lifestyle Playlist 2022

A Look at Christmas Future with Nathan Bagster

An Old Carol Gets a new tune

Project Shakespeare is shaking up a staple of the Christmas season, Charles Dicken’s classic tale “A Christmas Carol” and giving it a fresh tune re-envisioning the script with a female Ebenezar Scrooge.

Sprung from the minds of student Helen Martynuska, and founder/director Deborah Thurber, the gender change looks to reinvent the manner in which Scrooge is portrayed; from the grumpy old man to a knowledgeable businesswoman.

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“It’s amazing how the alteration in gender changes Scrooge’s tone,” said Thurber, as she described that the scene where Scrooge denies Mrs. Baldock an extension on Christmas Day, is transformed into a scene of a successful woman advising another woman on how to get ahead in life. “The gender change has no bearing on how greedy and unkind Scrooge is; it is the reasoning for greed and unkindness that is altered.”

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Another alteration that will come from the gender swap, is young Scrooges’ love interest. Instead of the young woman Belle, this time around, the apple of Miss Scrooges’ eye will be the young Dick Wilkens. The effect of this looks to change their dynamic into one of Wilkens getting by in life and deciding to break off the engagement to a much more successful Scrooge.

The basis of Scrooge’s Character will stay true to Dickens’s original, however, as she is still mistreated by her father as a child and is redeemed by the visitation of three spirits on Christmas eve. “It seems like a simple story, so deep with messages about how to treat each other, how to live together, and how to be happy,” Thurber says.

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The endeavor is brought to the stage through Project Shakespeare, a program developed to engage and inspire young theatre artists through explorations of classic text, voice, movement, and stagecraft. Thurber is looking forward to bringing the joy of the children back to the stage, which has been missed in recent years due to the pandemic. The show will have a cast of 25, 15 of whom will be between the ages of 7-12, and will star Helen Martynuska as Scrooge.

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Performances for A Christmas Carol:
  • Sunday, Dec. 11th at the First Congregational Church in Rindge at 6pm
  • Friday, Dec 16 Jaffrey Civic Center 7pm show - Special Holiday Desserts & Performance Tickets are $25 for adults / $10 for children 12 & under
  • Saturday, Dec 17 Peterborough UU Church 2pm
  • Saturday, Dec 17 First Church in Jaffrey 7pm
  • Sunday, Dec 18 Gathering Waters Charter School - Lower School on S. Lincoln St 1pm

Tickets for all shows except JCC - $15 for adults / $5 for children 12 & under - adult ticket price includes 1 free raffle ticket for a handmade quilt

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Thank you for being part of our first ever event!

With makers, music, and morsels, our Autumn Greenhouse Pop-Up at The Craft School Mill Hollow Works in Keene was absolute magic! Thanks to all who made it possible. Stay tuned for more community events to come!


Inspiring thing number one. Title, description goes here.

Place the full description here. Speak directly to your ideal client, to create an undeniable bond with you and your values.


Inspiring thing number one. Title, description goes here.

Place the full description here. Speak directly to your ideal client, to create an undeniable bond with you and your values.


Locally Raised Meat - A Pleasure To Eat

And Where To Find It with Sonja Bolton

Farmer, writer, and activist Wendell Berry wrote that “eating is an agricultural act.”. He explained that, “A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes. The pleasure of eating, then, may be the best available standard of our health.”

If meat is a focal point on your table over the holidays or any day, consider your source. Your only body is dictated by what you put in it and the same goes for the meat we eat. When animals are allowed to grow sustainably - as many small local farms do - rather than in a feedlot, it’s widely considered more flavorful, not to mention the superior nutritional profile.

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How it tastes is just the beginning of the many benefits of supporting local meat farmers. Examine the value of your dollar. Instead of giving it away to industrial meat producers across the globe, buying locally-sourced meat supports self-employed farmers who in turn spend at the local feed store. Not to mention how each middle-man in the global meat industry takes a cut, raising the cost for the consumer. You may be surprised with how affordable local meat can be!

The way meat is raised has a tremendous impact on the environment. You probably already know that a whopping 40% of greenhouse gasses originate from agriculture and deforestation. Meat production, particularly beef, is a major driver in this through cow’s methane emissions and converting forests into feedlots. Plus, local meat means less food-miles contributing to greenhouse gasses. Sustainable farming practices keep our communities beautiful.

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So, what can we do about all this?? Take pleasure in your pork, see beauty in your beef, celebrate your chicken, and find triumph in your turkey.

You’re sold, now where can you get your holiday roast beast?

Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) by A Greener World, Archway Farm in Keene, NH offers whole Thanksgiving turkeys plus meat shares, whole animals or half pigs cut and packaged at their on-farm commercial kitchen. See their website for a short but adorable video of their happy birds. In their farm store, along with lots of other tasty treats, you’ll also find lamb from Five Sigma Farm in Sullivan, NH.

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Hilltop Farm in Mason, NH pasture raises specialty breeds of horned dorset lamb, heritage pork and stall raised 100% wagyu beef. Abenaki Springs Farm in Walpole, NH grows chickens, turkeys, and pigs and offers a combo meat CSA or whole Thanksgiving turkeys for sale. In concert with being a wilderness retreat and education farm, Lucky 7 Farm in Washington, NH raises chickens and turkey “with love and respect” for sale at the Keene Farmers Market.

From my table to yours, happy holidays!

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Christine Semler & CJ Holman, Owners of Holsem Living 
Handcrafted, organic solutions for the mind, body & home

“We are grateful, thankful and blessed to experience such a beautiful area from the community to the mountains.“ 

A Flavor Infusion with Sandy Parsons

The Holiday Happy Place for Foodies

Monadnock Oil & Vinegar Co. is such a treasure to have in the Monadnock Region. Owner Korey Snow personally knows each vendor and is knowledgeable about every product in his inventory. The shop’s philosophy is to provide locals with the freshest and healthiest oils and vinegars from around the world. Every six months they shift where they are sourcing the oils from, meaning they buy from the vendors at the peak of the harvest season resulting in the freshest products.

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All oils are tested in Australia in an extensive laboratory, so Snow knows exactly what they’re getting. The store offers both white and dark balsamic vinegars. The white are a thinner, tarter vinegar while the dark are thicker and sweeter from being cooked at higher temperatures.

With an astounding inventory of infused oils and vinegars, you will not have a problem finding the right blend for your taste. You can sample as you shop or mix flavors for a custom blend to satisfy your palette. And the staff are always happy to help find whichever flavor you’re searching for.

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Five years ago, Monadnock Oil & Vinegar also purchased what’s now New Hampshire Herb and Spice Company, adding a wide variety of spices and blends to choose from. All are made in small batches to ensure peak freshness.

If you’re looking for the perfect present, gift boxes are available, with a particularly large selection during the holiday season. With my son’s birthday coming up, I asked what a good choice would be as he is a lover of anything with heat and a kick. With Korey’s help, I left with the perfect gift basket.

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So, if you are looking for the perfect compliments to your cooking or the perfect gift for the foodie in your life, stop by Monadnock Oils & Vinegar for a unique culinary experience. Their motto…“We try to make life taste delicious!”

At the grove Village Shops
43 Grove Street 114 
Peterborough, NH 0348

At the Six Mile Square
Rte. 101A
Amherst, NH 03031

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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.

"One of the rewards of being a farmer in the Monadnock region is living with the seasons. Winter tells you what to do…eat, sleep, and restore."

A Night at the Theatre with Erin Girouard

Making holiday Memories

Some of my fondest holiday memories took place in a theatre. Be it on stage singing White Christmas while fluffy plastic snow fell from the rafters or in plush, red, velvet seats watching my daughter Clara dance with her nutcracker, the experience has always been a magical one.

Here in the Monadnock Region, we are blessed to have an abundance of independent theatres right in our backyard and many of them are decking their halls this December. Here are some of our favorite Yuletide events coming to a theatre near you!

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The Park Theatre in Jaffrey, NH is a stunning and state-of-the-art performance space with old-world flair. Established in 1922, the original Park Theatre played host to silent movies and vaudeville theatrics. Although the original structure had to be demolished, the new building completed in 2020 is chic and modern with a retro twist.

This year for the holiday season, the theatre is thrilled to offer a holiday experience like no other for revelers of all ages. Hosting more than a dozen events in December alone, this theatre is filled with Christmas cheer! Come see Suddenly Silver Bells by the world renowned NH Gay Men’s Choir; enjoy the sounds of Irish Christmas in America; dance along to the Chalie Brown Christmas Soundtrack with The Heather Pearson Trio and party with the big man himself while enjoying a free screening of the movie Elf at Santa’s Annual Christmas Party! Be sure to check out The Park Theater’s full list of performances that will put anyone in the Christmas Spirit.

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The Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro Vermont is another historical gem. A member of the prestigious League of Historic American Theatres, The Latchis has been a fixture in Brattleboro's downtown since 1938. Today you can view the latest cinematic releases and live performances while enjoying the ambiance of greek frescos swathed in velvet curtains.

Be sure to visit The Latchis Theater on December 6th for Sing Nowell, Songs and Carols for Midwinter and Christmastide, featuring the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Windborne. Planning a holiday party? Book your event at The Latchis Theater! From private movie screenings to elegant soirees, The Latchis is a stunning venue.

📸 by Jimmy Emerson, DVM (cropped)

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The Colonial Theatre is to Keene, NH what The Empire State Building is to NYC. This landmark theatre has hosted legends, from BB King to The Beach Boys and has been entertaining the masses of Southern New Hampshire continuously since opening its doors in 1924. In 2020, the theatre underwent major renovations to bring the venue back to its former glory. These changes also welcomed The Showroom Colonial Performing Arts Center, which officially opened in 2021, offering a modern, multipurpose space for any performance you can imagine.

On December 17th, be sure to dance on over to The Colonial for a front row seat to a New York City holiday spectacular, The New York Theatre Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker.

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The Monadnocker is a Proud Sponsor of
Plaid Friday,
Small Biz Saturday &
Cider Monday. BIG thanks to the Local Crowd Monadnock for all you do! Get the low down on local shopping

Visiting NH's Covered Bridges with Erin Scollans

Over the River and Through the Woods

When thinking about things that make the Granite State quintessentially “New Hampshire,” one might think autumn leaves, maple barns, mountain ranges and of course, covered bridges. Stop by any souvenir shop near and you’ll find postcards, key chains, t-shirts, and other trinkets with that typical scene - a quiet dirt road with a bright red covered bridge. These quiet shelters are a representation of what life was like in a time before.

Residents share a general respect for the simple life that came long before us and a need to preserve it for current and future generations. Restoring and embracing colonial structures like covered bridges reinforces that tradition. And then there are talented folks, like Kim Varney Chandler, who go above and beyond to preserve that rich history in art or writing, like in her new book: Covered Bridges of New Hampshire. 📸 by Beth Pelton

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Chandler is a NH native who reignited her passion for the state’s extensive history of covered bridges when the pandemic first hit. Although she’s always had a knack for history - it was during this time that she was able to channel that energy.

Back in 2012, Chandler and her husband moved to what could be deemed as one of the most quintessential New England towns in the Monadnock Region - Hancock. Passersby tend to accidentally stumble upon this gem of a downtown, as it is nestled quietly within the windy back roads between towns more largely populated. The colonial charm warmly greets any guests no matter the season: the steepled meetinghouse, charming town common, the beautiful lake perched between the valley, the quaint local market, and, of course, the Hancock - Greenfield covered bridge.

📸by Jet Lowe

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Chandler and her husband attempted to tackle the enormous feat of visiting every covered bridge in the state, but life and other passions sidetracked the couple. With plenty of down time during the pandemic, Chandler was ready to see the over 60 covered bridges - 46 of which are over a century old. Together, the Chandlers and their dog Pemi managed to hit every one. As a result, Covered Bridges of New Hampshire was completed. Chandler’s personal writing, images and passion adorn each page.

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The research took her all over the state - to libraries, bridgewrights, historical societies, timber framers, historians and good Samaritans with a healthy amount of covered bridge knowledge and a desire to share. The extent of fact checking goes beyond local findings, with Chandler partnering with state and national organizations to help ensure the accuracy of information. The book has been endorsed by The National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.

📸 by John Phelan

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There were once 300 covered bridges in New Hampshire, but industrial influence and years of neglect and vandalism have resulted in so few today. Chandler and her peers have done wonders by helping to preserve the importance and beauty of the state’s covered bridges with this book. Find copies at the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, Keene, and Nashua. It makes for an awesome, local holiday gift.

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Don't miss a magical minute at The Park Theatre in Jaffrey!
Find the full holiday schedule

Listening to Local with SOnja Bolton & Caroline Tremblay

Sounds of a Bygone Era

Eclectic American folk music that brings you to the hills of Appalachia and the shores of Scotland can be found in the Monadnock Region through local musician, Tom Jawbone, aka Tom Weldon. This jack-of-all-trades musician and songwriter delights in integrating unusual instruments throughout his albums, from gas cans to animal jaw bones and spoons to accordion—though he is equally happy to pick up the banjo or the bamboo flute.

Weldon has been a devotee of traditional music for almost 50 years and savors diverse sounds. A native of Virginia, his pieces bring you back to a bygone era, when music was created with what you had on hand. Staying true to each instrument, he creates space for even the timid notes of small pipes and penny-whistles to shine through.

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Weldon recently wrapped up his latest recording endeavor at Loud Sun Studio in Jaffrey after an impressive four-year session that ended up spanning three full albums. “I went in intending to do one and the two just kind of grew out of it,” he said.

He and the studio’s owner, Ben Rogers, are close friends and a dynamic team when it comes to sound. “Ben’s my favorite engineer in the world. I’ve recorded quite a bit of music over 45 years, and he’s by far the best,” Weldon described.

Rogers credits Weldon for his incredible talent and commitment to the music while Weldon finds the studio engineer’s ear and intuition to be invaluable. Together, they’ve brought to life three new albums.

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The first is Imaginary Bal Folk, which refers to traditional French dancing, Tunes for Late Night Radio, songs Weldon has had waiting in his back pocket for more than 40 years, and True Silver, a tribute to Weldon’s marriage. “I’ve been married for 33 years now and it’s the only really smart thing I ever did in my life because my wife is amazing,” he laughed.

During performances, Weldon often plays alongside his wife Anita, who appears on washboard and accordion. They’re well-known in the region and beyond for their funky folk with The Cold River Ranters. Additionally, this creative couple has played with The Nightjars, keeping in time with their mandolin player and bluegrass musician Jonathan Reinhart.

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Perhaps one of the duo’s biggest talents is drawing together a beautiful circle of musicians who thrive on collaborating with one another. A plethora of artist friends can be found thoughtfully sprinkled throughout Weldon’s new albums, which are soon to be released on Bandcamp. Head to the music download site in early December and search Tom Jawbone to get your hands on them.With an unusual approach to the traditional genres of ballads and folk, it’s a compelling selection of music you can savor straight into the new year.

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SO much holiday fun happening all around. Check out these festive offerings at
The Park Theatre.
More details

Visiting the Artist's Studio with Nathan Bagster

History-Filled Landscapes

All around us, the world is changing, while unofficial historical landmarks of the area are shifting into the businesses or housing developments of tomorrow. While this happens, one local artist is doing her best to bring these landscapes and moments in time, to canvas.

Alicia Drakiotes, of Marlborough, NH is a landscape oil painter who values the history of the Monadnock Region and shows it in her work. “I like to catch things as they are before time changes them and they are gone forever,” she said. Her works are beautiful visions of local landscapes, like Pappas’ barn in Keene, Madam Sherrie’s staircase, and even the barn that once stood where Market Basket does now. “The history intrigues me.”

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After graduating in 1987 with a visual communication degree, she needed to get a real job and went on working until she decided to retire at 50. “My daughter said it was time, so I went for it,” she said. With that push, Alicia started her painting journey using pastels but soon found them to be hard to work with outdoors, where she felt the most connected to her practice.

Switching to Oil on Canvas in 2006, Alicia’s work took off and she soon became an art teacher at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, NH for five years before transferring to the Jaffrey Civic Center. There she continued her classes until Covid when she became a studio painter, where she continues to work today.

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Currently, she is painting several pieces that capture some amazing sites, including Keene’s Central Square Gazebo, Mt. Monadnock blanketed in a layer of snow, and a winter-esque landscape of Marlow, NH. She is also putting together a few smaller prints that portray winter cardinals and peace doves that have wreaths on their heads, inspired by the seasonal taste.

Alicia is a name known throughout the area and her work can be found in places from Jeannie’s in Swanzey to the Hannah Grimes Marketplace in Keene (where she sells most of her work outside of the studio). You can also find her at the Keene High School Craft Fair on November 26 with pendants, ornaments, cards, and even puzzles featuring her pieces.

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If you are interested in seeing some of the simple, personal and intimate oil paintings that Alicia has crafted over the years, visit her website. You can also contact her directly for information on purchasing work or setting up a studio visit!

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"Love looking back at this time of year and seeing how much the small businesses we write for have grown! Cheers to a holiday season and new year that celebrate how far each of us has come and the exciting stories still to be written."

Caroline Tremblay
Content Director, Owl & Pen
Exceptional Written Content to Help Small Businesses Thrive

Time to unwind with Caroline Tremblay

A Dose of The Devine

Encouraging guests to embrace "Il Dolce Far Niente," or the Sweetness of Doing Nothing, Devine Back & Body Care on Washington St. in Keene delivers a Mediterranean-styled spa experience and respite from the often dizzying whirlwind of day-to-day living. 

Whether stepping inside for a massage, manicure, or  chiropractic session, the enchanting atmosphere creates a pause to take a deep breath and be present.  

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Plan to arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment so you can slow your mind and enjoy the luxurious lounge. With warm tea and water available, a spread of intriguing magazines and soft music overhead, it's the perfect space to shift into relaxation. 

From there, your practitioner will lead you to one of several treatment, massage, facial, or manicure/pedicure rooms where you can let go of stress, release tension, and come away feeling refreshed.  

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At this particularly hectic time of year, setting aside a little "me time" is a great choice for personal health and well-being. And a visit to Devine is also beautiful chance to send some of that positive energy to a friend. A gift certificate makes a meaningful gift at the holidays (or anytime!) for someone you love who could benefit from doing a little more nothing. 

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Whichever service sparks your interest, be sure to book early as Devine's reputation makes it a popular destination. Calling the spa at 603-357-1500 a few weeks in advance is a wise way to go. 

But once you're there, come in from the cold, soak in the warm energy, and let go of any winter blues. It's time for healing and sweetness. Enjoy!

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Landscape listening with erin Girouard

Journey to the White Mountains

As we enter into winter and look back on some of the year's most impressive artistic endeavors, one in particular stands out for the way it captures the grandeur of this sweet, beautiful home we live in—New Hampshire.

A Journey to the White Mountains in Words and Music is a collaborative experience curated by author Howard Mansfield and composer Ben Cosgrove.The performance alternates between Cosgrove’s landscape-inspired piano compositions and passages read by Mansfield based on his recent work Chasing Eden: A Book of Seekers.

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This unique piece explores different angles of the community, land and perspective within the White Mountains region. Mansfield delves into the history and culture of the people who lived and worked in these mountains throughout time while Cosgrove paints a vivid musical picture, creating imagery through his rich, melodious score. Together, their collection of words and music tell a story of the White Mountains.

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Wordsmith and storyteller Howard Mansfield is an accomplished local author who writes about history, preservation and architecture. Originally from Huntington, New York, Mansfield now resides in the Monadnock Region and is inspired by the stories and history of New Hampshire. He sifts through the commonplace and the forgotten to discover stories that tell us about ourselves and our place in the world.

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An explorer by nature, Ben Cosgrove has been traveling across the country for the past 10 years gathering inspiration and cultivating his sound. Throughout his journey, he has performed in 48 of the 50 states and composed original music influenced by his surroundings. His love of nature and community shines through in his sprawling piano compositions that conjure images of familiar things. His work deftly transports the audience to a place they’ve never been or a place they’ve called home.

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A Journey to the White Mountains is a live stage performance that has toured through several locations in New England with more events coming in the spring of 2023. Looking for a heartfelt gift for someone who loves all things New Hampshire? Purchase a beautiful CD of the performance, recorded by Loud Sun Studio in Jaffrey, at the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, NH.

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A Trip to Temple with Sandy Parsons

Old-World Dining with Local Flavor

Set in the picturesque town of Temple, New Hampshire,you will find The Birchwood Inn, Restaurant and Tavern located in the center of town. The New-England-style brick and wood house lit up with string lights beckons you to come inside and enjoy all the warmth and coziness. You can feel that this tavern, with its iconic murals, is full of history; much remains the same now as it was in 1848, including the barn, some of the original windows, and even bricks made in Temple to name a few. At one point in time, “The Old Hotel” even entertained Henry David Thoreau.

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Take a night to step back in time and shake off the cold as you enter to a choice of two dining rooms or the charm of the newly redecorated tavern that showcases the original post-and-beam walls and plank floors. The bar top and tables are made from a cherry tree that a neighbor lost in an ice storm. More of the tree was repurposed to build the impressive bar area.

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Whether you want a quiet and elegant setting in one of two dining rooms or desire to engage in conversation in the tavern, you will be happy you came. The Birchwood has a full bar and menu offering plenty of choices of nibbles, entrées and drinks. The chef uses fresh ingredients from local vendors and everything is made on-site from scratch including dressings, sauces and desserts.

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Settle in with a delicious cocktail and start off your meal with Baked Brie and artisan crackers, Shrimp Tempura or the scrumptious Parmesan Truffle Fries. Then dive into the rich Lamb Burger with goat cheese and balsamic, Brown Butter Scallops, the hearty Fish Fry, or even the Wagyu Flat Iron.

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Enjoy live music on Tuesday evenings, except on the third Tuesday of the month which is trivia night. Open Tuesdays – Saturday and Sunday for Brunch. You’ll find it all at 340 NH Route 45 in Temple, NH. Call for more info and reservations (603) 878-3285.

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