Summer Local Lifestyle Playlist 2024

Summer’s Hottest New Adventure
With Adam Crellin

 Hole in One

Tucked away in the woods of Richmond is a fun activity that’s been growing a big following in the Monadnock Region. The Stoney Brook Disc Golf Course is just one of a number of new courses taking southern New Hampshire by storm. Opened in 2021, Stoney Brook offers nine holes, with nine more coming soon. The course features a stream with waterfalls, rolling paths through the woods, and an 18th-century mill site. The owners ask a donation of $5 to play the course, making it a fun and affordable activity for the whole family this summer.

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Waterfall along the Stoney Brook course

You may have heard of frisbee - or “disc” - golf before or even driven past a course. Maybe you weren’t sure what the purpose was for all the chained baskets on posts sticking out of the ground. But this fun form of recreation has actually been around for quite awhile. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, “The sport was formalized in the 1970s and shares with golf the object of completing each hole in the fewest strokes (or, in the case of disc golf, fewest throws).” Players start at a pre-decided point, attempting to throw discs into metal baskets along the course. Get ready to navigate various obstacles like trees, water hazards, and terrain changes along the way!

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Disc golf is definitely more like golf than it is like throwing a frisbee around in the backyard. In fact, the game is played with a variety of discs, with many players carrying a backpack around the course with their drivers, midrangers and putters. As many as a dozen make a full set, although the game can be played by beginners with a single basic disc. The discs are much smaller than the ultimate frisbee type and require a good, strong flick to get them down the fairway.  

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One of the greatest aspects of frisbee golf is that it’s easy to learn for newcomers, yet challenging enough to keep experienced players engaged. The sport encourages a casual, social atmosphere, making it perfect for family outings, friendly competitions, or solo practice. Additionally, frisbee golf is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of Southern New Hampshire. The courses are often set in parks, wooded areas, and open fields, providing a scenic backdrop for your game. The blend of physical activity and nature immersion makes for a relaxing and invigorating experience. 

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Exciting news for locals and visitors alike: Southern New Hampshire has become a booming new location for this fantastic sport. In addition to the Stoney Brook course there are two others in Keene. Otter Brook is a free course on Route 9, east of downtown Keene, on land generously allowed for use by the Army Corps of Engineers. It features 18 holes, winding through wooded paths with long scenic fairways. The second is The Pines at Wheelock Park, just north of downtown Keene. This nine-hole course is open but currently being further developed. The Tully Lake course in nearby Royalston, MA is also a popular choice for area enthusiasts because of its scenic views.

New and experienced players alike can stay close to home to enjoy this growing sport. It’s local, it’s a great value—fun for all kinds of occasions. 


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Beautiful view along the Tully Lake Course

>>Visit US<<

"Summer is a gardener's paradise, Countless food and flowers burst forth to the delight of my fondest neighbors - the dragonflies, lightning bugs, warblers, and hummingbirds. Beauty is everywhere throughout the long daylight hours and into the bright starry nights."

Patti Powers
Owner, Cheshire Garden
A small, organic farm specializing in heirloom berries, fruits, herbs, and preserves.

@bestphotographerever

Just a small town girl.

Before they sold out typewriter cred hashtag leggings health goth banh mi single-origin coffee selfies, selvage pok pok. Intelligentsia scenester actually, iPhone la croix banjo forage meditation cold-pressed vinyl XOXO. Occupy flannel hashtag echo park. Prism freegan plaid pug slow-carb 90's, chillwave activated charcoal cornhole.

Truffaut ugh pok pok waistcoat artisan. Swag air plant vaporware, tumeric la croix microdosing offal hexagon tbh. Chambray roof party typewriter coloring book intelligentsia mlkshk lomo umami blue bottle drinking vinegar locavore PBR&B viral. Heirloom poke biodiesel, unicorn wolf leggings hella celiac adaptogen migas. La croix hexagon cold-pressed XOXO art party. Cornhole slow-carb church-key subway tile. Art party master cleanse intelligentsia fingerstache swag craft beer raw denim palo santo salvia pug scenester narwhal occupy single-origin coffee glossier. Stumptown pok pok fashion axe cornhole health goth celiac. Knausgaard YOLO mumblecore lyft glossier.

- I'm obsessed with red shoes
- My iphone 7 is my lifeline
- frogs scare me
- I will do anything for a peppermint mocha
- I've never been on an airplane
- Mountain dew should be a food group

A Sliver Of Ed Grant's Story

Beyond Picnic Tables with Nathan Bagster

If you’ve cruised past Wilson Pond at some point, then you’ve no doubt noticed the lawn covered in wooden bridges, raised beds, and wishing wells. These creations are the product of a local woodworker Ed Grant, who has been transforming pieces of wood into functional art for nearly half a century.

Ed’s woodworking roots trace back to 1972 when he built picnic tables at his mother’s house. "It’s been a fun ride and I keep doing it," he says with a smile, reflecting on his lifelong passion. 

His dedication and skill quickly became evident as his work became popular – transporting up to 10 tables at a time to Londonderry, where he would sell them. “One year I was able to sell around 186,” he recalls.

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This early success marked the start of a fruitful career that has seen him expand his repertoire far beyond picnic tables, and his versatility and skill show very little signs of stopping. Over the years, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to buy and resell wind toys and whirligigs for a time while living in Marlow, NH. Meanwhile, he continued to pick up new projects – building three houses, several decks, and various other woodworking ventures. Many of them began with him saying: “Well heck, I can build that.”

Then, like many others, he found a new niche after the onset of the pandemic. His raised garden beds, in particular, sold remarkably well. Recognizing that success, he went on to recycle the scraps from those beds into small herb gardens, which he began selling on Facebook Marketplace.




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Two of his prouder projects are his footbridges - one of which is currently en route to Douglas, Massachusetts – and the big orange chair that sits proudly in front of Tempesta's (which he plans to build another version of soon).

What’s truly inspiring is that his work can be seen as far away as Boston, Long Island, and Hartford, Connecticut, a testament to the widespread appeal of his craftsmanship. But how can you recognize that it’s one of his works of art? Each piece is meticulously crafted and marked with a unique branding iron that reads, "Handcrafted by Ed Grant, Swanzey, NH," alongside an American flag.

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As he looks forward to his 70th birthday, Ed continues to motivate with each piece he creates. Whether you need a custom-built bridge, a whimsical whirligig, or a practical raised bed, Ed’s woodworking skills are unparalleled. Best of all, he’s ready to tackle whatever comes next. "Bring it on," he says, with the same enthusiasm that has defined his remarkable career.

For those looking to check out or purchase Ed's work, the best place to find his creations is in his yard at 209 Old Homestead Highway in Swanzey. Additionally, he sells many of his pieces on Facebook Marketplace and can be contacted directly at (603) 499-1145 or via email at eddiepg72@yahoo.com.

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>>Visit US<<

"I welcome the abundance that arrives with summer throughout the Monadnock region and look forward to opening up and sharing the magic of the Gemmo Forest with the local community. Join us Saturday, June 22 from 9 am -2pm for our Summer Solstice Celebration honoring the next turn of the seasons."

@bestphotographerever

Just a small town girl.

Before they sold out typewriter cred hashtag leggings health goth banh mi single-origin coffee selfies, selvage pok pok. Intelligentsia scenester actually, iPhone la croix banjo forage meditation cold-pressed vinyl XOXO. Occupy flannel hashtag echo park. Prism freegan plaid pug slow-carb 90's, chillwave activated charcoal cornhole.

Truffaut ugh pok pok waistcoat artisan. Swag air plant vaporware, tumeric la croix microdosing offal hexagon tbh. Chambray roof party typewriter coloring book intelligentsia mlkshk lomo umami blue bottle drinking vinegar locavore PBR&B viral. Heirloom poke biodiesel, unicorn wolf leggings hella celiac adaptogen migas. La croix hexagon cold-pressed XOXO art party. Cornhole slow-carb church-key subway tile. Art party master cleanse intelligentsia fingerstache swag craft beer raw denim palo santo salvia pug scenester narwhal occupy single-origin coffee glossier. Stumptown pok pok fashion axe cornhole health goth celiac. Knausgaard YOLO mumblecore lyft glossier.

- I'm obsessed with red shoes
- My iphone 7 is my lifeline
- frogs scare me
- I will do anything for a peppermint mocha
- I've never been on an airplane
- Mountain dew should be a food group

drawn to stones with Liz Nix

Forging Earth's Gifts

Shannon Parker-Laramee, master metalsmith and the jewelry artist behind Wisdom River Designs, has been drawn to stones since childhood. Growing up in Chester, Vermont, she would notoriously fill her pockets with found pebbles, which would inevitably turn up tumbling in her parents’ washer. In adulthood her love for natural treasures transformed into a talent for handcrafting distinctive, custom jewelry with gemstones and precious metals.

Shannon found an instant connection with metalsmithing in Colorado, where she apprenticed with local jewelers, honing her craft and learning the details of running a small business. Founded in 2008 as Parker Posie Jewelry, her brand advanced alongside her artistry to become Wisdom River Designs.


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As a buyer for a Southwestern jewelry gallery, she had the opportunity to travel throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, forging relationships with jewelry artists, gemologists, and lapidary artists in the region. Now back in Chester in her South Main Street workshop and custom design studio, Shannon still works with the same people she connected with years ago, as well as new lapidary artists and jewelers she has met through Instagram.

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Riley Karl Photography

Shannon draws inspiration from the brushed silver and gemstones of traditional Native American jewelry, vintage Art Deco designs, as well as the textures and colors of the natural world. Her design process always begins with the stone, the heart of each piece of jewelry. Any additional natural patterns or metalwork serve to accentuate, not overshadow, the gems.

“My jewelry is stone-centered and has a Southwestern, rustic-modern, punk feel, which creates a unique style; each piece is full of heart, soul and originality,” Shannon describes.



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Among Wisdom River Designs’ handcrafted necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets, perhaps the stackable rings are the most popular. “I believe it is because they are very versatile in how you can wear them and that they can easily evolve with someone over time,” Shannon muses.

Wisdom River Designs is a celebration of individuality, craftsmanship, and Shannon’s love for the Earth’s gifts.




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One-of-a-kind and few-of-a-kind pieces may be found at the Wisdom River Designs Workshop and Custom Design Studio and DaVallia Gallery in Chester, Vermont and ArtHound Gallery in Essex, Vermont. Wisdom River Designs also offers custom orders, communicating and collaborating with clients throughout the process. For more information about ordering, and for a listing of workshops and events, visit WisdomRiverDesigns.com.





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>>Connect with me<<

"Building financial independence is like a New England summer—it's all about planting the seeds today and nurturing them through the seasons. Just as summer brings growth and abundance, careful planning and wise decisions will bring your financial dreams to life."

Isis Latham
Regional Vice President, Primerica

Teacher + Networker
+ Financial Mary Poppins
603.554.4399 | Isislatham@gmail.com
100 Emerald St suite E-1 Keene NH 03431

@bestphotographerever

Just a small town girl.

Before they sold out typewriter cred hashtag leggings health goth banh mi single-origin coffee selfies, selvage pok pok. Intelligentsia scenester actually, iPhone la croix banjo forage meditation cold-pressed vinyl XOXO. Occupy flannel hashtag echo park. Prism freegan plaid pug slow-carb 90's, chillwave activated charcoal cornhole.

Truffaut ugh pok pok waistcoat artisan. Swag air plant vaporware, tumeric la croix microdosing offal hexagon tbh. Chambray roof party typewriter coloring book intelligentsia mlkshk lomo umami blue bottle drinking vinegar locavore PBR&B viral. Heirloom poke biodiesel, unicorn wolf leggings hella celiac adaptogen migas. La croix hexagon cold-pressed XOXO art party. Cornhole slow-carb church-key subway tile. Art party master cleanse intelligentsia fingerstache swag craft beer raw denim palo santo salvia pug scenester narwhal occupy single-origin coffee glossier. Stumptown pok pok fashion axe cornhole health goth celiac. Knausgaard YOLO mumblecore lyft glossier.

- I'm obsessed with red shoes
- My iphone 7 is my lifeline
- frogs scare me
- I will do anything for a peppermint mocha
- I've never been on an airplane
- Mountain dew should be a food group

Drinking Edible Flowers WITH Sandy Parsons

DIY Simple Syrup

Are you looking for impressive, new, refreshing ideas for summertime drinks? It’s so easy to turn edible flowers or herbs, like lilacs, into an attractive and aromatic simple syrup, also known as a cordial, to enjoy in your favorite summer cocktails and drinks.

This simple syrup recipe is easy to make and only requires three ingredients. You can use this recipe with any edible flower, herb, or ingredient of choice. For this video, I made a lilac simple syrup, but after you watch and get the gist, feel free to substitute your own ingredients.

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The resulting syrup can be used to flavor drinks like tea, lemonade, and cocktails. Adding a few lemon slices when the syrup is cooled can also help preserve the color and taste if you do not plan to use it immediately.

After the syrup is cooled, put it in a mason jar, muddle the flowers or herbs, and leave it overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, strain the solids out and enjoy! With the lemons added, it will last up to four weeks in the refrigerator.




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Be creative and have fun! One of my go-to syrups is cucumber and basil or mint. You can even make ice cubes out of some of the syrup with flowers inside.

Lilac Collins – 2 oz dry gin, 1 oz lemon juice, 1/2 oz lilac syrup, club soda to top – Add the gin and simple syrup to a Collins glass. Fill with lilac ice cubes, top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a floret.

Lilac Lemonade – Use lilac syrup to sweeten lemonade in place of sugar.

Enjoy your summer and stay cool with these easy to make drinks and cocktails!

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farm-to-sweater experience with Erin Scollans

Fairy-Tale Farming

Situated in the small town of Hancock, Meka Farm and Homegoods is the fairytale you’d hope to find if you were lucky enough to stumble upon it. The family-owned farm is known for its well-loved, pasture-raised animals and products. Audrey Carrel, her husband and two children raise Icelandic sheep and a variety of heritage breed chicken and pigs. Meka is a clever acronym for the family’s first initials: Matthew, Emma, Kessler, Audrey.

As far back as Audrey can remember, she was always intrigued by farm life. Her favorite time of year in preschool was when they incubated chicks for a local farmer. Fast-forward 30 years, and Audrey and her husband decided that a flock of chickens would make a perfect addition to their rural New Hampshire home. Those first 16 chickens blossomed into hundreds, and they eventually added pigs, sheep, and the occasional goat. Meka Farm proudly raises, eats, and sells heritage breed chickens that provide an eclectic array of eggs, pigs for pork and field management, and more recently, Icelandic sheep for meat, fiber craft, and more.

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“It is beyond a joy to raise my children on our own farm and with an abundance of animals,” Audrey writes on her website at MekaFarm.com.

Not only does the farm offer eggs, roasters, pork, lamb and meat shares (as they are available with the natural cycle of the farm), but they also offer a variety of knitwear and patterns, from shawls to “fleecy flounders for felines!” These unique, fish-shaped kitty toys are made with small-batch, indie yarns currently sourced from Plied Yarns Company. Audrey fell in love with the yarns “at first sight,” saying that the one of the founders and designers, Ann Weaver, is “an amazing human being to work with. In addition, the kitty toys are filled with fleece from the Meka Farm’s own beloved ram, Vindur, as well as catnip sourced from NH’s Herb and Spice Company. Meka has also started selling their very own yarn, sourced from their sheep, the true farm-to-sweater experience! All of their yarn is locally spun at Pict Wool in Wilton.

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“Bel and Paul [at Pict Wool] have created something amazing and have brought back to life old machines. I love getting our fleece spun locally and supporting small businesses,” Audrey says.

In addition to visiting the farm, you can subscribe to the Meka Farm newsletter and stay up-to-date with all the goings on. Their most recent newsletter highlights some of the fun projects Audrey and her family are taking on now that the warm weather is finally here, including vegetable-garden planting, sheep-litter composting ideas, and plenty of tree-cutting (letting quite a bit of light in for fun new projects, woohoo!).

“I love it when people shop locally farm-to-table, whether it’s my farm or other farms in the area,” Audrey expresses.

Sola Grove Flowers LLC also offers custom orders. “Since I don’t work with fresh florals, I can provide out-of-season blooms or even colors you won’t find in nature,” French explained.

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You can catch Meka Farm at the Hancock Farmer’s Market (running from June 27th to August 14th this summer), or pay them a visit yourselves on 17 Norway Hill Road. The Carrels love when folks come to visit; guests might even get a chance to bottle-feed Babs, their orphaned lamb.

“I try to keep treats on hand for people to feed the animals, too. They love animal crackers!” Audrey laughs.

In the meantime, feel free to donate to Meka Farm’s Hay Helper! Hay is the staple of any livestock farm, and with recent climate changes within the last few years, good hay can be hard to come by at a reasonable price. Meka Farm works with other local farmers to seek out the best hay in the greater New England region. Help keep the farm going with a small donation. It will go entirely towards the cost of feeding the animals, and any amount helps!

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>>Visit US<<

"We at Monadnock Hit & Run are pumped for spring not only for the extra daylight but also for the classics, the tuners, and project cars that begin to sprout up when the sun is shining. There’s a garden of new car shows to start tending to, and we’re pumped to watch them grow!"

Yell "Whoopie" With Sandy Parsons

Ice Cream Bar Anyone?

The Ice Cream Bar is not your typical ice cream joint. Creative Sundae’s, shakes, and coffees including one-of-a-kind concoctions like the Peanut Butter Bomb Shake. Start with a large glass drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter sauce, add a peanut butter rim and chocolate ice cream. Once blended, add peanut butter and chocolate puffs, then top with an entire peanut butter whoopie pie! The kid in me silently screamed “WHOOPIE” with excitement when my shake arrived. I couldn’t decide, do I want to drink it first or dive into the whoopie pie. So, I took turns.

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The fun names and presentations of these fabulous shakes are spot on and scrumptious. The Ice Cream Bar has been open just over a year and is decorated as a vintage ice cream parlor your parents may have had the pleasure of experiencing. Families sat in booths with big smiles and ice cream faces on the children while couples shared an intimate table overlooking Main Street or sat at the soda fountain bar.

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 If it’s a meal you’re looking for before the dessert course they offer panini’s just as creative as their sweet offerings. Whatever your hankering, sweet, savory or both, The Ice Cream Bar is sure to have you covered!

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Make sure you follow them on Facebook for specials and tempting pictures.

The Ice Cream Bar
5 W Main St, Hillsboro, NH 03244
Order Online | The Ice Cream Bar (theicecreambarnh.com)

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LOVE this content?
(We know; it's irresistible 😉.) 

Playing the Night Away with Liz nix

World Class Chamber Music

The Apple Hill Tuesday Night Concert Series offers a unique musical experience—world-class chamber music surrounded by nature in the rolling hills of Nelson, NH. Concertgoers from the region and around the world look forward to this Monadnock tradition every summer.

Located at 410 Apple Hill Road in Nelson, the scenic Apple Hill campus provides a charming setting for the community event. The sprawling lawn is a gathering place for friends and music enthusiasts, with space for children to run and play. After the sun dips below the tree line, the music rises and meets the stars above.

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The evening begins with a buffet dinner on the lawn at 6 p.m. (reservations required by 5 p.m. Monday), or attendees may carry in their own picnic. At 6:45 p.m., a free pre-concert talk, listenUP!, provides context and insights about the music, which then begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Louise Shonk Kelly Concert Barn.

Members of the Apple Hill String Quartet appear with fellow Summer Chamber Music Workshop faculty and guest artists from the United States and abroad. “As the artistic directors and resident musicians, the Apple Hill String Quartet curate and take turns performing in all programs on our Summer Concert Series,” Executive Director Javier Caballero explains.

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The programs showcase a diverse mingling of pieces from the historical canon and the greater global music community, with contemporary works, as well as new commissions, especially from acclaimed alumni.

“At each concert, audiences can expect to hear some familiar pieces, along with innovative works. All programs include works that are rooted in our programming philosophy that reflects the diversity of Apple Hill,” Caballero shares.

Apple Hill’s accomplishments in music-making, teaching, and community-building center on mutual respect, inclusivity, and cultivating each person's individual voice.



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“We envision Apple Hill as a place that welcomes everyone—whether you’re a lifelong connoisseur of chamber music, this is your first time hearing a chamber concert, or you’re somewhere in between,” Caballero notes.

As Apple Hill celebrates its 53rd season, the aspirations for the concert series carry on. With bold thinking and a commitment to deepening its mission, Apple Hill continues to build community and transcend the boundaries of what chamber music can achieve.

The Tuesday Summer Concert Series runs from June 18 through August 20, 2024. Visit www.applehill.org for tickets and season passes, or bring a blanket or chairs and share in the music under the stars for free.

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>>Find More<<

"Stars, pines, and writing in the sunshine with a tall iced tea—it doesn't get much better than that! This is the season that feeds us so the stories can happen all year long."

Rev Your Engine with Nathan Bagster

A Haven for RC Enthusiasts

With over 20 years of experience in the RC business, local Kevin McDaniel has transformed his passion into a thriving enterprise. Specializing in everything RC, McDaniels’ Peterborough-based hobby shop, NeThingRC, is the go-to hub for both seasoned RC enthusiasts and novices looking to break into the hobby.

“Our goal at NeThingRC is to make RC accessible and enjoyable for everyone,” says McDaniel. “Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, we’ve got something for you.”

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With an impressive array of RC cars, trucks, planes, boats, parts, and accessories, the shop features both new and used items, ensuring there’s something for every budget. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, McDaniel is more than willing to help locate the desired item.

Don’t own your own RC or are not ready to commit? No worries, NeThingRC also offers rental services, where you can rent trucks for their 1/24th scale indoor rock crawling course and cars for their 1/10th scale on-road/off-road carpet course. Each track is designed to offer fun and challenging terrain for you to learn and test your skills – before taking it to the next level!

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“Everyone can enjoy our tracks and have a blast,” McDaniel notes. “We’ve created an environment where people can come together, share their passion, and have fun.”
Additionally, NeThingRC provides expert repair services, including fixing broken RC vehicles, testing batteries, soldering, and everything in between. “Is your RC broken? Do you know how to fix it? Do you have the right parts? If you have any doubts, we’re here to help,” says McDaniel. “Our repair services are designed to get your vehicle back on track quickly and efficiently.”

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McDaniel’s dedication and positive impact on the RC community are evident in the shop's regularly hosted events, where he offers track time and a space for hobbyists to connect and share their experiences. He has cultivated a space for anyone to learn and is looking forward to another summer of spreading the fun. “Who wouldn’t look forward to a season filled with outdoor RC activities?”


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>>Visit US<<

"What we love about summer in Keene is that we can kick off our shoes and go sleeveless! A perfect place to find a sleeveless dress and a pair of sandals is Linda's Closet!!!"

@bestphotographerever

Just a small town girl.

Before they sold out typewriter cred hashtag leggings health goth banh mi single-origin coffee selfies, selvage pok pok. Intelligentsia scenester actually, iPhone la croix banjo forage meditation cold-pressed vinyl XOXO. Occupy flannel hashtag echo park. Prism freegan plaid pug slow-carb 90's, chillwave activated charcoal cornhole.

Truffaut ugh pok pok waistcoat artisan. Swag air plant vaporware, tumeric la croix microdosing offal hexagon tbh. Chambray roof party typewriter coloring book intelligentsia mlkshk lomo umami blue bottle drinking vinegar locavore PBR&B viral. Heirloom poke biodiesel, unicorn wolf leggings hella celiac adaptogen migas. La croix hexagon cold-pressed XOXO art party. Cornhole slow-carb church-key subway tile. Art party master cleanse intelligentsia fingerstache swag craft beer raw denim palo santo salvia pug scenester narwhal occupy single-origin coffee glossier. Stumptown pok pok fashion axe cornhole health goth celiac. Knausgaard YOLO mumblecore lyft glossier.

- I'm obsessed with red shoes
- My iphone 7 is my lifeline
- frogs scare me
- I will do anything for a peppermint mocha
- I've never been on an airplane
- Mountain dew should be a food group

Zpots Solar-Powered Pottery with ERIN SCOLLANS

Kiln-Fired World Peace

Eric Hendrick and Noelle VanHendrick have been collaborating together for over 20 years. As Vermont residents, together they’ve been raising their children and crafting up “cups of love and buckets of peace.” Each unique piece is embellished with Noelle’s positive messages and impactful images—a friendly reminder that we all belong in this world and that we are all in it together. From crafty bowls to greeting cards to unique serving trays and mugs, each piece of made-to-order ZPots pottery aims to enlighten and empower.

When Eric and Noelle moved from West Virginia to Vermont and began their ZPots journey, the couple had a hard time coming up with a proper name for the business. They had just had their first son and given him the middle name “Z” because it felt right. And their two other sons also share the same middle name. The moniker “ZPots” serves as a “devotion to family” as Noelle puts it.

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Although their Brattleboro brick-and-mortar location closed down this past March, Eric and Noelle’s farmstand-style barn, located just north of Brattleboro in Brookline, is open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week. There, folks can visit and shop all things ZPots—just another nearby hidden gem in Southern Vermont!

This husband and wife duo and their team are yearning for a brighter, healthier future. To that end, all of their electric kilns are fired up by solar panels and the Vermont Cow Power program, generating electricity through surrounding Vermont farms. They use sustainable resources within their production and are always striving to find a better way to “create harmony within the planet.”

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ZPots’ mission statement has always been to create world peace at the home and heart and to create pieces that serve the common rituals. They have an eclectic group of loyal artisans creating alongside them who love the craft and respect the message that ZPots represents. They consider each other family and the work liberating, fulfilling, and fun. Most of the talented artists have known and been working with Eric and Noelle for the better part of a decade, which speaks to the level of craftsmanship and the environment they continuously cultivate. Their three sons even hop in every once in a while, as well!

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Noelle is very excited that she and her crew are on the cusp of creating new work—the idea of adding and evolving with each piece and the line as a whole makes it an inspiring time. She refers to the process as a “meditative experience,” with everyone “learning from the pots.”

“The concept as an artist is fun and inspiring and keeps us going,” she says. As an artist, Noelle expresses her joy for serving people through art in the common areas like the kitchen table— where folks come together to meet, greet and share space—through pieces like mugs, plates and bowls. “It gives us a chance to serve our medicine up as artists.”

The best part about ZPots is that you can find their art all over the country, from Vermont to Hawaii. However, a quick trip over the Connecticut River will bring you to the heart of the craft.

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Peaceful Lake Time Pastimes by Sonja Bolton

Prepare To Paddle

There are limitless ways to enjoy the luscious lakes and riotous rivers of the Monadnock Region. Party pontoons, man-powered paddle boats, a simple aluminum dinghy, specialty kayaks, modest canoes, and sporty speedboats all offer Monadnockers ways to wander our shining waterways. Among this list is also something new to lake life: the paddle board.

When I say “new,” I really mean new to me. The hollow paddle board dates back to the Sandwich Islands circa 1778 and functions frequently as a lifeguard rescue tool. Championed by surfers and lifeguards worldwide as a multi-functional vessel for fun and safety, this surface-skimmer has a feeling all its own.



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I have spent many a happy afternoon exploring coves on the lookout for otters, moose, or loons on kayaks and canoes. But I was delighted when visiting a friend last summer to try my hand at paddle boarding. Immediately, I found the position versatility and feeling of weightlessness to be incredible. As it skims the horizontal edge of the water, the board is highly maneuverable and has very little drag.

Honestly, it does take a certain level of balance to master the art of standing on water, but happily for me, there are many ways to propel this semi-hovercraft. On a paddle board, you can lay on your stomach with your arms in the cool lake water and the summer sun on your back. You can hang your legs over the sides for a cool-down, sit cross legged, or sit up on your knees. Or if you’re brave and well-balanced, you can, of course, stand up. There are countless YouTube how-to videos advising on posture for mastering the most challenging positions.



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I changed positions often to the envy of my stiff fellow kayakers, cruising past my neighboring hardworking canoeists and even silently sneaking up on a fishing heron. I practically flew to the aid of a tired kiddo on a kayak and pulled her behind me while she rested. I felt empowered. My smile was giant.

By now, I’m sure you’re keen to try paddling out, but before click “buy now,” take one for a test-drive. The region boasts rental companies ready to support your summer fun.

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Monadnock Paddle in Fitzwilliam, NH offers an onsite location or they’ll bring the boats to you. They host camps and field trips, summer events like birthday parties and a weekly senior paddle complete with tea and pastries. They focus on kayak and canoe rentals, but hey, it's still time on the water! Check them out on Instagram or Facebook.

If you’re closer to the Connecticut River on the border of Vermont, consider the Vermont Canoe Touring Center. Located at the confluence of the West River and the Connecticut River, seven miles north of the Vernon Dam, it’s a pick-your-own-adventure between a large, protected area named Retreat Meadows nestled within the West River and the rushing waters of the Connecticut River. Explore on Facebook or Instagram.

Don’t let lake time escapes elude you this summer! Schedule a weekend with your best paddle buddies and see if you can stand on water.



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