Summer Local Lifestyle Playlist 2021

Keeping it cool With Sandy Parsons

Eat FriskY

Peace, love & gelato—the sign in the store says it all. For a sweet and creamy treat, Frisky Cow Gelato's new store and Scoop Shop at 80 Krif Rd. in Keene is the place to be. I knew the gelato was going to be good, but this is really good. You can taste all the freshness from the quality ingredients; it makes a huge difference in the final product. 

Owner, Linda Rubin, fell in love with gelato years ago on a trip to Italy. And when she returned to the idea decades later, she furthered her knowledge by attending Carpigiani's Gelato University. But she’s not the only one in on the fun. Her son Elijah is also part of the business and together they make some amazingly good gelato.

Their syrups and flavorings are made from scratch, and ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible, including organic milk, berries, produce, and so much more. The sweetest part—Frisky Cow donates 15 cents from every pint sale to organizations looking to rebuild the local food system.

With both standard and specialty gelato flavors, it’s easy to come across something a bit unexpected or fall in love all over again with a classic. My favorite was the Espresso Chip, made with Terra Nova, small-batch, local coffee roasted nearby in Keene. Another favorite was the Strawberry Basil gelato—nice, creamy strawberry followed by a fresh, subtle basil flavor. 

Frisky Cow Gelato is available for purchase at local stores, farm stands, restaurants, and events. But visiting the Scoop Shop, open Friday and Saturday from 4-8, adds a layer of fun to mix. Have a scoop or try one of their new cookie sandwiches while you’re there and bring a pint home! You will be so glad you did. Delizioso!

"In Summer, The vibe changes—the pace seems to slow down, the light is different. As more and more people get vaccinated, it's great to be able to see each other up close and personal and to see the smiles on everyone's faces."

Jessica Reeves, MSN, MPH, APRN, FNP-C, Owner of Our Clinic

Art Magic

A Studio Tour With Erin Girouard

There is always something magical about an invitation to an artist’s studio. Pulling back the curtain to see the process, being allowed a sneak peek at compositions in mid-creation feels like a magician showing you how an illusion is performed. It’s almost as if the space itself is a secret work of art. I was recently lucky enough (along with my 5-year-old daughter) to have this experience at the studio of local artist, bookmaker and educator, Erin Sweeney.

A beautiful creative space, Erin’s studio is adorned with her handmade books, paper sculptures and intricately stitched dolls. But it’s also afloat with stacks upon stacks of materials donated by friends, community members and local businesses. Like with many artists, Erin’s work was deeply affected by the pandemic. Art classes were cancelled, events were postponed, but in the midst of the heartbreak, Erin found her calling. She discovered a way to give children and adults the ability to create, to build and to cultivate art in the safety of their own homes. To spark joy in her own life, as well as countless others, Erin started to make kits.

As my daughter Clara sat in the studio gleefully, yet diligently working on one of Erin’s sticker-making kits, I sat down with the artist to hear more about how this venture came to be. At the beginning of the pandemic, It started as a small offering for patrons of the local public library in Peterborough. Wanting to help out during this scary time, Erin came up with a plan to help those in need of free at-home activities. She gathered up some leftover supplies from old projects and individually wrapped them in paper bags for kids to take home.

Within 48 hours, all the kits that she had put out at the library were gone. As they continued to disappear, she continued to make more. Her “Curbside Crafts” at the Peterborough Library were a hit! As word spread through the community about the art kits, Erin was busy in her studio creating new and interesting varieties with the help of donations pouring in from all over. With themes ranging from needle felting to painting, from quilting to architecture, the kits serve a wide range of students from young children to adults. Since the start of the pandemic, Curbside Crafts has given away more than 2,200 kits to artists in the making.

Erin is now giving away art kits at several locations all around the Monadnock region. For more about Erin’s art, the locations of her kits, and to see tutorials of what you can create with them, go to her website here. (Please note that “Curbside Crafts” are currently located at the Peterborough Public library’s temporary location in the Monadnock Community Plaza on Jaffrey Road.)

Erin Girouard, Owner of Rainbow Crown Bakery

"The enchanting flora and fauna of the Monadnock region are a constant inspiration for me. It’s amazing to look out your window and see something so pretty you just have to paint it...on a cookie!"

A Peaceful Stroll with Erin Scollans

Unforgettable brews and views

Deep in the woods of Roxbury, past the tall trees and windy back roads, lie the celebrated Nye Hill Farm and Brewery. Nestled on about 116 wooden acres and full of character and history, the farm was established back in the late 1700’s by Nathan Nye himself. Throughout its life, Nye Hill Farm has had several caretakers, all determined to keep the spirit of the place alive.

What is now a certified organic farm has served several purposes over the years, from producing bushels of wheat, barley, and corn in the 19th century to serving up some of the tastiest maple syrup and apples today. It’s safe to say Nye Hill is a place eclectic in offerings. But the main philosophy behind the farm is committing to the general care, comfort, and dignity of all creatures and products entrusted to them, ultimately ensuring the quiet and historic farmstead acts as a place of peace and harmony for all who come through its gates.

The folks over at Nye Hill offer fresh fruits and veggies throughout the summer and fall, but that’s just the start. They also sell ceramic ware from local potters, wool spun for yarn, tap and maple trees for maple syrup and candy. In 2015, they even added a brewery at the property. The small batches of beer produced are made with locally sourced materials, garnering much acclaim to their craft. The flagship beer is appropriately named “Nye P.A.”

Sue Benik, the head brewer, “brews very earnestly,” as she puts it. Her goal is to use as many ingredients as she can from the farm to create the beer – fresh peaches for their peach saison, apples from the orchard for their apple blonde, fresh berries for their triple sour. The spent grain from the brews goes right back to the pigs, ensuring the process comes full circle. “We really try to make it one single entity,” Sue explained. “We are farmers that brew and brewers that farm.”

Folks can find Nye Hill’s beer at a small selection of shops and marketplaces in Keene, including the Stage Restaurant, Brewtopia, 21 Bar and Grill, Hannah Grimes, and the Monadnock Food Co-op. But to get the full farm experience, stop in for a visit on Saturdays, when the farm and brewery are open through the afternoon for visitors. Enjoy a glass of beer, visit the animals, and take in the exquisite scenic views Nye Hill has to offer.

“It’s so rewarding to see those who finally get out here. They are always so happy they did,” Sue explained. “They step out of their car, and as soon as they sample the beer, you can see their shoulders immediately relax,” she laughed. It’s thanks to support from the local community that the farmers of Nye Hill get to do what they love and give back year after year. And for that, they are extremely grateful.

SummerTime Vibes with Erin Girouard

Bring on the Tunes

The Summer of Fun has finally arrived! I don’t know about you, but after a year like that I am definitely ready for it. There seems to be excitement building in the air as we all remember what summer is truly all about. For me, that’s live music. And what better way to kick off our new found freedom than to stretch out a picnic blanket and enjoy homegrown tunes by some super talented local artists.

In the picturesque town of Fitzwilliam, all are welcome to enjoy the annual (despite a tiny pandemic hiatus) Fitzwilliam Summer Concert on the Common Series. A staple in the community since the 1970s, the concert series is a free event (sponsored by the Elliot Institute Fund) beloved by all and definitely something we in the Monadnock region missed this past year. Beginning on July 15th, every Thursday night from 7-8:30pm for 6 weeks during the summer, you can enjoy a family-friendly evening of beautiful music from a wide variety of genres.

As a special treat this year, the concert series has partnered with the Emerson Elementary PTCO, who will host a refreshment stand with snacks and drinks for sale to benefit the school. The first concert of the series on July 15th is a can’t-miss experience. Come relax on the common and enjoy the musical stylings of The Green Sisters. These siblings captivate audiences with their soulful voices in tight 4-part harmony and high energy music. Ranging from Bluegrass to barbershop, this group is fantastically talented and sure to be your next favorite band.


In addition to the amazing music, this year the concert series will also be celebrating the Fitzwilliam Library’s summer reading program with “Owls up Close”, an engaging presentation featuring live owls! Owl lovers of all ages will be entranced by these beautiful creatures on Thursday August 15th. All of that and more will be happening this summer on the Fitzwilliam town common across from the town hall. So let’s kick off the Summer of Fun together with our feet in the grass, music in the air and joy all around. For more information and the full line up of performers, visit the events’ social media page here.


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Living Sweet With Caroline Tremblay

Skin Care to Buzz about

“Bees are fascinating, and the more I know about them, the more fascinating them become,” said Amber Dewey, owner of Harper Haven Farm in Rindge. Dewey first learned about bees by hosting a hive on her patio as part of a service that cares for the bees right on your property. When she moved to Rindge, she was hooked, so she joined the Monadnock Beekeepers Association.

When she started with her first hives, she named the queen “Dolcezza,” which means “sweetness” in Italian. When she later started making skin care products as a way to use the beeswax she harvested, she decided to name her line, Dolcezza Skin Care Products.

When she started with her first hives, she named the queen “Dolcezza,” which means “sweetness” in Italian. When she later started making skin care products as a way to use the beeswax she harvested, she decided to name her line, Dolcezza Skin Care Products.

The beeswax in each of her products has so many health benefits. First, it’s a humectant, which means it attracts water and is moisturizing. It also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Dewey’s products contain goodness like Shea butter, as well, which softens and nourishes skin. Some even say it can fight wrinkles and fade scars. Honey and oatmeal are two other ingredients you’ll find in her soaps; they have cleansing, moisturizing, and soothing effects.

Dewey began selling her beeswax-based products in 2019, mostly to friends and relatives. She later expanded to local farmers’ markets. She works in small batches so she can experiment, make improvements, and try new scent combos. “My main goals are to make products that are healthy for the people using them, healthy for the environment, and that are enjoyable to use,” she said. 

You can find Dewey and her decadent Dolcezza Skin Care Products this summer at farmers’ markets in Rindge (Thurs afternoon), Jaffrey (Fri afternoon), and Richmond (Sun afternoon). Stop by her stand and try a little sample of the creams to experience it for yourself.

You can also get in touch via Facebook, by emailing, or by texting/calling 617-504-1570. “I have shipped as far away as Oregon!” AND now through August 15, get a dollar off any item or get a free lip balm when you purchase two items by mentioning The Monadnocker 😉.

"In some ways, summer brings a slowness that is so needed. And in other ways, it feels like a frenzy of inspiration just building up inside. Honestly, it always gets me stoked for the onset of autumn. Because just imagine the creative energy everyone will be pouring out. Can't wait to see and to help tell the stories!"

Caroline Tremblay, Founder of Owl & Pen

Floating along with Sarah Sherman

Yakking about

Fellow water babies rejoice! Summer is here and the lakes are calling. As a Maine girl who was raised boating, water-skiing, and canoeing, this is without a doubt my favorite season. I’m unapologetically my very best self when I’m floating in a kayak in the middle of a quiet pond. There’s nothing more relaxing than a good yak.

We are blessed here in the Monadnock Region to have a bounty of amazing lakes and ponds of every size for exploring and adventures. Even though my home allows me water access to Spofford Lake and we enjoy paddling out to Pierce Island pretty regularly for a hike and a dip, often I prefer to yak out and about on the weekends. I’m sharing a few of my favorite regional kayaking jaunts with you here, but it’s by no means an exclusive list. I’ve been to so many wonderful bodies of water that it’s difficult to choose only a handful, but these few are all uniquely special places to yak.

Nubanusit Lake
Nubanusit Lake is in the towns of Nelson and Hancock. It’s big--718 acres--and deep and perfect for a long day trip. Take a picnic and don’t forget your towels because there are plenty of places to swim and an absolutely fantastic rope swing that makes it my son’s favorite yakking spot. Launching and parking are not an issue at this massive recreational area

Willard Pond
Willard Pond in Antrim is small at only about 108 acres and is a protected wildlife sanctuary. No motorized boats are permitted, which makes it a yakker’s gem. We also have stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and have enjoyed taking those out on Willard as well since there is no wake from boat traffic. It’s pretty, serene and an ideal place to spot wildlife. Launching and parking is a bit of a challenge, but worth the effort.

Hubbard Pond
Hubbard Pond is part of Annett State Forest in Rindge and is super-secluded--so much so that the access road was a challenge to find. (No doubt that’s purposeful and intended to preserve it’s pristine natural beauty.) There’s plenty of launch space and parking with a small dam near the launch point. Hubbard is indeed the perfect kind of quiet and we found some nice pull-off areas for swimming and stretching our legs.

Harrisville Pond
The picturesque beauty of Harrisville in and of itself makes it worth a paddle. It’s fairly small at 138 acres, but amazingly quiet and peaceful with little boat traffic. Parking and launching were not an issue and we put in easily. My absolute favorite aspect of Harrisville Pond is the massive beaver dam at the furthest end of the pond. I’m eager to return so I can portage across it next time and explore further down the brook.

Let’s get yakking!

Getting Saucy with Sandy Parsons

Making the ROunds

Summer is for food trucks, and I have found three that will make your mouth water. Get your taste buds ready for a party—crunchy crust, yummy sauce, fresh, gooey cheese, and toppings to delight everyone's tastes. Blackfire Farm offers unique and delicious wood-fired pizzas at Granite Roots Brewing, 244 N Main Street, Troy, NH on weekends. And everything that goes into their food is either grown at their farm or purchased locally.  

After chatting with the friendly staff, they made me a fresh veggie and bacon pizza with a side of homemade aioli. They even added little flowers on top, something I’ve never seen. I LOVED this pizza! My husband and I wished we had ordered a few to-go to last until our next visit. (Each pizza can serve two…but trust me, you will want your own.)

The prices were reasonable, and the presentation was right on. Not surprising given that owner Doug Higley is a trained chef and a graduate of Johnson & Wales. No wonder he creates outrageously good pizzas! I would not change a thing. Except one: I wish I could get their pizza every day.

Low and slow is how Pig Knuckles Burger & BBQ likes to roll. Great smoky flavor and homemade BBQ sauce is their recipe for greatness. I ordered two items to share so I could sample a few things and immediately fell in 💓 with the burger. Mine was a ½ pounder made with two juicy patties covered in cheese, cooked to perfection. The juice from the burger ran down, and if I was not in public, I would have been licking those fingers!

The prices are good; the portions are very generous; and who doesn't like hand-cut French fries fried crisp and salted perfectly? Oh my, one happy belly! Where can you get your hands on some? Find Pig Knuckles located in the parking lot of White’s Farm Stand on Rt. 119 in Rindge.


Co-owner and chef Danny Pontes-Mocedo, aka “The Lion Chef” featured on TV series MasterChef season 8, recently opened his new VictorEats Food Truck right here in the Monadnock Region with partner Carmello Pellegrino. Set up on scheduled weekends at Granite Roots Brewing, 244 N Main Street in Troy, NH, VictorEats offers American-style foods, such as burgers, wings, and even several vegetarian options.

For me, the pulled pork was at the top of the list—a pleasant amount of spice and a tasty sauce served under a fresh mound of crisp coleslaw on a soft roll. I especially enjoyed the sweet potato fries, which were crunchy and sweet and came with a side of smooth aioli.

The staff is super friendly and they served up great portions. For being open only a few weeks so far, they did a wonderful job. I’m planning to return and must try the wings on my next visit. They sound amazing and have great reviews already! 

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In the Time Machine with Erin Scollans

Getting Crafty

The Craft School at Mill Hollow Works in Keene, run by duo Wade Smith and Heather Holloway, has a unique aim. By immersing folks into a fully hands-on experience, the school helps students better connect to life, land, and family, ultimately hoping to give the gift of a more sustainable, purposeful, and joyful way of living. This Heritage Craft School uses traditional tools, promoting the resourcefulness of timeless skills once passed down from generation to generation. They believe through building self-reliance, people begin to feel capable in any situation with any given set of tools or materials.

Wade Smith is no stranger to using his hands – he’s been building boats since he had his first apprentice-style training when he was 18. Since then, he’s been an avid member of the local boat building community through the implementation of training programs, all while helping people learn about sustainable boat building practices. Heather Holloway, a digital storyteller who creates visually compelling stories, was a Los Angeles TV producer before she found her way back to the Northeast. She and Smith linked up in New Hampshire some two decades after attending high school together. Teaching has always been a passion for Holloway, and with Smith’s trade experience, the two combined their strengths and so the Craft School at Mill Hollow Works was born.

“We realized that we could combine our skills and desire to give back to our community through the Hollow Works,” Holloway explained. “Helping people do more for themselves through the use of traditional tools while reconnecting to the region aligned with our mission, vision, and values.”

Although COVID-19 slowed business down, the re-opening brought quite a surge of customers, most of whom realized during the pandemic they weren’t as self-sufficient as they once thought. Many folks felt a need to feel closer to their region, their home, and who they were, and found they could do so by connecting with traditional tools.

The Craft School is offering a variety of eclectic classes this summer, including basketry, boat building, carpentry, and woodworking. Classes are designed to be just as feasible in the apartment as they are outside in the backyard. This past month, Smith taught his flagship class, Big Little Boat Building, to a group of fourth graders with locally sourced pine. Holloway and Smith designed a Woodworking for Women class back in 2018, and it has since been one of their most popular classes to date.


The two are always looking for ideas that will connect the students to the community, and vice versa. They’ve recently hired a local fabric instructor who will be offering drop spindle and crochet classes in the fall. The possibilities are endless at The Craft School, with something for everyone, all while sticking to their roots. “Our focus is to be right here, at home and in our own personal community.” Holloway said.


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Summer Delights with Caroline Tremblay

Croqui and Cocktails

The Hancock Inn has hosted travelers since 1789, long a destination for both grand balls and intimate gatherings. Today, it is owned by Marcia and Jarvis Coffin, who have brought their own lovely spin to the remarkable property, while keeping the romance and history alive.

One such touch that has the locals hooked is the game of croqui, which has become a sought-after summer pastime on the Inn’s green. The game, which Jarvis grew up playing in Saybrook, CT, is similar to croquet. But there are a couple key distinctions. One is that the wickets are laid out differently, and the second is that everyone is always playing for the same wicket. This makes it a team sport that keeps the whole group engaged during play.

The spring, the Inn was especially delighted to announce the start of their 2021 Croqui Season. The teams, which have been chomping at the bit to begin, are going to take a break from Divisional Play and go with a Tournament Ladder, per the commissioners. The Fox Tournament Trophy will be awarded to the Team that sits atop the Croqui Ladder at the end of the official Croqui Season.

Marcia and Jarvis kicked off the season with these excited words: “The gates to Center Court are open. The sun is shining. The birdies are perched on the trees, the goats line the fence, everyone awaits the action. Let’s not keep them waiting.”

Other wonderful news is that the Inn’s Fox Tavern has reopened for the season, offering a carefully crafted cocktail list. Each drink is “made with freshly squeezed or muddled fruit, local maple syrup and herbs from our garden,” Marcia described. So take a moment to sip in the season and revel in the fun at The Hancock Inn as we all celebrate Summer 2021!

The Green Sisters
Fitzwilliam Common
July 15 at 7pm

Find More HERE

An Adorable Detour with Sarah Sherman

a Tiny Farmstand with Big Charm

A hot summer day calls for a cool treat. Am I right? It was a brutally hot summer day when an errand took me to Swanzey. Craving a cool reward, I took the long way back home to Spofford through Winchester and then Hinsdale.

My detour was a purposeful one—I wanted a PattiPop. PattiPops are intensely fruit-flavored popsicle treats named after creator Patti Powers, co-owner of Cheshire Garden in Winchester with Ralph Legrande. They are handmade; they are organic; and they are absolutely delicious. PattiPop flavors include grape, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry.

Patti and Ralph have been self-described “grateful gardeners and merry makers” since 1986 and their small farm specializes in heirloom berries, fruits, and herbs. They grow raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, red and black currants, peaches, pears, Damson plums, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and herbs. Plus, there are gorgeous flowers that any gardener would gush over.

The couple produces preserves, mustards, vinegars, pies, and pops that they sell at local farmers’ markets and festivals. They also sell an assortment of their delights in their “Tiny Farmstand,” a cute-as-a-button roadside self-serve stand beside the farm on Burt Hill Road, complete with an arched door and a darling cupola.

Tiny Farmstand is definitely tiny. But it brings big, big charm. It’s been lovingly and beautifully decorated and is filled to the brim with preserves and a variety of condiments. There are also handled paper bags with Cheshire Garden stickers and pie boxes on the shelves, all complementary and available for packaging your farm purchases.

And the berry sculpture outside the stand is sweet beyond compare. The raspberry is made from a wire basket of painted golf balls, the blueberries are softballs and the blackberry is tennis balls. Can you even? I swooned at the sight of it. Believe me when I say the photos don’t do it justice.

A freezer holds the pops and signage indicates which flavors are available that day based on a color-coded twist tie system. At four for $10, I had to choose four flavors to bring home to share with my sweet-toothed boy. But on the way home, I took my first taste of a grape PattiPop and was floored. It was the most intense and pure grape flavor I’ve ever experienced in a frozen treat. How do they do that? I can’t wait to try the rest!

To my delight, guess what else was in the freezer that day? One dark chocolate moon pie with a strawberry and cream center! Of course, I also had to snag that beauty for later.

Cheshire Garden grows its own fruit for making preserves, which it freezes during the summer months of harvesting to save for preserving later in the year, sometimes filling up to seven freezers powered partially by solar panels. The farm was one of the first to be certified organic in the state of New Hampshire back in 1987, a designation it kept through 2005 until Patti and Ralph decided the paperwork and fees were too burdensome. But their farming methods never changed and they still only source organic ingredients. The flavors are proof of their dedication and care. As their website says, it’s “food grown carefully and prepared lovingly.”

Don’t let this summer pass by without a visit to Cheshire Garden. There’s a PattiPop waiting with your name on it! Follow the farm on Facebook and Instagram for specials and updates.