Summer Local Lifestyle Playlist 2023

A Taste of Finland with Sonja Bolton

If You Bake It, They Will Come

Esther Jalava of Nordshire Farm, has spent her lifetime working with Nisu, an aromatic cardamom sweet bread, and other recipes passed down by the women in her family. Standing on a stool next to her grandmother, her natural passion for baking was, quite literally, fed. Come 2019, Jalava resurrected her childhood skills and began sharing them back with her family.

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The result was undeniable. Her entire Finnish family was hooked on Jalava’s ability to kneed memories into meals. They demanded more and were more than willing to pay. Needless to say, a new successful small business was just about to rise.

Jalava shares her beginning: “Our biggest start was from doing fairs and farmers' markets. Stonewall Farm offered Friday night markets last summer and this is when we really took off. Many people would come for the bread each week and we developed quite a following. I wasn't really prepared for how quickly it all took off and we started shipping all over the country as far as Arizona and California with repeated orders.”

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Twisted. Braided. Knotted. Swirled. Pinched. Or folded into a star. From Korvapuusti (sweet cardamom cinnamon rolls) to Joulutorluts (jam filled pinwheel cookies), you don’t have to be able to pronounce it to know how truly unique and comforting Jalava’s artfully crafted traditional Finnish baked goods are going to taste.

But, if you’re into the culture, Jalava is ready for that too! She plans on submerging herself, her husband and their youngest in Finnish culture to explore and visit the birthplaces of her grandparents and will bring all of this back to the Monadnock Region by offering Finnish language classes or clubs in the near future.

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Speaking of the near future, you’ll want to put their upcoming Grand Opening, celebrating Midsommer, on Juhannus, June 24th on your calendar. She is very much looking forward to the festivities including a Tori Market (Finnish Market), booths with local artists, a flower crown table, music, and of course, mouth watering Finnish treats such as “Karleian Piirikka, laskiaispulla, voisilmäpulla and Runebergintorttu as well as Rye breads, which are a staple in any Finnish home," she described.

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Jalava is motivated by “sharing as many Finnish products as possible, including vintage pottery, music, sauna culture and sisu! The biggest pleasure I get is the opportunity to showcase and share my family's heritage.”

If you are familiar with Nordshire Farm, you’ll know it goes way beyond Jalava’s traditional bakery. The family farm also produces eggs, offers trail riding and lessons and sells stunning modern American Impressionism in oil.

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Discover all they bring to the region on their website, or connect with them over Facebook or Instagram. They “are really looking forward to sharing our bread and stories and hearing all the stories of those who grew up with their grandmother or great aunt making them Rye Bread or Nisu.”

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Come celebrate Midsommer on Juhannas
June 24th

Finnish Market
Local Artists
Flower Crown Table
Live Music
and of course...
Finnish Baked Goods!

Bakery Grand Opening!!!

Unleash Your Inner Survivor

A Trek in the woods with Nathan Bagster

If you’re a local or even just a passer-through, you’ll notice the Monadnock Region is packed with forest - from the small thickets of Keene to the dense woodlands that extend through Jaffrey, Fitzwilliam, Troy, and Richmond. It often makes you wonder, what would it be like to survive in the wilderness with only your wits and basic tools, right?

For some, that is a way of life. Many locals grew up running through the underbrush and playing hide and seek in their personal Hundred Acre Woods, learning the ins and outs of the forest. But that wasn’t the case for others, and that is where Coyote Bushcraft comes in. A premier survival and outdoor education school, Coyote Bushcraft calls the scenic landscapes of Southern New Hampshire home. 

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Founded in 2021 by Rob and Lauren Bianchi, Coyote Bushcraft is the culmination of their lifelong passion for the great outdoors. Both active National Guardsman and seasoned instructors, the couple brings an abundance of experience to the table; Rob as an experienced marksman and land navigator, and Lauren with her emergency activation and cannon crew operation experience. Together, they possess a keen understanding of essential survival techniques and much more.

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Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply want to learn valuable skills for emergencies, the team at Coyote Bushcraft offers an experience to suit your needs and test your skills. From foraging and carving to land navigation and wilderness survival techniques, the curriculum covers a wide array of topics designed to empower you with the knowledge and confidence to thrive in the wilderness.

Classes at Coyote Bushcraft begin promptly at 8:00 am and run until 1:00 pm, while workshops typically conclude by 3:00 pm or upon completion of the project. While safety is a top priority, all students are required to sign a liability waiver upon arrival.

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The team highly recommends that students bring a full water source and lunch, as classes can be physically demanding, and warns that bathroom space is scarce. If you’re unsure of what else to bring with you, they provide a comprehensive list of recommended gear on their website. Don't worry if you're unable to bring your own gear though. Ever prepared, they have loan options for knives, Ferro rods, paracords, and other items.

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Visit their website to learn about upcoming classes. The call of nature is out there – will you follow it?

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Patti Powers, Owner of Cheshire Garden - A small, organic farm specializing in heirloom berries, fruits, herbs, and preserves. Tiny Farmstand at 277 Burt Hill Rd. in Winchester open all season or shop online!

"Summer is my season, no doubt. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, elderflowers, zucchini, kale, peas, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, all the basils and herbs, bouquets….

And sometimes, I get a chance to jump in a lake!"

A Little R&R with Erin Girouard

Ready for Radiant Tresses?

Sometimes getting your hair done is a chore. an errand between meetings or before picking up the kids. A quick trim, a color retouch or fixing up a botched homemade bang pruning (totally not talking about myself, of course!). You take a gander at Yelp and pick any random chain salon that doesn’t have a wait time. But other times, visiting a salon can be an escape or a fresh beginning or a deep cleanse for your soul. That’s what the stylists at Amethyst Hair Artistry & Extension Studio aim to be for their clients. 

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“It’s inspiring, being able to transform someone in just a few hours and give them a whole new outlook on how they see themselves,” says owner Hannah Woodward. “Our clients leave smiling, confident, sometimes with a happy tear or two, and I’m grateful I can make someone feel so good with what I’m able to do with their hair.”

Amethyst Hair Artistry & Extension Studio started as a small business in June of 2020 in the heart of the COVID 19 pandemic. Born from a need for a more open space to safely accommodate her clients, Hannah found a beautiful storefront and began seeking out stylists to join her team. She soon found a staff, who became more like a family, that would share her vision for this new salon. The shop reflected the properties of an amethyst; healing, confidence, calm, positivity, and overall well-being.

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But bustling with new business and ready to expand, Amethyst just relocated to Marlboro Street in April of this year. 

The full-service salon that provides everything from cuts and colors to anything else you could imagine for your hair, but what makes them unique is their expertise in hair extension services. “We are Keene’s first hair extension focused salon.” Hannah explains. ”We can solve issues of hair feeling too thin or fine. We’ve fixed bad haircuts with extensions. We can give dramatic length and fullness that most of us can’t achieve naturally. With the use of extensions, we’ve also been able to give hair back to guests who may have lost what they had from chemotherapy or postpartum hair loss.”

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Whatever type of renewal your hair is calling out for, be sure to check out Amethyst Hair Artistry's new, light, bright and lovely studio at 310 Marlboro street, Suite 263 in Keene. 

You can also check out Amethyst here and be sure to follow all of the stylists on social media for major hair inspiration.

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Erin Girouard
 Owner of Rainbow Crown Bakery
Custom decorated and hand-painted sugar cookies

"To me, the greatest part of summer in the Monadnock Region is the seemingly endless farmers' markets, fairs and festivals to peruse with family and friends. What a way to take in the sweet summer air while getting to know local vendors and finding hidden gems!"

Brand-New Eats with Sandy parsons

Smokehaus BBQ is Home to Great BBQ

Low & slow is how it’s done at the Smokehaus in Dublin. It’s the only way to make perfect BBQ. Smokehaus meats are worth the trip as they are slowly cooked, smoked, rubbed, and served. Speaking of time, make sure you get there early because once they’re out of BBQ, they close for the day. The meats are only lightly sauced, but if you desire more, you’ll find plenty of sauce options to fit every palette.

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The father and son team are vets who knew this area needed a good BBQ joint, a place where people could come enjoy great BBQ meats, in-house made sides, and local brews in a relaxing environment. The staff are handpicked and are like family. Though this eatery just opened its doors this June, the owners feel like their team is eager to do their best with pride and care in their work.

Smokehaus has already made an impressive reputation for itself in Amherst, NH, with lines out the door. Luckily, they chose Dublin as the sweet spot to open their second location. 

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I was lucky enough to come for the soft opening. As I walked in, a customer told me to try the brisket as it was amazing. I ordered the 3-meat plate with the brisket included. While everything was delicious, my recommendation is going with brisket, baked beans, and cornbread.

It can be difficult to find a tender and juicy brisket, but they have mastered it. The baked beans are also full of flavor with tiny pieces of pulled meat and the cornbread is baked to a golden brown with a slight honey taste. The ribs had a good smoke ring and a slight spicy flavor. And don’t forget the pulled pork—tender and accompanied well with the Haus Sweet Sauce.

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If you’re not in the mood to go out, take it home and enjoy authentic BBQ on the porch. The Smokhaus in Dublin is where great BBQ is found. Check it out at 13 Main Street in Dublin and on their website.

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Julie Diers, Owner & Lead Creator
Rogue Raven Grooming Company
Where refinement meets rebellion. Top-shelf shaving, tattoo, beard, and skincare provisions for insanely handsome men.

"I'm not a fan of humidity, so summer would be so-so if it weren't for cool, campfire nights, bourbon on the rocks, and listening to my man play the guitar. Here's to a season of top-shelf living in a place that's easy to fall in love with."

An artistic excursion with Erin Scollans

Small-Town Gallery Ignites Purpose

Mona Adisa Brooks is a local visual artist and owner of the lovely Trumpet Fine Arts Gallery in Peterborough. Her gallery serves as a space to honor and appreciate the companionship between art and artist. Having a lifetime of experience under her belt, Brooks is skillful at uncovering what art really means to the individual.

Originally from New York, her career has led her all over the map, from The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. to various exhibitions in New York City. Her breadth of knowledge and her passion for empowering those who wish to explore their artistic sides shine through in her teaching and creations.

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Many consider the Trumpet Fine Arts Gallery not just a space but an experience. Aesthetically pleasing and always welcoming, it’s known for having an aura about it, awakening the soul and refining the mind. Featuring an array of artists from diverse backgrounds, Brooks showcases not only her own eclectic series of art, but that of her students’ and peers’, as well.

The gallery is also home to the Art Source, where Brooks works individually with students and aspiring artists, broadening their horizons and honing their creative skills in challenging yet enlightening ways. Equipped to work with all mediums, Brooks helps folks “follow their muse up the mountain,” so to speak. She encourages and guides each student to their personal source of inspiration, asking the question: What do you want and what are you willing to do to get it?

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Her connection to her community extends beyond local to her role as a global citizen, supporting organizations like Heifer International, Doctors Without Borders, World Central Kitchen, and Feeding America. She is also an avid supporter of the people of Ukraine, with recent Trumpet donations going towards the Ukrainian struggle for their human rights.

As Brooks noted, it’s not just about the art; without the heart and soul, there is no art.

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In addition to Brooks’s own art, the gallery also showcases several local artists as well as a local musician on First Fridays from 5-7. Trumpet is celebrating their 11th anniversary on June 24th from 10-5 with an Artists’ Fair and special pricing of artwork; all are welcome!

For more information

"Cave" Mixed Media by Stephanie Wells

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Sonja Bolton
 Owner of Centre Square Farm
Growing plants: flowers, fruit, vegetables, native species - for a sustainable future.

"Love being the extended family's go-to spot for hiking, creek walks, kite flying, pond swimming, mushroom hunting. Friday night picnics in the back field, keeping the kids out late to chase fireflies. Family working together to build, grow, and bloom. Summer on a Southern NH farm is my kind of paradise."

Get Gorgeous with Stems with Sonja Bolton

In the Business of Blooming

There is a far cry between standard grocery store bouquets with the same old lilies, Gerber daisies, carnations and roses and the intricately designed, artfully arranged and thoughtfully researched pieces of passion produced by Stems NH. Rachel Curtis, who co-owns the business with her mother, Patricia Pepin, explains it best: “Using striking color combinations with blooms in bright and contrasting shades allows you to integrate many different types of flowers and add depth and distinction.”

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For Curtis, crafting an arrangement is an act of allowing herself to dream, a way to spark joy within herself and tap into her intense creativity. She had always known she had an entrepreneurial spirit and finally found the catalyst in botanicals. To say Stems NH has been a personal journey for Curtis is a massive understatement. Her love for flowers is what's brought her through and out of some of life's toughest stuff.

In late 2019, Curtis moved north from Austin, Texas for her family’s support and joined the Botanical Business Society, a local flower community group. With zero formal training, she hit the ground running and Stems NH was born.

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Now, Curtis orchestrates a thriving florist shop with a bodaciously beautiful mobile flower bar, “Pop-Up Petals” - upcycled from an old horse trailer! You can rent her mobile flower bar as a way to make an event simply bloom. (Pun intended.)

Soon she will be offering inspirational workshops, ranging from paint nights to floral arrangement classes, to hand-tied bouquets, to color theory, as well as a hands-on flower bar at her brand new studio at 310 Marlboro Street in Keene, NH, opening this July. This trendy collaborative space is designed to host multiple area entrepreneurs looking for an open air, Faneuil Hall vibe.

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Curtis wanted a place where people could get involved in the crafting of their bouquets, floral installations or weekly or monthly orders, not just peek at buckets of flowers from behind glass doors. A place to touch and connect to the subtle textures, smells, and colors individual stems provide. She shares that connecting to flowers “is the time to be unafraid to mix and match and see where the colors take you.”

To get a taste of her distinctive style, you should know that she prefers English garden styles with “big blossoms such as English garden roses, peonies, dahlias, and ranunculus. Spiky, vertical accents are also a component with popular varieties including delphinium, snapdragon, hollyhock, and foxglove. Design shapes are more wild with flowers and abundant foliage loosely bunched together as well as offering fragrant components.”

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Curtis also uses a less common Dutch style “heavy with allegory, colors, and loose, wild arrangements, highlighting exotic flowers, fruit, and other natural items that showcases an artists’ skill in handling light, nature, and depth. The beauty of this particular aesthetic is its emphasis on the wild; you don’t need to worry about what is in season or if the bloom is perfect, but rather, placing importance on finding the flowers you love and putting together something unique and steadfastly your own.”

You can get into her groove - like how she utilizes sustainable materials such as wool and chicken wire over industry standard foam - right now by subscribing to her newsletter on her website,, and by following her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Nathan Bagster, Founder & Content Director
Monadnock Hit & Run
A Digital Car & Driver Magazine for the Monadnock Region

"Monadnock Hit & Run, Summer is an unforgettable season because of all the amazing car shows that pop up and hotrods that can be found rolling around. Nothing brings the community together quite like a badass ride!"  

Talking Comfort &Confidence with Liz Nix

A Peaceful Perinatal Journey

In 2019 Ashley Beckwith found inspiration to form Monadnock Perinatal in the peaceful and empowering birth of her daughter. Her journey of pregnancy losses and the births of her four children now motivate her passion to help others through prenatal, birthing, and postpartum services.

“The mission of Monadnock Perinatal is to support all birthing families in a manner that leaves them feeling accepted, supported and cared for,” Beckwith explains. “Not one labor is the same, nor should it be treated that way.”

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Since the birth of her first son, Beckwith has trained to obtain an impressive set of credentials, including birth doula, childbirth educator, postpartum doula, babywearing consultant, breastfeeding specialist, V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) doula, placenta specialist, and pregnancy and infant loss advocate.

“Each credential I hold renews every two to five years. Those recertifications request that you provide proof you have kept up with your education as well,” she says. “I am constantly educating myself. I attend both in person and virtual conferences/webinars with the latest information in the birthing/lactation community.”

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Monadnock Perinatal offers a broad range of services, including:

Birthing and postnatal doula services: “Doula's provide physical and emotional support in the prenatal, birth and postpartum journeys,” Beckwith says.

Placental services: “Not all placenta clients choose to consume their placenta; some choose to have art or keepsakes made or to have the placenta processed so they can bury it with a ceremony,” she says.

Breastfeeding support and education: Beckwith is working to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, mentored by Kimberly Jarest, IBCLC from Embracing Lactation in Dublin, NH.

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“She has been an amazing mentor, not only teaching me the knowledge I cannot obtain through book work, she has taken me under her wing as one of her own,” Beckwith says of Jarest.

Later this year, Monadnock Perinatal will have more placental encapsulation options, as well as offering burial powder, additional resin pieces, and new designs for placental prints and keepsakes.

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Monadnock Perinatal will open a Keene office in the near future. According to Beckwith, “The space has a private office to hold consultations and prenatal appointments and access to a larger room to teach breastfeeding, childbirth education classes, as well as support groups. I’m very eager to offer these types of support groups in classes to our local community.”

If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant and you live in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Massachusetts, you can set up an in-person or virtual meeting with Monadnock Perinatal via

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"Summer is one of our favorite times to get out and learn local stories---walk the farm fields, taste fresh strawberries, meet up at coffee shops. It's warm, it's light, and we're bottling all that inspiration for the seasons ahead."

Caroline Tremblay
Owner & Content Director, Owl & Pen
Exceptional Written Content to Help Local Businesses Thrive...
Wherever Your Local Is

cruising with Nathan Bagster

Car Show Season in the REgion

Craft fairs, farmers’ markets, and pop-ups are some of the best ways to get out and explore – they offer all manner of homegrown goods, handmade products, and just genuine community-building opportunities. But what if you want that vibe, only your tastes lean more towards the sunlight gleaming off fresh paint, the smell of high octane, and the roar of an engine?

Then you may be looking for a car show here in the Monadnock Region.

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Car shows have always been a major staple within the community. They create an exciting experience for both car aficionados and the general public alike. They’re also a safe space to showcase superb automotive craftsmanship, rusty old classics, and everything in between. Many shows even offer the opportunity to sell off used parts, the chance for folks to meet new people in their community, and for families to bond.

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Thankfully, there is a fairly rich automotive community in the area and that may stem from the area’s racing lineage. Way back in the ’50s, Keene’s Cheshire Fairgrounds were home to a small dirt raceway named Safford Park Speedway. Over the years, the little racetrack had many changes and eventually grew into what it is now, hosting various automotive-related events; Demo Derbies, Monster Trucks, and others.

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Nowadays, if you’re looking for some racing action, you have to go one town over - into Swanzey. There you’ll find Monadnock Speedway, a paved quarter-mile oval track. Host to a huge variety of races, you can often find the track roaring on Saturday nights with the sounds of 4-cylinder Mini-stocks, 8-cylinder Pure-stocks, and the thunder of NHSTRA Modifieds (New Hampshire Short Track Racing Association), and many more.

And while car shows aren’t typically held at Monadnock Speedway, that automotive energy is spread throughout the region with many gearheads funding or hosting their own shows through clubs, associations, or businesses.

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One such business is the Monadnock Country Café located in Jaffrey, NH. With its small-town diner vibes, this lovely slice of Americana is the perfect place to host a lowkey vintage car show. While there isn’t an exact event listing, they are planning to host alongside the town’s Riverfest events, with the show running from 12 pm to 2 pm on July 29th.

Shifting over to Fitzwilliam, the local Police Association Car show takes center stage for its 8th year in a row. With cars, music, food, and raffles planned the event welcomes all types of vehicles! This one holds a special place in my heart, as I entered my 1978 Monte Carlo at the first event. You can cruise on over to this one on September 10th, from 11 am to 2 pm.

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Jumping back to Jaffrey, the American Legion will be holding its 8th annual car show a few weeks later on September 24th, from 9 am to 2 pm. As the biggest veterans’ service organization, the Legion uses the event to bring the community together to raise funds and see hotrods, so don’t miss this one.

Keep in mind, these are just a few shows available in the region. There are so many more hiding in the nooks and crannies that only a few souls hear about or are able to promote on physical job boards. Unfortunately, in the digital age, the relative success and wonderful community-building nature of car shows have seen a drop in attendance, as word of mouth doesn’t spread as fast. 

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But many are trying to change this and help bolster a fresh wave of auto enthusiasts in the area! Our friends over at Monadnock Hit & Run just created their own list of local shows that are in or near the Monadnock Region. The list is ever-changing as more shows are found or forgotten, but one thing is for sure, the love of automobiles is alive and well here!

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Tapping into Community with Erin Scollans

A space to get moving

For Jody Feinman, it all started with an NPR story.

The story focused on a series of tap dance-by-donation performances that took place in Boston in 2020. Feinman was no stranger to the dance world - her mother was a Junior Rockette and Fienman herself has a theater background and been dancing since she was three years old - but she hadn’t been as involved in quite some time. But something about this particular story really rejuvenated her love for moving her body.

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Soon enough, she found herself enthralled by the life of tap dance, working with various local rec departments to put on tap dance-by-donation performances. The tap dancing lessons seamlessly flowed into a Zumba certification, then a yoga certification; before she knew it, Feinman had launched herself into hardcore Yoga Flow classes. She was moving her body on a regular basis, and her body was very much appreciating it.

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In August of 2022, Feinman purchased Willow Tree Studio. The studio - along with the rest of the local businesses nestled in the old elementary school appropriately named The School Yard - invigorates the quiet downtown of New Ipswich. Feinman had a vision with Willow Tree: she wanted a space where the community could come together, enjoy each other’s company, and get their bodies moving - free of judgment. It’s no surprise that with those standards, she had no trouble finding an array of local talent who wanted to teach a variety of exercise classes.

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Willow Tree Studio provides a comfortable and calming experience for those who engage - Feinman is an extrovert herself, and she aims to create a safe and happy space for people of all ages and abilities. Classes range from yoga and zumba to pilates and jiu jitsu; kids tap dancing class to an underground yoga and wine night. She’s found that craft nights bring the crowds in, and has hosted a myriad of needle felting, paint parties, and a “Mommy and Me” tea. For the summer art program, Feinman hopes to host several watercolor painting classes, crafting classes, and hopefully a spa day complete with manicures, pedicures and facials courtesy of a local salon.

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As Feinman puts it, exercise is something that people tend to come to and fall away from, but it is always important to prioritize exercise as part of one’s life and wellness journey. Everyone is struggling with their own journeys: all the more reason to make this particular experience fun, engaging and uplifting. For Feinman, WIllow Tree Studio has become a reflection of the things that we learn when we get older: that it is super important to take care of and listen to your body!

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A Hot Summer's Day with Sandy Parsons

History & Ice Cream

Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm is a family-owned and run farm that has been in the family for generations. When you stop in, you feel like you are stepping back in time and cannot help but feel the history and warmth of the farm.

In 1996, brothers Chris, Michael and Patrick Connolly purchased the dairy operation from their parents. Now known as Connolly Brothers Dairy, the farm produces dairy, meat, maple syrup, and ice cream, as well as various gift items. All of these goodies are for sale in their spacious farm store.

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I stopped in for an ice cream on a hot June day. I could taste the quality cream and ingredients with every cool and enjoyable bite. Pull up a picnic table and polish off a single serving or take a larger container home (or both, like I did!).

In the farm store, you’ll also find intriguing items made by other members of the Connolly family, including lotions and soaps with milk from the cows. The family also creates unique stone slabs shaped into coasters or serving boards made from fieldstones gathered right on the property. They often come across schist, quartzite, and metavolcanic rocks, all of which are abundant in Southern New Hampshire. Cleaned, polished, and expertly cut, these hyper-local gifts come with a great story to share.

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With all these offerings of food and gifts, it is 100% worth a drive to visit. Stop in soon!

You'll find them at 140 Webster Hwy in Temple and you can also give them a buzz at (603) 924-5002 with questions before your visit. 

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