According to Men’s health Manchester, NH has an A rating for happiness only beaten out by Honolulu, which let’s be honest sunshine and happiness are in the air and water in Hawaii, but New Hampshire has had this silly reputation for being cold and wet. Many people think it snows all year here, that’s only on Mount Washington and I don’t think they will let you live up there and from someone who’s hiked it, trust me, you don’t want too!
So how has Manchester beat out cities in California, Texas and sunny Florida? Well Men’s Health did some statistical research based on the suicide rate, the unemployment rate and the number of people on antidepressants and Manchester fell in second place. Is this because we are a freer state? Is it because we enjoy our weather and all of it challenges? Are we just healthier? Are we more innovative? I’m not sure. Let me know what you think…
The Smithsonian Institute has recently determined, statistically, the best small towns to visit in America. Towns considered had to have a populations of less than 15,000 that have exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural blessings. Hanover, NH was named 13th out of the 20 best small towns to visit.
Hanover was also ranked number 2 in 2007 and number 6 in 2011, in Money Magazines Top 100 best small towns to live in.
Drinking Around New Hampshire returns for blog number 2! This time I visited Flag Hill Vineyard & Winery in Lee, New Hampshire. Flag Hill is a little piece of California set in charming New Hampshire scenery. All of Flag Hill’s wines are local. The grapes are grown right on the property and all of the fruit is purchased locally!
Flag Hill was founded originally as a family owned and operated vineyard in 1990. Their first grape sale was in 1994 to the New Hampshire Winery in Henniker. Flag Hill produced its first wine in 1995 which was released in 1996. They produced 500 cases and 4 different types of wines. Today Flag Hill has six varieties of grapes and 13 types of wine as well as in 2004 they added a distillery.
So that’s a very brief history of Flag Hill, onto my visit to Flag Hill. Flag Hill is a really beautiful natural looking vineyard like something you would see in a photo from Sonoma. A large old farm house surrounded by vineyards on either side stands facing the road as you pull up to the well-marked winery. The tasting room is around the back in a well maintained vintage barn. It’s a large rustic building. Inside is a warm offering of wines and wine drinker gifts in the gift shop. In the back of the room is a large bar for tasting.
The tastings at Flag Hill was free. I was shown a menu of what was available for taste. The front of the menu was wines for tasting and the back was spirits. I enjoyed five different samples of wine while I was at flag hill; two white, two reds and a fruit wine. The first white wine I tried was the Vignoles. It was light and mildly sweet. It was summer day/ porch relaxing kind of wine. I enjoyed it especially since it was freezing outside the day I tasted it, and it made me think of summer days! The Cayuga White Had the same effect, which was the second white I tried, except it was a bit sweeter. I sipped some tasty red wines next. The first red was the Flag Hill Red. This red wine was earthy and dry. Next was the De Chaunac which was lighter in flavor but sweeter. From there I tried Flag Hills’ Wild Blueberry wine. This wine was hands down my favorite wine! It wasn’t too sweet and held onto the delicious character of the blueberry. Just for fun I also tasted the Sugar Maple Liquor. WOW, is all I can say! For those interested in a tasty breakfast martini, this liquor will make it or an apple pie martini?? Just some suggestions! It was a very tasty liquor.
Flag Hill works with Cocheco Valley Human Society in their Uncork the Love campaign. This campaign helps raise money for the animals in the shelter. One bottle of the Uncork the Love wines, raises almost $4.00 a bottle for purchased for the Humane Society. Great way to give back and enjoy a glass of wine! I purchased the Raspberry Rabbit. Flag Hill makes an excellent Raspberry Wine!
Flag Hill also provides beautiful wedding services. They can perform you ceremony and your reception. Our server told us they were almost completely booked for this year and were booking into 2014. Also on a fun note Flag Hill has name a liquor after our very our General John Stark, so if you are a Vodka drinker let me know what you think!
As part of my drinking around New Hampshire Series, I thought I would share this amazing bit of prestige for Throwback Brewery, one of New Hampshire’s nanobreweries… Throwback has won the title of being 1 of the 10 best nanobreweries in the US according the Bon Appetit Magazine! Congratulations Throwback! Your brews have always been enjoyed in my home!
Hundred Nights is an emergency cold weather shelter in Keene New Hampshire, open from December through March. This shelter, started by Don Primrose in January 2010, is a volunteer/ donation run charity. They offer a resting place on cold nights for those who have been displaced or are homeless. They cater to individuals and families.
On March 30th they are hosting their 2nd annual Hundred Nights’ Masquerade Ball. This event will be to help raise money for the shelter. It will include dinner, a cash bar, dancing and a silent auction. Tickets are $40 with a guest purchased before the event or $50 at the door. Please check this event out. It’s a fun night out and great way to give back to the New Hampshire community!
Mom Prom is a nationwide event that came to New Hampshire three years ago. It was started in Canton, MI with a desire to raise money for a local charity and for women to have a great night out. Women get together to get dressed up in their best or tackiest dress and bring awareness to a charitable cause, in New Hampshire they are raising money for St. Joseph’s Breast Cancer Center.
On April 20th Mom Prom Nashua will be hosting there 3rd annual Mom Prom event. It will include snacks, one drink ticket with a cash bar, dancing, a photo booth, and a silent auction. Tickets are $50. This event will help kick cancer out of our lives and help improve the quality of care offer to patientsfighting breast cancer. Please check out this event! It’s great night out for women!
Local shopping isn’t limited to the little locally run shops downtown. They are great and I recommend checking them out to everyone but what about locally made shopping? The stay at home mom who knits the cute caps, the local wood carver who creates bears from logs or the local farm who turns seeds into veggie feasts, they aren’t always easy to find. We search the net, craft sales and expos to find these fun treasures.
So I’ve found a few for you to check out.
Castle Berry Fairs is host 3 different local crafts events around New Hampshire.
These are great opportunities to check out local crafters and find some great gift but that’s not it. Don’t forget to check out NH Made’s website. They have a great calendar for local events. They offer links for the farm to restaurants connections, NH Farmers’ Market Association, NH Winery Association, New Hampshire Cheese Maker Guild and more. This is a really exciting site for NH goods, products, and events.
This last event I’m really excited about, it’s the 18th annual Made in NH Expo. It offers a wide variety of New Hampshire Services and products wines, desserts, chiropractors and more. The current list of vendors seems endless. It is April 5-7. Tickets are just $9 for endless tastes of NH. It is being held in Manchester at the Raddison.
New Hampshire has an ever growing local wine industry. Currently there are about 21 wineries in New Hampshire that have wine you can purchase locally, whether it is from the grocery store, the state liquor store or directly from the winery itself. The New Hampshire Winery Association has even published a map of all of the wineries in the state.
Of course wine drinking doesn’t stop at local wines, although they are amazing. New Hampshire does provide a state liquor store on most major highways. Wine can be purchased at the grocery store and even local wine shops, like the WineNot Boutique in Downtown Nashua or the Wine Studio in Manchester. If you’re in a pinch some beer stores like Beer Store NH also offer wine. There is always the gas station which often sells wine as well.
Oh course now we are all curious where I’m going with this, well here it is… WMUR posted on their website that New Hampshire has the #3 highest wine consumption rates per capita per state. Now #1 was DC, which, well to be frank isn’t a state since we only have 50 states not 51. With that said New Hampshire is still really high on the list. So is this because we are super wine drinkers or is it because Mass, Vermont and Maine jump the border to buy their wine here because it’s cheaper or does New Hampshire really enjoys their wine? I can’t say for sure but I found the stats interesting. Check out the link below for WMUR’s post.
Chocolate brings smiles to the masses. Whether hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake or just delicious chocolate by itself; it can’t help but bring out the best in all of us. When we see the sweet treat a smile come to our faces. We know it means a brief sugar rush. It’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac. So it only makes sense that someone should throw a Chocolate Fest, right??
Well tomorrow, March 9th from 12 – 2pm at Colby-Sawyer College; chocolate lovers will converge for the 18th annual Chocolate Fest! Tickets are just $10. This festival will include “best chocolate” and “best display” in which festival guests will be voting for the winner. This is an event not to miss! So if you are in the Lake Sunapee region swing by and if not head that way or you may have to wait till next year and it’s chocolate so that’s just not worth it when you can taste the region’s best chocolate!
Every year as winter begins to lose its bite and the temperature starts to break away from freezing during the day and creep into the forties maple trees start to produce their sweet sap. At this time collection of the clear fluid begins by a tap in the tree collecting the sap in a bucket or by piping it to a collection station. The sap is brought to the sugar house where the sap is turned into syrup by boiling the water out of the syrup. 35-50 gallons of sap is needed to make just one gallon of maple syrup depending on the sugar count in the sap. The syrup this then filtered and bottled for us to take home and enjoy.
New Hampshire will be celebrating the Maple Syrup production process on March 23rd and 24th when over 110 sugar houses will be opening their doors to celebrate and educate us about the sweetest food found in New Hampshire. The weekend will include learning how maple syrup is made, samples, horse- drawn rides and of course pancake breakfasts. Make sure to check out your local sugar house!
When most people think about potatoes they think Maine or Idaho but what about New Hampshire’s potatoes? I’m not talking about who’s the most prosperous potato producing state in the industry, but who has adopted the white potato as their state vegetable. New Hampshire has as of mid-February.
Why the potato, you may ask? Well a group of fourth graders from Derry Village School in Derry, New Hampshire were research the white potato when the discover the place the white potato first grew in North America was Nutfield, New Hampshire now known as Londonderry, the birth place of General John Stark. I’m not suggesting he or his family grew the first potato but it was first planted by an Irish-Scottish immigrants. The state of Virginia weighed in on this, claiming that Virginia grew the first potato but they have since withdrawn their claim. The students requested the state house make the white potato the state vegetable. After some debt about the potato and a consideration for broccoli as the state vegetable the students request was approved.
So a little about white potatoes… White potatoes also sometime called Irish Potatoes. Potatoes are edible starchy tubers. They are in the night shade family with bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. They were first brought to Europe after the invasion of South America. They were adopted into the English and Irish diets. When the Irish were migrating to North America they took this dietary staple with them and began producing in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire no longer grows potatoes commercially but they can be purchased as part of the fall harvested at most local farmers markets. They can also often be purchased at winter markets because they store well in root cellars or a cool dry location.
For those of you curious the state fruit is the pumpkin as of 2006!!
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve