Breakfast on the Connecticut

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Post Mills Balloon Meet

May 25th, 2017 by donnanandersen

What a wonderful time.  We had some guests call for a last minute stay, they were already on their way up from Boston.  We were, of course, happy to oblige.  Little did we know that they were going to tip us off to one of the most wonderous things a human could witness….the Post Mills Experimental Balloon Meet.  Our guests were long time Balloonies (my word, not theirs), and although their particular hot air balloon wasn’t experimental and, thus,  unable to fly at this meet, they assured us that it was worth the trip for them.  In turn, it must be worth the 20 minute drive for us!  The balloons were scheduled to take flight at 6pm on Saturday night.  Of course we would want to see the preparations that must be needed for such a science as this.  So we grabbed our dog and a blanket, picked up a pizza on the way, and headed for the Post Mills airport around 5pm.  We arrived with the crowd, and were soon having a picnic with a few hundred new friends.  It is pretty easy to make friends when you travel with your friendly four-legged fur ball, and when everyone else in the area either has their children, baby-bump, or dog with them as well.  Seriously though…so many babys!!  There was a nice breeze, which I was grateful for as it was keeping the bugs at bay…. until I started hearing the rumblings of the crowd.  Rumors started swirling that it was too windy, the balloons couldn’t take off.  So we gave it a little time, and around 7 decided that it wasn’t going to happen and started to pack our things.  As we stood to leave, we heard one brave balloonie start the fans to air up.  It was pretty dicey in the wind, and they got a good rise out of the crowd as it tipped this way and that, but I’m pretty sure he had it mostly under control.  It didn’t take long, 15 minutes and he had it hot and took off like a rocket, and as he did the winds died right off and we could see everyone else start to unpack the experimental rigs that they had brought as well.  Let us explore this “experimental” aspect for a second.  That pretty much means home-made.  Some had the normal baskets hanging underneath, some had what appeared to be sturdy lawn chairs, with the pilot’s legs dangling down to the earth below.  All were beautiful.  Back to the point.  It was amazing.  We were right in the thick of it, nobody was roped off from the staging zone.  As you watched one with envy and wonderment, you would be surprised by another popping up right behind you, close enough to touch.  They grew seemingly from the ground, and away they went…racing the dark to get in just a little bit of time in the air above the wonderful Upper Valley before finding a suitable landing zone.  The wind was pointing SE, which is the direction of the Breakfast on the Connecticut.  As we drove home and could see balloons that had landed here and there, we crossed our fingers hoping some had seen our fields lining the Connecticut river and decided on one for a landing.  Alas, maybe next year.  I assure you, we’ll be going again.  Come along, we can carpool.  

In Flanders Fields ……

May 24th, 2017 by donnanandersen

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend when we remember all the men and women who died while serving in our country’s armed forces. For most individuals, Memorial Day represents no more than a three day weekend with an extra day off from work. But for most Americans, it should be so much more. It was conceived shortly after our nation’s bloodiest conflict, the Civil War. As a nation, we lost over 600,000 lives in that terrible time and until just recently those numbers were greater than the total of all lives lost in all America’s other wars. What was lost and what should be remembered is that these lives were fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, sons, daughters and living relatives loved by many. What was lost and should be remembered were friends and lovers. What was lost and should be remembered was maybe another Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Jonas Salk, John Glenn, Muhammed Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa. When I was in grade school in Canada, I memorized a poem written by John McCrae who penned these words in 1915 after he presided over the burial of Canadian Lieutenant, Alexis Helmer:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow,

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

we are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

So when you are enjoying this weekend’s many recreational activities with family and friends, take some time to remember and reflect on those who helped to make this weekend possible. Put a flag or a flower on a vet’s grave and say thank you.

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste.

May 9th, 2017 by donnanandersen

Oh, if only that were true.  Taste I have, but wealth, well…..  We are the new innkeepers here at Breakfast on the Connecticut!!!  What to say?  Where to begin?  Lisa and I (Benjamin) have often wondered to ourselves what it would be like to live the life of Innkeepers.  One evening, bumbling around on craigslist as I do sometimes, I came across a very nice listing looking for a couple, not necessarily dripping with innkeeping experience, but curious about the lifestyle.  That suits us right down to the ground, so here we are almost 3 months later….sitting in a beautiful inn, on a hill above the river, in among the trees, with a light smell of coffee and sweet rolls lingering from another successful breakfast of experimental recipes.  What’s not to love?

I’ll start with myself.  I hail from Missouri, detoured to Colorado for a short bit, then made my way to New Hampshire a dozen or so years ago.  I came for a seasonal position with the Appalachian Mountain Club, which turned into full time work, which turned into a love of the area that will never fade.  There is just something about the White Mountains, rough and rugged yet so incredibly accessible.  Brutal winter days, and cool summer nights: I am truly a lover of all seasons.  In the warmer months you will find me perched atop one of my bicycles.  Mountains, roads, mountain roads, anywhere I can go on two wheels I’m pretty happy.  An early adopter of the new fancy, fandangled fatbike, I have been able to extend that love into the frozen months as well – though I need to split that time with skiing.  Luckily, when the skiing is good, the biking isn’t, and vice-versa.  My resume is long and eclectic…while I will spare you the details, it ranges from being a line cook, to a sous chef; bike mechanic to timber framer; barista to early childhood educator.  I find that I am content if I am working with my hands and learning new things.  Here at the Inn my main tasks will be breakfast chef (self proclaimed) and handy man extraordinaire (self proclaimed).  I have set up a nice little shop in the wonderful barn on the property where I hope to make whos-its and do-dads made from wood, and possibly try my hand at a little boat building…though I may be a little optimistic at the amount of spare time that I have to do such things.  The main thing I have to look forward to right now is spending the rest of my life with Lisa, whom I will be permanently hitched to (legally) come July.

This seems like a good place for me (Lisa) to step in. In classic Yankee form, my grandfather will tell you that I am not a native of New Hampshire because – despite being a member of the fourth generation of my family to be raised in Henniker, NH – my mother didn’t move to Henniker until she was 10 years old – making me one-half from “Away”, and therefore, most certainly, NOT a native. Either way, I do have New Hampshire in my soul and despite several brief forays to other places (Vermont, Colorado, even the U.S. Virgin Islands for one summer), I keep coming back home again. I am an avid outdoors-woman – it is a “hobby” that has frequently consumed my whole life. I went to Green Mountain College for a degree in Environmental Studies and Recreation (yup, they have degrees in recreation)- with a semester-long detour backpacking, canyoneering, whitewater kayaking and rock climbing my way through the west with the National Outdoors Leadership School. I then returned home and settled into life in my beloved White Mountains. I began by working for the Appalachian Mountain Club as an instructor leading teens on backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing and whitewater trips (and, unbeknownst to me at the time, meeting my future husband). The life of a seasonal worker suited me just fine for several years and allowed me to dabble in teaching environmental education to students on the hiking trail, working at an eco-resort on St. John, teaching snowboarding, working as a naturalist, serving as a caretaker in backcountry huts and even to take six months off to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine back in 2012. When the thrill of applying for new jobs every few months wore off, I returned once more to the AMC to work full-time as a coordinator for their residential, environmental education program, A Mountain Classroom. My main role here at the Inn will be translating all those skills I developed in booking school groups into taking reservations and booking your stay here! I have big plans for getting my hands dirty in our garden too. Of course, I’ve also already begun some very technical “research” into the area so that I can help point our guests in the right direction when they are ready to get outside and play in the woods and waters of the Upper Valley (field notes from today: Lyme Town Forest is beautiful – but watch out for porcupines!). In my spare moments I’ll be stamping our wedding invitations and enjoying the extra time each day I get to spend with my best friend and partner in crime, Benjamin.

Gundi is our golden-doodle pup – just over one year old now. Supremely friendly, no-shed and hypo-allergenic, he’s the perfect greeter for all of our guests. Inn life is suiting him just fine – he has found all the best spots to lay down and watch the people go by, and finds the grounds here at Breakfast on the Connecticut to be just right for running, sniffing and fetching sticks. Plus, the river offers great swimming and duck watching – what more could a dog ask for?

A move, a career change, wedding planning…we’re juggling it all and couldn’t be having more fun.  We can’t wait to meet you and make your stay with us as comfortable, fun and tasty as possible!

Gone Fishing!

May 7th, 2014 by donnanandersen

National Fishing and Boating Week  June 1 - June 8, 2014

National Fishing and Boating Week June 1 – June 8, 2014

The incredible Will Rogers said “If all politicians fished instead of speaking publicly, we would be at peace in the world.”  Now expand that to if they fished for a week during National Fishing and Boating Week, June 1 – June 8 when you are able to take your family fishing for FREE with no license required on public bodies of water!  In the words of John Lennon’s song – IMAGINE – the possibility of world peace for a week or just maybe, longer.  For New Hampshire, June 7th is our free fishing day – a perfect opportunity for beginners to try out fishing for the first time.   Breakfast on the Connecticut is right on the Connecticut River – take out one of our canoes and see why so many feel that fishing brings a serenity of the mind.

Baby Animal Day – Billings Farm, Woodstock, VT

April 5th, 2014 by donnanandersen

Baby Calf at Billings Farm

Baby Calf at Billings Farm

Babies are a little bit of heaven on earth and there is nothing sweeter than the smell of a baby after a bath.  And as our babies grow they are fascinated by the babies in the animal kingdom.  So the cutest day of the year in the Upper Valley is Baby Animal Day at the Billings Farm in Woodstock, VT.  You get to see up close newborn lambs, calves, ducklings, chicks and more.  There are children oriented crafts and, of course, wagon rides.  What an incredible way for children to welcome spring and the rebirth of the world around them.  Especially after this winter that didn’t want to end.  Mark your calendars – April 19, 2014, 10:00 am – 3:30 pm at the Billings Farm, Woodstock, VT.

12 Years A Slave, Lyme And The Underground Railroad

March 17th, 2014 by donnanandersen

Lyme Center Academy Building

Lyme Center Academy Building – Home of the Historical Society

John and I recently saw the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, 12 Years A Slave.  I had purchased the book on one of our numerous trips to Civil War battlefields.  You know how you always worry that if you have read the book you will be disappointed in the movie – filmmakers have a tendency to produce a movie for one overriding reason “Show Me The Money” (as in the memorable words from another movie).  Not so with 12 Years A Slave – the book is powerful but the movie more than adequately displays the brutality and the dark side of so many southern plantation owners and their overseers.  With that backdrop , I was delighted to learn that the Balch House in Lyme was an Underground Railroad safe house.  Lyme Underground Railroad agents had heavy fugitive slave traffic because of its proximity to Canaan, New Hampshire.  Once a month, fugitive slaves were taken from Canaan to Lyme and then across the Connecticut River into Vermont towns.  The story is told that one night slaves arrived at Samuel Balch’s house just a short time ahead of agents in pursuit.   When the agents arrived Samuel  Balch gave them permission to search the house with Mrs. Balch giving them a stern admonition not to wake the children that were sleeping upstairs.  The agents opened the bedroom door and found the children asleep tucked underneath the quilts.  They left empty handed.  But cleverly tucked under the bedroom covers and out of sight was a slave woman.  When it was safe Samuel Balch moved that slave woman and the others to the next stop on the Underground Railroad.  Lyme, NH has a wonderful historical society housed in the refurbished Academy Building where you can learn more about its past.  Breakfast on the Connecticut is proud to be located in Lyme where so many past residents not only “Talked the Talk” but “Walked the Walk”.

 

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch – Or Is There?

March 4th, 2014 by donnanandersen

Enjoying the Connecticut River

Enjoying the Connecticut River

Recently I traveled with my daughter to a conference in Portland, Oregon where she was presenting a paper.  I will leave the plane odyssey for another blog but since I am in the hospitality industry I will comment on the accommodations.  We stayed at the site of the conference which was housed in a major hotel chain.  First item on the agenda – if you wanted WIFI you paid for it!  I could leave the hotel, pop into the Starbucks on the corner and voila, I was connected.  If I wanted a bottle of water – well that was available in my room but at $2.75 per bottle – OUCH!   Breakfast – well that was available at two different locations in the hotel but had to be purchased.  And have you seen the prices of Room Service lately?  A bowl of oatmeal was $11.75 and if you wanted a few berries with that you were charged an additional $2.25.  Renting a car meant that you had to pay for parking.  For years the B&B industry has had a promotion titled A Better Way To Stay.  At most B&Bs access to WIFI is free, beverages are free, breakfast is part of the room charge and in many instances is quite gourmet and parking, well that is free.  In New Hampshire, Breakfast on the Connecticut pays to the state a view tax – the better the view the higher the tax.  Our view of the Connecticut River and the hills of Vermont is free and can be enjoyed for hours while you relax in one of our Adirondack chairs.   Maybe not a free lunch but certainly A Better Way To Stay!

A Quilt Retreat – A Modern Day Sweatshop?

February 16th, 2014 by donnanandersen

1890 Sweatshop in New York

1890 Sweatshop in New York

Quilt Retreat, January 23, 24 & 25, 2014 sponsored by Barnyard Quilting at Breakfast on the Connecticut

Quilt Retreat, January 23, 24 & 25, 2014 sponsored by Barnyard Quilting at Breakfast on the Connecticut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In another century, sweatshops were common in the United States.  Hours were long, working conditions were poor and dangerous and pay was low.   Well, a quilt retreat with 20 women may resemble a sweatshop only in the area of quantity of tools and machinery but that is where the comparison ends.  There are no quotas to be met only those that are self imposed; you can find women working at midnight but that is by choice; the working conditions are light filled and spacious with three terrific meals and snacks all day; and the pay/reward is any number of beautiful creations that will be kept or given away to family and friends.  And you can always take some time off, cross the Connecticut River to Fairlee, Vermont and visit Barnyard Quilting to feed your passion.  I am a quilter and I found the conversation, the quilters, the sharing of techniques and ideas motivational.  I have started to finish those projects that sit by my sewing machine.  It is great way to unwind from my daily routine at Breakfast on the Connecticut.

 

Free Lakefront Property – Seasonal

January 20th, 2014 by donnanandersen

Bob-House - What's on Hand Construction

Bob-House – What’s on Hand Construction

A Very High End Bob-House - All The Comforts of Home

A Very High End Bob-House – All The Comforts of Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you have always wanted a place on the lake but money, or the lack of it,  has been the sticking point.  Well I have the answer – A BOB-HOUSE!  Those are the small sheds you see on the ice built for the ultimate fishing enthusiast, an ice fisherman.  Most bob-houses are anything but beautiful but on the ice they seem as if they belong.  Their roughness seems to match the below-zero winds and temperatures that move across a lake during winter.  On the bigger lakes in New Hampshire, such as Winnipesaukee, it seems as if entire villages spring up.  Years ago, there were so many on Winnipesaukee’s ice that they even had their own post office box with mail being delivered right to the bob-house. We have them right here in Lyme on Post Pond!  Free lakefront – no one inspects them- no one will tell you to build them to code.  But you will need to add to the outside some reflectors so that a snowmobile will avoid it at night.  And of course you must remove them usually by April Fool’s Day or before the thaw!

Moving On Frozen Water – Ice Skating

January 14th, 2014 by donnanandersen

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Currier and Ives – Skating on the Pond

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Skating on the new rink on the Lyme Green

Growing up in Canada, winter was a busy time.  We would come home from school, grab our skates and off we would go to the rink – every school maintained a skating rink.  We would skate or play hockey until dusk, oblivious to the cold.  One hundred and fifty years ago, Currier and Ives romanticized the iconic scene with the lithograph, Skating on the Pond and last week a local, Peter Tenney, photographed the skating activity on the Lyme Green.   The clothing has changed but the enjoyment has not. For those skating and hockey aficionados you can venture over to Lake Morey and take a turn or two on their maintained 5000 meter skating track – it is better to rent a pair of Nordic skates.  Or if hockey is in your blood then the Lake Morey Pond Hockey Tournament, February 7 & 8, 2014 may be your cup of hot chocolate.  Breakfast on the Connecticut is only minutes away from Lake Morey and the skating activities.  You know, water is not only for drinking and swimming – when frozen, so many avenues of enjoyment open up.