The Finale

Not wasting a minute of our final day here in Moultonborough, we quickly planned a day on the lake. After a quick breakfast, the serene water pulled me in. Doug and I went for an awesome canoe trip to the point where we are and around the bend and one island. There were birds, bugs, rocks, a gentle breeze, warming sun, the occasional barking dog and such peace that it should be bottled and patented. If more people could experience serenity like this, there would be no toxic arguments – or at least there’d be fewer arguments.

After the ride back at the house, we tried to encourage Andrew & Adam to come with us on our last adventure on the lake for this vacation. I’d packed lunch for us all – but the boys decided they’d rather stay at the house and head out in the canoe a bit later. Believe it or not – they actually did take a canoe ride and eat lunch.

Doug and I first got some gas, then headed to a section of the lake we had not been to before. We went to the town of Glendale which included a marina, the N.H. Marine Patrol and “Snuffer” the fire rescue boat and the Lyons Den Restaurant which is supposed to be quite good. People were waiting for the place to open as we got there before noon. After a walk on shore and on the dock, we motored out, noticing all the beautiful houses – some large – some small – but all waterfront and just delightful. We headed to the shore of Ellacoya State Park. The shore was also dotted with homes; there were swimmers and boaters, but it just wasn’t quite right for what we were looking for. We continued along the lake passing Welch Island, then Sleepers Island – that actually has an old castle on it which is now someone’s home. Across from Sleepers Island was a cove where about a dozen boats were anchored in an area that had a great sandy bottom , with water shallow enough to just float around and enjoy the sun and the glorious day. We had lunch, lounged around in and out of the water; had a catch and enjoyed each other’s company. It’s also fun watching other people enjoy their family, friends and their boats.

After a couple of hours, it was time to move on. We pulled up anchor and headed around Treasure Island and back toward Rattlesnake Island. We made our way across The Broads and back toward Long Island. We were back at the house around 2:45. Unfortunately, it was time to starting the trip home by taking the boat out of the water. For the first time all week, I had mom-son time. Adam drove the boat the five-minute ride from the house to the public ramp at Long Island. It’s always easier to talk with your son with no other interruptions. That was the highlight of my day – that five-minute ride.

Adam expertly guided the boat onto the trailer with Doug acting like he was directing and airplane on the tarmac. (Quite amusing) Dinner took us to Tamarack near Weirs Beach. Doug had a craving for a lobster roll – certainly something you can’t get at home. I stuck with a salad and clam chowder (or chowdah as they say up here). I asked for lobster on the salad. I ended up with more lobster on my salad than Doug had on his lobster roll. The guys also chowed down with fried shrimp for Adam and a lobster roll for Andrew. It’s interesting to note that I have never stood in line for take-out food and faced a $73 tab. All that lobster is not cheap! But oh, is it ever good.

Now, it’s time to pack up our things along with our great memories of this wonderful place. My heart is here – I find true happiness here – I love this place – the loon will welcome us back as they always do.

Melancholy, Baby

We love vacation so much because we get to be somewhere out of our element; experience things we don’t see or do at home and enjoy the company of people we care about. In all the places I’ve been in my years, there is no other place that makes me feel so happy and fulfilled. New Hampshire has become more than a vacation destination – it feels like home.

This morning, the two of us enjoyed some breakfast then took the boat out for a spin on the lake. We had no particular destination in mind, we just wanted to glide on the clear, flat water feeling the warm sun and enjoying just being here. We ended up at Bear Island where you can see what’s happening on the lake via a web cam that is live inside the house right there on the point of the island. Check it out here. I texted my brother who is back at work that we were in front of the camera – and he saw us on the boat. Very cool.

We motored over to Greg and Theresa’s house to say, “good morning” and see them and the kids which was a treat. They paddled around in the water outside their house. The morning sun was getting much warmer. We saw a very small turtle sunning himself on a rock. We gave the Breskins a lift over to cousin Barry’s house so they could pick up their shared boat for a morning spin around the lake and take the kids tubing again. We headed back to our house for some lunch.

Adam and Andrew decided THIS was the day they were going to sleep – forever. When we returned at 11:30 a.m. – they were still fast asleep. The two of them wanted to go experience Monkey Trunks, a climbing, zip-line, rope adventure located next to Fun Spot at Weirs Beach. We headed there and dropped them off so they could tire themselves out some more.

That led me to my 2 p.m. followup doctor appointment. Not a lot of news there; just confirmation that I am healing and I could consider cutting back my mondo doses of antibiotics. Enough said there.

By the time we went back to pick up the guys at Fun Spot, they were finished on Monkey Trunks and spent more time playing games at the arcade. Driving back, I just couldn’t face the refrigerator of leftovers, so we decided to eat at The Village Kitchen. Funny, all the years we’ve passed the restaurant, I thought it was called “Country Cookin’. Those letters are larger on the sign than the name “Village Kitchen.” Anyway, we found what is probably New Hampshire’s version of a local diner. It seemed there were a lot of local folks there. The food was OK; the service very nice and the total bill for four people – $49. No complaints.

The highlight of the day happened as we came home offering Andrew a boat-driving lesson. He excelled – and enjoyed. A few rain showers that passed through left a rainbow; the lake turned a beautiful shade of pink with a purple and gray sky. If only this could be home.

 

 

The Skies Clear – Finally

After nearly two full days of rain, we awoke to sunshine – finally. They say even a rainy day on vacation is better than a day at work. But in all the years we’ve been coming to New Hampshire for vacation, we have never had so much rain.

We maximized the good weather because it appears more rain will be coming. The delicious baked french toast Donna made for breakfast was a great way to start the day. Doug took Erica and Don out for their farewell boat ride since they  were heading back today. Donna went for a long walk while I packed up lunch for a planned excursion on the lake. Arline came by and decided to join us. We made the trip to Green’s Basin in about 15-20 minutes. The lake was a deep blue contrasting with the baby blue sky. So many boats were zipping by and nearly everybody waved almost as if to say, “Hey, aren’t you just loving this day after all that rain?”

We revisited the big rock in the middle of the bay which is part of a state or county park. We anchored so Andrew & Adam could take a dip in the lake and swim to the boulders. They climbed up like monkeys; talked about how they would approach their first jump  – then – AHHHHHH… there they go! They did the jump a few more times. Adam then decided he wanted to swim from where we were anchored to the other big rock in the bay. It had to be about a quarter mile. I watched every stroke. He did breast stroke, a little side stroke and freestyle – and he made it. Nice job!

Donna and I along with Andrew swam from the boat to the rock and climbed up. I wish I could have my camera with me to shoot the scene on the rock and all around me. boats were going past – and an ice cream boat came up. The boys had Ben & Jerry’s bars. By then, Donna and I decided we should make our way back to the boat for lunch. I was happy I was able to maneuver on the rock much better than last year..thanks to the new hip.

We enjoyed our lunch, then headed back to our dock for a relaxing few hours. Doug & Arline paddled around in the lake; Adam & Andrew read or played on their computers; Donna and I chatted while sunning on the dock. While Doug and Arline boated to Greg & Theresa’s house to take the kids tubing, I prepared dinner which turned out pretty well – chicken on the grill, veggies and potatoes in the oven, corn and baked beans.

We invited the other Breskins over for dessert and they ate just about everything – we had ice cream, lemon poppy pound cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies.. almost all gone. The only odd thing that happened is we have a strange odor emanating from one spot in the kitchen. No, it’s not the trash can, under the sink, refrigerator or dishwasher. It’s just a strange smell that I hope is gone by morning.

Unfortunately, Donna will be gone in the morning. She will be flying home leaving just the four of us in this great house. The Breskins, Barry & Joan and Carol & Herb will remain – but our vacation is starting to come to a close.

The Lost Day

Rainy days and Mondays  – ah, you know the rest of the Carpenter’s ditty. Monday evening was outstanding with family getting together for a delicious meal at Canoe. I was remiss in mentioning my outstanding sister-in-law – Erica and her talented beau Don. Erica is always great with the kids and keeps the adults conversing as well. She enjoyed ordering tasty treats for the folks sitting around her last night – not to mention a great bottle of wine – (Thanks!!). Later in the evening, Don gave us a wonderful demonstration on his accordion. Now it’s not a mainstream instrument that you see every day – especially on vacation.We learned that Don has been playing since his was a child. He played a few lovely tunes that made me want to sit back and have a cigarette – except I don’;t smoke. He spent a good while showing Andrew the basics of the accordion which he really enjoyed.

A good night’s sleep led to a rainy start to Tuesday. Unfortunately, my wound from the other night showed some complications. We headed to Lakes Region General Hospital where we feared we would be tied up for hours. IN ONE HOUR – I was registered, triaged, treated and released. Now, I’m on some mega antibiotics. I’m resting this afternoon and hope to be much better tomorrow.

As we move toward another dinner hour, the skies are at last, clearing. Friend, Donna arrived yesterday and we’ll enjoy our first meal with Doug, the boys and me and whoever else pops in for the evening! Donna was gracious to drive Adam & Andrew to Fun Spot near Weirs Beach. Doug went to hang out with Greg, Theresa and the kids. Now, it’s time for the healing to begin – again.

Let’s take a ride on the boat – the sky is clearing and the sun is setting on another day in paradise.

Another Week at the Lake

We said sad farewells to mom, dad, Steve & Sue at 9 this morning. Their first visit to New Hampshire was filled with exploration, good food, laughter and family time. Now, the tide turns to the second week for visits by more friends and family.

After a ride into Meredith this morning for some errands, I returned for lunch with Doug, Andrew and Adam. Cousins Sean and Shelley were a short ride away spending today through Tuesday morning with us. Adam and Andrew went out with Doug for a boat driving lesson. Sean and Shelley arrived. It was so nice to welcome THEM for a change. We are always welcomed by them to their condo in Brigantine – now it’s our turn. After they unpacked, Doug too all but Shelley out on the boat to treat Andrew to some tubing. Sean loved snapping shots of Andrew skipping with speed across the lake in the tube. His face was frozen in a perfect smile loving the thrill of the ride. I drove the boat while Doug water-skied a little.

Happy hour brought the snacks and drinks out. Doug and Sean took a ride to find Cousin Barry & Joan’s house and welcome them to NH. Dinner comes soon. Lobster dinner was outstanding. the $5.79 per pound lobster was cooked up by Doug. The lobster was accompanied by sweet NH corn on the cob and salad. Adam and Shelley enjoyed fresh salmon on the grill.

Dessert at Greg & Theresa’s house was a great time to visit with the young Breskins. Everyone was a bit tired so we called it a night early after playing some games with the kids and enjoying some sweets and wine.

Monday brings rain, rain – and wait for it – more rain. We have NEVER been in New England when an entire day was a wash out. Today was that day – and here at 8:30 p.m. – the rain continues. It’s likely we’ll have more rain into Tuesday – but we have high hopes for clearing skies.

As with any vacation, you make lemonade. I headed to the gym to stretch my knee a little. Donna arrived later morning and then headed off to explore the Center Harbor/Moultonborough area on her own. Because of the rain, we cancelled plans for the family dinner at the Town Docks and arranged plan B making a reservation for 18 at Canoe – a terrific restaurant in Center Harbor. Doug and I ate at Canoe last week.

Before dinner, we loaded up everyone in the cars and went to Moultonborough Store. I picked up a few games for the kids to enjoy at the restaurant. By 4:30 we were back in the cars and headed to Canoe.

Family dinners can be disasters or they can be glorious. We enjoyed the latter at a table for 18 at Canoe. Our wait staff Shen (short for Shenandoah) and Steven were wonderful. From lobster mac and cheese to scallops and burgers, we enjoyed wonderful food while dabbling in conversation with family we just don’t see so often. Watching everyone enjoy each others’ company and talk, laugh and eat good food is just something to be so completely happy about.

Enjoying the children, event the grownups and just being together is what this vacation is all about. Tomorrow, Sean and Shelley travel on to Ogunquit, Maine; Donna will come to our house to stay for two nights and hopefully – the rain will stop.

The Scene of the Crime–All is Not Lost

The P.S. to the “I Scream for Ice Cream” post came minutes after I had posted the missive. I shut down the computer and grabbed some things to take downstairs to my bedroom. The stairs were dark; the light switch was to my left, but it never occurred to me to turn it on. I had descended these stairs many times. They are wooden, steep and narrow with a right turn that includes three steps. However, I stepped on just one of those three steps and took a tumble to my left. My faced smashed into some boating equipment stowed in the corner; my left leg twisted and I guess I used my left hand to try to block the fall. Doug, Adam, Steve & sue along with my dad came rushing to the stairs. Doug saw the blood and was a little scared. I was probably in shock. Long story short. I’m banged up, but went to a doctor and I’ll heal quickly – I hope.I think we should put a chalk outline of me sprawled out at the bottom of the steps.

Andrew arrives -with a surprise --no hair!

Friday included picking up Adam’s friend, Andrew at the Manchester airport. Adam was shocked when he saw that Andrew had shaved his head. He couldn’t believe Doug and I had NOT told him about Andrew’s hair. The look on Adam’s face was worth holding back. We got back to the house mid-afternoon. It was the last day and night with my family, so dinner was an event. We made chicken kabobs and then decided to take a boat ride to Meredith to The Town Docks for ice cream. I had a delicious cone of chocolate peanut butter yogurt. Mom, Sue, Steve, Adam and Doug along with Andrew also enjoyed their choices.It was nearly dark when we headed back in the light of a full moon. We watched the end of the Phillies game on my computer. I turned in – I was exhausted from the physical damage to myself and the long day.

I Scream for Ice Cream

Jolly Island on Lake Winnepesaukee

There’s a hint of autumn creeping into the New Hampshire air. The nights are cool since showers passed through in the past few days. Sunshine and those amazing clouds filled the sky throughout the day. A brisk wind made it a good sailing day; it was about as choppy as it gets on Lake Winnipesaukee. We boated from the house in Moultonborough to just below Weir’s Beach where Doug found gas for 40-cents a gallon cheaper than the marina about a mile by boat from the house.

Let’s not forget the big event of the day. Adam is back with us after his summer as an archery counselor at Camp Robin Hood. About 9:20 this morning Adam texted Doug asking, “When are you going to pick me up?” Funny thing is, he never let us know when he’d be finished working on the last day of  camp. We picked him up around 11. He made his sad good byes to his friends at camp and was quiet in the car for about 10 miles. Then, he opened up about some of his camp activities including when the police questioned two car loads of counselors because they were hanging out in a parking lot figuring out where to eat dinner one night when they had off. All went well, though – no one got in any trouble. Adam’s looking forward to getting his pay check since he spent all of his spending money.

After a terrific family dinner with all of us at the table (steak, corn & salad), Doug, Steve, Sue, Adam and I went to play mini-golf, then had ice cream at Kellerhaus at Weir’s Beach. The place has been around forever. It’s a combination gift shop and ice cream buffet. We ordered our sundaes and “dressed” them at the sundae bar. Yum!

The moon is nearly full; the stars are bright – I’m still looking for that shooting star during this wonderful vacation.

Dinner for 2

Mid-week brought rain to this piece of heaven. You always have plan “B” when you have a house by the lake. The gray rain clouds hugged Lake Winnepesaukee for most of the morning. Now that I’ve been away for a few days, it certainly is tougher to get out of bed. I could have easily slept much later – especially during a rainy morning, but why waste a day?After getting a batch of work done for some clients, I headed to the gym. Getting my sweat on is always helpful in clearing the cobwebs. more than an hour later, I picked up my coffee – a special treat – at Winnepesaukee Baygull and the Laconia Citizen (newspaper) and headed back to the house.

Enjoying breakfast and the paper is always part of my day – but it’s made more special when you get to read headlines like: “Muskrats Drop Opener in Keene,” “Local Sailors Win Regatta,” capped off by reading the fire and police logs; such is life in a small town. Doug and I moseyed into Centre Harbor where I went to stores we had never visited before. “Yikes” is a great artisan shop with terrific artwork, jewelry, furniture and clothing. When I checked out at the register with my purchases, I struck up a conversation with the woman whose been working there and at other craft stores for some time. When I told her we were from the Philadelphia area, she told us that Happy Fernandez, the retiring president of Moore College of Art, lives in Sandwich – about 20 minutes from Centre Harbor. Ms. Fernandez served as a city councilwoman and also ran for mayor. It’d be funny to see her up here – so far away from how I knew her in Philly.

The afternoon brought clearing skies – but not enough to do any boating. There was more work to do anyway, so I took care of business and got “happy hour” ready for my family for when they returned from a trip to Freeport, Maine and the L.L. Bean factory store. We made plans to have dinner at Canoe in Centra Harbor. We’d heard good things about the restaurant, so this would mark our final night this summer without Adam.

What a great choice we made. The restaurant has a lovely cabin-type atmosphere with dark woods and comfortable chairs and tables. The wait staff was very attentive. We noticed the portions were huge – so I opted for the smaller portions offered in the appetizer/salad section. Emma was our server and she timed everything perfectly. After cocktails, our dinners came – I decided on the chopped salad with seafood cake (sort of New Hampshire’s version of a crab cake) and a side dish of mac & cheese. Doug enjoyed the seafood stew. While we ate another round of showers passed through along with some impressive lightning and thunder.

We returned home to say good night to the lake – and right on cue – the loon called into the night.

Back to Sandwich Creamery & a Midsummer Night’s Pee

Discoveries today: 20-mile Bay, caterpillars sink, there are BIG rocks in the lake and Sandwich Creamery DOES have sundaes.

In the movie  “You’ve Got Mail,” the store was called “The Shop Around the Corner.” Today we visited “The Bay Around the Corner.” Lake Winnepesaukee is huge. Now that we have the boat, we’re enjoying finding places we have never visited before. Today, we wanted to take a quick ride, go for a swim and come back for lunch. Doug now has a Lake Winnepesaukee app that gives him great guidance on where we’re going. Turns out 20-Mile Bay in Melvin Village on Route 109 is about a 5-minute boat ride. It would probably take 20-minutes by car. We anchored in the middle of the bay; Doug inflated the big, blue tube and I floated around for about half an hour. Doug had the music on and we just – relaxed.

The afternoon was a lazy one. Of course, I got the energy to sweep the deck and rearrange the deck furniture; I read a book; worked and answered email and decided to have bottomless Skinny margaritas. THAT was a good decision. Why not? Late in the afternoon, Doug came in with a new friend attached to his hand – a big, green caterpillar. After he showed it to the family, he decided to feed it to the fish in the lake. He discovered caterpillars do not float. the thing sank straight to the bottom. He sure was pretty – the caterpillar, that is.

Doug decided to take my brother, sister-in-law and mom on a boat ride. When they returned, my mom said that Doug hit a rock in the lake. I had visions of the boat sinking and a huge loss. Fortunately, he was going slow and just brushed a rock; the damage amounted to some lost paint. (I hope.)

Dinner took us to Lobsterquest in Ossipee – a 40 minute drive. We will have great memories of mom and dad sharing a twin lobster dinner with Doug giving them directions on how to eat a lobster; Sue trying her first steamer (she loved it) and Doug giving terrific instructions on eating lobster and showing us his formerly pregnant lobster.

On to dessert – It was back to Sandwich Creamery. It’s a place you’ll never find anywhere. This is a dairy farm tucked way off the beaten path – and when that path ends, it’s on a long, winding dirt road. When you think you’ve made the last turn – you still have a quarter-mile to go. But the shack with the screen door, ice cream freezer case; refrigerator case with fresh eggs and cheese has not changed. The place is open until 10 p.m. but no one is on duty. You pay for your ice cream, cheese and eggs on the honor system. And this ice cream is worth the winding, dirt road to get there. The do indeed have brownie sundaes in addition to select flavors such as Almond Joy, black raspberry chocolate chip and coconut. The best part is showing this place to people who have never been there before. My sister-in-law asked how we find all these places. Many we just wander upon – others we hear about or read about. We’ve been coming up here for 15 years – Doug for much longer – so we’ve found many nooks and crannies.

Riding home from the creamery, Sue really had to go to the bathroom. We were riding through Center Sandwich where a play was underway upstairs at the Town Hall. The front door was open so Doug pulled over and Sue jumped out to quickly find a ladies’ room. Steve went with her for moral support. A couple of minutes later, the play upstairs, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was reaching some sort of crescendo. Sue was walking out the door when one of the actors upstairs shouted in fear – Sue hit the roof in innocent fright.  Thus – a Midsummer Night’s ..pee. Literally. Another great day.

Monday, Monday

Monday “rush” hour in Moultonborough, New Hampshire means six cars on Moultonborough Neck Road toward Route 25 – instead of two cars. It’s just about seven miles from the vacation house to the main road and the views are such that you have to remember you are driving and need to watch the hills and the double yellow line. I always love the lupin growing wild on the side of the road. They look like long, purple paint brushes growing in clumps – wild and free. The sides of roads often look like a Monet painting with bursts of yellow, purple and pink wildflowers.

Once I got out to the main road this morning, I went into gym-rat mode. Because I have really accepted that I need to be a gym rat and work out three times a week for about 90-minutes, I knew I could NOT go without visiting a gym – even during vacation. When we came up to NH a few weeks ago to visit Adam at camp, I paid a fee to visit the gym that is closest to our vacation house – about 15 minutes by car. I swiped myself in and immediately went into my routine. about 90 minutes later, refreshed and ready to go for the day, I went “in to town” – such as Centre Harbor is. One traffic light – one grocery store – the liquor store, a couple of cafes, a good restaurant (Coe House) an a beautiful waterfront. I included a photo yesterday of the three boys on the dock – that’s Centre Harbor. I went into Winnepesaukee Bayguls (cute) and snapped up a delicious Green Mountain coffee and a half-dozen bagels made fresh at the shop. Next door, a cafe and bakery was the source of a corn muffin for Doug.

Doug had already been out on the boat when I got back from my morning jaunt. He scouted out the vacation houses where his brother and his cousin will be staying next week and filled the boat with $130 worth of gas. OUCH! We decided to take a trip to Wolfeboro – by boat. That’s a MUCH better way to get to Wolfeboro than by car. It would have taken at least 50 minutes. Speeding through the nearly flat water, we got to the dock in less than 30 minutes.

Doug had packed a delicious lunch that we ate after we tied up at the dock. The weather was quite warm, but the skies started threatening. We stopped in a couple of shops. I bought a birthday card for a friend and walked across the street to the Wolfeboro post office. I think I saw Norman Rockwell there. This place was probably nearly as it was 75 years ago. The postal worker even hand-stamped the birthday card envelope with a Wolfeboro stamp. Quite cute.

We decided to head back and then the skies decide to open up. We were leaving the dock and ducked down below the windshield just peeking enough over the dash to see where we were going. Then, we beat the showers. We were past the rain clouds and back in the sunshine. Amazing how the clouds break up over the lake and dissipate. We cruised around an area of the lake we had never seen before. The homes were actually more like compounds. Huge houses with three-boat garages on the lake. Impeccable landscaping and gorgeous, sandy beaches were part of the homes by the lake. The prices had to be $5 million and up. Dream on.

Doug and I swam in the lake after returning from our little trip. Before we knew it, it was time to start helping with dinner. My parents, Steve & Sue spent the day on a trip to Mount Washington. They got back around 4:30. Dinner by my brother was terrific – pulled pork, delicious local corn-on-the-cob,

After water skiing near the house

salad, baked beans and macaroni salad.

The best was yet to come. Doug had a need for speed – on water skis. That meant we headed out in the boat again. We were able to ski about 500 yards off the house as the sun was starting to set. I was the boat driver – which is very stressful. I don’t want to screw up. Thankfully, I didn’t. Doug enjoyed skiing; I did a good job driving the boat. And nobody got hurt!