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!

The Changing Lake

Lake Winnepesaukee has more than 283 miles of shore; the water way is 15 miles wide and 25 miles long. The ever-changing weather in the skies above are reflected in every ripple of the lake.

This Sunday started with showers, with grey skies, mist and fog obscuring the mountains in the distance. But the day changed almost hour-by-hour. The clouds shifted from angry, dark grey to puffy streaks against a baby blue background.  The view from the lake by boat or even just standing on the dock of the house is something to behold. Our short trip to hang out in Braun Bay was a highlight . We paddled in the water for a while and watched a loon swim for food and were treated with the call of the loon – which is always infectious.

After Sunday dinner, Doug and I decided to take a quick evening ride by boat to Centre Harbor. We glided through the nearly flat water, passing beautiful homes and a few other boats. The Mount Washington was on an evening cruise. After docking at Centre Harbor, we walked to Red Hill Ice Cream; got two small cones and walked back to the dock as the sun was beginning to set quickly. I snapped a photo of three boys fishing off the dock. Their playful innocence on an August evening was delightful to see; made more special in the waterfront setting with beautiful summer flowers.

The sun had set as we approached our vacation house. We glided in smoothly to the dock – and were greeted by my brother..and a special visitor – Shelby the dog. It seems Shelby had wandered from two houses down Lunt Lane. Shelby almost seemed sad to go back to his home – but his owner was pleased we walked him back home.

What will the lake bring tomorrow?

Return to the Lake

The thing about vacation is the journey getting there. Why does it seem that it takes forever to get to your destination? Looking back on the past 48 hours, I’m so happy to be back at Lake Winnepesaukee, but now I’d like the clock to just slow down.

The Moultonborough house here in New Hampshire is just the same as I remember. It’s nothing fancy, but offers spectacular views of our little piece of the lake and plenty of places for six adults to have whatever personal moments they’d like. Doug successfully launched the boat at Long Island for the short ride to the dock at the house. We were so incredibly happy to be getting her Saturday, that we forgot to eat lunch. Steve & Sue (brother & sister-in-law), my parents and us towing the boat were in our separate vehicles. We met at the BJ’s in Tilton, shopped there and at the Shaw’s supermarket next door, then made our way to the rental office in Centre Harbor. Doug, mom & dad headed to launch the boat while Steve, Sue and I went to the state store in Centre Harbor and picked up a few extra things at the Heath’s grocery to kill time before we could get the house key.

The next hours were about unpacking, checking out the house, getting dinner ready and most important, saying “hello” to the lake once more. After a spaghetti dinner with grilled sausage and salad. We toasted day one in the house, then Doug took us for a boat ride around Long Island. We admired the waterfront homes, watched the sky change as the sun started dipping to the west and even saw our first pair of loon of the week. Dusk led to a night of rain showers, but the peaceful night with the drumming of rain on the rocks and landscape led to a wonderful Sunday morning pancake breakfast (thanks, Doug!) and fruit. Why does everything taste better on vacation???

We’re having a lazy Sunday and may go visit Adam at Camp Robin Hood. May the clock tick ever-so-slowly.

The Loon are Calling

View from the Moultonborough vacation house

 

It has been a long while since I’ve posted a blog. And that’s really a good thing. My business is going well; my family life has been full and busy and I’ve been around friends more often in work and play. I suppose the major delay in writing again has been hip surgery. That has been a big change in my life over the past nearly seven months or so.

Our wonderful weekend trip to San Francisco in January put me over the top when it came to the pain I was experiencing in my right hip. Doctors advise that when your pain becomes so intense that you can’t get through your everyday activities, then it’s time to do something about that pain. In February, I went literally crying to Doug telling him I was going to do something about my hip pain. He barely knew I had any problem. No one knew. I really lived with the pain day-to-day for several years until it got so bad, I could not sleep at night or walk stairs without intense pain.

Fast forward to May 9th for hip surgery at Rothman Institute. While I experienced major surgery and had a difficult time wrapping my head around that, the pain I had for so long was gone immediately. Since I had continued going to the gym leading to surgery – no matter how painful – this helped my physical therapy in many ways. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be on board with exercise and strengthening and then have a body part replaced. I was never on a walker as most hip replacement patients are for as long as a week; I was on crutches for two days and a cane for a week. I was done with physical therapy after about eight visits and continued all of the prescribed exercises for weeks on my own. I continue to go to the gym three times a week and am about 95% of where I want to be. The remaining 5% is the healing of the nerves in my upper right leg which remain numb. It’s still a little sore around the incision which I discovered last weekend when I batted a fly off my by slapping my leg. OUCH!  So, I’m still careful not to bump into things. The incision itself  is healing nicely.

With that major change behind me (literally), I was back to work for the summer months while Adam began his position as a first year aid teaching archery at Camp Robin Hood. As usual, the summer has been a growing experience for him. It’s great to see him happy and enjoying the transition from camper to staff member and doing well. As usual, the summer has flown by. Doug and I had our summer of dates that included trips to Toronto to see the Phillies; a weekend and a day trip in the Chesapeake, and day trips to Brigantine, Barnegat Bay and of course, the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

But what we all work for is vacation. We are fortunate to be able to adjust our business calendars to have a long vacation this year back in the land that we love so much: New Hampshire. We’ll be spending time with my family, then Doug’s, as well as Adam’s friend, Andrew joining us along with my friend, Donna.

What is it about vacation that makes the few days leading to vacation so incredibly stressful. Not that I have as much stress as I used to in broadcasting, but the “to do” list is crazy. All week there have been so many tasks and chores to do; clients all of a sudden need your help and advice on something or other (no worries..that’s a good problem to have) and I just KNOW I have forgotten to do something critical!

Now, I breathe deeply knowing the fresh, New Hampshire air and the beautiful lakefront house is just a couple of days away. The solitary call of the loon will no longer be a memory – I’ll hear that sound at mornings and at dusk; we’ll visit “S’More” Island once again; we’ll enjoy family and friends. I’ll be writing lakeside to chronicle yet another bucolic respite in the Granite State.

 

 

 

 

Unofficially – officially, summer’s ending

The calendar shows the truth with a couple of weeks left in summer. Our attitudes and moods are reality, though. Summer 2010 is behind us. For this writer, it’s been a non-stop list of events and happenings that make me long for next summer. On the other hand, I’d like to slow down the clock just a little and savor the moments.

Riding the waves of Labor Day weekend - Brigantine

From Saturdays and Sundays on the beach in Brigantine to the most beautiful family and friend vacation ever in New Hampshire, I’ve enjoyed the weeks from mid-June until Labor Day. Each person I’ve spent time with from friends and family to colleagues and random strangers, has helped make this a summer to remember.

Watching our son and all students head back to classes is nostalgic. Watching the parents at the store with the print-out of school supplies from the teachers makes me long for those elementary

Donna & Doug fly a hull - Brigantine

and middle school days that are behind our family now. Adam is looking ahead to his junior year and all the vital decisions that face him affecting his future. Life is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, so I continue to enjoy the moments of rest, relaxation recreation and yes, baseball joy and despair as we face the prospect of October baseball with the Phillies.

For this moment, I reflect on an outstanding summer with memories to fill a picture book. For those of you who spent time with us this summer, thanks for those memories! (Photos courtesy Sean Kardon)

All Good Things

The cool wind shifts in Moultonborough

The wind in New Hampshire has taken a noticeable turn. While the breeze is still refreshing and clear, the 10 to 20-mph gusts are creating white caps on our little piece of Lake Winnipesaukee. The sky is crystal clear and the greenery vibrant and whooshing in these winds. The sun is warming things up a bit, but there is a slight chill letting us know that it is time for a change.

While the boys and men hike Mount Major about an hour from our vacation house, we are enjoying a bit of quiet while starting to pack our things for the long ride home tomorrow. It is always bittersweet ending a vacation. The memories are countless: discovering the simple

Simple pleasures 1

pleasures of swimming and floating on a calm lake with two families tossing balls; heading to Smitty’s Golf to hit a few buckets of balls and discovering – we’re not bad at this;

Simple pleasures 2

enjoying a local classic car show and gobbling pizza and salad at Pizza Barn in Ossipee; canoeing and rowboating out to an isolated, tiny island in the lake and building a small fire to toast marshmallows and make s’mores. Earlier in the week, we again enjoyed Rocky Gorge, nature’s swimming sight that Disney could never replicate, along the Kancamagus Highway around Conway, NH.

Simple fun at Rocky Gorge

The simple pleasures also include one of the boys thanking me for the great ideas that filled our second-to-last full day on vacation. We had to improvise given that our boat decided to konk out Wednesday afternoon. The fix could either be simple or more complex, but my husband reminded me we have boated more in these past two weeks than we ever have on vacation here in New Hampshire. We discovered new parts of the lake where we had never been before and I got to drive our boat several times enjoying how it glides across the waters and seems to have been made for this area.

The loon have been so incredibly active during these two weeks. In the past, there have been vacations when we did not see or hear a loon once. Nearly every night and morning, the call of the loon reminded us how

precious nature is. The lack of car and airplane noise and the vivid scenery that is present always in this

Simple pleasures 3

Sunset from "S'more" Island

place let me know that I will return often to find peace and joy.

I have said often that I find myself here in New Hampshire. That has been reinforced once again after a two-week respite. I have managed to get a little work done and enjoy restful, stress-free days and nights. We realize reality will face us with work and school in the days ahead. But during those stressful moments that will inevitably strike, if only for a second, I can close my eyes to find my happy place – a scene in New Hampshire frozen in time in my mind’s eye.

Adventures in Rocks, Friends and other Wild Life

Vacationing with friends is a wonderful thing – if everybody “gets it.” You can make meals together or separately; you can do activities together or separately; you definitely need a rhythm to get the bathroom thing done efficiently.

Week two of our NH adventure is going swimmingly. The four boys are enjoying canoeing together and seem to be sharing their bunk room well – though I will not go in there. (I can only imagine what it’s like in a room with four teen-aged boys.) The grownups are a hoot. The day revolves around what activity to get to next here at the lovely Moultonborough house. The lake called us – so we went boating. Doug followed the Lake Winnipesaukee

Andrew leaps into the lake

map and we got to what used to be called “Girl Scout Island.” There we found a huge rock formation that was OK for leaping 15-20 feet into the lake below. We had docked our boat around

The rocks with training wheels for the less brave souls

the other side of this small island. Other boaters anchored just off the rocks so they could watch the crazy guys hurl themselves off the rock and into the lake. Doug was the only grownup in our group to attempt this feat. Adam and Andrew made the jump several times. I was the official photographer (are you out of your mind???? ME jump??). We motored over to another smaller rock formation in the same cove area. Everyone but me got up the nerve to jump the 6 feet or so into the lake. I was thinking too much (Don’t think – just jump).

Mealtime is a real test of how you are all getting along. We almost never run into each other in the kitchen area and the prepping, cooking and cleanup routines go extremely smoothly. It’s great having teen-aged boys who will empty the dish washer, take care of the pans in the sink and take out the trash – all with little or no whining.

The trip about 15 miles to the remote Sandwich Creamery in Sandwich, NH was the highlight of the day. The dairy is open 24/7 for ice cream, cheese,

Donna and her friends enjoy Sandwich Creamery

eggs and bread. But the shop during non-business hours is a small cabin with a screened door. The ice cream refrigerator has three different sizes of

Exploring a tiny island off our vacation house

ice cream and about 10-12 different flavors. The upright refrigerator has a selection of cheeses and eggs. It’s the honor system for paying. You slip your dollar bills into a mail slot, grab a wooden spoon and enjoy! Outside, the calves come up to the fence and enjoy handfuls of grass from Donna while we all marveled at how she adored these animals.

Even today, which is a bit damp and gray, we’ll have a day filled with heading to town, checking out a movie and trying candle-pin bowling (a very New England thing).

Adventures await.

The Dance of the Loon

Ethel Thayer (Katherine Hepburn) cried to her  husband Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) in “On Golden Pond,” “Come here, Norman. Hurry up. The loons! The loons! They’re welcoming us back.” While day three of our NH vacation is starting out gray and damp, the dance of the loon on Danforth Bay is unmatched in its wonder.

This morning, there was no mist, just a light breeze from the east and the chirping of countless birds to wake the day. In the flat water, I saw rings fanning out as though a fish had jumped. Looking closer, I saw the unlikely silhouettes of two loon dancing in mirror opposite on the water. They seemed to peck at each other; dip their long beaks into the water to snap up some bugs, then they’d disappear in unison below the surface to swim maybe 15 yards underwater. Then they’d pop up again on the surface, repeating the dance.

It is quite unusual to see two loon together. They are solitary, aquatic birds – except when they are mating. According to The Loon Preservation Committee, what I apparently saw this morning was the male and female doing short dives and swims together in their mating ritual. The male eventually leads the female to a suitable spot on land, but near the water, to mate and build their nest. Typically, nesting takes place in May or June, but it’s possible this male loon had a failed mating attempt with another female and has found another mate to try to start their family.

As far as I can tell, no one on Danforth Bay saw this display of nature this morning. Navigate to this link to hear the call of the loon – it is like no other. Voice of the loon http://www.loon.org/voice-loon.php