Exploring for Food and Fiber

Yesterday, Colette and I explored the countryside for food and fibers.  Specifically, we were headed to Harrisville, New Hampshire.  The draw to Harrisville was two-fold.  Firstly, it is the town that Tasha Tudor used as the inspiration for her story “Corgiville Fair” (and its sequels), and being a big fan of Tasha Tudor, I wanted to see it for myself.  And secondly, I wanted to visit the fiber studio in that town about which I’ve heard so many amazing things.
Inadvertently taking the long way to get there, we were very hungry for lunch once we finally arrived. The only place to get food was the Harrisville General Store, which was a nice blend of deli-grill and general store.  And, yes, Colette is sporting a new hair style!

She order the burger, and I had a BLT.  It was just a humble BLT, but it was simply the best one I’ve ever had!  Fresh summer tomatoes, baby romaine, local bacon, and rye bread…yum!!!

Fortified with tasty, warm food, we set about on foot to explore the quaint and peaceful small town.  Harrisville was, and IS, a mill town, and as such, it needs water for power.  The local lake was lovely and still on this quiet, cool summer day.

Some of the original mill buildings.  The second one is still in use, and I’ll take you for a look inside in a bit.

The town is filled with lovingly kept historic homes and buildings.  A clear pride of ownership and devotion to preserving the past is evident.

This house had a fabulous old gas lamp. I wonder if it’s still operational?

Then we headed for the mill that is still operating, Harrisville Designs.  Their website had this interesting little tidbit:
“Woolen yarn has been spun in the water powered, brick mill town of Harrisville since 1794. This small village is nestled in the Monadnock Highlands of southwestern New Hampshire and is the only industrial community of the early 19th Century that still survives in America in its original form.
In 1977, the Department of Interior designated Harrisville a National Historic Landmark.”
Water flows beneath the mill (when the gates are open) and powers the equipment inside. (Actually, I guess I am uncertain if they still use the water power for the inside equipment.)

Time to go inside…

Harrisville Designs offers a wide variety of fiber products and classes.  Knitting, weaving, felting, spinning…they do it all!  And they make and sell looms too!

I do believe I might want to come back someday and take one of their 1-hr. weaving classes, just to see if I like it.   To read more about Harrisville Designs, click here.

Craftsmen & View from the Top of the World

Today, I took an R&R day and went to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair at the Lake Sunapee Ski Resort.  It’s an annual event, and I’ve wanted to go for years, but have never seemed to find the time.  But today was the day!
There were 350 vendors set up in tents at the base of the ski slopes.  There were demonstration tents, hands-on tents, food tents, and craftsmen/vendor tents.  And it was a perfectly glorious summer day today too!

So many talented craftsmen sharing and selling their wares!  I gravitate towards the more traditional, so these were the lovely items that captivated me the most…
…beautiful tiger maple furniture made by a talented cabinetmaker…

…handmade fly fishing rods!  Not that I fly fish…or fish at all.  But I do love the beauty of movement of fly fishing, and just find it a manly and captivating recreation.

…traditional canvas floor cloths!  I just might be tempted to come back for one of these sometime.  I’d love a small, narrow one for the pantry.

…wool rug hooking…

…and basket making.

Beyond what I am naturally drawn to, there were so many beautiful, artistic items on display.  For some reason, perhaps inspired by the bright blue sky and the very green grass of the ski resort, my eye was caught by primarily blue and green pieces today…
…gorgeous pottery…

…unique pieces from stone.  Wouldn’t that lamp be great in a lake house?

…a very talented printmaker displayed his work in process and then the finished product.  I loved his scenes from New England.

…and beautifully fluid blown glass work.  This first one was a huge, lawn sculpture.

And, in my opinion, the most amazing items of the day were these luxurious handwoven rugs.  Ooooo…look at the colors!  I wish you could’ve felt them…so soft, yet sturdy.

When I was done studying and enjoying this visual feast, I decided to ride the ski lift to the summit of Mt. Sunapee.  I was grateful to God for providing such a beautiful day to take in the view.  The ride up was pretty all by itself…nearly silent except the sound of the wind rushing through the trees, riding high above the ferns and the wildflowers — black-eyed susans and goldenrod.

And the 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside was truly breathtaking!

Lake Sunapee far down below.

The ride down was even more gorgeous than the ride up, because the wind was whooshing in my face, the scent of the woods was so strong, and the view was spectacular!

The Craftsmen Fair was wonderful, but the view from the top was THE BEST!
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