Cider Pressing Day

Certain aspects and events herald the changing from summer to autumn here in New England. The appearance of pots of mums on granite doorsteps. Piles of pumpkins at the farmstands. Heaps of just delivered firewood ready to be stacked. And, for our family, attending our friends' cider pressing party...a delicious sign that autumn is just around the corner. And today was the day!

They have a lovely farm high atop a hilltop, and there we all gathered to press heirloom apples from their orchard.

The apples had been picked and delivered by the cartload to the pressing area.

Then they were moved into huge, galvanized tubs and given a fresh bath.

Then they moved on to one of the two presses...a motor-driven press or a hand-crank press.

Liquid gold deliciousness!

Favorite photo of the day! Photo credits to Colette.

So blessed by the generosity of our friends! We came home with four jugs of fresh-pressed for now, and three for the freezer.

Sunflowers in full bloom by the barn?...just another sign that the seasons are changing!

Hikers, Hotel Grandeur, and a Bear

When Max isn't working, he can usually be found hiking some peak in the White Mountains this summer. Last weekend, he and two hiking buddies were feeling ambitious and made plans to hike 10 peaks in the Presidential Range. In case you're wondering, that's approximately 25 miles of one day...up hill and down hill. And they did it! They started in the dark and they finished in the dark. The only little glitch in the plan is they couldn't finish where they started, so they needed someone to come and fetch them from their finish spot and return them to their car at the starting spot. So, I was asked if I could do that for them.

Hubby was busy replacing our deck stairs, so Colette and I quickly and eagerly agreed, because we knew we could hang out at the Mount Washington Hotel and wait for the call to come get them. And any chance to linger there is okay with us!

But first, we went to see the charming little town of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. (As an aside, on the way we spotted the headquarters of Garnet Hill! Who knew they were based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire? And they have an outlet! Sadly, we arrived just as they were closing, so I'm putting that on my "must visit" list!) But I digress, on we went to Sugar Hill. This town is most known for it's charming church, cozy bed and breakfast inns, and its lupine festival. The lupine festival is on my "must visit" list too.

We easily found the church and walked all around it admiring the architecture and the hydrangeas in full bloom. My car is parked behind this church...between the church and the woods...remember that.

We returned to our car, drove around that driveway, and back out onto the street, passing the church and the woods on our right. And just then(!)...a bear ran out of those woods and straight across the road in front of our car. "BEAR!" I shouted. Then we realized that we had been very close to that bear. That was a little frightening, but at the same time we were quite thrilled to see a bear, since it was the first time we'd seen one since moving here. 

Then it was on to the Mount Washington Hotel! 

Here's a little bit of its history from their website:
The Mount Washington Hotel was built by New Hampshire native Joseph Stickney, who made his fortune in coal mining and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Stickney spared no expense in building the imposing hotel. The latest design and construction methods were used. Innovative and complicated heating and plumbing systems were installed. To this day, the Bretton Woods Hotel has its own private telephone system and Post Office.

Ground was broken in 1900 and construction was completed in 1902. Two hundred and fifty Italian craftsmen, skilled in masonry and woodworking, were brought to Bretton Woods and housed on the grounds. A new type of power plant served reliably for over 50 years.
Imported china, hand-colored postcards and playing cards and a 1917 travel guide show genteel mementos of an elegant legacy. On July 28, 1902, the front doors of this Grand Hotel opened to the public with a staff of no less than 350.
- See more at:

The hallmark of the Mount Washington Hotel is its enormous wrap around porch. A seat on any one of its wicker chairs affords a sweeping view of the surrounding mountains.  Ahhh...I could sit there forever!

The elegant lobby of the hotel.

I've now discovered my favorite place to eat. I love outdoor seating, but have you ever noticed that finding one where you can't hear traffic noise is almost impossible? And here? traffic noise. None. Just the quiet majesty of the mountains beyond.

The view to the left of our dining spot. Ahhh.

It was a bit chilly after dinner, so we sat by the fire, under the watchful eye of the moose.

At long last, the call from the tired hikers came, and we picked them up from their finish spot. We'd picked up some sandwiches from Subway for them on our way up north, and kept them cold in a cooler. I didn't know foot-long subs could be inhaled that quickly! Hungry, tired, and victorious!

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