Anniversary Celebration

We recently celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary! Love my man! We feel so blessed for all the years we've had together! Technohubby planned a surprised getaway for the two of us to the historic, beautiful, and romantic Hancock Inn, the oldest inn in New Hampshire (c. 1789).



One of the previous owners of the inn was a man with the last name of Fox, and the inn's doorknocker (as well as other little touches throughout the inn) bear witness to that bit of history.


We stayed in the Franklin Pierce room. Franklin Pierce is the only U.S. president to hail from the state of New Hampshire, and was a personal friend of the inn's original owner.



This is a cozy reading nook tucked under the eaves just off the second floor sitting room.


We took ourselves on a self-guided walking tour of the historic district of Hancock using a handbook the inn owned. We enjoyed following the map and reading about each building along charming Main Street in Hancock. Here's a glimpse at a few.





Hancock's meetinghouse is one of the finest anywhere. It was built c. 1820, and we learned, through our guide, that it was moved to its present location in 1850. Can you imagine moving such a structure?...in 1850?!? But more than that, it was raised and a town hall installed on the first floor, making the sanctuary on the second floor. The second floor windows were then lengthened. The side view clearly shows the building alterations.



We had a lovely dinner later that night. I had their famous cranberry pot roast. Yum! And the next morning, we enjoyed an incredible full breakfast, accompanied by the innkeepers' dog, Potter. So sweet!



We really couldn't recommend the Hancock Inn enough! Just fabulous!

Easter Celebration

We had a joyous Easter celebration, and hope you did too! The four of us had a breakfast of omelettes and of pastries that...were not homemade...because sometimes, we just Trader Joe's! Then we went to church and heard a fine sermon and sang praises to God for His gift of salvation in Christ!

Then it was home for an egg hunt with the grandkids. I made the girls coordinating Easter dresses and wool coats. So fun to sew for them! The coats were lined in the same fabric as the dresses. 



It was a fun year for egg hunting, because (except for the littlest one), all the kids were old enough to fully participate. Such fun watching them!





Credits for the beautiful table and all the baking this year go to Colette!


An impromptu invitation to a young couple to join us resulted in a great deal of silly fun, balancing checkers on noses and eyes.


An unattended Easter basket was a score for the dog! (Pretzel fishie crackers and teddy grahams.)


A fun gathering of friends and family around the table! Precious memories!


Easter Menu


Easter Menu

Appetizers

- fresh vegetables with dip -
- crackers with Beecher's Macro Polo (black peppercorn) cheese -

Main Meal

- spiral-sliced brown sugar-coated ham -
- skillet roasted baby red potatoes with garden chives, sea salt, and pepper -
- garlic butter roasted carrots -
- fresh fruit salad -
- hard-boiled eggs -
- homemade cloverleaf rolls -

Desserts
- lemon tart -
- chocolate-raspberry cheese cake -

Sights and Tastes of Vermont

I have a few more pictures to share from the little excursion Colette and I made to Vermont last week. 

We left early in the morning, so we could eat breakfast at The Copper Grouse, a lovely restaurant in a brand new hotel, the Taconic.




Enjoyed the porch a bit before we left there to visit some of the nearby outlets.


Later, after touring Hildene, we walked around the historic area of Manchester. Our first stop was this shop. While the sign boasted guns, there were none inside. But if Lord and Lady Grantham needed to go to a shop to be properly outfitted for "the grouse", this would be the shop! Gorgeous!



Across the street, was the historic Equinox Hotel dating from the 18th century.


We had a scrumptious dessert in the tavern of The Equinox...flourless chocolate cake with fresh berries, whipped cream, and port reduction. Mmmm.


The church across the street from The Equinox.


And what would a trip to Vermont be without stopping to admire a covered bridge (even if you're being blinded by the sun)?



Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, we had lunch in a local Irish pub. The street was lined with American flags on one side and Irish flags on the other.



Wearing o' the green!


Lunch!


For dinner I made Potato Cheddar Irish Ale Soup. And dessert was Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Frosting. A quite delicious day! And a beautiful sunset to end it all.


Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

Maple Season and Maple Walnut Cake

Here in the northeast, we've had an unusually warm winter. Periodically, we have a day of light snow...like today. But for the most part, the snow has all melted, and the ice has melted, or is in the process of melting, off all the ponds and lakes.



The waning days of winter in New England mean the start of Maple Season! The sugar shacks all over the state have sweet smelling steam belching from their stovepipes and a steady stream of visitors come to watch the boiling process and stock up on maple syrup.


I love the sight of sap buckets hanging from the maple trees! This fine line of sugar maples is on the campus of Colby College. 



Maple season always calls for at least one maple treat to celebrate this first crop of the season! Last week, I tried a recipe for Maple Walnut Cake. In one word...delicious!


I found the recipe at this blog, and I give full credit to the author. However, there were some conversions necessary for American audiences, plus I've fixed an omission and added in some details. So, with full credit to the original author for creating a fabulous dessert, here's my amended version:

Maple Walnut Cake

1 c. pure maple syrup
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Glaze ingredients
2 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
5 Tbsp. milk
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
2. In a bowl, whisk together: maple syrup, melted butter, and sour cream. Add egg and vanilla, and whisk again till the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Then add the toasted walnuts and toss thoroughly to coat with flour mixture. Add the flour/nut mixture to the maple syrup mixture and mix till well incorporated and smooth.
4. Spray a 9" x 9" baking pan with cooking spray, and then line the pan with parchment paper. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes or till a skewer inserted in middle comes out clean
5. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
6. While cake is cooling, combine all glaze ingredients until smooth and lump-free.
7. Carefully remove cake from pan by lifting the edges of the parchment paper. Set cake on cooling rack and loosen sides of parchment paper from cake. 
8. Using a long skewer, poke random holes down into cake, and while still warm, spoon about half of the glaze over the cake.
9. Let cake cool completely. Serve with additional glaze to pour over each slice.
Cut into 12 or 16 squares.
Happy maple season!

Touring Hildene

This week, Colette and I went adventuring in Manchester, Vermont. (Unfortunately, we were several miles into Vermont before we realized that we left my camera at home. So, it's cell phone only pictures for this posting, I'm afraid.) Our main purpose in going was to tour Hildene.

Hildene was the summer home of Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln. He was a lawyer, a diplomat, Secretary of War, and president of the Pullman Company (as in train cars). The estate has retained 400 of its original 500 acres. It cannot be seen from the road. But turning in at a small sign, we traveled a long way down a dirt road until suddenly...there it was!




We paid the entrance fee at the visitor's center, and then proceeded on to the self-guided tour of the house. Here's the view of the grand staircase, with the front door to the right.


The first room we saw was on the ground floor, just behind the staircase, and it was Robert Todd Lincoln's bedroom. It has its own private door that exits out the front of the house.


His cozy study.


Another study-like room. I loved the paneling in this room and assumed it was mahogany. But a sign informed us that it was locally-sourced poplar stained to look like the costlier mahogany.


The elegant dining room, with the sun streaming through the windows and the table set for a meal, was our favorite!


The wallpaper in the room was said to be a 3-applique French wallpaper. So, it wasn't printed on a single sheet, as modern wallpaper is, but applied in overlapping pieces.


Adjacent to the pantry was the butler's pantry. (Terrible photo. My apologies.) But a butler's pantry! 


The remainder of the downstairs consisted of the kitchen, servant's dining room, butler's bedroom (think Carson!), and various rooms that were closed to the public. Upstairs were more bedrooms and bathrooms and this narrow room. It was clearly meant for the maids (think Anna!) use in maintaining the clothing. There were drawers, iron and ironing board, and simple sewing supplies. 


Also upstairs, there is a small area devoted to Abraham Lincoln, and look what we discovered there! It's Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat!


Then we wandered out onto the grounds. The view is perfectly splendid! We hope to return at a prettier time of year, when the view and the gardens will be even more breathtaking!


A view back at the house from the bottom of the formal garden.


Hildene remained in the Lincoln family until the 1970's when the last descendant of Abraham Lincoln died. There are no living descendants today.
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