Granite State Ambassador Volunteer
Recommendations & Tidbits

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  • 16 Nov 2018 4:55 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    by GSA Sue Greenbaum, Currier Museum of Art Class of 2010

    It was definitely a different type of tour that 18 GSAs went on one morning in Concord, when we visited the NH Department of Corrections Retail Showroom. We met up with our host, Laura Williams, New Hampshire Correctional Industries, Manager of Sales and Marketing, and made our first stop at one of the Wood Shops. That is where we met Bob Lozeau, Shop Manager for the Sheds. There are currently eight manufacturing shops inside the NH State Prisons. We learned that these shops exist to provide job skills, training and work ethics to support the successful reentry of offenders. They include Print & Graphic Arts, Typesetting & Design, Sign and Plate, Dye Sublimation Printing & Novelty Items, Re-Upholstery and Re-Caning, Restoration & Refinishing, and Furniture Crafting.

    As usual, our GSAs had plenty of questions, and we learned a lot that day from Bob. Correction Industries report significant reductions in recidivism rates for those inmates who participate in their programs; 22% vs the state rate of 39%. That is a successful outcome! CIs provide real-world job skills training and experience that supports both male and female inmates with reentry into the workforce. CI strives to make the working conditions replicate those found in private industries.

    No offenders are forced to work in CI programs. In fact, in many cases, there is a waiting period of several months to get into a program. Offenders need to meet minimum requirements for the job, and to be cleared to work by the prison. CI job training opportunities are similar to internships or apprenticeship programs, where the emphasis is on learning, gaining experience and making business community connections.

    GSA Sandra Chandonnet told us about sheds she had bought 30 years ago from CI that are still in excellent condition!

    Next we walked outside and met Chris Lounsbury, Shop Manager for the Fire Wood. We learned how inmates have been helping to run a program to bake bugs out of firewood which is then sold at state campgrounds. A major battle against insects that are attacking New Hampshire's forests takes place in the state's largest gas-fired oven, a converted container, which in reality is a walk-in kiln. The state buys logs that are then cut by chainsaw into 16-inch lengths, and later split into fire wood. The wood is cooked for 90 minutes in the kiln at 160 degrees, cooled, and put into red mesh bags, similar to the large bags I used to see in grocery stores for onions. The bags are sold for $6.00 at all the state campgrounds, from Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin, NH to Hampton Beach. Approximately 35,000 of these bags are delivered every year for use by campers, close to 300 cords of wood.

    Finally we visited the Retail Showroom, where we met Pat Hannigan, Store Manager. We got to see (and purchase if desired) the one of a kind hand-crafted products. Inside we found high-end quality furniture, multi-wood urns, Shaker style baskets, leather goods, wooden acorn bird houses, NH cribbage boards, and so much more. It was breathtaking, and you couldn't help but want to run your fingers over every smooth surface! Much of the CI program is contract work, and they fill orders from hotels, theaters, hospitals, universities, corporations, and individuals. Hobbycraft is a separate recreational program that talented inmates may do on their off time, and many of those products are on display at the retail store. While we were there, Marty Wagner showed us her beautiful wooden storage box, which she had previously custom ordered. She started with one piece of embossed wood that had originally belonged to her mother, and they built the box to match the wood and moldings.

    Before we left we each received a wrapped gift tied with a ribbon. Inside each was a really nice NH mug, as well as a refrigerator magnet. What a pleasant surprise!

    This is a great place to shop for gifts, especially with the holidays coming up. Their store hours are 9-4, Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri, and 10-4 on Sat. Additionally, there is a 25% OFF SALE for the entire store on Black Friday, November 23, 2018 from 9 am - 4 pm! Happy shopping!

    The Retail Showroom is located at 312 N. State St, Concord, just across the street from the prison.

  • 12 Oct 2018 3:06 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)
    by GSA Sue Geyer Currier Museum of Art Class of 2010

    For our second lunch in August, we gathered at LaBelle’s Winery in Amherst. Some of us did the tour and it was fabulous. Afterwards we were seated in their Bistro. They had set us up inside but they also have a lovely patio for outside dining. The menu is diverse and very good. I had a chicken salad wrap with hand cut ‘frites’ and it was excellent. Everyone I spoke to enjoyed his or her meal. Our waitress, Laurie, was very attentive and did a great job. I saw one person had gotten a dessert and that was reported to be very yummy. Not too many of us ordered wine after the wonderful sampling we had during our tour.

    This is great place for lunch or dinner and conveniently located on 101. It is a nice place to recommend to guests who are headed west and want some local fare.

    Tour Notes:

    What a fabulous tour! The wines were wonderful. I’m not sure what was my favorite, perhaps the Dry Pear or maybe the Sangria Rose. And the way they did the tastings as they took us to the various areas, like the patio, vineyard and cellar was perfect. Our guide, Pam, was very knowledgeable and did an excellent job with explanations and stories. I particularly like the time line in the cellar. It was a very enjoyable tour.
  • 12 Oct 2018 3:00 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)
    By GSA Tim Adams, Southern NH University Class of 2014

    This past month I had the pleasure of joining in with many other GSA’s as we got a tour of the LaBelle Winery in Amherst New Hampshire.

    While I had driven past the winery several times on the past, I had never taken the time to stop in and walk about. This was mainly because I’m not really a wine drinker. I do have a glass now and then but it isn’t my first choice.

    The tour guide, Pam, started us off with a tasting of LaBelle’s Dry Pear wine. As we sampled this wine, she told us a bit about it and the owners of the winery. We walked through the large banquet room where they host weddings and large dinner groups.

    Our second sample of wine was named Gewürztraminer. Please don’t ask me to pronounce it. Like the first, it had a pleasant taste, even for me.

    This was followed up by a Cranberry Riesling. While many people in the group really raved about how good this wine was, for me it was just the opposite. For some reason the flavor didn’t suit me at all, but then, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not really a wine drinker. It certainly wasn’t as bad as some wines I’ve had in the past but both go the previous samples, to me anyway were better.

    Our fourth sample was a Dry Blueberry. To me, Blueberries belong in Pies, not wine, but the wine was enjoyable. At the end of the day even, this was my favorite of the five we tasted.

    The tour by this time had finished with the upstairs and had move into the winery itself. We passed a truck that was delivering wine juice from upstate New York. While LaBelle Winery has a couple thousand grape plants, they don’t produce nearly enough product to meet the needs of the winery itself. They do have more property that they could plant but are leaving that land as is.

    Our fifth sample was the LaBelle Rosé. Again a nice flavorful wine that most people, whose comments I heard seemed to like also.

    We had a look at the bottling process which is a bit more involved that what I helped my parents with when they tried a making some wine years ago. You start with getting the bottles into a single row on the conveyor, the bottle is then inverted and washed with fresh water, drained, and then dried with a puff of air. The bottle is then turned right side up and an injection of nitrogen is inserted to remove the oxygen that could affect the taste of the wine.

    At this point the bottle is filled with wine, the bottle is checked to verify all of them contain the proper amount then a vacuum is drawn in the bottle and a cork is inserted. the bottle then proceeds through a couple of more steps and finally a table is applied.

    While that all sounds like a lot of work, it’s handled by one continuous conveyor with minimum people involvement. Yes, they do have people monitoring the process, but most of the work is done by the machine.

    We then proceeded outside and walked down into one of the fields with the grape plants. An outside (weather permitting) wedding area was pointed out to us, as well as several Bee hives that sat along side of the property.

    At this point, Pam turned us loose and many of us returned to the restaurant for lunch.

    While LaBelle Winery has been a fixture in Amherst since 2008, the current facility opened in October of 2012. Amy, the owner, got her start earlier than that at Alyson’s Orchard over in Walpole NH.

    A few of the pictures I took can be seen at
  • 10 Sep 2018 3:07 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    by GSA Margaret Minnon, Comfort Inn Concord Class of 2011

    To learn the history/culture of Native Americans Indians enticed sixteen NHGSAs to tour the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, NH, on September 6 ... a warm, sultry day.


    Graciously received by our guides Larry Checchi, Museum Educator  and Denise Hoffman, Museum Program Director, we were greeted with muffins and coffee. We began in the private Contemporary Art Gallery, featuring native American artists Faith C. Bullock and her son, Jacob Gina.  No picture taking allowed.   A short film showed the beginnings of the museum.  

    In 1929 Chief Silverstar visit a second grade classroom; this and upon finding an arrowhead, committed student, Charles Bud Thompson, to a life long love of the American Indian.  In 1991 Charles 'Bud' Thompson and wife Nancy co-founded the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum. Nancy is credited for the museum's Circle of Life layout...No beginning, no end. 

    Upon entering the museum's circle of Life (no flash picture taking allowed to preserve artifacts) we were introduced to  displays of Indian history/culture of The Northeast Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, California & Great Basin Region, Great Plains Region and the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region. 










    The trail showed how "Native Americans revered and utilized nature as the source of all natural materials needed to sustain and enhance life...natives historically used plants for food, medicine, dye, shelter and tools." More than 100 species of plants along  the wooded trail.



    Has 40+ varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers.  All named and numbered to correspond to accompanied pamphlet.

    18 Highlawn Road, Warner, NH.

    May 1 to October 31 and weekends during November.  Hours: 10-5 Monday - Saturday and  12-5 Sundays

    Members free, Adults $9, Seniors/Students $8, Children 6-12 $7, Under 6 free.  Native American free, Active Military free, 10% off with AAA or AARP membership.

    POW WOW - 2nd week in July

    TELEPHONE  603-456-2600  Ext 226

    The museum hosts School Groups, Scouting Groups, Bus Tours, Senior and Special Interest Groups.


    "The Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Educational and Cultural Center is dedicated to connect people of today with 20,000 years of ongoing native American cultural expressions...embraces cultural diversity and encourages responsible environmental action based on respect for nature..."  We, the 16 New Hampshire Granite State Ambassadors attendees wish to thank our Hosts and Guides for a most pleasurable, informative and enjoyable day at the Museum and Grounds.

    View all the photos from our trip at

  • 29 Aug 2018 9:23 PM | Naomi Halter (Administrator)

    Anyone who lives in, works in, or has another significant connection to NH can volunteer at the NH Tourism Booth - Read on to find out why people love to volunteer at the Big E! Sign up for shifts at:

    Love, love, love the Big E. I have been volunteering for 6 years, staying for three days each time (doing 3 or 4 shifts) and I still haven't seen everything. We meet so many interesting people and I personally enjoy telling parents with children all the fun things the White Mountains have to offer. One of my favorite topics is the Indian Head Resort and its fabulous children's programs. Last year I had a lady so excited she called her husband and asked him to look into it for their next vacation. Of course, the first thing I do when I get there is go through all the state buildings. It never gets old.

    Helen M.
    GSA, Comfort Inn Concord Class of 2011

    As a NH Welcome Booth volunteer, I would look at each person entering the building and say “Welcome to New Hampshire!”  The most common reply was, “I LOVE you people!  I can’t wait to move to New Hampshire!” Lotta fun!

    Jan B.
    GSA, Stark Brewing Company Class of 2017

    The best thing about the Big E is our building! Or maybe it is the people who bring the building to life for 17 days; or it could be the great food our vendors serve up; or maybe it’s working the crowds that come to enjoy a little of New Hampshire and learn of our favorite... you name it.  But in reality it is all that mixed together.

    Bob S. 
    GSA, Strawbery Banke Museum Class of 2007

    A tip for your shift: "Keep your apron and nametag on when roaming the NH Building looking for lunch - it comes at 1/2 the price - then you can tell our guests at the booth how great the food is."

    Gretchen Z.
    GSA, Stonewall Farm Class of 2004

    It’s great volunteering at the Big E for the Granite State! I had so much fun last year talking with the guests and the other volunteers. It’s great to be able to inform all who walk through the NH house of the wonderful things that not only New Hampshire Motor Speedway has to offer besides NASCAR races, but all the fun New Hampshire has to offer.  I am looking forward to another fun day this fall.

    New Hampshire Motor Speedway

    The Big E was a wonderful experience and a perfect summation of what it means to be a Granite State Ambassador. My 3-hour stint passed so quickly I couldn’t believe it was over! In 3 hours, I spoke with at least 150 people and had the chance to pitch the Granite State as a perfect destination for campers, holiday trips, and adventurers. It was the perfect opportunity to put into practice everything we learn in training! Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!

    Mary M.
    GSA, NHTI, Concord's Community College Class of 2017

    Just plain being there at the Big E is an experience. Love it so much. So many people that come into the building when asked if they have been to New Hampshire say NO!!! So from there it's very easy to brag about our state and I'm pretty sure they will come up for a visit! Also being the first faces that most people see in the building is sooooo much fun! Smiles all around!

    Anita M.
    GSA, Lake Opechee Inn & Spa Class of 2007

    Any NH resident or person with a significant connection to NH can volunteer at the Big E! To learn more, and sign up, visit:

  • 22 Aug 2018 1:10 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)
    By GSA Veronica Molloy, Southern NH University Class of 2014

    “What do people do for employment here in NH?” This is a question often asked of NHGSAs by our visitors from around the U.S.A. and the world. Clearly, we can point to our shipyard in Portsmouth, BAE Systems in Southern NH, ARMI and Dyn/Oracle in Manchester, Tourism at the Lakes and North, and the many fine colleges and Universities, SNHU, UNH, St. Anselm College, Dartmouth and more. But, what about our very health small businesses located both in Cities, Towns and along the byways of rural NH?

    Personally, Globe Manufacturing in Pittsfield NH is one of my favorite small business enterprises. I visited Globe on last Thursday under the auspices of Osher School of Life Long Learning, Granite State College. Generations of the Freese family have built this manufacturing operation that makes suits and boots for firefighters and they ship all over the world. Recently acquired by MSA, Globe can also clean and repair your suit.

    I know you’re thinking of the suits worn by the firefighters in your town, but some of suits go to oil rich countries in the Mideast, to raging forest fires, and you can bet that some Globe suits go to high rise building fires in big Cities like NYC. Each suit is customized for the type and size of pockets needed for varied types of radios, flashlights and more. At Globe it’s said that they “build” each fireman’s suit. At the high end, a firefighter’s suit, known as “turn out” gear, can cost as much as $3,000.

    Personally, I am impressed with the Globe Manufacturing sense of a corporate mission and team attitude to produce the best quality "turn out" gear a firefighter needs to do the job. Globe employs 300 people in NH and 50 in Maine crafting firefighter boots. For more information about Globe MSA visit:

    Photo Notations: The suits and boots (3 sets) demonstrate different kinds of material at different fire resistant levels. The darker Brownish suit is actually a fibre called "black gold" which is most fire resistant.  The fibre display is what is used for the tan colored suit, the G1-Extreme! 

  • 22 Jun 2018 11:28 AM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    Sign-ups open Tuesday, August 7, 8am

    Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, "Connect the Circle" tour

    Thursday, September 6, 2018

    Arrival Time: 9:30am - muffins and coffee, explanation of tour, watch a video
    Start Time 10:00am - tour begins
    End Time: 1:30am

    How many GSAs can attend? 25

    Eligibility: You must have volunteered 50 hours to sign up at the calendar opening time. At least 1 shift must have been in the past 3 month. Two weeks before the tour date, any active GSA can sign up to attend if there is space available.

    Is it customary to tip? No

    Description: Before lunch- Our museum is full of Native American artifacts from seven regions of North America. After lunch- a walk through our Medicine Woods & Arboretum. Both are Guided Tours.

    Bring a bagged lunch. We will picnic between tours.

    Is this tour weather dependent? No, rain or shine - wear appropriate gear if raining.

    Uniform: Wear your full GSA uniform.  GSA cinch packs are allowed and small wallet sized purses. NO large purses please.

    Difficulty rating on a scale of 1-3.  This tour is a 2.

    We will do average walking  - note that Medicine woods is not accessible (stumps)

    Our hosts:

    Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum
    Denise Hoffman, Public Programming Coordinator

    Address: PO Box 152     18 Highlawn Road, Warner NH 03278

    Directions from I-89: From either exit 8 or 9 take Route 103 to the center of Warner, turn up Kearsarge Mountain Road. After one mile turn right onto Highlawn Road. Turn right into the second driveway.

  • 22 Jun 2018 11:13 AM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    Sign-ups open Monday, July 9th, 8am

    LaBelle Winery Private Tour & Tasting

    Monday, August 20, 2018

    Arrival Time: 11:15am
    Start Time: 11:30am
    Ending Time: 12:15

    NOTE: The social committee is planning a luncheon at LaBelle's Bistro immediately after the tour. Watch for your E-vite invitation. If you are not on the social committee's email list, email Sue at to be added.

    How many GSAs can attend: 20

    Is it customary to tip? yes, for excellent service

    Eligibility: You must have volunteered 50 hours to sign up at the calendar opening time. At least 1 shift must have been in the past 3 month. Two weeks before the tour date, any active GSA can sign up to attend if there is space available.

    Description: You will get to try five different wines over the course of your 34-45 minute tour through the facility led by a Tasting Room Associate.

    Meeting Location: Retail Area

    Is this tour weather dependent? No, rain or shine

    Uniform: Full GSA uniform

    Our hosts:

    Ashley Donaghue
    LaBelle Winery
    603-672-9898 ext 1

    Address: 345 Horace Greeley Highway (State Route 101) Amherst, NH 03031

  • 13 Jun 2018 12:26 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    by GSA Tim Adams, Southern NH University Class of 2014

    I’m sure most, if not all of you remember these quotes “One of these days... One of these days…” and “To the moon, Alice!”

    I use those quotes as the Cog railroad is sometimes called the ‘Railroad to the Moon’ since, when permission to build it was being discussed, one of the State Legislators remarked during the proceeding that the builder, Sylvester Marsh, should be given permission to build, not merely up Mount Washington, but also to the moon. Seems like not many people believed it could be done!

    Well, while Jackie Gleason never did send Alice to the moon, and the Cog railway didn’t make it to the Moon (yet anyway) the Cog did make it to the top of Mount Washington which is all that Sylvester Marsh had wanted to do in the first place.

    Marsh first obtained a charter to build a road up the mountain in 1858 but because of the Civil War didn’t get started until 1866. When the road was finished he started looking for investors for the actual railroad.

    While the railroad wasn’t finished in 1868, they started serving paying customers in August of that year. The train finally reached the summit the following year and has been in continuous operation since that time except during the world wars. Yes, those dates are correct. Next year the Cog railroad, the only currently operating cog railroad in the United States will be 150 years old next year!

    Quite an achievement for a railroad that many people thought would never be built.

    A lot has changed with the Cog Railroad over the past 149 years and more is planned for the coming years.

    In the beginning, the Steam engine dubbed ‘PepperSass’ was used to build the railroad. This engine is still on sight but the smokestack has been removed so it doesn’t really look like it once did. I expect that the work that is being done on it will be completed shortly and it will be returned to it’s normal place in the main yard where passengers board the current fleet of seven trains that travel up and down the mountain daily.

    One of the biggest changes in recent years was the move away from Steam engines to biodiesel locomotives. This change helped reduce emissions and also the Cog’s reliance on foreign oil. It was also significant since the biodiesel engines use one tenth of the power that the older steam engines used.

    Currently, all of the coaches and engines used on the mountain are built and maintained right there at the mountain! In face, the cog railroad on Pikes peak, currently not operating, had talked about buying equipment from them.

    One of the next items to be built will be a work coach without a floor! That will allow workers to access the rails beneath the coach and actually replace them while staying, mostly anyway, out of the weather. You see, most of that work will be done in the middle of the winter!

    Replacing the rails is the next big improvement in store for the tracks. an example of what was to be done was right at the start of the trip up the mountain. A new bridge right at the start of the trip up the mountain was built this past winter and incorporated the new track.

    They have also added electronically operated switches so the brakeman doesn’t need to get out and physically change the track for the train going up, or down the mountain. As such, while you do slow down when you come to the switch area, you don’t necessarily stop when you get tot them.

    The old track was a standard 2 inched high with a 2 inch base which was connected to the railroad ties. The new tracks will be 6 inches high and have a base that is 6 inches wide. Sound to me like the added support from the added base width will make the trip even safer then it currently is, but the Cog has a very good safety record as it is.

    There have been accidents, actually two accidents over the life of the Cog Railroad. One was caused by a derailing and the other by a broken front axle in the engine.

    One item I found interesting was the simple fact that while the railroad was being built, several persons working on it would use a ‘sled’ to decent the mountain at the end of the work day. The record decent of 2 minutes 45 seconds is something that I don’t expect will ever be broken, unless of course they build a zip line down from the top! I’d ride it, would you?

    While the summit was socked in and a bit on the cool side, it was an enjoyable trip both up and down the mountain. I missed a couple of photo’s that I would have liked to get but, when you can’t see the Grand Mount Washington Hotel from the summit, you can’t very well take a picture of it.

    I also missed a face on of ‘Kermit’. Yes, that famous frog, well a rock painted to look like Kermit was there along the side of the rail. While I’m sure it’s there for the kids to see and wave at, it also is used as a marker for the engineer so he knows where on the mountain he is when the mountain to totally socked in with bad weather.

    GSA Tour photo album:

    Some of Tim's pictures from the trip can be viewed at

  • 06 Jun 2018 7:56 AM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    by GSA Bruce Flegal, McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center Class of 2014

    A combination of perfect weather, 80° - Bright sky - Lake breeze - combined with a spectacular 3 1/2 hour tour of Meredith‘s Mill Falls, a premier Lake Winnipesaukee resort area! = UTOPIA!

    Some 20 of us led by our tour director Bob Strang, toured through many of the leading shops and eateries, and learned about the 34 year history and elegance of the magnificent 4 Inns: Church Landing, Inn at Mill Falls, Chase House, and Bay Point.

    Perhaps the two highlights of this wonderful occasion were learning of the history and touring of Church Landing and Cascade Spa, also an extended, very detailed and informative discussion and demonstration at the Hermit Woods Winery, followed by a lengthy wine tasting demo at the long wine "bar".

    Amazingly, Church Landing was formally a big Catholic Church. ( I can attest to that having attended a meeting there a few years ago.) It now is made up of some 70 rooms of which 30 are guest rooms ranging from $200 to lake side suites of $600, per night, one of which we visited. We also entered the beautiful dining room which is right on the edge of the lake. I recently had breakfast here and it was outstanding along with the lake view beauty.

    For wine lovers, we spent fully an hour learning about wine production with demonstrations and lectures in the wine production areas. Then following, tasting of several different wines occurred, with questions and more info. Hermit Woods Winery is run by 2 wine experts and they anticipate producing 5000 cases "in the next few years"!

    While walking along the lake side Board walk we visited the Ekal ( Lake spelled backwards!) Activity Center and learned of the paddleboard, canoe, kayak rentals as well as seeing the stunning 1931 restored Chris-Craft available for Lake rides.

    Like pizza? Alongside a beautiful lake? Who doesn't? Giuseppe's Pizzeria served up luncheon pizza samples for us while overlooking the lake! And at some point, can't recall if before or after pizza, samples of Ben &Jerry's ice cream!

    After touring so many other sites; book stores, gift shops, candy shops, more gift shops, all scheduled with perfect weather, the entire Mill Falls tour was incredible!

    And would you believe...the original 1931 Chris Craft mahogany craft was originally owned by Chinese leader, Madame Chiang Kai-shek??

    View all our photos:

    Here are a few links that provide more information

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