Granite State Ambassador Volunteer
Recommendations & Tidbits

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  • 22 Sep 2017 10:49 AM | Claire Moorhead (Administrator)

    The New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival (NHHG&F) is one of the largest and most diverse Highland Games held in North America and the largest cultural event. This celebration of Scottish heritage is held the third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of September each year at Loon Mountain Resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

    GSAs were invited to experience the Highland Games on Friday, September 15th or Sunday, September 17 as a thank you for all we do for the tourism industry and to help generate referrals for the games. Here are some impressions and photographs from those who attended this year:


    There was music for everyone from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipe Band to the Red Hot Chilli Pipers!    -Yvonne G


    Yvonne G. and I had a great time yesterday at the Highland Games...  I wore my GSA shirt, and Yvonne carried a light backpack with the GSA logo.   I particularly enjoyed listening to the various musical groups including the Brigadoon's who played a mix of Scottish folk songs. Their group featured many instruments including a fiddle. The energy of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, an inter-generational group from Scotland, was contagious, and played to a full crown in the concert tent.  Hand clapping and dancing, cheering and sing-along had everyone involved with this energetic group which included amazing drummers, a variety of other instruments besides the showcasing of 3 bagpipers. Meanwhile the sheep were herded through many obstacles on the hillside by amazing dogs, who circled, crouched, and used eye contact with the sheep to control and direct them. The weather was predicted to be a bit overcast with a threat of scattered showers, but the day cleared, and was warm and sunny for the most part.   Shuttle buses were frequent and efficient, making access to the festival very easy.   Thank you!    - Jean S.

     What a fun time it is to go to the Highland Games. I went with another GSA and our husbands. The Highland Games are a very well organized event from the shuttles to the layout of the land where all the festivities occur.  The shuttles run regularly and we didn’t have to wait.  Once we got to the games it was an effortless process to pick up my ticket and my husband purchased his on the way in.

    We had the opportunity to witness and enjoy many events, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipe Band and Dancers and watch the Sheep dog trials; both were very entertaining. We walked around the Clan tents and got to talk to a few interesting people.  It was hot and humid and I wondered how those people in the wool kilts were keeping cool but they didn’t seem to mind the heat. We sampled some of the Scottish food which was delicious. My favorite thing was listening to the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.  They were loud, jumping and energetic.  It was so much fun! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend and enjoy the festivities. - Maryellen M.

    Last Friday, Irene and I attended our first NH Highland Games at Loon Mountain. When we checked into the Will Call booth, I gave my name and was asked was that MacMullen? We knew then that we were in for a fun time.
    We couldn't find the Clan Mullen tent; probably because I'm Irish, so we started to take in the multitude of activities offered.
    Just to give you a brief inkling of what we thought were some of the highlights among the highlights:
    1. Red Hot Chilli Pipers - a 9-member Scottish ensemble of bagpipers, guitarists, keyboard and drummers. They were a very lively band that really got the crowd rocking with their songs and performance.
    2. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipe Band and Dancers - a moving performance from this world renown bagpipe and drum band.
    3. Charlie Zahm - a singer and guitarist of Scottish folk songs performed for what seemed for hours.  He was terrific.
    4. And the Sheep Dog Trials - sheep dogs trying to corral sheep thru obstacles in a very large area. They were certainly entertaining.
    Thanks for providing the tickets so we could attend. It was fun! -   - Irene and Bob M.

     

    My husband and I really had an enjoyable experience at the Highland games.  We went with another GSA (Maryellen McG and her husband) and they were hoping to pick up some tips from my husband who was born in Scotland.  When we got there, we went directly to see some of the regimented pipe bands.  They perform their routine with military precision.  We were pleased to see the Royal Canadian Mounted Pipe Band perform.  After some pipe band performances, we went to the Sheep Dog trials.  The dogs and the trainers are amazing!  We can't get over how difficult it must be to train the dogs.  They are so well trained and so responsive to their trainers.  We unfortunately missed an earlier team that had a perfect run however, the dogs we saw were still enjoyable to watch.  It's fun to hear about where the trainers and dogs are from.  So many towns in New Hampshire are represented.  

    When the Sheep Dog trials took a lunch break, we also thought that would be a good idea.  There were so many places to have lunch and of course there was an opportunity to try some traditional fare such as Haggis!  The weather was really hot so I decided to have a "Shandy".  I also talked Maryellen into trying a Shandy.  She was not sure if she would like it since she is not a beer drinker but she found she enjoyed the drink.  A Shandy is a drink made with beer and lemonade but here in the US it is usually made with Lemon Lime soda such as Sprite.  This is something I have had many times when in Scotland with my husband and his family. 

    After lunch, we wandered around and listened to some music. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are from Glasgow, Scotland and were great.  They are not the traditional pipe band that you would expect, they give a new meaning to pipe music!  They were really rocking the house down.  We did hear traditional Celtic music both performed by bands as well as by a single vocalist.  Going through the different tents and seeing all the different clans was fun.  Of course, we tried to identify the tartan of my husband's family.  

    I would suggest a couple of things to make the experience more enjoyable.  One is that most of the food (except the lodge) is cash so having cash on hand is helpful.  Another suggestion is to make sure anyone going is aware that it can get very hot so dress for the heat and bring sun block!

    Thank you for the opportunity to experience this great festival.  -           - Nancy S.

     

    Yesterday Leo and I went to the Highland Games at Loon.  Even though there were forecasts of rain, we ventured out.  It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day all day.

    What a well-organized event it is!!!  We learned so much about the history of many of the plaids and names.  Mac at the beginning of the last name means, "Son of".

    We delighted in seeing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipe Band perform, the sheep dog competition, Highland Fling dance instructions, and numerous vocal performers and bands performing all throughout the grounds.  Have never been before, but plan to return again next year!!!

    - Rita G. - Inaugural Class of 1996

     

     

  • 15 Sep 2017 3:40 PM | Claire Moorhead (Administrator)

    Contributed by: Pam Lorimer,  Museum of NH History Class of 2003


    Autumn is a time of harvest and abundance. Such is the case for the adventurer in the Monadnock Region. There are many exciting events and activities to choose from as you explore the natural beauty that is Monadnock in the fall.  


     SCHNITZELFEST

    Make your plans now to enjoy early foliage and BEER! The 15th Annual Schnitzelfest in Hillsborough brings authentic German food, Oompah entertainment, drink and more to their “Bier Garten” on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23, Noon – 5pm. 

     Monadnock Fall Festival 

    The following weekend celebrate music, food, crafts and kid fun Monadnock Style at the Monadnock Fall Festival in Keene on Sept. 30. From 10am – 4pm


    Candlelight Open House

    October 6 is a special opportunity to step into the past, when two house museums in Keene hold a joint Candlelight Open House on Main Street. Just a few blocks apart, experience the Historical Society of Cheshire County’s Revolutionary era Wyman Tavern and the 19th century Horatio Colony House as they were before electricity – by candlelight! Re-enactors and colonial gaming enliven your time at this free event from 7:00-8:30 pm.

    Open Studio Arts Tours are an amazing chance to see an artist’s personal work space. Artists in many disciplines open their private studio space for you to view, allowing you insights into their inspirations and methods. With several tours going on Columbus Day weekend, you can choose to explore by town, type of art, or happenstance as you drive the back roads enjoying the foliage. Each tour has its own map detailing locations and each open studio will have signs leading you in.

    Yes it is the 22nd year for this Monadnock Arts Event. Maps can be obtained at any stop, or by clicking here Also check out this great video about the art Tour experience. Oct. 7-8-9, 10am-5pm


    The Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour, has artist information on their website as well as a map for this year’s participants. Oct. 7-8-9    10am-5pm





    The 34th Annual Wool Arts Tour features a great variety of vendors at four sites in Hillsborough County. Oct. 7 9am-5pmOct. 8, 9am-4pm

    Pumpkin Festival

     What better way to round out the season than with pumpkins?! The Monadnock Pumpkin Festival gets back to the roots of this annual celebration with an emphasis on family fun and agriculture. Head on down onto the Cheshire Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 21, Noon-8pm and don’t forget to bring your carved pumpkin to add to the display.

    And keep in mind – any visit to the Monadnock Region in the Autumn is a feast for the senses as you mosey along two lane highways among trees ablaze with fall color, listen for the call of the Canada Geese as they migrate, maybe even stick a toe in a quickly cooling lake, pond or river!



    This Monadnock Region fall update was brought to you by Granite State Ambassador Pam Lorimer from the Jack Daniels Motor Inn in Peterborough.




  • 30 Aug 2017 3:52 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)



    Portsmouth Peace Treaty
     The people of New Hampshire were ambassadors for the world when they hosted the Russian and Japanese delegations to the peace conference in Portsmouth that concluded with the signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty on September 5th. Here, the parade welcoming the diplomats to Portsmouth.
    Portsmouth, New Hampshire (August 30, 2017) -- The State of New Hampshire celebrates Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day on September 5th with the ringing (for three minutes) of church bells, school bells and the sounding of the shofar (traditional ram’s horn) at Portsmouth’s Temple Israel.

    A salute at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard takes place at 3:47 pm, the exact moment the Treaty signing was announced by a Marine at the Shipyard on September 5, 1905. The PNSY whistle is the signal for church bells throughout the city to ring.

    Among those scheduled to ring their bells this year are: North Church in Market Square, Middle Street Baptist Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Second Christian Congregational United Church of Christ, Christ Episcopal Church and First Congregational Church. South Church, which usually participates in the commemoration is unable to this year as the clapper in their church bell is broken.

    In Market Square (near the historic marker in front of Piscataqua Savings Bank), citizens will gather at 3:30 pm to hear Mayor Jack Blalock read the 2017 Governor’s Proclamation of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day. Established by unanimous vote by the NH Legislature in 2010, the official state observance recognizes that in 1905 “an uncommon commitment to peace became a common virtue” and encourages citizens statewide to commemorate four key ideas:  1) the Portsmouth Peace Treaty ended the Russo-Japanese War, with at that time, the largest land and sea battles ever fought; 2) that President Theodore Roosevelt chose Portsmouth as the site for the peace conference because of the Shipyard and the welcoming atmosphere of the Governor and people of NH; 3) Citizen diplomacy -- the involvement of local people -- significantly contributed to the favorable outcome of the negotiations that earned President Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize; and 4) New Hampshire is the sole example of a state honoring its citizens for the active role they played in fostering successful international negotiations.

    Elsewhere in the state, citizens gather a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial cherry tree sites in Dublin, Hanover, Lancaster, Littleton, Manchester, Meredith and Milford to participate in the bell-ringing.

    http://www.portsmouthpeacetreaty.org/

  • 25 Aug 2017 9:03 AM | Claire Moorhead (Administrator)

    The Big E’s official app is all-new and now available for download from the App Store and Google Play! With so much do to at The Big E, the updated app helps fairgoers navigate the grounds with ease, plan their trip and be aware of important news, updates and special giveaways happening on the grounds.

    2017 Features:

    • Tickets – Get in the gates faster! Purchase admission, concert and Midway tickets without waiting in line.
    • Map – Need an emergency Cream Puff or can’t find the Avenue ShowPlace? Check out the grounds map to find your way around.
    • Schedule – View the event lineup and create a customized schedule of must-see acts, performances and shows that take place over the 17-day extravaganza.
    • Attractions – All the best things to do and see on the grounds…The Giant Slide, Avenue of States, Mardi Gras Parade, Storrowton Village and much, much more.
    • Eat & Drink – Find out what’s new on the menu, as well as a list of vegetarian and gluten free options.
    • Shop – Treat yourself! Browse unique handmade crafts, unique items from international vendors, plus the latest and greatest products to hit the shelves.
    • News & Social – Stay engaged and up-to-date with what’s happening on the grounds! In this section, you can find out about the fun as soon as it is announced and join in on the conversations with #BigEMoments.
    • Big E Info – What do you need to know? We have it here.

    Be sure to enable push notifications to get cool offers and participate in giveaways while on the grounds.

    Start planning your trip today! The Big E app is available for iPhone and Android devices. To download, search the App Store and Google Play for “The Big E” app or use the link below.

    http://smarturl.it/BigE_MobileApp

    The Fair takes place Sept. 15 – Oct. 1 and will be jam-packed with food, entertainment, and so much more! For up-to-date information on fun-filled activities and events happening throughout the Fair, visit TheBigE.com, connect with us on social media and check out our app for the latest info, contests and more!

    http://www.thebige.com/p/BigEApp


  • 18 Aug 2017 4:33 PM | Claire Moorhead (Administrator)
    This year’s Fair has it all: great entertainment, vintage cars, and deep-fried burgers! Walk around and take a big bite out of a variety of sweet and salty pleasures or sit down and chow down in one of our restaurants. Walk the Avenue of States for a specialty dish unique to each state or go big and try something new to this year’s Fair. Save room for dessert and dive into a Big E Cream Puff or Éclair. Picky eaters and foodies alike will get their fill of incredible Fair food; The Big E has the best selection of Fair cuisine on the East Coast.


    Don’t know where to start? Download the Big E App and check out the hours of operation and locations of your favorite restaurants and concession stands. Plan a schedule to make the most of your special day and grab yourself some goodies on the way!

     

    2017 NEW FOODS

    No matter what the craving, the Big E has your plate covered with great meal combinations and mouthwatering new foods.

    If you can’t decide which you love more, breakfast or dessert, then Amy’s Sweet Treats is offering a perfect combination just for you: the Belgian Waffle Sandwich – two thin waffles served hot and fresh with Neapolitan Hard Ice Cream in the middle. If dinner and dessert is more your style then take a walk to Porky’s to feast on their new BBQ Brisket Sundae.

    Hofbrau Joe’s is offering crowds two new creations. At their Oktoberfest Biergarten, take a big bite out of the fully loaded Burger Bomb – a five-ounce burger patty topped with cheese, bacon, onions and sauerkraut before being wrapped in a pastry dough, deep fried and served in a pool of goulash. Hofbrau Joe’s Clam Box is serving up two fried Shrimp Tacos with diced onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and chipotle mayo served in a soft corn tortilla shell. Find both locations in the Food Court.

    If you’re looking for an adventure, head to the West Springfield Lions Club to try their dangerously delicious Flatliner Burger. With two layers of a cheeseburger and chili, topped with French fries, cheese sauce and bacon, this new burger is a risk too good to miss.

    Enjoy Sweet Pepper Bacon at the Burgundy Brook Café, Waffle Chicken Bites from The Deep South Company, or Deluca’s new Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich. If you’re craving something sweet, Pop ‘N Fresh welcomes fall with a new and trendy take on a classic fair food: Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake. Need more dessert? Stop by the Coffee Break for their Deep Fried Holy Cannoli served with chocolate chip ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, cinnamon, sugar and whipped cream.

    BELOVED FAIR-TIME FAVORITES

    No one can resist coming to The Big E without sinking their teeth into a massive Big E Cream Puff. Early morning and late-night Cream Puff cravers can visit our take-out window. The Big Éclair smothered with a layer of smooth chocolate is another crowd pleaser, handmade every day of the Fair and just as rich in flavor. Both desserts are made fresh on location at The Big E Cream Puff Bakery in the New England Center, but can also be found in the Food Court.

    If someone brings up The Big E, chances are the Craz-E Burger is soon to follow! The Fair’s signature sandwich made its debut in 2009 and has been a major hit ever since. Make sure there’s room in your stomach for a mouthwatering bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two halves of a grilled glazed donut.

    RETURNING FOOD FAVORITES

    Doughcos - Anna’s Fried Dough

    Blueberry Pierogi Sundae - Moolicious

    Ultimate Cowboy Nachos - The Ultimate BBQ - The Food Court

    Roast Beef Sandwich on a Kimmelweck Roll - Jim’s Concessions

    Deep Fried Oreos - Marion’s Fried Dough

    Poutine - at Poutine Gourmet

    Cinnamon Caramel Apple Gourmet Mini Donuts – The Donut Family

    From new ‘gourmet’ experiences, to tried and true favorites, there truly is something for everyone to fill their plate with at the fair! While some of these foods are attractions in their own right, you can still find plenty of traditional salads, fruits, sandwiches and snacks that aren’t quite as adventurous! Whatever you fill your plate with….. ENJOY!

    To see what else goes on at the Big E visit: http://www.thebige.com/

     

  • 28 Jul 2017 9:07 AM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)
    As an avid kayaker on the Pemi, I was excited to accept Ski Fanatics / Paddle the Pemi's invitation to bring some GSAs for a paddle excursion. If you haven't been on the Pemi paddle, the river winds through the countryside and forests of Thornton and Campton. There are only a few glimpses of homes along the way, making the river look wild and natural with no shortage of swim and picnic spots.

    Paddlers generally have two choices. To be shuttled and dropped off at Robin's Nest (intersection of Cross Road & Route 3 - under the bridge) like we were (6 miles - 3-4 hours) or they can make a day of it and go into the river in Woodstock (10 miles - 5-6 hours). Those who want to tube, go in at the Gilcrest Cottages.

    Our section of the river had Class 1 rapids which were pretty light and fun.  The trip we took would have been $40pp and included the boat rental, shuttle (to and from), paddles, and life preservers. If guests have their own boat, it's $20 for the shuttle only.
    Ski Fanatics/Paddle the Pemi also rent canoes, double kayaks, paddleboards and tubes. They are easy to find right off the I-93, Exit 28 exit in Campton on Vintinner Road. http://skifanatics.net/summer-rentals/

    In the winter months, they are  full-service winter sports shop with sales and rentals. If you are a regular, you can even rent gear for the entire season.
    ~Kelly


    This is only the second time that I have been kayaking so I was initially a little nervous. This time of year, the river was higher than normal because of all the rain so that made it easier to navigate through the low water parts. The staff at Ski Fanatics were professional, friendly and knowledgeable. They bring you to the drop off, and then pick you up at another designated spot. We waited very little time for them to pick us up as they run shuttles every 15 minutes. We stopped for lunch/a snack along the way which was quite a challenge for this newbie getting in and out of the kayak. I am happy to say that I did manage to keep my kayak upright which was not the case for everyone.  We now have a couple of GSAs that have joined the “I like to get wet club and experience the coolness of the river first hand.”  I also got to meet a few new GSAs or at least they were new to me and we shared a few of our experiences of being a Granite State Ambassador. It was a fun day.

    This is a fun activity for the whole family and I would highly recommend using Ski Fanatics for your rental and excursions.
    ~ Maryellen McG

    July 12 and the weather was sunny in NH, perfect for my very first Kayaking trip on the beautiful Pemigewasset River.  Our group of 8 Granite State Ambassadors and our fearless leader, Kelly, met at Ski Fanatics in Campton where we were fitted out with life jackets and kayaks.  Everything loaded up, we were off on a short ride to Robbins Nest where we "put in."  Though this was my first kayak experience, most of the others were experienced and capable kayakers.

    I was a little jiggly at first, but got some great tips from Roz and soon got the hang of it. I really enjoyed the beautiful river views, ducks, geese, and a few little rapids here and there along this 6-7 mile journey.  We encountered a few groups of tubers along the way, but otherwise we had the river to ourselves.

    Ron, trying to avoid a large rock at one of the rapids, became our first casualty.  Kelly rescued him quickly and efficiently and his spirits were not dampened, though the rest of him was.  

    We had a short rest stop and some of us were able to get out of their kayak for a stretch.  I, however, decided to stay in my kayak as I had not yet quite figured out how I was ever going to get out of it

    I soon found out - as we rounded a bend in the river, a little too close to some downed trees, I was caught in some branches - oops, I was OUT and the kayak was filling with water - eek!  Once again, Kelly to the rescue.  We disentangled the kayak from the tree branches and off it floated!  Fortunately, Ron was prepared downriver a bit and was able to grab it and drag it to shore.  Kelly helped me into her kayak and she floated down the river under Kelly power to Ron, and we resumed the trip.

    We finally arrived at the debarkation point to rejoin the rest of our group - who were wondering where the heck we were.   The Shuttle was there waiting for us and when we were all accounted for we were delivered back to Ski Fanatics.  No GSA's were lost!  My shoes (and other things) were full of mud, but I did not get my hair wet!  What Happens at the River, Stays at the River!

    We all had a great time and I can't wait to tell NH visitors how much fun it is to go kayaking with Ski Fanatics.
    ~Vicki H

    A fun time had by all. The folks at Ski Fanatics were so friendly and accommodating and the weather was great! We learned a lot and got to know each other a little better. We learned that Kelly is adept at "herding canoes", thanks Kelly!  Four newbies hit the river and besides a couple of snags we did well!
    ~Liz W

    The time I spent on the river was much appreciated and was a definite workout for muscles that have not seen that much continuous work in a long time!  Especially memorable was the magnetic rock that drew my kayak to it despite my frantic paddling to stay away from it; my boat was capsized!  Fortunately, the water was knee deep.
    ~Ron L

    Everyone was so nice and efficient at Ski Fanatics.  I would have not known about them had I not been exposed through the Ambassadors.  I am very grateful. I will definitely recommend them as the summer and winter destination point for our visitors as I volunteer at the airport in Manchester, and to my friends.
    ~Rosemarie C

    I had truly had a wonderful time and will enthusiastically recommend the experience to anyone heading up to the White Mountains for the day or for a longer vacation.  I have already mentioned it to some kayaking friends in the community I live in and encouraged them to try it out.  We couldn't have had a better experience!
    ~Nancy S

    View more of our photos by clicking here.

  • 28 Jul 2017 8:45 AM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    Click here to download or read in full. We prepare this report for NH DTTD monthly and thought you might enjoy it too.

  • 14 Jul 2017 1:56 PM | Claire Moorhead (Administrator)

     By: Dwight S. Haynes, GSA Discover Wild NH Class of 2008

     On Monday, June 19 at 7 a.m. I was off for a 4-day tour of 17 of the top natural and man-made tourist attractions in the White Mountains, the 59th Annual Educational Tour sponsored by the White Mountains Attractions Association.   In my 8 years as a Granite State Ambassador at the kiosk in front of the State House I have logged almost 500 volunteer hours; all I had to pay for was gratuities, as food, lodging, and bus transportation were provided and we were treated like royalty.  The hope is that we will continue to help visitors, be even better informed, more enthused, and able to say: “I’ve been there, done that”.  I didn’t have to drive.  Maryellen drove me across town where I met Norma Angwin, and Connie Loken from Hollis who drove us to Polar Caves in Rumney, west of Plymouth, where we became a party of some 30 people, including some AAA and Chamber of Commerce people. 

    Being the oldest person in the group and not having traveled the way I used to before my double knee surgery 4 ½ years, I was a bit anxious as to how it all would work out.  It’s a challenge to keep the cane with me at all times, especially for climbing and descending, set up the Bi-Pap machine each night in a different place, keep track of 2 hearing aids and batteries, 3 pairs of glasses, daily vitamin pills plus a pill and Flonase for nasal congestion, and eye drops twice daily, and carry rain gear, water bottle, notebook, etc. in my knapsack.  Oh, to be young and care-free again! Despite the challenges, my love for travel was reawakened, and I had a great time!

    Mike Duprey, old enough to be retired, has been conducting this tour so well for years and was scheduled to guide us; but a health problem prevented his coming.  To the rescue came Estlin Loparto, 24, who worked at Lost River one season, has traveled in several nations, and works in the White Mountains Attractions Association office in North Woodstock.  Many of us liked her as soon as we met her in the parking lot.  She did a great job as our tour guide,

    First stop - Polar Caves.  50,000 years ago, a continental glacier moved southward over New Hampshire.  As the sheet thawed, great blocks of granite fell from Hawk’s Cliff.  These massive granite blocks created a series of caves and passageways- great for exploring.  After some Dunkin Donut munchkins & coffee, we started walking, some 300 steps up, but oh, such fascinating formations and such beauty to behold. The huge glacial rock is some 50 mil. lbs., has huge sections at different angles, offers different colors with different minerals and various forms of lichen and moss. I was fascinated not only by the rocks, but also by the trees, different kinds and different shades of green typical of late spring; and some of the trees are growing right out of the rocks!  Apparently, seeds scattered by wind or birds find a home in the cracks of rocks; then dirt and moisture collect, allowing the seeds to grow roots below and seedlings above!  Wow!

    During a brief stop at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln we saw different kinds of zip lines with varying degrees of adventure, plus a steep slide with tubes flying and landing on a huge air bag. The Flume Gorge has a natural 800-ft. chasm with waterfalls, covered bridges, glacial boulders, and a scenic pool.  Some did the long walk around; some of us hiked up about a 1/2mile up into the gorge - a bit steep, but worth it!  I was there years ago; but before I read a great geology textbook in early retirement.  I now have at least some clue as to what it’s all about and why!  As I experienced the awe and mystery of God’s continuing creation I was moved almost to tears.

    The Flume, like so many parts of our trip, provided a feast for all the senses with the different colors to see in the rocks and trees, the sound of rushing water, the smell of moist vegetation, the touch of different surfaces, and then the tastes in the cafeteria!  In the gorge I was reminded of the rain forests in Puerto Rico and NW Oregon. I learned that the walkways, railings, and platforms in the gorge, weighing 300-4000 lbs., are removed by hand each fall because of the huge pieces of ice that form on the walls of the gorge and then later come crashing down.  As I was walking down the steeper part, a young woman, appropriately named Angela, offered me her steady hand.

    Heading north on Rte. 3, the road soon joins the I-93/Franconia Notch Parkway, which takes us through the spectacular scenery of Franconia Notch State Park along a route framed by the towering peaks of the Kinsman Range and Cannon Mtn. on the left and the Franconia Range and Mt. Lafayette on the right. The trip up Cannon Mountain in the Aerial Tramway offered such scenic vistas and also brought back memories of my having climbed Cannon a few times.  The trees in June provide many different shades of green.  While at the top, some clouds paid a visit to remind us how the weather keeps changing in the Franconia Notch.  In descending, we saw the beautiful white blossoms of the mountain ash trees.

    Next, we toured the Omni Mt Washington Resort in Bretton Woods.  I’d seen this huge hotel in the distance many times over the years, but never close up!  Despite some rain showers, the Cog  Railway and the summits of Mts. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Eisenhower, etc. were all in and out of the clouds and clearly visible from the hotel porch. It was as though the clouds were tickling the summits while we were busy enjoying delicious hors d'oeuvres and later a full course meal.   This hotel provides one of the most scenic spots in all of NH and I’ve seen quite a few in my time.

    Ron LaBelle was a great room-mate.  He thought I was a pretty cool cat for an 80-year old. He said that in the course of our first day we had walked 5 ½ miles, climbed the equivalent of 22 flights, and walked about 12,000 steps!  After sleeping quite well, breakfast was out of this world with an omelet made to order.  By the time I got through breakfast I had eaten 3 fruits and 2 vegetables.  I was ready to take on the new day. Most days we were up at 6:00 a.m. and back in our rooms by 9:00 p.m.

    Tuesday, June 20.  Santa’s Village - with such imagination and creativity was better than I expected.  Santa was there, but so also the 3 wise men on camels, the Holy Family, and Christmas carols!  How can this be in a park that caters to the public?  Because it is owned and operated by a family, not by some big business with corporate headquarters far away.  The theme is not just Santa, but fun, joy, kindness, and love.  The buildings and grounds are beautiful with wonderful landscaping – trees, shrubs and lots of flowers.

    Let’s begin with your own gingerbread man to decorate and to eat!  Now, take these snack pieces of something to feed the reindeer; and so I did. This place is interactive with lots of touchy, feely stuff!  Climb up these stairs and take a nice ride around and above the park.  As you leave you are handed a picture of the 3 of you.  That’s what was with the light flash part way along.  Then, if you’d like, you can ride the dodgems just like the ones I rode at Canobie Lake Park 70 years ago.  I’d love for us to bring Asher, our 5-year old great grandson, here next December, to be here when the thousands of little Christmas lights are turned on – a memorable sight I am sure.  Before we left the owner’s 12-year old son came on the bus to thank us for coming and to invite us to come back again!

    Before going up the 8-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road by Stage Van, we saw an old horse-drawn stage coach in the museum, as well as early and later cars that were used.  The summit of Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeast at 6,288 feet.  For cars, motorcycles, runners, and walkers (when permitted), you start in the parking lot at about 1.500 feet for an elevation gain of some 4,700 feet!   I climbed it twice in my youth from Pinkham Notch, first with the Bates College Outing club and then with the youth group of our Lisbon Methodist Church. The views from the Auto Road were stunning and the driver’s comments were so interesting. I was reminded of the Alps in Europe and mountains in Alaska.  We were to have an hour at the summit; but the weather changed quickly and we were asked to head now to the Mt. Washington Cog Railway for the sharp descent – as much as 37 degrees.  It’s all quite fascinating.

    Following Rte. 302 to Bartlett we come to the Attitash Mountain Resort with 5 downhill ski areas, miles of cross-country  trails, and lots more things to see and do: an alpine slide, a mountain coaster, mountain biking, bungee trampoline, etc.  The heavy spring rains delayed the preparations for their summer opening. We were going to try one of those things (I now can’t remember); but the manager pointed to the dark, heavy, ominous clouds coming down the valley and suggested we try it another time.  

    So, off we went to the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel and Conference Center.  Before another full-course dinner there’s the cocktail hour with delicious hors d'oeuvres. We get to meet the owners and operators of some of the different White Mountain attractions.  They are glad to have us becoming better educated, more informed, even more enthused about the various tourist attractions.  By the time we finish dinner and dessert it’s almost time to call it a day, another full day.

    Wed., June 21.  After breakfast and a quick bus ride to Bartlett, we board the Conway Scenic Railroad “Budd Car” for a carefully narrated one-way ride from Bartlett to North Conway, where we get to walk around this old railroad station.  Next, we’re off to tour the Cranmore Mountain Resort, which is undergoing major construction with older buildings being torn down and replaced by larger, more modern buildings.  There are many different trails, rides, etc.  It’s still a bit “pre-season”, but many in our group took the special buggy ride up the mountain.  Coming down you can control the speed by moving it forward for faster or back for slower. Some went zipping down and around the curves with great gusto while also enjoying the scenery.

    Then, we travel Rte. 16 North to Story Land in Glen, another family favorite, where you can explore the wonderful world of childhood with all sorts of rides, activities, and shows – so much imagination, creativity, and color - all in an attractive setting nicely landscaped.  There’s lots of animation and lots of interactive, touchy feely stuff. Some of those wonderful stories from childhood days really come alive.  In a show at the theatre we saw and then met a beautiful princess - a living doll! That’s the way Jane Russell described God!  2 days earlier, Estlin, our tour guide had circulated a clipboard sheet listing 3 options for today’s lunch.  Upon leaving Storyland as we boarded the bus, we received our box lunch.  My chicken salad was right tasty.

    Continuing north past Jackson to Pinkham Notch, we head over to Wildcat Mtn., a ski area which offers a scenic gondola ride to the summit for incredible views of Mt. Washington and Tuckerman Ravine.  It also offers a thrilling ZipRider trip down the mountain.  In a boat the waves underneath provide a rocking motion.  In a gondola you are suspended in mid-air and the invisible rocking motion comes from above!  I have wanted for years to take this gondola ride with its splendid scenery.  But having had a terrible time with vertigo just a few weeks ago, I decided not to risk getting dizzy and sick all over again; so I walked uphill a bit where I had a fantastic view of Mt. Washington looking from the east.  At Bretton Woods 2 days earlier, we were looking from the west.  There are 2 sides to every story; but how often to do you get to see 2 sides of the biggest mountain in the northeast!

    In heading south back down Rte. 16, at Intervale there is a stunning view from the south looking up the Mt. Washington Valley! Then, further south, from Conway heading west to Lincoln we take the 35-mile Kancamagus Highway (a National Scenic Byway) which climbs to nearly 3,000 feet providing dramatic views, stunning overviews.  I’ve been over this road many times; but usually from the west.  I was eager to see it this time from the east.  I woke up just in time to realize I had missed 2 of the best overlooks!  Apparently, several others had taken a nap, too.  This busy tour was catching up with us!

    I had driven by Whale’s Tale Water Park in Lincoln many times over the years; but I had no idea what an attractive and interesting place this is with water rides and slides for different ages and different skill levels.  There’s a ¼-mile tranquil river, a huge wave pool, and even a state of the art surf simulator in which the trick is to go with the water as it propelled up the slide!  It was time now to head to Woodward’s Resort there in Lincoln to freshen up for the reception and dinner. Many of the owners/managers of the various attractions, also staff and members of the White Mountain Attractions Assoc. were with us for the evening.  They responded to questions and comments that many of us shared from our 4-day tour.  We heard they were impressed by some of our questions. 

    All the while, we’re being treated to specially prepared shrimp and other delicious hors d'oeuvres followed by a delicious full-course meal with a choice of 5 entrees  I was very interested in 4 of the 5.  I managed to gain just 1pound in the 4 days, mainly because of all the walking and climbing we did – a challenge following my double knee surgery 4 ½ years ago. It is a good thing I have a sturdy cane.

    Thurs., June 22.  After another amazing breakfast made to order with eggs, French toast, orange juice, etc., we departed to North Woodstock for Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves in Kinsman Notch.  Lost River is so named because it is in and out of sight!  We were invited to discover the beauty and mysteries of the majestic granite walls, spectacular waterfalls, and rugged boulder caves.  There’s Suspension Bridge, Twisting and Turning Boardwalk, and Paradise Falls.  I think, like Polar Caves and the Flume Gorge earlier, Lost River is a geologist’s paradise. 

    Once again, I was fascinated by the different colors and formations, centuries in the making.  Speaking of color, typically at this time of year the new growth on the balsam, spruce, and other evergreens will have maybe 2 inches of lighter green at the end of each part of the branches.  This year, because of all the rain that’s come, this lighter green growth is often 4 to 5 inches!  It adds to the beauty.  It was the same at Santa’s Village.  I don’t remember seeing such before.  Maybe, I’m more observant, more aware of the feast for all the senses, more appreciative of God’s continuing creation in my old age!

    Next, we go to Clark’s Trading Post made famous by its bear shows and train rides. It has been providing family entertainment for 85 years. Now, you can even try a Segway.  It’s early in the season and already there are lots of people there.  One person, from Concord, yells out to me by name.  Later, I learned who it was.  After touring the grounds and having pizza and ice cream for lunch, we head for the Hobo Railroad for a relaxing, round-trip excursion along the Pemigewasset River offering a variety of open vistas along the way.  The Conductor saw to it that we got a snack. There’s even a Dinner Train available. Then by bus we head east again to Loon Mountain, home of NH’s longest scenic gondola skyride.  There’s also a zipline, a climbing wall, a bungee trampoline, and lots more to explore.

    By now some of us were ready to return to our cars back in the Polar Caves parking lot in  order to get home for supper, unpack, unwind, and reflect on how blessed we were to have been able to see and do so much in NH’s wonderful White Mountains.  Back in the 5th century, St. Augustine said; “The world is a book. And those who do not travel read only one page.”  So, let’s travel and encourage others to travel when we can.

     

  • 11 Jul 2017 1:47 PM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    On June 27th, a group of Granite State Ambassador volunteers visited the Seacoast Science Center in Odiorne Point State Park in Rye to learn about what they offer to their guests. The Seacoast Science Center turns 25 this year. The center opened in 1992 as a public/private partnership between the state, two non-profits and the University of New Hampshire. Now, an independent non-profit (2001), the center sees 80,000 people a year, of which 10,500 come for their programs, and 26,000 are children.

    The Seacoast Science Center is open 10am-5pm daily from mid-February–October; from November—mid-February open Saturdays-Mondays, and Tuesdays-Fridays by appointment. Their programming is diverse and geared towards families; up to age 5; grades K-12; adults (dinner-lectures and eco-adventures); and include environmental day camps, field trips and outreach programs, marine mammal rescue and badge programs for scouts.


    The Seacoast Science Center is celebrating their 25th anniversary with 25 weeks of special programs held through September 9th, 2017. There are details on their website. http://www.seacoastsciencecenter.org/events/25th-anniversary-celebration/

    On Thursdays throughout July, they host the Atlantic Grill Music by the Sea concert series from 6-8:30pm, and on September 23rd, the center will hold their BioBlitz, a daylong species scavenger hunt in the park. This is where families explore alongside scientists and field experts to find and record data on as many different species in the park as possible in one day. In 2016, 421 participants identified 547 species, 31 of which were new to their list. These are only a few of the fun stuff they have planned!


    Inside the Seacoast Science Center guests can get up close to some incredible creatures. You can learn about whales and other Gulf of Maine marine mammals and the work the center does to protect them. You can hold a sea star, pet a chain catshark, and others in their touch tanks. Guests can also observe many varieties of fish and crustaceans in their live displays and learn about whales, seals, and exploring the ocean through other interactive exhibits.

    You could easily spend all day at the center and Odiorne Point State Park. It’s a fascinating place in a beautiful location on the ocean shore. A definite must-visit for any age! www.seacoastsciencecenter.org

     -----


    My touring and learning what the center is so proficient at, ranks with the top tours that I have experience during my twenty years as a Granite State Ambassador. The initial greeting from the staff made me feel so welcome. Those that provided us with the science of managing and caring for marine life are extremely knowledgeable and just beam with enthusiasm and love for the precious items placed in their care. The facilities are well maintained and structured to maximize the enjoyment and learning experience of both mature and young visitors. I asked myself a question while watching young children having the tine of their lives: "where were these great learning centers when I was their age": From the president on down, I offer my sincere thanks for taking the time to provide us with such a rewarding experience. I will be a pleasure to share information about the Center, when I have the opportunity to great both local and out of state visitors.

    Leo G

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    We love the Seacoast Science Center. We've taken our grandchildren there for an afternoon outing. They loved it.

    This GSA tour was terrific. It's the second one we've been on and we learn something new every time. This time It was lobsters. Also their Learning center is very comfortable for LEARNING!!! 

    The Blue and the Albino lobster were outstanding!

    After our Seacoast Science Center tour we traveled down to see the sand castles at Hampton Beach and to check out the Welcome Center there.

    Anita and Dan M

     -------

    The knowledge of the staff at the Seacoast Science Center was impressive. I’d been to the center before, but really liked having a guide to identify the species in the tanks on this trip. During our Creature Feature presentation about lobster, I was surprised to learn that there was an upper size limit when catching them, along with other great tidbits.

    The setting, views and park were beautiful. Thank you for sharing it all with us – it was very interesting.

    ~Violet A

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    The Sea Coast Science Center staff and the people who support its programs have made a very smart strategic decision to focus their educational effort on children, the very people who will be making decisions about our future.

    The staff seems to have a passion for teaching about the ocean and their well thought out displays show their commitment to sharing this knowledge with the children.

    I visit Odiorne Point State Park regularly, but had never been to the Seacoast Science Center. I was impressed that the center was made for learning about the ocean and the creatures live on our coast. The staff make it very easy to understand the animals we find in the ocean and their relationship to us and each other. The center also runs a marine mammal rescue program.

    I enjoyed the lecture on lobsters, and the opportunity for children to have a hands-on interface with sea creatures including their guided tours to the tidal pools. This is a well-run educational facility and great place to bring children of all ages.

    I go there several times a week - each time I realize that this was where Europeans first landed in New Hampshire.  When I go there, I walk the shore to the north, past first settlers’ Monument (1623) and view of the Isles of Shoals to the south and to the north, Fort Stark, the seacoast of Maine, Wood Island Rescue House and the Whaleback Light House Tower is just spectacular.     

    ~Joseph

    Click here to view the NHGSA photo album.

  • 11 Jul 2017 11:46 AM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

    Here are a few more notes from GSAs who cruised with Experience Squam.

    What a delightful host and wonderful way to learn more about Squam Lake.  It was the first time in over 50 years that I was on the Lake, and first time with a full lake tour.  Cindy was marvelous at finding out what we were interested in and then making it happen--how she got the loons, eagle, and osprey to appear at just the right times was truly amazing!!  A special experience for anyone who loves this (or any) lake, with a personal touch!!  Not to be missed on a vacation in the Lakes Region!!
    ~Gretchen

    What an amazing day on Squam Lakes! Cynthia is so well informed about all the history, secrets spots and knowledgeable about boating on the Lakes. The fact that she is willing to tailor the cruise to the individuals desire is worth noting. The experience and length of time boating is a big plus.

    I will centennially be recommending it not only to tourist but family members.
    ~Maureen

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to cruise Squam Lake on your beautiful 23 foot Bowrider.  Your knowledge of the lake and its history is incredible.  It really makes for a most informative cruise.  In addition, your knowledge and enthusiasm for the wildlife of the lake, especially the loons, is contagious.  Squam Lake is a special place here in New Hampshire, and you convey that very well.  And for film fans, your stories about the filming of the movie "On Golden Pond" are just fascinating.  I will be happy to pass on information about your tours to visitors looking for things to do in the Lakes Region.
    ~Moe

    READ Blog from Tim

    READ Blog from Sue

    VIEW GSA photo library

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