Outdoor Activities

Return of the Pumpkin People

Jackson, NH is celebrating 31 years of “Return of the Pumpkin People” this October, and this year the whole Valley is getting on the bandwagon. Albany, Conway, and Bartlett, NH are joining in with over 60 different locations participating with local businesses and homeowners this year. The map (see link below) takes you all around the valley from Albany to Jackson, down West Side Road to Rt 16A in Intervale, NH. This is the perfect opportunity to draw visitors from all over to your home, and as an added bonus it is a fun way to get creative this fall! Even if your home or business isn’t on the official map, take a look at the map, is your home near other stops? It could be just the excuse a buyer needs to stop, and fall in love with your property.

 

Personally, Fall in New Hampshire is my favorite season. It’s the perfect opportunity to let mother nature do your decorating, and let the foliage speak for itself. With so many events going on throughout October and November, you can guarantee your property is getting a lot of traffic this season. Think of every visitor that drives by as a chance to present your home in its best light.

 

That’s where I come in. When a buyer drives by or stops to take pictures of the “Pumpkin People” they will notice the for sale signs in the neighborhood.

If they’re in the market and they fall in love, it is important that I make sure that your listing is up to date with professional seasonal photos. Even if the leaf peepers aren’t looking for a home, well -- word of mouth is still advertising, and it’s the best kind!

 

Be sure to check the local newspaper, and take a look of all of the events going on in town in October and November. A massive amount of tourists are here for a few more weeks so take advantage of it, and have some fun while you do it!

(2016 Pumpkin People Map)

Gather around the campfire But sleep in a comfy bed

 

Imagine the family gathering around the fire telling ghost stories, cooking over the open flame and pitching the tents - the joys of camping!

For many Massachusetts families, coming to the Mount Washington Valley to go camping  is indeed a ritual of family bonding. I know - we were such a family, as are many of our friends. We made our first trip when our youngest was 2, the oldest was 12. My husband was excited as we packed up the 4 kids, the gear and sped off to Mt Washington Valley from Beverly, MA. "Haven't you done enough camping during your Army stints?" I asked. Mark looked at me "but this is fun camping. You'll love it."

At White Lake State Park campground in Tamworth we unpacked our gear and I learned how to pitch a tent. The kids loved it! Off they went to swim and explore. We had hot dogs & mac n cheese (fun to cook over the open flame - not fun to clean up after) and we told scary campground stories after dark. Days 1-3 were pretty much idyllic.

Then it rained - not fun. Our oldest, Ryan, in a desperate move to self-entertain grabbed my copy of The Da Vinci code and finished it by the end of the day.

I learned later, from my girlfriends, that the secret to camping is this: stay for the fun stuff then leave! Or - get a good night's sleep - not on an air mattress or, worse, a sleeping bag - stay in the family cabin. It turns out many of our friends have either inherited camps or bought cabins - greatly enhancing both the number of trips to MWV and the quality of the trips.

JtRealty agent David Emmet was jubilant about leaving for his upcoming camping trip, heading out with a group of friends. I asked David what he liked best about camping. "For me, I guess, it's getting away from the grind for a couple of days and watching the seasons turn. We fish for Brook Trout, eat great food. We burn enough wood to heat a normal house for a week, and sleep under the stars. Or in my case, in the back of my Suburban," said David, an avid outdoorsman with a great appreciation for nature.

But he also knows the value of not sleeping on the ground!

 

Digging in .... learning to garden in the Mount Washington Valley

NH patioLast summer my husband Mark and I were invited to our neighbor's home for a cookout. Jackie and Lloyd are an active retired couple. Lloyd was a Merchant Marine and Jackie was a teacher.
Jackie gave us a tour of her garden - it was paradise. Jackie had rows of box gardens, each box brimming with vegetables or flowers.
 
You could live off the land! 
 
I've lived the past 2 decades pretty much a city gal - until we moved to Glen last May. When we bought our house there was still snow on the ground.
We had no idea what we actually had as a lawn. We were thrilled by what was revealed after the snow melted. The previous owner was a landscape contractor - we had flowers! Last summer, my husband and I had a ritual in which we would "walk the grounds" at dusk. Saying "walk the grounds" would crack us up - as though we were British snobs like in Downton Abbey! But whether its a home like ours, or a more grand estate, it's a great way to end the day.NH backyard
 
We have a friend, Chris, who is a police captain in Massachusetts and has a second home in North Conway. Chris is passionate about gardening (and cooking) and he always has fresh vegetables on hand. Chris is also a strong believer in the healing power of herbs. 
 
I thought he might have gone too far when he proudly showed me he had garlic bandaged on his thumb as a remedy for a nail fungus. "This works great and didn't cost me anything," he said. While I heartily support Chris's frugal ways - there's a place to draw the line. I think, first I wouldn't say I had a nail fungus, but if I did I'd spring for the $5 remedy at CVS. 
 
This spring, inspired by Jackie's green thumb, I plan to garden. My experience with gardening is pretty much limited to what I see on TV and the occasional basil plant I keep in the kitchen.  I have zero clue about when to plant or how to plan. But that's what Youtube is for! 
My boss, Joy, has a green thumb. I'm thrilled that I've managed to keep the office plants alive! Spring brings new beginnings - from the ground up.
  

Going the extra mile is worth the run

Kathy Prittie, an agent at JtRealty and a mother of 4, loves running outside. "It clears my head of distractions, stress and drama. It's always quiet and peaceful inside my head when I'm running." Several times a week, Kathy meets friends at Cranmore - and off they go. "It's better to run with friends because having someone beside you pushes you both to run a little further and a little harder than you would do yourself," says Kathy. Kathy and her friends look pretty pumped after an early morning run (right).

GirlfriendsI know she's right. I've been running for 40 years - with friends and by myself. I'm currently temporarily hobbled (ill-advised ski jump) so I'm running vicariously by listening to Kathy. My son, Alex, 15, recently took up running. While athletic, Alex - up until now - hated running. He started 3 weeks ago. The first run was a killer. We live off Glen Ledge Rd and the end of the run up to our house is the steepest road in Bartlett. He couldn't make the final leg of the run and came inside the house red faced and completely out of breath. As he gasped for air he asked me, "Mom is there really a runner's high?" After I explained how running sets off the good chemicals in your brain - releasing endorphins, I confessed that I only felt the "runner's high" if I've gone for really long runs.

My runs are shorter - but I have my own runner's high - it's when the run is over! Alex, however, is getting the runner's high and I' couldn't be happier that he's found this outlet. Kathy says she wants her kids to know that while running isn't easy, if she can do it, they can do it even better. I love seeing that happen with Alex.

GirlfriendsI have to say, though, my running thoughts tend not to be lofty. I usually plan what I'm going to make for dinner! Kathy agrees, "Coffee after a run never tastes better. I run for pie - I love chocolate pie!"

After a couple of runs Alex mastered the hill and he looks forward to his runs after school. Running is a great confidence builder. Whether it's running or some other type of exercise - when you push your limits you feel special and wonderful.

Kathy puts it well. "When it's 15 degrees out and I'm out there running - I know I'm powerful and strong, that I'm not average."

 

Dogs are ready to roll in The Mount Washington Valley

As spring comes into play - the doggies are ready to get outside as much as we are.

The Mount Washington Valley area offers many pet friendly options. You can take your best friend to say, Wildcat Inn, in Jackson, NH and sit outside in the relaxing garden. 
While Fido meets other pooches, you can enjoy a glass of wine and an appetizer. Sue, the manager, is especially attentive to the doggies. Our son, Alex, (left) brought Ranger to Wildcat Tavern/Restaurant to say hello. Ranger will be pleased when the back garden is open for business.
 
A great place to walk your dog, Jackson is known as a super dog-friendly town. 
 
Over at Eastern Slope Inn, located in the heart of North Conway, there's a sort of secret side garden located outside. It's a great place to gather and dogs are allowed!
 
After a day of skiing at Attitash my best friend, Ranger, us as we sat outside. What a perfect combination - mountains & man's best friend.
 

This Ski App Leads To a Slippery NH Slope

I admit I'm a pretty competitive person. That's why I should have known better than to start tracking my ski times with an app called Ski Tracks.

 

Ski Tracks is an iPhone app that shows your ski route, lists the slope, the vertical drop and, most dangerous of all, give you your speed in MPH. This app can turn a perfectly nice skier into a nightmare. Not only am I constantly trying to beat my best time - I'm also trying to beat my husband's best time. I'm not going to divulge my best time (we live in a litigious society!) but let's just say usually you're in a car to reach this kind of speed.

It really came to a head my last ski outing. Like a drug addict who has hit bottom - I realized when I ripped my glove off, wild-eyed, to see what my last time was - and if I broke my record - it's time to hit delete on this app.

I will say the app really did improve my skiing. But all good things must come to an end. And I don't want to end up doing a Sonny Bono into a tree at XXX MPH!

Cherish Winter Memories - & Be Smart - Buy in Bartlett, NH

This is the time of year you hear a lot of winter whining.

  • I can't wait for this to be over....
  • I'm sick of winter!
  • This is miserable, I hate it. I wish I was in Florida...

I say, it's a long winter, make the most of it. Between us, my husband and I have 4 children. We both worked hard and time with the kids was scarce. What we all loved doing, however, was skiing. An expensive sport, sure, but we found ways to make it affordable.

My husband and/or I would bust the kids out of school during the weekday - as long as their grades were good - and head north for the day. This was heavily frowned on in Massachusetts - even if the student's grades were A's - so we had to get creative with our lies as for why they weren't in school that day.

We saved for February vacations and all of the inevitable torture. Putting on the ski boots, renting equipment - the forms, lines! Then helping to shove little feet into the boots which often led to tears.

We gave up other things so each of the kids attended ski school. The age is usually 3 years old. We once tried, and I'm not proud of this, to sneak our youngest in before 3. "He's 3?" we were asked by a keen-eyed, skeptical instructor. "He's small for his age," was our cowardly reply.

It worked out okay, though. Alex, now 15, is on the Kennett High Alpine Team, so the trauma couldn't have been so bad.

Skiing was the basis for our best family memories. Those trips bonded us and we hope, will continue when we have grandchildren.

We should have forecasted ahead financially. For all the money we spent on hotel rooms, we should have bought a condo. There's so much available, at various prices, all close to Cranmore and Attitash. These two properties below are in Bartlett. For those of us from Massachusetts - you won't believe the low taxes in Bartlett!

 
9C River Run - Condo - $129,000.
Imagine dinner around a warm fireplace. And the kids can bring their friends. This condo sleeps 12.

193 Skyline Drive - Single Family - $250,000. Ideal for a home to eventually retire to - with a second living area for extended family.

All of our children are now grown, Alex, 15, being the youngest. They all thrived from the challenges they faced on the slopes. The pulling oneself out of a ditch, struggling to get their equipment back on after a fall. The thrill of tackling a difficult trail.

A couple of nights ago, I called Lauren, 23, who lives in San Francisco.  I asked her if the Pineapple Express - the drenching rain that's pounding the West coast - is making life tough. "Please Mom, I lived in Maine for 4 years. This is nothing. People actually didn't come in to work today - because it's raining! What a bunch of wimps."

 

 

 

Get Outside and Embrace Winter in Mount Washington Valley, NH

Winter in Mount Washington ValleyIs there a dream land where you can lose weight, improve your heart health and generally live a longer, better life? Yes! Mount Washington Valley.

There's a reason this area is a 4-season resort destination.

Okay, I'm excited my family moved here. So much so - The MWV Chamber of Commerce ought to be paying me a spokesperson fee. I knew I felt better since we've moved here - but now I know there's actual science behind it. Google "exercise and good health" and you'll see for yourself.

While I've always been active physically, the range of things to do here is amazing. Good thing too. Since the restaurants are all so good, we've been eating out like never before. During the winter, we love to ski. Of course, that gets to be expensive. One of the things we've always appreciated is that there are military discounts/weekends offered by MWV ski resorts. See below.

Engaging in the activities offered in this area is a great way to combat the winter blues.

Here are just a few:

Winter events Jackson, NHEvents at Wildcat Mountain

Events at Cranmore Mountain in North Conway, NH

Events at Attitash Mountain in Bartlett, NH

Activities at Brettonwoods Mountain in Bretton Woods, NH

With all the specials and clinics offered- it's never too late to pick up a new sport. While physical activity is key, the experts say, to good health - I also think there's a mental/physical connection to living in the mountains. Until recently, I commuted to Massachusetts for work. For 6 months I worked from a home office and made the trek across the border almost weekly.

I always felt my blood pressure rise once I left the mountains. Once you cross the border - you've got to be on your game! The road rage, the competition, the crowds and noise. If you're not hyper-vigilant - you're toast! My blood pressure seemed to boil.On the reverse side, on the return trip home, as soon as I passed Wontons Restaurant on Route 16 and suddenly there's that gorgeous view of the mountains - I could feel my heart rate plummet. I hope to see you out on slopes!