Retiring In NH

Countess Mara ... The Stone House legend in Intervale, NH


Designed ties for stars, became an actress, married 5 times and called Bartlett home for many years


You’ve no doubt noticed this grand, gorgeous property behind the gate on Hurricane Mountain Road in Intervale. Especially this time of year, either going to Fryeburg or to hike Black Cap. Each time you pass the home – you’re passing by a piece of Mt Washington Valley history. Within the wrought iron gates of 361 Hurricane Mountain Road lies The Stone House, former residence of Countess Mara de Bninski. This is a woman who lived life to the fullest – and some of it right here in Intervale.

Countess Mara began life as Lucilla Mara de Vescovi, born in Rome, Italy in 1893. She was the daughter of a professor at the University of Rome. She married Malcolm Whitman, an American singles tennis champion in 1926. The couple made their home in New York City. Four years later, Lucilla found she had a flair for making mens’ dress ties. She discovered her talent after a “flair up” with her husband. The couple had an argument about Whitman’s “dull” ties and she created a silk dress tie.

After Whitman’s death in 1932, Lucilla travelled throughout Europe, where she purchased fabrics and brought them back to New York with the intention of launching a career making men's ties.  While she was in Europe, Lucilla, a talented woman, appeared in several films that were filmed in Paris.


Following her return to New York, Lucilla de Vescovi Whitman founded her men's upscale neckwear company in 1935. That’s when she branded herself "Countess Mara". Pretty good marketing for back in the day. There was some family history as royalty however. Her mother was born Baroness Elizabeth deGleria, of Trieste, and her maternal grandmother was a Hungarian countess, Maria Hatvany. 

Countess Mara was a natural business woman and her company thrived. In 1944 Countess Mara was awarded the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in recognition of the influence her ties had had upon fashion. One of the most famous wearers of Countess Mara neckwear was Frank Sinatra.                                                                                                                         

Countess Mara became an official countess when she married her fifth husband, Count Victor Vitold Jean Maria Bnin-Bninski, a Polish nobleman. Thus the transformation into Countess Mara Mathilde DeBninski.

The countess apparently loved New England – and especially homes made of stone. Castles, no doubt, held a certain appeal to this woman of many talents. She bought the Wentworth Castle in Jackson in 1959. Countess Mara then hired 30 workers to restore the castle to its former beauty. After the 2 year project was complete, the Countess made the castle her home.

Countess Mathilde Mara De Bninski, a socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist, died Dec. 22, 1996, in Bartlett. She was 96.

Many thanks to Warren Schomaker of the Jackson Historical Society for his generous contribution in providing the Wentworth Castle information. 

Memorial Day is more than a holiday - JtRealty honors those who have served and fallen

MWV offers veterans opportunities to connect

Robert JtRealty honors those who have served and fallen, we thank them for the freedom they’ve preserved for our country.

For the many veterans who live in the Mount Washington Valley – we thank you for your service. As we honor those who are no longer with us.

Robert "Bob" Stone Tarbell (right) was a torpedo bomber during WWII. Bob, an electricial engineer, with his wife Helen, who predeceased him, raised 6 daughters, including Joy Tarbell. Bob passed away in 2013.



Veterans who move here from other areas have several places in which to connect with other veterans:

American Legion Ralph W. Shirley, Inc., NH Post 46
47 Taker Hill Rd
Conway, NH 03818          Phone: 603-447-3927
Web site:

American Legion North Conway, NH Post 95
116 Kearsarge Rd
NORTH CONWAY, NH 03860      

VFW Post 11557 Mt. Washington Valley Post
PO Box 1111
Rte 16
Conway, NH 03818
United States
Phone: (603) 447-2729

VFW Post 5386 Francis P. Murphy Post
PO Box 380
River St.
Bartlett, NH 03812
United States
Phone: (603) 374-2500

Conway VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic
71 Hobbs Street
Conway, NH 03818
Phone & Fax
Phone: 800-892-8384 X 3199

American Flag


New Hampshire Diners Discount Delight

It's Friday night and you've had a long week. You decide to go out to dinner with friends. How great would it be to walk into a restaurant and get $3 off or a free dessert – excellent, right!

AdoredA New Hampshire company has launched an app that does just that. Adored is a smartphone app that enables restaurants, bars, shops and attractions to build stronger relationships with loyal customers. For the customer, it eliminates that painful rummaging through your purse to find that loyalty rewards card. And it's better than a one-size fits all coupon. This intuitive app will quickly learn and respond to your consumer habits and offer you rewards that are most meaningful to you.

There is a bit of a Big Brother feel to it as the app communicates with tiny Bluetooth "beacons" set in key locations within participating businesses. But it's effortless to use and the interaction with consumers' phones is completely anonymous. There are no passwords to enter, no scanning QR codes, no punching cards. As soon as you walk through the door to your favorite business or restaurant you'll get a special offer. This app truly provides savings without struggle.

Red Parka Pub Glen NHTerri O’Brien, owner and general manager of the Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub in Glen, has been using the app for less than a month and is very pleased with her customers’ reaction. “We’ve had almost 100 people sign up. We’re looking to use the app to increase loyalty with our local customers.” If a customer comes in – the app will know that it’s the customer’s 4th visit and a free appetizer notice will pop up. 

If you're making plans to head out - take a moment to launch the app and save $$$. It's available on Apple iOS and Android phones. The app is fairly new as it launched in Manchester last fall, but it's growing in popularity.

One of the greatest benefits to folks who retire here is the great choice of restaurants. Are you considering relocating to the Mt Washington Valley? You get a lot of house for the prices here.

The 9 local merchants who have chosen to participate in the Mount Washington Valley launch of Adored, include:

Tuckerman Brewing Company, Conway

Black Cap Grille, North Conway

Frontside Coffee Roasters, North Conway

Chef's Bistro, North Conway

Delaney's Hole in the Wall, North Conway

The Local Grocer, North Conway

Vintage Baking Company, Glen

Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub, Glen

J Town Deli, Jackson


Check it out and let us know what you think.


Mobile technology - A blessing and a curse!

Yesterday it finally happened - my phone broke. I had some warning - the touch screen started jumping around earlier in the day. I ignored the screen movement secretly hoping the phone fairies would magically fix the problem. No such luck. By 5pm I knew the phone was a goner.
After work, I sped to the phone store. I was not the only one there in a worked-up state over a broken phone. The lady in front of me pleaded with the salesperson "you don't understand - I need to have my phone!" Although I had insurance, somehow I knew getting a new phone would be a challenge. And it was. After waiting in line - the representative handed me a pamphlet - call this number and they will send you a new phone. He said this with a straight face - hello - I don't have a working phone. After a great deal of effort, I was able to order a replacement phone online. 
Every day I see our clients clinging to their smart phones like a lifeline. One of the great things about looking for a home today is that you can access everything while you’re in the car. Not while driving of course. More buyers are starting their search on a mobile device. Our mobile site has been out there for a year now, with “Property Search” prominently featured. Here are my favorite real estate apps: is a good site if you know what you want in a home. You can find the home to meet your specific needs, from lot features, amenities, square footage - right down to the home’s flooring. These search features and the volume of available listings are by far this website’s strongest assets. - Most know Yelp as a tool to find restaurants, hotels and gas stations. But it also is a great way to find local real estate companies. Yelp maps out the locations of real estate companies and provides reviews as well. is easy to use and provides great visuals.  Trulia is big on providing lots of interior and exterior photos of its properties, and excels in the slideshow function. A prospective buyer can see every detail of what they’re browsing.
Homesnap is a bit more creative than some of the others, allowing users to find out more about places they already like. Snap a photo with Homesnap and it will give you the location on your Mt Washington Valley dream home. You mean it costs, HOW MUCH!? Now that the housing market is coming back, this app helps you identify which properties have good "investment potential" and shows you homes that you'll be able to flip.
Now that you've found an awesome home, Zillow Mortgages is an app that helps you figure out whether you can pay for it. Look at the "affordability calculator." Find out everything you need to know from loan term to lender fees, before you make the call. Talk about a time saver.
When my husband and I were getting ready to purchase our home in Glen, nearly the entire transaction involved electronic signing. Docusign allows you to securely sign and manage documents online from any device with the most widely used e-signature solution.
And don’t forget the AutoSearch in our MLS. It may not be an app, but if you register with JtRealty and save your favorite listings, you can get email updates when new properties match your search criteria.
As a seller, you can get feedback from showings without waiting for the agent to get back to the office. And the paperwork? Well, just sign electronically. The mobile process makes everything so much easier. 
I've managed to get through today without my cell. While the world did not collapse there is a void. Apparently I have muscle memory for texting as I reached for my phone several times. Mobile technology is much more of a blessing than a curse!

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.

New NH Kitchen Fires up Interest in Cooking

Can a great kitchen produce a great cook? Beats me, but I think so.

Bartlett NH Dining RoomTraditionally, I've been an efficient but not a great cook. My strength was in running a short order operation in our former kitchen. While the 4 kids were growing up, they each had different tastes, each had a different schedule depending on sports. My husband worked crazy hours (police, National Guard), I worked crazy hours (news editor, private detective) so chaos generally reigned.
I'm not proud of this, but there were a few times when I ventured into my husband's Army bag and tossed the kids an MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) for dinner. A delicate balance of desperation (no shopping time!) and an attempt at good parenting - I'd make it kind of a game with the kids.
KitchenThe kids loved the MREs and they were sad to see the practice end when I glanced at the calorie count. Yikes! They are designed for sustainance during war conditions after all!
But on holidays, like Easter that's coming up, we always made a point to be together and eat dinner in the dining room. If my husband was home, we cooked the meal together. Our former kitchen was cramped and it was a delicate dance to not jostle into each other.
My husband, Mark, rebuilt the kitchen when we bought our home in The Mount Washington Valley this May. It's not fancy (no stainless appliances) but, to us, it's fantastic. We have been enjoying the company of our Massachusetts friends visiting us often - usually staying for dinner.
Husband CookingThey've noticed a change in me. Mostly they mock my new interest in cooking. "Are those flowers on the table? Have you turned into Martha Steward? This actually tastes good (with shocked expression)!"

Quite frankly, I'm surprised how much I enjoy the experience. Maybe a basic in learning to cook is to actually spend time in the kitchen. Perhaps a pleasing ambiance can draw out a talent that you might not know existed.
Bon Appetit!


Nerves shot! Making the move to Mount Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Last spring, my husband & I put our Beverly, MA home up for sale. We had always wanted to live in New Hampshire and we decided to "just do it."  I worked in sales at the time - and was good at it. I thought "I can sell this house faster than any real estate agent."

We decided at the last minute to at least hear from a real estate professional. We chose a husband & wife team, mainly because I knew the wife from the gym. We met with them last February and really listened to what they had to say. We chose to go with them. 
I knew the history of the house and the neigbhorhood as we'd lived there for more than 20 years. But the realtors knew the market, the advertising/marketing and how to stage the house to get the most money for our property.
And they did!
We aimed for a listing date of March 1. We had 4 weeks to de-clutter a home in which we raised 4 kids and numerous pets. I couldn't believe Mount Washington Valley, New Hampshire homeall the stuff we had to get rid of. It wasn't an episode of "Hoarders" but still - we had to rent a dumpster! The race was on and we got rid of all the junk, took down our family photos and made the house look as neutral and clean as possible. 
It was like living in a model home - which was weird - but it was a good move.
We listed the home March 1 and the first open house was the first weekend - we had more than 150 people attend. 
We sold the house within the month - the closing was in April. We had found a place in Glen we loved and made an offer. After enduring the nerve-wrecking process of selling/buying we realized we had a gap in which we'd have no home for 2 months. The new home's closing was May 31. Who rents for 2 months and to a family with a Rottweiler? No one - that's who.
As the date to move approached with alarming speed, we finally found a rental home that fit the bill. Whew!
It all happened so quickly. As stressful as it was, I realize now how lucky we were to find the right agents to sell our home.
Mount Washington Valley, New Hampshire houseWe also had a buyer's agent who gave us great advice regarding our new home.
This spring, in our new home, I plan to learn how to garden. While my hopes are not high regarding my planting skills, I'm thrilled to embrace the coming days of warmth and sunshine.

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.

Making that dream of a second home in the Mount Washington Valley of NH a reality - it's possible

This past week I've seen more of my Massachusetts friends up here in the Mount Washington Valley than I had in the past couple of years that I actually lived in Massachusetts. 

Most of our friends want to have a second home in the Mount Washington Valley area. Here are a few possibilites that are currently available for the second home dream. 

Jackson Ski TouringSaturday, February 28
This is a shoe-in for a good time! This event is a Two Hour Instructional Nature Tour on Snowshoes with an Expert Guide. Jackson Ski Touring Foundation guides will show you places along the trails and off the system that most people would never get to find. Tour starts at 10 am and 1 pm.

Friday, February 27
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center: Buy 1 ticket and get the second free with coupon from the website

Friday, February 27
Torch Light Parade at King Pine Ski Area. For more information call 603-367-8896

Saturday, March 1
Chili Cookoff at North Conway Community Center. This an event that will warm you up inside and out. 

Friday, March 6
EMS Randonee Night Tour
At Cranmore Mountain. This night skiing event benefits the New England Ski Museum. 

Home Sweet (new) Home

 By Corinne

North Conway home in winterYou know you're in heaven when you can fold laundry while looking out at the Attitash Mountain ski trails!

I read somewhere that the greatest happiness comes from enjoying the daily things in life - not just waiting for big things to happen.

And for the past 6 months, I've found that to be true. Recently, my husband and I have been skiing during the week - a new and fabulous experience for us. No crowds! No waiting in the lift lines!

Our move to this area was rather sudden. My husband retired as a police chief of a Massachusetts North Shore city last year. We thought, "What are we waiting for? Let's move to God's Country up north!"

The time was right. Three of our 4 children are grown and our youngest son, Alex, would be starting high school this past fall. So last spring we sold our house in Massachusetts and began the search for the home we've always wanted to enjoy the next phase of our lives.

And we found it - in Glen, NH. We looked at a lot of homes. Over the years, we've bought and sold a number of homes. The requirements changed as our lives evolved. Our last home was where we raised our children. It was close to everything, shopping, parks, schools and our neighbors were like family. It was a tight-knit neighborhood where people looked out for each other.

Mark & Corinne Bretton WoodsIn 2005, my husband spent a year in Iraq. In addition to his law enforcement job, he also served 30 years in the military. When Mark was deployed to a dangerous area in the region - the Triangle of Death - we had children ages 5, 9, 11 and 14. It was amazing to know the neighbors were always there to help. If I was at work and one of the kids forgot his or her key - there was always a welcoming neighbor home offering milk and cookies until I could get home.

My husband and I both led active work lives and our family time was precious to us. The ski trips to the North Conway area are some of the best memories we made with our children as they grew up.

For this home, we envisioned a place where we could have family and friends stay with us. We wanted to be near mountains and we hope one day to be teaching our grandchildren to ski (not yet though!).

Buying a home is such a personal experience and having a vision of what you want in a home base is vital. We looked at a lot of perfectly nice homes but nothing stood out. However, when we first laid eyes on the one we ended up buying - we knew this was it. Love at first sight!

We live in a quiet area, with a panoramic view of the mountains. We enjoy having family and friends stay with us and we have enough room for everyone. We live near Story Land so we are a favorite destination for our relatives with young children.

One such visit really tested this. For this particular visit, my husband hosted his sister and his brother-in-law, 2 nieces, their husbands and 6 children under the age of 7.

I confess that I was somewhat happy to know I was going to be out of town for work during the visit. Sure, this was somewhat gutless on my part, but I figured my husband was up to the challenge. He was a military commander after all.

When I called to check in, I expected to hear a lot of screaming/crying in the background. But it was not the case.  It turned out to be a terrific visit. The adults had the guest rooms and the kids set up air mattresses in the downstairs living room. It was like indoor camping!

I look forward to working at JtRealty and seeing other people realize their dream lifestyles as well. When my husband and I come downstairs in the morning - we take a look out at the mountains and give each other a big high-five!