A Currier & Ives Holiday in Peterborough, New Hampshire

I said when I started writing this blog that it would be a design blog, not a lifestyle blog. I love those blogs — I really do — but I don’t know bumpkiss about makeup, or clothes, or shoes, or bags, or parenting, or crafts, or kids’ parties, or food photography, and I’m not going to discuss politics or religion or the state of society in general or particular.

However, I did leave one “lifestyle” opening for myself — life as it pertains to design in New Hampshire, my beloved state. For me, the character of where you live has an indelible influence on your feeling of “home.” And that’s what I want this blog and my company to be about — making your particular Home Glow. For my home, that’s New Hampshire, and the people, towns, villages, mountains, woods, lakes, and farms that make her unique. So my post today is about one little slice of New Hampshire, one I love and you will, too, even if you’re from Massachusetts. 😉

Peterborough, NH: A Day in Our Town

First, I have to back up a bit. During the last year, I’ve often felt like a monster with 3 heads, not very unlike the Chimera of Greek mythology. First there’s the full-time mommy head, the one that tries to make sure the kids feel loved, are kept alive, and occasionally marginally entertained. Then there’s the part-time decorator head, the one that you hear from each week and who relishes every opportunity to design, study, and discuss beautiful home spaces.

Lastly, there’s the part-part-time musician head. Due to life and life’s decisions, she’s the one that actually has the most training and education and the least opportunity for employment. A full-time mom in New Hampshire just doesn’t have the classical music performance opportunities that she did when she was childless and living in Manhattan. (Nor does she really want to. No sob stories here!)

However, last weekend (lucky me) I had a gig as the mezzo soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the Monadnock Chorus in quaint Peterborough, NH. Peterborough is a town of approximately 6,000 located in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, about 1.5 hours from Boston. It is reputed to be the inspiration for Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and is everything adorable.

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Photo by Joann Vitali

Kind of reminds you of a Currier & Ives print, doesn’t it? With the recent snow and 8 inches predicted for the night of the second concert, the above photos aren’t that far off from reality this week.

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Photo by Joann Vitali

The Monadnock Chorus performs in the historic town hall. Sweet!

One of the nice/difficult things about when I gig is that I have to find childcare. When I do get that coverage, and the gig lasts a couple of days, Mommy has time to herself! Most days of the year I feel like a sherpa. But to walk around unfettered by extra bags, sippy cups, extra snacks, dinosaurs, and rocks, not to mention two sweetly scatter-brained little boys whose questions never ever stop and who are like bulls in a china shop, especially when in a china shop — oh, this is sweet bliss.

The rehearsal went very well and I had a whole 24 hours until the first concert. So some stress allayed, my only question to myself was, “Whither shall I wander?” (from the nursery rhyme, “Goosey, Goosey Gander”)

Indulging in My Vices

Peterborough is the home of numerous arts and culture organizations in addition to the Chorus, perhaps most notably the Peterborough Players and the Mariposa Museum of World Cultures (I ask you, why wouldn’t there be a museum dedicated to indigenous uprisings here?!). There are a number of boutiques and a few top notch restaurants. For such a small place, it’s truly an embarrassment of riches.

Drinking before the concert was not an option, so I indulged in my some of my other vices:

  1. Antiques
  2. Chocolate
  3. Food

In that order.  If you choose to visit Peterborough in the future, near or far, do not miss these locales.

img_1629Grove & Main was my first stop. This lovely little French-influenced antiques store has glittering vignettes, one more charming than the next.
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I posted this Blue Denmark set to my Instagram account and actually had a couple price inquiries! Just like snowflakes for your winter table. I love that it has a tea (or espresso) set and a set of butter pat plates!!

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LOVED this French reverse-painted-on-glass icon, but alas, didn’t have the funds to bring it home.

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I’m always a sucker for a saturated-hued modern figural in a rich gold frame. “Man Looking Down” by Robin Oliver.

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Big basket full of printer’s letters. I thought these could look really fun filling a huge clear vase as a part of a table top vignette.

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Lovely trio of mountain meadow landscapes by Sue Callihan. Stack them vertically in a narrow space or pick up one for your bookshelves to remind you of your wanderings here.

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I never would have thought to combine an antique Chinese paint brush, rose quartz ball, and those kitschy little pink Christmas trees, but it works beautifully!

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I picked up two of these Lauren Decatur felt ornaments for the boys. They won’t fully appreciate them, but I will. Do you know that her adorable cottage has been featured on Houzz? Wish I could pick up her vintage farmhouse sink, too.

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My next stop was Bowerbird Antiques, a feast for the eyes from floor…

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To ceiling! I almost missed this collection of somewhat strange portraits hanging from the rafters.

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Huge collection of hotel silverplate and blue flow ware. I’ve always been a proponent of using silverware that actually is made of silver!

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Found this Florentine lady keeping watch over the glassware. Want your own Mona Lisa?

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If you collect white stoneware, you won’t be disappointed with your options.

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I SOOOOOO wanted to bring this “Folky Cupboard” home with me. Beautifully coordinated with brown and green Polish stoneware.

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Sorry for the slightly blurry pic. Bowerbird has a ton of greenery, succulents, pots, and garden whatnots. I was impressed by the icicle-like installation of hanging planters! Christmas in the greenhouse.

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I couldn’t help but stop in Sarah’s Hat Boxes, even though it isn’t an antiques store. Why? Well, I’ve never been in a hat box store before. Have you?

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So cheerful inside. If you don’t like wrapping a thousand gifts, this is the way to go for Christmas! Stick a bow on top, and voila!

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I just happened upon Scott’s Clocks. I’m a bit of a clock junky. I’m waiting for my parents to downsize so that I can get their grandfather clock to put in our library.

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There are some true works of art and engineering in here.img_1564

How about that massive train station clock?!

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Time does, indeed, fly. Scott has a 16 month waiting list on restorations. But the product is worth the wait.

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To that end, my next stop was the New Hampshire favorite, Ava Marie Chocolates. Because, as we said, time flies and life is short, I eat dessert first whenever I have the opportunity.

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Ava Marie Handmade Chocolates is owned and operated by Susan and Peter Mazzone. The shop is named after the owners’ daughter, Ava Marie. It began as a home-based business in 2003, but business is booming now. All chocolates are made onsite.

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I don’t know how they do these decorations, but these chili pepper chocolates are AMAZING.

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Sweet stars on the lemon chocolate truffles.

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Wait, there are TWO chocolate cafes in Peterborough?!?!?!

Next stop, Vicuña Chocolate. Founder Neely Cohen has worked as a pastry chef, chocolatier, and bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the United States, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. She has harvested and roasted cacao in the Amazon jungle and taught thousands how to make chocolate from scratch.

A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, Neely Cohen has trained under renowned pastry chef Pichet Ong and cooked at the James Beard House.

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That’s not Cohen in the above pic, by the way.

Vicuña Chocolate roasts, cracks, winnows, and stone grinds organic and fair-trade cocoa beans, then tempers, molds, and hand-wraps its signature 70% dark chocolate bars on site during the week. It is open on weekends as a chocolate cafe.

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Your chocolate menu, señorita.

I picked up two bars for my handsome husband. What did I get for me?

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I got the Sipping Chocolate. Or rather, the molten-lava-thick-chocolately-rich-deliciousness in an espresso cup.

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I felt that I should probably eat something for lunch with a little nutritional value, so I went over to one of my favorite gourmet delis and fine food markets ever, Twelve Pine.img_1612

BTW, those chicken burritos are like no others I’ve ever tasted. I think they have ricotta cheese in them! I went back the next day to bring home 3 for dinner after the second concert. I get really hungry after a performance.

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Yeah, I won’t be saving any calories here.

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The imported marzipan fruits are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

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I actually make the drive to Peterborough each year just to buy a whole bunch of Twelve Pine’s homemade Cheddar Cheese Straws. A typically southern treat, these are the best my southern husband has ever tasted, and at $3.99, they are awesome to throw in teachers’ gifts.

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Wiiiiiiiiine. No I can’t! I’m singing tonight!

After Twelve Pine, I was out of time. I wended my way back to where I was staying to prep for the concert. However, I couldn’t help but snap two more quick pics of some of my favorite Peterborough spots, just to tantalize you a little more.

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If I’d had the kids with me, this is where we would have done lunch.

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I leave you with this picture. As I passed the historic Peterborough Town Library on my way back, I caught a flash of blue. I walked up under the rotunda and saw this thing of wonder — a BLUE mural of New Hampshire woods and wildlife. It took my breath away. Made me think of a moonlit night with the moon lighting up the snow and throwing everything else in sharp relief. And the architectural details were pretty cool too, hehehe.

Don’t forget! If you sign up by January 5, 2017, you can get 20% off services from Home Glow Design.

Projects to be completed in 2017. This offer is good toward:

  • Color consultations, interior and exterior
  • E-Design, 1 project
  • Hourly consultations (up to 3 hours worth)
  • 20% off 10 hours of full-service onsite design (this can also be done with e-Design if you live remotely, but want to take advantage of my designer product discounts rather than only use consumer sources).

Email me or fill out the Contact form to get the ball rolling!

The next two Saturdays are Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. I seriously doubt anyone will be waiting with baited breath for my posts on those days. 🙂 So, I’ll be back posting on January 7. Thanks for joining me in 2016! I have a lot of good stories lined up for the beginning of 2017, so I really hope you’ll be back after the break.

A very Merry Christmas to everyone, and a Happy All Other Holidays, too!

-Amy

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  • Doris Cote

    Lovely walk through Peterborough! Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      You are most welcome! So glad you enjoyed it.ReplyCancel

  • I just published a novel, The Other Side of Everything, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0910291144/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482087875&sr=8-1&keywords=linda+r+spitzfaden, based in the idyllic town of Riverboro, New Hampshire–based on Peterborough. So nice to find your blog post, it shows an appreciation of the town worthy of the narrator, Piper Hammond.ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      Thanks, Linda. I will have to check out your book!ReplyCancel

  • So happy to find you on Facebook, for two reasons!

    First, your performance in Rossini’s Petite Messe in Peterborough was my favorite part…you truly have a lovely and powerful voice!

    Second, I could use some house help. We downsized and moved three years ago, and I’ve never been able to get the “new” place looking right. I like the pictures you’ve posted on your website . I will get in touch with you after the holidays.

    With best wishes, Judith VanceReplyCancel

    • Amy

      Thank you for your kind words, Judith! Music always has been, and always will be, my first love. So glad that you enjoyed it.

      And I would love to help you with your house! I bet you have a very nice art collection. 🙂 I’ll look forward to hearing from you.ReplyCancel

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