Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Experience New Hampshire's Maple Syrup Season at its Best!

It’s that time of year again… New Hampshire’s sweet season! Farmers, landowners, and families across the region have been preparing for New Hampshire’s maple syrup season for weeks. Although the weather has been unusually cold this winter, temperatures are forecasted to rise later this week kicking off the season just in time for several key events allowing you to take part in this centuries old tradition.

This Saturday, March 8th, the Monadnock Food Coop in Keene is hosting a free tour of Stuart and John’s Sugar House in nearby Westmoreland, NH (about 3 miles from the Inn) from 9am-10:15am. Watch a video of the syrup making process followed by a discussion led by seasoned maple syrup producer Stuart Adams. Then if you like, stay to purchase breakfast in their pancake house to top off this delicious experience.

The Maple syrup season is completely controlled by Mother Nature, but once it starts should last for several weeks (typically between mid-February and mid-April). Other maple syrup events in southern New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region include Stonewall Farm’s 15th Annual Sap Gathering Contest March 22nd from 9am-3pm where teams of draft horses race to collect the “sap” on a course throughout the farm’s education center. Visit their working sugar house to see how maple syrup is made, visit the farm animals and farm stand. There will be food for sale, maple syrup sundaes and hayrides too!

The weekend of March 22nd and 23rd is also New Hampshire and Vermont’s Maple Weekend where hundreds of sugar houses throughout both states are open to the public to share their knowledge and success of this ancient craft. We’re located in Walpole, NH which borders Vermont making us a great location to explore sugar houses on both sides of the beautiful Connecticut River.

If you can’t visit on either of these weekends, don’t despair. As long as the weather cooperates (temperatures below freezing at night and above freezing during the day) and the sap is running we can find you a nearby sugar house to visit. Although not the prettiest time of year (affectionately known locally as stick or mud season), a visit to Walpole, New Hampshire or the Monadnock Region during this season is well worth any effort as tasting warm maple syrup right after it’s made is an experience you’ll not soon forget!

Hope to see you here on the farm soon!
Jackie, Innkeeper

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Looking for Lodging While You Snowmobile in Southern New Hampshire?

I've decided those who complain about winter just haven't taken time to experience it! Winter has a beauty all it's own and once you've experienced the fluffy white stuff (and I'm not talking about just shuffling to and from your frozen snow covered car to go to work) you'll have a greater appreciation for this special season. In our humble opinion, one of the best ways to experience winter in New Hampshire is exploring our beautiful Monadnock Region countryside by snowmobile! With hundreds of miles of woodland trails, much through private property, this experience gives you a glimpse of southern New Hampshire not even most experienced hikers can say they've seen.

Although there is no place local to rent snowmobiles, if you own your own our farm is ideally situated to explore the vast trail system in southern NH. Dozens of miles of local trails can be easily accessed right from our property to explore the Monadnock Region and Connecticut River Valley. Local trails go in every direction through picturesque farmland and woodlands and even passing along the way a pizzeria restaurant, and a gas station/convenience store to add to the fun and comfort of your trip. You can also choose to travel on Corridor 5 which traverses right through our woodlands and extends the entire length of New Hampshire - from Massachusetts to the Canadian border! New Hampshire maintains, through a combination of state officials, local snowmobile clubs and volunteers, more than 7,000 miles of interconnected public trails in total.

Our cottages make the perfect retreat after a exhilarating day on the trails where you can enjoy the comforts of home (flat screen TV with satellite, complimentary wifi, full kitchen, private entrance and room to sleep up to 6). We have plenty of secure parking for your vehicle and trailer as well as room to load/unload. Discounted winter rates apply during our snowy season and a basket of homemade baked goods, locally made organic breads and our own farm fresh eggs are brought to your doorstep each morning. Choose to eat in by making use of the cottage's full kitchen or take the short ride to our picture perfect New England village of Walpole, NH and dine at one of several dining options including the Walpole Village Tavern, Murray's Restaurant, the Restaurant at Burdick Chocolates or Diamond Pizza.

Two sites helpful in locating all the information you need to ride your snowmobile in NH are the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association's website and NH Fish and Game. NH Parks and Recreation has additional information as well as snowmobile corridor trail maps to help plan your visit. Local trail maps are available at check in and always be sure to call ahead for the most up to date snow conditions.

Here's a glimpse of what you'll see on the trails.

Don't forget to bring your snowshoes and sleds along too as we have 105 acres to explore and one of the best sledding hills anywhere around!

Hope to see you here on the trails soon!
Jackie, Innkeeper

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cut-Your-Own Fresh Christmas Trees in Southern New Hampshire's Monadnock Region

It's that time of year again and for us nothing says Christmas like an outing to cut your own Christmas tree. Hiking through picturesque fields with family and friends to find the perfect-for-you Christmas tree is a favorite holiday tradition for many. Choosing a locally grown tree not only provides you with the freshest Christmas tree possible, but supports land conservation efforts and your local farmers as well.

Here in the agriculturally rich Monadnock Region of Southern New Hampshire we are blessed with many options for cut-your-own trees. Although other tree farms exist in our extensive region, below is a list of cut-your-own Christmas tree farms located closest to our Inn and farm. Different tree farms offer different types of Christmas trees (i.e. Balsam, Fraser Fir, Scotch Pine, Blue Spruce, White Fir) as well as additional products like handmade wreaths, roping, sleigh rides, hot chocolate, and other holiday treats to add to the enjoyment of your holiday outing. Before you head out be sure to check hours, availability and offerings. Whether you are a cut-your-own tree veteran or want to try for the first time, we encourage you to get outside, get some fresh air, support your local farmers and and make some great family memories!

In Walpole, NH: 

  • Phelps Farm, 535 Old Keene Road, Walpole, NH 603-756-3950.

Other local tree farms (about a 10-15 minute drive from our Inn):
  • Farmstead Acres: 143 London Road, Westmoreland, NH 603-352-8730. 

  • Wright's Tree Farm, 607 Hurricane Road, Keene, NH 603-952-4033.

Check out these tips for selecting a Christmas Tree and Caring for Your Farm Grown Fresh Christmas Tree compiled by the NH Christmas Tree Promotion Board and don't miss checking out this link for fun and interesting facts about fresh Christmas trees.

Plan to make a weekend out of it by spending a night or two at our 105-acre organically managed farm. Our elegant 1774 Colonial B&B, cottages, and farmhouse are all decked out for the holidays and opportunities for local gift buying abounds. Come get into the spirit of the season with us. We hope to see you here at the farm soon!

Jackie, Innkeeper

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This Friday is "Plaid Friday" Kicking Off Holiday Shopping with Specials, Local Artisan Tours and More!

It's hard to believe, but the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season is once again upon us! I'm here to remind you that spending your dollars in a locally and independently owned business not only helps communities thrive, but provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding gift-buying experience!

This Friday, November 29th, 2013 is Plaid Friday - A nationwide effort designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the big box store “Black Friday”. Consumers and shop keepers alike are encouraged to don their best plaid to show their support of the event. Special discounts & offerings, book signings, and tastings abound at local businesses throughout southern New Hampshire. Here at the Inn we're offering two handmade pottery Inn at Valley Farms mugs with every gift certificate purchase ($30 value) and 10% off any gift shop purchase. Our Walpole Valley Farms farm store is also participating and will be filled with homemade holiday wreaths & kissing balls, homemade local fruit jams, local maple syrup, fresh local apples, our great farm t-shirts designed by local children's book illustrator Virginia Allyn, of course freezers full of our delicious, nutritious pasture-raised meats, and more. Sign up to be entered to win one of dozens of great "Plaid Friday" prizes donated by area Monadnock Region businesses that will be raffled off throughout the day.

Plaid Friday is the official kick off event of "Shift Your Shopping" - another nationwide event aimed at persuading consumers to "shift" a minimum of 10% of their holiday spending to local businesses - a simple, powerful way to boost our economy and preserve and create jobs in our local communities. This year, participants in the "Shift Your Shopping for Good" campaign will be giving a portion of purchases between "Small Business Saturday" 11/30 and "Giving Tuesday" 12/3 to literally any charity or school you choose. We are particiapting by donating 10% of any stay or gift certificate purchase during that time frame to the charity of your choice. 

Perfectly timed for the holiday shopping season are two favorite area events - the 11th Annual Walpole Artisans Tour and the 35th Annual Putney Crafts Tour both held Friday, November 29th - Sunday, December 1st. Take a back road tour through some of New England's most beautiful countryside visiting top artisans in their studios. Participating artisans cover a wide variety of mediums including potters, glass blowers, painters, metal workers, jewelry designers, fabric artists, photographers, cheese makers, and more. I've done these tours for years and still haven't personally visited every studio. Can you think of a more enjoyable way to go shopping?

As in past years, we'll be participating as a Plaid Friday "hub" in the Monadnock Region and as such handing out our famous homemade cookies to hungry shoppers in plaid passing through Walpole. Come see us in our plaid and bring yours too. We hope to see you here on the farm!

Jackie, Innkeeper

Sunday, October 27, 2013

B&B for Vets Says "Thank You" With its Free Night Stay Program

It’s that time of year again and as our way of saying “Thank You” to all the sacrifices our military have made we are once again participating in the annual B&B for Vets Program. Started by one committed innkeeper (Kathleen Panek of the Gillum House B&B in Shinnston, WV), the program has grown into a national phenomenon involving nearly 900 B&B’s across the United States and Canada. An estimated 50,000 room nights have been given away to our nation's military through this program since its inception in 2008!

On Sunday, November 10th, 2013 we will be offering all three of our Inn guest rooms to veterans or active military and reserves personnel and their spouse or guest for free. Additional nights to extend this military offer may be booked at 25% off. Come relax and take a well deserved break on us as our way of saying thanks.

Here's how it will work: Each of our three rooms will be released one at a time intermittently over the next week. Notification of the availability of the rooms will be done simultaneously on Facebook and Google+.  “Like us” on Facebook and/or Google + to be among the first to know when a room for this offer becomes available. Once the room is released, call 603-756-2855 (between 9am and 9pm) to accept this offer. First come, first served.

Rooms cannot be booked online. Military ID is required. Only serious inquiries please. Rooms are free, but require a credit card to hold. You will be charged for your room if you do not show or cancel at such late notice that we’re not able to allow another military person to take advantage of this offer. Names for a waiting list will be taken.

If you’re not already a fan, “like us” on Facebook and/or Google + today, wait for the postings and hope you are the first to respond. A notice will be posted as soon as the room is claimed. Another free room will be released at random until all three are claimed. 

If you are not able to take advantage of this offer due to your distance to our location in Walpole, NH check the B&B for Vets website to find a participating B&B near you.

Good luck veterans and Thank You for your service!

Jackie Caserta, Innkeeper

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Spring Walking Tour of Walpole, New Hampshire

All week we've had incredibly beautiful spring weather and I had the unexpected pleasure of walking through the very town I live in with my camera in hand! I was meeting up with Laura Mahoney who is photographing every single community in New Hampshire for her project called In true innkeeper form I offered to give Laura a personal tour of our charming New England village and being an aspiring photographer myself I brought my camera along. Laura will be posting her photos of Walpole on her site later this month, but I thought I'd share mine in the meantime. It was such a beautiful day it was hard not to take a good photo!

For those of you who have never been to Walpole before, you're in for a treat. For those of you who have moved away for one reason or another you'll be glad to know Walpole's charm and beauty are still alive and well.

Walpole is a thriving picturesque New England village with numerous white Colonial and Greek Revival homes surrounding a large grassy common. Nestled in the southwest corner of New Hampshire in the Connecticut River Valley, the village is surrounded by fertile farmlands and hillsides supporting numerous diverse agricultural enterprises as well as magnificent views across the river into Vermont. This Monadnock Region community is home to 3,500 residents and has changed little in more than 100 years. It's charming beauty has drawn literary and visual artists for centuries and many notables still work and make their home here today. Enjoy the photo tour of our community or better yet, come stay with us and I'll tour you around myself!

After showing Laura briefly around our pasture based farm and our knock view across into Vermont we headed over to Alyson's Orchard where I knew the apricots were in bloom. Alyson's Orchard is gorgeous literally at any time of year, but what an amazing sight to behold when the trees are in blossom! And the smell of the apricot blooms... nothing short of intoxicating!

I was happy to see so many honey bees hard at work. They were so laden with pollen I was amazed they could still fly. If the frost stays away it looks like 2013 will be a productive fruit year! Alyson's grows not only a long list of apples, including many heirloom varieties, but peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, grapes, sweet cherries, sour cherries, blueberries and more.

Next we headed to visit Virginia Carter at the Walpole Mountain View Winery for more stunning views. There's not a lot going on in the vineyard this time of year, but this view is one of the best around anywhere during foliage season! Virginia makes some great wines crafted entirely from her own grapes and I highly suggest visiting for a tasting. The vineyard is open for tastings Friday evenings, Saturday and Sunday afternoons Memorial Day until Christmas. Better yet, book one of our wine packages and make a weekend out of it!

On our way into downtown Walpole we passed the Hooper Golf Course. Once a working farm, the beautiful landscape of green rolling hills and stone walls was transformed into a classic golf course in 1927 by golf course designer Wayne Stiles. The Hooper Golf Course is still recognized as one of America's top 9 hole golf courses today.

Situated in the Connecticut River Valley along the border of Vermont Walpole is blessed with rich farmland and a wide variety of agricultural enterprises. Far from a "high rise community, the town hall and the church steeple are the tallest structures to be seen. 

The following is a series of pictures I took as Laura and I walked around our quaint New England village.

View looking north up Main Street, downtown Walpole, NH. Click to see full image.

Walpole Unitarian Church at the corner of Main and Union Streets.

Continuing up Main Street with a row of magnificent homes.

The former Walpole Academy now home to the Walpole Historical Society Museum.

L.A. Burdick Chocolates creates some of the world's finest handmade chocolate right here in Walpole. This building houses their cafe with outdoor seating, a fine restaurant, and a retail chocolate shop.

 Walpole Grocery - a great place to get provisions to fuel you through your tour of Walpole. Especially known for their great cheese selection including many locally made.

Susie's special sandwiches make a great lunch "to go". The curried chicken salad is one of my favorites!

Several unique, independently owned businesses operate in Walpole. Shown here is the Walpole Village Salon in the foreground followed by the Walpole Artisans Cooperative and Country Fresh Flowers. A great local costume shop, Costume Ladies is just out of view.

Ruggles and Hunt - a fun shopping experience with something for everyone.

Walpole Village Tavern, a great hang out for burgers and drafts and Murray's Restaurant, a Walpole fixture for more than 30 years.

Walpole Veterans Memorial on the town common.

The Walpole Town Hall, home of our town offices as well as many town community events including town meetings, Grange meetings, craft fairs, the Walpole Players theater productions and winter farmers' markets.

Former Catholic Church now home to Grace Bible Fellowship.

Historic homes lining Walpole's town common.

Walpole Congregational Church.

View down the length of the common. Our town common is the site of many of Walpole's community events including Sunday band concerts every Sunday during July and August, Walpole's Farmers' Market, live nativity celebration Christmas Eve and numerous other activities throughout the year.

A beautiful Sycamore tree on the south end of the town common near the Congregational Church.

Beautiful homes just off the town common.

More beautiful homes just off the town common.

These photos were basically just of downtown Walpole. There are so many additional great places to visit in Walpole - conservation areas and hiking trails, farm stands, cheese makers, to name a few. Keep up to date with us on this blog and follow us on Facebook and we'll include more photos at a later date. Have a favorite place you've visited in Walpole? We'd love to hear what it is.

Hope to see you in Walpole soon!

Jackie Caserta, Innkeeper

Monday, April 8, 2013

Make Saying "I Do" Simpler With Our All Inclusive Elopement Package

Looking for something simple and affordable, yet special for your wedding day? Think eloping means getting married by a Justice of the Peace in a town hall? Think again! There are so many reasons to simplify your wedding day such as saving money for other important life decisions, reducing stress, or just plain personal preference. Whatever your reasons are we dedicated to providing you with a stress-free, affordable, and beautiful experience. 

Photo by Kendal J. Bush
Marriage ceremonies should be as unique as the two of you and can be held at the site of your choosing on our 105-acre picture-perfect farm. Popular sites include in front of a fireplace in our historic Inn, outside in our circular perennial garden with views overlooking our organically managed farm, in our century-old post and beam barn or on top of the knoll in our green pastures overlooking the mountains of Vermont to name a few.

Our all inclusive elopement package contains everything you need for a beautiful romantic experience taking the stress and worry out of your special day. This package includes; two nights in our best available room at the time of booking, a bouquet of fresh flowers in your room on arrival, a decadent 3 course candlelight breakfast each morning made with farm fresh eggs and produce raised right here on our farm, a bridal bouquet and matching groom’s boutonniere, licensed officiant, photographer to capture your moment on our camera or yours, dedicated staff to assist with details, chilled ½ bottle of champagne to toast the event, two keepsake handmade pottery Inn at Valley Farms mugs, and a certificate for 10% off your stay for your first anniversary.

This package is available for one low price of $995.00 and is perfect for elopements, 2nd weddings, same sex marriages or vow renewals and is available April through December. 
Adding a small circle of family or friends is a breeze as well. You may add up to 10 guests to the Elopement Package for an additional $50 or up to 20 guests for $100 or $250 if food/drink is served to your wedding party at the Inn after the ceremony. 
Overnight accommodations for additional guests can be added for an additional charge depending on number of rooms needed and length of stay. A number of fine restaurants are located nearby for a simple or elegant reception dinner or options are available to have a meal catered on site. 
If you're looking to celebrate your special day with a larger gathering we also hold weddings up to 75 or so. See our website or call for more information. For information on obtaining a marriage certificate in New Hampshire, click here.
Looking to splurge a little? Why not add an inn-room massage for two? Some world renown Buridck Chocolates?, Or a wine tasting and tour of Walpole's own Walpole Mountain View Winery? Have other ideas? Simply ask and we'll work to help make your stay special in every way.

Call today for best available dates. We look forward to working with you to create the wedding of your dreams!

Jackie, Innkeeper