Friday, September 16, 2011

Top Things to Do While Visiting Walpole in New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region This Fall

There are so many reasons to visit Walpole in New Hampshire's Monadnock Region during the fall foliage season, but we thought we'd highlight a few of a our particular favorites. While there were many areas impacted by Hurricane Irene, thankfully our region of New Hampshire, was left untouched. Roads and bridges are ready for area travelers and the ample summer rains have set the region up for what’s predicted to be a colorful season. So there’s no time like the present to come and enjoy all that the New England Fall season has to offer!


Here’s a list of a few of our favorite New England fall activities in no particular order…

Fall Foliage Colors, of course! The contrast of the amazing spectrum of gold, yellow, orange and red leaves against the bright green rolling hills of this agricultural area are nothing short of one of nature's miracles. When making a reservation guests often ask where they need to go to see the fall colors, but they are literally all around our farm. Although a drive exploring forgotten country roads is one of my personal favorite ways to see the colors you really don't have to leave our property to get a good sense of the season.


Apples, Apples, Apples! Our neighbors at Alyson's Orchard grow nearly 100 varieties of the beauties - varieties you'll likely never see in a grocery store and never in your lifetime taste unless you come and pick them yourselves! Alyson’s Orchard also offers wagon rides through the orchard, amazing views, apple cider, apple wine tastings, pumpkins, and a farmstand filled to the brim with apple pies, local cheeses, and more. There are many other apple orchards in the area - why not make a day of visiting as many as possible and seeing how many new (to you) varieties of apples (and apple related products) you can discover?


Fall Fairs, Festivals and Art Tours! There are so many interesting and unique activities and events going on in Southwest New Hampshire. Everything from Stonewall Farm’s Ultimate Havest Challenge (think Highland Games farm style), Langdon’s Fall Festival, Burdick Chocolate's Oktoberfest, Winchester Pickle Festival, Hillsborough's Schnitzelfest, NH Wool Arts Tour, Walpole Fall Arts Festival, Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour, Harvest Suppers, Feast on This Film Festival (finale to be held at our NH bed and breakfast this year), Jaffrey's Scarecrow Festival, Walpole Library Annual Book Sale, and Keene NH's Pumpkin Festival to name a few.


Our breakfasts! We always incorporate as much as we can that we grow here on our farm in our decadent three course breakfasts, but with such abundance during the harvest season  there is no limit to the number and variety of homegrown ingredients found in our breakfasts. Our breakfast may very well be one of the most local (and delicious) breakfasts you’ll ever eat!




Local Harvest! For a town of its size, Walpole, NH has an incredible array of local food producers. Besides the pasture-raised meats (100% grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs) we raise and sell here on our farm, there is award-winning chocolate, cheese, and ice cream, honey, maple syrup, wine, raw milk, and a great variety of fruits and veggies all produced and/or sold in our charming agricultural village of 3,500 residents. Now is the time that farmers’ markets (one nearby nearly every day of the week), farm stands and farm stores are bursting with fresh goods. So bring your coolers along and stock up now to enjoy healthy homegrown food all winter!


Hiking! Although many travel to this area to hike the famed Mt. Monadnock for which this region is named there are numerous other options for great hiking as well. Besides our own hiking trail right through the 60 acres of the woodlands of our farm Walpole has more than 17 conservation areas for hiking, many with views.  Or hike Madame Sheri’s in nearby Chesterfield for an intriguing story as well as a hike, beautiful Chesterfield Gorge, any number of trails in Pisgah State Park (NH’s Largest and most undeveloped state park), Pitcher Mountain, Putney Mountain for hawk watching, or for something less strenuous simply stroll around picturesque downtown Walpole named one of the most picturesque villages in all of New England. Some say it would be easier to list where you can’t hike in NH, rather than where you can!


Foraging! A popular companion to hiking is mushroom foraging and there are abundant safe, edible fall mushrooms in our area. I’m happy to give a crash course in mushroom ID and loan my mushroom ID books to anyone willing to bring back mushrooms to be cooked for breakfast! If you want to learn more, the Monadnock Region also has a foraging group that meets most Sunday mornings spring through fall or ask the innkeeper to sign up with a local forager for a one-on-one mushroom ID session.


Covered Bridges! The Monadnock Region is home to one of the greatest concentrations of covered bridges in the state.  We're also an easy, picturesque drive from the Windsor, VT-Cornish, NH covered bridge said to be the longest covered bridge in America. Take a leisurely drive and see how many you can find!


Wine tasting at Walpole's Own Walpole Mountain View Winery! Wine tastings are held every Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment and a great way to spend the afternoon.The view alone is worth the trip to this winery!


Get lost in a corn maze! One of the more entertaining ways to spend a fall afternoon in the New England. The Gaines family has opened their farm to the public and creates a different professionally done corn maze each year. They also have farm animals, a tractor ride, snack shop, and a corn cannon (think target practice with corn cobs through an air gun).





The above is by no means a comprehensive list of activities, more ideas for local activities can be found on our attractions page or discussed with us personally during your stay. We have lived in the Monadnock Region for over 30 years. Let our personal experience be your guide to exploring this beautiful region. And of course if you have an area favorite, we’d love to hear about it! Hope to see you at our NH Country Inn soon!


P.S.: A note about “peak” foliage… Often guests place an awful lot of emphasis on trying to stay when they think the ultimate "peak" foliage color will be. Peak, usually just after Columbus Day in our area, is very hard to predict as it depends upon many factors controlled solely by Mother Nature, but in my humble opinion, the whole season is honestly some of my favorite time of the entire year. The days tend to be dry and warm, the evenings crisp and the warmth from the late afternoon sun… simply heavenly. For me it's as much about the temperature, activities and the “feel” of the season as it is the colors of the leaves. I honestly think travelers will enjoy themselves more if they come to enjoy the foliage "season" rather than simply seeking the “peak”.


Innkeeper The Inn at Valley Farms

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alyson's Orchard Apple Festival and Sophia's Hearth Family Center Contra Dance in Walpole, NH this weekend!

Two great events will be held this Sunday, September 11th, across from our New Hampshire Country Inn at Alyson's Orchard in Walpole, NH. There is a day of fun-filled activities for the whole family planned for Alyson's Orchard Apple Festival beginning at 10am. The fun includes a pie contest for kids and adults with judging and prizes awarded, PYO apples, tractor rides through the orchard, horse drawn wagon rides, a live radio broadcast with music and prizes, fruit wine tasting, and a cider-making demonstration.

There will also be Pit Stop BBQ, Walpole Creamery Ice Cream, face and body painting, Gemma's Linzer cookies and pony rides available for purchase. Check Alyson's Orchard's website for schedule and details.

Beginning at 2:30pm a family contra dance will round out the day with music, dancing, and wonderful food. Sophia's Hearth Family Center will be holding their third Annual Contra Dance and Silent Auction in conjunction with Alyson's Apple Festival. The dances will be called by Mary DesRosiers and music played by local musicians. This contra dance is for all ages and families are encouraged to attend.  Refreshments will include hearty soups prepared by the Works Bakery Cafe and local handmade artisan bread from Orchard Hill Breadworks. Tickets are $10 each or $25 for a family. A silent auction will take place during the contra dance as well with proceeds from the dance and auction benefiting the families with young children served by Sophia's Hearth Family Center.

Spend the evening at our New Hampshire Country Inn and experience our picturesque working farm or visit any number of other local Monadnock Region and Walpole attractions.


Innkeeper The Inn at Valley Farms