Wolfeboro goes from "First" to "Last" for New Year's Eve

Just Bob and Marla.jpg

JUST Bob and Marla, Interactive Music and Puppetry. (Courtesy photo)


WOLFEBORO — Long known as a destination in warmer weather, this small town is leveraging the last day of the year to make a point: Wolfeboro is a great place to visit in the winter, too.

"Last Night in Wolfeboro" features events from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., mostly without charge, designed to give locals a chance to celebrate 2017 together and to draw families from around the state to see that Wolfeboro is just as charming in winter as it is in summer.

Wolfeboro has a long tradition of throwing a party on New Year's Eve. The town held 20 "First Night"-branded events from 1994 to 2014, then decided to break off from the licensing and other obligations associated with First Night. Wolfeboro planned its first Last Night for Dec. 31, 2016, and, said Christine Collins, director of the town's Parks and Recreation Department, organizers saw that they had a hit on their hands.

"The first year was successful. We did a couple of events and it was pretty well-attended, so we decided to do it another year. It seems like it's going to be an every year kind of thing," Collins said.

"Last Night in Wolfeboro" offers a day of events curated with families in mind. A scavenger hunt, which begins and ends at the town's Great Hall — located within Town Hall — runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Abenaki Ski Team will be selling concessions at the Great Hall from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Three family-friendly performances are scheduled to begin at 1:30, 3 and 3:30 p.m. in the Great Hall: Interactive music and puppetry, a magician, and a balloon artist. A bingo game, which was a favorite last year, will be held at the Great Hall beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Fireworks will be set off from Brewster Field at 6:30 p.m., followed by contra dancing — another favorite last year — at the Great Hall until 9 p.m.

With the exception of the concessions sales, all events are free of charge.

If you don't already have reservations for a table in one of the town's many restaurants, it might be too late. You won't go hungry, though, thanks to the All Saints Church, which is serving a lasagna dinner from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Adults can eat for $10, children under 5 eat for free, and a whole family fills up for $30.

Also open on Dec. 31 will be the town's cherished winter recreation facilities: ice skating at the Pop Whalen Ice Arena, downhill skiing at the Abenaki Ski Area, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails.

Linda Murray, a member of the town's board of selectmen, said the town will spend a little more than $1,000 to put on the event, which is paid for by individual donations — look for collection jars at the events — and a gift from the Cate Memorial Fund. It's considerably less investment than was needed for the town's First Night ventures, and by going its own way, the town has succeeded in providing a small-town, family-friendly event.

"It is really family-focused," Murray said. "Events range from the scavenger hunt that the whole family gets behind, interactive puppetry that's more creative, then there's a magician, then a balloon man making different figures. People loved the bingo last year. It was very interesting. The lasagna dinner is new this year, that will benefit All Saints Church. The chamber (Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce) at 6:30 always puts on the fireworks, and then we end up with contra dancing which has been a big hit in town.

"A little bit of music, a little bit of magic, a little bit of puppetry."

There were between 200 and 300 people in attendance last year, and Murray hopes many more will find their way to her town on Dec. 31 this year.

"We're hoping to bring in not just Wolfeboro but from the surrounding towns and from across the state. Come in and check out Last Night Wolfeboro and our town."

Other ways to ring in 2018

Gunstock Mountain Resort is throwing a New Year's Eve bash. There will be a buffet dinner, music and other entertainment in the Main Lodge, s'mores around the campfire, tubing and mountain coaster rides, guided snowshoe hikes, a torchlight parade at 11:45 and fireworks at midnight. Visit gunstock.com for details.

The Flying Monkey Movie and Performance Center in Plymouth is bringing Roots of Creation on Dec. 31, whose latest project combines the band's love for Dub music with the music of the Greatful Dead. Visit flyingmonkeynh.com for details.

In Laconia, Pitman's Freight Room is welcoming the Racky Thomas Blues Band for a New Year's Eve gala featuring an hors d'oeuvres buffet and a champagne toast at midnight. Call 603-527-0043 to reserve a ticket.

The Whiskey Barrel, also in Laconia, is hosting country artists Jodie Cunningham and Rob Benton on New Year's Eve. Go to ticketfly.com for ticket information.

Contra Dancing at Wolfeboro's Last Night.jpg

Contra Dancing in Wolfeboro’s Great Hall. (Photo courtesy of G.A.L.A.)

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Changing course


Often when I walk, wherever I am, I deliberately choose a route that isn’t familiar, as this provides an opportunity for discovery.  One afternoon I came upon a bookstore just a few blocks from the Museum of the City of New York located in the ground floor of a charming brownstone.  The books are primarily in Spanish and the colorful decorations and garden are enchanting. I have retuned a few times.  On another walk, I came upon a French bakery tucked away on a street that would normally not be in my path.   In the many years, I have traveled to London I have many favorite places, but always change my route to these locations so I can discover more of the City.  In New Hampshire, I often select different roads, usually getting terribly lost in the process. Notwithstanding, this allows me to discover an antique shop, a stunning mountain vista or a small country store, that if it isn’t filled with things I might want, has a sense of history.

Now that we are just a few days away from the beginning of a new year, 2018, I think all of us, in one way or another, take an inventory of the year.  There were moments of joy and there were probably moments of deep sadness and disappointment.  And, whether, one makes resolutions for the new year, I can’t believe that most of us wake up on 1 January with hope for the year. “Hope against hope” in the words of poet Samuel Menashe. 

Historically 2018 is significant because it marks 50 years since 1968, a year of seismic social and political change in the United States and across the globe.   Famine in Biafra, the Viet Nam war, the death of Dr. Marin Luther King, a spaceflight mission that became the first manned spacecraft to reach the Earth’s Moon, orbit it and then return safely to Earth. These events, which changed the course of history, seem far in the past.  Yet, we can scan today’s news and find famines in Africa, racial tension in the United States, space missions, that are now private, and controversial wars in several regions of the world.  Perhaps a reminder of how difficult it is to truly change course. 

When I reflect on 2017 I will remember this year as one that has been very significant for me.  Not for an accomplishment or an acquisition.  It was because during this year I was given the gift of time and space to read, reflect, play the piano and live quietly in nature.  I will always treasure that time.

Although I don’t have an opportunity to meet all of you, the people who read this column, I think about you.  And, it is because of the dedicated staff at the Laconia Daily Sun that you have a newspaper that can be pulled out of a snowbank, or in from a torrential rain or picked up, at no cost, around the Lakes Region. The editors, writers, columnists, designers, production staff and management who work daily to publish the newspaper.  While you may not always agree with the news, or one viewpoint or another, it doesn’t make a difference. There is a newspaper available for you.

I wish each of you a new year, 2018, that is filled with change, because it is in changing course, in even small increments, that the world will become a more peaceful place. 

“Some days later, I understood what he was trying to say, that getting grown means learning how to work that current: learning when to hold fast, when to drop anchor, when to let it sweep you up.” 

Sing, Unburied, Sing

(Charles Scribner Sons, 2017)

 Jesmyn Ward 


Elizabeth Howard is an author and journalist.  Her books include:  Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back, a book she edited (Easton Studio Press, 2015), A Day with Bonefish Joe (David R. Godine, 2015), Queen Anne’s Lace and Wild Blackberry Pie, (Thornwillow Press, 2011). She lives in New York City and has a home in Laconia.  You can send her a note at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Meredith to kick off 250th anniversary celebration



The illuminated First Congregational Church beyond the intersection of Main and Highland Streets, March 2017. The Meredith Historical Society and Museum is on the left. (Jon Shields)



MEREDITH — A dinner-dance at Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant on Saturday, Dec. 30, will kick off the town’s 250th anniversary celebration, which will continue all next year, with special events through Dec. 29, 2018, when it ends with a dinner-dance at Church Landing.

Activities throughout the year will range from ice racing to the unveiling of the town’s 1968 time capsule.

For the kickoff event, Jimmy and the Jesters, formerly known as Double Play, will provide dance music from 9 p.m. to midnight. The band features Jimmy “Mr. Rock ’n’ Roll" Merrick of Dracut, Massachusetts, on lead vocals and guitar; Peter “WildMan” Previte of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, on vocals and keyboard; and Scotty “The Horn” Groleau of Laconia on saxophone; with Steve “Gio” Giotis on vocals and drums. The band specializes in oldies rock and classic country music.

The evening will begin with a full dinner buffet and a short program offering highlights of the events planned for the year-long celebration. Steve Durand, the co-chairman of the Meredith 250th Committee, will serve as master of ceremonies.

The program will include a costumed character in period dress reading from an abbreviated version of the original Meredith Town Charter; a performance by Alyson Lines and Gina Aquilla, winners of the Nov. 18 Inter-Lakes Idol contest for students in grades 7-12; and an introduction of the finalists in the Meredith 250th Youth Ambassador Essay Competition, with the winner announced at that time. The winning essay will be read, and the top three essayists will win scholarships — $500 for the Youth Ambassador, $250 for first place, and $100 for second place.

Guests may come in casual dress, and each person will receive a free ticket for a door prize: a basket full of Meredith 250th commemorative items. Throughout the evening, the committee also will be selling tickets for a chance at a wheelbarrow full of gardening items.

Tickets for the dinner-dance are available from Dennis or Cookie Boulanger at 603-279-1332 or by mail, with checks made payable to GMP/250th, c/o Wicwas Lake Grange, P.O. Box 1706, Meredith NH 03253.

Committee planning

Durand said people thought the Meredith 250th Committee was starting its planning a little too soon when it first met four years ago, but said “I’m glad we started when we did.”
He said it took a year to get into the rhythm of the planning process. It was not until the committee established subcommittees to deal with specific aspects of the celebration that it really began coming together.

There were committees to plan the parade, the unveiling of the time capsule, a fall musical and other activities.

“They would meet each month, sponsored by another business or organization, and report back to the main committee,” Durand said. “We had our rhythm by the second year. It’s been a chore, but it’s been fun.”

Events associated with the celebration will continue in January with the return of pond hockey to Meredith Bay, where the Latchkey Cup began 34 years ago. The Nostalgic Latchkey Cup Race, sponsored by the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club, also is a fundraiser.

For many years, the money went to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, but the club voted five years ago to return the money raised to the local community. It has assisted those with medical problems and provided scholarships to local students.

The Latchkey Cup, scheduled for the last Saturday in January (subject to ice conditions), raises the money through advertisements, driver entry fees, pledge sheets, spectators, and souvenirs.

The unveiling of the time capsule is scheduled for July 4 at the Chase House. The capsule was buried during Meredith’s 200th anniversary celebration in 1968.

The Main Street Parade will take place on Aug. 11, and the committee is hoping to make it big event, with family and business parade floats, walkers, and entertainers. Those interested in participating should contact Chris Kelly at 603-279-0079 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kathy LaPoint at 973-980-3782 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

There will be a historical program at the Inter-Lakes High School Theatre on Sept. 22-23.
Other events also are planned. Including monthly programs sponsored by the Meredith Historical Society.

Throughout the year, commemorative items will be on sale, featuring a specially designed 250th celebration logo. They include blue suncatchers, lap blankets, and white and blue canvas bags for carrying groceries, books or other items.

They are available at Church Landing at Mill Falls, Hannaford Supermarket-Meredith, Hermit Woods Winery, Lake Effect, Lakeside Mailing, League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, Meredith Chamber of Commerce, Meredith Historical Society, Meredith Mobil station, and Moulton Farm.
The logo featured on those items was created by Malik Carter, a member of the Class of 2016 at Inter-Lakes High School. The logo features lakes and mountains, Meredith’s role as the “Latchkey to the White Mountains,” and the statue of Chief Chocorua of the Abenaki tribe on Indian Island on Meredith Bay.

Also on sale is a hardcover coffee table book commemorating 250 years of Meredith’s history, created by the Meredith 250th Committee in partnership with the Meredith Historical Society and The Laconia Daily Sun. The 144-page book includes more than 250 images capturing the heritage of Meredith, from the 1800s to today. It is available at the Daily Sun office.

Historical Society programs

The Meredith Historical Society has a lineup of programs that relate to the 250th celebration, each offered free of charge at the Meredith Community Center. Programs begin at 7 p.m., and light refreshments will be served.

The schedule includes:

April 3: Meredith’s Natural History: Setting the Stage, with Rick Van de Poll of Ecosystem Management Consultants of New England.
May 1: Origins of Meredith: The Masonian Proprietors, Range Townships and Early Settlement, with Brian Nelson Burford, New Hampshire State Archivist;
June 5: The Cultural Landscape: A Museum of Local History, presented by James L. Garvin, former state architectural historian, and Mae Williams, historic preservation consultant.
July 3: Meredith and the Civil War: The Story of the 12th New Hampshire Volunteers, with Rudy VanVeghten, former editor of the Meredith News and author of The History of Meredith Bay.
Aug. 7: The History of Bear Island: From Farmers to Vacationers, with Dr. John Hopper of the Meredith Historical Society and author of The History of Bear Island.
Sept. 4: The Changing Role of Agriculture in Meredith’s History with Steve Taylor, former New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture, and John Moulton, owner of Moulton Farm, a designated “NH Farm of Distinction.”
Oct. 2: You Know You Are in New Hampshire When ... with author John Clayton, longtime host of New Hampshire Crossroads and former columnist for the Union Leader.
Nov. 6: Perspective of Meredith with Fritz Wetherbee, host of “Fritz Wetherbee’s New Hampshire.”

12 21 Jimmy The Jesters
Jimmy and the Jesters will play dance favorites at the Meredith 250th kickoff dinner-dance. (Courtesy photo)

12 21 Meredith 250th Logo
Malik Carter, a member of the Class of 2016 at Inter-Lakes High School, created the logo for Meredith's 250th anniversary celebration.

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Lakes Region Foodie - Food a la Francaise!


“Allons Enfants de la Patrie, le jour de glorie est arrive!” The stirring words of the French national anthem were ringing in my mind as our plane circled and landed in dense fog at Charles De Gaulle Airport outside Paris. I was about to partake in a week with sister food writers in France, where I had spent my junior year of college, a memorable and life-changing experience.

I arrived after a few hours on the “fast train” (SNCF) to Chinon in the Loire valley. I met my six other compatriots and our leaders of the workshop Domenica Marchetti and Jamie Schler, owner of the charming Hotel Diderot, where we were housed. We all had a common interest, writing about food.

Domenica and Jamie had organized group exercises and private consultations. We wrote brief pieces and critiqued each other’s work. We bonded immediately and shared experiences, all related to cuisine. On a cold and misty morning we each set out individually to the weekly open air market, each one her own, making notes and observing the various vendors of cheese, meat, seafood, poultry, vegetables and so much more. The aromas of food cooking blended into a wonderful cloud of roasting poultry, Paella simmering, and freshly baked bread, to name a few. Our assignment was to write our impressions of the market; of the colors, smell and movement, clearly a social event as well as purposeful.

The following day we visited the ancient vineyard nearby, at Petit Chateau du Thouars. We went into the limestone caves where the wine was aged, some in oak barrels depending on if it was Red or White, and we learned about the trend now towards producing organic wines, since a disease had destroyed an entire crop several years before. The intricate process of grafting and rotation of fields was explained. The chateau and surrounding properties have been owned by the same family since the 1700’s when it was built as a hunting lodge.

Currently, the husband and wife, Sebastian and D’Arcy du Petit Touars, now offer free wine tasting in their historic tasting room (a cave) and, by reservation, cellar tours and epicurean tours featuring local products. They also feature in the summer, picnic in “the vines” and boat tours. English, French (bien sur!) and Spanish are spoken. We enjoyed lunch in a limestone cave surrounded by rows of bottles of wine aging. We were delighted with the menu the chateau kitchen had prepared for us, a delicious Coq au Vin (made of course with Petit Chateau de Thouars wine, served on a bed of light and fluffy mashed potatoes followed a by a course of regional cheeses, and to top it off, an apple tart coated in a wine jelly. It was and informative and delicious afternoon!

One of our last dinners was a “home cooked” meal at the hotel around the fireplace, where we shared the day’s experiences. The last night we went to a charming restaurant ; Les Pas des Anges (angel footsteps) a 10 minute walk from the hotel along cobblestone streets; again it was cold and damp, but we soon were warmed by the reception and food of our host and hostess. Like so many restaurants in France, this is a husband and wife operation: he greeted and seated us, she was in a tiny kitchen in the back working to produce elegant food. With only four tables, we had to book ahead, especially on a weekend. Several families were there, grandparents, children and grandchildren, it was very convivial.

Several times during the course of the meal, some would get up and go outside for a smoke; yes they still smoke a lot in France, but smoking areas are clearly posted. We dined on specialties such as a light and flavorful cream of cheese soup garnished with shards of cheese and sprinkled with chives, roasted partridge hen in a hazelnut crust, and a slice of juicy grilled pineapple for dessert, which was served with the lightest swirl of vanilla whipped cream and thin chocolate discs.
We all gathered in the courtyard on Sunday morning to say our farewells; we had bonded in the best way, seven women and two highly respected leaders, all writing about the most bonding of subjects, food!

Coq Au Vin
2 (2 to 2 ½- lb.) broiler-fryers, each quartered
1/4 lb . bacon diced
12 small boiling onions, (about 1 lb.) peeled
4 to 5 TB. butter
½ lb. whole button mushrooms, washed and quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Bouquet Garni (1 large parsley sprig, 3 springs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf tied together)
4 to 5 TB. Brandy (optional)
¼ cup flour
Salt, freshly ground pepper
2 cups or more, red Burgundy

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper. In a 6-quart casserole, saute the bacon until crisp, lift out with a slotted spoon and drain. Add the butter to the drippings, heat. In the hot fat, brown the chicken, several pieces at a time, until it is lightly browned all over, removing it as it browns. When all the pieces have been browned, return them to the pan, along with the mushrooms, garlic, Bouquet Garni, and Add optional Brandy. Cook over low heat, covered for about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the wine, and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes Add the onions and cook about 30 minutes more, or until the chicken and onions feel tender when pierced with a knife. Remove chicken pieces and Bouquet Garni, add flour and stir until thickened, adding more wine if sauce becomes too thick. Return chicken to pan, reheat slightly, and serve with fluffy mashed potatoes.
Serves 6

12 15 foodie pie apple tart coated in a wine jelly

12 15 foodie creme Cream of cheese soup garnished with shards of cheese and sprinkled with chives

12 21 coq au vin Coq au vin


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