Chesterfield, New Hampshire
March 23rd, 2011 by Judy Hueber
Local Maple Syrup
After a long winter with snowstorm after snowstorm, spring has finally started to arrive at our Inn in New Hampshire. The daytime temperatures are now above freezing, most days, with temperatures dipping below freezing at night. It’s perfect “sugaring” weather! Maple sugaring is what our local farmers call the process of collecting the sap from our sugar maple trees and boiling it into maple syrup. As you drive along the back roads near our romantic northern New England B&B, you can see the local “sugar houses” with steam billowing out into the cold air as the sap is boiled down into maple syrup. One of my favorite things to do is top stop at a sugar house when they’re boiling and ask for a taste of the fresh maple syrup. It’s delicious!
All of this “sugaring” inspires us to use maple syrup in our cooking and the following Maple Cheesecake is one of our favorites!
2 cups ground graham crackers
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
6 T. melted butter
3 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 T. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 c. reduced maple syrup (1 cup maple syrup, simmered 4 minutes to reduce and concentrate flavor)
2/3 cup sour cream
2 T. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir until crumbs are evenly moistened. Wrap outside of 9 inch spring form pan in aluminum foil so that the base and sides are covered and sealed. Press crumb mixture into bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake about 10 minutes. Cool on rack. For filling, beat cream cheese with electric mixer with paddle until very smooth. Add brown sugar, flour and salt. Beat until blended and smooth. Add reduced syrup, sour cream and vanilla. Beat until blended. Add eggs, 2 at a time, and beat just until well blended after each addition. Tap bowl on counter several times to release any air bubbles. Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake cake in a water bath ( pan of warm water about 1 inch up the sides of the pan) for 1 and a half hours. Turn oven off, open door a few inches and let the cake sit in the oven for an hour. Remove from oven and water bath and allow to cool on a rack. Serve with fresh berries.
February 11th, 2011 by Judy Hueber
One of the ways that New Englanders survive our long, snowy winters is to embrace the cold weather and go outside and play in it! The Brattleboro Winter Carnival has a 55 year tradition of playing in the snow, and the tradition continues this year starting on Friday, January 19th. Winter Carnival activities go on all week, and include outdoor activities for all ages.
Harris Hill Ski Jump
Don’t miss the Harris Hill Ski Jump competition! The ski jumping happens on February 19th and 20th this year, and watching the breathtaking ski jumping off of the 90 meter Harris Hill is an experience not to be missed. Join the crowd at the bottom of the hill, and cheer on the international participants as they fly (yes, they really do!) off of Harris Hill. So put on your snow pants and Sorels and enjoy the show!
After an afternoon of outdoor activities, come back and sit by the fire and enjoy some hot chocolate or even an Irish coffee at The Chesterfield Inn, our Bed & Breakfast near Brattleboro. Then maybe a quick nap, and dinner at our romantic New Hampshire restaurant while watching the snow fall, for the perfect end to a wintry New England day.
January 5th, 2011 by Judy Hueber
Chesterfield Inn Winter Morning
After last week’s snow storm, we have nice snow cover and it’s the perfect time to head out into the woods! If you’d like to go snow shoeing, you can bring your own snow shoes or rent them at Burrow’s Specialized Sports in Brattleboro, Vermont. There is no need to leave Chesterfield if you want to go snow shoeing: we have Pisgah Park, Friedsam Forest and the Madame Sherri Forest, all with great trails and all right in Chesterfield. We can supply trail maps at the front desk.
If you’d like to go cross country skiing, take your skis (you can rent those at Burrows Specialized Sports as well! ) over to the Brattleboro Outing Club trails at the Brattleboro Country Club on Upper Dummerston Road in Brattleboro. For more extensive trails and snow making, try Grafton Ponds in Grafton , VT, which is just a 40 minute drive from the inn.
For down hill skiing, we are an hour or less from Mount Snow, Stratton, Okemo, and Bromley Mountains. You can rent skis, boots, and poles at all of the ski resorts. Granite Gorge, just outside Keene, NH, is a great place to take kids for tubing,as well as skiing and snow boarding.
So dig out your ski jacket, find your skis and snow shoes and pile into the car for a weekend of outdoor activities. At the end of the day, you can relax in front of the fire at our romantic New Hampshire Inn with a glass of wine, enjoy a delicious dinner in our candlelit dining room, and sleep like a baby in one of our king sized beds!
November 2nd, 2010 by Judy Hueber
Ready for a New Hampshire getaway? One of the best things about staying at our romantic New Hampshire inn is that we are just across the river from Brattleboro, Vermont! Get away from it all this weekend, and enjoy what Brattleboro has to offer!
I was curious to see what was planned for the weekend of November 5, 6, and 7 and checked the Brattleboro Reformer to see what our very vibrant arts community was up to. This is a sampling of what I found:
November 5: a concert at the New England Youth Theater featuring Scott Ainslee and Sparky and Rhonda Rucker playing traditional music, with history and stories interwoven.
November 5, 6, 7: Vermont Theater Company presents a production of “The Heiress” based on the Henry James novel “Washington Square”.
November 6: From 10:00 to 1:00, Karen Becker offers water color painting class at a studio in Westminster , Vermont.
November 7: Rock River Studio offers a Visual Memoir workshop, on how to create a personal art book using photos, artwork and mementos.
November 7: An all Bach concert will be presented on Sunday afternoon at the Congregational Church, featuring Susan Dedell, Clark Anderson on organ and Jennifer Hansen singing. Sure to be gorgeous and to end your getaway on a high note!
Early November is a great time to visit with the New Hampshire fall colors still vibrant, and the air crisp, and the fire glowing in the fireplace at night.
You can check on line at the Brattleboro Reformer to see what’s going on anytime. Who knows, maybe there will be something that you can’t miss!
September 14th, 2010 by Judy Hueber
One of the nicest things about Brattleboro is the way that the town center hugs the Connecticut River, nestled at the foot of Mount Wantastiquet. Mount Wantastiquet, being across the river, is in New Hampshire, and is a great place to hike without a long drive to get there. The trail head is just a ten minute drive from the Chesterfield Inn.
I often meet a friend there for a quick hike in the summer or fall (the trail is generally too wet in the spring with the snow melt rushing down the mountain. ) We meet at the bottom of the mountain , just behind the Hinsdale Walmart, where there is a small parking area. From Main Street in Brattleboro, go over the bridge to Hinsdale and take the first left on Mountain Road, a dirt road that ends at the parking area. Depending on your pace, you can get up and down Wantastiquet in less than 2 hours.
The trail follows switchbacks that start to climb immediately. There is a stream that cascades down the side of the mountain, so you can hear rushing water all the way up. The trail, an old quarry road, is wide enough for mountain bikers and is about 2 miles long. Just when you think you’ve had enough, the trail levels out along the ridge of the mountain, and you’ll see a short detour that leads to a rock outcropping with a small monument and an expansive view of the Connecticut River Valley, the town of Brattleboro and the Green Mountains in the distance. You see the ski areas Mount Snow, Stratton , and Bromley, as well as the rolling hills of Massachusetts to the south. The trail continues on to Mine Ledge, to the Madame Sherri Forest and then to Pisgah Park, but we usually stop to look at the view and then head down, back the way we came.
August 22nd, 2010 by Judy Hueber
This summer, I was very happy to discover that the Clark Museum of Art in Williamstown , Massachusetts, is only an hour and 20 minutes drive from the Chesterfield Inn. It was close enough for me to jump in the car on a Sunday afternoon and drive there for a much needed art infusion. The drive itself was a pleasant diversion. I drove west on Route 9 through West Brattleboro, Vermont, and across the rolling hills to Wilmington and then Bennington, Vermont. In Bennington, I headed south on Route 7 and soon Mount Greylock loomed on the horizon and I knew that I was in Williamstown.
I followed the signs to the Clark Institute of Art and parked. I had visited the museum many years ago and remembered their outstanding collection of French Impressionist art. My plan was to wander the galleries and bask in the gorgeous colors and shimmering shapes of the Impressionist artists.
However, before I entered the main museum building, I stopped at the Stone Hill Center, a separate building on the Clark campus. I was immediately drawn into the world of Juan Munoz, a contemporary sculptor. All I can say, is “don’t miss this exhibit”-it will be at the museum until October 17.
I then continued down a wooded path to the main museum and was happily surprised to see the featured exhibit “Picasso Looks at Degas”. This will be shown until September 12 and is well worth the trip. Stunning paintings and unexpected parallels between the artists can be seen throughout.
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering the permanent collection, until closing time , when I reluctantly left the museum, promising myself to return soon. I made plans to drive over on a September Sunday, when the leaves are turning in the higher elevations with beauty that rivals Impressionist paintings.
June 14th, 2010 by Judy Hueber
The terrace on a summer evening
On these beautiful summer nights in New Hampshire, we invite you to enjoy drinks and dinner on our terrace. We have a few wrought iron tables with chairs and green umbrellas on the blue stone terrace where you can settle in, have a cocktail or a glass of wine, and watch the sun set. Dinner is served on the terrace, from 5:30 until 9:00.
I had the pleasure of entertaining some friends for dinner on the terrace last week, and they thought it was the nicest outdoor dining in the area. The rolling hills, the lush meadow, and the gorgeous sunset all combined with delicious food make for a wonderful evening!
April 28th, 2010 by Judy Hueber
Mount Moosilauke from Black Mountain
We had some friends visiting from Boston last weekend who we have been hiking with for 30 years, so we decided to make the drive to Mount Moosilauke and climb it. We chose Moosilauke because it was less than a 2 hour drive from the Chesterfield Inn, and is a “real” mountain. It is 4800 feet in elevation, and is known for relatively easy trails and panoramic views. It was a beautiful spring day , about 55 degrees and sunny when we packed up our boots and lunches and headed north. The access road into the trail head at the Dartmouth Ravine Lodge was still closed for the winter, (that should have been a clue for us as to the conditions on the mountain) so we parked on the side of the road and walked a mile and a half to the trail head.
As we started out on the Gorge Brook Trail, we crossed the brook twice right away, and the water was high and rushing with the spring snow melt. We followed the brook for awhile, and started to see patches of snow beside the trail, at the shady sections. Soon the trail was covered with snow, and remained that way all of the way to the top of the mountain. It was still sunny out, but got cooler as we climbed, but it was still pleasantly warm and bright. The snow was grainy and we felt like we were walking uphill on the beach! It was slow going , but we were with old friends and had lots to talk about so the time passed quickly.
We were hiking in shorts, which was great, except for the occasional times when the crust of the snow didn’t hold and we fell through 2 feet of snow-very cold! We meandered our way on switchbacks up to the tree line when all of a sudden the views opened up and we could see Mount Washington in all of its snow covered glory, just to the north. The valleys were lush with spring greenery in the many green shades of new leaves. We kept scrambling through the snow to the rocky and windy summit, where we ate our lunches quickly, in a rush to get to a sheltered area where it wasn’t so cold. We then headed down the Carriage Trail, which was wider and had less snow. After 6 hours, we made it back to the car, happy and tired after a great day of hiking!
March 23rd, 2010 by Judy Hueber
After a week of sunny, warm weather, I woke up this morning to a steady downpour of rain, with temperatures in the chilly 30′s. Last week was just a preview of spring time in New Hampshire, but I couldn’t resist starting to prepare for the warmer days and delirious spring fever that all northern New Englanders get when spring finally arrives.
The work of winter clean up is arduous, and takes a couple of weeks here at the Chesterfield Inn. We did manage to get the crab apple trees pruned, and the tiny Christmas lights that deck the crab apple trees removed in the process. The Christmas wreaths were all taken down, even though most of them still looked fresh and green, a testament to cold weather (and an excellent florist, Taylor for Flowers). Some people wonder why we leave the wreaths up for so long here in the North, and it’s because winter lasts so long, it’s too drab with out some decoration on our buildings. My “rule of thumb” is to remove all Christmas wreaths by Easter!
Then to the driveway: we started raking the gravel off of the lawn and filling the potholes in the driveway left by the snow plow. This was just a start because most of the gravel is still frozen. We’ll need a few more warm days before the frost leaves the ground; just another reminder that winter is not over yet. All three of our cats enjoyed frisking around while we were working outside, chasing leaves, racing up trees, and looking for moles in the tunnels now exposed by the melting snow.
The weather was warm enough last week to allow us to sweep the winter debris off all of the terraces and put the lawn furniture out so that guests could bask in the sun and pretend that winter is over. The gardens will be next, but we have to wait now for more warm sunny weather. Snow is predicted for tonight, reminding us that we haven’t seen the last of the winter!
January 5th, 2010 by Judy Hueber
Driveway at Dusk
I love the beginning of January
when the door slams shut on the old year
and we have a chance to start again.
Low time for New England innkeepers,
we order new sheets,
cook comfort food for our families,
Here I sit with my tuxedo cat,
warm by the fire
while the wind whips the snow into a dervish outside the window.
The Christmas tree leans against the porch in a snow drift
enjoying its second life as a bird feeder.
Each day I venture outside for my walk,
bundled up in my green Christmas scarf
breathing deeply the smell of the crisp clean air,
looking at the snow with the navy blue shadows
where the the meadow meets the woods.
The sky is heavy with snow,
slate gray behind the pines,
I hurry inside
as snowflakes fall in my hair.