Chesterfield, New Hampshire
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!
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.
December 16th, 2009 by Judy Hueber
I love the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day because we cooks have license to use cranberries liberally. After the holidays fresh cranberries are not as widely available, so sometimes I stockpile them so I can extend the season a little bit. There’s something about the dark ruby color of the berries, as well as their tart flavor that sweetens when they are dried or cooked that makes them so appealing to me.
One of my favorite things to make for breakfast is our Cranberry Cream Scones. They are soft, flaky and delicious-a great way to start the day! Here’s the recipe:
Chesterfield Inn Cream Scones
1 cup unsifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Lemon Glaze: juice of half a lemon and enough confectioner’s sugar to make a glaze
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine eggs, cranberries, and heavy cream; stir into flour mixture with a fork, then mix with your hands just enough to combine. Divide dough in half.; shape into rounds about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut each round into fifths and separate wedges slightly on ungreased baking sheet. Brush with egg wash.
Bake for 15 minutes. While the scones are baking, mix up the lemon glaze. Note: it’s easy to over bake these, so remove them from the oven even if you think they’re not done. Let cool, drizzle with lemon glaze.
Another of my favorites for the holidays is a cranberry relish that my friend Betsy Bates taught me years ago. When you see how easy this is, and how delicious, you’ll never buy canned cranberry sauce again! All you need is:
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 jar orange marmalade
1/2 cup orange juice, and more if needed
Put the cranberries in a saucepan, add the marmalade and orange juice. Cook on low heat until the cranberries pop, and everything has melded together nicely. let cool. Refrigerate until needed. Keeps for at least in a covered refrigerated container.
September 28th, 2009 by Judy Hueber
It all began 5 years ago at the Strolling of the Heifers Parade in Brattleboro, Vermont. I was standing on the sidewalk with my friend Linda, watching the beautiful Jersey and Holstein calves, heifers and cows walk past. All of a sudden , there was a different kind of animal in front of us, not a cow, not a goat, not a llama! It was then that I saw my first alpaca! They look a bit like a small llama, with long necks, big eyes, and very soft fleece. I fell in love!
I rushed home to call my younger brother who is a farmer in Hardwick , Massachusetts, to tell him how cute this alpaca was, and to suggest that he get some! His answer was : “You go first! ” He said that he had plenty of animals and , since I only had a few cats, it seemed that I should be the one to get the alpacas!
Our 10 acres of land is plenty for alpacas, who like about an acre of land for each 10 animals. They do need fencing to protect them from predators, and at least a 3 sided shelter so that they can be protected from the snow. They need to be sheared every 6 months or so, and eat only about a bale of hay each week, in addition to grazing in the field. They’d look so picturesque from the Inn, grazing serenely in the back meadow, ready for guests to wander out and talk to them! The only draw back was the price- a female alpaca can cost as much as $8,000 and up. So, the alpaca dream has languished, as we take care of more immediate concerns such as painting the Inn or college tuition for the kids.
Last Saturday, I saw a box ad on the front page of the Brattleboro Reformer that an “Open Farm” was being held at Wildwood Acres Alpacas up in Newfane. After I finished cooking breakfast, I drove up to see the alpacas. There were 11 in all, some brown, some white, some black, some younger, some older, living in a beautiful meadow with a barn built just for them. The owner showed me around, and introduced me to the alpacas. One of them let me pet him: we stood nose to nose while I petted his neck and then he put his head on my shoulder. I was in heaven!
So, the dream still lives, and I know that I can go and visit Wildwood Acres now and then, even if we don’t have our own alpacas yet!
August 1st, 2009 by Judy Hueber
One of the best parts of my job as Innkeeper of the Chesterfield Inn is choosing the wines featured on our wine list! I’ve worked on the wine list for years, as it evolves and changes with trends and our guests’ taste. People who stay and dine with us tell me about wines, I taste wines and read about wines, and the list evolves!
In the last year, we have begun a program that features 4 or 5 wines each month. I’m particularly taken with our Summer Wine Specials, which are all from New Zealand and Australia, and I’d like to tell you about them. We have two red wines. The first is a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Barossa Valley in Australia called The Cover Drive from Jim Barry. Jim Barry is a small, quality oriented winery, and this wine is the result of careful wine making. The flavor is dense with rich fruit and the wine has a wonderful nose. The other red wine that we are featuring is from Yalumba Vineyards, also in Barossa, and is a Shiraz/Viognier blend. The Shiraz is blended with Viognier to bring out the color and aroma. The result is a light, fruity wine, with jammy flavors.
For white wines, we have an Un-oaked Chardonnay from Tohu, a vineyard in New Zealand. This is a full bodied chardonnay without the heaviness of oak, with peachy and lemon overtones. Of course, we must have a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the mix, and the Sauvignon Blanc is Harbor Town, from Marlborough. The wine is made by Alan Scott from some of New Zealand’s finest Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. It has a rich , intense flavor. Then we have a Reisling from Yalumba Vineyard, which is dry with lush tropical friut overtones. This wine is a perennial award winner with a host of food pairing possibilities.
These wines are all delicious. We’d love to share them with you-maybe out on the terrace at sunset?
June 30th, 2009 by Judy Hueber
There’s a picture on our web site that several guests have asked about and said ” I want to go there!” There is a waterfall in Chesterfield Gorge, a small 13 acre New Hampshire State Park, located right in Chesterfield. Chesterfield Gorge is seven miles from the Chesterfield Inn, on Route 9 East. Dogs are welcome there, but you can’t take bikes or ATV’s on the trails.
The gorge is a terrific place for a short walk in the woods with a big pay off. You can park in the parking lot right on Route 9, and in 5 minutes, you are standing on the side of the gorge, staring at the rushing water far below. By definition, a gorge is a deep ravine carved from the landscape by flowing water. The gorge trail is very well marked, with red blazes (red wooden trail markers nailed to tree trunks every so often) as well as directional arrows. Footing is generally good and hiking boots are not necessary, although I wouldn’t recommend wearing flip flops. The trees are close to the trail, and it is shady and mossy. In the spring and summer when it’s green and lush, the forest reminds me of scene in Star Wars when the Ewoks and Stormtroopers are riding around on those flying motorcycles.
One of the Gorge Waterfalls
The trail winds down one side of the gorge, with several places where you can stop and enjoy the woodsy views of the cliffs and the Wilder Brook below. The park service has even placed metal fencing at the most precarious points so that you can look without worrying about falling. The trail slopes gradually downward to a flat area where there is a wooden bridge that crosses the brook , allowing hikers to continue on the other side of the gorge.
On the far side of the bridge, if you head up hill a few steps, and over to the edge of the water, there is a calm spot with a sandy area, where kids (of all ages) can actually play in the water. Once you’re finished dipping your feet in the water, and splashing around, you can get back on the trail and head down the far bank of the brook to the second bridge, cross back to the other side and wind your way back up the gorge. There are some very nice views of the waterfalls on this section of the trail, looking up from the lowest part of the falls and up through the cliff and woods. The gorge is a quiet place to walk and enjoy the woods and gorgeous scenery. There are no crowds there, and all you can hear is the wind and the birds singing. It’s a great place to “walk off” breakfast or for a quick walk before you head home.