New Hampshire

Over Labor Day weekend, I managed to finagle a few friends together for a trip to New Hampshire.  We stayed at a lakeside motel in Weirs Beach, the “capital of kitsch,” according to Lonely Planet-New England. It was only about two hours outside of Boston but the foray provided a welcome respite from life in Cambridge.  When we were en route, I realized I hadn’t done any traveling since coming back from England in June.  While being settled and leading a stable, comfortable life has its blessings, I’ve wondered more than once if I made the right decision in coming back to the States after only one year abroad.  I believe things have worked out for the best, but that’s not to say there are moments when I question, even doubt, whether I belong here.

Because of our hectic schedules, we didn’t really plan much for the trip, just jotting down some places and restaurants to check out.  But I think the weekend turned out better than any one we might have minutely planned.  What I had hoped for was a nature- and fun-filled getaway, and I hit the lottery on both accounts.   The New Hampshire landscape is stunning: shapely, inspired, very much alive.  It exudes a quiet confidence that I found both alluring and playful, and I also had great company with which to decompress. Lonely Planet wasn’t lying — there was some major kitsch factor in Weirs Beach, although I’m pretty forgiving of that tendency in beach/waterside towns. I feel like it’s part of the package with that sort of place.

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In between swimming, hiking, kayaking, and other leisure, we ate some good grub. My coworker, who has spent time in that area for over twenty years, gave us some stellar recommendations.  We also stumbled upon a true greasy spoon in town that was filled with random bikers and locals, one of whom I saw double-fisting a Bud light and coffee mug at 10 in the morning.  The culinary highlight was a trip to Corner House Inn, a cozy, provincial pub, followed by dessert at the Sandwich Creamery, which we had to make a detour for when we discovered its address: 134 Hannah Road.  Here’s the weekend rundown:

Calamari and lobster BLT at the Wolfetrap, where I also had an outstanding bouillabaisse:
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An unconventional pairing of pan-seared halibut with a tomato-mozzarella salad:
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The Corner House Inn:
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L’s sweet potato polenta: I liked this dish even though the sweet potato flavor wasn’t very prominent. I think I just really like corn-based carb dishes.
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A simple but satisfying salad with (not enough) bacon and (too much) blue cheese:
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J’s ginormous meat loaf sandwich: I think it contained veal, pork, and beef. It looked like J’s kind of dish and he had no problems polishing his plate off.
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E’s french onion soup: loaded with gooey goodness.
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M’s turkey sandwich:
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Seating outside the Sandwich Creamery:
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Lots of rustic appeal:
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Honor system ice cream: toss your money into the slot (by the wooden shelf) and grab a cup! My favorite of the flavors we tried was the mint chocolate chip. The mint flavor was really clean and the chippers were a crowd.

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We also threw ourselves a barbecue on Sunday night, grilling chicken, pineapple, peaches, and cantaloupe, to go along with nibbles of cheese and salami.  All went well with the copious amounts of wine certain of us consumed ;).  It was quite the night–criminally fun.  It’s too bad we all had serious lives to return to.  I wouldn’t have minded an extra day or two one bit.

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