Leaving New Hampshire: A Few of my Favorite Things

Actor Hugh Laurie once said that waiting until you are ready is a terrible thing. “I have this feeling now that actually no one is every ready to do anything,” he said. “There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

In the rush of the past few weeks, there has been no time to really wonder whether or not I am ready. And as much as I have felt like I am  for this new adventure; a new job in the world of book publishing, I’m more concerned about leaving this place that has become a home to me. Regardless, I am ripping off the hypothetical, of course, band-aid of this comfortable haven that has nurtured me over the past 5 years.

The letter and book in the mail make it official. (The First 90 Days is a book for those making the transition to a new job. Thanks HBP <3)

Most of those close to me know how much I am in love with this place. More than these words can even attempt to portray. Part of my job as editor of ELF Magazine and Business Monadnock has been to promote this area in all its natural beauty and offerings; from the secluded lakes and wild blueberry fields to the rich arts and culture that is so invigorating here.

I’ve met so many amazing people; from two very close friends at work who I’m so thankful for, other coworkers who have taught me so much, to local business owners and artists who have blown me away with their passion and deep Yankee roots. My position here has opened up so many opportunities for me, from blogging for Stay Work Play, to forming connections with a store manager who is interested in my teaching a cooking class! To get my name and articles published, to being recognized at one of the largest newspaper conventions in New England.

Beside the work aspect, I have felt that this place is my home since the day I came here over 5 years ago looking at colleges. After graduation, I made it my personal goal to find a job here so I could stay and continue to flourish int he ways I knew I could. I got the sense of what it is to be integrated within a community and feel passionate about how things ran around here; separate from the college.

This is the place I drive to after visiting my hometown and think: I’m home. This is where I belong. I still feel like I am not done here; that this place, where I have been the happiest in my life and learned so much about myself, is somewhere I will hopefully return someday, buy farmland and spend the rest of my life milking goats and chasing pigs.

In a large way I feel like I am betraying myself and all that I have lived for here in NH by leaving. It is more than just a place; it is my lifestyle. A deep connection. It is with so much hesitation that I turn away from the convenience of walking to work, my favorite coffee from Brewbakers, two great friends, a job that has nurtured me in various ways; the mountain views and winding dirt roads lined with alpaca filled farms I find so satisfying; the feeling of belonging, and comfort; the sounds of downtown Keene, the sight of the church steeple rising over Main St. every morning.

Despite how scared and emotional I feel, I also feel driven by that fear, and an opportunity has come up I would regret not taking. Keene, you are more than just my college town, you’ve been home.

See you soon Boston!

Here are some of my favorite moments from the past year:

Coffee-Infused Banana Whoopie Pies from Prime Roast Coffee Co. on main St. in Keene. I interviewed owner Judy Rogers just a few weeks ago at her Brick House Roastery for the magazine. She’s such an amazing and fun woman! I noticed photos of familiar looking waterfalls in her bathroom and asked about them – they were taken in Iceland! I told her about my upcoming trip and she gave me a ton of suggestions and detailed directions to one of the waterfalls.

My favorite thing to get from Prime Roast is their iced A-Bomb coffee after long, hard day: coconut, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup and coffee blended with ice to create a frothy indulgence.

Blake in his favorite sunny spot! The most charming thing about my apartment is seeing him in the window as I walk cross the street walking home from work. Sometimes he is sunbathing, other times he sits watching the outside world; I wonder if he is waiting for me to come home.

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This sunset view from Church St. 

The most delicious: Shrimp Casanova appetizer with toscano bread from The Stage. It is actually disgusting how many pictures I have of food from The Stage. I went there for almost every occasion. Birthdays, my graduation, every time Aunty Cindy visited (once we even ate there 3 times in one weekend); when Pam visited; mom; countless brunches with friends, etc. I always get the French Onion Soup. I also am obsessed with their Steak Morgan, Tortellini in Pesto Béchamel sauce with shrimp; or for brunch, their French Toast Baguettes or the Southwestern Omelette.

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This frog that Shay, Tom, Eric and me saw on our day floating on the lake at Pisgah State Park.

Melt-in-your-mouth apple cider donuts at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole. On this day, we picked apples, took a hayride, drank apple cider and watched a wedding in the distance of the fields.

The best view of Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey.

This barren tree in the cold gray of a fall morning. St. James Episcopal Church is in the background, which sits beside The Keene Sentinel. 

Blake in the shady morning of a Saturday.
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Field of cows in Walpole.
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Loaded waffle fries at 21 Bar & Grille. I will miss this. They are known for their cocktails, my favorite is anything they have grapefruit flavored.

A beautiful moment at Margaritas. A lime-in-the-coconut margarita and guacamole.
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Macie, the bulldog at BULLDOG Screenprinting on West St. in Keene. You can find her sprawled in the front door or sleeping in the display window on most nice days. Look a little further in and you’ll find her little sister, Gracie.

A decadent cinnamon roll from Prime Roast.

The best time to walk Main St. is when night has washed over the sky and the first season’s snow has fallen. The twinkling marquee brings you back to a simpler, older time. Here’s a picture of the front of The Colonial Theatre in broad daylight. Jonathan Daniels was a civil rights activist in Keene. He is widely recognized throughout the region and we even have an entire weekend devoted to him with tours, church visits and a documentary playing at the Colonial.

A crisp summer sky view of Lindy’s Diner and the building I used to live in during my junior and senior year.

I loved volunteering at the Keene Farmers’ Market this summer/fall. Although it was only a few times, it truly made me appreciate the efforts of local farmers. They were all so friendly and the displays were always so colorful. We set up on Gilbo Ave across from Lindy’s Diner on Saturday mornings, sometimes a local musician would come and play his guitar on the grass. One of the vendors, Patti Powers of Cheshire Garden, makes the most delightful jams, preserves and mustards (including Lavender Mustard, awarded and recognized by Yankee Magazine) and mixed berry pies; Sarah from Manning Hill Farm can usually be found at her table with the best chocolate milk in glass bottles; can’t miss Wingate Farm with their funky floral arrangements; Orchard Hill Breadworks with warm, tasty fresh baked breads including a red pepper focaccia.

This moment at the Keene Sentinel Reader’s Choice Awards at the Best Western in Keene; Shay and I with our recent Business Monadnock publication. She is the designer, I, the editor.

This moment when Shay literally matched the colors of the office.

Me drowning in ELF edits on production day.

The Keene Sentinel building (more like a hidden forest cove filled with secrets and mysterious creatures) on a wet summer day. In the fall, the leaves turn to deep orange and red.

A summer afternoon spent at the Gilsum hole. It was my first time there. We had to climb down a steep, rocky cliff of dirt to read the water. Eric and I got Subway sandwiches and IPA beer to eat on the rocks. The water was freezing but I went in for a dip anyways. There were a lot of people in such a small area so we ended up at Pisgah State Park, which is always the right choice.

A to-go lunch from Keene Fresh Salads; no longer in business after the owners retired to Portsmouth, but so delicious; replaced by Taqueria Odelay which has build-your-own burritos, bowls and tacos.

Look at that mouthwatering pesto. The only Fresh Salads pesto you can find now is on the Turkey Pesto sandwich at Brewbakers (provided by Taqueria Odelay, who now owns the pesto recipe after Fresh Salads left).

(and a few more) the Cajun Shrimp Caesar.

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Chicken Florentine soup.

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This picture taken from when I first moved into my apartment! You can see the St. James Church steeple in the background. The Keene Sentinel building is just beside it. My walk to work was about 7 minutes tops.

When I got to meet a newly-born breed of golden retrievers at Red Fox Farm for a pet story in ELF! These little furballs were so full of energy, jumping on top of each other to smell my hand. There were 6 of them. I put them on the cover.
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This view from the front door of my building. We ended up putting this picture on the cover of The Keene Sentinel’s annual City Guide publication.

My cousins Ethan and Hannah people-watching out the window.
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Looking ahead from the middle of the crosswalk at Central Square.

Shay slacking off at work as usual.

A panorama of Pisgah State Park in the summer (Kait’s wet hair in the far right). So peaceful and perfect here.

Tom at the register of The Works ordering my Works bagel with scallion cream cheese like a boss.

 

Sitting at the window seat in Brewbakers overlooking Main St. on a Saturday morning with Tom & Shay.

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Mt. Monadnock, Kait and me.

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There’s not doubt in my mind I will be back again soon, especially this summer, my favorite time in the Monadnock region. I have two friends and three rats who will (hopefully) take me in every once in a while.

Until then, I have so many other things to look forward to! Moving to Boston, starting a new and exciting job, going to Iceland; all in a span of two crazy weeks.

 

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