Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Eileen Alexander here filling in for Sasha Eisele, who has flown the coop to points south! There are still a couple of days left for you shoppers who haven't checked off all the items on your list yet. Don't forget to buy local to keep your dollars circulating here in the North Country.

Along with shopping for just the right gifts, one of the joys of the holiday season for me is driving around looking at the Christmas lights that adorn so many homes and businesses. Subtle, sparkling, garish, traditional, outlandish, patriotic -- they are all out there, and all equally delightful at this dark time of year (I know, I know -- the days started getting longer earlier this week, but c''s going to be at least the end of January before we notice any real difference!).

Early last week I headed into Groveton from the north and was treated to a wonderful display of lights on all the poles in the downtown area - it's quite a spectacular feast for the eyes!

I've been back and forth through Bethlehem a lot recently, and really like the thousands of lights that decorate a house and yard and lots of outbuildings near the bottom of the long hill on Route 302 between downtown Bethlehem and Littleton. These folks must have spent hours putting the finishing touches on all the trees and shrubs and roofs and doorways and windows. It's definitely a destination for anyone who'd like to see what you can do if you have thousands of Christmas lights at your disposal. There are also a couple of houses on Route 142 between Whitefield and Bethlehem that are worth taking a look at -- you'll know them when you see them! One caution -- these folks seem to be of the early to bed, early to rise mind, as I haven't seen the lights on after 8 p.m.

I always enjoy the Pinkhams' yard and the house just across from them on Brown Street in Whitefield. Mr. Pinkham always puts up a fabulous display, and while he's no longer able to do the work, it looks like family members are carrying on the tradition. And, while you're in Whitefield, take a look at the brightly lit house on Jefferson Road, just up from the Post Office. Another extravaganza of twinkling lights!

Mechanic Street in Lancaster is short in length, but long in Christmas spirit, with a couple of houses and yards that can compete with the best of them in terms of light power! Take a peek and see if you agree.

Those are a couple of my favorites. What are yours?

On a slightly different note, the pastry chef at the Mountain View Grand has created an enormous gingerbread model of the famous hotel. Check it out in the lobby!

To one and all, wishes for a very happy holiday season from all of us at the Arts Alliance.

Irish harper presents concert in Franconia

Irish harper presents concert in Franconia

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Flying the Coop!

Tramping through the snow, dressed in layers and clad in boots, it is hard to imagine that in 24 hours I will be in flip flops and tank tops, but it is true, I am flying the coop for a trip to Mexico with my husband. I promise to return with tales about the creative economy in the Yucatan and primed to share more stories of the North Country on the blog.

While I am away please keep your thoughts, ideas and comments flowing; it is so great to hear from so many voices in the region. Check the blog to hear from my colleague Eileen Alexander, who will be posting in my absence.

Finally, a few quick reminders before I sign off -

Wednesday is the last day for guessing the home of our famous reindeer, so get your guesses in!

Check out to get details on events happening this week that you shouldn’t miss.

Happy holidays and a joyous start to 2010 to all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Purchasing Power

Confession: I LOVE giving gifts. My husband recently sat me down to talk, with a very serious look on his face. I wracked my brain for things we might need to have a serious talk about.

When his stoic face cracked he said with a nervous laugh -

"Do you think you are going a little overboard with holiday gift giving?"

He had a point. I start looking, scheming and jotting down ideas on scrap paper in July.

My passionate quest is not about a love for shopping but about the simple joy of making or purchasing something special for people I love.

This holiday season you may find yourself, list in hand, contemplating the questions consumers face when putting their dollars back into the economy:
Where do I go to buy local? Can I afford to buy local? What is in the products that I am purchasing? Were the makers of these products fairly compensated?

Below is a listing of some great places to find locally made gifts or support locally owned businesses. This list represents just a fragment is not nearly representative of incredible number of artisans and thoughtful businesses owners in the region so please comment and share with us where you like to put your dollars.

Artistic Roots - Plymouth
The ARTS Gallery - Lisbon
Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery - Center Sandwich
Campton Candle Company - Thornton
Fiddleheads - Colebrook
WREN - Bethlehem
Birds of a Feather - Lancaster
Old Mill Studio - Whitefield
SaVoir Flare – Berlin
Macomber Glass Studio - Conway
Village Artists & Gallery - Ashland
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen - Locations throughout the state
Great reasons to buy local this season:

1)   Keep your dollars in the local economy.
2)   Nurture your community.
3)   Give your friends and family unique gifts.
4)   Support innovation and success in the north country.
5)   Create the opportunity for more local jobs

Monday, December 7, 2009

North Country Reindeer!

Do you know where these reindeer live? The first person to post a comment on the blog with the correct answer will receive two tickets to an upcoming Arts Alliance event with storyteller Becky Rule.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Longing to be “walking in a winter wonderland”…

Teeming rain this morning gave way to sunny skies and I sighed deeply, digging in my bag for my sunglasses and trading striped rain boots for sneakers.

I feel devilish complaining about a 60-degree day in December, but it seriously dampened my interest in things “merry and bright.” I sought hope in the online weather report, crossing my fingers that the weekend might bring some festive weather to New Hampshire. “What to my wondering eyes should appear?” No snow in the forecast to bring holiday cheer.

You may not be able to don your ski boots this weekend but there are plenty of holiday happenings and, who knows, maybe if we believe there might even be a flake or two a-flying.

If your weekend mission includes holiday shopping check out:
The White Mountain Waldorf Winter Craft Faire – Conway
Holiday Bazzar - Franconia  
Mt Washington Valley Arts’ Affordable Art Show – North Conway

If your presents are wrapped with care and you want to sit back, relax and enjoy festive entertainment you can see a classic rendition of The Nutcracker Ballet this weekend at St. Kieran’s Art Center and a Victorian rendition next weekend at Kennett High School - North Conway .

Remember to buy local when you can and support creative economy businesses in this region when you spend your holiday dollars.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wifi & a latte: The birth of Creative North

Nothing seems more appropriate for the first Creative North blog entry than writing it while sipping a latte and using wifi from Frontside Grind in North Conway.


Because as a member and vocal advocate of the 21st century workforce, who moved to Northern New Hampshire in pursuit of the new American dream, I find myself constantly looking for creative centers with a wifi connection and a great latte.

I left a full-time job with benefits in Portland, Maine, 18 months ago. I had two goals in moving to New Hampshire. The first was to start my own business, contracting with nonprofit organizations to build sustainable marketing, fundraising and organizational development strategies. The second was to pursue a passion for the mountains – rock-climbing, running and skiing.

The key to realizing this dream of balancing work I love and time to enjoy the outdoors isn’t unique in this region. Ask people who live here and you will quickly see a pattern of ambitious, creative, entrepreneurial people who left better paying jobs and a more fast paced lifestyle to live in this incredible place and pursue their dreams.

The greatest challenge to living in Northern New Hampshire is that you have to create your own connectivity. This blog was born out of a simple conundrum: Where can people go in the region to get connected with what is happening locally (music, arts and culture), access the internet and get a great cup of coffee.

The Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and I are thrilled to launch the Creative North blog.

Think of this blog as your go-to resource for accessing the creative economy in northern New Hampshire. With your help -- thoughtful comments, emails and suggestions -- this site can be a hub for connecting artists, businesses and visitors with dynamic opportunities in New Hampshire’s North Country. This project is malleable, organic, adaptable and ready to be a well used resource for promoting, supporting and sustaining the creative economy.

Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts!