Behind My Red Door

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Day Of Fun!

For more than 200 years a quaint little cottage has graced the countryside of Southern NH, seemingly untouched by time. The gardens and elegant herbal luncheons of Pickity Place have been drawing visitors from throughout New England for more than three decades. I have been going there since 1984. The first time I made the trip was when I went
with the garden club of the neighboring town of West Boylston when we lived there. I was a young mom, and had heard so much about Pickity from the older garden club members. I was mesmerized and enchanted, as I am each time I make the trip back. Today I made the drive an hour north to the little hamlet of Mason, NH, with my dear friend Chris. It was my gift to her for her birthday. Chris and I met in 1980 when she, her husband Jack and their then 7 month old daughter Callie, moved into the neighborhood that David and I and our then 6 month old son Jay, were living in. Chris and I were each others salvation when her DH Jack worked long hours in Boston as the Assitant to the Attorney General and my DH David was making business trips to power plants around the country. We had our second kids within months of each other and they later had another daughter. We were lucky enough to work together at the preschool for a few years, and we both enjoy being 'empty nesters.' Chris teaches just 3 days a week and when she is not tending to her ailing father, we try to fit in lunch and shopping trips. We always have a great time together and visiting Pickity Place several times a year is at the very top of our must do list.
Pickity is 2 miles off the main route and deep in the woods on dirt roads. As you drive up and the forest clears(literally), you get a glimpse of the the main house, which was the illustrative site for the 1948 English edition of Little Red Riding Hood, by Elizabeth Orton Jones.

photo courtesy of Pickity Place

Click HERE for more pictures

When you enter the front door and take a left into the bookshop, you are greeted by a vision of the wolf laying in the Grandmother's bed.

There is a whole section devoted to Little Red Riding Hood dolls, books and memorabilia.

The walls are stenciled with Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. It is utterly charming!

On the back of the door of the restaurant hangs her red cape. How cute is that??!

The restaurant is in two rooms of the old cape. The floors are VERY uneven, the walls are old, the fireplace no longer works, but the experience is simply perfect!

Front dining room

Chris and I sat at this table on the right.

Fireplace in the front dining room

Display in the back dining room

Back dining room

They change the decorations inside and out with the seasons which always makes it fun to see what they have found to delight the eyes as well as the palate.

Pickity serves a 5-course gourmet luncheon. From appetizers to dessert, the luncheon dishes are accented with herbs and edible flowers grown and harvested from their own culinary gardens. The menu changes each month and they serve at three private seatings each day: 11:30, 12:45 and 2:00

July's Menu

Fresh Herb Dip w/crackers
Tortellini Soup with Fresh Greens
Mandarine, Jicama Salad with a Raspberry Leave Vinaigrette
Onion Dill Bread with Sun Dried Tomato and Herb Butter
Sante Fe Mesquite Beef Medallions
- or -
Roasted Vegetable Tart
Sugar Snap Peas with Apple Mint
Key Lime Pie with Toasted Coconut

When you are seated, there are crackers and a dip to nibble on you while you wait for the waitress to come and take your order. Soon you are served the soup in a small cup. Then the salad and bread (one slice each) are served, followed by the entree and vegetable. Each course is small - just enough for a few bites of each but all together a filling and wonderful meal. Chris and I both chose the tart. The crust was as flaky as can be and it was melt in your mouth delicious. She choose the raspberry tea - hot, and I had the iced lavender lemonade. YUMMO!

A trip to Pickity Place is not complete without a visit to the main gift shop - just a few steps from the front door of the old house. This is such a pretty picture, but the view in the fall is just amazing with the canopy of maples over head and the pumpkins piled by the shop's door.The gift shops sells all kinds of culinary tools, dips, mixes, teas, spices, cards, herbs, incense, candles, baskets, cookbooks, kitchen linens and more. I can't tell you what I got here because it is part of a fall swap I am doing with 2 friends who read this blog!

Pickity also has a another gift shop and greenhouse out back with Christmas goodies on display all year round. (I forgot pictures of that.)

Whenever we get to Pickity, we also try to fit in a visit to Frye's Measure Mill which is a short drive north in the little town of Wilton, NH. The roads take you deep into the countryside, past very old New England farmhouses and churches. It is so quaint. Chris and I like to imagine what it would have been like living there in the 1800's. Winters would have been pretty harsh!
photo courtesy of Frye's Measure Mill

Paraphrased from the website:

Now an historic landmark recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Frye's Measure Mill has been water powered since the 1850's. Some of the Mill's first products - including round and oval pantry boxes, measures, and piggins - are still being produced on much of the original water powered machinery. Examples of Frye's oldest woodenware can be found in museums throughout the country.

Many years ago, at the request of the Canterbury, New Hampshire Shakers, shaker box reproductions were added to our collection. Because of the same dedication to excellence in quality and craftsmanship today, as in the past, Frye boxes remain sought after by collectors across the country.

Striving for the "urge for perfection", Frye's Measure Mill follows documented Shaker traditions as outlined by historians Edward and Faith Andrews to painstakingly create Shaker boxes with native maple, hand bent around wooden shaping molds, and fastened with copper tacks.

Housed in a portion of the old sawmill, the seven room shop offers high-quality crafts, creatively displayed in an antique setting. Folk art from some of the country's top rated artisans, colonial tinware, hand-blown glass, pottery, period lighting, pewter, hand-forged ironware, antiques and collectibles are just some of the items that accent the woodenware in the Museum Shop.

I came home with a few real beeswax's candles, a beeswax sheep, and 2 antique bottles for my bathroom shelf. There enough antique crocks, bottles, chairs, books and more to keep several of us happy well into retirement! I just love how they display everything. Sadly, I learned the mill and shop are for sale. I can only hope that whomever buys it, still retains the same wonderful atmosphere and assortment of antiques and top notch crafts - many colonial in design.

Our next stop was a small shop called The Black Swan, just bit further north on the road to Peterborough, NH. It is an eclectic gift shop that is always fun to poke around in. Nothing caught our fancy here this time, but we enjoyed it anyway.

Mother nature cooperated - it was warm but not hot and not too humid and Chris and I had a great day -breaking bread and just spending time together.

I am way behind in commenting on blogs - I am so sorry. I took some time after the photo shoot to unwind, relax and the I had to get to some long put off chores around here. I hope to catch up on my visits in the next few days.

I hope you all are having a great week and I'll be stopping by soon! Thanks for taking this little trip north with me.

Until next time - hugs, Linda