by GSA Roberta Wells – The Hotel Concord Class of 2019
Covid 19 is changing our lives and we are all learning to adapt as we unfurl from our quarantine cocoons of the past few months. Today I had the opportunity to enjoy a scenic drive and witness the beauty of our state and the creativity and adaptability of some of the business community I had the pleasure to interact with.
First, I was reminded that driving north on Rt 93 to and thru Franconia Notch has to be one of the most spectacularly scenic drives of any place in the country or the world. ( I say that as a person who has traveled extensively.) The beauty of our own backyard is beyond compare. Leaving the highway in Franconia we traveled the by ways for a more up close and personal view of the area in search of lupines. We meandered our way to Sugar Hill where the Lupines are on full display in their vibrant purples, pinks, and whites with the lush green backdrop of green mountainsides and blue skies. We stopped at a favorite – Polly’s Pancakes where they were open for take out orders and retail.
Hand sanitizer prominently displayed upon entry and plexiglass panels in place by the cashier. We were thrilled to see they have reorganized their dining room to allow plenty of room for social distancing as they anticipate being open to dining in again starting next Monday, June 15th. I can taste my favorite cornmeal pancakes already!
Continuing down the road we next stopped into the small country shop of Harmann’s Cheese. Only a few customers at a time are allowed inside this charming old fashioned shoppe and again the hand sanitizer is prominently displayed along with disposable gloves if you choose. The staff will either glove up and handle any item you’d like to see/purchase for you or you can glove up yourself if you’d like to handle any of the merchandise for yourself that you might want to purchase. After stocking up on some of their tasty cheeses we were instructed to leave the door open as we left so staff could sanitize it in our wake in anticipation of the next customer. They are both welcoming and cautious and happy to have you visit.
Continuing on Rt 117, we enjoyed a few more views of lupine fields for plenty of photo opportunities. When we reached Rt 302 we turned Eastward towards Littleton where there appeared to be plenty of activity throughout town. We stopped behind the Main Street in the Riverwalk area and discovered Shilling Brewery along the river with spectacular views of the rapids. They have adapted very well to the new normal and seem to be attracting a good business. Beer was available to taste/purchase in their shop where you were asked to enter thru one door and exit thru another while wearing a mask. (I am not usually a beer drinker but I found I really enjoyed their Poppy’s Moonship Goose brewed with Blackberries.) Outside they had a permanent food truck installation where you could order burgers, brats, hot dogs, poutine, twice cooked fries or flatbread. And a nice area with picnic tables and umbrellas to sit and enjoy. Bus your own table when you are thru. It was a uniquely New Hampshire Biergarten atmosphere. They have additional seating and service in the evening under an adjacent tented installation.
On the drive home we stopped briefly in at The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem to just stretch our legs and admire the view. It looks like a beautiful place to take a walk along one of the many trails. But alas, we had to head towards home. Next time…..
As my husband drove, I pondered this new transitional normal we seem to find ourselves in. Adaptation and creativity will help us to move forward. Businesses are open and waiting with open spaces and masked faces and precautions to make you feel comfortable and welcome. You can’t beat the scenery with everything currently in bloom. We have a lot to be thankful for living in New Hampshire.