Category Archives: Arts

Five Fun Ideas for A Winter Getaway to Manchester NH

Five Fun Ideas for A Winter Getaway to Manchester NH   by Margit Eder-Wezwick

The days are getting longer and it’s time for some weekend fun, maybe even with a group of friends?

Come to the “big” city (The Queen City of Manchester NH , that is) and explore how you can have a unique weekend experience:

1. Ski right here in town

Did you know that Manchester has its very own Ski Area and Tubing Park? The McIntyre Ski Area

Birds eye view of McIntyre Ski Area
photo courtesy of McIntyre Ski Area

is right in town, with chair lifts, lessons for skiing and snowboarding, snow cannons and night lighting! Given the elevation of the hill it’s not much of a challenge for the experienced skier, but is perfect for a beginner to get a taste and only a 5 min drive from our B&B.

2. Participate at an instructor led DIY “AR Workshop”

Going to a painting class with a group of friends is so yesterday. Instead, try one of the creative workshops at AR Workshop downtown, where you can participate at a hands-on class to create
custom home décor, wooden signs, framed signs and more, all from raw materials.

Blue Hammers and paint brushes with AR Workshop logo
Photo courtesy of AR Workshop

This is a lot of fun to do either alone, or together with a group of friends. The workshop is within a 10 – 15 min walk from The Ash Street inn

3. “Escape” the Room

A different kind of weekend escape: Bring your partner, your best friend(s), or people you love to hang out with and get locked into a room with them. You will have 60 min to solve puzzles and follow clues and think outside (inside?) the box, in order to escape. This is a great team play and there are various room themes to choose from. And because this is so much fun, Manchester has not one, but two places who offer to “lock you up”! Check out Granite State Escape or Lok’d

4. Get Creative

Metallic sculpture of Mark di Suvero's geometric sculpture Origins
Photo Courtesy of Rwez

Interested in painting or felting, or glass fusing or other artsy creativity but don’t know where to begin? The Currier Museum of Art  is offering a variety of 3 hour workshops on Saturdays on various dates and materials are included. All you need to do is sign up and maybe bring a friend or two? The Currier Museum is only a 3 min walk from the Ash Street Inn!

5. Enjoy a scavenger hunt

Gather with a few friends and learn about Manchester’s history and culture by doing a scavenger hunt in the city. All places are in walking distance and you will look throughout downtown. It’s a lot fun and you can do the hunt at your own pace. Downtown is 0.5 miles from our B&B and the hunt can be booked online at Scavengerhunt.com

Additional ideas for your weekend in Manchester might include a visit to the “Speak Easy” on Elm Street (Shhhh!! ask your innkeeper

Table showing board games and brews from Boards and Brews
Photo courtesy of Boards and Brews

about details) and maybe also a game night or afternoon at the Board Games Café downtown

(they have over 1600 board games to choose from!!)

Try to stay warm out there and of course if you are staying overnight, stay at The Ash Street Inn and ask us  for some suggestions about our many great restaurants in town.

“From Victorian to Usonian: History/Architecture Getaway”

Frank Lloyd Wright’s  Architecture in Manchester

There are two known Usonian homes in New Hampshire and they both happen to be here in Manchester. However only one is accessible to the public and that is the Zimmerman House, which is owned by the Currier Museum of Art.  

Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) used the term “usonian” to describe his design for a group of houses built for middle class families. These houses have only one story and no garage, (instead they have a carport) and not a lot of storage space. Typically, these Usonian Houses have an open floor concept, lots of natural light and plenty of use of brick and wood. They are FLW’s answer to a simpler lifestyle born in the years of the Depression. It is said that the Usonian style preceded the ranch style architecture.

Exterior shot of The Zimmerman House
Usonian Style

The Zimmerman House in Manchester was designed in 1950 for Dr Isadore and Lucille Zimmeman. The house is in pristine condition and has been left the way the Zimmermans outfitted it it when they lived in it.  Since Mrs Zimmerman left the house to the museum, all decoration, furniture, art and even china and clothing are exactly as they were. A glimpse of times past.

The layout of the house was carefully planned and the attention to detail is wonderful.  The brick house and the beautifully designed garden blend nicely together and in summer, the museum is occasionally offering  “twilight tours” with live music at the home. A very special treat indeed.

The Currier museum offers guided tours of the Zimmerman House between April and December. Only 12 people can participate per tour and there are 3 tours a day.

If you are planning to make an overnight trip out of it, we are offering a package that include a 1 night stay at our B&B ( of course cooked to order breakfast included) and tickets for the FLW tour, package also includes same day entrance to the Currier Museum of Art.  We are located a short 2 min walk from the Currier.

Scones

Today I’m going to talk a little about scones. Not so much about scones really but how the scones at the Ash Street Inn got to be what they are today.  It was an interesting journey that ended with a great result!

Before we opened we had determined that we wanted to make cookies and scones, from scratch, every day, so our guests would be able to have a little snack in the afternoon.  So first we needed to learn how make scones.  After a bit of trial and error, we were making some great scones!  We made them the traditional way as a 10” round which we cut into 8 wedges and kept them out on the counter under a pastry dome.  Our guests oohed and aahed but rarely touched them.

“Maybe they’re just too big for snacking!” opined my wife, Darlene.  [She’s the real innkeeper – I’m just the cook…]  So we made them as drop scones and got 12-14 from the batch.  We still heard the oohs and aahs but no one touched them.  “Smaller still” says the innkeeper!  Now I’m down to a medium cookie scoop, about one ounce capacity, and a batch makes 26-27 small scones.

Out goes the plate with four each of four different varieties.  And they disappear!  The same guests who wouldn’t take one before now have two or three of the little scones and then come back for more.  We just can’t keep them on the plate!

So that’s how we learned to make little scones that our guests really love.  More importantly, that’s how we learned a lot more about guests and how to listen to all of the things that they don’t say so that we can make their experience here at the Inn the best that it can be.

 

Here’s one of the recipes that we use at the Inn.  Great with a hot cup of tea but just as good with coffee!

 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP ORANGE SCONES

Chocolate and orange, a classic combination from the Ash Street Inn!

2 cups all-purpose flour                                     ¼ cup orange juice

1/3 cup granulated sugar                                     1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder                                grated peel from one orange

½ teaspoon salt                                                    ¾ cup miniature chocolate chips (semisweet or dark)

½ cup unsalted butter, chilled

2 large eggs

 

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut the butter in ½ inch cubes and distribute over the flour mixture.  With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, orange juice, vanilla and orange peel.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine well.  The dough will be sticky.  With lightly floured hands, knead in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

 

Use a medium cookie scoop and place the scones on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Freeze for several hours.  Then place in a zip-lock bag.  Scones will keep for 2-3 weeks.

 

To bake, remove from freezer and place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 13 to 14 minutes until just lightly browned.

 

Manchester, NH – the “center of the universe”?

You might say we’re biased but, yes, we do see it as just that.  From the Ash Street Inn Bed and Breakfast, so many places are so close and easy to get to.  You can visit any of the New England states on less than one-half tank of gas.  Mystic, CT; Newport, RI; Portland, ME; Montpelier, VT and Provincetown, MA are all less than 175 miles away.  And with the easy access to all the interstate highways, you can get there quickly.  Or, if you prefer, there are lots of choices for “the road less travelled” that might get you there more slowly – or might not get you there at all.  It’s so easy to get sidetracked along the way that some guests never get where they were originally going at all – and don’t mind a bit.

Closer to home, there are still lots of choices when looking for great things to do in and around Manchester, NH.  Within 45 minutes in any direction, you can experience the wide range of choices that New England has to offer.  Head south and you can be in downtown Boston, MA with all that it has to offer – from the arts to sports to history.  Head east and you can experience all 13 miles of New Hampshire’s scenic coastline from the sandy beaches of Hampton Beach along the rock-strewn cliffs to Portsmouth.  Head west and you will be in the Monadnock range where picturesque little towns like Peterborough and Dublin home of Yankee Magazine, can be real “finds”.  Head north and you will discover Lake Winnipesaukee and Franconia Notch in the White Mountains, home to our beloved Mount Washington.

And, without even leaving Manchester, there are so many exciting things to do.  There is hiking, fishing and mountain biking around Massabesic Lake and the Audubon Center.  In season, you can ski and “tube” at McIntyre Ski Area. Minor league hockey and baseball are always great fun.  We have several venues for concerts and performances by artists from the world over.  The Currier Museum of Art and several other galleries and museums can make even a rainy day a great time.  With all the great restaurants and clubs in the city, everyone can find something that suits their style and have a remarkable day doing just about anything at all.

In future posts, we’ll talk in more detail about all the things to do in Manchester, NH and you’ll see why we like to think of it as the “center of the universe”!