Making Lobster Rolls

A summertime delight is eating lobster rolls while in Maine or New Hampshire. This was always a treat, to pull into a clam shack and order a lobster roll.

This year, for the first time, I tried making my own. It really isn’t all that hard. Remove the cooked meat from the claws and tail. This is easier after the lobster has cooled so you won’t burn your fingers. Cut it into small chunks.

Cut the lobster into chunks (photo by Virginia Allain)

Add some mayonnaise to stick it all together. Some people like to chop a little celery to stir in but I’m not a big fan of adding that. Sprinkle on some pepper, but you really don’t need much seasoning.

Lobster with mayonnaise and seasoning added

You will need the unique hot dog style buns that you find in New England. I guess you could put it on a croissant or a regular hot dog bun, but it wouldn’t be the same.

New England style hot dog buns are traditional for lobster rolls.

Butter these on the flat sides and then brown them lightly in a frying pan. Make sure the lobster salad is totally ready before you start browning and have your plates set out.

Brown the rolls.

Most people place a lettuce leaf inside the bun to keep the mayo from making the bun soggy. That’s optional. Mine never stays around long enough to get soggy.

Lobster roll and cole slaw for a summer lunch. 

Cole slaw is frequently used as a side dish for a lobster roll. Other possibilities are potato salad or baked beans.

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Where in NH to Get Your National Parks Lifetime Pass

We rushed off today to find the National Parks office near Conway. It was the nearest place to get a senior pass for the marvelous price of $10 if you are in Central New Hampshire. After August 27, the price goes to $80.

Although I said “rush,” it was a fairly leisurely scenic drive up the White Mountain Highway. Although it was Thursday, we shared the road with a fair number of cars with kayaks on the roof or with pickups pulling camping trailers. The weekenders were heading to the woods or the lake.

I fantasized about stopping for a lobster roll or a seafood casserole at Jake’s Seafood Co. but we were on a mission. No dallying along the way.

kacamagus highway map

Before reaching Conway, we followed the sign directing us to turn left for the Kancamagus Highway.  Almost immediately, we saw the National Parks office on the right and pulled in.

The ranger checked my age on my photo ID, collected my $10, and handed me the pass to sign. Mission accomplished! We dallied a bit to get a photo of a fisher cat taxidermy figure and a huge yellow jacket nest. I found some covered bridge postcards, cheap at 30 cents each, and picked up a free map of sights along the Kancamagus.

yelllow jacket nest

Photo by Virginia Allain – Yellow Jacket Nest.

We like to take visitors to see the Albany Covered Bridge and the Rocky Gorge scenic area. There are plenty of trails if you have time. Today, we had to head back home.

As we headed south, we stopped at Job Lots in Ossippee for a few things on our shopping list. We may have to return once we determine our tarp needs for closing up the camp.



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Draft Horses at the Acton Fair, Maine

In New England, some things are still done the old way. Some back-to-the-land farmers use draft horses to work their land. At the county fair, you can see these hardworking animals compete.

Below are my photos of the Acton Fair in southern Maine.

Look at the weight these horses are pulling on that sledge. The animals are powerfully built and quite muscular. More and more concrete weights are added until the lesser teams are eliminated.

The teams relax before and after their part of the competition.

You can see the eagerness of the teams to go to work in this YouTube video from the Acton Fair.


All photos by Virginia Allain

They even have an ox pull at the fair, but I haven’t been there at the right time for that. The farmers take great pride in their teams and their ability. On the farm, the horses might pull a plow or harvesting equipment just like in the good-old-days. Their pulling ability helps the farmer remove tree stumps to clear a field.

This year the fair is August 24 – 27, 2017. Check the Acton Fair schedule to decide which day has the events you want to see. There are many fairs scheduled throughout New Hampshire too.

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New Hampshire Lakes Region History in Pictures

Vintage Photos Turned into Books about the History of the Lakes Region in New Hampshire

Learn about the history of New Hampshire with these informative and entertaining books filled with old-time photos. They make fascinating reading and are a great addition to your home library.

Arcadia Publishing helps individuals and historical groups publish local histories filled with vintage photos. These books make available a wealth of historic photos that have languished in drawers and boxes for sometimes a hundred years. Quite a few communities in New Hampshire’s lakes region are showcased in Arcadia’s Images of America series.

The Doctor’s House in Wakefield, NH

Beautiful colonial era houses line the street in the village of Wakefield.
Beautiful colonial era houses line the street in the village of Wakefield. Photo by Virginia Allain.

Wakefield and Brookfield

Filled with delightful images of long ago New Hampshire, this photo history does an excellent job of entertaining and informing. The old photos are well-captioned and lead the reader through the development of the Wakefield-Brookfield villages including colonial experiences, the mills, early camps around the lakes, the importance of the railroad, and the ice industry. I was amazed that 25 railroad cars of ice left the area daily during the peak of the ice harvesting, before modern refrigeration.

What a treat to see long ago families in their old-fashioned clothing, old schoolhouses, and other scenes of bygone times. I loved it. (review by Virginia Allain)

You’ll Find Scenes from New Hampshire’s Past – Like this photo showing “Haying in New England 1900”

Vintage scene available from Zazzle: Haying in New England – Vintage 1900 by scenesfromthepast

The Mount Washington Still Takes Passengers on the Lake

Photo by Virginia Allain

Lake Winnipesaukee – New Hampshire history in photos

From the early Indians to the frontiersman to the hardy people of New England living in small villages, this history has them all covered. The author documents the region with 150 old photos. Learn about the start of the summer camps, the businesses and recreation around Lake Winnipesaukee in the early days.

Boats and Ports of Lake Winnipesaukee – New Hampshire History in Pictures

Summer visitors have flocked to the Lake Winnipesaukee region for generations. With views of the mountains, clear water for pleasure boaters and the steamboats for passengers and many summer homes, the area has many attractions.

Its history goes back very early and this book features vintage photos of the ports on the lake and the variety of watercraft.

A Cemetery Photo That I Took in NH

This isn't from the book, it's a picture I took in the lakes region. The old stones in the cemeteries are fascinating to me.
This isn’t from the book, it’s a picture I took in the Lakes Region. The old stones in the cemeteries are fascinating to me. 

Cemeteries Around Lake Winnipesaukee

There are fascinating stories to be learned about the old cemeteries around Lake Winnipesaukee. Find out from this book about the Native Americans who preceded the early settlers. There are pictures and stories of ministers, old soldiers, doctors and colorful deaths and sad stories.

I find old cemeteries and the carved headstones quite intriguing. This includes cemeteries from Wolfeboro, Meredith, Laconia and so on around the lake.

The Lower Mount Washington Valley – New Hampshire history with photos

Delight in the historic photos of Tamworth, Albany and Ossipee, New Hampshire. The scenes include old schools, libraries, general stores, railroad stations, churches and a lumber mill. I liked the photo from 1900 showing a horse-drawn stage bringing summer visitors to Tamworth.

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Scenic Lake Forest Resort in the NH Lakes Region

Weekenders, seasonal residents and RV travelers find Lake Forest RV Resort near Wakefield, New Hampshire a restful retreat. The beauty of Great East Lake invites kayaking and motor boating. Boaters enjoy seeing loons, sparkling water, and classic New England cottages and cabins on this large lake surrounded by the heavily wooded foothills of the White Mountains.

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Walking in the woods, playing golf on the 9-hole golf course carved out of the forest, or swimming in the lake provide activity choices for summer residents of Lake Forest RV Resort. Events, dinners, and excursions fill the bulletin board. There are plenty of activities for socializing or you can rusticate in quiet solitude if that’s your preference.

This 55 and older resort has spaces for short-term RVs, seasonal RVers, and snowbirds. There are park models and hand-crafted cottages.

In addition to the big lake, there’s a small pond in the center of the community. Stop by on your way to the mailboxes to watch the rainbow trout (no fishing in the small pond). Sometimes a duck family swims close to shore looking for handouts or you might spot a bullfrog.

There’s a bridge across the pond for golfers to go from the first hole of the golf course over to the second hole.

the pond at Lake Forest Resort - NH

Photos of Lake Forest scenes and wildlife – by Virginia Allain

Be as active as you want or just take it easy relaxing in a wooded setting at your site or take a walk or bike ride down to the lake. Retirees can spend 4 or 5 months in the spring, summer, and fall at the resort. Others might keep a weekend cottage or RV there to escape from their job whenever possible in the summer.

Whatever your situation, you owe it to yourself to check out this hideaway in Central New Hampshire where you can relax with the best of both the forest and the lake.

Below is a video showing a group of loons on Great East Lake.

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Naming the NH Mushrooms

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New Hampshire has the most remarkable mushrooms. The colors and shapes amaze me. When you see me bending down in the woods, I’m probably taking a photo of a mushroom. Neighbors even alert me when they spot a new batch in the community, so I head out with my camera to capture them.

yellow mushroom

Yellow mushroom photo by Virginia Allain

I don’t eat them since I have no clue which ones are safe and which ones are dangerous. Recently, I found a Facebook group called, The Mushroom Identification Forum. Great! A group that is as geeky as I am about mushrooms. I show them my photos and usually, someone has the scientific name and even sometimes give tips for cooking it.

Now that I’ve been photographing mushrooms for many summers in New Hampshire, I see a pattern. Some are early, some are mid-summer, some are later, but certain kinds come out about the same time each summer.

They also seem to come up near where I found that mushroom last year. I should study up on this, it could be because the conditions are just right for that particular mushroom in that spot or perhaps there is something with roots or spores from the previous years.

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Boletellus russellii – Note the shaggy stalk.

old man of the woods mushroom

Old Man of the Woods mushroom

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Whoopie Pie!

New England has a taste treat called a Whoopie Pie. It started out as two oval chocolate cakes sort of like oversized cookies with a filling or icing in-between. Now the whoopie pie has evolved with a gourmet twist.

The ones shown in my photo are the basic whoopie pie found all over Maine and New Hampshire. I read on Wikipedia that Pittsburg, Pennsylvania claims they originated there, but that’s hard for me to accept. In my mind, they are a New England specialty and the Maine legislature even declared them the official state treat.

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Whoopie pies at the Shaker bakeshop in Alfred, Maine – Photo by Virginia Allain

Anyway, you see some amazing variations on flavors for the cake part and for the filling. I found a site called Wicked Whoopies which featured tasty looking maple flavored whoopies and even chocolate ones with a peanut butter flavored fluffy filling.

If you don’t mind drooling on your keyboard, check out the site for Wicked Whoopies and admire the pretty pictures and amazing flavors.


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