Looking for a Summer Getaway?

Who doesn’t dream of a small retreat for the weekend after a busy workweek or of escaping to a shady summer home in New England away from  the heat of Florida? Ideally, it would be surrounded by big pines and maples with a lake not too far away. There would be interesting activities, yet plenty of quiet time on your own.  Some seniors get an RV and head off to find a remote place like this.

Unfortunately, the average campground is filled with rambunctious kids jumping and screaming in the pool or riding pell-mell past you on their bicycles. Not exactly the pleasant, relaxing scenario you had in mind. For me, a senior resort is the way to go.

That’s why I love the Lake Forest Resort in central New Hampshire. There are seasonal residents who come from Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and other overly hot southern areas. There are weekenders who live within a 2 or 3-hour driving distance and look forward to the day they can retire and be in Lake Forest for the whole summer. Then, there are individual RVers and now and then, RV rallies on the rally field. It makes a great blend of retirees and almost-retirees enjoying the delightful New England spring, summer, and colorful autumn.

Below is an example of the park models that you can buy in the resort. Only one is for sale at the moment, but you can work with the resort’s owners to order a new one to place on a lot of your choice. You can even own the lot. Most RV resorts only rent their spaces. This cottage is for sale for $73,000. It’s furnished, and only a few years old. It has central air, but one seldom needs that in the cool woods of New Hampshire.


This cottage is for sale for $73,000. It’s furnished, and only a few years old. It has central air, but one seldom needs that in the cool woods of New Hampshire.

For more reasons to like Lake Forest Resort and summers in New Hampshire, browse through the various topics on this blog. You won’t be able to resist this scenic area.




Tagged with: ,
Posted in Lake Forest Resort

One More Project

Some people love having a project to plan and execute. My husband falls into that mindset. Me? I’m quite happy to put my feet up and read a good book.

About three summers ago, he constructed a ground-level deck with planter boxes along one side. It makes a great place for me to relax under the shade of the gazebo with my book. I enjoy trying out varied plants and flowers in the additional planting space too.

His woodworking project this summer was to add to this ground-level deck with a short, raised walkway over to our raised deck. He had most of the supplies (boards and screws) already on hand. That made it a quick, one-afternoon project.

drill deck

Making the walkway

I’m the designated helper, to hold a board in place while he is sawing or to fetch a tool from the shed. The finished walkway turned out fine and now, I can go back to my gardening and my reading.



Wooden walkway from lower deck to upper deck.


Tagged with:
Posted in Landscaping

Lake Cottage – A Home by the Water

Making the Most of a Lake Home

Living by a lake is something many people dream of. There’s something about being near the water that contributes to a feeling of well-being. Seeing the lake is special at different times of day, going out on the water in a boat or canoe, and watching the birds, wildlife, vegetation, and weather.

If you’re lucky enough to be living this dream, here are some tips on decorating and maintaining that lake house. It may be a cottage or a mansion, but time at the lake is a treat for the whole family.


Amphibious plane and various boats at a lake cottage in New Hampshire. (photo by Virginia Allain)


Make Your Cottage Inviting Inside

On HGTV, you see home stagers prepping a house for selling. Those same staging techniques are useful in preparing your lake cottage for visitors or just for your own comfort. Walk through the house looking at all angles as though you’ve never seen it before.

hebert park model (32)

This comfortable futon sofa converts to a bed when guests arrive.

Note the things that need fixing and try rearranging some of the furniture for a better flow. What has gotten shabby? You can replace it, refinish it, or just call it the shabby chic look.

If space is limited, opt for furniture that can do double duty like the futon sofa above. Think of coffee tables that double as storage space, for instance. We have bench seats to go with our dining table. The seat lifts up so you can store placemats, napkins and tablecloths in it.

I like to decorate with found objects like rocks from the shore, some bird feathers that I find on my walks, and my own photos.


Blue jay feather (photo by Virginia Allain)

For a splurge, look for local artists at a craft fair and decorate your space with an original painting of your lake or a woven hanging of an egret or a carving of a loon.



  • Hosting Visitors in a Cottage
    If you have a summer home, a weekend cottage or rent a place for a vacation, chances are you like to entertain visitors there. I have some tips to help you prepare for house guests. It’s time to get ready.
  • Decorate a Lake Cottage on a Budget
    A cottage at the lake or cabin in the woods can be a relaxing place to get away. Don’t spend a fortune decorating it when casual accessories delight the eye and fit the vacation theme. Here are some ways to achieve this for just pennies.
  • Woods Cottage: Caring for a Home in the Forest
    A cabin or house in a wooded setting requires some extra care. Here are tips for such a situation with solutions for your problems. Moss on the roof? Squirrels in the attic? Bears in the garbage?
  • Closing Your Summer Home
    Tips for securing your outdoor gear and prepping the cottage for the winter.
Posted in Care of Summer Place

The Ossipee Valley Music Festival

If you missed this marvelous festival last year, you’ll want to get it on your calendar right away. Here’s your reminder to get on their mailing list or like their Facebook page so you can catch this marvelous festival this summer. It’s July 28 – 31 for 2016.

You can go for one day or for all four and even camp at the festival. It’s just an hour away, over in Hiram, Maine. We took our RV to get the full musical saturation. The camping was $10 a day for electricity and water. You pay for the festival separately. Our camp site was close enough to the main stage, that we could sit under our awning in our deck chairs and hear the music just fine.

There were several smaller, more-intimate stages, but this was the Maine Stage for the bigger performers.

There were several smaller, more intimate stages, but this was the Maine Stage for the bigger performers.

The music is folk, bluegrass, world music, or variations on all of those. I’m especially a fan of Celtic music and there were several sets of that. There are dances almost every evening.


2015-07-24 030

Musicians at the Ossippee Valley Music Festival. (photos by Virginia Allain)

If the sound of a fiddle starts your toe to tapping and a string band brings a smile to your face, don’t miss this music festival. Grab some folding lawn chairs or a blanket and go. There’s plenty of festival food booths or you can take a picnic with you.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Events, Fun

Kayak Racks Full

Since we arrived earlier than usual at camp, I had hopes that the racks for canoes and kayaks might have space. I was wrong. Even in June, the racks were full. When we want to go for a paddle, we’ll just put the kayaks in the back of the pickup and take them down to the lake.


Canoes and kayaks by the lake (photo by Virginia Allain)

Since more people are indulging their dream of spending the summer in the New Hampshire woods, I surmise that the economy is improving. There are over 100 seasonal residents at our location this year. The owner is preparing some new lots in a previously undeveloped section of Lake Forest Resort.

Of course, the pristine waters of Great East Lake make the place especially attractive for fishing and boating and swimming. An easy way to get out on the lake and enjoy it is in a kayak. It’s much less maintenance, less expensive and lots quieter. There’s the added bonus of getting some exercise along with experiencing the lake up-close-and-personal.


Ginger Allain & Tim Patterson

Ginger Allain and visitor, Tim Patterson, kayaking


Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Lake Forest Resort

Farm Stand Freshness

The farm stand reopened this week. Of course, we stopped by to get fresh corn to go with our grilled ham steak that evening.

mackenzies farm corn

McKenzie’s Farm roadside vegetable stand near Sanbornville, NH.

I was tempted by the colorful display of yellow squash, lush tomatoes, and crisp cucumbers to load up my refrigerator with more vegetables than we could eat. Hard to restrain yourself when they look so pretty.

We have a choice of stands. The McKenzie Farm stand is on the corner that originally held the yellow corn truck. Now that truck sits diagonally across route 16 and is quite an eye-catcher.  Even the wheels are painted a bright, corn-yellow.

We eat corn-on-the-cob several times a week throughout the summer. Slathering it with butter and adding some freshly ground black pepper makes it mighty tasty.



Photo of fresh corn by Virginia Allain




Tagged with:
Posted in food

Early Arrival at Camp

We usually dally along the way to New Hampshire and arrive in early June. This year we got an early start, arriving the first day that camp opened, May 9. We weren’t the only early arrivals. Other cottages had a car parked in front; a few had their carports up and some lots showed signs of industrious, leaf removal efforts.

The trees showed faint green tips but mostly the woods looked bare and brown. I could see the neighboring cottages which usually the thick greenery screened from view.

2016-05-10 002

Central New Hampshire woods in early May.

Arrival day was sunny but windy enough to encourage me to wear a sweatshirt. Ideal for toting in our belongings and the initial supply of groceries. Inside, we stripped away the dust covers and stowed away the clothing and food.

We checked for any leaks or pest invasions, but everything seemed fine. Of course, the smoke alarms beeped their demands for new batteries. That necessitated a quick run to the closest store which charged outrageous prices for this camp necessity. I mentally noted to bring a supply of all sizes of batteries next year.

We had the usual struggle with Time-Warner to get the TV programming and Internet up-and-running. The evening turned chilly, so the furnace went to work, and I layered the bed with a thick comforter. So, here we are, snug at camp with the Red Sox game on TV and spaghetti cooking on the stove.

2016-05-10 003

Central New Hampshire woods in early May.

Tagged with:
Posted in Spring