Tag Archives new hampshire

Would You Eat Rabbit For Dinner?

by Monday, September 21, 2015

Fine dining in New Hampshire has come a long way. Before, there were only a few choices, or you would have to go over the border to Massachusetts, to find an upscale restaurant. Today, there are a number of restaurants with highly skilled chefs, showing off their mastery in food artistry, in  places such as Bedford, Nashua, Manchester Salem, and Portsmouth New Hampshire, that would impress even the most critical foodies.

I had the pleasure of trying a restaurant that I’ve heard a lot of rave reviews about, called TekNique (restaurantteknique.com),  this past weekend, in my new “home town” of Bedford, New Hampshire.  I recently moved to Bedford this past August. Since it was literally, a five-minute drive from my house, I just had to check it out.


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TekNique Restaurant
Bedford, NH

HISTORY

TekNique Restaurant is the creation of Chef Matt Trottier, a life-long chef, getting his start, right here in New Hampshire. He started out as a dishwasher at The Bedford Village Inn, also in Bedford, where his uncle was a chef and later found himself at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY( ciachef.edu), earning his own culinary degree.

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Chef Matt Trottier

*a funny side note is I currently live in the owner of The Bedford Village Inn’s  house

He fine tuned his unique take on food combinations and presentation at renowned favorite restaurants, such as Inn at Little Washington (www.theinnatlittlewashington.com), Stone Hedge Inn (stonehedgeinnandspa.com), The Bedford Village Inn(bedfordvillageinn.com), CR Sparks (crstherestaurant.com), Micheal Timothy’s(mtslocal.com), and Giorgio’s(www.giorgios.com).

The restaurant is considered casual, fine dining and was opened in 2011. Not long after Trottier’s opening,  he was already getting nods from New Hampshire Magazine (nhmagazine.com),  in 2012 for his dish Free Form Seafood Lasagna” as an “Editor’s pick”,  in HIPPO magazine (hippopress.com), being voted as “best new eatery” in 2012, has been featured on Phantom Gourmet(phantomgourmet.com) television show and currently still has a 4 star rating on yelp.com

Here is the link to the Phantom Gourmet’s segment on TekNique


 

LOGISTICS

My husband and I made the reservation, last-minute on Saturday afternoon, for Saturday evening. I wasn’t sure if there would be any availability, but it was no problem. We made our reservation for 6:30pm through opentable.com

The restaurant is located at 170 Route 101 in Bedford NH and is easily accessed from both route 293 and 93. It is situated in a plaza with plenty of parking, in the central part of the town.


 

thewanderlustyogi.netAMBIENCE/SERVICE

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Tek-Nique: “the manner in which details are treated.”

Walking in to the restaurant, they had autumn decor on the outside door, that look seasonal and inviting. Once you entered the main entrance,  there is a large display with the definition of “technique” on the wall, giving the customer an idea of the chef’s vision for his restaurant.

We were warmly greeted by the hostess and welcomed in by the general manager, Brendan Kelly.

The setting was dimly lit with modern decor with hues of earth tones, that was trendy, yet subtle. They played French dinner music that was loud enough to set a mood of relaxation, but not overly loud so you could still have intimate conversion.

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diningroom at TekNique

Our waitress was very pleasant and knowledgable about all of their offerings on the menu. She brought us our menus and listed the specials. She gave us a moment, then brought us waters and took our drink order.  We only ordered soft drinks, but they have an extensive wine list and cocktails.thewanderlustyogi.net


 

BREAKING BREAD

When she returned with our drinks she also brought us their bread offering. This night it was a homemade lavash topped with seeds, served with a parmesan cream, dressed with olive oil.  The cream was very light and fluffy, with a consistency of cappuccino foam. It was salty and creamy and a perfect accompaniment to the crispy lavash.

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parmesan cream and lavash

After finishing the first dish we were excited to browse the menu.  They had a good range of items, categorized in sections: Garden, Sea,  Field, and Game. I spotted their famous “Free Form Seafood Lasagna” and knew that was the one I had to try. My husband decided to get a little daring and try the “Braised Rabbit Strozzapreti” . Neither one of us has ever tried rabbit and it isn’t something that we normally see on a menu. I almost didn’t let him. I just couldn’t imagine eating a poor rabbit, but who was I to tell him what he can and can’t order.  He said, “For the blog!” and he was right. I should let him so that I can tell the readers if this dish is worth killing a bunny for.

We also wanted to try an appetizer. We looked at a few options, like Oysters on a Half Shell, Charcuterie (chefs choice of cured meats) and  Tuna Poke, but both wanted to try the Pork Belly.


 

APPETIZER

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pork belly appetizer at TekNique

Our appetizer arrived in a timely manner and the presentation was enticing.  The Pork Belly was introduced, plated on a grilled tortilla, topped with avocado, queso fresco and salsa verde. It had a great combination of Mexican-inspired flavors with the saltiness of the pork belly, the crunchiness of the tortilla, the creaminess of the avocado and freshness of the salsa verde with hints of lime and cilantro. We devoured it and longed for more, but just as we yearned for more pork belly, we knew we should save our appetites for the main course.

The waitress came to collect our finished plate and asked if we like it. We both nodded and said, “Yes, it was delicious!” She soon returned with our main entrees. My husband Brice’s rabbit was set in front of him, and my lasagna in front of me. She asked if we wanted fresh cracked pepper or needed anything else and we both declined,  on the edge of our seat, excited to dig in….but wait!  First, the dreaded, food pic.  My husband still rolls his eyes every time I make him wait to eat so that I can get a picture of what we are about to enjoy. One of the drawbacks of being married to a blogger.


 

MAIN COURSE

The “Braised Rabbit Strozzapreti” was served in a shallow dish and seemed to be a sort of stew. It is made with mirepoix, mushrooms and a vermouth demi. It had a brown gravy that looked very tasty. My husband took his first bite and said,  “Wow, this is really good!  You need to try this!”  I was hesitant and didn’t want to.  He said,  “You have to so you can write about it.” I said that he could just explain it.  He said the rabbit tasted almost like steak, but much more tender. He said it wasn’t gamey or had an after taste, like how lamb sometimes does.  He said it did, in fact, taste like a stew. That the mushroom flavors along with the straw noodles and brown vermouth sauce was a perfect complement to the delicate meat. He felt like it was a perfect dish for the fall or winter months. Again, he kept taunting me to try it and putting a small fork-full in front of my face.  Over and over he said, “Come on, just try it!  You will regret it.”

No, I don’t think I would regret it, but what the hell, I’m eating other meats now, being a born-again meat-eater, after three-and-a- half years being a vegetarian.  Why is a rabbit’s life any more special than a cow’s right? Because they are cuter? Cows are cute too.

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Braised Rabbit Strozzapreti at TekNique

I did it! And you know what? It was really good!

Time to see what all of the rage is about with this popular dish at TekNique, the Free Form Seafood Lasagna. The dish looked huge. The square, layered, and freshly made sheets of pasta were delicately placed one sheet at a time,  with pieces of shrimp, scallop, lobster, Maine crab and drenched in an orange lobster cream sauce that looked mouth-watering.

The texture of the pasta was soft and the cream sauce was out of this world. Each piece of seafood was moist and sumptuous. It was lavish, but still had the overall feel of  comfort food. I was extremely pleased I made the decision to try this. It was fantastic!

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Free Form Seafood Lasagna at TekNique

After dinner, my husband said we should try a dessert. Especially after the impressive dishes we just ate, they got to have some awesome desserts here.  I was extremely full, and actually had to bring home the rest of my plate, but was totally down for trying, at least a bite of a dessert here.

The dessert menu was brought to us and it was with a heading “sweet endings“. How appropriate. We were looking through and a few items caught our eye, like the Baked Alaska, Lemon Tart and the Molten Chocolate Truffle Cake, but we ended up deciding on one to share, the Tiramisu Donuts. I was looking forward to having a few bites of this decadent dessert with a cappuccino to end our lovely meal.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have cappuccino or espresso there, only regular coffee. Not a huge deal, but I must say, I was a little disappointed.  That is something  I’m sure people would like at a restaurant of this caliber.  (I would like to suggest that to the manager/owner, if he reads this article.)


 

DESSERT

Our dessert was brought along with our coffees and was served with vanilla ice-cream. It was very rich and tasted like good old-fashioned donuts but with a twist. The coffee mascarpone, ameretto, chocolate and cinnamon sugar adorning each donut square, brought this dessert to a whole new level.  This was not Dunkin Donuts!

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Tiramisu Donuts at TekNique


 

CONCLUSION

TekNique was a very good restaurant that offered a casual, fine dining experience, right here in Southern New Hampshire. I can see why people love the Free Form Seafood Lasagna so much and why this is a highly recommended spot in Bedford.  In town, we would normally go to The Bedford Village Inn, Canoe or the Copper Door for this type of dining, but now we will be putting TekNique at the top of our list. Not only is the food just as good, if not better, than the other surrounding fine-dining options, but the prices are much lower overall on every dish type. I may not order the rabbit dish next time, not because it wasn’t delicious, but because of my psychological reasoning, that won’t escape my thoughts,  but if eating Bugs Bunny doesn’t make you cringe, it’s a must try!  I will tell you, however,  that I’m craving the “Free Form Seafood Lasagna” as I write this.

Maybe we will go back again next weekend?


 

Tip: For locals who normally dine at the very popular and always busy Copper Door, and can’t seem to get a reservation on a weekend night (like us), try TekNique.  We got a reservation last-minute and it wasn’t over crowded and loud. I think you would be pleasantly surprised at just how good the food is and  you would taste the attention to detail, that Chef Trottier puts into every single one of his dishes. They may not have cappuccino, but everything else is on point.


 

If you don’t live local or can’t get to TekNique to try Chef Matt’s signature dish “Free  Form Seafood Lasagna” he shares his recipe and a cooking demo so that you can make it at home. Here’s the link:

 

 

My Love/Hate Relationship with Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

by Wednesday, June 3, 2015

thewanderlustyogi.netGrowing up as a little girl in Massachusetts, I was brought up taking our traditional summer vacations to the seacoast town of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. This was something all of my family members did growing up, for at least the last three generations.

It was an easy and inexpensive vacation for our family, that the parents and children enjoyed alike. My great-uncle owned a few beach houses on “O Street”, at the south end of Ocean Blvd. (the area was set up with Ocean Blvd. following the coastline and the lettered streets would go in alphabetical order intersecting Ocean Blvd.).  So it was even more fun when my cousins would rent one and we would rent the other on the same week. The more, the merrier!

While I was still small, I loved every single part of this vacation, maybe everything except when it rained, and even then, we had fun playing made up games that my uncle would create.

As I got older I started to have a love/hate relationship with good old Hampton Beach. I loved being with my family and spending time at the ocean, but there were little things I started to notice that I didn’t like very much.


 

It was kind of cheesy.

You know, the typical beach town with souvenir shops, run down restaurants and low-budget motels? It was like that. Each year I started seeing it from a different perspective. I would think,

“If I had never been here before and had no history with this place, I would view it as a dilapidated beach town that wasn’t worth the visit.”  

It made me wonder why we liked going here. While my friends vacationed on Cape Cod, Myrtle Beach or Ft. Lauderdale, we would go to this run down, dump of a beach town. Maybe I was envious?

The beach house (houses) was old.

No offense to my great-uncle, this is how all beach houses were at Hampton. They were all very old with just the basics.  All the furniture was from my grandmother’s time and there were no televisions, no stereos, and no air-conditioning.  You had to bring all of your linens, blankets, towels sheets and pillows from home. It seemed almost like camping, but we had a bathroom and a shower. This was the closest to “roughing it” you could get. Why couldn’t we stay at a nice timeshare with all the modern essentials you would want? This is when I didn’t realize the cost of things. 

Cat Calling was the norm.

This was  something that was expected at Hampton Beach. I guess you may find this at any area where women are scantily dressed and people are feeling the buzz of a day in the sun, or for other reasons. As young as 12-year-old, while walking down the strip, I can remember getting hollered at and cat called. It was scary at first, then I even liked the attention in my younger teen years, to just literally blocking it out. If you complained about it, the usually response would be, “Hey, you’re  at Hampton Beach, what do you expect? You should be flattered.” I’d often cringe when hearing my alpha male, second cousins, chiming in with their share, to girls walking by, often being egged on by their dad.  It’s just how people were. You either got used to it, or didn’t go there.

The litter.

Not just along the strip and all over the streets, but even on the beach had litter all over it.  People would actually just throw cups, bottles, cans, bags, butts, you name it, right on the beach. I couldn’t believe how awful it got over the years. Did no one care about the ocean, the environment or just for the pure vanity it of it?  It looked gross and you never knew if you would cut your foot on a piece of broken glass, which I have done a few times.


 

So when you wrap up all those examples in a nice bow, you probably are thinking of why I would love it then?


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My family.

I spent many hours with my parents, my siblings, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, that if we didn’t have those beach weeks together, they would have never happened.  The memories of us all being together:

  • laughing, playing in the waves
  • eating meals together
  • watching the fire works while running around with sparklers
  • filling our craving for  Blinks Fry Doe (always with butter and powdered sugar)
  • walking and talking about life along the beach, to the rocks (the jetty)
  • playing charades during a rainy day

These are just some the examples of many fond memories I cherish with my family at Hampton Beach.  I believe that having this quality time with family members that I normally would only see on holidays or special occasions contributed to the strong bonds we have with each other today.thewanderlustyogi.net

The beach house.

Even though the beach house was old and had its creaks and the bed felt more like a board, it was filled with love. And if these walls could talk, it would speak of special family times, and stories that were repeated generation after generation. This house hosted childhood memories and watched as these children grew into young adults. This house didn’t need to beautiful or amazing, because what it held inside was beautiful and amazing.  Maybe my friends with families who had more than us could vacation in Hawaii or Aruba, but I am certain they couldn’t have had the same experience as we did together in our little beach house.

I now try to think of “cat calling” as a right of passage for young boys.

When I visit Hampton Beach now it doesn’t happen as often, I’m old, lucky me! But when I hear it, I try to bring less judgement, especially when its young boys. I try to see it as just a past time and that these boys are expressing their adolescents in this way because they aren’t quite sure of what is happening in their bodies. I will never say or think “cat calling” is appropriate and I never want my son to do it, because I find it disrespectful and a form of sexual harassment, but sadly,  I realize not all kids are raised thinking this is the case. When asking men about this topic, some even think it’s being polite and complimentary. This is something that is starting to be addressed more and more and hopefully future generations will understand that this is harassment, whether your intentions are good or not. I won’t hold my breath though. It also seemed harmless and very mild now to me after visiting India in April. (They take harassment towards women to a whole new level!)

thewanderlustyogi.netHampton Beach is cleaning up (literally)

The littering is still present, but has decreased dramatically. Something else that has been going on for the last few years is the build up of all new condominiums and storefronts. The town of Hampton has put vast amounts of money in updating and cleaning the area to make it a desirable family beach vacation spot.  Seeing the improvements to just the public bath houses was very impressive. They are now so clean with outside showers to rinse off and even have lockers.  If you saw the bathrooms when I was around 14, you would probably rather wet your pants then attempt to go inside. It wasn’t just gross, it was scary!

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Still some litter on Hampton Beach, but nothing compared to before

The ocean.

Is there really any reason to elaborate? The ocean is the ocean, whether you are in Thailand, Australia, Russia or  New Hampshire. It’s presence is like an elephant in the room. After all, it’s why we are there. It’s power makes you feel meek and small, but gives you the sense of peace all at once. If you are one who is drawn to the ocean then you understand its magnetic pull.  The sounds of the repetitiveness of its waves and the tides and its resilience, knowing the moon has its back. Being near the ocean can humble you and ground in a way that nothing else in this world can.

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“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea-whether its to sail or to watch it-we are going back from whence we came.” JFK

 

thewanderlustyogi.netNostalgia

Being back in Hampton Beach this past weekend evoked feelings of nostalgia.  I got to visit some of the old places that we would frequent as kids, like the Playland Arcade, and even played a few strings of  skee-ball and had a round at a hunting game that has probably been there since the 60’s.  thewanderlustyogi.netWe stopped in at Cinnamon Rainbows, Hampton’s first and only surf shop, started by Todd Walker in 1983 and since owned by Dave Cropper. (I may not be the best surfer, but I did get my SUP there and I am not too bad at it.)  Then, of coarse, there was no way I would miss  the chance to have Hampton Beach’s famous Blinks fried dough, and it was just as delicious as I remember.

thewanderlustyogi.netHampton Beach is getting a Face-lift

I also got to see some of the towns progress, with the building of new condominium and new stores, that will bring new families in to make their own special memories here. I didn’t stay in my great uncles beach house; he sold it years ago and since past, however,  I did stay at an updated condominium that used to be an old rundown hotel. It was very nice and I was so happy they gave it the attention it needed. Seeing all the changes makes me feel old in some ways, but I can only imagine what other changes will take place within the next 30 years. I am glad the place of my childhood memories is being taken care of for future generations.


 

I may have a love/ hate relationship with Hampton Beach New Hampshire, but this place will be forever engrained in my memories and a part of my life. No matter where I travel in this world,  I know, whenever I go back to that beach on the seacoast in New Hampshire, my home, in that part of the worlds’ ocean, I remember family, and that to me, is priceless.

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My daughter and I at Hampton Beach, NH 2015

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons to know you are from New Hampshire

by Monday, January 19, 2015

10 Reasons How to Know you are from New Hampshire

thewanderlustyogi.netYou can’t start your day without a Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Every New Hampshire resident  knows that Dunkin Donuts coffee is the only coffee you should drink. Any other name, just doesn’t cut it. This opinion is obvious while driving around the state, because you see a Dunkin Donuts at almost every corner, every gas station, and even inside our grocery stores. No matter where you live in this state, even the most rural parts, it is not hard to find a Dunkin Donut close by. It’s pure happiness when you can easily spot it’s orange and pink logo from a distance, while the slogan rings in your head, “it’s time to make the donuts”. It is also quite common to drink iced coffee all year round, even if its 25 degrees in the dead of winter. If you are seen drinking Starbucks, you may be considered snobby or too hoity- toity. Its pretty much frowned upon, so when in New Hampshire, drink Dunkin Donuts, or as we call it, “Dunks” to fit in.

thewanderlustyogi.net“Live Free or Die”  is not only our motto, but our way of life.

Being the only state in the country that doesn’t require wearing seat-belts, except for children, seems ridiculous, but is true. We also don’t require wearing a helmet while driving a motorcycle. “Riding a motorcycle without the wind running through your hair just isn’t the same”, is a common phase said and belief of NH motorcycle enthusiasts. Taking away that freedom to some would be blasphemous.  You can see the popularity of this every year for the last 91 years and running, at the world’s oldest motorcycle rally at Laconia’s Bike week, which starts every Father’s Day weekend. This year  hosting over 430,000 people from all over the country and world.


thewanderlustyogi.net“Leaf peeping” is an annual tradition.
When fall hits we know its that season again, to go for a ride to the White Mountains and admire the eye catching fall foliage that New Hampshire offers. The best time, when the leaves peak, is usually in October around Columbus Day.  This is not only popular to NH residents, but now people come from everywhere to get a glimpse of this picturesque natural beauty.

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Old Man on the Mountain, before and after


You were deeply saddened that the face of the Old Man on the mountain fell off on May 3rd, 2003.
The iconic symbol of New Hampshire, the Old Man on the Mountain, or also referred to as, “The Great Stone Face” was on the side of Cannon Mt. at Franconia Notch. This 40 foot-tall natural rock formation that resembled an old man’s face, could be viewed while driving on Interstate 93, about 65 miles north of Concord. It was once New Hampshire’s number 1 tourist attraction, and one on the most recognizable symbols of New Hampshire. The face appeared on the state quarter, our road signs and countless souvenirs and tourist brochures, but now just a memory.

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Christa McAuliffe

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Alan B. Shepard


You have been to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.
Opening in 1990, as a tribute to what was supposed to be the first teacher in space, Christa McAullife, a Concord, NH teacher died in 1985, in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. It was an honor for her and the entire state of New Hampshire for her to be chosen out of 11,000 applicants to take part in the NASA Teacher in Space Project. As a member of the mission she was planning to conduct experiments and teach 2 lessons from space. If you we old enough to remember that day, it was a very tragic day for America and even more so, for New Hampshire, and her family and friends who lost her. Also, its namesake was for another NH resident, Alan B. Shepard, who was the first American in space in 1961 from Derry, NH. The memory of him in Derry, who has since died in 1998, is still apparent by our post office being named after him, Derry’s nickname, being referred to as, “”Space-town” and the local high school, Pinkerton Academy where he was a graduate, mascot is called the “Astros”.

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meteorologist Al Kaprielian

You watch WMUR channel new 9 for local news, but if you want to hear “real news”, you turn to channel 4, 5 or 7 for Boston news channels.
This may sound a bit rude, but if you are a New Hampshire resident, you must admit this is the truth. We also can’t forget our most popular and wacky weatherman Al Kaprielian, a meteorologist, that reported the weather on WNDS channel 50 in Derry, NH for over 25 years. This quirky guy’s distinguishable, high-pitched Boston- accent, squealed out the weather forecast, while doing jumping-jacks, adding props, you name it, was strangely beloved by locals as well as many all over New England. His goofy ways and crazy antics were so popular, he had an almost cult-like following. You never knew what he was going to do, you just watched with curiosity and delight, wondering how he is allowed to do the things he did. I don’t think anyone even cared what the weather was that he was reporting. We just wanted to see what he was going to do next. Even www.funnyordie.com called him one of the craziest weathermen of all time, saying, “he looks like he was allowed to take hard drugs every night before work.”


thewanderlustyogi.netYou go to Lake Winnepesaukee every summer.
Or as New Hampshire folks call it, “ Lake Winnie”. It is he largest lake in New Hampshire and it draws people from all over. This popular summer vacation spot is also loved by many celebrities and was the name inspiration for the Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon’s daughter. He also proposed to his wife there at her family’s lake house. Lake Winnepesaukee was also influenced in films such as On Golden Pond, What about Bob?, and Grown Ups. Although even us locals don’t know how to spell it correctly, we do know how to enjoy lake Winnepesaukee and all of the Lakes region.

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Adam Sandler. Oh, and look, he loves Dunks too!

You know where Adam Sandler’s parents live.
Famous comedian Adam Sandler was from Manchester, NH and his parent still live in the same house his was raised in today. New Hampshire residents love sharing that funny man Sandler is from our state.


thewanderlustyogi.netHampton Beach is the beach you most frequent, but most embarrassed to admit.
Although Hampton Beach is the most popular beach to visit on the Atlantic ocean in New Hampshire, it is also looked at as the cheesiest, some would even call it kind of “white trashy”. While just north of it, with beaches like Rye and Jennes State, is considered more classy or more family oriented, Hampton is still the busiest and most visited in New Hampshire. Hampton Beach is known for it’s crowded beaches, loud strip with cars filled with rowdy teens making their rounds, blasting their tunes out their windows, and low-budget souvenir shops. It still has its charm though, with fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night in the summer and it’s Seafood Festival in September. Maybe because we all grew up going there on weekends or staying there for our 4th of July week vacation, we have a nostalgic feeling when we are there. It has, in more recent years, cleaned up a bit, by adding new condominiums, higher end shops and even a casino, with hopes to change it’s reputation and make it a more sophisticated beachside destination.


thewanderlustyogi.netManchester Airport was our best kept secret for travel instead of having to deal with Logan Airport in Boston.
We love how it is so easy to get in and out of our little airport, with cheap parking and easy access to highways, without having to deal with Boston traffic and expensive parking prices at Logan Airport. While it is still very convenient and easier than Logan, with added flights, including even some International flights, we are all secretly scared that it may become just as busy and aggravating as Logan someday, and are annoyed when Massachusetts residents use “our airport” They have their own.

Jessica Griffin

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