Fun Facts about Loons

April 22, 2012


Here are some fun facts about our beloved Loons that grace  Squam Lake in New Hampshire during the summer months and allow us into their world for a short time.

  • Loons      were thought to mate for life. However, banding loons to allow the      identification of individuals has shown that loons will sometimes switch      mates after a failed nesting attempt, sometimes even in the same breeding      season. Courtship and mating are a quiet time, with the pair swimming and      making short dives together. Eventually, the male leads the female to a      suitable spot on land to mate. Nest building then begins on Squam Lake in      the Lakes Region of New Hampshire
  • Loons      have busy lives. They spend a good portion of their day preening to keep      their feathers looking good. They squeeze oil from a gland at the base of      their tail onto their bill and draw their feathers through their bill. The      oiled feathers provide a degree of waterproofing and ensure a loon’s      buoyancy. The remainder of their day is spent caring for their young,      resting and hunting/eating
  • Loons      are generally solitary birds. However, they will sometimes gather for      short periods in small groups of up to 20 birds in late summer and fall.
  • Loons      can live for 30 years or more
  • Because      their bodies are heavy relative to their wing size, loons need a 100- to      600-foot “runway” in order to take off from a lake
  • The      common loon has four calls. The tremolo, which sounds a bit like maniacal      laughter, is an aggressive call. The wail is a long, drawn-out sound. The      hoot, a shorter call, is used to communicate among parents and young. The      yodel is sounded by male loons guarding their territory.
  • Unlike      most birds, the loon has solid bones which give it more weight and reduce      its buoyancy, making it easier to dive under the water.
  • Named      for their clumsy, awkward appearance when walking on land


Come and enjoy a tour of Squam lake in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and experience the Loons world.  The Manor On Golden Pond can make those reservations for you to take a step back in time to a more peaceful setting.


“On Golden Pond” Returns Home

June 3, 2011

In the sleepy hamlet of Holderness, New Hampshire exists an assembly of inspiring
activities for travelers of all ages seeking the peace and solitude of the
lakes and mountains but wanting to explore the local opportunities for culture
and amusement as well.

Escaping from whatever civilization, the splendor of Squam Lake and the White Mountains,
the starry night skies, the haunting cry of the loons, and the possibility of
spotting the elusive moose are among the more ‘wild’ experiences that can be
encountered in and around Holderness. But there are also civilized prospects
for entertainment in town as well. In addition to fine dining
offered at The Manor on Golden Pond with a 4-diamond restaurant and touring the
Squam Lakes Science Center to get up close to native
flora and fauna, there is theater. The Little Church Theater
located right in the small town of Holderness.

The Little Church Theater started out as a small Catholic Chapel at the turn of the
century owned by the Manchester Diocese called the Sacred Heart Chapel. As a
chapel, it was an active participant in the local community with many
participants arriving to its docks on Squam Lake by ferry.

Today the little building stands, still with its pews, hosting a schedule of creative
theater endeavors. This summer season kicks off with a play very familiar to
many of the local residents but also having international fame. The production
of On Golden Pond begins on June 21 and will be directed by Ernest Thompson who wrote the
original screenplay of the movie On Golden Pond so loved the world
over.  With much of the original movie,starring Henry and Jane Fonda and Katherine Hepburn shot locally, this is as
much a homecoming for the director as the audience.

On Golden Pond will run for two weeks following its June 21 opening and then close the eighth performance season for
The Little Church Theater with two more weeks the last of August. A wonderful
storyline in an intimate setting located at the foot of the White Mountains in
a little chapel. What cultural event could be more inspiring?



New England Barley and Hops make for some unique craft beers

May 7, 2011


With a stimulating wine cellar recognized by Wine Spectator, award winning menus and a gracious relaxed setting the Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness, NH rewards even the savviest of travelers. But there is also a surprise for those looking for something a bit off the beaten path, their English-inspired Three Cocks Pub. A small intimate pub with a bar featuring a real copper surface, a baby grand piano in the corner and poultry inspired art of all forms displayed throughout, the Three Cocks Pub is a unique setting featuring a selection of micro brews and dessert and beer pairings.

Craft beer offerings, from New England include Allagash Curieux from Portland, Maine and Hennepin from the Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, New York. Curieux is a tripel-style ale aged in former bourbon barrels for 8 weeks. During the aging process, the beer is transformed, acquiring soft coconut and vanilla characteristics and a hint of bourbon flavor. Pair this with a dessert of Cherry-Chocolate Financier created by the Chef Peter and you have a potent beer that supports the bittersweet chocolate of the Financier.

For a draft pairing, try the chef’s Old Time Grape-Nut Flan with Smuttynose Star Island Single, a medium bodied, golden ale featuring a modest residual sweetness from honey malt and hints of citrus and tropical fruits. Old Time Grape-Nut Flan is a oft-forgotten New England Classic featuring toasted malt cereal suspended in rich vanilla custard – a perfect dessert for pairing with this Smuttynose favorite.

Or try the Manor’s Hazelnut-Mocha Crème Brûlée a rich chocolate and coffee custard with a hint of hazelnuts and a crunchy caramel crust. Served with sweet whipped cream, cocoa dusted nuts and a Nutella-shortbread sandwich. Pair this creamy dessert with Smuttynose Old Brown Dog on draft and the deep, dark flavors of coffee and chocolate underscore the roasted malts of Smuttynose’s smooth-drinking brown ale.

 The next time you want to try something a little different, small and intimate but with local character, visit the Three Cocks Pub at the Manor on Golden Pond  And try pairing your craft beer with a dessert created by the Chef Peter to be as memorable as your visit. Located at the corner of Shepard Hill and Route 3 overlooking Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire.

Loons – Our favorite bird

April 20, 2011


 One of the most exciting ambassadors to the summer season in the Lakes Region is the return of the loons to their summer waters. Just as soon as the ice is gone from the lakes, this majestic bird flies in from its winter residence, the open ocean water, to grace the lakes with the beauty of their silhouettes at sunset and their haunting calls of the wild.

Situated just on a hill across the road from Squam Lake, our guests are always fascinated with hearing the loons. And for some travelers, especially our international visitors, it is a unique experience they savor as one of their favorite memories staying at the Manor on Golden Pond. Sitting in one of our adirondack chairs on the front lawn in the late afternoon or early evening is bliss listening to the loons as they define their boundaries or call to each other good night. It’s a ritual even local residents treasure as much as the mountains and fresh air.

The loons are as much a part of the essence of Squam Lake as the water itself and summer wouldn’t seem the same without these amazing birds

These large diving birds incubate their eggs in nests very close to the water beginning in May until about the first of July. Chicks are able to swim right after hatching but spend a lot of time ‘riding’ on the parent’s backs to keep warm and avoid predators such as snapping turtles and seagulls.

They are built for swimming and diving but become quite clumsy on land with legs placed far back for optimum water maneuvering but a terrible strategy for getting around on terra firma. 

Loons spend their days resting in the water and diving for minnows, perch and other little fish so important to their diet. They need a great distance to take off from a lake ‘running’ on the surface into the wind. And at night, they will seek deep water to float over far from shore and the perils of ambush.

Each year we watch for these magnificent birds as we watch the ice disappear on Squam Lake and wait for the explosion of spring and summer we know is stirring not long after their arrival.

Mothers Day celebrates the Lady of the family

April 7, 2011

April showers bring May flowers and so the adage goes. May conjures up green grass, blooming flowers, bushes and trees and the heralding of late spring and early summer. It is also the month we observe Mother’s Day, a celebration recognizing mothers and childbirth dating back to ancient times and rituals.

 In ancient Greece, revelers worshipped Cybele, mother of Greek gods with festivals. Ancient Romans had the festival called Matronalia, celebrating Juno the goddess of childbirth. In Europe, there were specific Sundays honoring motherhood and Catholicism accepted the 4th Sunday during Lent to recognize and praise the Virgin Mary and the mother church or main church in the area.

 Mother’s Day has more modern connections but those celebrations during ancient times set the premise that, “mothers, whether earthly, mythological, heavenly or otherwise, should be celebrated. Julia Ward Howe organized a day in 1872 for mother’s dedicated to peace. She did this 12 years after penning The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Her hope by bringing mothers together was to be able to lesson the brutality of the Civil War by mothers pleading with mothers as sons were killing sons. 

In 1907, Ann Jarvis, a schoolteacher began to organize a mother’s day in memory of her own mother and honor peace. The first recognition of such a holiday in the states was a church service honoring Anna’s mother and celebrated in two communities, at Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia and another church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. White carnations were used to celebrate the memories of deceased mothers and pink and red carnations were worn or carried by those present.

 In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May officially a U.S. holiday, Mother’s Day, honoring all mothers.

Happy Birthday to You

March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you,  ….

Everyone knows this popular song that is sung to celebrate a person’s birthday. But did you know that this song was written by sisters Patti Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893?   Patti was a kindergarten teacher in Kentucky and she and her sister Mildred, a pianist and composer, composed the song, “Good Morning to All”   which she sang to her class every morning.

Apparently the sisters enjoyed their song so much they started to sing it at birthday parties and would change the words to “Happy Birthday to you” plus added a couple extra notes to the melody so  the melody would fit the words of the song.

Since the sisters never had the song copyrighted — it was finally copyrighted in 1935 by the Summy Company which had the publishing rights to the song book that the sisters wrote which included this popular song.  The copyright for “Happy Birthday” will expire in the year 2030.  Consequently royalties have to be paid if the song is song in any public event, movie, film or on the radio.  The royalties can be upwards of $5000 per day to use this song in a public establishment.  Ouch!! that would sure hurt to have to pay that.

At the Manor On Golden Pond we won’t be singing Happy Birthday but we surely will treat our birthday guest with subtle but elegant treats and surprises.  The surprises are just that and we don’t want to ruin the surprise by telling you.  So you will have to come and experience a Manor birthday to find out.  Just expect to be treated royalty as any birthday boy or girl should be treated.

What about not telling them where they are going and make the whole stay a surprise for the guest.  We are good at keeping secrets.  Once you drive up the driveway the smile on their face will make your day.  

The cake is in the oven so let us know when you are coming!!!

The Liquid Gold of New Hampshire

March 19, 2011

Have you ever experienced going to a sugarhouse to see how maple syrup is made?  What about a Maple Moments Spa Treatment – a botanical mud wrap infused with pure New Hampshire Maple Syrup?  Maple syrup, known as the liquid gold of New England, is delicious staple found in every New England home.

The art of making Maple Syrup is a labor of love.  Sap is tapped from the various types of maple trees and then it is boiled down.  The boiling process must be carefully done without using any chemical agents or preservatives.   This process entails boiling around 5.3 – 13 gallons of raw sap over an open fire in a building called sugarhouses or sugar shacks until one liter of syrup is obtained.

At the Manor On Golden Pond  you will always find culinary creations using New Hampshire Maple Syrup on our breakfast menus in such delectable dishes as  Maple-Walnut French Toast or our Apple & Pomegranate Pancakes.  My favorite is our Cinnamon- Raisin Oatmeal with Maple Syrup drizzled over the top.

One of The Manor On Golden Pond’s Seasons Spa’s signature spa treatments is the Maple Moments Mud Wrap.  This is a botanical mud wrap infused with pure New Hampshire maple syrup.  This warm, lavishly scented treatment is rich in natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes, the unique botanical mud rejuvenates and detoxifies your skin while deeply relaxing your soul.

March is Maple Madness Month in New Hampshire.  It is an opportunity for you to enjoy some hands-on experience of how this old-fashioned New England tradition is produced.  The sap will be flowing, the syrup will be boiling and the aroma will be mouth-watering.  Many local sugar shacks in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire are offering open houses on weekends. One of them, Prescott Farm in Laconia, opens its door to the public every Saturday and allows you to try your hand at making some of your own liquid gold.  And don’t forget to take a bottle of maple syrup home to enjoy the rest of the year.

Ice Out

March 3, 2011

There are many rituals to spring in the White Mountains and lakes regions of New Hampshire. Aside from the melting snow, running sap, longer days of sunlight, warming spring zephyrs budding out the limbs and branches of bushes and trees, and the hope of more temperate temperatures there is a long-standing tradition that signals the official, or unofficial, end of winter. A ritual well known in areas of ponds and lakes and bodies of water whose surfaces lay frozen solid all winter long, the custom of predicting ‘ice out’ the legitimate day and time the water becomes passable by watercraft.  

In our area, records for ice out on Squam Lake here in Holderness and Lake Winnipesaukee just down the road, are kept officially and unofficially. Statistics for Lake Winnipesaukee date back to 1887 when the ice out for that year came rather late on May 7, actually one of the latest documented. On the Lake Winnipesaukee website you can check the dates of ice out for every year since 1887. Official ice out is declared when the Mount Washington Cruise Ship is able to safely navigate in open water between Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Weirs Beach, Meredith and Wolfeboro. Squam Lake stats show ice out for last year on March 23, one day before Lake Winnipesaukee’s noted date. Squam Lake records from Riveredge Marina have been kept back to 1978, which had its latest ice out during that recorded time period of May 3rd.  

Last year’s was the earliest recorded ice out for Lake Winnipesaukee on March 24 at 2pm to be exact. And if memory serves me, it was a glorious and welcome spring. A true prelude to the anticipation of summer. We’ll just have to make our wagers for this year’s event, and hope we guess right!

Dreaming of Spring

February 24, 2011

 We’ve mustered through snowstorm after snowstorm, cold temperatures and now the consecutive days of a cold wind that just won’t stop. Winter in New England! We keep busy to pass the shorter days of sunlight, enjoy an abundance of  outdoor New Hampshire winter activities to stay healthy and active, embrace the long New England winter nights cooking soups and stews and an assortment of delectable meals that cook slowly over long hours, well…. because we have the time to cook and eat. But coming to the end of February, we start to wistfully look out the windows at the foothills of the White Mountains to a beautiful bright blue sky and sunny day with the ground covered in multiple feet of snow and know somewhere out there is a garden waiting to explode!

This is the time of year we start to pull out our gardening books and magazines, play with designing yet another plot in this patch or that, think about pulling and moving plants just as soon as we can and really wanting to stick our hands in some soil. The patience we develop during New England’s winter creates a pent up urgency to get out and play in the dirt and so we enthusiastically race into the riot of spring with ideas and thoughts and plans about what to accomplish in the next 7 months or so.

And to cheer us along are the most inspiring of events, the spring Garden Shows! They offer an opportunity to smell the earth, touch the grass, and purchase seeds to support our constrained aspirations of gardening. One of the largest is the Boston Flower Show.  Organized by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society,, the theme of this year’s show is ‘A Burst of Color: Celebrating the Container Garden,’ and runs March 16 through March 20 at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center.  

 A little closer to The Manor On Golden Pond is the 16th Annual Seacoast Home and Garden Show at the Whittemore Arena on the campus of University of New Hampshire on March 26 and March 27.  This spring’s Flower Show is full of inspirational ideas for the home and garden.  New Hampshire’s Flower Show is putting a special emphasis on updating and remodeling in today’s new eco-friendly world, all designed to help consumers make informed decisions about their homes and gardens.

Even earlier than the Boston show is the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show, taking place at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence February 24 through February 27. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Gardening with Heart’ in partnership with the American Heart Association.

And to keep us occupied on another weekend, the 2011 Portland Flower Show in Maine runs from March 10 through the 13th and inspires with ‘The Enchanted Earth’ at the Portland Company Complex.

And when it’s finally almost safe to garden outside, the fairgrounds in Fryeburg, Maine are home to the Northern New England Home, Garden and Flower Show,  on May 13th through the 15th.

Visit one of these New England gardening events or any other you have the opportunity to meander through and your senses will be rewarded. It will be the boost your spirit needs to take pleasure in the last weeks of winter!

Reconnect to nature while snowshoeing in New Hampshire

February 3, 2011

 You can’t live in New Hampshire, or the Northeast for that matter, and not find someway to embrace the winter season. If you are not able to fathom a way to enjoy the outdoors during this seemingly, at times, endless succession of day after day of cold temperatures and sometimes biting winds and snow, you will struggle to see any chance for spring, never mind have a vision for summer. But out of the darkness…light! If you look outside on a beautiful sunny winter day and notice just how blue the sky can be and how the light twinkles and reflects in the snow, you can begin to see amazing images only visible in winter. And then if you step outside (properly layered of course) and feel the tingle of cold air on your face, then you can really know how truly alive your senses can be this time of the year. The trick is to find a way to stay active and look forward to being able to participate in the season by enjoying an entirely different kind of view.

 I’ve always enjoyed hiking. Living so near the mountains and lakes I’ve gotten spoiled with easy access to the great outdoors, the scenery, and the natural visions you encounter along the way. And I have been able to continue my need for fresh air, exercise and beautiful scenery in the winter by settling into a pair of snowshoes and traveling along some of the very same paths I use the rest of the year.

Snowshoeing is one of the oldest known methods of transportation. It is a sport that is also easy to accomplish. Probably the biggest learning curve is actually putting on the snowshoes. Other than purchasing the snowshoes themselves there is also minimal costs associated with the sport. In addition, you have the added benefit of moderate aerobic exercise depending on the amount of energy you want to expend. I don’t know too many folks that don’t want to maintain or improve their cardiovascular fitness even just a little. Snowshoeing can accommodate a variety of fitness levels and can be enjoyed for a half hour walk or an all day adventure if you carry a backpack with water and lunch! It’s that simple and easy and a great way to get out and enjoy the peaceful serenity and quiet of the forest in winter. Watching and listening for birds, identifying the animal tracks in the snow and taking in scenery you would completely miss sitting inside all day.

 Some of my favorite hikes are close by. I’m sure others reading this would have even more suggestions for favorites and we’d love to hear about those places as well!

 For some easy and accessible snowshoe hikes warranting just a short drive I’ll offer a handful that I have fun on. If you want a bit of a more vertical snowshoe challenge with the payoff of brilliant views, head up West Rattlesnake via the ‘Old Bridle Path’ off of Route 113 in Holderness. At just under a mile one way to the 1260-foot summit, you’ll enjoy a nice workout and have some of the most incredible lake and mountain views in the Lakes Region.

 The Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest is another popular trail system with a different viewpoint for nature. The Squam Lakes Association manages this beautiful forest consisting of an approximate 3.5-mile trail network, which crosses a wetlands boardwalk and proceeds eventually down to the shore of Squam Lake. A more gentle type of terrain, this snowshoe hike is quite popular and easy to access just off College Road on Route 3 between Meredith and Holderness.

 The Hamlin Recreation and Conservation Area in Meredith is approximately a 159-acre tract of forest and views offering possibilities for much longer snowshoe hikes if you choose to meander the various trails options. There are basically 3 trail choices with lengths varying from 1.6 miles to 5.5 miles with a diversity of terrain changes and offering some beautiful mountain and lake views and overlooks along the way. This conservation area, managed by the Meredith Conservation Commission is located off Chemung Road accessed by Meredith Center Road. 

 And lastly, I offer the Waukewan Highlands Trails, an interpretive trail system managed by the Town of Meredith in cooperation with the Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Partnership and the Winnipesaukee Watershed Corps. This beautiful natural area is a combination of open fields, forests, a pond and brief boardwalks to navigate wetlands areas (frozen in the winter). Parking is located off Route 106 as you head from Meredith to Laconia. There are 3 trail options or you can combine them all for a total of approximately a 2.7-mile tour.

 Remember to look, listen and enjoy while you’re out in the forest snowshoeing as winter has its own secrets to reveal. And if you have other great ideas for a snowshoe expedition we’d love to hear about it!