The Oysterville Sewing Circle…and a socially distant NH getaway

What would you do with six hours of time just to yourself? That’s a no-brainer for me. Read and drink tea.

We took a quick two-night trip to New Hampshire last weekend. Tom had a wedding to shoot on Saturday, which left me with six or seven hours of alone time in our Airbnb condo, and no responsibilities. I thought briefly about checking in to my work email, but quickly dismissed that idea.

Aside from a quick walk to the nearby plaza for gelato, I spent most of the afternoon and evening sitting on our balcony reading. I’d brought along the Zen tea as a companion to the book I was reading: “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” I have to say, I didn’t love that one, and after a chapter, I put it aside in favor of “The Oysterville Sewing Circle” by Susan Wiggs.

After her fashion career hits disaster, Caroline inherits her friend’s two small children, and retreats from New York City to her hometown in Washington. Caroline builds a new life with the help of her family and friends, old and new.

Underlying everything is the shadow of her friend’s abuse and subsequent death. Caroline, in an attempt to understand and to help the kids, reaches out to other survivors of domestic abuse and the Oysterville Sewing Circle is born.

There is a lot about women supporting each other in this book, and that is something I have been fortunate to have in my life. Coming from a large family of pretty strong women, I have never felt like I couldn’t ask for help if I needed it. (Although not asking for help is a bit of a family trait.) It was nice to see Caroline both accepting support and giving it to the women in her family and community.

Overall rating for this book: 3 stars (out of 5)

Reason for reading: I’ve been a fan of Susan Wiggs for quite a while, and have read several of her books

This copy came from: my sister Erin, who is one of the major feeders of my book addiction. We swap books often.

Favorite line: “Ice cream is not as good as a shot is bad.” (I loathe needles and totally agreed with 6-year-old Flick.)

Tea: Tazo Zen Tea – perfect for an afternoon of solitude and calm.

The rest of our trip to New Hampshire was mostly focused on beer and food. Lunch at Schilling Beer Company in Littleton was our first time dining out since March. We sat outside and I had a Berlinerweisse with raspberry syrup. It went perfectly with the soft pretzel and poutine we shared for lunch. It may have been the best poutine I’ve ever eaten, but how can you go wrong with french fries drowning in brown gravy and chunks of Cabot cheese?

After checking in to our Airbnb, we hit up Aloto Gelato for coffees and took a sight seeing ride down the Kancamagus Highway, followed by dinner at the Woodstock Inn and a night of beers on the balcony. Despite warnings of bear sightings in the area, I am sad to say, we didn’t see any this trip.

Saturday brought a mellow morning with White Mountain Bagels for breakfast and a walk along the Pemigewasset River before Tom headed off to the wedding and I settled in for my afternoon of solitude.

It’s a little odd to be looking for solitude while we have all been quarantining for so many months. But as an introvert, I need my alone time to turn off my brain, not talk to anyone, and recharge my mental batteries.

Our attempts to hike on Sunday morning were thwarted by the weather, so we changed up our plans and made a lunch reservation at Stoneface Brewing Co in Newington. I was happy to just sit outside, drink a beer, and eat a burger and fries. Their Farmhouse Noir was my favorite beer of our trip.

One other highlight of our trip – we hit the NH Liquor & Wine Outlet to stock up on Cabot Trail Maple Cream Liquor. You can’t get it in RI, so a trip north always means stocking up on some maple cream, both for us and for the rest of the family. They only had 4 bottles (which I bought), and when I asked if they had more, the clerk’s response was “More? Is it that good?”

Yes. It’s that good. It’s nice on it’s own over a little ice, and it’s even better in coffee.

A quick trip, after so many months of being home, was exactly what we needed. And yet, we were happy to be back in our own space at the end of the weekend. We’re stocked up on beer and maple cream and I’ve gotten the motivation to restart this blog. So it was definitely a worthwhile trip.

Stay tuned for future book and tea reviews…

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