Lakes Region Halloween Haunt is a Real Scare

For countless ages, folks have sat around campfires telling tales of horror and fright, often leaving listeners with chills that last long after the stories are finished.  Many are drawn to dark legends and rumors of strange occurrences, and as the living world transitions into another realm in autumn, October is the perfect time to remember the past—and things that once were or may have been.  At Gunstock Mountain, there is a place for brave souls to gather and mingle with mysterious tales come back to life.

Morbid Mountain is the name Gunstock Mountain takes on in October, when it celebrates its annual Halloween Screamfest.  Every weekend throughout the month, visitors find themselves meandering through different haunted zones, each with their own scary back-stories.  This year, Morbid Mountain features The Morgue, The Forest of Fear, and Blackout.

The Morgue is an outdoor maze built on the spot where, rumor has it, the infamous Mountain Morgue once stood.  The rural, hidden location was perfect for the dead to return to life and take control of the morgue.  Now, zombies linger in the maze.  Visitors beware.

In the Forest of Fear, unexplained things are happening.  This usually bucolic spot in the Gunstock Mountain Resort campground has had some strange reports of odd activity.  Uncanny sounds, missing campers, and torn tents have left the security team baffled.  Bears and raccoons have been ruled out.  What is going on there?  See if you can find your way through this eerie—and shadowy—place.

Scariest of all is Blackout, an indoor maze in the resort’s Lodge.  According to an old wives’ tale, a mysterious group once used the attic to perform weird experiments on people, preferring to use all kinds of strange electrical equipment.  Now as Halloween approaches, some inexplicable stuff has been happening in the lodge, causing power surges and blackouts.  Can guests here make it through without encountering a twisted spirit from the dark days?

This is the last weekend that Morbid Mountain will allow visitors past its gates.  For more information and to read the full legends, go to www.MorbidMountain.com, and be prepared to be scared!

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team

Image courtesy of Morbid Mountain

Nationally Renowned Musicians Grace Meredith Venue

Peter Mulvey will be at The Grotto Wednesday, October 26

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the Dinner Concert Series at The Grotto and attend one of the distinctive concerts there, you’ve been missing out on an opportunity to see some amazing musical talent in a unique and intimate setting.  But fear not—the concert series is just getting warmed up, and this local eatery has some more great national acts scheduled to play.

This past March, The Grotto opened its doors in Meredith, NH, and is already becoming a well-respected venue thanks to its lineup of distinctive national touring artists, as well as local musical talent.  The Grotto is a new concert space and dining room at Giuseppe’s Pizzeria & Ristoranté, located at The Mill Falls Marketplace, an old linen mill that was tastefully converted into shops and restaurants in 1984.  Giuseppe’s has been a favorite live music spot for over 20 years, and the addition of The Grotto is an extension of Giuseppe’s commitment to bring quality live music to visitors and residents of the Lakes Region.

This coming Wednesday, October 26th, The Grotto will welcome folk artist Peter Mulvey with special guest Carsie Blanton.  Says The Boston Globe about Peter, “Gleefully mercurial…equal parts breezy jazz and whispery folk.  His voice feels like fine old leather, and his guitar sounds like it’s on steroids…a superb technician with a fondness for ignoring the rules…a genre-defying traditionalist — a knuckleballer with finger-picks.”

“The concert series so far is a huge success!” says Julie Gnerre-Bourgeois, owner of Giuseppe’s.  The Grotto’s first two dinner concerts, performed by highly acclaimed artists David Francey and Willy Porter respectively, were sold out.  David Francey’s first concert here went so well, he is planning to perform at The Grotto again next March!

For each concert, pre-show dinner reservations begin at 6:30pm, and the show starts at 8:00pm.  Tickets are $20.00 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.  For more information, call Giuseppe’s at 603-279-3313.

Carrie Reed
Mill Falls Blogging Team

Photo courtesy of Giuseppe’s Pizzeria & Ristoranté

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Celebrates Accreditation

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH recently announced that they have been granted accreditation by the independent Accreditation Commission of The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is celebrating by offering a $5-off discount coupon on trail admission everyday throughout the month of October.

After a thorough review that included a detailed accreditation application, as well as a multiple day on-site inspection by a team of experts from around the country, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center received its second accreditation from AZA.  The Science Center has shown that it continues to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety.  AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

The Science Center first applied for and received AZA accreditation in 2006, and is currently the only AZA-accredited institution in northern New England.  “By meeting high Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Standards, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has demonstrated its leadership among zoos and aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy.  “Only the best of the best rise to this level, and we congratulate the professionals at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center for their hard work.”

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition for the Science Center’s hard work and devotion to the highest possible standards in the industry,” said Iain MacLeod, Executive Director of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.  “In celebration of receiving accreditation and to acknowledge the thousands of visitors who have made the Science Center such a vibrant and successful institution over the last 40-plus years, I’m pleased to announce that we are offering a $5 discount coupon on trail admission for the entire month of October.”

Autumn is a beautiful season for going for a nature walk, and there is still plenty of time to take advantage of this great offer, which is good for two people on any day this month.  Visitors can find the special downloadable October coupon at the Science Center’s website at www.nhnature.org.  For more information, call the Center at 603-968-7194.

Carrie Reed
Mill Falls Blogging Team

photo courtesy of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

Columbus Day Weekend – The High Point of Autumn in NH

Visitors to the Lakes Region of NH are in for a treat this weekend, as the weather is predicted to be warm and sunny, and the fall foliage is starting to display its brilliant, changing colors.  It’s the perfect time for a drive to the White Mountains or around Lake Winnipesaukee!

“This year’s fall foliage show is a little different, in that its splash has been steady, rather than an explosion of color we’ve seen in other years,” says Jayne O’Connor, president of White Mountains Attractions.  ”What this means for visitors is that there will be a long patchwork of yellows, oranges and, of course, the bright reds that are the signature of the season.”

The high point of fall in NH has long been Columbus Day Weekend, when peak colors often coincide with the three-day holiday.  For many local businesses and attractions, the foliage combined with the nice weather should provide a boost in this year’s tourist season, which weathered a few challenges over the summer.

“For many of our attractions, the summer of 2011 was on track to be above what it was in 2010,” O’Connor says.  ”July and August were very strong, but that momentum was sidetracked when tropical storm Irene paid a visit.   It took us a couple weeks to repair roads and replace bridges, but everything is open and we are back on track welcoming visitors for the foliage season.”

Travelers can find the best colors by taking the scenic routes.  “Fun itineraries for visitors include following the color along what used to be called ‘shun-pikes,’ like Route 153 through Madison, Route 112 through Kinsman Notch, or Route 117 over Sugar Hill,” says O’Connor.  A good resource is also New England Times online foliage tracker, which has been updated recently to show changing to peak colors throughout the state right now.

Visitors to the Lakes Region of NH can also enjoy the Sandwich Fair while on their foliage excursion.  This annual tradition has taken place for over a century, and is one of the biggest fairs in New England.  With dozens of 4-H exhibits, food contests, tractor shows, and even a poetry reading, Sandwich Fair truly has something for everyone.  All the fun is listed on the fair’s website here.

Wherever you decide to wander this weekend, you are sure to experience the quintessential, picture-perfect New England fall.  Don’t forget to share your stories and photos with us!

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team

Image credit: Glass_House at Flickr.com