There’s nothing more refreshing than a crunchy sour dill pickle at a summer cookout, and Maine Homestead Farm produces some of the best around. Owner Krista Gagne started making them in 2011 after her grandparents dropped off a paper bag full of cucumbers. That day, she made a batch of Bread and Butter Pickles, a crinkle cut cuke, tangy and satisfyingly sweet but not cloying. Family and friends loved them, and she soon had to quit her day job to keep up with demand.
Harbor Sweets has been making their specialty chocolates in Salem for 40 years. It’s always worth stopping by for a factory tour (complete with samples). While there are conveyor belts and moderate automation, most of the work in preparing these goodies is done by hand by a large team. For decades, they’ve made a handful of pieces, to perfection.
With its lakeside-lodge decor, crackling fireplaces, private beach, and walking-distance location to downtown Wolfeboro’s quaint shops, Wolfeboro Inn might just be the perfect Winnipesaukee escape. “You’re surrounded by Belknap Mountain, the tall trees, and Wolfeboro Bay in the distance,” says Lucy Van Cleve, director of sales and marketing at the inn. “It captures the essence of a New England escape.”
What’s more satisfying than a bowl of soup? Answering this comfort-food call is Dover-based The Soup Guy, which produces allnatural, gluten-free, mostly vegan soup and chili for local farmers’ markets and retail shops and cafes. The Soup Guy, or Chef-Owner Curtis Gould, packs his healthful creations with flavor. The popular beanand- veggie loaded Olé Molé Chili is spiked with organic Guatemalan cacao and darkroast Italian espresso, while the Smoked Mushroom and Corn Chowdah is thick with locally grown oyster mushrooms.
Kim Swan is an accidental hotelier. She is a real estate agent first, but she loves renovating and turning over inn properties – and sometimes holding on to them. Swan purchased The Danforth in 2009. The previous owners had converted the 1823 mansion into a B&B about 20 years before, and Swan updated the décor. “I do not call myself a designer, I’m not educated in design” Swan says. “But it’s an absolute passion of mine.” She reconfigured some of the rooms to add more common space, and updated the color scheme. Last year, all the bathrooms were renovated.
A smiling cherry atop a smiling cupcake on a wooden swing beckons on the sign above Random Acts of Sweetness bakery on State Street, and when you enter you can’t help smiling yourself. You’re greeted by cantaloupe walls complemented by exposed brick, a polished wood floor, and a display case filled with gorgeous cupcakes, all with whimsical names. Owners Tiana Conlon and Jessica Antequera, both wearing colorful vintage-style aprons, welcome customers enthusiastically.
York Harbor Inn has grown considerably since brothers Joseph and Garry Dominguez first opened it over three decades ago. “We hoped to take the original inn building, fix it up, create a really strong restaurant clientele, remodel the 12 guest rooms, and then possibly look to open another property somewhere,” says innkeeper Garry Dominguez. That other property turned out to be closer than anticipated – right next door. This enabled them to expand the number of rooms, and add a ballroom and a large parking lot.