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Holiday shopping and Thanksgiving dinner at the Cozy Tea Cart Cafe

Holiday shopping and Thanksgiving dinner at the Cozy Tea Cart Cafe

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It was wonderful for me to work at the Cozy Tea Cart Cafe while we were in Brookline for the week: the commute, the tea, the macaroons, the views.  It got even better when I realized that our last few days in the area corresponded with NH Open Doors, which happened to be taking place at The Cozy Tea Cart!

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NH Open Doors is a statewide shopping and touring event that, this year, took place on November 2nd and 3rd.  It’s all about enjoying the natural beauty of New Hampshire while shopping for items made in the state and sampling food from local restaurants and vendors.   The Cozy Tea Cart Cafe was one of this year’s participants.

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Along with a sample Thanksgiving dinner, the event at The Cozy Tea Cart included a meet-n-greet with New Hampshire artist Melanie Chouinard from The Silver Branch.  Melanie is a polymer clay fantasy sculptor, and her works are both breathtaking and adorable.   The tiny, sleeping babies adorned with faery wings are magical.  Her mushroom villages, with stone paths leading over the moss to petite front doors, are nestled in a variety of delicate teacups.  I bought a large one for just $32.   (I’m hoping a little museum putty will hold it tight as we motor down the road.)

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In addition to Melanie’s pieces, the store at The Cozy Tea Cart offered plenty of gift options for tea lovers: Victorian and Japanese-style tea sets, tea towels and cozies, magazines, notecards, dessert plates, loose-leaf tea, lemon curd and oat biscuits to create the perfect tea party, and more.  There was no excuse for leaving empty-handed!

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All that shopping and art appreciation builds an appetite.  The free Thanksgiving sampling dinner and tea pairing took care of it.

  • Our Sister’s Nuts provided the appetizer.
  • Chestnut soup was paired with Almond Snowflake Tea.  (I used it as gravy over my turkey. Delish!)
  • Herb-roasted turkey was paired with Ceylon Breakfast Tea.
  • Chilled pineapple cranberry relish was paired with Ginger Pear Spice Tea.  (That was the tea I drank when I was working.  Yummy!)
  • Brown butter and sage sweet potato ravioli was paired with Fireside Green Apple Tea. (Love the idea of serving ravioli at Thanksgiving!)
  • Roasted garlic mashed potatoes were paired with Iron Buddha Oolong.
  • Glazed maple vanilla carrots were paired with Hot Apple Cider Tea.
  • Dessert was gluten-free gingerbread with maple buttercream frosting paired with Vanilla Indulgence Herbal Rooibos.

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Candy Roux of Our Sister’s Nuts setting up her treats for NH Open Doors

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Amana Colonies RV Park (Amana, Iowa)

Amana Colonies RV Park (Amana, Iowa)

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Our home during the iRV2 2013 National Rally was the Amana Colonies RV Park.  The campground sits on 60 acres near the scenic Lily Lake and Kolonieweg Recreation Trail.    There are 136 full hook-up sites, 278 water & electric sites, and 48 dry & tent camping sites with optional 20-amp electricity. Three buildings are available for meetings and events, totaling over 20,000 square feet of rental space, which made it a great location for the rally.

  • As you can tell from this aerial shot, taken with Mike’s quadcopter,  the sites are fairly level, gravel pull-throughs with grass on both sides.  Picnic tables are situated on most of the sites.
  • The park offers electrical, water, and sewer hook-ups as well as tent camping.  You have your choice of 20-, 30- or 50-amp electricity.
  • Pets are welcome.  There’s no designated pet area, so you’re free to walk your bark babies wherever you’d like as long as you clean up after them.
  • Dumpsters are placed at various intersections throughout the park, providing plenty of places to dispose of your trash.
  • The free wi-fi was pretty good, especially considering how many campers there were during the week of the event.
  • There’s a laundromat and a dump station, and liquid propane is available.
  • With the Old Creamery Theatre adjacent to the park, you can easily walk over to see a play.
  • Because most of the roads are gravel, some people felt it was dusty.  We found that if we drove the speed limit, dust was not an issue.

The campground hosts were very friendly.  We had several packages delivered while were there, and they brought one batch of boxes right to our rig.  Great service!

In addition to seeing a play, there’s plenty of stuff to do while you’re staying there: a walking tour, dining out, a bike ride. It’d be fun to come back for one of the craft shows, music festivals, and pet events that they regularly hold there.