Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year friends! I have missed you while I was away from the blogging world these last couple of weeks. Though we were very busy, we had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's,  and Christmas Eve was especially enjoyable this year. Every year I prepare a buffet of appetizers and finger foods and my signature Black Forest Torte on Christmas Eve. I am usually so busy in the kitchen that I don't get to visit with everyone. This year there were ten of us. Somehow, everything fell together perfectly, timing-wise and I was able to sit in the living room, chat and eat with everyone else. My three daughters and son-in-law were all home and had arrived a couple of hours prior to our other guests. My parents were there! We had a ball! It just might go down as one of the best Christmas Eves ever!

Christmas morning was relaxed and casual. We opened gifts and then I prepared a big, breakfast brunch. We had Egg Bake Casserole, French Toast Casserole, bacon and sausage, tomato skewers with basil leaves and mozzarella (drizzled with balsamic vinegar), steamed asparagus etc. Of course we finished with an array of pies, leftover torte, and Christmas cookies. It was wonderful as it should be!

parking lot of Ice Castles--you can see the outside of Castle in the background

In case you are wondering what that magnificent pile of ice is at the top of my post.... well, we took a day trip yesterday to Ice Castles, NH in Lincoln just to get out of town and enjoy the outside. It was a bit chilly when we left but since Lincoln is about 2 hrs North towards the White Mountains, it was even colder there. We arrived at noon and found out that the castle did not open until 3pm. So we stopped at the Woodstock Inn and had an amazing lunch. We enjoyed it so much that we will be making it a point to go back. The menu was extensive and the food was delicious!

It isn't terribly impressive from the outside but once you head in, the ice structures are quite beautiful, especially against the winter sky.

It was my daughter's idea to return to the Ice Castle this year. This is the entrance....we were extremely careful walking in because on our last trip to this castle my husband took a fall at this very spot in kind of a big way. Luckily he was not hurt! It is a bit difficult to walk in since it is all chopped but chunky pieces of ice. They chop it so that it is not as slippery but it is actually quite deep.

Due to some warm temperatures, the castle experienced some melting. But it was still so pretty. Many people were so intent on taking photos that we were bumping in to each other.

This fountain was in the do they keep it from freezing!

I was fascinated by the icicles hanging down. I overheard comments of other visitors wondering if they ever fell down. I was wondering the same thing. Some of the icicles were huge but very beautiful!.... almost like a frozen waterfall.

The music is always very dramatic. At night the castle is lit and the lights flash in time with the music. I have not been there after dark but I have seen video footage on their Facebook page and it is quite spectacular! If you'd like to see photos of the lit Castle, here is the LINK to the Facebook page.

We were not inside all that long--maybe about a half an hour. We were beginning to mind the cold. Two years ago we went on a fairly mild day and it was much more enjoyable. Part of the problem this time was that we got in line at 3:00 which was the opening time but due to some repairs they needed to make because of melting, we stood in line for about 20 to 30 minutes and we were already chilled to the bone before we went in. I would have appreciated a staff member coming out to tell us what the hold up was. I would have waited in a warm car. But we had a good time despite the cold. I hope to go next year during the evening to see the light show. We're thinking of making it a weekend trip as there is lots to do and see in the area.

Hope you enjoyed your little tour. We did! My daughter has another week off for winter break before she finishes her last semester of her senior year of college. We hope to do another day trip before she leaves. It has been so nice having her home. Once she heads back to school later next week, I will be back blogging on a regular schedule. I am looking forward to catching up on all that I have missed over the past couple weeks.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2017! Take care friends!