My trips back to New Hampshire always seem to disappear in a time warp. Last week, upon arriving in Manchester, the skies were overcast and I drove through spot showers on the way to Newport. I believe there were even a few stray snowflakes. Yes, sometimes winter lingers into May in the Granite State.
Once in my hometown, I had to stop for the essentials. At Coronis Market, I purchased two ham and cheese grinders that I've been eating since I was a young child. They still taste the same. I also purchased a six pack of one of my favorite beers that I can't get in Florida. The Shed Brewery Mountain Ale is a brown ale from Vermont and is only regionally distributed. To cap off my order, I grabbed a whoopie pie. Again, this is a delicious dessert that I don't find on every corner in Florida, like I can when in New Hampshire. As you can tell, my diet went out the window in less than two hours after my plane landed.
I was going to make a few social stops on this Tuesday afternoon, but after a 2:30am alarm to catch a flight out of Tampa, I was fading fast. I was off to Claremont where I would lodge at my mother's house for the duration of my trip.
For a couple of days, I stopped in to visit with family and friends, and at more of my favorite eateries like Ramunto's in Claremont, and the Country Kitchen and Salt hill Pub in Newport. There's nothing extraordinary about any of these restaurants aside from consistency and a service that you'd expect from small town venues where you'll always bump into someone you know.
The next two days were the reason for the trip, writing workshops at the Richards Free Library and readings with fellow writers of the Newport Natives Writers Group. Attendance for the workshops was wonderful. Attendees included several students from area schools. The creative minds of the youth of Newport is promising. Our group of writers all presented workshops that prompted writing on the spot. The interaction to discuss the works created during the workshops lead to positive feedback and exceptional discussions regarding all aspects of the writing and publishing world.
This was the first reading that I had done outside of small writing groups. We had in attendance for the evening readings at the Library Art Center many local residents, former teachers, and family. Readings were given by Matthew Guenette, a poet, Derek Catsam, a writer of non-fiction, Christine Almstrom, a writer of children's stories and an illustrator, and Susan Cunningham, a fantasy writer. Or, to break it down in small town terms - two classmates, a new friend, and family. The team at the library were exceptional hosts. As a group of writers, we couldn't be happier to finish our visit with an abundance of positive feedback from all those that attended.
I'm always thankful for the time I get to spend in my hometown. My relocation to Florida was nothing against The Sunshine Town, but more a need for the heat of The Sunshine State. As I write this blog entry, the temperature outside is 96 degrees. Most of my Northern friends would curse that it's too hot. For me, it's just right. And, it's always just right when I go home. I sometimes need to add a few layers to get it just right.
Robert Stanhope started creative writing during his Junior year of high school. In his twenties, he became a motorsports journalist and was published in a number of local, regional, and national trade publications. Now in his early 40s, Bob has returned to creatively writing, including embarking on his first novel, The Last Lie.