Country fairs are quite popular in New England, and one of the largest and best is the Fryeburg Fair in Maine. This was our first year attending, and it did not disappoint. The fair began in 1851 as a few local farmers got together to show off their produce and cattle. Now, more than 150 years later, the fair attracts hundreds of thousands of people, yet still retains that small country flavor.
Even though this Maine fair is sort of outside the geographic span of this site, I am including a post on it. Why? Because at Hale Middle School in Stow, students were asked to write the story of Legend of Sleepy Hollow but in a different setting with different characters. Having just gone to the fair, my sixth grade daughter Elena chose to write about the Legend of the Fryeburg Fair for her story.
You can find the story here: Legend of the Fryeburg Fair.
One of the key reasons for my family moving to Stow a decade ago was our longstanding tradition of coming here every year to go apple picking in autumn. I know we are lucky that we get to live in a place that holds so many good memories for us. We have been to all the orchards in Stow. Each is unique and we love them all. But when my grandparents got older we began to visit Carver Hill. Its smaller size made it easier to park and because the terrain is flat, it is easier to walk.
Our family tradition used to be that we left the North Shore around 10AM with all kinds of food packed. We first stopped at a Digital (DEC) building on Route 62 in Maynard to have lunch on the picnic tables. There was the traditional pasta with meat sauce, fresh Italian bread, fresh grated parmesan cheese, and wine and sodas. Then onto the orchards! After a day of fun, we drove back and stopped across from Emerson Hospital, where there were more picnic tables, and had "dinner." Dinner was rather eclectic. We had donuts from the famous Kane's Donuts in Saugus, peppers and eggs, and fresh cold cuts and rolls.
When we moved to Stow, we did not need to seek out picnic tables on private property anymore! We set up shop at our house. Yes, we have lost all my grandparents, but the tradition lives on.
One of the benefits of living in Stow is the amount of protected lands and open space we have. The town, through the Conservation Commission, owns and manages local garden plots along the scenic Tuttle Lane. The garden plots offer a chance to grow vegetables and flowers while meeting other gardeners to exchange ideas and share in the joys (and misery) of gardening. Part of the misery is the battle with choke weeds. Another is the issue of getting water from the two pitcher pumps to your garden. But, if you can deal with those, you will be rewarded!
The garden is plowed and harrowed yearly in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked and harrowed in the fall to allow for planting of cover crops. The approximate gardening season runs from April 1st through October 15th. For 2010, perennial plots are available for gardeners who want a longer growing season and want to grow crops like asparagus or strawberries.
For those interested in reading about how gardening can be a positive role in your life, you may want to check out the book Plant Seed, Pull Weed: Nurturing the Garden of Your Life by Geri Larkin.