The Gift of Love and New Hampshire's White Mountains




Featured Shop - Laura Guptill's Mountain Wedding Bands, Center Conway.What's more than 4,000 feet high and fits in a little box under the Christmas tree? The answer is Laura Guptill's Mountain Wedding Bands. The Center Conway artist and goldsmith found that it's not unusual for couples to fall in love under the spell of New Hampshire's White Mountains and that they love wedding rings that remind them of that.Your Mountain Wedding Bands, custom-designed, handmade and one-of-a-kind are growing in popularity - what makes them so sought out? I live in Conway and I am always struck by the beauty of the mountains. Many people come up here to get married because the area is so beautiful, so I started to think that perhaps there was a way to take a piece of the scenery and make it last.How do you create the bands? I ask couples to bring a picture of the scene or skyline they adore and I can re-create their favorite view. I made a ring for someone who had inherited their mother's old farmhouse, and the view of the mountains from the kitchen window held special meaning for her, so that was the skyline image we used for the ring.What are some of the mountains that have been popular? I've done the Acadia Mountains in Maine, Adirondack Mountains, Presidential Mountain Range and the White Mountains, Mount Chocorua and a southwestern skyline with mesas. For a Boston couple who were sailing out to the harbor after their reception I did a sailboat with the sun setting behind their favorite mountain range.When you do free consultations with couples, what do you advise? I recommend that they keep it simple but personal. I want the ring to be classic and not too trendy, so that they will be happy with it for a long time.North Woods DécorFiddleheads, A Great North Woods Shoppe, 110 Main St., Colebrook, is halfway between the Equator and the North Pole and clearly where discriminating Santas shop. Spectacular balsam fir pillows, packed with summer memories, will delight just about anyone on your list. For bikers, skiers and fishermen, tiny metal sculptures made of nuts and bolts are unique and thoughtful. Handcrafted ceramic wall clocks with loons, moose, dragon flies and more create a special touch in kitchen décor ($54.95). Hand-carved wooden decoys (numbered and signed by artisan Monty Montplaisir) make a stunning addition to any well-appointed home ($150 and up).Visit www.fiddleheadsusa.com or call (603) 237-9302.Design InspirationRagamuffins Design, 2053 Main St., Bethlehem, is where shoppers come in from the cold to linger, imagine and buy. An eclectic mix of quality Oriental rugs, antiques, depression glass and more. Owner Barbara Thompson is a League of N.H. Craftsmen juried potter so expect a good selection of quality and functional pieces, including her signature moose and The Old Man of the Mountain tiles. A thoughtful collection of antique, vintage and shabby chic furniture including dressers could be just the right item to make your home pop with flare. Stocking stuffers include the Derin collection of bags and belts, locally made jewelry, apparel, scarves, hats, mittens and more, including a line of breathtaking pin cushions. Visit www.flyingcarpetdesigns.com or call (603) 869-3387.Buy LocalLocal Works, 2011 Main St., Bethlehem, is a marketplace featuring the high-quality work of more than 200 members of the Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN). Products include jewelry, fiber, paper products, art and more, including locally made plump red apple candles from Waxcense that make perfect teacher gifts. For foodies look for Zelda's pickles and jams, gluten-free products and New Hampshire blended teas. The mosaic art from Dish Diva (birdhouses, mirrors and dreamscape story jars) is unique and affordable. For giggles pick up a couple of jars of "Bad Ass Biker Butt Cream" by Garden Dreams in Eaton. Open seven days a week. Note to self: Bring your holiday cards with you and drop by the post office to have them postmarked "Bethlehem."Visit www.wrencommunity.org or call (603) 869-3100.

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