Best of NH 2012 Odds and Ends

An insane burger challenge, a green-powered hotel, a four-legged baseball mascot and chocolate mice are just a few of the odds and ends we couldn't fit anywhere else.

Readers' Poll
*Editor's Picks

*Coffee Shop and Car Wash: Jake's Coffee and Car Wash in Lebanon lets you wash the Subaru and then grab a tasty latte and breakfast sandwich. Order through the drive-thru if you're in a rush, but we recommend going inside to chat with the friendly staff and gaze at Barista Max Mullen's fine chalkboard art.

*Dedicated DJ: Scorch, the afternoon radio guy for Rock 101, really has a thing for animals. So much, in fact, that for five years he has locked his five-foot-nine-inch self into a dog cage just big enough to hold a large Labrador for five days with just a 10-minute break each day for the call of nature. He performs the stunt in front of the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, rain or shine, to raise money and awareness for the Manchester Animal Shelter. His no-holds-barred approach to fundraising likely comes from his previous career as a professional wrestler – he's well acquainted with spectacle and pain as a way to get attention.

*Facebook Famous: Soon L.A. Burdick's Handmade Chocolates in Walpole may be inundated with requests from celebrities and bride- and grooms-to-be from all over the country thanks to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's wedding. He and his wife, Priscilla, chose Burdick's chocolate mice as their wedding favors. Apparently, the happy couple enjoyed a few of the cute confections on their first date and were so

Chocolate mice from Burdick's in Walpole

impressed they wanted to share them with their guests.

*Green Grand: Hotels are typically big resource guzzlers but that's no longer the case with Whitefield's eco-friendly Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa. The hotel was recently recognized as a Sustainable Business of the Year, received a Platinum Certification Status (the highest possible level) through the Green Business Bureau's Green Certification Program and the resort's Tower Spa was named among the Top Ten Green Spas in the US by Organic Spa Magazine. So what did they do to deserve all that? Two examples are the 121-foot wind turbine that provides 100 percent of the resort's electricity and their recycling program that recycles all canola oil used for frying French fries into diesel oil.

*Green Challenge: Lace up your walking shoes or tune up your bike and get ready to compete in Commute Green New Hampshire's statewide challenge. You can join individually or with a team – like co-workers, for instance – to log miles and compete with others for great prizes. There are a number of ways to commute with the environment in mind – by walking, running, biking, using public transportation, carpooling or even telecommuting. The challenge began in May and continues through December 31. The organization's goal is to save 4,000 trips by the end of the year.

*Insane Burger Challenge: Head to Burger Night (held each Thursday) at New Socials Bar and Grill in Claremont to test your stomach's limits with the Monster Burger Challenge. The challenge consists of four 8-ounce patties stacked up high with all the fixings plus a pound of fries on the side. If you manage to eat it all and beat the previous week's winner's time, you get to name the burger. Your name will stand until the next successful challenger beats your time. If you fail, be ready to shell out $32.

*Municipal Website: A recent research project led us to this accolade on top of the Town of Nelson's website. "Welcome to the Center of the Universe," it boasts – alongside an illustration of a black fly. (Are pesky bugs at the center of the universe? Besides, we thought Epping was the Center of the Universe, as the bumper stickers say.)

*Real-life Team Mascot: OK, technically all team mascots are "real," but Ollie the Bat Dog of the Fisher Cats in Manchester is an actual living and breathing dog. The happy golden retriever can be seen – running with a bat in his mouth – during each game's home-half of the first inning at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

*Retro Sign: We're not actually recommending that you stay at Manchester's home of the down-on-your-luck Cadillac Motel, but if you happen to be driving or walking by do take note of the retro sign out front. With its script font and a shiny chrome-like silver border all in the vague shape of the Cadillac logo, they really don't make 'em like this any more. As far as we know it has and always will read "Rooms for a Night or a Lifetime."

*Trail Keepers: Everyone loves to hit the trails, but few know how much they rely on the people who fix New Hampshire's hiking trails. There are the Appalachian Mountain Club crews or "croos," of course, but there are also other clubs, from the Friends of the Wapack to the Randolph Mountain Club. Two notables are Hal and Peggy Graham of Trailwrights who are full of knowledge, skills and a love of the work that has them out maintaining trails through black-fly season onward.

*Wine and Scandal: After "Peyton Place" author Grace Metalious got an advance from her publisher, she bought a lovely country home on nine acres in her adopted hometown of Gilmanton – much to the chagrin of her neighbors, who would have preferred she move away after drawing so much negative attention to their little community. Well, now more than 50 years later, the property has been bought and refurbished – and it houses a wonderful winery, fabulous restaurant and an alpaca farm. The Gilmanton Winery regularly holds wine tasting, Sunday brunches, Friday night dinner and private parties. Call ahead for availability.

Categories: Best of NH Winners