Visit Grandma’s Cottage For Lunch, Gardening and Reading

Img 5356The model for Elizabeth Orton Jones’ illustrations in the 1948 Golden Books version of “Little Red Riding Hood” can be found down a winding dirt road in the woods of Mason at Pickity Place. More than just a restaurant, the grounds are particularly lovely in the spring and summer, and gardeners will enjoy exploring, visiting and shopping the beautiful greenhouses. Many of the herbs grown onsite find their way into the dishes and drinks that served at each of the daily three seating options.

Sadly, a recent blizzard tore down half of the iconic, gnarled white ash tree that once sprawled across the front lawn. Rather than cutting it down completely, Pickity Place owners Keith and Kim Grimes left standing a large portion of the trunk, which is undergoing a transformation into a gorgeous Little Free Library.

The transformation and details: The Pickity Place library, being imagined and designed by Laurel Hill Studio, will house an original copy of “Little Red Riding Hood” and feature an engraved, arched cabinet with double doors and shelves inserted into the original tree stump. Carved across the top of the cabinet are the words ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme’ with representations of each herb engraved along both sides of the cabinet. Across the bottom of the cabinet are a few bunches of lavender, basil and three roses to symbolize love and the three words, “I love you.” Incorporated into the central structure of the double doors are two semi-transparent butterfly wings. The doors also have some flowers and an engraved tribute to Jones through the use of her wallpaper border design from the Little Red Riding Hood illustrations.

On top of the hexagonal, slate-stained cedar shingle roof sits a small cupola topped with a stained glass Monarch butterfly. The tree trunk also has some custom floral carvings, a heart and a family of Barred owls who are known for their call that sounds akin to “Who cooks for you?” At the rear of the tree is the Wolf Hollow where a large branch once grew. The outline of Wolf Hollow is in the shape of a wolf’s head and will soon frame a stained glass panel scene depicting the Pickity Place cottage, the original White Ash Tree in all of its glory, a Lupine, the ‘wolf flower’, daisies to represent the innocence of Little Red Riding Hood, and an orange Iris for courage and bravery.

Transformation details courtesy of Laurel Hill Studio

About The Little Free Library: The Little Free Library is a public, nonprofit book exchange program that provides information and resources to help people build their own book-sharing boxes. Chances are there’s one near you! By searching the online map or downloading the new mobile app, you can hunt for Little Free Libraries in your community and beyond. If you’re feeling ambitious, why not undertake a family summer project and build one yourself? LFL offers both kits and inspiration for more elaborate builds at

Know before you go: The Pickity Place menu changes each month and they serve three private seatings each day (11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.). The dining room is open seven days a week and reservations are strongly advised. Reservations can be made by calling (603) 878-1151; online and e-mail reservations are not currently accepted.

Even more photos of progress and transformation can be found here.

Categories: Book Reviews, Family-friendly things to do