Winter Magic in Candia and Raymond
A previously uncharted area of NH reveals two places you shouldn't miss
I couldn’t be more excited to recount my Candia/Raymond adventure for you. Does that sound crazy? It sure sounded crazy to me when I first selected this previously uncharted quadrant of NH for my column. But I truly had the most magical time while researching this piece — and that’s mainly because of Charmingfare Farm.
But first you must understand that most of the content for the magazine is submitted about two months prior to your reading it. So that means when I went on this adventure, it was (still) a very snowy February — and conducive to one of the prized activities at Charmingfare: a romantic sleigh ride. Since Aleksandr Petrovsky whisked Carrie Bradshaw through Central Park on a horse-drawn sleigh during the sixth season of “Sex & The City,” I have been dreaming of having the same small-screen moment. And although our sleigh was mule-drawn — who knew they got so big? — it lived up to the hype in my head.
My boyfriend and I checked in at the adorable little gift shop building at Charmingfare and milled about while waiting for our sleigh to pull up. And when it did, it was right out of a postcard. Initially we debated about what time we should book our departure but finally settled on a late afternoon ride so we could grab dinner after. This was a wise choice as it was still light out as our chauffeur glided us along the trail, cheerfully pointing out animals and scenery. The vistas were the epitome of NH winter — the pretty, non-shoveling part. It was so quiet and serene, save for the jingling bells on the sleigh, and we cuddled up in blankets and drank the champagne we had brought.
We were dropped off at a fire pit and offered hot dogs and marshmallows to roast while the sleigh did a rotation. We drank hot chocolate and made s’mores and chatted about how we couldn’t believe this was our life until the sleigh dropped off another couple and picked us up again.
Did you worry that the hot dogs and s’mores would fill us up? I didn’t! After the sleigh, we drove 10 minutes up Rte. 27 to the Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery, winner of Best New Restaurant in the 2013 NH Magazine Readers’ Poll. We found two seats at the bar and I proceeded to order the most unrecognizable plate of meatloaf I have ever seen. It was also the most delicious. But since the Tuckaway has its own attached butcher shop, I was expecting greatness. My boyfriend, of course, ordered a salad. And like most restaurants do, they attempted to give me the salad and him the meatloaf. But I cannot be shamed, give me my ginormous meatloaf!
We had such a good time hanging out at the Tuckaway, which has a bit of a ski lodge feel, that we stayed until the evening hours when the band set up. And let me tell you, those locals know how to get down. If you like people watching and hearty food, this is the place for you.