By Lianna Lee
The Northern Forest is full of amazing, finely crafted gifts and experiences that can delight everyone on your list this holiday season. We’ve compiled a list of gifts that we would be just as excited to receive as we are to give this year.
Center staff frequently travel throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York to create bold possibilities that give rise to vibrant communities and enduring opportunities through regional programs. Between meetings and visits, we get to know the products, trails, and wonderful people who bring passion and vitality to our Northern Forest economy.
If you’ve already wrapped all your gifts or celebrate other times of year, tuck this list away for some fun inspiration. We’ve got a lot of suggestions, so I’ve divided the gift guide into four categories: kitchenware, food and drink, beautiful lodging, and outdoor adventures—and added a few bonus suggestions at the end.
High Quality Kitchenware:
For the person in your life who enjoys hosting dinner parties, we’ve got a treasure trove of quality kitchenware made here in the Northern Forest. Give a set of old-fashioned, but modern salt and pepper mills from Fletchers’ Mill in New Vineyard, Maine. If you’re looking for something unexpectedly fun, Staff Accountant Laurel Will enjoys giving the lighthouse mills to her friends and family. The Center was delighted to help Maine Wood Concepts increase its internal capacity and successfully incorporate the Fletcher Mill line of gourmet kitchen products.
- Upgrade someone’s boring salad bowl to an heirloom quality bowl that is handmade in Webster, New Hampshire by NH Bowl and Board
- J.K. Adams, based in Dorset, Vermont is a one-stop shop for cutting and carving boards, rolling pins, and dining accessories made from local wood. The Center helped the J. K. Adams team implement lean principles throughout their workflow.
Food and Drink:
What to get the person who claims they don’t want anything? Yummy food and drinks to make it through winter! Our first stop is the White Mountain town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, to visit the Root Seller — a locavore marketplace, indoor farmers market and natural food store. The Root Seller will be expanding and relocating next year to the Parker J. Noyes building, which the Center is renovating on Main Street.
- We all have a friend or family member who enjoys their maple syrup with a side of pancakes. Center President Rob Riley likes visiting Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville, Vermont to stock up on grades A and B for his family. Depending upon where you're located, click the following links to find a maple producer near you in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, or New York.
- Northwoods Gourmet Girl in Greenville, Maine, offers “gourmet sauces, dips and jellies that make great stocking stuffers,” said Senior Program Director Mike Wilson. In exciting news, the Center just helped Gourmet Girl open a full destination retail shop in downtown Greenville!
- Celebrate good company and locally sourced food at the Deer’s Head Inn tavern in Elizabethtown, New York. Their mission is to promote regional foods with a changing seasonal menu.
- Project Manager Leslie Karasin suggests giving sustainably harvested chaga tea known for its medicinal qualities. She recommends purchasing from Birch Boys Chaga, which a local resident opened at age 17. Birch Boys is one of several bright spots in Tupper Lake, New York.
Relax and recharge at Instagram-worthy getaways in Maine’s North Woods and New Hampshire’s North Country. Ailish Keating, the Center’s Katahdin program manager recommends traveling to Millinocket, Maine to enjoy the New England Outdoor Center’s fabulous hospitality, food, and easy access to Baxter State Park. NEOC also offers many outdoor recreation opportunities including ice fishing, snowshoeing, and XC skiing in winter. The Center is helping Katahdin Area Trails develop a long-term strategy for mountain bike trails at NEOC and elsewhere in the Katahdin region.
Hub North located in Gorham, NH, is a very fun getaway where you can stay in a cozy lodge, yurt, or fancy tent. Program Director Maura Adams said, “The owners are integral to NH North Country's outdoor recreation renaissance — mountain biking and glade skiing — and Jason runs the Coos Cycling Club. The Hub is a new type of lodging in the area and appeals to a different type of traveler.”
“Why give just a gift when you can give an unforgettable experience?” said Operations Director Carrie French. Winter is a magical time to play outside in the Northern Forest. Carrie suggests heading to Newry, Maine, for a guided dog sled or snowshoe trip with the highly respected Mahoosuc Guide Service. A Maine Woods Discovery endorsed provider, Mahoosuc Guide Service led the 16-day canoe trip to celebrate the 150th Thoreau-Wabanaki Anniversary tour that the Center organized in 2015.
- Adrenaline junkies might love to scale a frozen waterfall during an ice climbing lesson in North Conway, NH, with the International Mountain Climbing School.
- Visit Gorham, NH, to XC ski or snowshoe at Great Glen Trails where you can enjoy 45 km of trails and awesome views of Mount Washington on a clear day.
- Give a membership to the places that maintain the trails your friends and family love. If you enjoy mountain biking, a year-round membership to Kingdom Trails Association contributes directly to trail maintenance of the extensive network centered in East Burke, Vermont. The Center is proud to work with Kingdom Trails in the Mountain Bike Collaborative.
- Tickets to the Wild Center are an excellent gift for kids and grandkids, especially if you visit in the summer when the Wild Walk is open, according to Vice President Joe Short. The Wild Center is a year-round destination and economic anchor for Tupper Lake, New York.
- For the paddlers in your life, especially if they dread long portages, an ultralight Hornbeck Canoe is the ideal gift. I recommend one of Hornbeck’s custom fitted solo or tandem canoes if you’re looking for a gift that will last a lifetime. This Adirondack business has been around for more than 40 years in Olmstedville, NY.
- XC ski on the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s 105 km of trails in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and pretend you’re an Olympian. Six athletes who trained with the Outdoor Center attended the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Looking for a gift that pulls children away from their screens? Maple Landmark in Middlebury, Vermont, makes the famous "Name Trains," building blocks, puzzles, lots of other wooden toys, ornaments, gifts for bird lovers, classic games and more. “These are the kinds of toys that engage kids' imaginations and will last for generations,” said Communications Director Kelly Short. For 40 years, owner Mike Rainville has produced high-quality toys that consistently win awards for design and safety. The Center was excited to help Maple Landmark implement new technology to simplify their “Name Trains” workflow.
The Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY) Folkstore based in Canton rounds out this gift list. Over 200 regional artisans sell their baskets, quilts, wood products, jewelry and more in the Folkstore, so there is something for almost everyone. TAUNY celebrates the diversity of living traditions inherited from the past, maintained in the present, and passed on to the future.
If you’re still in need of inspiration and are prepared to dive into another list, we encourage you to check out the Northern Forest Wood Furniture, Décor and Gifts article we compiled in last year. Thank you for Living the New Forest Future and supporting local businesses that contribute directly to our vibrant Northern Forest economy. Wishing one and all a Happy Holiday season!