For my upcoming birthday, Sue took me out Thursday 06/13/19 to a play and then dinner in Meredith, NH.
Sue and I toasting to both my upcoming birthday, but what would have also been my brother Alan's 89th birthday.
Knowing my love for the wonderful 1981 movie, On Golden Pond, staring Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, Sue had bought tickets for the 1979 Ernest Thompson play that was adapted for the movie. The play was being held at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith, NH. It's really a terrific campus and facility.
When we got there, Sue took a picture of the marvelous stage set. Even Thompson had said that, in all of his world travels and experiences, this set was one of the best he had ever seen.
The set for On Golden Pond at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse.
The following picture shows the view from the actual movie. I had actually used this picture back in 2017 when we had first moved to New Durham as a template as to how I'd like my book cases in the library to someday look.
The scene in the movie On Golden Pond that was used as the template for my library bookcase project.
And in June of 2019 I had those bookcases custom built and installed in the library. They came out just super.
My rendition of the On Golden Pond scene used as the bookcase template for my library.
This was particularly special play event that Sue had got tickets for because Thompson, who won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, played the part of Norman! Holy shit! It just couldn't have gotten any better than that for me! I usually don't get "excited" about much, but I got excited about this!
On Golden Pond first hit Broadway in 1979, and was an immediate success. Though Thompson is a highly accomplished actor, this would be his first performance as Norman in the play. Interestingly, Thompson lives in New Hampton, New Hampshire, close to Squamm Lake where the movie was filmed.
"I'm putting a lot of clues on stage for people who are true On Golden Pond aficionados," said Thompson. In addition, there are drawings of the original Broadway set, a watercolor Henry Ford made while shooting the film adaptation, and rugs, books and pictures used in past performances. "I have great pride that I wrote something that seems to be withstanding the test of time. It continues to move people," he said. And in his portrayal of Norman, he said that he wanted to bring a new understanding of Norman as a man suffering from a disability that society now more readily identifies – Alzheimer's. "I've had a lot of theories about the old man. This is the time to put them to the test."
The play was everything that I could have wanted to experience. Just a really lovely time, and so great to have been able to share it with Sue. Back to reality, however, as we all emptied out of the playhouse into a downpour after the play. It had been threatening rain all morning, and had spit some on the way up. But it was really coming down as we scrambled to the car.
For dinner, I had suggested that we try Lago, an Italian restaurant that's part of the Common Man family of restaurants. What a great experience we had. Because we got there around 4:30, and they didn't open the dining room until 5:00, the hostess suggested that we go into the bar. The decor is beautiful everywhere, very comfortable and strongly Italian in motif.
Sue said she was in the mood for some red wine, and scanning their extensive wine list I spotted a Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Priced at $36 with wholesale around $15, I thought it was very reasonably priced. We both like Josh Cellars wines, but have never had their Cabernet. It turned out to be a spectacular selection.
I'm all set now!
Actually, I'm also making a more important toast here. I'm celebrating my brother Alan, who would have been 89 today. Sadly, Alan passed away 04/14/19. Though sad, I still celebrate him, and the wonderful life he led. I had so hoped during his illness that he and I would be able to celebrate our birthdays together one more time.
And then Sue and I together toast to not only Alan, but to my upcoming birthday:
Just us having a great time!
Sue was getting hungry, and so we agreed on getting the Skillet Mussels, billed as: "PEI mussels steamed with garlic, spinach, teardrop tomatoes, horseradish, and spicy Italian sausage served with grilled ciabatta wedges." for $12. Holy crap were those good! But messy! So messy, that when the hostess came over to see how we were doing, I had to comment that they'd need the haz-mat team to clean up after us; there was sauce and shells all over the table.
We had eaten every last one, and were just mopping up as much of the sauce as we could with the ciabatta wedges when we got moved into the main dining room. Sue had asked that we be seated along the windows overlooking the lake, and it turned out to be a great spot.
I am really all set here!
The fog was just beginning to roll across the lake toward us when Sue spotted these ducks and snapped a shot of them.
The menu had such interesting selections that we both struggled to make our choices. I decided on trying the Bolognese Northern Italian meat sauce tossed with fresh pappardelle for $19, which was the best Bolognese that I think I've ever had.
But Sue's selection was simply incredible: Olive Pork, Pan-roasted and olive-stuffed pork tenderloin, heirloom carrots, spinach-studded baba ghanoush (never heard of but it's a mashed, and cooked eggplant mixed with tahini, olive oil and various seasonings), chorizo vinaigrette, and olive beetroot tapenade for $25. I absolutely-positively-must come back here and have that dish. It was nothing like anything I've ever had before, and it was, as I said: just simply incredible!
And to top off the meal, we had a very small flute of the house made Limoncello; the absolute best Limoncello that we've ever had. Amazing, and a wonderful dining experience all around. I even wrote a Yelp! review for it (as well as one for the Winnipesaukee Playhouse).
Though still drizzling chilly rain droplets as we walked across the parking lot, the fog had continued to march across the lake, and hung across everything. Sue caught the following picture of it over the mountains on the back road home.
Fog blanketing the mountains in the distance.
We took the back way home a little differently than we had come up to Meredith because of the congestion along Route 11 and Route 3 along the west shoreline of Lake Winnipesaukee. Even though it was raining, this was the final weekend of Bike Week in Laconia. Literally thousands of motorcycles flood into the area from Concord over to the Lakes Region.
The trip back along the east shore of the lake is an hour and a quarter, but you can easily get jammed up anywhere from way before Weirs Beach through Gilford for literally hours. A few years ago, that's exactly what happened to us coming out of Meredith during Bike Week, so we had no desire to deal with that.