Last month I had the honor of being a Visiting Artisan at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.
Nestled into the rugged cliffs of Dixville Notch in the very north of the state, the Balsams is one of the old Grand Dames of the White Mountains. Originally opening its doors just after the Civil War, The Balsams is known around the country as being the place where the first voting in the nation takes place each primary and general election.
Don’t get me wrong. I am as politically minded as the next person, and I was intrigued to inspect the photos of various political dignitaries inside the Balsams’ Ballot Room. But the political prestige of the hotel was the furthest thing from my mind once I arrived.
With several thousand acres of wilderness surrounding the resort, the Balsams is an active person’s dream: hiking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, kayaking and golfing are all available just outside your door.
And yet, despite these perks, I must admit that it was the food! the glorious food! that made my residency at the Balsams a week to remember.
At the Balsams, dining becomes an activity in itself. Thanks to the students of The Culinary Apprenticeship Center at the Balsams, the food is delicious, abundant and beautiful to behold. Featuring a full buffet for breakfast and lunch, along with a 5-course dinner, each and every day, I am surprised I was able to bike at all… but somehow I managed.
And what did I do to earn my keep during my stay? I set up my hats and demonstrated for guests how I make them by hand. Basically just make hats and chat, two things I love to do anyway.
So, thank you, Balsams Grand Resort Hotel… If ever there was a heaven for starving artists, surely this is the place!