Blog :: 03-2015

Discover the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra

Steve and Carol Bush are proud to have been supporters of the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra (LRSO), a  nonprofit organization that they helped fund through Maxwell Real Estate’s “We Care Program.” Based in Meredith, New Hampshire, the LRSO is comprised of a blend of amateur and semi-professional musicians from 30 towns around the Lakes Region and beyond. Musicians of all ages and abilities come together to create this stellar regional performing company.
           
Not only does the LRSO provide a wonderful opportunity for musicians to perform, it is also a vehicle for sharing all types of music with community audiences.  In fact, increasing the exposure to, and appreciation of, a range of compositions is part of its mission. Concerts are held fall through spring, including a very popular Holiday Pops Concert, as well as a Youth Concert and Youth Concerto Competition.
           
Introducing young people to music, and encouraging their musical development, is another important role for the LRSO. For six years now, they have offered a concerto competition and scholarship program for young performing artists. The competition allows these blossoming classical musicians to rehearse and perform with a symphony orchestra. The competition is open to high school students in grades 8 through 11 who play an orchestra instrument, including piano. Students select and record a fast concerto movement from the standard orchestral repertoire and submit this, along with an application, for consideration. Live auditions are then held, and the winning soloists are featured in concert with the LRSO. The top three finishers also receive scholarship funds.
           
If you are in the Lakes Region this spring, be sure to get tickets to the LRSO’s spring pops concert on May 16th; it will feature “Music from the Movies” and showcase popular works by Marvin Hamlisch, John Williams, Irving Berlin, and many more.

It's Maple Sugaring Time in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire

The snow may still lay deep here in the Lakes Region, but the maple sap is flowing, and the time for “sugaring off” has begun. For the next six weeks, the “sugar men” will work night and day to harvest “liquid gold” from the trees. To Steve and Carol, and all who live in northern New England, this is one of the true signs of spring.
 
In the old days, maple sugar farmers headed to the woods with teams of horses, and the sap was collected in buckets. With thousands of trees being tapped, this was back-breaking work.
         
Today, most large-scale sugar maple farms are networked into pipelines, with each tree’s taps connected into one overall system. Farmers then use a vacuum method to collect the sap. This process doesn’t pull the sap from the trees, but rather changes the pressure within the pipeline so that the sap flows more freely, even under colder conditions. From the pipelines, the sap goes through a reverse osmosis system, which streamlines the separation process. The reverse osmosis machine forces the sap, under pressure, through a series of membranes, which separate the water from the sugar--about 60 gallons of water are taken out at this time. From there, roughly eight gallons of sugar concentrate goes into the evaporator, where it is boiled down to make about one gallon of syrup.
 
Every night during the season, sugar houses are in full swing, working against the clock to boil down as much sap as possible and make room for the next batch flowing in. Most houses boil for about four to five hours every night--and this is after the farmers have spent a full day in the field. On average, it takes 40 gallons of sap for every gallon of syrup--a lot of labor for that one yield of sweetness.
 
While many farms now use oil-fired evaporators, a wood-fired one is still the tradition, and still found at a number of New Hampshire farms. Using a wood-fired evaporator takes a lot of wood, but keeps another aspect of the state’s “sugar season” heritage alive.
 
If you have not experienced it, Steve and Carol invite you to come to New Hampshire for Maple Sugar weekend, held this year on March 28th and 29th. During this weekend, sugar houses all over the state will be open. Visitors can see how the sugaring off is done, enjoy fresh maple syrup and other maple products (think cotton candy, soft serve and much more), savor farmer’s breakfasts, and at some farms, experience horse-drawn trips into the woods.  The “sweet season” is just another reason why we love to call the Lakes Region home.   

Technology Tools Boost Real Estate Sales

21st Century Tools for Your HomeTechnology has changed everyone's lives in many ways, including how we do business. The real estate field is no exception. At Maxfield Real Estate, Steve and Carol Bush take advantage of all the technological tools at their disposal to make sure your property gets the attention it deserves.
 
Did you know that nearly 90 percent of people looking to buy real estate search online for properties? Steve and Carol's comprehensive strategy lists properties on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube; websites such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing; and industry sites such as LuxuryRealEstate.com, NHLiving.com, Realtor.com, Homes.com, and HomesandLand.com. By saturating these online locations, they automatically put your home in front of millions of people. A possible sale is just a click away!
 
Steve and Carol also find the Internet is the perfect place to showcase your home visually, and in terms of the amount of information that can be presented. Their agency has two user-friendly websites,  LakesRegionHomesInfo.com and NHLakesLuxuryHomes.com, and both are packed with details. These sites contain timely buyer information, all of their property listings, and offer advanced tools to aid in client searches. Steve and Carol also invite clients to use their interactive map to search by geographic area--they know the perfect home is waiting for you in the Lakes Region! Their dedicated mobile phone site allows you to view their mobile website from your iPhone, smart phone or tablet if you are on the road, or on the lake.
 
Clients who are unable to visit the Lakes Region in person can still enjoy a complete showing of properties that interest them. Steve and Carol create a customized virtual tour for every listing. This tour is viewable on their website and their You Tube channel. Simply visit www.youtube.com or search LakesRegionHomesInfo.com on YouTube.
 
Thanks to today's technology, buying--or selling--a home has never been easier!

A Winter Wonderland in Wolfeboro New Hampshire

Yes, the calendar may say “March,” and spring is officially just a few weeks away, but here in the Lakes Region, with our abundant snow, winter is still here. This winter brought record snowfalls, and if you enjoy outdoor activities, there is no better place to enjoy them than here in Wolfeboro and Tuftonboro.
Miles of cross-country ski trails take you through the woods and around the lakes and ponds. Snowshoers also find plenty of acreage to explore and both activities are a great way to get the family outdoors and exercising in the clean, fresh air. 
          
Wildlife is everywhere, and it is not unusual to see deer, snowshoe hares or even a fox. Look for tracks in the snow that reveal other woodland residents such as mice, squirrels and bobcats. Songbirds have not yet returned, but a flash of red or vivid blue means that cardinals and blue jays are about, as well as flocks of chickadees, sparrows, titmice and other birds. Wheeling about in the dazzling blue of a winter sky are hawks and even an eagle may be sighted.
 
Cold temperatures have kept lakes and ponds safe for skating and ice fishing, and everyone is heading to local hills for old-fashioned sledding and tobogganing. It’s great to be a kid--or kid at heart--in winter!
Downhill skiers enjoy Abenaki Ski Area, our own ski slope right in the heart of Wolfeboro (see February 26th blog), which draws families from far and near for both daytime and nighttime fun.
 
Steve and Carol think March is the perfect month to enjoy our local “winter wonderland” as temperatures have started to moderate, with days more comfortable in the thirties and even forties (here and there). The sun is higher and days are longer, so it is even possible to ski in just a heavy wool sweater or fleece, thereby enjoying the best of snow and sun at the same time!
 
We will be among the first to welcome spring, but until then, we are happy to enjoy our Winter Wonderland here in the Lakes Region.

Abenaki Ski Area - "The Most Important Ski Area in America" and A Community Jewel for Wolfeboro NH

If there is one place that sums up the unique community spirit of Wolfeboro, it is Abenaki Ski Area. Generations of children have learned to ski at this small, family-oriented ski slope, which first opened in 1936. In fact, Powder magazine, a leading magazine of the skiing world, sees Abenaki as “The Most Important Ski Area in America.” According to Powder, small, town-owned ski areas such as Mt. Abenaki play a vital role as they not only attract people to skiing they help sustain their love of the sport. Affordable and local, small-town slopes such as Abenaki provide that special fun and nurturing environment that forges memories and encourages long-term relationships with the ski area and skiing.
 
On any given weekend, it’s easy to see memories are being made. Children barely knee-high grab onto the rope tow; teenagers zip off the jumps, while parents glide gracefully down the trails. Hot chocolate and cheeseburgers are being wolfed down and it seems like everyone is smiling. Just looking at the scene makes you happy.
 
In the beginning,Abenaki was owned by the Hershey family who generously allowed trails to be cut, a lodge to be built and a rope tow to be installed. The Abenaki Outing Club added lights and soon people were flocking to winter carnivals and night skiing at the mountain.
 
As time passed, the ski area continued to grow, adding trails and ski jumps. Local high school ski teams started training here; kids eagerly headed to Abenaki to ski after school, and families poured onto the slopes every weekend. The Hershey family sold Mt. Abenaki to the town in the late 1960s and for the next decade or so the happy times continued.
 
However, by 2000, Abenaki was in trouble. Lean snow years had taken a toll on usage and revenue; ski equipment was aging and falling into disrepair. Some town officials wondered if the area was still viable. Fortunately, when word of Mt. Abenaki’s situation got out, the townsfolk rallied--in a big way! The Friends of Abenaki formed and money was raised to restore the ski area to its former glory. A new rope tow was added, snow grooming equipment purchased, and most exciting, portable snow-making equipment was bought in 2006. Today, more skiers than ever ride the slopes of Abenak.
 
The ski area entered its 79th season in December of 2014, making it currently the oldest small ski area in the United States! I am thrilled to report that the last 10 seasons have seen incredible growth, and in fact, Abenaki has seen a record INCREASE in skier visits--one of the few ski areas in New Hampshire to do so.
 
The Friends of Abenaki are now raising funds for a new ski lodge and hope to see that completed this year.At this year's town meeting the voters of Wolfeboro are being asked to approve Article 8 to help replace the 75 year old lodge at the ski area. Private donations will be $350,000 with the town being asked for $250,000.
 
Steve and Carol are proud to have supported Mt. Abenaki through Maxfield Real Estate’s “We Care Program” and look forward to seeing many more children and families heading to the slopes for years to come.