By: Kathryn Segreti, League of NH Craftsmen Concord Class of 2012
On a beautiful day in July, the Granite State Ambassadors were invited to experience a day of wine and beautiful gardens in Lee
New Hampshire. We arrived at Flag Hill Winer
y and Distillery and started our tour with the owner, Brian Ferguson, who seated us in a large room to taste a wide assortment of wines and spirits that they produce on their farm. Let me say that Flag Hill is much more than a vineyard which dates back to 1996; they are also a destination location for special events such as weddings, corporate outings or a friendly get together. To begin drinking at 10am in the morning certainly sets the tone for the day!
Brian is extremely knowledgeable and entertaining when he presents their products and before each tasting would provide detailed information about what he was offering us. There was a wide assortment of white and fruit wines which were very tasty.
They have expanded their selection to include rums and gins and brandies to name a few. The flavors varied based on the product and I found quite of number of them to be very enjoyable.
We then moved from the tasting area for a tour of the vineyards with explanations about the various grapes and which ones do well in our soil and climate. It appears they have their own micro climate in this specific location which lends itself to a very palatable product. In the back of the vineyard they raise their own chickens and pigs which Flag Hill uses when preparing lunches or meals for their guests. I was also very happy to hear that they partner with other local farms in the area like Coppal House Farm for various products that work well with their venue.
The setting is beautiful and provides a lovely backdrop creating a fully enjoyable experience. They also boast an appealing gift shop. Flag Hill is best enjoyed by a personal visit to fully appreciate all they have to offer. You can get a quick view by visiting their website http://www.flaghill.com
A few hours later we carpooled a couple of miles up the road to visit Bedrock Gardens. This is a privately owned garden – open to the public from May to October on the third weekend in each month. The owners Jill Nooney and Bob Munger purchased this early 1800 property in the mid 1980’s and set up clearing, planting and building to create their wonderful garden haven, which they now share with the public. If you enjoy visiting Arboretums or Botanical Gardens, Bedrock Gardens is quickly becoming the answer to this need in New Hampshire. Jill designs the gardens and Bill builds them. Over the years they have added more gardens – now exceeding 20 acres!
There are at least 21 different gardens to visit – each one offering a completely different design and plant offering. Jill is a sculptor when she is not designing new gardens or continuing her work as a clinical social worker. She will come up with a design for either a garden or a sculpture and Bob is given the task to make it come to life. This combination of effort has created a spectacular garden (I use this word loosely as it is much more than a garden). Bedrock counts on the support of visitors and docents to keep up their efforts. It has grown to the extent that it cannot be maintained by the two of them without outside support. Most gardens of this size and offering exist throughout the United States because they have been provided with an endowment from our historically wealthy citizens who often where the ones who started it in the first place.
What they have created in Lee is a wonderful haven that needs to be supported and preserved. When we arrived we were treated to a wonderful Jazz group as we ate our lunches prepared by Flag Hill. You can order a lunch from Flag Hill and pick it up at Bedrock if you order in advance. Sitting in the garden and enjoying your surroundings while listening to Jazz is not hard to take. In October they are preparing a Fairy and Hobbit House event which should be great fun. They are always looking for anyone who is interested in assisting them. If you take a moment to visit their website you will quickly see what Bedrock Gardens is all about. Find time to visit with your friends and family and you will be amazed at what you find. A wonderful escape and a perfect choice for our visitors if they are heading this way during their open weekends. http://www.bedrockgardens.org.
We closed our tour by meeting with Jill and Bob and discussing our tour and our impressions of their gardens. They are very open and friendly and genuinely interested in what we suggest can be done to assist their efforts. Kate arranged for an assortment of pastries from the Popover Restaurant and Bakery in Epping. A great way to complete the day.
Thank you Kate Bashline for putting together a most enjoyable day of wine and gardens!
Comments from other GSAs that attended the Tour…
Bedrock Gardens is a hidden treasure! The serenity & thought that went into creating this exclusive place was so inspiring that we plan on volunteering there.
If you are looking for peace, serenity, meditation, & beauty; Bedrock Gardens can give it to you!
Favorite part: Oh my! The circular stone patio, the “balls” garden, just the peacefulness of the entire venue!
~ Eleanor & Bill Laroche, White Birch Class of 2001
Brian did an amazing job discussing the types of grapes and wines that can be produced in the cold NH climate.
If your are on your way to UNH, or anywhere along route 125, you should make it a point to stop for a tour and tasting at Flag Hill. The wines available for tasting are unique to cold weather grapes and fruits that are used to create the wine. Not your typical grape varieties and wines that you would find in a store.
This is a hidden gem. What a nice surprise to see a mix of plants and foliage with the creative metal sculptures that the owner created. The story behind the how the garden evolved is just amazing – how the owners created this over a 30 year period.
A very unique mixture – a nicely laid out garden with the added attraction of home made metal sculptures – many made from pieces of metal “junk” that they have accumulated throughout the years. The preying mantis sculpture created from welding junk metal parts together is amazing!
~ Michael Renzulli, Common Man Inn & Spa Class of 2010
At the garden, the tour of the garden or sculpture just points out so many things you might have missed. The garden was one to rival any int the world. Very surprising to have something this great in NH.
I had been to this garden before and have brought family and friends. Everyone is so impressed.
~ Christine Stacey, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport 2015
Bedrock Gardens 45 High Rd. ,Lee, NH, www.bedrockgardens.org , welcomes GSAs to volunteer at it’s Fairy & Hobbit House Festival Fundraiser, Columbus Weekend, October 8, 9, 10 2016 11 am to 3 pm. This is a GSA Approved Event so you can self report your hours and they will count. All parking will be off site with bus shuttles. NH GSA wishes to have be a featured designer with a GSA village of structures. Can we include yours? For questions or interest in volunteering please e-mail fellow GSA Kate Bashline at email@example.com
See all our photos by clicking here!