Community Day at Hildene, in Manchester Vermont

Note from Sandra: I’m pleased to share with you a piece written by my husband, Mark Frost, which appeared in the June 1 issue of The Chronicle Newspaper. 

By Mark Frost; Photos by Sandra Hutchinson

Last year by chance, my wife Sandra and I happened on Community Day at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. It was great, and it was free. The 2017 Hildene Community Day is Sunday, June 11, from 9:30 to 4:30.

The Hildene gardens are known for their spectacular display of peonies in June. They were in all their glory during last year’s Community Day.

Continue reading

Inspiration: Charleston and Savannah window boxes

By Sandra Hutchinson

It’s getting to be that time of year when we start visiting garden centers and choosing annuals to fill our outdoor containers. (I say “start,” since in our neck of the woods, a frost is still a distinct possibility.) When I drive by my favorite nurseries, my car practically turns itself into the driveways!

I’ve been lucky to make a number of visits to both Charleston, South Carolina (where one of my best friends lives, fortunately for me) and Savannah, Georgia. Both cities have large historic districts, gas-lit street lights and house lanterns, and lovely gardens. One of the things that has struck me, particularly in Charleston, is the extensive use of beautifully planted window boxes.

Here’s a sampling of some of the window boxes I have spotted in both cities:

Continue reading

Should your dog wear a winter coat?

By Sandra Hutchinson

When the mercury outside begins to drop, my thoughts turn to couture — canine couture, that is.

Some people may think it’s ridiculous to dress a dog in a coat or sweater, but as it turns out, there are sometimes very good reasons for doing so.


Our two Wheaten Terriers don’t seem to mind wearing their L. L. Bean field coats with plaid flannel lining. There’s even a pouch on the back to hold treats! As a bonus, the human can wear a matching field coat.

Continue reading

Fear of falling firs

By Sandra Hutchinson

By this time, less than a week before Christmas, most people who are going to have a Christmas tree in their home have already set it up and decorated it. But if you are one of those folks who follow the Old World tradition of not putting the tree up until Christmas Eve, or if you’ve had a disaster befall you similar to the one I’m about to describe, I would like to offer some hard-earned advice on the importance of an extra-sturdy, heavy-duty tree stand.


2016 Christmas tree at New York Public Library’s main branch, Fifth Avenue, NYC—undoubtedly securely anchored!

Continue reading

Turkey talk—heritage Narragansett Red or modern Jaindl?

We decided to try something new this year for Thanksgiving dinner. We ordered a locally-raised “heritage” turkey— a Narragansett Red, to be exact, raised in southern Washington County.

The heritage turkey after roasting

The heritage Narragansett turkey after roasting

Continue reading

Thanksgiving dinner: the mother of all menus

By Sandra Hutchinson

I’d bet that nearly everyone reading this can recite, item by item, every single dish served at their family’s Thanksgiving table while growing up. The Thanksgiving menu is pretty much inviolate. Even the slightest change is noticed by all. I think I still remember the year my mother started adding apples to her stuffing.

A flock of place cards! The turkey cards are from Caspari (see my post from 8/16/16 about Caspari).

Getting the place cards ready—Pilgrims ready to be labeled, along with their flock! The turkey cards are from Caspari. (See my post from 8/16/16 about Caspari.)

Continue reading