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Christmas is sneaking up on me…

Really.  Yes, Christmas is coming, and I have done a little bit of on-line shopping, primarily for my wife, and for my Secret Santa victim this year. My siblings and I decided that a Secret Santa deal would be easier to manage (and afford, since there are a number of us), so we’ve been doing that for four or five years.

This weekend I want to take my annual trek to Keene NH. It’s a tradition of sorts. I go to the Colony Mill Marketplace on West Street, and stop by the Elm City Restaurant & Brewery for a pint (or so), then I meander through the converted mill building, scouring the neat little shops for “stocking stuffers” that Peg would enjoy. These typically include several pairs of $20 earrings, puppy socks, kazoos and other toys, mostly just fun stuff to unwrap from the stocking. It’s a real event, but the shops have changed over time, and I’ll be evaluating this year whether to return next.

After the shopping frenzy I go back to the Elm City Restaurant & Brewery again, ostensibly for lunch. They have a great smoked salmon starter – a 4oz slab of home-smoked salmon, several slices of hearty home-made bread, and a wonderful horseradish sauce. Their burgers are also quite good, and their Brewmaster’s Special, consisting of bratwurst, knockwurst, sauerkraut and potato pancakes is really a great lunch on a cold winter day. But I’ll have another beer. Maybe two, but I’m driving. And the smoked salmon might well draw me back next year. It’s a tradition, right?

From there, I’ll try to slip down to Northampton, where my sister Jackie will be showing (and perhaps demonstrating technique) her artwork at the Valley Hands gallery. I have a few other stops I need to make, so that will be a short trip if I make it at all.

Happy Christmas!

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