Almost 2022. And We Have Seen Some Things.
Artful is 2.
Artful is celebrating its second anniversary. I want to thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting on these past two years of blog posts. The two years were bookended by . . . . stories about bookstores. In December, 2019, I wrote about the opening of Still North Books and Bar in Hanover, and two years later, Artful had a profile on the new owners of the beloved Norwich Bookstore.
Browsing through Artful posts of the past two years of sometimes whipsaw-change is a walk down memory lane that tells a many-chaptered story of the pandemic. (Note: I have abandoned the idea of hyperlinks for this post—too many—but you’re welcome to sift through the archives by going to Artful’s website here and scrolling down.) Here is just some of what we’ve chronicled:
Northern Stage presented on stage at the Barrette Center, then not, then it revived the art of the radio play. Then it moved to an outdoor stage cleverly built in a space that previously housed its trash bins.
AVA’s Mudroom became AVA’s MudZoom. Opera North traded the traditional stage for a circus tent—with circus performers—at the rich-in-arts-history Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish NH.
Market Table shut its doors, reopened, and then closed those doors for good. As did “the world’s best” Morano Gelato. Over the past two years, Lebanon has come to rival Bangkok in the number of Thai restaurants per capita. Lalo’s Taqueria shut its food truck operation and went all bricks and mortar on the Lebanon pedestrian mall. Restaurants throughout the Upper Valley effected a European vibe and adopted streetside dining, often by roping off the actual streets. Chef Justin Dain and team left Pine and settled nicely at Oakes and Evelyn in Montpelier. Red Kite Candy came to town.
The pandemic was much on my mind, my keyboard and my screen. I wrote about soup, scrounged a muffin recipe from King Arthur that was originated by a 9 year-old who won the 1997 baking contest at the Connecticut State Fair (Where is she now? Tried to find the actual contestant, but failed.) Scammed myself over that embarrassing caffeine/decaf debacle that was just too hilarious not to share. We discoursed on Bernie’s mittens and what they revealed about our Upper Valley sartorial style. Visited with Diane Keaton (no, not the actress, the animal portrait by Oodles’s Sally Wright Bacon.) There was time to ponder this question: why do they call it an “opera house?”
Who among us didn’t seek refuge from monotony with our little day trips beyond the UV borders? Artful carried artsy stories from Boston, Brattleboro, Dorset, Bellows Falls, North Adams, and Montpelier. I crawled through various graveyards to unearth local history, and introduced myself to writer Willa Cather at her gravesite in Jaffrey NH.
After three years of renovations, the Hood Museum gloriously opened, then shut, then opened again.
I got to write this title: “CBS Finds Dan and Whit’s in Norwich.”
And the Lebanon pedestrian tunnel? It was a gleam in Lebanon’s eye, then a big fat eyesore of a construction site until the day when it wasn’t. There came a moment when it opened, connecting the Mascoma River Greenway and the Northern Rail Trail for pedestrian and bike travel. Recently it installed some art on its walls and threw a Silent Disco party.
And that, as they say, is not the half of it. What a ride!
The ride’s not over. Artful will be back in 2022. This humble blog started with just under 400 subscribers and will climb to 1500 by the start of the new year. Posts over the past couple of months now often reach almost 4000 readers each. Artful continues to be a pleasure to write; it connects me to you and this wonder-filled Upper Valley. No doubt we will see even more things in 2022. Can’t wait.
All happiness to you during these holidays, this recent solstice and the upcoming new year. And again, thank you. You have my gratitude.
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.