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Home Improvement Tips

Was your New Year's resolution for 2022 to get more done around the house? The year may be almost over, but that doesn't mean you're out of time. Here are some quick and easy indoor home improvement projects, perfect for this time of year. Refresh your home's appearance just in time for the holidays with these project ideas from our real estate agents.

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National Parks in Maine

Maine is a wild place. Some of the most rugged and remote landscapes on the East Coast can be found within Maine's boundaries, and there are few better places for people with a love of the outdoors to call home. 

The four national parks in Maine are a testament to that. They're amazing destinations for camping, hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and a host of other outdoorsy pursuits. Our real estate agents never tire of these wild, amazing places, and today we're thrilled to offer this guide to Maine's national parks. 

Acadia National Park

Spanning more than 48,000 acres, Acadia National Park is the crown jewel of the Northern Atlantic Coast. The park encompasses rugged cliffs and coastlines on the Schoodic Peninsula and a scattering of smaller coastal islands, but the bulk of it lies on the massive Mount Desert Island. Here you'll find a wild landscape that is ripe for exploration in all seasons, with 158 miles of trails, 27 miles of historic motor roads, and 45 miles of carriage roads.

Several campgrounds are available (sites are by reservation only), and the historic Bass Harbor Head Light Station is one of the park's main attractions. Other things to do in Acadia National Park include: 

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Lake House

With winter almost upon us, it's time to start thinking about winterizing your property. If you have a lake house or a vacation house, don't overlook it. It's even more important to pay attention to winterizing if you're not going to be using the house over the winter. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for getting your lake house ready for cold weather.

  1. Clean Your Gutters
    The exterior of the house is what gets hit with winter weather the most, and your gutters are more crucial than you may realize. Clogged gutters will prevent water from draining properly off your roof. Roof shingles and siding are designed to keep water flowing away from your house, but if your gutters are clogged with debris, water can get in underneath the shingles and siding and cause damage. Cleaning your gutters of fallen leaves and other debris before you leave the lake house for the last time this fall can prevent any damage from happening in your absence over the winter.

  2. Check the Roof for Damage
    While you're up there to clean the gutters, be sure to give the roof a once-over. Look for damaged or missing shingles. Also, keep an eye on the trim and siding for signs of leaks that have already started. Any soft or rotten wood should be replaced now before winter kicks in.

  3. Disable Your Sprinkler System
    If your lake house has a sprinkler system in the yard or garden, be sure to have it blown out to clear all the water from the lines before winter sets in. Leaving water in the lines can cause frozen and burst pipes, which will leak once they thaw again. The result could be disastrous and expensive, especially if the leak goes unnoticed for a while due to the house being empty.

  4. Seal Around Windows and Doors
    Whether you plan to use your lake house in the winter or not, it's a good idea to check for and eliminate drafts. Check around all your window and door frames for cracks or drafts. If you can see daylight through any gaps, the space needs to be sealed. Gaps between the door or window and the frame can be sealed with weatherstripping. If there are cracks between the wall and frame, seal those with caulking.

  5. Check Pipes and Insulation
    Before shutting the house up for the season, or even if you plan to use the lake house in the winter, be sure to make a thorough check of all your pipes. Check to make sure you have no leaks, either in visible plumbing or detected from moisture damage to the walls, ceiling, or floor. Especially if you plan to leave the house shut up for the season, the last thing you want is to come back to a flooded mess in the spring. Also, be sure to check any exterior pipes to ensure they've been insulated properly so that they won't freeze over the winter.

  6. Set the Thermostat for Winter
    If you leave the furnace running in the winter to prevent the pipes in your lake house from freezing and bursting while there is no one there, you will probably want to set the thermostat to the lowest possible temperature. No sense in using more energy than needed to heat an empty house! To keep an eye on your home's heat while you're away, consider getting a smart thermostat where you can have the temperature available on an app. This can help give your peace of mind while you are away from your lake house.

  7. Tidy Up
    Before leaving your lake house for the season, be sure to clean everything and tidy up the yard one more time. Not only will a clean house be nicer to come back to in the spring, but you may also save yourself some trouble by doing these tasks now. For instance, be sure to remove any stains from the carpet before you leave so that they don't set over the winter and become harder to clean in the spring. Also, be sure to rake up all the fallen leaves in your yard and mow the lawn one more time if needed. Leaving debris covering the grass over the winter can damage your lawn.

It's important to winterize your property properly so that it remains a relaxing retreat to return to when the weather warms up. Ready to sell your lake house, trade up, or simply looking for something new? Contact us today, and we'll help you find the perfect home away from home.


New England Ski Season

As leaves and temperatures drop, are you beginning to feel that irresistible pull to the mountains? It's time for another incredible winter ski season, and our real estate agents share the projected opening dates for your favorite slopes around New England.

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Tuscan Decor

In a recent survey, the most popular decorating trend for homes in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, is Tuscan decor. The rustic, Italian look and Old World style can add a lot of charm to a space. If you've just bought a new home and are looking for a decor style that will make it seem homey and welcoming, Tuscan is a great option. Here are some Tuscan design elements you can incorporate into your space.

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Halloween Decorating

One way to make your new house feel like home is to decorate it for your favorite holiday - especially if that holiday is Halloween! You can put a carved pumpkin in the window or add a few cobwebs in the corners, but wouldn't it be more fun to go all out? Here are a few tips for decorating your home, inside and out, this Halloween.

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Cheese Trails

Once you get settled into your New Hampshire home, it might be nice to celebrate with a trip to explore the surrounding area. In particular, New Hampshire has some of the best wineries, dairies, and chocolatiers you can find in New England. Some of which you can find on wine, cheese and chocolate trails. Here are a few of our favorite places on each trail.

  • Seven Birches Winery - 22 S Mountain Dr, Lincoln, NH 03251
    Seven Birches Winery
    produces hand-crafted, European-style wines using locally sourced fruits. They offer several different tour options, including their "Meet the Winemakers" tour - an intimate experience that provides a close look into their winemaking process, including a Q&A. The winery can also be booked for private tours, birthday parties, and other events. Plus, they have three different tasting rooms and wine bars nearby.

  • Meadowstone Farm - 809 Brook Rd, Bethlehem, NH 03574
    Meadowstone Farm
    started out as a cow dairy but has since branched out to include fruits, vegetables, flowers, and more. However, what they're best known for is their goat cheese. They raise the goats themselves and lovingly craft the cheese, which they sell daily at the farm's produce stand. They also offer free, self-guided tours of the farm daily, except during the winter.

  • Bavarian Chocolat Haus - 2483 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860
    Bavarian Chocolate Haus offers a variety of chocolate products, all made by hand. Their shop looks just like a house you'd find in a quaint European village. And inside, you'll find truffles, fudge, and selections of milk, dark, and white chocolates, plus maple syrup, specialty items, and more. Open Mondays and Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 am to 5:30 pm, and Sundays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, they're closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

  • Gilmanton Winery & Restaurant - 528 Meadow Pond Rd, Gilmanton, NH 03237
    Gilmanton Winery & Restaurant is more than just great wine and great food. They also have beautiful grounds you can tour, with a vineyard and a variety of animals, including Nigerian dwarf goats and Muscovy ducks. Wine tastings are offered on weekends, and be sure to come for brunch on Sundays. They also host all sorts of fun events throughout the year, including a murder mystery dinner!

  • Stonewall Farm - 242 Chesterfield Rd, Keene, NH 03431
    With a herd of organic dairy cows, Stonewall Farm makes a variety of delicious cheeses, as well as ice cream and more. They also host community events, such as movie nights and farm-to-table dinners, and they can be booked for private events, such as weddings and birthday parties. Their on-site store sells organic cheese, milk, and eggs, along with farm fresh produce and free-range beef. 

  • Granite State Candy Shoppe - 13 Warren St, Concord, NH 03301
    Granite State Candy Shoppe
    sells a variety of gourmet chocolate products, from chocolate bars to chocolate-covered pretzels to chocolate letters - letters of the alphabet molded out of milk chocolate. They also have non-chocolate candies available, including brittles, gummies, maple sugar candies, and roasted nuts. Plus, they have an ice cream menu as well, with flavors like chocolate toffee crunch, fudge brownie avalanche, and Indian pudding. Get it in a cup, a cone, or a float, or make your own sundae!

  • Hermit Woods Winery - 72 Main St, Meredith, NH 03253
    A small boutique establishment, Hermit Woods Winery works closely with local farmers and vineyards to get the best quality fruits, and to make the best hand-crafted wines. In addition to traditional grape wines, they also produce kiwi, peach, blackberry, and elderberry wines, among others. Come for a drink at their wine and beer garden and stay for a bite at their eater, which serves sandwiches, soups, charcuterie, and more.

  • Boggy Meadow Farm - 13 Boggy Mdw Ln, Walpole, NH 03608
    Making cheese since 1812, it's safe to say Boggy Meadow Farm has perfected its craft. Their specialties include Baby Swiss, in both smoked and unsmoked varieties, and Fiddlehead Tomme, an aged, semi-hard cheese with a natural rind. They also grow peppers and beans on the farm and even make their own cider vodka!

  • Kellerhaus - 259 Endicott St N, Laconia, NH 03246
    Family-owned and operated, Kellerhaus has been making handmade chocolates since 1906. Using premium ingredients and their own special recipes, they have chocolates of all types, each of them irresistible. They also make handmade ice cream in flavors ranging from chocolate and strawberry to maple walnut and black raspberry. Bring some friends and try the Kellerhaus Colossus - a 10-scoop sundae loaded with hot fudge, butterscotch, homemade whipped cream, and other toppings. Closed on Tuesdays, they're open 10 am to 6 pm the rest of the week.

These are just a few of the stops on New Hampshire's wine, cheese and chocolate trails. And there's so much more that the area has to offer as well! Contact us if you're ready to make New Hampshire your new home. Our real estate agents will help you find the house that's right for you in a neighborhood you'll love.


fall hiking

There's a reason people flock from all over the country to enjoy the views a Northern New England fall has to offer. Experience the wonder and beauty for yourself when you view fall colors on these New England hiking trails recommended by our real estate agents

  • Pawtuckaway State Park - 7 Pawtuckaway Rd., Nottingham, NH 03290
    With 15 miles of trails crisscrossing the 5,500-acre grounds, Pawtuckaway State Park has something different to offer with every visit. Many visitors head to South Mountain, where a moderate 2.4-mile hike to the summit leads to a fire tower with spectacular panoramic views. Another favorite is Boulder Field, created when glaciers melted at the end of the Ice Age. The boulders are large enough for rock climbers to use them for practice. Animal lovers should check out Fundy Trail, bordering on Burnham's Marsh, where wildlife frequently makes an appearance. The pet-friendly park is open daily from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Entrance fees are $5 for adults and $2 for kids aged 6-11.

  • Rattlesnake Mountain - Raymond, ME 04071
    Don't be frightened off by the name. Rattlesnake Mountain is actually known as a top family-friendly hiking spot. Thanks to its location in Maine's Lakes Region, you'll have wonderful views of Crescent Lake, Panther Pond, and Sebago Lake along the 2.5-mile trail. The Huntress family maintains the well-marked trail, named Bri-Mar in honor of Brian and Marlene Huntress. Stop at the nearby Good Life Market before or after your hike for some delicious grab-and-go sandwiches and salads. Hours are sunrise to sunset daily.

  • Little River Community Trail - 7 Perkins Rd., Belfast, ME 04915
    What's better than enjoying the fall foliage in Northern New England? Adding water views to this picturesque scene! The Little River Community Trail in Belfast is a moderate trail where you'll crisscross the forest while being near a lake and the Little River. With a total of 5 miles in distance, the trail is great for an intermediate hike and stunning views. Dogs are allowed to accompany you on your hike as well! 

  • Falling Waters Trail - White Mountain National Forest, Lincoln, NH 03251
    While it's considered a challenging hike, the natural wonders promised by the name make Falling Waters Trail well worth the effort. The 5.6-mile trail, which leads to the summit of Little Haystack Mountain, passes three waterfalls along the way. First is Stairs Falls, with the 60-foot drop of Swiftwater Falls a few hundred feet above. Then it's on to the main event, Cloudland Falls, an Instagram-worthy 80-foot cascade into a classic horsetail. Leashed dogs are welcome. 

  • Sterling Pond Trail - Smugglers' Notch State Park, 6443 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT 05672
    The name of the park conjures up visions of Prohibition-era rumrunners, but hiking Sterling Pond Trail is a refreshingly wholesome activity. The 2.3-mile pet-friendly trail takes about 90 minutes to complete, making it a great choice for a relatively quick outing. Enjoy a delightful perspective on fall colors with the trees reflected in the waters of the placid mountain-top pond. If you want a longer hike, Long Trails North and South branch out just past the pond, both of which lead to stunning mountain views. Entrance fees are $5 for adults and $2 for kids aged 4-13.

  • Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park - Woodstock, VT 05091
    The name "Woodstock" is famously associated with another outdoor area in upstate New York, but Vermont's Woodstock is noteworthy in its own right. Referred to as the "quintessential New England village," Woodstock is one of the best places to view fall foliage, especially at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Nearly three dozen pet-friendly trails, ranging from easy to difficult, comprise part of the 30-mile Walk Woodstock network, which connects the park to the town center along with meadows, woodlands, and other scenic areas. Park hours are dawn to dusk, seven days a week. Admission is free.

  • Shelburne Farms - 1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne, VT 05482
    At the turn of the 20th century, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb consolidated 32 farms into a massive agricultural estate called Shelburne Farms. In 1984, the Webb family donated the property to a non-profit organization that now runs it as a public facility to promote education and awareness of sustainable food practices. The site was named a National Historic Landmark in 2001, and the campus includes 10 miles of trails with splendid views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Don't miss the Formal Gardens, a personal project created by Lila Webb that's situated on a bluff overlooking the lake. Hours are 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily. There is no admission fee, but donations are gratefully accepted. 

Find out why each season in New England has its own special delights. Contact us at The Masiello Group for experienced and dedicated help with all your real estate needs.

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