The new year began with wintry weather. There were icy roads and lakes with snow showers and slick road conditions. The annual conflagration of used Christmas trees in Chocorua River Dam Park takes place on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 5 p.m. The park will light up for the sixth successive year, watched by a socially distanced gathering of friends and neighbors.

Owing to COVID concerns, the popular pre-bonfire libations/Farmstead open house and potluck at Runnells Hall have been canceled again. It’s hoped that they will return in 2023.

Bring your used (natural) Christmas tree and toss it over the guard rail of the park on Route 16, and it will help to create a photogenic display against the frozen waterfall. Thanks go to Judith Reardon and Peter Smart for hosting this event.

Wonderful news from The Other Store. Kate Thompson, Peg Loughran and Polly Mahoney share that renovation will start very soon and there are plans for ovens, stoves, sinks, big wooden kitchen tables, floors and windows, lighting and seating. Sunnyfield Bakery and Café at The Other Store will open this spring. The team are planning to offer baked goods, breakfast, lunch, groceries, produce, gifts and local products. There will be a handicapped accessible entrance, and more café seating at the front of the building. I can hardly wait to smell the fragrant aroma of Peg’s Bread as I walk down Main Street.

We have no open stores in Tamworth village for the time being, however, help is at hand. When you go through Madison, check out Nicole Nordland’s recently opened country store in the former Dolly Madison location opposite Silver Lake Home Center. I hear it’s amazing with home-baked items, fresh vegetables and a cafeteria.

Tamworth Recreation Director Dan Beauregard has announced that the Tamworth Family Day Committee will hold its first meeting on Monday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. at the town office. If you are interested in providing input, or being on the committee, call the recreation director at (603) 323-7582

Cook Memorial Library is hosting a writing group: "The Mountains Meet the Sea Through Poetry, Prose and Images," led by Margo Mallar and Louise Wrobleski. The group has been meeting since the fall and welcomes new participants. Read more and locate the Zoom link at the htamworthlibrary.org. The next meeting is Jan. 12 at 10:30 a.m. on Zoom.

One of the few benefits derived from the COVID pandemic has been the proliferation of Zoom meetings. There's no need to go out on dark nights in inclement weather. You can just grab your laptop, dress comfortably and tidy up around the couch. Throughout the pandemic, Cook Memorial Library has cooperated with other non profits, including Chocorua Lake Conservation and organized many informative Zoom meetings.

On Wednesday, Amy Carter announced that she was super-excited to have the folks from Bearcamp Bikes on the series “Face to Face: Zoom conversations with neighbors series. I was very interested to hear about how Ned Beecher a local environmentalist and Eric Dube worked to repair donated bicycles to be given away to anyone who asked for one. They were offered donated space in a barn in South Tamworth and have become popular at The Tamworth Farmers Market. In addition to rebuilding bicycles of all kinds, including vintage models and tandems, Bearcamp Bikes has repaired bicycles so their owners were able to resume riding them. This discussion was very informative, and I would like to thank all who participated.

"Face to Face" will continue next week on Jan. 12 with “Tamworth Farmers Market: Past, Present and Future," with Bob Streeter and Peg Loughran and on Jan 19 with "In Search of Tamworth’s Ancient Roads” with David Little.

Attention Celtic music lovers: Fiona Howell of Wonalancet and Maine piper Chris Gray present a concert of Celtic music for flute, and uillean pipes, the traditional pipes of Ireland starting at noon. This is part of Mountain Top’s free First Friday concert series. There is no admission charge. Donations are gratefully accepted. The concerts take place at Mountain Top Music School in its location at the  Majestic Theatre in Conway. Evidence of vaccination or negative testing are required. For more information, go to mountaintopmusic.org.

Have a happy, safe and healthy new year.

Please send items for this column to annimac419@gmail.com.

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