More Snow in the Forecast

One night last week at about 10:00 p.m., we put on our boots, picked up our shovels and cleared 8 inches of wet, February snow. It was quiet and peaceful, the solitude occasionally interrupted by the random snow plow. We were in the “snow zone,” our shoveling motions synchronized and unconsciously coordinated. It was a great opportunity to talk about our day and contemplate the upcoming Red Sox season. A snowy evening is very soothing.

Ariens SnowblowerFor the first time in our New England lives, we don’t have a snowblower. Before we moved out of the region for several years, we had a big, orange, dual-stage Ariens machine. It would displace the mightiest of snowbanks in about five minutes. There was no need for it when we moved Atlanta, so we sold it for a song. Knowing we would eventually return, we should have put it in storage up here.  After returning to New England, we contemplated another Ariens, but we bought a house without a garage in an old neighborhood. Apparently the handy New England barn built with the house over one-hundred years ago was removed several owners back, so we’d have no place to store the snowblower anyways. As for the concept of having a barn, we’ll just need to keep those aspirations for our very own New Yankee Workshop on hold, at least for a while. And we’ll keep shoveling in the meantime.

Alas, here we are again with more snow in the forecast, but things seem different now: New England has become Atlanta.  At the first flurry, people clear out the grocery stores, towns cancel school, and everyone goes into a panic. What’s happened to us? We used to look forward to snow. We used to embrace it. What’s happened to us? A recent editorial in the the Andover Townsman (MA) articulated it best:

Andover Townsman

Snow in New England? Chill out

You probably heard a lot less hype about the storm that delivered 8 inches of snow Tuesday than you did about the big nothing of a storm that breezed though last Wednesday. But let’s give the weather people a break. You can’t blame them for focusing on the first storm – they know what sells.

There was a time not terribly long ago when New Englanders and Andoverites were viewed as hearty people who could take a mid-range snowstorm in stride. But, more and more, at the first sign of flakes we seem to be flooding the highway to drive home, or running to Market Basket and filling shopping carts with canned goods. Many of us act as if we might be stranded for weeks without chicken noodle soup, when, in truth, there are ever-ready plows clearing the roads.

As with many other things, Americans do tend to get hysterical about the weather these days. Of course, severe weather can be life-threatening, but few storms fall into this category.  It’s time for us all to relax a bit when a snowstorm is forecast. Next storm, how about we wait for the roads to clear, light a fire when we get home if we can, and enjoy the scenery. Chances are, for most of us, there will be a can of soup in the cupboard should we get hungry. – February 18, 2010

Be a rugged New Englander again. Go enjoy the snow – even if you don’t have a big snowblower to move it around.

-The Two Palaverers

A Winter Walk in the New England Woods

Harold Parker State Forest MA
Harold Parker State Forest MA

We hear many people lament about the long winter season here in New England. Candidly, none of us really pays attention to it until after the holidays, which effectively gives us about three months of winter until that first -yet fleeting – warm day in late March. By February, though, regional mood patterns are far from a crescendo. For whatever reason, the colder temperatures force an implicit, involuntary incarceration. Liberation, fortunately, is found often in the form of thermals and a good wool hat. That’s been our modus operandi for years and it makes the winter months seem less isolating.

Interestingly, we’ve come across two books that have been pulling us outdoors and into the woods: Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England by Tom Wessels with etchings by Brian D. Cohen and Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England’s Stone Walls by Robert M. Thorson. What these authors reveal is that many forests in New England present not just natural beauty, but also a historical narrative on the development of the region. Every winter hike we take, aside from the physical benefits, is a stimulating story of hardscrabble farming, complex property grants and ongoing efforts at land conservation.

We believe it was Robert Kaplan of The Atlantic who once wrote:

It’s amazing how two people standing side-by-side in a foreign land can see two entirely different things.

A little education is like turning on a light in a dark room. For us, we applaud both authors for illuminating the interesting natural and regional history and allowing us to see entirely different things. The New England woods in winter, with their canopies removed, share so much more and reveal impressive contours, hidden brooks, and other elements of the natural landscape.

For many of us here in New England, this experience starts not too far from our own back doors. Begin your journey with a hike through some nearby conservation land or at a local Audubon sanctuary. Just remember to dress warm and realize you won’t have to wait until spring for emancipation. And one more thing: many of the people we see while hiking in winter often have smiles on their faces. So much for the seasonal doldrums.

-The Two Palaverers

New England Artisan & Farmstead Cheese Makers are Crafting Up Some Classics

In the early 1980’s, a wave of small independent cheese shops sprung up in the suburbs around New York City. It worked out well for those of us not in the city because traveling into Manhattan was often challenging and – as it is today – very time-consuming. Until then, we were limited to the choices at our local grocery stores, which consisted mostly of the processed, pre-packaged or generic uninspired varieties.

Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge MA
Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge MA

I had the privilege of working at The Better Cheddar Cheese Shop, one of those new, avant-garde purveyors in northern New Jersey. Located at the historic Tice Farm in Woodcliff Lake, the small shop carried cheeses that were exotic and sophisticated to our unseasoned and unrefined palates of the time.

Over time, we became rather busy and our clientele grew. We had both regular local customers as well as those from the city who were escaping for a day in the “country.” (It always seemed more like suburbia and less like “country” to me.) Richard Nixon was a frequent visitor to the farm, having settled in the area after leaving Washington, D.C.

With great enthusiasm, I learned all that I could about cheese, albeit the hard way – by tasting and talking with wholesalers. We didn’t have the books, training or internet so prevalent today. We were excited by our “large” number of imported cheeses, now paltry compared with contemporary cheese counters. On the domestic side, I remember cheddars (Wisconsin, New York and Vermont), some fresh mozzarella, feta, and assorted spreads with cheddar and cream cheese bases.

Sadly, the farm and many like it were replaced by large corporate buildings and homogeneous mini malls. Though I saw many of the small local cheese shops quietly close their doors, I never lost interest in cheese.  It is always a thrilling sight and a culinary pleasure for me, whether home or abroad, to walk in to a well-stocked, knowledgeable and friendly cheese shop. It feels like home to me. When I moved to New England decades ago, I was immediately impressed by the regional, budding cheese culture. Surprisingly, it dates back to the English and Dutch settling of North America.

Today, I am especially pleased to see so many more New England cheese artisans practicing this wonderful art, which is a true labor of love. Increasing numbers of these cheese makers travel the globe learning from world renowned cheese masters and incorporating classic styles while leveraging their own unique terroir and indigenous fare. Many are winning national awards. Comparing this growing specialty cheese industry to the evolution of the US wine industry, I think we have much to look forward to as these artisans develop and refine their craft.

Hannahbells Cheese
Hannahbells Cheeses, Shy Brothers Farm, Westport MA

New England artisan and farmstead cheeses come from all six states; some producers have been doing this for years, while many are new. I applaud their efforts. Though I haven’t yet tried all the New England cheeses, I am determined to do so. Perhaps it is the locavore in me, but I feel a strong connection, an inherent sense of pride and a good deal pleasure from enjoying cheese produced in my own region of the world.

I encourage cheese lovers to sample and enjoy these creations from New England. Serve them along side your old standbys and international favorites. Ask your cheesemonger to point you toward the local and regional varieties. The more we seek out New England cheeses, the more readily available they will be.

Be sure to take advantage of local cheese offerings when you see them on restaurant menus. Remember that many of the farmstead cheeses are produced from the farm’s own herd and yields are justifiably low. Some are sold exclusively to local restaurants, but many are available retail to the general public.

Though my cheese shop in New Jersey is a fond memory, I am fortunate to benefit from the cheese purveyors and cheese artisans of New England.

-Laura Ciampa, Palaverer Too

Some favorites thus far:

Alys’s EclipseCarlisle Farmstead Cheese– Carlisle, MA
Ascutney MountainCobb Hill Cheese– Hartland, VT
Bridgid’s Abbey, Bloomsday & Drunken Hooligan- Cato Corner Farm– Colchester, CT
Burrata with Roasted Garlic and Onion – Fiore di Nonno– Somerville, MA
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar – Cabot Creamery & Jasper Hill Farms– Greensboro, VT
ChevreThe Farmstead At Mine Brook– Charlemont, MA
ChevreHillman Farm– Colrain, MA
Chevre Roulé with Nutmeg & Green PeppercornsYork Hill Farm– New Sharon, ME
Classic Chevre- Seal Cove Farm– LaMoine, ME
Cremont- Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery– Websterville, VT
Crottina- Blue Ledge Farm– Salisbury, VT
Divine Providence and Atwells GoldNarragansett Creamery, RI
Downeast Derby- State of Maine Cheese Company– Rockport, ME
Fiddlehead Tomme & Baby SwissBoggy Meadow Farm– Walpole, NH
Full Circle Goat TommeWest River Creamery– Londonderry, VT
Fuzzy WheelTwig Farm– West Cornwall, VT
Great Hill BlueGreat Hill Dairy– Marion, MA
Green Mountain Gruyere- Blythedale Farm– Corinth, VT
HannahbellsShy Brothers Farm– Westport, MA
Landaff Cheese- Landaff Creamery– Landaff, NH
Maggie’s Round- Cricket Creek Farm– Williamstown, MA
MozzarellaMozzarella House– Everett, MA
Oma- von Trapp Farmstead– Waitsfield, VT
Organic Champlain TripleChamplain Valley Creamery– Vergennes, VT
Salsa JackPineland Farms– New Gloucester, ME
TarentaiseThistle Hill Farm– North Pomfret, VT
TAVA Chevre with Chive & GarlicSangha Farm– Ashfield, MA
Topnotch TommeMt. Mansfield Creamery– Morrisville, VT

New England Museum Redux

Old Sturbridge Village
As a follow-up to our post on museums, we subsequently came across this somewhat dated, yet still relevant article from the Wall Street Journal. We’ve decided to post it in its entirety, concerned that it may get permanently archived and its message lost.  It was written by Bruce Courson, Director of the Sandwich Glass Museum on Cape Cod. We soundly applaud Mr. Courson’s efforts and insights and wish to add a few more points.

We (our youth in particular) are losing the connection to our past. In order to have children visit museums, we need to have parents visit museums. We need to do a better job of engaging and teaching our children history, something that can be done both in school and outside of it – as a family or among friends.  There is no better place to do that than here in New England.  Once we fix our society’s connection to the past, our local museums will be the beneficiaries. What’s the contemporary challenge? Think about Old Sturbridge Village (a working museum) versus Grand Theft Auto (a video game). Fortunately, it only takes a brief afternoon to open up a whole new world. And that new world is in our own back yard.

-The Two Palaverers

Why Rural Museums Are Becoming Ancient History

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 12:01 A.M. EST

It was disheartening to learn last month in the Boston Globe of Old Sturbridge Village’s recent layoffs and closure of several major facilities. The museum is a living history museum in central Massachusetts that depicts 1830s New England life on a 200-acre site with 40 period buildings. One thousand reservations for Thanksgiving dinner, a tradition since the 1950s, had to be canceled this year. A new tavern and motel, which were expected to generate much needed revenue for the Village when they opened in 2001, will be shuttered in January. Only 20 of the once nearly 70 costumed guides remain. A personally troubling fact, as I was a “tinsmith” there in 1971, a period when increasing attendance was a given.

It is a story increasingly common for rural Massachusetts museums within a day’s drive of major metropolitan areas. Many have current paid attendance numbers that are nearing 50% of what they were three decades ago. My own institution, the Sandwich Glass Museum, saw attendance drop from 84,000 in the early 1980s to 42,000 in 2000. Published figures and statistics I have gathered over several decades point to similar trends in nearby maritime and historical museums, not only in Massachusetts but along the Boston-Washington corridor as well. Considering all that we hear about “the museum boom” in major cities occurring during that same period, this might seem a surprising state of affairs.

Numerous causes have been cited for this precipitous decline, including the weather and 9/11. But one factor stands out among the reasons behind this consistent, decades-long trend: the 1978 deregulation of the airline industry and a new era of cheap air travel. Before deregulation, most vacations were taken in the summer and the automobile was the affordable, preferred means of travel. After 1978, however, inexpensive travel and free “frequent flier” tickets gradually became available. As a result, passenger counts more than doubled between 1978 and 1998. The vacationing public increasingly opted to leave their cars at the airport and, at any time of the year, fly to their destinations. Since 1978, the likes of Glacier Bay, Alaska, the Galapagos, or a Caribbean cruise have become affordable and popular attractions. Changing leisure-travel patterns among the American public are not a new phenomenon: A historic parallel occurred when Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park succumbed to the post-World War II “automobile vacation” in 1964.

How have most museums dealt with the financial downturn brought on by this decline in attendance? They’ve raised their prices. I know of one major, Sturbridge-like outdoor history museum in Massachusetts that, in 1971, charged the equivalent of $5.72 in 2004 dollars but, now, after its latest price increase, charges $21. Its many efforts to expand public programming have not kept pace with the 267% increase in admissions fees. This example is unfortunately not the exception but the rule. A museum will often raise its price slightly to help a sagging bottom line only to find that next year’s decrease in attendance requires yet another increase in admissions fees — a vicious cycle.

How many companies, realizing a serious decline in demand, merely raise their prices without substantially improving their product? Not many still in business. Unfortunately, a great number of museums are now perceived as too expensive, with potential visitors often choosing to go elsewhere.

Other institutions have tried a different tack, “improving their product” by means of major expansions. While some have been successful, all too often the results have been devastating. In many cases small operating deficits became large ones because of additional staffing, greater facilities costs and debt from insufficient capital campaigns. Increases in attendance revenues, if any, failed to meet unrealistic projections. Layoffs became necessary and some institutions ceased to exist altogether.

In 1992, the New Bedford Whaling Museum was forced to close its two-year-old Whale Discovery Center in nearby Plymouth, Mass., after attendance fell short of what was needed to break even. “We had hoped to have 75,000 visitors each year. We had 36,000 over two years,” stated then-director Anthony Zane.

There are no silver bullets in the museum business, of course, and every institution faces a somewhat different set of circumstances. The Sandwich Glass Museum on Cape Cod, aware of several failed expansions in the region, chose a different approach to the problem of seriously declining attendance. In 1998 we launched our first-ever capital campaign, raising $2.3 million — four times the institution’s operating budget. We built a glassblowing arena, a high-tech multimedia theater and new retail space. The difference was that our business plan included holding general admission fees to 1970s levels, $4.50 in 2004 dollars, and reducing group admissions fees to $1. Staffing numbers and operating expenses were budgeted at pre-expansion levels and only a stabilized attendance was anticipated, not an increase. In short, more bang for the buck, not more bucks for the same old bang.

The museum is now in its third post-expansion year. The number of paying visitors increased by 26% over that period and is now holding steady at that level, while attendance at similar area institutions has fallen by 19% during the same three-year period. A sizable operating surplus will be posted for the second year in a row. While these numbers are encouraging, the museum still has regained only one-third of the attendance lost over the past three decades.

As residents of the Boston-Washington corridor continue to favor airline over automobile vacations, the possibility of a broad uptick in attendance at rural locations is highly unlikely. Until museums face up to the real market forces at play, and cease blaming the weather or 9/11 for annual declines, we shall be reading more stories of those in serious trouble or ceasing to exist. Decades of hard work have gone into building these institutions and presenting their accumulated knowledge to millions of people. It would be a tragedy to lose even one of them.

Mr. Courson is the director of the Sandwich Glass Museum in Sandwich, Mass.

Museums, Museums Everywhere

History is representational, while time is abstract; both of these artifices may be found in museums, where they span everybody’s own vacancy.

Robert Smithson

I am sure they were always there right under my nose, all those museums – big and small – that dot the regional landscape. I just didn’t notice until I returned to New England from living in an area with fewer museums. Many of us are familiar with the larger, local, nationally-recognized institutions such as Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Manchester’s Currier Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport, Portsmouth’s Strawbery Banke, Peabody Essex Museum, Old Sturbridge Village, Plimoth Plantation, Portland Museum of Art, Vermont’s Shelburne Museum, and Newport’s The Breakers. These are all great destinations worthy of a lifetime of visits.

John Greenleaf Whittier House, Amesbury, MA
John Greenleaf Whittier House, Amesbury, MA

But what about those smaller places that aren’t quite so famous? I am referring to the many historical societies, college art galleries, thematic places, historic structures, conservation land, and other areas that are easy to miss and often difficult to find unless one stumbles upon them by accident or hears about them through a child’s class trip or from attending a friend’s wedding.

These are usually more intimate places, many of which are free and open to the public, operated by dedicated curators, staff and volunteers, and often constrained by limited funds and smaller scale exhibits. Charged with the monumental task of preserving our rich New England heritage, these innumerable jewels are rich in depth, not breadth, but their numbers compensate for the latter.

Are there really that many? Recently, a friend of ours from Massachusetts told us of a group of ladies from her church who visit a local museum every Wednesday. They’ve been doing this for five years and have never been to the same one twice! Wow. That not only says something about the group’s dedication and research, but about where we live.

John Greenleaf Whittier House Sign
John Greenleaf Whittier House Sign

The next time you’re passing through a city or town, take notice of that building with the “open” sign or the green space with the weathered plaque. Check it out because something interesting awaits you. It doesn’t need to be a long, planned process or a daylong adventure, rather a quick visit on the way to getting a coffee may suffice. Perhaps it’s even a respite from rush hour traffic, a visit with a friend before meeting for lunch, or a welcome lunchtime diversion from work stress. You may find yourself wishing for a longer visit.

So as you drive through New England, take notice of those signs by the road and get off at that next exit to visit these little treasures. You’ll find there’s a good deal more behind the sign. Please let us know what you find next time you pull over and explore a small, New England museum.

-Laura Ciampa, Palaverer Too

How about this New Year’s resolution? Explore New England.

Old Sunoco New England MapIt’s January 1st and we know what that means: introspection time and goal setting for the new year. We’ll find the inevitable weight loss, career advancement, home improvement, etc. Yawn. Yes, we have those too. Had them last year and will have them next. They’re motivating until about January 3rd. How about we (you and us) do something different? How about a resolution that goes the entire year? How about a resolution that makes us feel good? Don’t despair; we’d like to help.

Resolve to explore and discover one new thing in New England in every season. Visit a small museum in a neighboring town. Hike an interesting trail that reveals regional geological qualities. Eat at a small restaurant whose fare incorporates some local ingredients. Take a boat ride down a river or around a bay. Visit a farm. Sit on a town common. Catch a production at a local playhouse. Read a book about New England and meet the author. We could go on for hours. Need more? Check out our regular stream on twitter.

Those of us who live here are lucky because it’s easy to explore. Those who visit from out of New England are lucky, too, because we pack so much into a small area. So, what’s stopping you from getting out and veering off the beaten path? Over the year, share your experiences and you’ll realize how fortunate we are in the northeast corner of the country.

Don’t know where to start? Take a ride around your town and check out something that you’ve driven by on numerous occasions. Planned or spontaneous, the possibilities are endless.

See? No stress, very stimulating, and fun. Please keep us abreast of your travels!

Happy New Year,
-The Two Palaverers

Jingle Bells in Medford

 19th Century Salem Street, Medford, MA
19th Century Salem Street, Medford, MA

Growing up in Medford, MA, I often crossed Salem Street on my way to school and to visit friends. It wasn’t a very pretty street and like most major suburban thoroughfares, it had its fair share of gas stations, used car dealers, and home heating oil distribution companies. It did (and still does) have several good eating establishments and ethnic grocery stores. Salem Street, though, was famous for something else: one horse open sleigh rides in winter, which allegedly served as the inspiration for a local songwriter in the mid-nineteenth century.

As children, my friends and I would spend hours at the library and the historical society combing through the archives, amazed at how much the city had changed since the 1800s. In high school, I met Dr. Joseph Valeriani, head of the Medford Historical Society and chairman of the of the social studies department at Medford High School. Even though he was an administrator, Joe insisted on teaching one class: advanced placement history. Joe would interview every student applying for entrance into the course, but an applicant’s interest in local history went a long way in Joe’s decision. In that class, we read two textbooks and sixteen (no kidding) supplementary books including such titles as Gone with the Wind, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Profiles in Courage. We covered both American history and Medford history. It was in this class that Joe taught us about the origin of Jingle Bells.

James Pierpont (1822–1893), son of the minister of the Unitarian Congregation in Medford, MA, published a song called the One Horse Open Sleigh in 1857, a piece he was heard to play as far back as 1850 at Simpson’s Tavern in Medford Square. Like many old tales, details are always a bit sketchy and often contradictory. We do know, though, that he later moved to Savannah, GA and was living there when the song was officially published.

Simpson's Tavern, Medford, MA
Simpson's Tavern, Medford, MA

It should be no surprise that both Medford, MA and Savannah, GA lay claim to Jingle Bells. Having spent a good deal of time in both cities, I’ve tried to be impartial, but have to admit that I never saw snow in Savannah, but I can’t deny them “sharing” some of the claim either. Nonetheless, if it weren’t such an important and inspirational part of our culture, there would be no dispute.

Though my friend Joe is no longer with us, I often think of him this time of year, especially when I visit Medford every Christmas. Perhaps one day I’ll even see a one horse open sleigh on Salem Street. Until then, I’ll continue to tell my boys the story of Jingle Bells and recite the lyrics every year.

Best wishes during the holiday season.

-Rob Ciampa, Palaverer

One Horse Open Sleigh

James Pierpont, 1857

One Horse Open Sleigh Sheet Music
Original Publication

Dashing thro’ the snow,
In a one-horse open sleigh,
O’er the hills we go,
Laughing all the way;
Bells on bob tail ring,
Making spirits bright,
Oh what sport to ride and sing
A sleighing song to night.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh! what joy it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh! what joy it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago,
I thought I’d take a ride,
And soon Miss Fannie Bright
Was seated by my side,
The horse was lean and lank;
Misfortune seemed his lot,
He got into a drifted bank,
And we, we got upsot.


A day or two ago,
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow
And on my back I fell;
A gent was riding by
In a one-horse open sleigh,
He laughed as there I sprawling lie,
But quickly drove away.


Now the ground is white
Go it while you’re young,
Take the girls to night
And sing this sleighing song;
Just get a bob tailed bay
Two forty as his speed.
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack, you’ll take the lead.


To Palaver in New England

Strawbery Banke Portsmouth, NH. Photo courtesy of Roger H. Goun.Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth, NH – Photo by Roger H. GounThe scene is a cold, December night in 2007 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  A biting wind cuts across the Piscataqua River, scattering the few snow flurries loitering in the air and shaking the Christmas lights that adorn the trees in historic Strawbery Banke. We enter The Dunaway Restaurant, a contemporary dining establishment inside a classic New England saltbox-style home, and are welcomed by a warm fire in the hearth. We sought out this restaurant because its chef, Ben Hasty, a local who grew up on a farm in South Berwick, Maine, very much embraced the use of regional, New England ingredients all the way from legumes to lobster.

Ben’s creations were superb, ranging from his Maine oyster embellishments to his vanilla infused poached lobster. During dinner, we looked up at one another and said, “It’s good to be back in New England.” In fact, we had moved back the previous month after several years in Atlanta, Georgia. When we moved away, we knew that we would someday return. Little did we know, however, how much we would miss the many things that collectively and uniquely make New England home.

Many of our family members, friends and colleagues leave the area and never return, while others make the occasional visit back. Surprisingly, though, we’ve found growing numbers who – consciously and intentionally – make their way home. Our chef Ben Hasty, like us, came back to New England.  He stopped by to chat when our meal was done and shared his similar passion for the region.  That’s the characteristic, a deep-rooted connection to place that continually calls to those destined to return – and to those who enjoy living here.

For the past two years, we’ve been reconnecting with all six New England states. Fried clams in Rhode Island. Historic ships in Connecticut. Mountain top meadow views in Vermont. Politically-inspired breakfasts in New Hampshire. Slow walks around Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Scenic drives along the coast of Maine. Barely a week passes that we’re not enlightened by something old and something new.

We’re not sure whether it’s because we were away or that we’re just a little bit wiser, but nonetheless we’re happy to be back. And we’re equally glad to palaver about New England.

-The Two Palaverers

Epilogue: The Dunaway Restaurant closed after being sold last fall and will reopen in 2010 under another name. After the purchase, Ben Hasty joined the restaurant scene in Portland, ME, but has recently returned to Epoch Restaurant & Bar in the newly-renovated Exeter Inn in Exeter, NH.