So, how's your first of two fabulous February Vacation weeks going?
My late brother Steve Eastman (1949-2008), co-founder of The Mountain Ear, always used to say, “Give me a winter with a good Christmas Week and a good February vacation week, and things will be fine.”
Well, Steve, you finally got your wish, as it appears that everyone is having a strong week following Nemo the Nor-easter and small snowstorms, just as most places did when we got that Christmas storm just prior to the holiday week.
And, we may be in for more snow this Saturday — anywhere from 3 to 6 inches, according to one computer model, or 10 to 12. “It will be the third weekend in a row that a snowstorm will impact parts of the region,” notes AccuWeather's Alex Sosnowski Thursday.
Imagine: snow, great conditions, and lots of visitors. Who could ask for more, right?
“We're having a great week, up over last year,” said Dick Delaney, co-owner of Delaney's Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant of North Conway, and president of the Valley Originals group of independent restaurants, when we called at lunchtime Thursday, yet another mostly sunny day. “Lunch has been slower the past few days, but nights have been busy.”
(Lunch, we opined, may be slower because people in this good weather have actually been outside, enjoying the conditions).
“I've heard nothing but good reports on the conditions from guests,” said Dick.
Thomas Prindle, marketing director for both Attitash and Wildcat, said Thursday that when you add Martin Luther King Weekend, it's been a trifecta so far.
“MLK weekend was also good, so along with Christmas Week and now this first February vacation week, things are fabulous. We're 100 percent open at Attitash, and Wildcat has 42 trails. Other than Monday, when we had some high winds and had to shut down Wildcat, it's been a good week, with more snow and great events this weekend. It's all good for the local ski industry,” said Thomas.
We stopped by the Red Parka Wednesday night to hear Jonathan Sarty play music for Jerry's Freeride Series for apres (work), and the place was packed at that. Jonathan played his usual great tunes, and always congenial barkeep Jerry Montague of Jerry's Old Fashioned Bloody Mary Mix fame did ticket drawings for all sorts of ski schwag prizes. Dick's brother, Paul Delaney, is the lounge manager, and he was happy with the crowd.
While at the Red Parka, I spoke with George O'Brien, husband to Red Parka co-owner Terry O'Brien. He and Terry had just returned Friday night after a week skiing in Idaho with former Attitash general manager Tom Chasse and wife Donna at Schweitzer, where Tom is now the general manager. He said the Parka has been slamming since they got back last Friday.
A short time later Wednesday night, we stopped by Open Mic at the Wolverine Grill. For the second week in a row, there was quite a crowd, much to musical host Simon Crawford's delight.
There were many, many musical highlights, but three stood out: the first was Mountaintop Music youngsters, Riley Parkhurst, 13, and a guitarist named Peter, 12, were accompanied on drums by Riley's dad, hockey announcer Dan Parkhurst, on such tunes as “Mustang Sally” and “Love Potion No. 9.” In honor of what would have been Curt Cobain's 46th birthday, they opened their rockin' set with a cover of Nirvana's “Come As You Are.”
They had appeared at the Wolverine a few weeks back and stole the show that night as well, I'm told.
Another highlight was the performance by incredibly talented keyboardist and vocalist Heather Pierson, accompanied by bass and two saxophonists, performing several bluesy Bonnie Raitt tunes. Also turning heads was the performance by Headband, a group which also won 'em over Monday at Open Mic at the Parka, according to US Army Rangers veteran and Red Parka employee Joe Medeiros.
Great stuff, and all for free. Simon Crawford says a musical “Tribute to Rod MacKenzie” is scheduled for Feb. 27, so that ought to be a BIG night, too. Rod sadly passed at age 61 Dec. 24 from cancer. The show will be the first in a series of shows around the valley featuring selected performers, notes Simon.
VALLEY'S GOT TALENT: Among those in the audience taking names at the Wolverine this week was Edith Houlihan, the stage director for the upcoming March 9 show, “The Valley's Got Talent.”
Last year's show at the Leura Hill Eastman Center for the Arts was a big hit, and this year's promises to be another when it returns to the same splendid location at 7 p.m. March 9. Proceeds benefit the white Mountain Community Health Center.
Auditions are set for M&D Productions on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. The first-place winner receives $500, second $250 and third a gift basket worth $100.
Dennis and Davey are hosting. Purchase tickets ahead of time and guarantee you a seat at this superb venue. Tickets are $10 in advance.
CHAMBER AFTER HOURS: Yours truly was the lucky winner of two free tickets to the March 9 show at this month's Chamber After Hours, held by the MWV Chamber at the Leura Hill Eastman center Tuesday evening.
It was quite the classy affair, with a baby grand in the lobby, and sushi prepared by the always superb Oxford House Inn's Jonathan and Natalie Spak.
Events were moved into the auditorium for the business part of the meeting, at which time it was announced that the following day, Feb. 20, was chamber executive director Janice Crawford's 60th birthday.
We join the rest of the valley in saluting Janice for her dedication to the chamber these past 16 years.
ON THE TOWN: In other birthday salutes, happy belated to Sun entertainment editor Alec Kerr (the big 3-0 Feb. 16), happy 281st b-day to the original George Dubya, our nation's first president, George Washington, and upcoming, happy happies to Deborah Fauver (2-23), and Vicki Hill and Carole Patterson (both 2-24)...FLY ME: Congrats to Sandra Steele of the team-leading Mountain Mamas, as she retired after 40.7 years as a flight attendant with Delta Jan. 1...APRES SKI TOUR: WMWV and RedHook present the second and third stops of the RedHook Audible Ale Ultimate Apres Ski Tour Feb. 22 at Horsefeathers and Feb. 23 at Hillbilly's. The tour kicked off with lots of ski schwag giveaways at the Wolverine Thursday night...The MWV Ski Team's Ski Gala was fun at the Grand Summit last Saturday night, with lots of great prizes, including skis, Red Sox tickets ad more. Wacky Maine comedian Bob Marley entertained...The Wildcat Ski Team is holding a fund-raising auction at Wildcat Saturday morning and early afternoon, also with some great prizes...ENTRAIN: The always percussively-fascinating Entrain returns to Theater in the Wood in Intervale Feb. 23 for a 7:30 p.m. BYOB show. Call 356-8890 for tickets...Roomful of Blues is at the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center March 1 at 7:30 p.m. Call (207) 935-9232 for tickets...Host/musician Jonathan Sarty appeared at Tuesday's Chamber After Hours with producer Vince Pelote to remind one and all that the next Cold River Radio Show returns to the Theater in the Wood March 10. The show will feature local New York Times best-selling author, Lisa Gardner, as well as Quebec's de Temps Anton, and storytellers Lauretta Phillips and Cora Chiampi. Stay tuned for additional music acts. Advance tickets are at White Bitch Books and at J-Town Deli. Visit www.coldriverradio.com for further information about this very cool entertainment variety show series...TABLET GIVEAWAY: Be sure to visit our website, conwaydailysun.com, and watch the daily news update or valley ski report for updates on how you can enter to win a tablet (either a Galaxy Tab 2 or an IPadmini). It’s easy and fun to enter. The contest runs through March 3, with a new word every day, so keep watching…OSCAR PARTY: So, do you think “Lincoln” will sweep the Oscars Sunday night? Come dressed as your favorite celebrity, and join “Lost in Movies” Ch. 3 host Alec Kerr and George “Mountain Mouth” Cleveland at Your Theatre Feb. 24 for an Oscar party. Doors open at 7 p.m. Call 662-7591 for the scoop...REDSTONE ROCKET: Good luck to the Redstone Rocket, as local boy Jeff Locke pitches for Pittsburgh against Tampa Bay Saturday in Tampa Bay in a spring training game at 1:35 p.m...That's all for this week. Enjoy the incoming snow, no matter how much of it falls, and get ready to blast off for February Vacation Week Part II. So this is what it feels like to have some old-fashioned normal winter weather!