Monday, March 5, 2012

Wait Five Minutes

We've all heard the saying: "If you don't like the weather in New England, wait five minutes!" It was proved on Saturday. We were up in North Conway, NH, where the BaldMan was chief judge and I was scorekeeper for the ICS part of their annual Chilly Chili Stroll. We woke up to about 4 inches of new powder snow. Great for the ski slopes, not so great for the cooks! As the morning wore on, we got drizzle, sleet, hard rain, even some hail. By mid-afternoon, the sun was out. Air temps remained a bit chilly, and I was glad the judging area was indoors!

We were set up in the parking lot of the Mount Washington Weather Observatory Museum. When our liaison with the Mount Washington Vally Chamber of Commerce (the organizers of the event), got there at about 6:30 AM, the parking lot had not been plowed. Chili cooks started arriving shortly after, but Chris was on his cell phone, getting the plows there to clear the area right away. We did lose power for a bit in the early part of the day, but hey, with no power for the restaurants in town, people came out to taste the chili that was being served by our intrepid, outdoor-cooking chili cooks!

All in all, it was a good event and we made the 20 cooks needed to bump the status from District to Regional, which means all three winners qualify for the World's Championship in October. (The quick explanation: if it remained a District, only the verde and salsa winners would qualify for their finals at Worlds. The red winner would need to win another District, or he would be able to compete at the Last Chance cook off on Worlds Weekend at no charge.) We have a great chili family, and everyone pitched in to help the new members who joined the ICS on Saturday so we could make that magic 20.

That area of the state is just beautiful. You are surrounded on all sides by the the White Mountains. The drive up the state is a scenic joy. With the lakes region, and the mountains, you see a lot of pretty views along the way. And North Conway itself is a pretty town. Lots of tourism, of course, with all the ski areas around, but they still manage to keep a quaint atmosphere. I understand a number of people had fun at the Weather Observatory Museum, as well. They have a lot of interactive exhibits in there for hands-on activity.

Still, it is good to be home. We got an early start, as the hotel we stayed at has an early check out. We drove to Ossipee and had breakfast at the Sunny Villa restaurant there. Nice place, with a really nice bar area. (No, we did not have breakfast in the bar! It was just very pretty.) The building is set up on a hill, so you get a really nice view of the mountains. It was clear this morning, so we could see Mt. Washington in the distance. We took our time coming home, and drove a lot of non-interstate roads. Much nicer a drive than all highway, and we still got home early afternoon.

So tonight is Sunday gravy from the freezer, and relaxing. Today starts another week.

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