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New Year’s Top 10 for the Monadnock region

  • peterborough, town house, new years, labyrinth

    peterborough, town house, new years, labyrinth

  • pboro, town house, labyrinth

    pboro, town house, labyrinth

  • pboro, town house, labyrinth

    pboro, town house, labyrinth

  • pboro, fireworks, 4th of july 2009

    pboro, fireworks, 4th of july 2009

  • Damiel Faxon will be playing the Cello during the this year's First Church in Jaffrey's annual New Year's Wassail, a mix of song and storytelling to bring in the new year.

    Damiel Faxon will be playing the Cello during the this year's First Church in Jaffrey's annual New Year's Wassail, a mix of song and storytelling to bring in the new year.

  • Gene Faxon and Eve Kodiak, the organizers of First Church of Jaffrey's New Year's Wassail, start of the ceremony of song and stories during last year's Wassail.

    Gene Faxon and Eve Kodiak, the organizers of First Church of Jaffrey's New Year's Wassail, start of the ceremony of song and stories during last year's Wassail.

  • Fourth of July fireworks.

    Fourth of July fireworks.

  • peterborough, town house, new years, labyrinth
  • pboro, town house, labyrinth
  • pboro, town house, labyrinth
  • pboro, fireworks, 4th of july 2009
  • Damiel Faxon will be playing the Cello during the this year's First Church in Jaffrey's annual New Year's Wassail, a mix of song and storytelling to bring in the new year.
  • Gene Faxon and Eve Kodiak, the organizers of First Church of Jaffrey's New Year's Wassail, start of the ceremony of song and stories during last year's Wassail.
  • Fourth of July fireworks.

The world didn’t end last week, and now the unprepared are scrambling to make plans for the upcoming New Year. And as the eve approaches, the Monadnock region is getting ready to bring in the New Year in a slew of ways. Whether you want to spend it rocking out to some live music, or something a little more quiet, whether you want to get outdoors or stay inside cozy and warm, there are options out there for everyone. And here is my list of the top 10 ways to welcome 2013, starting with number 10.

10. Stay in

Not everyone is made to party — but that’s okay. It can be just as rewarding to stoke up the fire, pop a bag of popcorn and settle in to watch the ball drop. But since that’s only about 30 seconds of good TV, why not flip to the Turner Classic Movie Channel to indulge in a classic Abbott and Costello marathon? It may surprise people to know that the famous comedy duo are responsible for more than just their often-referenced “Who’s on first” routine. Check them out in some classic 1940s and 1950s comedy, and let 2013 come in with a smile on your face.

9. Temple 5K/First Day Hike Monadnock

For those looking to shed the pounds packed on by Christmas dinners and holiday desserts, there are two places to get started with an annual resolution to get into shape on New Year’s Day.

For the outdoorsman, start the new year with a trek through Monadnock State Park in Jaffrey, on their annual “First Day Hike Monadnock.”

For new visitors, park volunteers will lead a 2-mile hike through the park, designed to let beginner hikers keep pace, which is perfect for someone like me. And New Year’s Day is the day to do your exploring, because the park will waive its day fees on Jan. 1. Registration for the hike begins at 10 a.m. at the Hiker’s Cabin. The hike begins at 10:45 a.m., and ends at 1 p.m.

If hiking doesn’t appeal, there’s the Peanut Butter Chip Chase 5k race in Temple. The race begins on New Year’s Day at the Temple Town Common at noon. The cost is $10 for Temple residents and runners 18 and younger, and $12 for all other adults. Proceeds of the race will support the Souhegan Lions Club.

8. Contra Dance

The Monadnock Folklore Society has a long tradition of folk dancing. For people looking for a way to while away the time until midnight on New Year’s Eve, take a turn at the contra dance and become part of one of Peterborough’s longest-standing traditions.

Usually, the contra dance is held on the first Saturday of the month, but New Year’s Eve is one of those events special enough to warrant an extra turn around the dance floor. This year, Nelson Town Hall has the honor of hosting the annual New Year’s Eve Contra Dance.

Whether you’re a longtime attendee or just looking to see what it’s all about, starting at 7 p.m., residents can go and get a taste of some old-time entertainment.

7. Peterborough
Labyrinth

Every year, people find comfort in walking the twisting path of the Peterborough Town House Labyrinth. The labyrinth — modeled after a similar labyrinth in the Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France — is set up on New Year’s Eve by local volunteers, and walked by those looking for a meditative experience to bring in the coming year.

Although it’s called a labyrinth, the walk has no walls or dead ends, merely a winding path the leads to the center. If what you want is a centering experience as you contemplate the challenges of the coming year, a winding walk may be just the thing.

It will be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on New Year’s Day, with no charge for admission.

6. New Year’s Wassail at First Church in Jaffrey

Usually a wassail refers to caroling, but for the First Church in Jaffrey, its annual New Year’s Wassail is a little different. Instead of walking about, spreading cheer, participants gather at the First Church to share in music and storytelling on Dec. 30.

“It’s a very joyful occasion, with people coming together to listen to beautiful music and stories. It’s a wonderful way to say hello to 2013,” said organizer Eve Kodiak.

There are musical performances by locals playing bass, guitar, mandolin, clarinet and cello, as well as singalongs and storytelling by Gene Faxon, the music director at the church. Stories will include the “Tale of the Magi,” and “Mole and Rat’s Christmas” from “The Wind in the Willows.” And of course, the night’s repertoire is topped off by the crowd joining in with, what else, a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne.”

The suggested donation for the event is $10. The Wassail begins on Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. at the First Church in Jaffrey.

5. First Night Monadnock

New Year’s Eve is one of the only nights it just might be acceptable for kids to stay up all night. And if you’re looking for a place to let them go nuts and have some fun yourself, Jaffrey’s Monadnock Bible Conference is a good place to go.

First Night Monadnock is a family-friendly way to start the New Year off with a bang. They’re offering some of the great elements of a New Year’s night, such as fireworks from Atlas Pyrotechnics at midnight, plus a few extras, such as laser tag swimming in an indoor pool. They might not be strictly traditional activities, but they’re fun nonetheless. Plus, attendees can enjoy live music performances from Christian music artists Jonas Wood, Andy Needham and the Chris Allen Band of Boston.

The festivities begin at 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and will run until 12:15 a.m. Tickets are $10 for ages 12 and up, $5 for ages 2 to 12, and under 2 guests are free; tickets may be purchased at the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Daffodils Flowers and Gifts in Jaffrey, Rousseau’s Music in Jaffrey or the Monadnock Bible Conference.

4. Andy’s Winter Gala

Before you get too busy with New Year’s fun, consider spending Friday night with the kids of Andy’s Summer Playhouse in Wilton doing what they do best, as the youth theater program gets ready for its upcoming season with an annual winter gala.

On Friday, the Monadnock Country Club in Peterborough will transform as the children that make up Andy’s cast give gala-goers a taste of the upcoming summer season, while raising the money that will help fund it. The gala is the traditional unveiling of the program’s upcoming summer plays, one of which is always a musical. But that’s not all. For those who want to dance the night away, the Temple Dance Band will provide the tunes. And while enjoying a three-course dinner, you can also try your hand at the event’s silent auction. It’s a night of good fun for a good cause, and an excellent way to start off a weekend full of New Year’s events.

The event is Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children, and are available for purchase at andysgala2013.eventbrite.com.

3. MindFull Books
Midnight Jam/Psychic Faire

MindFull Books and Ephemera in Jaffrey is closing down next month, but the local used bookstore is going out in style. Every year on New Year’s Eve, the store opens its doors to local musicians who want to play a little and share in some good company in a late-night jam session. This will be the last New Year’s Eve Jam at the current location, said owner John Sepe, but he hopes to be able to keep the tradition going at a new location next year. The jam begins at 7 p.m. and goes until midnight.

Visitors to the store New Year’s Day may get some insight into what to expect in the coming year during MindFull Books’ last Psychic Faire. With eight different psychics giving a range of readings, from smoke divination to tarot and astrology, there’s a little something for everyone interested in knowing whether or not they’ll be able to keep those New Year’s resolutions. Faire readings are 20 minutes for $25.

2. Woodbound Inn

The Woodbound Inn in Rindge knows how to throw an elegant New Year’s Eve party. A gala is what many people think of when they think of New Year’s Eve. There’s an all-you-can-eat dinner and dessert buffet, a champagne toast at midnight and a fireworks show by Atlas Pyrotechnics.

And it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without some great live music, but don’t worry the Woodbound Inn has that covered, too. The Keene-based band The Nines will be making a return appearance at the inn’s annual party again this year to provide the soundtrack for the New Year.

It has all the elements one might look for in a great party, but it’s also the priciest option on this list at $80 a ticket. But that may be a small price to pay for a memorable New Year’s Eve night.

1. The Raft Live
at Crotched Mountain

The snowstorm that started Wednesday gave Crotched Mountain, which is capable of making its own snow, a natural boost heading into the new year. The mountain will offer a special New Year’s Midnight Madness event, with live music by the Massachussetts-based band The Raft on Saturday at 9 p.m.

On Friday and Saturday night, the slopes will stay open until 3 a.m. But if you want the full Midnight Madness experience, in between shredding the slopes riders can check out the bonfire or live music on Saturday. The Raft incorporates a mix of musical styles, with a six-piece band that takes elements of rock, funk, and reggae to create its own sound.

Riders can buy a 10-hour pass for Midnight Madness at $45 for adults, $42 for those under 18; or a six-hour pass at $42 for adults and $28 for those under 18.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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