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May 10. 2013 1:06AM

Have you bought your gift for mom yet?


Craftworkers' Guild member Carol Gilmore of Manchester said finding unique gifts for mom is easy at the guild's spring fair in Bedford. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER/Union Leader Correspondent)

Finding something special for mom on Mother's Day is not always an easy task, but with a variety of activities on tap this weekend, a perfect gift or excursion may be waiting just around the corner.

The gift of flowers


A tradition for folks in the Souhegan Valley shopping for gifts for mom is to stop by the annual Amherst Garden Club's plant sale at the Wilkins School on Saturday. The sale opens at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m., and features more than 2,500 perennials dug from local gardens as well as annuals, vegetables, heirloom plants and seeds, according to club member Marti Warren.

Warren said it's not unusual for kids to arrive at the sale with their moms with "Mother's Day money" in their pockets, so the club has set up special table where they can choose a plant and pot it themselves to buy for their moms.

"They have a great time getting dirty, and the hardest thing is picking the flower they like best for a special mom," Warren said.

And the fancy baked goods sold at the sale, including pies and cakes, are something Warren brings home every year for her own family's Mother's Day festivities.



Browse local shops



In Bedford, the Craftworkers Guild's annual spring show is a popular destination for finding juried handmade local goods including jewelry, soaps, candles and other mom-friendly gifts. From high-end pieces ranging in the hundreds of dollars to sweet somethings that young kids can afford, the options are numerous, said guild members Marilyn Otterson and Carol Gilmore.

Open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Gilmore said the shop behind the Bedford Town Library gets busy with dads and kids looking for presents, and mom's picking out things they'd like to have.

Though she was helping to run the shop on Wednesday, Otterson couldn't help eying a necklace made of delicate silver ginko leaves as a perfect Mother's Day gift.

"My daughter, Lin L'heureux, is the artist who made it," Otterson said. "Maybe I'll have to drop a hint."

For moms like Maria Morgan of Bedford who like gifts that have a practical use, a stop at The Patio Barn in Amherst may offer some ideas. Morgan said she's looking for new furniture for her pool area and figured Mother's Day was a good time to offer suggestions to her family.

Morgan was drawn to a colorful row of Adirondack chairs, and Patio Barn owner Bret Wilson said she's not alone. The chairs, which retail for $349, are made by Amish craftsmen with recycled materials and come with a 20-year warranty.

"They're our biggest sellers and moms seem to love them," he said. "Some women like flowers, but others want something that allows them to relax and take a little break."



Enjoying the outdoors



For a gift that keeps on giving all summer long, Amy Bassett of the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation suggests buying moms passes to state parks and beaches. There are a variety of passes available.

The family pass ($105) allows two adults and four dependents into day parks all over the state all season. The parks include a variety of recreation options, from swimming and kayaking to hiking and mountain biking. Moms with young kids will enjoy parks with playgrounds and places to explore, Bassett said. But for ladies who like the beach, the Seacoast Parking Pass ($175) provides free parking at Hampton Beach and Wallis Sands. But the best deal going is the New Hampshire State Parks license plate which costs $80 and opens up all the state's parks and beaches to everyone in the car.

"It's a great way for moms to take her kids and go spend the day relaxing in different places," said Bassett. "And the Parks plate is truly the best deal going."

Speaking of State Parks, this weekend, the Flume will open for the season along with the Cannon Mountain tram and Echo Lake Beach. For mom's who love the great outdoors, the weather looks promising for a ride to the top of Cannon and maybe a picnic beside the lake, said Bassett.

This is also the opening weekend for cruises aboard the Mount Washington on Lake Winnipesaukee.

According to Capt. Jim Morash, the annual Mother's Day brunch on the Mount Washington marks the start to the season on Sunday. The two-and-a-half hour tour includes a champagne brunch and entertainment, and has been a popular event with families for more than 20 years.

"Mothers like it because it's more than just going out to a restaurant," he said.

Moms may also enjoy outings to the Hollis Flea Market on Sunday morning, or visiting with more than 80 antique dealers at the Milford Antiques Show at Hampshire Hills on Sunday from 8:30 to 11 am.



nfoster@newstote.com


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