We think ice cream joints will always be a great place for a first date. The fare is inexpensive, and while there is some danger of dropping your cone on your date's feet, ice cream is not one of those foods that can get stuck in your teeth or ruin your breath.
We're not sure why John Karanasios chose to take Barbara Robinson to Cremeland for their first date back in the 1950s, but it was definitely the right move. The couple returned to the Valley Street drive-in restaurant Saturday night to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Saturday's celebration was a surprise planned by the couple's three children — TJ Karanasios of Bedford, Tim Karanasios of Manchester, Tanya Karanasios of New York — and their families.
John and Barbara Karanasios raised their family in Bedford, but have strong ties to the Queen City.
Barbara grew up on Spruce Street, graduated from Saint Joseph School for Girls and later went on to Sacred Heart Hospital School of Nursing to become a registered nurse. After emigrating from Greece when he was 6 years old, John lived on Auburn Street. He graduated from Central High School and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy before owning and operating State Pharmacy on Elm Street for 30 years.
Their three children and seven grandchildren were there for the surprise at Cremeland Saturday. Two of the grandchildren — James and Tyler Karanasios — did a guitar/cello duet of James Taylor's “Fire and Rain” to hint at the next part of the anniversary surprise — a suite for the whole family at the Verizon Wireless Arena to see Taylor's concert.
Tanya Karanasios called her parents, “spectacular role models for a beautiful marriage.” Fifty years is certainly an accomplishment, and if it all starts with a date at Cremeland, we're headed there with our significant others right away.
We received some great news from Dan and Nadine Villafranca at Vino Aromas on Elm Street. Their try-before-you-buy wine store has just been licensed as New Hampshire's first self-service wine bar by the state Liquor Commission. Vino Aromas has had the technology to operate as a self-service wine bar since it opened in September, but until they received this special license the Villafrancas weren't allowed to let their customers do the pouring. Those bureaucrats at the state are always making it so easy for businesses to try something innovative.
Vino Aromas' customers insert a pre-paid card into machines that let them choose a 1.5-, 3- or 6-ounce glass. They can't be over-served. Dan Villafranca said this technology is also being used in some hotels and on cruise ships, where visitors can use their room keys to pour themselves a drink and have it charged to their room account.
We love the idea of being able to try a wine before buying a bottle of it — especially if it's a fancy bottle. But don't worry, human bartenders. Until these machines can learn to listen to our problems and mix a dirty martini with the right number of olives, we don't see them putting you out of work anytime soon.
Scene's Going Solo
We guess all good things must come to an end. We're breaking up this dynamic duo, as Teresa heads off to new adventures as community relations manager at Fidelity Investments.
It's been eight years since we first met, way back when Katie was community relations manager at the Union Leader. We instantly clicked and have enjoyed lots of worthwhile work and many laughs, whether it be blowing up a gigantic inflatable dog or sorting though spelling bee words. We've had a great time doing good things together in the city as part of the Union Leader's community relations initiatives, and we're sure you may just see us together socially in the future.
Katie may need a few extra eyes and ears for a while, so please don't forget to send your column tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NH365 Event of the Week
Wednesday is the Fourth of the July, but the Queen City will hold its fireworks celebration the night before. The fireworks display begins at 9:30 p.m., but there will be other festivities down at Arms Park earlier in the evening, including a performance by the 39th Army Band at 7:30 p.m. There will also be food and beverage vendors at the park. Of course there are plenty of places outside of Arms Park to view the fireworks — one of our favorites is Derryfield Park.
If you do miss the city's display on Tuesday, or if you are just too patriotic to view fireworks on any day but the Fourth, the Fisher Cats will have their own display after their game on Wednesday night.
To find a full list of Fourth of July celebrations around the state, visit www.NH365.org.