Sunapee’s Hames Park, a gem along the Sugar River, tells of times past

HamesParksign2013_CCSunapee, N.H. — A small park, a gem along the Sugar River in Sunapee Harbor village tells of times past.

The park’s pathway, off Main Street near the High Street Bridge, leads down into a garden and granite lined sanctuary that speaks to the power of its townspeople and the river.

In the late 1800s, many New Hampshire’s riverfront villages and towns bustled with industry and business. At the turn of the century, the Granite State was a leading producer of textiles, machinery, wood products, and paper.

In Sunapee, factories harnessed the river for power and employed a variety of workers in its shops, mills and foundries along upper and lower Main Street.

Hames Park, dedicated in 1990, details the history of hame production in Sunapee.

HamesParkwalk2013_CCA hame, made of wood or metal, is the curved part of a harness that fits around the neck of a draft animal and to which the traces (or lines) are attached.

The Sunapee Historical Society Museum at Sunapee Harbor displays wooden and metal hames and other locally manufactured items from more than a century ago.

A sign at Hames Park talks about industry along the river.

From Lake Sunapee for a distance of nearly two miles, the Sugar River has a rapid descent and this furnished some of the finest water power in the state. On this particular section of the river, there were many factories. Along with hames (which were made on this site) many other goods were manufactured: fork & hoe handles, clothes pins, paper, lumber, tanned leather, meal & flour, sashes & blinds, shoe pegs, starch, inner soles, shingles, splits and excelsior.

Hames manufacturing was big business 

The hame business in Sunapee started in 1860. Ownership changed over time as did its factory buildings that burned and were rebuilt and expanded.

Sunapee’s hame production was big business. In 1893, it turned out about 600 pair of hames per day. In 1899, the U.S. Hame Company of Buffalo, N.Y., took over the Sunapee plant.

However, with the development of the automobile and internal combustion engine that transformed transportation across the country, the demand for hames dropped and the plant closed in 1914.

More than a century ago, industry and businesses lined the river. The hame company, as did other businesses, had buildings that spanned the river.

The center of Sunapee was in the harbor village around the Hames Park area, where Central, Main and High streets came together, and where one found the essentials: post office, livery, library and shops.

The Sunapee Riverwalk, a scenic half-mile walk from the harbor to the town office building and information booth on Route 11, passes the falls at Hames Park and other historic sites along the Sugar River. Visit the park via the RIverwalk by crossing the High Street Bridge.


Garden and granite lined Hames Park in Sunapee Harbor Village tells the history of local manufacturing along the Sugar River, where the power of the townspeople and the river came together. (Photos of Hames Park sign and walkway by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee.)

Spring into Warner, Jump into the Arts

Warner, N.H. — The Warner group of the Kearsarge Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes spring with a family oriented arts festival in Warner on Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Art, music, and crafts will fill the town.

Local artists will demonstrate and musicians and dancers will perform at venues along Main Street.

  • See performances by Click Horning at Main Street Bookends, Marek Bennett at BeezInk and Walking Bear Singers at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum tent at Sugar River Bank.
  • Watch dance demonstrations and workshops by the Kearsarge Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Town Hall.
  • Help create a group mural at BeezInk. (There will be lots for kids to do with crafts and activities throughout downtown.)
  • Look for barn and book sales at the Warner Historical Society, the Pillsbury Free Library and Main Street Bookends.

Rollins State Park will be open that day so plan to include a hike up Mt. Kearsarge in your days’ activities.

For more info, visit or email:

Capture the heat: Workshop on geothermal energy for the home

Logo of the Geothermal Energy Association.Experts to describe ‘the magic of geothermal heating/cooling’ at free workshop in Andover, New Hampshire

Andover, N.H. — A workshop on residential geothermal energy systems, which capture the nearly constant 50-60-degree (f) temperature trapped below the earth’s surface and use it to heat and cool the home, will be offered by two local experts on Saturday, April 6, in Andover, New Hampshire. The program will be held at the Andover Town Hall meeting room, Main Street, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The workshop is open to the public at no charge and is the second in a series sponsored by the Andover Energy Group, a local organization of volunteers. The first, held in February and focusing on solar energy, attracted over 80 attendees.

Leading the workshop will be Dan Grace of Dunbarton, whose Capital Well Clean Water Center is described as “one of New Hampshire’s most experienced geothermal well installers,” and Bill Wenzel, head of a Merrimack heating and air-conditioning business that bears his name. Wenzel is a certified installer for the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, a non-profit organization established to advance geothermal heat pump technology.

Experienced in team presentations, Grace and Wenzel will offer an illustrated “Geothermal 101” session describing “the magic that is geothermal heating and cooling,” and answering questions. Refreshments and handout materials will be available..

Advance registration is encouraged but not required. For more information and to register, e-mail Maria Glorioso at or call 603-735-6128.

Established in 2011, the Andover Energy Group has offered several public workshops and an “energy awareness day” featuring guided tours of local homes using alternative energy sources. It also oversees local distribution of the Green Energy Times, a bi-monthly newspaper devoted to clean energy. A workshop on home weatherization and another on financing alternative-energy installations are tentatively planned for later in the spring.

Capital Comments: Briefings give budget writers plenty to ponder

Senator Bob OdellCapital Comments from State Senator Bob Odell

One newspaper’s front page headline on Tuesday read, “For NH budget writers, it’s doom and gloom.”

The article was about a long day of briefings for House and Senate Finance and Ways and Means Committee members. Every two years the House and Senate invite in economic experts and analysts to put things in perspective as the budget writing process is beginning.

I remind my colleagues that the Governor will take the first step next month when she announces her budget plan in an address to a joint session of the legislature. That address will set out her spending plans that will tell us her policy goals. And she will explain her predictions on revenue for the next two years beginning on July 1.

Here is some of the news legislators heard.

First, economic growth is anemic. It is taking us longer to recover from the recession which officially ended months ago. And New Hampshire for the first time in memory is recovering more slowly than other states in New England except for Rhode Island. New England is also recovering more slowly than the rest of the country. That’s not good. Continue reading

MV Kearsarge is afloat!


Sunday, January 13, 2013, MV Kearsarge afloat at Sunapee Harbor. Photos by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee.

The MV Kearsarge is afloat dockside at Sunapee Harbor.

Late yesterday, Saturday afternoon, salvage workers lifted the stern off the bottom of Lake Sunapee.

The restaurant boat took on icy water Thursday evening while at its berth, the town dock. The boat’s stern sank in about eight feet of water.

MVK_CC8“Still foggy, yet quieter at Sunapee Harbor on Sunday,” wrote Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee, who shares these photos. “You can hear the sound of the water pump and see the dinner boat now floating at the dock.”

Saturday the harbor was busy with hundreds of curious onlookers while the salvage crew worked throughout the day to raise the boat.

“A salvage team stabilized the vessel Friday afternoon using a sling wrapped around the boat and secured to a cable from a truck,” wrote Valley News correspondent Patrick O’Grady in the newspaper’s Sunday edition.

“Yesterday, divers placed several large airbags underneath the stern of the boat. When inflated, they began easing the boat out of the water, eliciting cheers from onlookers, many of whom were standing on the harbor ice.”

The owners of the Kearsarge (and its sister boat the MV Sunapee II), the Fenton family, expect to repair the dinner boat and have it in service for the summer.


Read related article via – Lake Sunapee MV Kearsarge sinks, awaits crane and salvage

Spring Ledge Farm recycles Christmas trees

Still have your Christmas tree and want to put it to good use? Spring Ledge Farm on Main Street in New London, N.H., is still accepting Christmas trees for recycling, but be sure to drop off your tree before Tuesday, January 15, and remove all ornaments and decorations. The farm does not take roping, garland and wreathes. Spring Ledge recycles the trees by using the chips to mulch its blueberry rows. The farm stand’s Winter Market hours: Open Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

CSC grads to talk about success: Poly-Recovery

New London, N.H. – Colby-Sawyer College graduates Mike Mooney and John Pelech, owners of Poly-Recovery, will return to campus Wednesday, November 28 at  7 p.m. to talk about  success and recycling. The program will be held at the Ivey Science Center, and will be hosted by CSC environmental studies students. The public is invited to attend.

Pelech and Mooney will share information about Poly-Recovery’s 100-mile model that handles waste, from pick up to new product manufacturing, all within 100-miles.

Poly-Recovery, in Portsmouth, N.H, has three goals: to eliminate landfill dumping, to reduce carbon waste, and to sustain both the environment and the local economy.

In 2012, the New Hampshire Business Review explained what success in recycling looks like: Portsmouth firms transform companies’ trash into opportunity.

This community program is part of the outreach underway by Kearsarge Valley Transition, a “local network of individuals, businesses and organizations that are committed to improving the well-being and resilience of our neighbors and communities now and into the future.”

For more info, visit Kearsarge Valley Transition or email:

Sunapee Dems Gottling and Tanner win N.H. House seats

Sunapee, N.H. – 84.6% of Sunapee’s registered voters cast ballots in this year’s General Election on November 6. The local vote counts are available via the town website (homepage) or you can download them here (PDF 279 kb): Sunapee General Election Results 2012

In Sullivan County House District 2 (Sunapee-Croydon), Sue Gottling (D-Sunapee) defeated one-term incumbent Spec Bowers (R-Sunapee). The vote count: 1,343 to 1,003, 57% to 43%, according to NHPR published results. Gottling won Sunapee (1,138 to 798) and split the Croydon vote (205 to 205).

In Sullivan County House District 9 (Plainfield, Grantham, Croydon, Cornish, Newport, Unity, Springfield and Sunapee) Linda Tanner (D-Sunapee) defeated one-term incumbent Tom Howard (R-Croydon). The vote count: 5,525 to 4,759, 54% to 46%. (Unity confirmed Wednesday morning for the District 9 vote count in Unity, the last town in the eight-town district to report, and it showed Tanner edging out Howard, 349 to 323.)

Sunapee breaks ground for covered bridge

During the week of July 30, the water level in the Sugar River in Sunapee slowed to a trickle and a parade of trucks, front-end loaders and cranes arrived along River Road and Main Street at Sunapee Harbor.  Excitement and curiosity grew.

All was ready, heavy duty machines, experienced hands and precise engineering.

The time had come for the ground breaking for the Sunapee Covered Bridge, a town project approved by the Sunapee board of selectmen and supported by various local committees and groups including Project Sunapee, a local non-profit. Per request of the town, Project Sunapee is serving as fiscal agent for the bridge project.

Local contributions

Under the direction of project manager Brent Stocker, Sunapee, local contractors prepared the foundations, set the precast abutments, and prepared the site for installation of the bridge, which will take place later this fall.

“This was a heartwarming show of generosity and community spirit as individuals and companies donated time and materials to accomplish this,” said Donna Gazelle for Project Sunapee. The value of the contributions is over $15,000.

The local contractors working on the project include Ted Gallup, Robert Gallup, Kevin Barton, Mark Usko, Carroll Concrete, Peter Hill, United Construction, Josh Stocker and Rick Geddes and crew.

The 10-ton abutments, pre-cast by United Concrete Company, Conn., and trucked to Sunapee, were contributed by the Gavin family.

“This was the best show in town to the delight of dozens of onlookers,” said Gazelle.

“Several were so enthusiastic about the project, they wrote checks or made pledges to the project while on site.”

The bridge components are expected to arrive from Western Wood Structures, Oregon, by October 1. The bridge will then be assembled on River Road and placed by crane onto the abutments.

Generous commitments of materials and labor to help offset the cost of this stage of construction is in hand, according to Gazelle.

Now, the final phase of fundraising is underway to cover lighting, signage, landscaping and installation of the stone walkway. Personalized granite stepping stones will be included in the walkway and are available for purchase by the public. An order form for ordering is available at:

Connecting the past with the future

A pedestrian bridge spanning the Sugar River behind the historic Harbor House Livery (Old Town Hall building) is not a new idea. In the mid-80s, a town commissioned study of re-use of the old town hall, the Mirski Report, presented the concept.

What will it look like when complete? A conceptual sketch by James Wassell, Rock Maple Studio, Sunapee, is available on the Sunapee Bridge website. And photos and more information, is available at:

A scale model (shown here) of the Sunapee Pedestrian Covered Bridge was created by Brent Stocker, Stocker Woodworks, Sunapee.

The Sunapee Covered Bridge will provide “an architectural attraction linking the Sunapee Harbor area to the alluring parks along the Sugar River as well as providing access to parking for local historic buildings and other valued surrounding businesses.,” according to the project website.

“This bridge is a major step toward a revitalized Sunapee Harbor/Village, fostering a vibrant mix of community and commercial space in our town center.”

Photos courtesy of Project Sunapee.

>>> For more information, email:

>>> Contributions (made payable to Project Sunapee) can be mailed to Project Sunapee, PO Box 602, Sunapee, NH 03782.

Warner hosts cooking demos: Eat Fresh with the Market Chef

The Warner Area Farmers Market has scheduled outdoor cooking demonstrations Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The series — “Eat Fresh with the Market Chef” — focuses on local foods in season and continues for most Saturdays until October 13, 2012. The farmers market is held on the Town Hall lawn, 9 to noon.

Presenters include chefs from:

  • local restaurants
  • presenters from local organic farms
  • a market that features NH made food products and
  • the UNH cooperative extension office.

“We have an amazing line-up with a variety of topics,” said Suzanne Bohman,  manager of the Warner Area Farmers Market.

Topics include summer salads and salsa, family menus using fresh ingredients, healthy cooking, mozzarella cheese from local milk, and tamales using local corn.

There is something for everyone—from the gourmet foodie to the busy mom wanting a simple but healthy meal. Our presenters will focus on fresh ingredients put together in creative ways. In most demos, recipes will be available and samples will be given away. – Suzanne Bohman from the Warner Area Farmers Market

For more info and schedule updates, check Facebook or email:

>>> Download/view the event poster (197KB): Eat Local Eat Fresh with the Market Chef.

The series is a result of the Warner Area Farmers Market participating in a project funded by the Capital Area Wellness Coalition, a collaborative volunteer organization in Concord dedicated to creating a healthier community.

The goal of the Healthy Foods Subcommittee in 2012 is to increase community access to healthy locally produced food.

This project has been supported by Kearsarge Area Eat Local (KAEL), a group of volunteers dedicated to increasing accessibility to local foods by cultivating relationships between farmers, growers and consumers and by the Warner Area Farmers Market, a source of fresh local products since 1974.

Sunapee “ice cream kids” hold Solar Open House, June 3

Beck Johnson (shown here scooping ice cream) opened the ice cream stand in 2010. He was age 10 at the time. He says the solar project is about ” social responsibility” that includes conserving energy, saving natural resources and reducing waste.

The “ice cream kids” at Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream on Route 103 in Sunapee are holding a Solar Open House on Sunday, June 3, from 12 to noon.

Beck Johnson, age 12, and his sister Maranda, 17, want you to know that the scoop shop is now powered by renewable energy… from the sun.

They completed the solar project in February 2012. And you can earn about the installation on Sunday.

Experts from New England Solar Concepts and On Point Energy Solutions will be on hand to answer questions and discuss renewable energy.

The system is fixed mounted, Mage photovolatic cell panels that supply electricity to the ice cream shop and the home. Excess electricity feeds back into the grid.

Stop by, take a tour, learn about solar energy, and enjoy some ice cream.

Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream, 209 Route 103, is open daily: Monday-Thursday, 2-8 p.m., and Friday-Sunday, 12-9 p.m.

The farm stand, located across from the ice cream windows, offers New Hampshire dairy products and local produce and baked goods. It is open daily Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Imagine Sunapee IDs community “ideas, dreams and opinions”

Sunapee Harbor Riverway and Project Sunapee gathered “a fantastic variety of ideas, dreams and opinions” from Imagine Sunapee…2020, a pubic forum held at Sunapee Harbor in March 2012.

The two groups, the Riverway and Project Sunapee, sponsored the forum that attracted wide participation by local committees and non-profits.

Event organizers recently shared what they learned:

“Citizens of Sunapee see a need for more contact and communication with other people in town. The seasonal nature of our population, the lack of a town center and the absence of a year round gathering place were some of the reasons given for our unique challenge in meeting this need.”

“Our townspeople have lots to say about the future of Sunapee! They have strong feelings about the things they care about, and there is great support for efforts to enhance the feeling of community.”

To read/download the feedback gathered at the forum, click on Imagine Sunapee Forum – Feedback (PDF 3.2 MG).

The idea behind the forum was to offer a venue where civic groups and committees could share information about their work and goals and where members of the public could ask questions and offer their own ideas and suggestions.

Organizers want to reconvene in early summer to “continue the conversation.”

To receive an event notice, contact Project Sunapee, email:

Imagine Sunapee committee members are Sue Mills, Muriel Bergeron, Janet Haines, Donna Gazelle, Barbara Sullivan and Mike Durfor.

Three ideas from the forum that generated the most interest were identified as:

  1. A year round coffee shop in town, which was the “far the most popular dream!”
  2. A physical, year round place (for clubs, youths and seniors) to gather for various events and activities: recreation, social functions, arts and music performances, farmer’s or crafts markets, birthday parties, etc.
  3. A farmer’s/crafts market

Other popular ideas include:

  • Organized beach games
  • Winter carnival
  • Sunapee mini triathlon
  • Street dances
  • Community garden
  • Mountain bike trails
  • Ice fishing derby
  • Outdoor movies by the river
  • Community event like ‘Old Home Day’
  • Organized walking group
  • Sledding parties
  • More nature trails
  • Youth center with a place for dances
  • Year-round harbor restaurant

People also said they’d like to have an on-line events calendar; open Beach Street to traffic; renovate the town’s elementary school; and build a new town library.

And here are more ideas from the forum:

  • Film festival
  • River front amphitheater for music, readings, contemplation
  • Toboggan run on to the Lake
  • Rowing regatta
  • Grocery store
  • Neighborhood competitions: block parties, canoe races, games, and “fun like in the old days”
  • Tea room
  • Breakfast on the M.V. Kearsarge

“Ambitious ideas” included:

  • Establishing a local TV/cable station
  • Having a turf soccer field
  • Installing lights and sidewalks on Main Street
  • Removing the poison ivy at Dewey Beach
  • Providing more opportunities for local agriculture
  • Paving on High and Maple streets and North Road

Roundabout ConceptImagine Sunapee also asked people to consider and give ideas about the town’s master plan and its implementation.

People could offer their ideas for Sunapee’s future by using a spontaneous “whatever comes into your head” method and by “dot voting” for suggestions posted on various displays.

Sunapee Harbor Riverway Corporation, founded in 1992 to “preserve and protect” the lakeside village, owns several properties at Sunapee Harbor including those that house the Anchorage Restaurant, Wild Goose Country Store, Sargents Marina, Harborside Trading, Sunapee Harbor Sweet Shop and Deli, and Quack Shack Ice Cream. It also owns Pete’s Shed, the home to Jenkins Dance and Gymnastics, Slavin’s Haven Preschool, Sine-Wave Technologies and the Sunapee Harbor Riverway office.

Project Sunapee is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to supporting and encouraging economic vitality and education, cultural and historic assets, scenic landscapes and the social well being of our community.”

Photos courtesy of Project Sunapee.

Capital Comments: Senate colleauges applaud Matt Houde

From State Senator Bob Odell

In the State Senate your age or length of service are not measures of the respect your colleagues have for you. Matt Houde (Plainfield) has proven that.

The Senate will meet in regular session just one more time, on June 6, so tradition calls for departing Senators to make some farewell remarks leading up to our final day in Concord. That started last week when Senator Ray White (Bedford) did a roll call of departing Senators with some special and often humorous comments. Senator White is leaving the Senate himself after just one term.

When he came to Matt Houde, Senator White called him a “class act” and noted that as one of the five members of the minority in the Senate, he has often been on the “losing side” over the past two years. But Senator Houde never lost his patience nor took things personally or even raised his voice in debates.

The week before Senator Houde had received a standing ovation from Senators for his work leading the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is the only member of the minority to have a committee chairmanship and the reward was an avalanche of bills to manage through the legislative process. This year more bills found themselves in Senator Houde’s committee than any other. Continue reading

Sunapee Happenings: Harbor festivities to Transit of Venus

♦ Sunapee Harbor businesses will kick off the season on Thursday, May 24, from 5:30-8 p.m., with festivities for all: music, local culinary treats, boat tours, door prizes and area artists. The Sunapee Historical Society will also be open.

♦ The Sunapee Historical Society will host a book signing on Sunday, May 27, 2-4 p.m., at the historical society museum at Sunapee Harbor. “The ‘Lake Sunapee’ books have arrived!” writes Becky Rylander, SHS president. “Paul Rheingold will be present to sign his wonderful new postcard history book.” Books will be available for purchase, and are now available at Ron Garceau’s SooNipi office on Central Street, Sunapee.

♦ Second Beginnings Children’s Boutique invites you to its Grand Opening celebration at its Sunapee store, Sunapee Center, Sargent Road, on Saturday, June 2, from 10 to 4.  The shop offers new and gently used children’s clothing, books, toys and equipment at affordable prices. All proceeds support Good Beginnings of Sullivan County, a non-profit serving area families.

♦ Attention, star-gazer! Join a Transit of Venus Party in Sunapee on June 5, 2012. (On Facebook, go to

One of the rarest astronomical phenomena will occur for the last time in our lifetimes. The transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth. The planet is seen as a small black dot against the large Sun.

We are looking for volunteers to help make viewing apparatuses, informational posters, and help with getting the word out to friends. Most importantly, we are looking for suggestions for a great location to view the western sky. – David Rowell

Second Beginnings: Open in Sunapee

Looking for summer clothes for the children?

Second Beginnings Children’s Boutique, at the Sunapee Center on Sargent Road, offers new and gently used children’s clothing at affordable prices.

The shop opened five months ago, and sells clothing in sizes infant to adult, children’s toys and books, maternity wear and infant supplies.

All proceeds from Second Beginnings support Good Beginnings of Sullivan County and the agency’s mission “to promote the optimal health and development of New Hampshire children and families,” says Executive Director Ellie Tsetsi.

Kara Santi, Sunapee, along with a team of volunteers manage the shop. It’s open Monday through Saturday, 10 to 4.


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