Sunapee Riverfest: Come Celebrate Community July 20

Celebrate summer and celebrate community at the Sunapee Riverfest on Sunday, July 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. along River Road, Sunapee Harbor village. Sponsored by Project Sunapee, the event promises lots of fun, frolic and food. There will be games of luck and skill for all, a rubber duck race, a bakers’ contest with blue ribbon awards, and plenty of food from BBQ chicken to desserts. In attendance will be the ‘Lil Red Baron’s Caboose, Madi’s Hot Dog Wagon, and the ice cream kids from Sanctuary Dairy Farm. The Whiskey Stones band and Sunapee’s own Time Travelers will offer music. For a complete list of activities and participating organizations and for ticket information, visit Project Sunapee.







Sunapee Sightings: Along River Road


RiverRoad_CC_2014Apr Sunapee Sightings: How about a short walk?  Enjoy River Road in Sunapee Harbor Village, where you can take in the scenery and sights along the Sugar River. Enjoy the new Sugar River Bridge and the Sunapee Riverwalk, a 1/2 mile trail from the harbor dam to the Information Booth on Route 11. To share your favorite walking path or hiking trail in and around Sunapee, leave a reply. Photo by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee.

Sunapee’s Harbor House Livery to host arts & crafts show


An arts and crafts exhibit and sale will be held at the historic Harbor House Livery in Sunapee Harbor Village, on Sunday, October 13,  noon to 4 p.m. Photo of the Sugar River bridge and HHL is by Charlotte Carlson, one of the local participants in the show.

Sunapee, N.H. — Local artisans will show their wares at an arts and crafts exhibit and sale on Sunday, October 13, 2013, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Harbor House Livery in Sunapee Harbor Village.

Participants include League of N.H. Craftsmen members: mixed media artist Cherie DeAugustinis (3-Delusional Art) and fiber artists Joyce Murphy Gale (Unique Ewe) and Marie Wiggins (Harbor Gallery).

Stocker Graniteworks also will be attending with their American Bead Collection.

And showing their latest work will be photographer Charlotte Carlson (notes, totes and prints); Eleanor “Ellie” White, who transforms pashmina into wearable art; spinner and weaver Chris Alexander; wood turner Joe Watts; and Sarah Bocko, with silver and bead jewelry.

Project Sunapee is organizing and sponsoring the event, which will include a video display of the building’s history. Docents will be on hand to share information about the circa 1890 landmark.

For more info, email:

Sunapee celebrates covered bridge opening Sept. 15

SunapeePedBridge2013Sunapee, N.H. — “Following the ribbon cutting, be among the first to cross the bridge!”

Project Sunapee and the Town of Sunapee Bridge Committee invite the public to the dedication and opening of the new pedestrian bridge in Sunapee Harbor village on Sunday, September 15, 2013.

The festivities start at noon along the banks of the Sugar River on River Road.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will include recognizing honored guests and thanking all who donated monies and materials to the project and, most importantly,  thanking the volunteers who actually built the bridge.

The celebration will include music by the Time Travelers and the Whiskey Stones, refreshments from Rocky Cannoli’s hot dog cart and Sanctuary Dairy Farm ice cream, and lemonade and cookies from Sunapee bakers.

For additional information, bridge history and photos, visit:

Courtesy photo.

Read related article: Sunapee sets date for placing covered bridge (

Big happenings at Sunapee Harbor this September

Sunapee opens covered bridge at Sunapee Harbor on Sept. 15

Sunapee dedicates its new pedestrian bridge at Sunapee Harbor on Sunday, September 15, 2013, at noon. The announcement invites the public to gather on the banks of the Sugar River for the ribbon cutting and the opening of the bridge, which connects River Road and Main Street next to the Harbor House Livery.

For more information, visit Project Sunapee, Sunapee Bridge.

Lake Sunapee Chowder Challenge logo

Who has the best chowder around?

Come to the Sunapee Chowder Challenge on Sept. 29.

The Sunapee Parent Teacher Organization will be holding its 13th Annual Sunapee Chowder Challenge on Sunday, September 29, 2013, from noon to 3pm at Sunapee Harbor.

The tasty competition attracts local restaurants and chowder enthusiasts to determining who has the best chowder around!

Last year, The Farmer’s Table, Grantham, won in three categories: Judge’s, People’s, and Kid’s choice awards.

Sunapee’s Sanctuary Dairy Farm with Rich  Ducharme and to Lil’ Red Baron restaurant, Newport, were also recognized for their chowder.

Sunapee Harbor boat ramp to close for Chowder Challenge

The Sunapee Harbor boat ramp will be closed on Sunday, September 29 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Sunapee Chowderfest held at the harbor.

The police will direct the public to use the Georges Mills boat ramp during this time. The selectmen voted to close the ramp at their August 26 meeting.

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.)

Sunapee Historical Society program: Industry along the Sugar River

Sunapee Historical Society Museum

Photo: Sunapee Historical Society Museum at Sunapee Harbor. Summer hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m., and Wednesday evenings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Sunapee Historical Society Event: Thursday, July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Sunapee Historical Society Museum, Sunapee Harbor

History of Business and Industry Along the Sugar River

The Sugar River begins at Sunapee Harbor and travels down through the village.  Sawmills, machine shops, and many other businesses depended on the river for power. Come learn about this aspect of Sunapee’s historic past. Open to the public free of charge.

Sunapee Sighting: Have you seen a bald eagle recently?


Sunapee, N.H. – Have you seen a bald eagle recently?

Might an eagle pair be in the process of establishing a breeding territory in the Lake Sunapee watershed?

A recent Sunapee Sighting posted on prompted Rem Mastin, Sunapee, to comment:

“Speaking of Sightings: A few days ago, while heading toward Newport, on Rt. 11 before Rt 103, close to the Treatment Plant road [in Sunapee], I was distracted for a moment as a beautiful BALD EAGLE flew right down the Sugar River by the highway. Did anyone else have any current sightings in that area?”

In mid-December (2012), Susan Parmenter, Sunapee, who is a keen observer of nature and birds, snapped this photo of a bald eagle on a patch of ice in Job’s Creek, Lake Sunapee. At the time, the lake had not yet frozen over. Several days later, she also saw a bald eagle flying along the Sugar River in Claremont, N.H.

A bald eagle “soaring over the Newbury side of Lake Sunapee near the State Beach,” around 4 p.m. on February 16, was posted on And Kittie Wilson, author of “All Things Pleasant on the Lake” wrote about bald eagles sightings this winter around Pleasant Lake in New London.

Bald eagles in the Connecticut River region

The Sugar River, a tributary of the Connecticut River, flows west from the outlet of Lake Sunapee at Sunapee Harbor, along Wendell Marsh, and then through Newport and Claremont. The Sugar River joins the Connecticut across from Ascutney, Vermont.

All tributaries of the Connecticut River north of the Massachusetts state line are part of a “recovery initiative” — the Connecticut River Bald Eagle Restoration and Habitat Protection Project, Chris Martin writes in NH Audubon Afield (Spring 2013). Martin is a senior biologist at NH Audubon. He coordinates a statewide bald eagle monitoring and management program under a contract between NH Audubon and NH Fish & Game.

“An amazing resettlement by eagles is underway on the Connecticut, as pairs reclaim ancestral breeding areas that have been vacant for decades,” Martin reports.

See: Bald Eagles: New Hampshire’s regal predators reclaim the Connecticut by Chris Martin

“Recovery of the bald eagle population across the Granite State mirrors the rebound taking place in the Connecticut River watershed,” according to Martin. “Across New Hampshire in 2012, biologists confirmed 35 territorial pairs of eagles. Twenty of these pairs had productive nests, and a total of 33 young eagles fledged.”

In New England, adult bald eagles live essentially year-round within their breeding territories. They can be found near their nests in any season. Nests tend to be located high in white pines or cottonwoods and close to predictable food resources found in the always-open water below dams, near rapids, or in tidal areas. Other pairs capitalize on food sources available at livestock farms or local highway department road-kill dumps. An eagle pair maintains their nest throughout the year, but nest-building activities really ramp up as the breeding season arrives in February. Most pairs in New Hampshire will lay eggs in March, hatch young in April, and fledge full-sized 11 to 12-week-old juveniles in July. – Senior Biologist Chris Martin for NH Audubon

To comment or if you have an eagle sighting or other Sunapee Sighting to share, please leave a reply.

See NH Audubon (for info and birding resources, including sightings and list serves) and NH Fish & Game.

Sunapee Historical Society: Winter newsletter previews summer projects

SunapeeHistoricalSocietyAlthough the Sunapee Historical Society Museum at Sunapee Harbor is closed during winter, members are open for business researching and seeking out information for the Society’s summer projects.

In the recently published SHS Winter 2013 newsletter, President Becky Fitts Rylander previewed each of these programs:

  • A program on summer camps. This will be done in conjunction with our friends in other towns, coordinated through PALS (our Partners Around Lake Sunapee). Each town will focus on camps that operated within its boundaries. If you have any information about or photos of Camp Sunapee (a boy’s camp on Lake Ave. 100 years ago), please let us know. We have a photo and brochure for Camp Manauke, a girl’s camp on Star Island in the 1920s, but would welcome more. Any others?
  • Industries along the Sugar River. With a new pedestrian bridge being built in the spring behind the Harbor House Livery, we think this year will be a good time to explore all the industries that lined the river between the Harbor and Coffin Park. That area looked quite different a century ago. We have some information and photos, but would welcome more.
  • The old information booth. Despite our best intentions last summer, this 1929 vintage building still needs to be restored—and we still need help to get that done. If carpentry is up your alley, please let us know.

To volunteer or exchange information, email

To download/view the Winter 2013 newsletter, visit the Society’s website: A membership form is also posted on the website.

Open House at Harbor House Livery, Sunapee Harbor, Sept. 30

The Harbor House Livery, the historic town building on Main Street, Sunapee Harbor village, will hold an Open House during the Lake Sunapee Chowder Challenge on Sunday, September 30, from noon to 3 p.m.

The public is invited to stop-in, learn about the building’s history and meet members of the Harbor House Livery Committee, a town committee appointed to study and make recommendations for the building’s future.

Located on the edge of the Sugar River, a short distance from the outlet for Lake Sunapee, this well-known regional landmark was built in the late 1880s.

In 2008, it was listed as one of the Seven to Save historic landmarks in New Hampshire and was listed on the N.H. State Register of Historic Places.

“An early photo shows a different looking building with a sign on it that says: M.F. Knowlton Livery and Feed Stable. Just beyond it in the photo is the Sunapee Harbor Hotel. On a map of Sunapee Harbor dated 1892, it shows the S.A. French Livery in the same location,” local historian Ron Garceau explains.

In a narrative prepared for the Harbor House Livery Committee, formerly the Old Town Hall Committee, Garceau wrote:

In 1920, the building, then owned by Bert Sawyer, was deeded to the Town of Sunapee. In 1926, Moses Knowlton purchased and donated the Town Clock to top off the building.

The interior consists of three floors above ground level. On the ground level, wagons could drive under the building, in one side, out the other. While parked under the building, manure from the horse stalls on the first floor could be shoveled through hatches in the floor.

The first floor still contains the horse stalls, with the names of the horses tacked above the stalls. There is a spiral wooden ramp to lead horses from this floor to the second floor (street level). This ramp was obviously used quite a bit, and is somewhat unique. After WWII, this floor was used for storage by the town. There are some old civil defense helmets still in one of the stalls.

The street level, or second floor, was used to keep the buggies and tack. About the time that gas c.1920s), the building became used as a town fire station, and a fire truck was kept in this garage area. (Older trucks were smaller than today’s.)

The third floor was used as a meeting room, but as with the rest of the main structure, was not insulated, had no heat or plumbing.

Since 1920, the building has been used as a town office, it housed the Municipal Court, was home to the Sunapee Water & Sewer Department, has provided storage for the recreation committee, housed the Sunapee Police Department, and is currently home of the Sunapee Thrift Shop.

Sunapee Sighting: Do you know where this is?

Do YOU know where in Sunapee this is?

Send your answer or share information about this memorial in Sunapee with a reply or a message via Sunapee News on Facebook.


Congratulations if you identified the previous Sunapee Sighting. See below.

The millstone is in Coffin Park, between the Sunapee Town Offices on Edgemont Road and the Sugar River and along the Sunapee Riverwalk.

The plaque reads:


Photos by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee.

Have a photo or video for a future Sunapee Sighting?

Contact Sunapee News.

Celebrate summer at Sunapee’s Riverfest August 7

“Tasty food, toe-tapping music and tons of fun games” will be part of Riverfest, a community celebration in Sunapee next Sunday. It will take place along the banks of the Sugar River between Maple and High streets in the harbor village area of town.

Date and time: August 7 from 4:00 to 8:30 pm.

Project Sunapee, a local non-profit, is sponsoring the event and here’s what’s planned…

  • A “Best in NH” pig roast by chef Scott Call. BBQ Chicken. Veggie Burgers. Hot dogs and more.
  • A call to bakers to bring their best pies and cookies. After the judges award the blue ribbons, the desserts will be served for all to enjoy.
  • Dancing in the street with renowned fiddler, contra and barn dance caller Dudley Laufman.
  • Music with Track 13–Pirozzoli, Putnam, Putnam and Flewelling.
  • Old fashioned carnival games for all ages.
  • Face painting, balloons and “serendipitous surprises!”

For ticket information, go to: or email:

Proceeds will go toward Sunapee’s covered bridge campaign. Read more about the project in Project Sunapee’s July 2011 newsletter available on-line.

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.

Lake level is high with spring rains and snow melts

The local lake association is alerting Lake Sunapee property owners about making sure items are stored well above the water level along their shore and in their boat and shore front structures.

The lake level is now around 11.0′ on the Sunapee Harbor gauge. This is “at the high end” of the operating range (8.0′ to 11.0′) defined by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, according to June Fichter, the executive director of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.

“A great amount of water is now flowing through the dam,” said Fichter. “There is little that can be done when soils are saturated, snow and ice is melting and rains continue. Likewise, at times of low water level, by law, NH-DES must allow a certain flow through the dam to maintain minimum flows in the river.”

Looking at long-term averages for this time of year, with average precipitation, melt and saturation conditions, the Sunapee lake level is generally  10.2’ to 10.4’ on the harbor gauge. This is 7 to 9.5 inches lower than present level. Higher levels than the present have also been seen.

“The control of flow or allowable flow through the dam is more complicated than lake level alone.  There are minimum flows established for the Sugar River, based primarily on required volumes needed for assimilation of sewage treatment plant releases, and there are maximum levels based on potential flood damage downstream,” added Fichter.

A measurement of 10.5′ on the gauge, which corresponds to an elevation of 1,093.15′ above sea level, is considered the “full lake” or the desired lake level from June 1 though summer.

View or download the chart (197kb PDF) by clicking on: Sunapee Precipitation vs Lake Level 2010. Chart provided by the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.

Reveling in the snow…Sunapee in winter

Near Sunapee Harbor, the Sugar River filled with mallards. Photo by Jim Block.

By Jim Block

Winter in the Sunapee area is wonderful, and this year has been spectacular.

A friend from Boston comments that he is really tired of the snow, while most of us are reveling in it. There are snowshoe hikes along the SRK [Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge] Greenway, cross-country and downhill skiing available with minimal travel, and numerous other ways to laugh at the cold and play in the snow.

A driving tour around Lake Sunapee can be a rewarding excursion with or without a camera.

How many harbors and other locations are there on the lake with public access in winter? More than you might realize. I can think of ten quickly, and I am likely missing several.

  • I took some photos in Sunapee, Burkehaven, and Newbury Harbors in January and posted them HERE.
  • I also combined multiple images to create three panoramic photos that you can zoom into and explore in detail.  It is fun, especially if you have never experienced high resolution images on the web. They are located HERE.

For more info,


Abbott Library Closes Lower Level and Works on Water Leaks

The posting on the Sunapee town library website reads: “The lower level of the library is now closed to the public and will not reopen for several weeks. During this time, mold remediation and repair work will be performed. A limited collection of children’s materials will be available for loan from the main level of the library. All children’s programs will be held off-site until the work is complete. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please contact the library if you have any questions.”

Although the notice had no date, a two-week fix is now unlikely based on recent findings of more water related damage and drainage failures at Abbott Library.

Thursday, Library Trustee Barbara Chalmers with help from Sunapee Road Agent Tony Bergeron, Superintendent David Bailey from the water and sewer department, and Henry Cunningham, a former W & S chief, discovered old foundation drains at the library. It looks like they are not draining properly and contributed to water leaking into the basement. Continue reading


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