Kevin Gardner talks New England stone walls at SRK Greenway meeting

Kevin Gardner

Kevin Gardner, tradesman and author of The Granite Kiss, will talk about New England stone walls at the SRK Greenway Annual Meeting on March 13, 2016, in New London, N.H.

New London, N.H. — Kevin Gardner, tradesman and author of the The Granite Kiss, will be the guest speaker at the annual meeting of the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway Coalition (SRKG) on Sunday, March 13, 2016, at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Main Street, New London. Gardner’s talk will start about 6:30 p.m., following a potluck dinner and brief business meeting. The public is invited to attend. (See below.)

Gardner will cover a few of the main topics of his book about New England stone walls, touching on history, technique, stylistic development, and aesthetics.

In his talk, Gardner will explain how and why New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stone walls, the ways in which they and other dry stone structures were built, how their styles emerged and changed over time, and their importance to the New England landscape. Along the way, he will build a miniature wall or walls on a tabletop, using tiny stones from a five-gallon bucket.

A lifelong resident of Hopkinton, N.H., Gardner is like a lot of independent rural Yankees; he’s been a jack of many trades, a builder, logger, writer, teacher, radio voice, even an actor and director.

For more than forty years he has been a stone wall builder in a family business widely known for traditional New England stonework, particularly for historic restoration of antique structures. In 2001, Gardner published The Granite Kiss: Traditions and Techniques of Building New England Stone Walls.

The program is open to the public. SRKG’s annual meeting starts with a pot-luck supper (5:00 p.m.) held in the lower level of the church. To contribute to the dinner, contact SRKG volunteer Jean LaChance (603-927-4345). If you are attending only the presentation, plan to arrive about 6:30 p.m.  For more information about the SRK Greenway, visit its website at www.srkg.org.

Learn about MV Kearsarge restoration

MVK_CC6Sunapee, N.H. — The Sunapee Gardeners invites the public to a presentation by Tim Fenton about the history, sinking and restoration of the MV Kearsarge. The program will be held on Tuesday, June 10, at 7 p.m., at the Knowlton House, 63 Main Street, Sunapee Harbor.

The Fenton family operates both the MV Kearsarge, a restaurant boat, and its sister ship, the MV Mt. Sunapee II, a tour boat. The boats run out of Sunapee Harbor.

The Kearsarge partially sank while moored at the Sunapee Town Dock in January 2013. After a complete renovation— four months of work—the popular dinner boat was back in service cruising Lake Sunapee.

Photo from January 2013 by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee, N.H.

 

 

Historical Society program: Notable Women of Sunapee

SunapeeHistoricalSocietySunapee, N.H. — The Sunapee Historical Society will host its spring program—Notable Women of Sunapee—on Wednesday evening, April 30, at 7 p.m. at the Lake Sunapee United Methodist Church, Lower Main Street at Route 11, Sunapee. Everyone is welcome at this free event; refreshments will be served.

Ron Garceau will show photos and lead a discussion recalling the contributions of several memorable women from Sunapee’s past. Come and learn or share your memories. Garceau is well-known around the Sunapee area as the publisher of SooNipi Magazine and past president of the Sunapee Historical Society.

The spring program will be a precursor for a homemaker’s exhibit at the Sunapee Historical Society Museum, 74 Main Street, Sunapee Harbor, and a summer program on women’s organizations. woodbinecottage

Other summer programs will be about the Woodbine Cottage and the wooden launches that used to frequent Lake Sunapee.

The museum will reopen (weekends only, 1-4 p.m., through June) on May 24.

The Sunapee Historical Society is a non-profit organization that strives to preserve and promote Sunapee’s varied history. For more information, contact the Society’s President, Becky Rylander, at 603-763-8809 or sunapeehistory@gmail.com.

Sunapee Gardeners weave magic with flowers

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Visitors admire blooms in the Clara Osborne Garden, also known as the Long Garden that extends along Main Street at Sunapee Harbor.

By Peggy Chalmers

Sunapee, N. H. — When summer arrives, Sunapee Harbor and other spots around town burst into bloom. Flowers magically appear… along Main Street, on the harbor bridge, at the Town Beaches and tucked into window boxes of Town Hall.

Behind the magic is a dedicated group of volunteers, the Sunapee Gardeners, who tend more than a dozen locations stretching from Georges Mills to Sunapee Harbor.

The Gardeners plan and plant a mix of perennials and annuals, and then religiously water and weed them throughout the flowering season.

Their efforts don’t stop with the first frost. Just before Thanksgiving, the Gardeners decorate the harbor area for the holiday season. Instead of flowers, the window boxes, barrels, lamp posts, and even the flag pole bloom with festive greenery and red bows.

Raised garden by the docks provides beauty and is just the right height so visitors can sit and enjoy the harbor. Photo by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee, N.H.

Raised garden by the public dock at Sunapee Harbor provides beauty and is just the right height so visitors can sit and enjoy the view. Photo by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee, N.H.

The Gardeners’ history

The Gardeners trace their beginnings to 1990 when a group of Sunapee residents gathered to discuss how to improve Sunapee and the village center at Sunapee Harbor.

Participant Ellie Goddard with the help of a group of volunteers and then Road Agent Tony Bergeron began with planning and enhancements to areas around the public boat ramp and the Ben Mere green.

The group’s vision was bigger than removing just some bushes and weeds. It dreamed of beautiful flowers enhancing the town. After petitioning the Selectmen, the Gardeners received permission to create new gardens plus an allotment to purchase flowers.

As their efforts expanded, more volunteers came forward and today the Sunapee Gardeners efforts extend from the window boxes on Town Hall and Information Booth to flower barrels at the two town beaches. Flowers also bloom in the old horse trough on Main Street and in Hames Park, a garden gem tucked into the hillside overlooking the Sugar River.

Memorial Garden honors loved ones

In 1997, the original island planter at Sunapee Harbor was dedicated as a Memorial Garden, a special place to honor loved ones. It is fully funded by donations that are recorded in a leather bound book.

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Sunapee Gardeners in their identifying purple t-shirts gather near the gazebo prior to their annual Remembrance Ceremony.

On the first Wednesday in August during band concert intermission, the Gardeners hold a special Remembrance Ceremony during which each remembrance is read, and for every ten names, a candle is lit. The event is a celebration of life, and in that vein, the Ceremony is followed by homemade cookies and beverages distributed by the Gardeners.

Approximately 10 years ago, the Gardeners sponsored a garden tour that unexpectedly raised several thousand dollars. The Selectmen recommended a Town Committee should manage the funds, and so the Beautification Committee was formed under co-chairs Donna Gazelle and Barbara Cooper.

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Harbor bridge boxes create an eye-popping view.

The BC tackled major projects, including the installations of a granite raised-planter by the docks, parking lot curbing, a handicap accessible path to the gazebo, and a faux-brick sidewalk to identify the preferred crossings between the dock and gazebo. The Committee also planted trees, as well as a shrub screen along one side of the harbor green.  When the funds were expended in 2012, the Beautification Committee disbanded, but many of its gardening activities were folded into the Gardeners.

Volunteer gardeners welcome

The Sunapee Gardeners are always looking for new volunteers to help them keep Sunapee beautiful. Men or women, full-time or summer residents—are welcome. Gardening knowledge is not required, only a willingness to help and to get your hands dirty. Interested?

For more information, call Peggy Chalmers, the Sunapee Gardeners chairperson, 603-763-5562.

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The hidden garden in Hames Park along the Sugar River creates a restful place to sit and reflect.

Photos courtesy of the Sunapee Gardeners unless otherwise noted.

Read related article and see other Hames Park photos: Sunapee’s Hames Park, a gem along the Sugar River tells of times past (SunapeeNews.com).

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.

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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.)

Richards Free Library hosts an evening with Wesley McNair

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The Richards Free Library in Newport invites the public to an evening with poet and author Wesley McNair on Monday, July 15. Photo by Benjamin Magro.

Newport, NH – The Richards Free Library in Newport, will host an evening with New Hampshire native Wesley McNair on Monday, July 15, 2013, at 7 p.m.

McNair will read from his memoir.

Beginning in poverty and a broken home, McNair went on, through family hardships and setbacks, to become what poet Philip Levine has called “one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry.”

McNair will talk about how he developed into a poet against the odds, incorporating his struggles into his art.

McNair’s latest books are Lovers of the Lost: New and Selected Poetry and The Words I Chose: A Memoir of Family and Poetry. He is the poet laureate of Maine.

Richards Free Library is at 58 N. Main Street. For more information, email: rfl@newport.lib.nh.us.

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 sunapeehistory@gmail.com.

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