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.

Mindfulness in the Mountains: adventure and meditation

Lama Willa Miller, Springfield, NH., rock climbing in Rumney was part of a three-day adventure and meditation program, Mindfulness in the Mountains. Courtesy photo.

Mindfulness in the Mountains, a three-day adventure and meditation program, co-sponsored by Mountain Spirit Institute and the Natural Dharma Fellowship’s Wonderwell Refuge of Springfield N.H., wrapped up a weekend of rock climbing, kayaking and hiking in mid-October.

“I’ve been guiding and leading mountain programs for over 28 years, and this was, by far, one of the most fulfilling and meaningful experiences I’ve had,” MSI founder Randall Richards said. “To hike, climb or kayak and focus as a group on the quiet of the place, through which we traveled, was meaningful for both instructors and participants.”

A pair of instructors led each activity, one focused on outdoor skills, the other focused on teaching various meditation techniques, Richards said.

Eleven participants,  beginners and experienced hikers and kayakers, came from as far away as Florida and New York to hike, rock climb and kayak.

Activities were held in Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region and in Rumney, N.H.

Wonderwell Refuge’s spiritual leader Lama Willa Miller said: “Buddhism actually has a strong wilderness tradition. Monks, spiritual teachers and meditation practitioners have always gone to the mountaintops and into nature to get a sense of the sacred.”

Participants signed up in advance for an activity, but were allowed to switch to a different sport and focus on the second day of the program.

Rock climbing tended to bring up fear and trust. Hikers focused on meditation in motion and awareness of surroundings and kayakers focused on the metaphor of sky and water in meditative contemplation.

Once back at the Wonderwell, participants came together for group meditation and to share their experiences.

Lama Miller rock climbed both days and said, of her experience: “In Buddhism, we have a meditation practice designed to help with facing one’s fear. Being forty feet up on the rock put’s it right in your face. It’s quite visceral.”

Said participant, Ilene Venizelos of Enfield, NH, “I feel this experience has helped me reconnect more with myself, to the other participants, and to especially to nature.”

MSI and Wonderwell Refuge plan to offer more collaborative programs.

Amateur mushroom club meets in Grantham May 20

Morel mushrooms, delicious spring finds, if you’re lucky!

By Charlotte Carlson

Are you curious about mushrooms?

Did you know that there’s a local group in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region that meets monthly to find, to learn more about and to study fungi?

The Montshire Mycological Club (MMC) will begin its season on Sunday, May 20, 2012, with a kick-off talk about mushrooms by New Hampshire mycologist, Roz Lowen, at 10 a.m at the South Cove Activity Center at Eastman in Grantham, N.H.

A walk on nearby trails and a potluck lunch will follow. Bring a favorite appetizer, main dish, salad or dessert to share.

Note the collecting baskets from a past foray and remember bug spray for this time of year.

The event is co-hosted by the Woodland and Wildlife Committee of the Eastman Community and MMC.

Contact Charlotte at or 603-763-2869 for directions and/or more information.

Photos by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee.

Winter visitors to the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area

Winter Visitors by Jim Block

This is the season for entertaining visitors, perhaps including some who come great distances by air. The majority who fly to visit us do not drop in unannounced and unexpected. But some of our northern neighbors seem to have a habit of doing this every few years in winter. This commonly happens when food up north is scarce. These visitors sometimes arrive in huge numbers, and sometimes come singly. Look for them this winter when you are out and about. Here is a very brief guide to their appearance and characteristics.


Perhaps the most colorful of the birds we see only during the cooler months is the Bohemian Waxwing. They are fairly easy to photograph since they tend to ignore anything else when they feed on berries of trees and shrubs…unless one spots danger and alerts the others. Then the whole flock, sometimes 50 to 100 birds, can explode as one and flee to the top of a nearby tree. They sometimes are in a mixed flock with Cedar Waxwings, but after a bit of experience it is fairly easy to identify which are Bohemians and which are Cedars. If you see a waxwing in summer in Sunapee it is almost certainly a Cedar. There have been numerous reports of large flocks of Bohemians already this winter in this area.

Common Redpoll

Another species that can arrive in large flocks is a finch, the Common Redpoll. They also are easy to see and photograph because they are attracted to backyard feeders, but do not look for them in New London in the summer.

Like the Bohemian Waxwing, this is an “irruptive species” that can be found in some years and be completely absent from the area in others. When these birds arrive in significant numbers it is said we are having an irruption—a dramatic, irregular migration of large numbers of birds to areas where they aren’t typically found.

Pine Grosbeak

Another finch that sometimes visits when the weather is cold and the nuts and seeds up north are scarce is the Pine Grosbeak. It is a beautiful bird. The males are pinkish-red and the females are yellow and gray. They are normally in small flocks, but sometimes in large numbers overrunning crabapples and other ornamentals.

Pine Grosbeak do not fear residential areas and can often be approached quite closely. The first time I remember seeing them was many years ago when I looked out my kitchen window and saw some birds that I did not recognize. I grabbed my camera, walked quite close to the group of perhaps 8 to 10, and got some photos. Later I identified them with help from a book and confirmed the ID with my slides.


And then there are the owls. They come singly and not as frequently. But when they do arrive in NH and VT they normally take up residence in one spot and stay for an extended time. There are birding list serves you can join to get alerted by email when they arrive. However, if you join a list serve, be prepared to receive many emails reporting sightings of much less common species also. These owls are special. Few of us have been fortunate to see them in the wild.

Many years ago a Snowy Owl visited my backyard briefly. And the Northern Hawk Owl is very special. The photos of these owls here were taken in different years in Vermont and during snowstorms!

More information

If you would like to see more photos of these 5 species of winter visitors, please visit And while you are at my web site, please feel free to look around. I have put many photos on this site since I created it in January. And now I’m even teaching easy website creation classes in addition to my photography classes that I announce several times a year to those on my photography email list. For more information, visit

Related Sunapee News articles:

Mink and muskrat and the changing season

Brookside Park – a spot rarely visited

Eagles fishing Lake Sunapee

Gold Peaks in Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Area

Yesterday, VisitNH said “pockets of color” still can be seen in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region.” Around Sunapee, the late foliage colors are beautiful.

“Splashes of bright oranges and reds are remaining in the Upper Valley and around Lake Sunapee. Northern red oaks are showing their deep browns among the yellows of the quaking aspen and the birches. Routes 10, 114, and 120 are best bets for scenic drives. Pumpkins, apples and gourds are still available at roadside stands.”

VisitNH : Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee.

And there’s more…at one of our favorite local markets.

In New London this weekend, Spring Ledge Farm on Main Street, will hold a Moonlight Maze on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22 and 23  from 6:30-9:00 pm.

“Explore the maze by the light of the full moon,” reads the invite.

The maze, 3 acres with 1 1/4 miles of paths, will be open every day until November 1st.  Corn Maze Aerial 3Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for kids ages 4-12, and free for kids 3 and under. Parking is available at the farm; follow the signs down the driveway.

Winter Hiking and Geocaching to Dutchman Pond

The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge (SRK) Greenway Coalition is offering three winter hikes in January.  “Be prepared with clothing layers, food, water and snowshoes,” said a Greenway spokesperson. Participants are asked to  contact the hike leader at least the night before to learn the starting location and time.

  • January 16 (Sat) – Geocaching from Webster Pass to Dutchman Pond in Springfield. Bring a GPS unit, if you have one, or learn as you go, searching for 14 caches with Cynthia Bruss ( – 763-4570. 5 miles (Moderate)
  • January 23 (Sat) – An interpretive snowshoe hike to Star Lake in Springfield. Followed with hot chocolate with the leaders, Susan and Michael Chiarella: 763-5879. 3 miles. (Easy)
  • January 30 (Sat) – Cross-country ski to Morgan Pond from Twin Lake Villa in Springfield. Call Andy Hager 526-2846. 5 mi. (Moderate for experienced skiers)

Below is the remainder of the Winter 2010 hike schedule: Continue reading

Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region Nears Peak Color

“Overall, the [Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee] region is about 80% turned and will be near peak by this weekend,” according to Travel and Tourism in Hampshire and its official Foliage Tracker.

Related articles and websites:

Green Leaf Peeping (

Warner Fall Foliage Festival