Two guided tours of the Hay Estate offered in June

The Fells 013Newbury, N.H. – The Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests and The Fells Historic Estate and Gardens are co-sponsoring two historical walks, called “The Hidden History of the Hay Estate,” on Wednesday, June 4, and Wednesday, June 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Hay Forest Reservation in Newbury.

Both walks will be guided by Dave Anderson, the director of education for the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests.

Participants of the June 4 walk will examine evidence suggesting what the Hay estate was like during the era of Clarence L. Hay. Walkers will stop at the cement cistern that fed water to The Fells, see the ruins of a sugarhouse, visit the Milton Clark/Nathan Baker farm cellar complex – the last and most expensive parcel purchased by statesman John Milton Hay, secretary to Pres. Abe Lincoln — and walk along the “Old Farm Road Trail” to see the Sarah Bartlett cellar-hole. Walking distance is about two miles.

Participants of the June 18 walk will discover how the Hay family and workers on the estate experienced The Fells from evidence and artifacts that are hidden in plain sight. They’ll tour the “Coach Road Trail” (the historic road used by the Hays to access a favorite picnic spot on Sunset Hill); a unique swath of forest that hosted hurricane salvage operations along Lake Sunapee; the ruins of a water pumping shed; and the site of the former swimming dock located south of the mouth of Beech Brook. Walking distance is estimated to be 1.5 miles.

Attendance at Part 2 is not contingent upon attendance at Part 1. The cost is $5 for each walk. These events, which start at The Fells Welcome Kiosk, are supported by grants from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Wellborn Ecology Fund and the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation.

To register, call 603-763-4789 x3.

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry. The organization owns 50,000 conserved acres of land in New Hampshire and holds conservation easements on another 115,000 acres.





N.H. and the Civil War: When Johnny came marching home

As part of New Hampshire’s “May is Preservation Month” observation, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is publishing a series of articles exploring the Granite State’s involvement in the Civil War.

This week, the focus is on the changing cultural and demographic landscapes of New Hampshire after the war.

In addition to the thousands of New Hampshire soldiers killed during the Civil War, many others moved to other parts of the country after the war was over.

These population losses, combined with people relocating to New Hampshire’s cities to work in the mills, depleted the state’s rural population, resulting in abandoned farms, shrinking villages and the reforestation of previously cleared fields and pastures.

The stereo view (above) from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs depicts a logging operation near Concord, N.H.

New Hampshire’s timber industry began to boom in the years following the Civil War because of this increase in newly generated forests, as well as an 1867 state mandate for the sale of New Hampshire’s public lands, new developments in paper processing and expanded access to rail transportation.

The railroads also turned New Hampshire into a seasonal tourism destination; tourists could choose from a variety of places to stay, including hunting and fishing camps, small boarding houses and grand resort hotels.

As the 1800s came to a close, the state launched two campaigns designed to raise New Hampshire’s profile as a top choice for relocation.

The publication New Hampshire Farms for Summer Homes encouraged wealthy buyers to convert or consolidate the state’s abandoned farm properties into summer residences.

One example is the John Milton Hay’s summer estate and gardens in Newbury, known as The Fells.

Images: Historic photo (above) of  The Fells with sheep on the lawn and a current view of rose garden terrace, looking toward Mt. Sunapee, were provided by the Division of Historical Resources.

The Fells is open to the public for tours and exhibits and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Old Home Week

Founded in 1899 by Governor Frank Rollins, “Old Home Week” invited “all absent sons and daughters of the State and all who have some time lived within its borders, to return during that week and assist us in kindling the fires of State patriotism.”

The event was a success from the beginning and is still celebrated in communities throughout New Hampshire as well as across the United States and internationally.

>> To see images and learn more about how New Hampshire changed after the Civil War, visit and click on the “May is Preservation Month” link in the “Quick Links” box on the right.

>> Databases related to New Hampshire regiments during the Civil War, including calendars listing regiment activity, are available at

New Hampshire’s Department of Cultural Resources includes the State Council on the Arts, the Film and Television Office, the State Library and the Commission on Native American Affairs, and the Division of Historical Resources.

Learn more at For more info about the Division of Historical Resources, visit visit or call (603) 271-3483.

Henry Homeyer kicks off gardening series at The Fells

Photo by Alena Banks

Renowned garden expert, author, columnist and commentator Henry Homeyer, from Cornish, N.H., will kick off a six-week Master Gardening series at The Fells in Newbury, N.H. This first workshop will be held on Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the Lake Sunapee Protective Association’s Knowlton House in Sunapee Harbor. The class will celebrate the start of a new growing season and will include a workshop in pruning techniques.

Registration deadline is March 10. Contact The Fells at or 603-763-4789 ext. 3. Fee: $10 donation per workshop or $50 for the 6-week series.

The Sullivan County Master Gardeners and the UNH Cooperative Extension are presenting the program. It is open to all. All other classes will meet at The Fells…

  • Thursdays, April 12 & 19, 1 – 4 p.m.: Introduction to Backyard Vegetable Gardening. Registration required by April 5.
  • Thursday, May 17, 1 – 4 p.m.: Garden Design as Art and The Basics of Container Gardening. Registration by May 10.
  • Tuesday, June 26, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Growing Perennials in New Hampshire. Registration by June 19.
  • Thursday, September 13, 1 – 3 p.m.: Putting the Garden to Bed. Registration by September 6.

Naturalist Dave Anderson to Lead Workshop at The Fells

Forest Society naturalist Dave Anderson

Forest Society Director of Education and Volunteer Services Dave Anderson to lead workshop at The Fells in Newbury, NH on October 7

Join Forest Society naturalist Dave Anderson for Stories in Stone: Common Clues to Land Use Before Reforestation on Wednesday, October 7 from 1 to 4 pm.  Learn about the land use history at The Fells in Newbury (NH) during this introductory field workshop, which begins with a 20-minute indoor presentation followed by a hike to local woodland sites. Anderson will explain how to determine site age and significance by studying cultural artifacts like cellars, wells, stone walls, stone piles, fences, and farm implements. Participants should dress for indoor and outdoor activity.

Named after the Scottish word for rocky upland pastures, The Fells is situated on a nearly 1,000-acre hillside overlooking scenic Lake Sunapee. It is the former lakeside summer home of American writer and diplomat John M. Hay (1838-1905). Hay’s son Clarence inherited the property and along with his wife Alice Appleton Hay, transformed the rock pasture into extensive formal and informal gardens. In 1960 the Hays donated 675 acres to the Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Anderson is the Director of Education and Volunteer Services for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, where he has worked for more than 18 years. Anderson is responsible for the design and delivery of conservation education programs including field trips, tours, and presentations to Forest Society members, conservation partners, and the general public.

He is perhaps best known as a working naturalist (he prefers “dirt naturalist”) who guides group field trips on conservation land statewide while teaching about forest ecology, wildlife ecology, forest stewardship, and land conservation initiatives to introduce both life-long residents and visitors alike to protection and management of New Hampshire forests, farms, and open space.

Anderson’s bimonthly column “Forest Journal” appears in the statewide New Hampshire Union Leader’s NH Sunday News in the State and Local section. His quarterly “Nature’s View” columns are long-time regular feature in the Forest Society’s magazine Forest Notes.

This workshop is co-sponsored by The Fells and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Fells and Forest Society members pay $24; all others pay $30. Participants should meet at The Fells Gatehouse before 1 p.m.

The Fells is an independent not for profit 501c(3) organization that has owned and cared for the property since 1995.  Located on Lake Sunapee, the historic estate and gardens are at 456 Route 103A, Newbury.  For directions or more information, call 603-763-4789 or visit

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry. For more information, visit

Sunapee Abbott Library Offers Museum Passes

With funding provided by the Friends of Abbott Library, passes to six museums and educational centers are now available to patrons of the town library in Sunapee. The passes offer free or discounted admission to the Currier Museum of Art (Manchester, NH), The Fells (Newbury, NH), Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum (Warner, NH), Canterbury Shaker Village (Canterbury, NH), Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and Vermont Institute of Natural Science -VINS (Quechee, VT). Passes can be reserved up to 60 days in advance. For more information contact Abbott Library, phone 603-763-5513.