Friday, September 6, 2013

New Hampshire & Maine

Last weekend on Saturday we drove two towns west to Newport, NH.  This year was their 40th annual Apple Pie Fair.  An early harvest fair of sorts.

The red striped tent held the home made apple pies for sale.  They were sold out by the time we got there, though we did manage to get a piece of apple crumble (à la mode) at another tent.

 The town green is flat, rectangular, and grassy.  There’s a art/craft/farmer’s market there every week in the summer, and it’s also a place for wintertime fun as seen in this drawing from an earlier blog.

 The Civil War statue in the center of the green is unusually tall and ornate. It was erected in 1912, about forty years after the end of the terrible conflict.  And two years before the next.

The white painted church at the far end was originally brown shingled as was once very fashionable.  Actually the style is returning to favor.

Sue’s Sea Food is located in Kittery, Maine, just across the Piscataqua River from New Hampshire. We usually buy lunch there, lobster rolls always, when we are in the area.

The roof line looks odd if you have never seen this type of building before.  The two side wings on the roof are called dormers, meant to provide extra room and sunlight to the bedrooms.

Sue’s bearded husband sits on the bench.

I was asked as a special favor to draw the Lion’s Club popcorn cart in Goffstown, NH.  (The Lion’s Club is one of many nationwide service organizations, largely composed of business people in the town.)  The cart was built in 1930. Think about this...a popcorn cart built the year after the stock market crashed.  Perhaps it was built to bring some small inexpensive cheer to all.  And to raise money too?  And it was moved from place to place too.

  My family always stopped for popcorn from either this cart or its twin in Manchester, NH during our long car trips from Massachusetts.  We were headed north to see our grandparents in Concord, and there weren’t any superhighways back then. And we needed a treat along the way.  The cart I recall was gas fired and made a wonderful crackly sound.  We knew we were close by the scent alone.

A gardener in Goffstown has a sense of humor. The yellow marigold flowers growing out of the stone trough are round and puffy and shaped like popcorn.

I sat on the soft grass to draw the flowers in the cutting garden of the New London Historical Society in our town.  They are tended by several members and are used for floral arrangements when needed.

We were seated under our vendor’s tent at the recent Artisan’s Weekend at our town’s Historical Society.  The crowds were thin, and I had plenty of time to gaze around and sketch.  I saw the copper weathervane neatly framed in the rigging of our tent signs. 

This little pond is close by to our house, and we pass it daily.  When the sun is out, one little turtle sits on the rock.  I always look to the right to see if he/she is there. 

These are the front doors of the Deering, NH Town Hall, erected in 1788.  From 1788 to 1829 the building was used as a meeting house for both civic and religious groups.  In 1819, New Hampshire passed the Toleration Act which required the separation of church and state.  Which meant that the Congregational Church members were required to build their own building.  Completed in 1830, the church sits across the road. 

 The autumn colors here in New England are world famous.  Do not visit  these parts if you do not love red, orange, and yellow against white wooden frame buildings and blindingly blue skies.

Sharon, NH has a small population of under 500. It was once a part of the nearby larger town of Peterborough.

On the town seal is a brick one room schoolhouse, which has been in continuous use since it was built in 1832.  Besides the education of the town’s children, the small building has been used by church groups. Currently, town officials meet there.

I drew the contemporary Sharon Arts Center educational building. (There is another Sharon Arts Center location in Peterborough that is a sales and exhibition space.)  A multitude of arts and crafts classes are available here.  

Rochester, NH, with nearly 30,000 residents (2010 census) is a dignified place with brick mills, parks, a circular one way traffic system and a splendid  combination building of town hall and opera house.

First a few words about the mills.  The Cochecho River provided the water power for the gristmills, sawmills, tanneries, and textile mills. Woolen blankets woven here won the first place award at the 1853 New York World’s Fair. Shoes were made here for over seventy years. And quality bricks from Rochester are still holding up the newer buildings of Harvard.

 New Hampshire has at least ten opera houses, built in mill towns for the express purpose of entertainment and enlightenment of the mill workers.  Attendance was required. 

 The Rochester Opera House was designed by George Gilman Adams in 1908, who specialized in dual purpose town hall/opera concepts. He built at least eight all around New England.  Four of his opera houses still exist today, filling multiple purposes within their communities.

What makes this building special is the floor.  Mr. Adams designed an audience floor which can be raised or lowered by a complicated mechanism of cranks, levers, pulleys, and leather belts.  It is the only one of its kind in the United States. For a concert or a play, the floor is raised into a tiered angle.  For a dance or banquet occasion, the floor is of course flat and level.

The opera house, including the floor, has been recently restored.  It has a most ambitious calendar of scheduled events.

I quickly sketched this red pear as a demonstration in my drawing class this summer.  This is one of those ‘the more you look, the more you see’ moments. The shiny red skin was comprised of multitude of shades of many colors.


  1. I just saw you on chronicle and loved the idea of visiting every town in the state. I would love to find your drawing of Holderness just outside of Plymouth.

  2. A belated thank you. Just stand on the bridge to see the view.