Sean Hurley

North Country Reporter

Sean Hurley lives in Thornton with his wife Lois and his son Sam.  An award-winning playwright and radio journalist, his fictional “Atoms, Motion & the Void” podcast has aired nationally on NPR and Sirius & XM Satellite radio.  When he isn't writing stories or performing on stage, he likes to run in the White Mountains. He can be reached at shurley@nhpr.org. 

Sean Hurley

For some, the end of winter conjures thoughts of swimming at the lake or working in the garden.  For others, the warm weather means it’s time to put fresh batteries in the metal detector.  

Retired firefighter Mike Cogan from Long Island hoists a metal detector over his shoulder and heads down the dirt road with 40 other metal detecting enthusiasts from around the country.

“Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go…” Cogan sings.

This is the third day of B.O.N.E. 23, the largest metal detecting meet-up in New Hampshire, and this morning, with the property owner’s permission, the group is scanning a five acre field in Alstead.

Sean Hurley

After an evening of auditions at Jean’s Playhouse, Clark’s Trading Post has found its new Wolfman. Actor, teacher, construction worker  - and Santa Claus - Larry Vigus of Barrington, New Hampshire has won the iconic role.

In 1969, the day after graduating from High School, Leon Noel took a job as a laborer at Clark’s Trading Post. He did landscaping, swept the parking lot, and sometimes took tickets. 

Sean Hurley

Every week or so someone stops by Brookford Farm in Canterbury and finds the little building near the chicken coop where Dane Percy makes bread and asks him if he’ll teach them how to do it.  

“Which just has a romance variable in it,” Percy says, “that  I try to extinguish it as soon as possible by saying,  ‘Well, can you use a chainsaw?’”

Sean Hurley

It hasn't been a great year for skiers or ski areas across the Granite State.  But it's not just the mountains that suffered from the lack of snow.

Ian Hart

This past winter four New Hampshire friends set out for a 12 day thru hike of the Cohos Trail -  170 miles from Crawford Notch to the Canadian Border.  When they began their hike in early February they had no idea that if they finished they'd become the first hikers to ever complete the trail in winter.  NHPR's Sean Hurley has more. 

Sean Hurley

Last week the top ski jumpers from high schools across New Hampshire gathered for the Ski Jump State Championship in Plymouth.  But as NHPR's Sean Hurley reports, the event almost didn't happen.

15 year old Plymouth sophomore Luke Johnstone remembers the old ski jump. "I didn't like it too much," he says. "It was pretty scary.  Little wobbly up at the top there. So I didn't really like it too much."

Sean Hurley

There were two big winners last night in the New Hampshire primary- and a handful of  losers.  NPHR's Sean Hurley spent some time at the Primary parties of two of the latter, Carly Fiorina and former Virginia Governor, Jim Gilmore.

Sean Hurley

While most New Hampshire’s cities and towns will use machines to count votes this Primary Day, many towns still do things the old-fashioned way: hand-counted ballots.  But fewer towns stick to that method every year. This year, five new towns have opted to go the automated tabulator route. NHPR's Sean Hurley lives in one of those towns: Thornton.  He visited Town Hall to see how officials there are faring with the newfangled device.


Sean Hurley

About 1500 people turned out to see Donald Trump at Plymouth State University this weekend during one of his final campaign stops before the Primary.  NHPR's Sean Hurley was there and sends us this.

Donald Trump didn't venture far from familiar talking points. China, Vets, Common Core, bomb the oil - the wall...the fact that he's the only candidate funding his own campaign. "I have no friends as far as I'm concerned," Trump told the mostly standing crowd. "You know who's my friends?  You're my friends..."

Sean Hurley

Kaitlin Clark, 11 years old and from North Woodstock, has been busy this winter. She's racing on the Lin-Wood School's ski team. She's in the debate club. And now she's got a new gig, as a Kid Reporter with the Scholastic News Press Corp. 

Sean Hurley

Like most loggers, Rick Alger of Milan says all he needs to fell a tree is a chainsaw. But where most lumberjacks use skidders, cherry pickers and other machines to haul their timber from the woods, Alger does things the old fashioned way.  As Sean Hurley found out, Alger is one of the last horse loggers in New Hampshire.

For the last 18 winters, Rick Alger has followed a similar routine. He wakes at 5 a.m. and heads out to the stables to water and feed his horse, Emma. While she eats, he checks his saws and waits for the sun to rise over French Hill.

Join NHPR's Rick Ganley and Sean Hurley for an old timey hour of Christmas stories and memories.

Tune in for the broadcast at 7 PM on Monday, December 21st, at 9 PM on Sunday, December 27th  or listen right here:

Sean Hurley

Up in Jackson around this time of year you can climb aboard a horse drawn Austrian sleigh and ride through town collecting handmade chocolates from local merchants.  NHPR's Sean Hurley went along on the Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour and sends us this.

Even though Kathleen Driscoll has to sit all day in a gazebo beside a roaring fire she says she has no trouble resisting the bowl of handmade chocolates before her.  "I don't like chocolate," she says, "I'm not a chocolate fan. If it was birthday cake I'd eat it!"

Sean Hurley

 

Vladimir Popov is known around Waterville Valley as the opera singing chairlift operator.  Although Popov sings strictly in the mountains now, as he told NHPR's Sean Hurley, he once sang in the world's great opera houses.

Sean Hurley

On Monday night, Presidential hopeful Donald Trump spoke to an estimated 8000 people at the Macon Coliseum in Georgia. Later this week he's expected to fill the 5000 seats at a North Carolina arena.  But last night he spoke in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire - population around 350 - at an indoor tennis court converted into a makeshift stage.  

Sean Hurley

After 17 days chained to a water slide, Liquid Planet owner Kevin Dumont is coming down.  As NHPR's Sean Hurley reports, Dumont's attempt to save the water park from auction have been dashed.

Kevin Dumont has removed the chain from his leg, gathered his things, and says it's time to throw in the towel.

"Yeah I feel as though, you know, I kind of lost the battle," Dumont says.

Although his publicity stunt drew national attention, Dumont says he hasn't found a partner willing to invest in the troubled water park. 

Sean Hurley

There's a long history of people chaining themselves to trees or posts or buildings - or to each other - to protest some injustice or simply to get their voices heard.  But here in New Hampshire we may have a first. Last week, Kevin Dumont, the owner of Liquid Planet Water Park in Candia, climbed to the top of his water slide tower and chained himself to the rail.  His goal? To save the park from a planned December 2nd auction.  NHPR's Sean Hurley spent the night with Dumont at the top of the tower and sends us this story.

Sean Hurley

In 1967, at the height of his success, one of the world's great singer songwriters, Jacques Brel, stopped singing.  “I left the day I realized I had an ounce of talent," he said later. "I stopped singing for honest reasons; not for reasons of exhaustion.” 

But the following year, two New Yorkers put together a musical revue of Brel's work to remind the world that even though the great "chanteur" had retired - he was not dead. 

Lois Hurley

In New Hampshire, male crickets start singing in July or August.  They stop singing when the temperature drops below 50 and they die when it gets too cold.  The death of the crickets is, in a way, a sign that winter has begun.  This year, as NHPR's Sean Hurley reports, the crickets stopped on October 17th with the first hard frost.

Sean Hurley

The Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train in Lincoln is exactly that.  Part train, part restaurant, the Cafe rolls down 20 miles of track serving five course meals to passengers over a 2 hour trip. NHPR's Sean Hurley rode along on this moveable feast on rails and sends us this.  

Sean Hurley

Some say the Tiny House movement dates back to 1854 when Henry David Thoreau first described the economy and aesthetics of small home living in "Walden".  But the movement didn't gather much steam until 1998 with the publication of Sarah Susanka's "The Not So Big House" - and itty bitty houses began to literally dot the landscape.  So when we heard about a tiny house in Hampton, NH - that was on wheels, that looked like a steamer trunk, that was made of recycled movie sets - we sent Sean Hurley to find out more. 

Sean Hurley

For the last ten years, photographer Chris Whiton has been combing through old guide books, hundred year old newspapers, and even modern maps to find lost waterfalls in the New Hampshire wilderness.  Some of them used to be located on old trails long since abandoned.  

Sean Hurley

John Bolster has been a gardener for as long as he can remember.  After retiring eight years ago, he and his wife Mary moved from New Jersey to a house on the side of Welch Mountain in Thornton.  The only problem? His land wasn't suited for planting.  As NHPR's Sean Hurley found out, that didn't stop Bolster from finding a way to garden.

Paul Cecil at www.permuted.org.uk

There are actuarial tables and plenty of lists to help you figure out whether you've hit middle age.  Gray hair, inability to read your phone.  Failure to recognize every song on the radio. But as NHPR's Sean Hurley reflects from his home in the White Mountains, maybe middle age is simply noticing a shift in perspective. 

Sean Hurley

As construction in downtown Concord continues, a group of local filmmakers is making use of the transition from old to new in their fictional film, "Granite Orpheus," an updated and largely improvised take on the story of Orpheus, the musician and poet who tries and fails to retrieve the love of his life from the underworld. 

In the dusty, barely lit basement of Zoe & Company Professional Bra Fitters, Rick Broussard is getting ready for the third day of shooting, which takes places in the streets, alleys, squares, basements and rooftops of the capital city. 

Sean Hurley

As construction in downtown Concord continues, a group of local filmmakers is making use of the transition from old to new in their fictional film, "Granite Orpheus", an updated and improvised take on the Greek Myth set in the streets, alleys, squares, basements and rooftops of the capital city.  NHPR's Sean Hurley spent a night on the town with the film's cast and crew and sends us this.

"Let's power up the cameras. We ready to shoot the rehearsals?"

The Little Church Theater in Holderness is just that.  It's a little theater in a former little church.  While its current summer season is charged with familiar Broadway mainstays, the playhouse also does something a "little" different.  In this latest installment of our Summer Stock series, alongside the big familiar hits The Little Church Theater puts on original works by New Hampshire natives.

Sean Hurley

In 2012, the New Hampshire Mushroom Company was producing two hundred pounds of mushrooms a week in their 5000 square foot farm-warehouse in Tamworth - and struggling to sell them.  Three years later, with seven full-time employees, the farm can't keep up with the demand, selling out their weekly stock of 1,200 pounds of edible fungus usually within 24 hours. 

Dennis Chesley, part owner of the New Hampshire Mushroom Company, says there's very little gray area when it comes to mushrooms.  It's either love or hate -

Sean Hurley

The Winnipesaukee Playhouse got its start in 2004 as a store front theater on Weirs Beach.  In 2013, the theater moved to the former Annalee Doll factory in Meredith.  In this 3rd installment of his Summer Stock series, NHPR's Sean Hurley pays the playhouse a visit.  

Timothy L'Ecuyer, Education Director at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse says there are still remnants - in closets and unused rooms - of the "factory in the woods" as the Annalee Doll company used to be known. It can be a little spooky, he says -

Jason Merwin Photography

NHPR's Sean Hurley continues his Summer Stock series with a visit to the New London Barn Playhouse, a theater known for cultivating young talent.  The actress Laura Linney credits the Barn with her love of theater.  Broadway legend Steven Schwartz, creator of Godspell and Wicked, got his start there.  And as Sean discovered, there's even a well known NPR reporter who once graced the stage of the old Barn.

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