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

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.

Sean Hurley

There's plenty to do on a summer day in New Hampshire.  Go to the beach, go to the lake, climb a mountain.  But what do you do on a beautiful summer night? Maybe some theater? In this new Summer Stock series, I'll be checking in with NH Theater Companies and finding out more about their summer offerings. First up, I'm off for Tamworth where rehearsals at the Barnstormers Theatre are already underway.

Kelly Swann

For the last few months students from The Center for Cartooning Studies have been meeting with veterans at the VA Hospital in White River Junction.  The hope is that a collection of veterans stories can be turned into an anthology of visual stories - comic strips based on the veterans' experiences. 

Sean Hurley

With more than 4000 miles of hiking trails, it's not too hard to get away from it all here in New Hampshire. But if you want to get even further away, you could head out on the Cohos Trail, one of the wildest, most remote trails in New England. I recently went for a hike on the Cohos with trail founder, Kim Nilsen.

In the dirt lot at the base of Owl's Head mountain, 68 year old Kim Nilsen pulls a weaved pack basket, made by his daughter, over his shoulders.  

fiverr.com/lexloart

Just about anything can be outsourced these days from customer service to personal tax filing, but what if you need help with a creative project, say a radio story? We asked NHPR's Sean Hurley to relinquish his creative control and utilize a website called Fiverr, an online marketplace where people offer a wide range of services starting at just five dollars.

Sean Hurley

Completed in 1875, the Great Wall of Sandwich is a shoulder height granite wall that runs more than a mile. Together with its 7 foot tall statue of Niobe, the Great Wall became something of a tourist attraction in the early 20th Century.  But in 1941, a hurricane toppled the statue, and its shattered pieces went missing for nearly 70 years. I recently visited Sandwich to learn more about the wall and to find out how Niobe was finally recovered.  

Sean Hurley

Polly and "Sugar Bill" Dexter opened Polly's Pancake Parlor in 1938.  That first year they served a few hundred customers in a carriage shed that sat 65.  Last year, in the same old shed, Polly's granddaughter Kathie Aldrich Cote and her husband Dennis, served nearly 60,000.  The Cote's realized it was time to tear the old shed down and build a new Polly's from the ground up.

Though he's looked everywhere, Dennis Cote can't seem to find his hammer.

"I've spent hours just looking for my hammer in this building."

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