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 

Chris-Håvard Berge via Flickr Creative Commons /

“Lying in bed right now, it's getting around 7, 7:15. I can tell by the sound of my voice I'm a little dazed...just hard to believe that I have 150 more nights. 150 more days of walking 20 miles or so...”

It was February 20th, 1992 and it was the first day of my walk across the country. Twenty snowy miles from Cambridge to Sudbury Massachusetts. I'd set my tent up in the woods beside Longfellow's famous Wayside Inn and sat in my sleeping bag with a handheld tape recorder and read what I'd just written in my journal.

Courtesy the WWE/Sean Hurley for NHPR

In late November, they begin to arrive. In malls, outside stores, at company parties across the country. A deluge of Santas. We don't often stop to wonder who the men are beneath the red stocking caps. And sometimes, Santa has a secret he wants to keep from us, too. 

Producer's note: While you might be tempted to read this story instead of listening to it, we recommend listening first...and reading and perusing photos later. It's worth it, we promise. 

Sean Hurley

Norman Collins was famous for tattooing sailors. He hopped trains as a kid, joined the Navy, and set up an ink shop in Honolulu where he earned the nickname "Sailor Jerry".  When he died in 1973, he had no idea that one day there'd be a spiced rum with his name on it.

"Here's to life outside the lines. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum."

In 1999, Steve Grasse helped turn Sailor Jerry the man into Sailor Jerry the brand.

"Sailor Jerry is a huge hit."

Sean Hurley

When you sit down to eat, you probably don’t think much about hand-eye coordination. Try eating without being able to see, though, and that changes.  I recently ate a meal blindfolded at an event held by the NH Association for the Blind at Giuseppe’s restaurant in Meredith.

Sean Hurley

Since 2009, Walter Skold has been traveling the country visiting the graves of deceased poets. Skold, from Freeport Maine, is the founder of the Dead Poets Society of America. He recently came to New Hampshire to find two graves and to participate in the Dead Poets Remembrance Day at Gibson's Bookstore in Concord.  

In the bright leaves of the Hopkinton Cemetery, Walter Skold sets a movie camera on a tripod and begins to film the gravestone of the poet Joel Oppenheimer.

"I found this one in 3 minutes and 58 seconds today!"

Sean Hurley

What will the music of the future sound like? New Hampshire Composer Greg Wilder doesn't know yet, but as NHPR's Sean Hurley reports, the Warren resident is hoping to build the machine that writes it.

Greg Wilder and his wife Alison Conard are composers and computer programmers. Together in their log home in Warren they design websites for artists.

But music is at the heart of everything they do and music is the first thing Greg Wilder can remember.

Mike Mozart via Flickr CC/Filtered on Instagram

We talk all the time about the upside of listening to NHPR, but as you'll hear, there are perils, too. 

Sean Hurley tells the story of what happened to one listener who got sucked into a NHPR story while sitting in her car at a gas station. It all ends well, but it got a little hairy there for a minute. 

Take a listen, and then support NHPR (if you dare):

Sean Hurley / NHPR
Sean Hurley

Godzilla is 17 feet tall and resides in a cave-like trailer in Dorchester, New Hampshire.  He comes out on New Moons when the sky's at its darkest. 

The boy sat in the back seat and the two old people - his parents - sat up front.

Do you remember where we're going?
To see Godzilla!

The boy was going to see Godzilla who lived at the top of a nearly treeless hill at the end of a long dirt road.

It's like we're driving over the moon...

Sean Hurley

J.D. Salinger was famously private - and his privacy was often famously invaded - by photographers, journalist, curiosity seekers, film makers. 

That Salinger lived in Cornish is well known.  Less well known is that Salinger had two homes in Cornish.  The first house he lived in for 14 years sits on the hill behind the second.  It recently came on the market and I went to talk to its owner about her home - and about her long time neighbor, J.D. Salinger.

Sean Hurley

Every year the Loon Preservation Committee does a count of NH's loons on Lake Winnipesaukee.  I decided to go out on the lake with them to find out how the loons are doing.

The Director of the Loon Preservation Committee, Harry Vogel, leads me down a forest path toward a boat slip on the northern tip of Lake Winnipesaukee. We'll be touring the lake looking for loons in advance of the population census later in the week. Within moments - maybe it's unavoidable - we're talking about On Golden Pond, which Vogel had just re-watched.

Conway Police Department


Abigail Hernandez is asking for privacy and "time and space" to heal according to a brief statement issued on Tuesday by one of her attorneys, Michael L. Coyne. 

While few details have emerged since the North Conway teenager returned home on July 20th after a 9 month absence, the statement does finally clarify the nature of her ordeal: "Abby was violently abducted by a stranger.  For many months, she suffered numerous acts of unspeakable violence."

Sean Hurley

When you think of summer camp, you might think of games, crafts, sing-alongs or maybe canoes. But NHPR’s Sean Hurley paid a visit to another kind of summer camp, one devoted to hiking and writing.

We've only just started up the trail to Indian Head, but already 16 year old Brandi is having trouble breathing.

"Tired.  Really tired.  I don't really like having asthma.  It weakens me.  I was down there and I almost threw up."

Sean Hurley

There's no shortage of advice if you want to hike the rugged trails of the White Mountains. But there aren't many guides for those interested in the gentler, family friendly paths that cut through our forests. NHPR's Sean Hurley recently took a walk in the woods with New Hampshire trail expert Steve Smith to compile a list of 10 magnificent - and magnificently easy - wilderness walks.

Bruce Lyndes / Plymouth State University

While woolly mammoth specimens have been discovered in Vermont and Maine, there's never been a confirmed finding in New Hampshire.  Until now.  NHPR's Sean Hurley has more.

In 2004, PSU Biology Professor Fred Prince was out hunting arrowheads in Campton when he found - and unkowingly discarded - a woolly mammoth tooth.  When he learned of his mistake a decade later, he vowed to find another and in April of this year, in an old gravel pit in Thornton, he got lucky.

"The specimen was just sticking above the surface of the ground." 

Sam Hurley

Today, Here & Now broadcast one of our favorite stories by Sean Hurley, in which he discovers more than he expected about his neighbors. 

They are everywhere. We are surrounded by them.  You are probably one yourself.  Of the range of people you can know in the world, the neighbor occupies a curious spot.  As Sean Hurley writes, here in New Hampshire we have our own special kind of neighbor...and sometimes, they have helicopters.

Sean Hurley

Since 1996, the State Archeologist Dick Boisvert has led excavations at sites in Jefferson, uncovering tools and stone shards that tell the story of the Paleo-Indian people who lived in New Hampshire 12,000 years ago.  

By the road is an antique bed frame half-sunk in the dirt. 12,000 years from now a future archeologist may dig it up and speculate that we people of the 21st century liked to sleep under the stars on iron beds - and maybe never guess that the old frame was simply a lawn decoration for a local bed and breakfast.

Sean Hurley

Last Saturday Plymouth joined 800 cities around the world to celebrate Make Music Day. The general idea - music performed by anyone, anywhere they like.  

Bob King has a day job but he hosts open mics at Tony's Restaurant on Thursdays. Today, he's standing in front of Thomas Roberts Hair Salon playing some of his favorite songs.

"It must be beautiful for people to walk around town and hear a different song every ten feet."

Sean Hurley

New Hampshire’s two model sailboat clubs got together in Wolfeboro for a regatta known as the Sasquatch Footy.

Bob Rice sits on a bench overlooking the wind scratched surface of Wolfeboro's Back Bay Harbor.  He watches the remote control sailboats tack back and forth and pivot around the floating white marks.  

Oh I think it's dandy.  You get boats of this size and more people can play with them.

Megan / Flickr CC

There are plenty of trails that lead to scenic vistas.  Up mountains, down into valleys.  But there's only one that leads to ice cream: The New Hampshire Ice Cream trail. 

Somewhere in a New Hampshire field, a cow, fawn colored, like a big deer, lifts her head from the tall grasses...

A Jersey cow, she has no idea that the milk she makes from the grass and hay and grain she eats is high in butterfat - about 5%, which makes her milk ideal for ice cream.

Sean Hurley

A couple who hoped to start a security business for this year’s World Cup has run into financial trouble as they also work to repair a large boat docked on New Hampshire’s Seacoast.  Andresa and Marcelo Nunez’s boat has now become something of a mysterious legend to those who have seen it drifting in Hampton Harbor.  NHPR’s Sean Hurley brings us the story.

Sean Hurley

While the summer tourist trade won't peak until sometime after school lets out, Memorial Day weekend gives local businesses and attractions a mild forecast of things to come.  NHPR's Sean Hurley visited some destination spots in the Mountain Washington Valley and sends us this report.

Standing beside the North Conway Scenic Railroad's Valley Train, Conductor Alex Schwarzmeiller gets ready to bellow in an old fashioned way at the top of his lungs.  

All aboard!!!

Sean Hurley

Although Police Commissioner Robert Copeland submitted a letter of resignation earlier today, the people of Wolfeboro worry about the possible long-term impact the racial controversy could have on their town. NHPR's Sean Hurley spoke with residents over the weekend, before Copeland’s resignation and looks more closely at what led to today’s events.

On Sunday Joanne Parise sat on the shore of Wolfeboro Bay.  On nearby Main Street, families lined up for ice cream, gazed in shop windows, and consulted maps and guidebooks.  The summer tourist season has already begun. 

Sean Hurley

Enrollment in the network of seven community colleges in New Hampshire nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010. But while overall growth is up, the North Country’s White Mountains Community College is seeing a decline. 

Go to a restaurant, school or office in the North Country and chances are you'll find a White Mountains graduate.

You see em at the hospitals, you see em at the doctor's office you see em in the schools. 

Sean Hurley

As part of National Poetry month, NHPR's Sean Hurley has been introducing us to a New Hampshire poet every Friday. Today, in our final part of the series, we hear from Deborah Brown who lives in Warner. Brown published her latest volume of poetry, Walking the Dog's Shadow, in 2011.  

Deborah Brown recalls the moment she knew she'd become a poet.

I remember really falling in love with poetry as a kid.  Certainly by middle school years.  But I think I knew it when I stole the book.

Christian Gingras

For the fourth year in a row, a local slot car enthusiast has helped his team capture the world record for distance traveled in 24 hours by a car the size of an iPhone.  NHPR's Sean Hurley visited Dickie Pearson, owner of Slot Car Corner in Penacook, fresh off his world record race at the Michigan 24.

Claudio Serrano is late to the race. He sets his briefcase down.  Planted safely in the foam molding, he introduces me to his four favorite cars. 

Sean Hurley

As part of National Poetry month, NHPR's Sean Hurley has been introducing us to a New Hampshire poet every Friday.  Today we hear from Rodger Martin who lives in Hancock. Martin published his latest volume of poetry, The Battlefield Guide, in 2010.  

Rodger Martin loved writing stories as a boy, but he blames the typewriter for turning him into a poet.

Joanne Smith

In honor of National Poetry month, NHPR's Sean Hurley is introducing us to a New Hampshire poet every Friday.  Today we hear from Jennifer Militello.  The Goffstown native has recently published her second book of poetry - "Body Thesaurus."

While her relatives gathered for coffee in her grandmother's kitchen, 9 year old Jennifer Militello would sneak off into a back room to read aloud from the two books she found there.  A heavy collection of Edgar Allen Poe and a slimmer volume of Emily Dickinson.

What The Psychics Said

Apr 9, 2014
Sean Hurley

A 2013 Harris Poll survey on belief shows that Americans believe a bit less in angels - down 6 percent since the original survey in 2005 - and a little more in ghosts  - up 1%.  Less in Heaven - down 6, more in reincarnation - up 3.  While our faith in astrology remains level at 29%, our belief in witches has fallen off 5 per cent.  NHPR's Sean Hurley isn't quite sure what he believes when it comes to mediums, witches, and astrology - and to find out more, he recently visited two psychic fairs in New Hampshire.  A quiet gathering of 6 mediums in Londonderry and a larger fair with vendors at

Sean Hurley

Since 1996, April has been National Poetry month.  The idea is to draw our attention - to remind us - of the art of poetry. To celebrate National Poetry month locally, every Friday  NHPR's Sean Hurley will introduce us to a New Hampshire poet.  First up -  Christopher Locke.  The NH native has just published his second full length book - "Waiting for Grace and other Poems."

Born in 1968, Poet Chris Locke has lived most of his life in the Granite State.