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. 

Thea Dodds

In 2005, photographer Thea Dodds was hired to shoot a wedding in Massachusetts. She spoke to the prospective bride on the phone and drove down to meet the happy couple.

Dodds: I went and met them and it was two women (laughs). So I didn’t even know before I met them that it was a same-sex wedding.

That two-brides no groom job led to other same-sex weddings. And as she gained more experience, Dodds began to realize that she was falling into the same trap.

Sean Hurley

Maple Weekend begins Saturday in New Hampshire, and that means Sugar Houses in the state are open to the public with boiling sap and sweet syrup to sample.  And syrup producers around the state say they are hoping for a strong season this year.

Paul Weeks would rather be in his sugar orchard checking sap lines for leaks or adjusting the boil on his evaporator.  But today’s bitter chill has given him an unwanted break.  

Sean Hurley

This weekend, the stage version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” premieres at the Rochester Opera House. Reporter Sean Hurley introduces some of the cast and crew members to us in an audio version of a playbill.  In this case, their stories go a little deeper than the blurb in an average program.

Sean Hurley for NHPR

The Museum of the White Mountains had its Grand Opening this past weekend in Plymouth. Correspondent Sean Hurley spoke with Director Catherine Amidon and sends us this story.

Sean Hurley

Turn over a quarter in your pocket and you may now see a scene out of the White Mountains.  New Hampshire's Mount Chocorua is the latest addition to the U.S. Mint's America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

It's the sixteenth coin in the series and was unveiled Thursday in Plymouth. The Quarters program runs over twelve years and honors 56 national parks, forests and other notable sites.

This is the time of year many of us love to head out on the ice to do some fishing or play a pick-up game of hockey with the kids. NHPR's Sean Hurley decided to try something a little different - he went Nordic.

A Walk In The Woods

Feb 10, 2013
Sean Hurley for NHPR

Sometimes, to make a surprising discovery, all you've got to do is strap on your snowshoes and step outside. That was the case when correspondent Sean Hurley ventured out to some familiar trails this past week:

Sean Hurley for NHPR

It’s dark and the winds are really starting to bluster in Waterville Valley when Jess Chabot snowshoes out of the woods near Town Square.

I lived in NH for a long time.  Growing up my parents didn’t ski or anything.  I hated the snow. They hated the snow.  I hated the snow. But then like in my mid-20’s I was like Why do I hate the snow so much I’m stuck with it.  So, you just gotta get a hobby. Snowshoeing you don’t have to be good at at all.  You just put em on your feet.  If you can walk you can snow shoe.

Sean Hurley for NHPR

The Sidehiller snowshoe race in Center Sandwich is the oldest snowshoe race in New Hampshire…a remarkable distinction for an event that began in 2005. We sent correspondent Sean Hurley on a radio field trip to learn  more about the fast-growing winter sport.

Sean Hurley

There aren’t many roads that have books written about them, but we have one in New Hampshire.  In 1973, writer Elizabeth Yates published “The Road Through Sandwich Notch”, which more than anything else helped secure the road’s preservation status as a part of the White Mountain National Forest.  Sean Hurley has been running down and learning about the road for some time now and sends this reflection.

Sean Hurley for NHPR

They’re twelve feet tall, twelve feet wide and crush metal into scrap for fun.  They have names like Maximum Destruction, Eradicator and Thrasher. If you’re envisioning a new breed of comic book villains, think again. They’re some of the gigantic debutantes of a new season of Monster Truck Madness. The touring circuit known as Monster Jam 2013 landed in New Hampshire last week. Sean Hurley put in some earplugs and visited the spectacle for this radio field trip.

Sean Hurley, NHPR

When reporter Sean Hurley heard that one of his neighbors was giving away Christmas trees, he wanted to find out more about this local charity. And what he found was that this man's very public act, letting people wander over his property to pick out and cut down one of the Christmas Trees, was also very private. This story won Second Place in the 2007 Best Feature category from the New Hampshire Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Sean Hurley

Publisher Bennet Cerf once bet Dr. Seuss that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words.

The words were:

…a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

ctj71081 via Flickr Creative Commons

In the aftermath of the election, talk of secession is stirring in every State in the Union. The first petition came out of Louisiana the day after the election. A few months earlier, the secessionist sentiments of the Old South were stirring right here in the Great North.

Once Upon A Midnight Dreary...

Oct 11, 2012
Yeliseev / Flickr Creative Commons

Here is Sean Hurley's unabridged reading of "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. Enjoy!

Leo Greene

If you’ve spent any time in the town of Sandwich, New Hampshire, you may have picked up on its eclectic mix of preserved antiquity and progressiveness, with old clean-walled farmhouses occupied by inventors, artists, even a locally-grown internet service provider. Sandwich may be yesterday on the outside, but it’s tomorrow on the in.  As Sean Hurley reports, this dichotomy finds an unusual expression on the town soccer field a few days before the annual Sandwich Fair. And while many towns see carnies as an invading force, to residents of this town, they’re welcome competitors.

In 1995, Dr. Madan Kataria began an article he titled “Laughter – The Best Medicine.” He found decades of research on the therapeutic effects of laughter and wanted to investigate further. He managed to convince four people at a public park in  Mumbai, India, to start a laughter club.  At first they used jokes, but when the jokes ran out, they began to laugh at nothing.

Sean Hurley

In the words of Henry David Thoreau: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. now put the foundations under them.”  Thoreau wasn’t writing about constructing actual castles, but realizing one’s dreams.  Sean Hurley found a North Country man who’s castle in the air is actually a castle…and he’s building it. Sean takes us on this radio field trip to the kingdom of Thornton.

Sean Hurley, NHPR

Fresh vegetables aren’t the only thing local farmers put on display…at least not in Thornton, New Hampshire, where each summer, Russ Gilman hosts an antique tractor show at his family farm. While old farm machines might not be a big draw for the masses, Word of Mouth correspondent Sean Hurley goes to the show each year. Because an old tractor, as Sean explains it, can be a sort of time machine…

Sean Hurley

Last year, the US Postal Service released a list of thousands of rural offices across the country that could be closed in an effort to save money, five of them in New Hampshire.  But in May, the USPS changed its mind.  These rural offices would not be closed….but their hours of operation would be reduced.  Just how much they’d be reduced, however, came as a shock to the people in one tiny town. Producer Sean Hurley traveled there to bring us the story.

Note: At the request of a listener, this story was re-posted from NHPR's old website. The original air date was in September, 2010.

The New Hampshire Institute of Art is hosting the first public exhibit of original photographs from the private collection of Thomas Adams.

 

Adams has been collecting for decades and holds prints from many well known photographers. 

NHPR Correspondent Sean Hurley recently viewed the collection and spoke with Adams about his lifelong passion.

Maybe it’s all the knives, or the blood. But there’s something a little eerie about a slaughterhouse on wheels.

If you raise chickens, or lamb, or hunt deer for food, you might need the service of a good roving butcher. Like Ray Garcia of Cabin View Farms in Littleton. Solo, he can process about 200 chickens a day in a home built rolling abattoir:

It’s a Wells Fargo Trailer. We have stainless steel tables, stainless steel sinks. If it wasn’t for a lot of the custom facilities throughout New Hampshire, a lot of people wouldn’t be raising things.

When the farmer shuts down his combine, there’s nothing left but a stubbled plain. You might think the harvesting is done. But that’s when the gleaners appear - to begin the second harvest.

Like the Robin Hoods of produce, the gleaners take from the rich soil, and give to the poor. But the gleaners aren’t vegetable pirates. They work with and alongside the farmers:

You gotta carry buckets with you through the fields, picking up small things. You’re constantly bent over on your knees for the whole day.

Got Milk? Maybe you do. But how about this: Got raw milk?

While the USDA opposes the sale of raw milk – they’d prefer you drink pasteurized - raw milk - straight from the cow, filtered and chilled - is making a comeback. It’s now sold in 28 states. Don’t bother looking for it at the store though.

People need to come here and they need to bring their own containers. They come here so they can see my animals, they can see our operation. They can decide for themselves whether the animals look healthy, whether everything’s clean.

The localvores are curious: Could we raise most of our food here in New Hampshire?

A recent study out of the University of New Hampshire suggests we’re a long way from self-sufficiency:

One of the things we were originally asked about is can New Hampshire meet 100% of its food needs through local foods, and there’s a pretty big gap.

That’s Matt Magnusson, co-author of the study.

Currently, we can produce just 6% of what we need. Compared to Maine and Vermont at nearly 40%, we’re lagging far behind.

The humble chicken, that bowling ball with a bad case of feathers, has returned to America's backyard.

Pam Miller in Campton says the urge for chickens is connected to a deeper cultural movement:

We've tried to take care of our energy use with our solar panels and our hybrid car. And the next big thing is the food.

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