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 

The People's Forest

Jul 15, 2013
David Huntley

“The People’s Forest” a new film about the White Mountain National Forest by filmmaker David Huntley premieres next Tuesday. The 48 minute documentary examines a dramatic period in the life of New Hampshire’s great woods from 1860 to 1910 and shows how the human forces that conspired to nearly destroy the land came together again to save it.  Sean Hurley spoke with the filmmaker and has this story.  

Sean Hurley

There’s buried treasure in the rivers and streams of New Hampshire.  22 carat gold to be precise. While it’s very high quality, it’s also very low quantity.  Experienced New Hampshire prospectors say that even though there isn’t much to find, it’s not hard to find.  But you have to know where to look and how to find it as Sean Hurley reports from the gold-speckled Wild Amonoosuc River in Bath. 

The Wild Ammonoosuc River trickles to life in Kinsman Notch and rushes for 15 miles from Woodstock to Bath before breaking into the bigger, slower glass of the Ammonoosuc.  

Sean Hurley

The people of Littleton New Hampshire celebrated Pollyanna Glad Day this past Saturday. The June 8th event also marked the publishing Centennial of the bestselling children’s classic about the little girl who always looks on the bright side. While a dubious meaning shadows the character name in popular culture, Sean Hurley reports that the residents of Littleton believe they know the real Pollyanna.  A hundred people opened and closed their umbrellas in the rain and shine that came and went throughout Pollyanna Glad Day.

The Unusual Ascenders

May 31, 2013
Sean Hurley

The 3rd Annual Alton Weagle Unusual Ascent Day took place this past Monday on Mount Washington.  With fresh snow closing the summit, participants still gathered at the base of the Auto Road to walk, ran, paddle and roll their way to the snowline.  As NHPR’s Sean Hurley reports, it’s an event that blends the difficult with the whimsical. 

75 year old Otok Ben-Hvar stares at the white powder top of Mount Washington. He’s about to go rolling along the Auto Road in a shambling contraption of five inner tubes.  

Sean Hurley

Animals have long played a part in human therapy and healing; from dogs trained to assist the disabled, to all manner of animals making visits to hospitals and nursing homes. For one Vermont woman, it’s a horse that’s helped her heal; not from physical ailments, but from the emotional and spiritual scars of abuse. Sean Hurley brings us her story.

Sean Hurley

While most newspapers are downsizing, outsourcing, assimilating or outright folding, there’s a newspaper in the North Country that’s flourishing. Two weeks ago the Colebrook Chronicle opened a new business office in downtown Colebrook. As Sean Hurley reports, business at the Chronicle has never been better.

Sean Hurley, NHPR

It was ten years ago Friday, that the state lost the Old Man of the Mountain. A celebration at Profile Park marked the anniversary.

  A lone bagpiper approached the shore of Profile Lake to set the tone of the morning. Throughout the ceremony, eyes and cameras hunted the jagged spot where the Old Man’s face once was. John DeVivo, General Manager of the Park said you can’t help but look:

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.