life in the Kearsarge area

what's happening in the Kearsarge/Lake Sunapee area of NH

Archive for September, 2014

Fun facts about Vermont

Vermont was the 14th state to join the Union — the first aside from the original 13 colonies.

Vermont is the second-least populated state in the nation, and only five states are smaller in land area. Of all the 50 states, it has the very lowest Gross State Product. But it also has one of the best unemployment rates in the nation.

Vermont has an eccentric political history. It was an independent nation, the Vermont Republic, for 14 years (1777-1791). It had its own money, sovereign government and a constitution that explicitly forbade slavery — almost a century before the United States did.

Since 1856, Vermont voted Republican in every single presidential election except one (in 1964, it voted for Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater). But beginning in 1992, Vermont has voted Democrat in every presidential election.

Vermont became the first state to allow and recognize civil unions between same-sex partners in 2000, and was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage legislatively (Massachusetts was the very first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, but it was through a court ruling).

Vermont produces more maple syrup than any other state in America.

About 2.5 percent of Vermont’s population speaks French at home.

Please note: This information is from The Writer’s Almanac:

This looks like a good place for an airport

At one time in the early days of flying, the Dartmouth Outing Club was approached by an aviation company which imagined that it was practical to smooth off a suitable landing field on the top of the mountain and fly passengers to and from the summit. We have been told that there is a fairly level place on the north slope which perhaps could have been leveled off, but the wind would have blown away any gravel put on it — as well as airplanes or anything else that wasn’t securely anchored. The airport proposition was firmly resisted by Dartmouth College. Let’s just say it never got off the ground.

— Except from Over the River and Through the Years, Book Five, by Katharine Blasidell. Published by the Journal Opinion in Bradford, Vt., in 1983

Inventors in the Kearsarge area of NH

Know of any local inventors, past or present? Email

Samuel Read Hall, a Croydon resident, is reputed to be the first American schoolteacher to use a blackboard. He also developed plans that formed the basis of the present American school system.

In 1837, the Aiken family — Herrick and his sons Walter and Jonas — contributed to the bustling textile industry of the Franklin area by inventing and manufacturing one of the first knitting machines. Over the next century, generations of Aikens came up with ideas for high quality hand tools (latch needles), household conveniences (an ironing machine), and even aeronautics. They invented a carrier for fire hoses and a 600-pound breech-loading cannon.

Claremont resident Benjamin Tyler invented and had patented a process for dressing flax, and an improved bucket for a wooden water-wheel with an upright shaft, called the rye fly or tub-wheel, for which he was granted two patents — one in 1800 and the other in 1804.

John Tyler (the second) invented and patented the iron Tyler turbine water-wheel, the first iron water-wheel ever made, since which he has been granted nine patents for improvements on it. The Claremont resident is also the inventor and patentee of Tyler’s copper cylinder washer, for washing paper stock.

In 1818, Claremont resident Thomas Woolson invented and patented the first cooking stove that met with any success in the United States. He also made parlor stoves, known as the Woolson stoves.

An unlikely vineyard

Did you know there is a vineyard in Barnard, Vt.? Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin, proprietors of osteria pane e salute in Woodstock, Vt., planted their vineyard at their home in 2007. 2011 heralded their first vintage from Vermont grapes grown near Lake Champlain as well as their own orchard’s champagne-method ciders and aperitivi.

Vineyard book cover  If you’re interested in food, farms and wine, you might like their third book: An Unlikely Vineyard. It is a narrative of their farm and vineyard and its evolution from overgrown fields to efforts at creating a fertile, productive, beckoning landscape that melds with its natural environment. The book also charts how to think about almost every aspect of gardening and how all parts of the farm relate to each other: from composting to trellising; from cider and perry making to old garden roses; from pruning (or not) to dealing naturally with pests and diseases.

You can pre-order at your local book store or through local publisher Chelsea Green.




History in Haverhill


New to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places: the Union House Tavern (circa 1767) on the Dartmouth College Highway in Haverhill, N.H. The Union House served as a tavern and stagecoach stop for most of the 19th century. Associated with the early settlement of Haverhill, the property was also a farm for much of its history.

Anyone wishing to nominate a property to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places must research the history of the nominated property and document it fully on an individual inventory form from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. For more information, visit

Super Scents

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Heather Albrecht has a nose — and that’s a good thing when you work with scents. The fragrances of her line of soaps, balms, scrubs and mists are light, clean, fresh and lasting. “We use the Lavender Vanilla Scent Mist all over the house as an air freshener. I love falling asleep and smelling that on my pillow — it’s a great linen spray and our sheets get a generous spritz when I make the beds,” says Albrecht, founder and creator of Honestly Simple Soaps in White River Junction, Vt.

My personal favorite is the Lemongrass line, pictured here. Albrect says that it is a best seller in the spring, as is Mojito in the summer, and Orange Clove and Peppermint Candy during the holidays. I use the lotion every morning, and the scent still lingers by the day’s end.

Or you can invite Albrecht to your home for a Spa at Home Party, a hand or foot treatment designed to try the products, or a Customizing Party where you can create your own signature fragrance from Honestly Simple’s selection of fragrance oils. “Who doesn’t love something made just for them?” says Albrecht.

Check out the November/December Holiday Issue of Upper Valley Life for an article on Honestly Simple. You can also learn more at