Welcome to the 2013 Summer Guide

Maggie Cassidy rides an Icelandic horse at the Silver Maple Icelandic Horse Farm in Tunbridge. Instructor Jana Meyer gives Cassidy her lesson. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

Maggie Cassidy rides an Icelandic horse at the Silver Maple Icelandic Horse Farm in Tunbridge. Instructor Jana Meyer gives Cassidy her lesson. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

The Valley News Summer Guide, for those staff members charged with putting it together, is both a wonderful tradition and a little bit annoying.

A wonderful tradition because it reminds us of how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country: verdant green hills criss-crossed with endless hiking trails, pristine fresh water lakes for swimming, kayaking, and sailing, quiet and meandering back roads for long bicycle rides, numerous farms to pick-your-own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Forgive us for our partiality, but we really wouldn’t want to be anywhere in the summer (or the fall, winter, and spring for that matter).

But the Summer Guide is also a bit annoying because it requires asking our overworked staff to work a little more. When an editor approaches reporters to ask them about contributing a story to the Guide, there is the inevitable roll of the eyes and that do I really have to? look comes over their faces.

It was with that expected reaction in mind that we set out to do something different this year. Yes, we have the usual lists of where to pick-your-own strawberries and blueberries and where to hike and camp. But the aim this year was to ask reporters to try something they always wanted to do, or had done rarely, that could capture an Upper Valley experience. And then come back and write about it in the first person. The idea was to provide an opportunity for reporters to write about something they wanted to, on the theory that would also make it fun for them to write and, most importantly, fun and interesting for you, the reader, to read.

So in the following pages you will find our reporters undertaking and relating some of their Upper Valley summer experiences. Zack Peterson went up for a glider ride at the Post Mills Airport in Thetford. Maggie Cassidy got her first horseback riding lesson at Silver Maple Icelandic Horse Farm in Tunbridge. Ben Conarck went cliff climbing at Rumney Rocks in Rumney, N.H. Katie Mettler experienced a day on a Norwich farm. Sarah Brubeck survived an afternoon of roller skating at a rink in Enfield. And Jon Wolper, for those who like to find adventure without ever venturing outdoors, satisfied a long-time curiosity: He learned how to the play the ukulele with a club that meets in Hanover.

The result, we hope, is that you will find these adventures in the reporters’ own words as enjoyable as we found them. What it also illustrates is the wide variety of summer activities available to those in the Upper Valley, and reminds us (as if we needed it), of the very special place we get to spend our summer.

— The Valley News


Summer Guide: Gliding in Post Mills

Monday, June 17, 2013

It’s Saturday afternoon in Post Mills, a village five miles outside the town of Thetford. I’m standing on an airfield, watching a glider soar beneath a cloud bank. It arcs through the air, circling a ring of trees, then disappears behind the sun. In a few minutes, I’ll be going up in one of those gliders, perhaps even piloting it, …

Summer Guide: Rock Climbing

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rumney, N.H. — Clinging to a tenuous hold high up on a rock face, I realized I would not be able to support my weight much longer. With a good portion of the climb still above my head, my arms felt only halfway glued on. Saturated in dirt and sweat, I gripped tighter at the rock still slick from the …

Summer Guide: Riding in Tunbridge; Finding That Extra Gait

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tunbridge — There I was, perched on top of a horse, who was moving at a “tölt,” which apparently is an unusual kind of “gait,” which apparently is a word to describe horses’ various speeds, which is something that I never knew existed — but hold on, never mind all that. The point is that I was on a horse. …

Summer Guide: Roller Skating in Enfield

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You have to walk before you can roll. That was the best advice Gayl Pringle gave me. I heard her say it as I sat on the sidelines of the Great View Roller Skating Rink in Enfield and laced up my black shoelaces. I hadn’t been roller skating for years. When I was a young child, my mom would take …

Summer Guide: Ukulele Playing in Hanover

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hanover — Let me preface this with a statement that is absolutely true, despite what I’m going to say a few paragraphs from now: I like summer. I do! It’s great, especially around here. One of the first stories I wrote for this newspaper was about the first ultra-hot day of the year, when temperatures first eclipsed 90 degrees. I …

Summer Guide: Valley Swimming Holes

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Upper Valley in summer is a paradise for fresh water swimmers. Fresh water —lots of it — is everywhere: the Connecticut River, the White River, the Ompompanoosuc, the Ottauquechee, True’s Brook, Blow-Me-Down Brook, Silver Lake, Canaan Street Lake, Storrs Pond. ... Fresh water swimming enthusiasts know that swimming in overly warm chlorinated water offers a poor substitute when it …

Summer Guide: Entertainment Highlights

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Community bands, experimental theater, strawberry festivals, and historic homes and gardens are just a few of the entertaining — and enlightening — activities to be enjoyed throughout the Upper Valley this summer. A preview of the summer’s entertainment smorgasbord follows in the calendar below. But capturing each and every event at this early stage of the season is nearly an …