What is “Community” to Me?

by Guest Blogger | Apr 01st, 2016 | Leave a comment

What is “Community” to Me? by Plan NH Member, Andrew Cushing

Fireworks 2015_Cushing

Growing up in Grafton, community looked like newspaper clippings of classmates in the post office lobby. It sounded like static from my father’s volunteer fire department radio at nighttime or the collective “oohs” and “awws” when fireworks exploded in the dark July sky. It smelled like brown sugar and musty curtains – a combination found only at ham and bean suppers in the town hall.Ham Supper_Cushing (2)

 

As a graduate student in Philadelphia, community is coming home for spring break to vote at town meeting, where my second grade teacher checks my “ID” and my bus driver’s sister hands me a ballot. It tastes like homemade coffee cake at the one room library and feels darn heavy when you deliver roadside tires to the dump.

Old Home Day 1990_Cushing (2)Whatever community is, it compelled me to buy a fixer upper in my hometown so that in the coming years I can provide a longer answer.

-Andrew Cushing, Grafton

Plan NH Member
Multi-Year Plan NH Scholarship Recipient

 

 

Thank you Andrew for sharing!

What does “Community” mean to You? Tell us, [email protected]

Walkability: 101.3

by Michelle | Mar 15th, 2016 | Leave a comment

Welcome back! As you know, walkability has a lot of moving parts.

In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time author Jeff Speck urges us to reconsider how we interact with the street. Instead of defaulting to the car-crowded, congested strip malls, we can create safe and interactive streetscapes where the pedestrian fits – and fits comfortably. Speck notes, evolutionary psychologists tell us how all animals seek two things: prospect and refuge.1 Increasing comfort and finding the balance between open and enclosed space of a street, shapes sense of place, community identify and the local economy. In what ways can your community get comfy?

Concord 017
image source: Art Concord

Think Main Street| Communities across the country have been investing in “Main Street” programs that revitalize downtown arteries. Sidewalks or crosswalks, pocket parts or community squares, street-side shopping or outdoor dining: there are many options that can bring people together and ensure investment pay-off. According to a PlaceEconomics study on the Main Street Iowa Program, local governments in Iowa gained $10.8 million in revenue every year in property taxes from their Main Street rehabilitation efforts. Check out the Main Street initiatives in New Hampshire like those in Rochester, Ossippee and Concord.

Celebrate History| In New England, we often see colonial architecture and enchanting covered bridges. Why preserve those structures? Historic preservation can attract tourists, create jobs, provide tax incentives and be a great way to relish in your community’s uniqueness. Visit sources like NH Preservation Alliance and NH Division of Historical Resources to discover how your community can support its historic resources for both tourists and locals to enjoy. These active agencies (and Plan NH members!) provide information about grants, historic district tax credits, registering historic districts and more.

bs2bgPlant Trees| Like we mentioned in Walkability 101.2, more street activity means more cautious drivers. Street trees are additional objects that alert drivers and create a buffer for pedestrians. Trees provide a variety of other benefits. Economically, they increase property value. They reduce traffic noise and provide invaluable natural services by reducing air and water pollutants. In fact 1 tree can absorb 48 lbs of CO2 per year, and for every 5% tree cover added to a community, storm water is reduced by 2%. And, BONUS: trees provide psychological benefits by reducing stress and evoking feelings of happiness.

Next time you’re walking at home or visiting another community, notice your place within the built environment. What buildings, sidewalks, trees or opportunities are or aren’t present? Reflect.

Do you feel comfortable?

Stay tuned for the last session Walkability 101. Until then here are additional resources…

Project for public spaces

Main Street Preservation

1 Speck, 213.

Dover Resident Interview

by Michelle | Feb 26th, 2016 | Leave a comment

So, we heard from the our Plan NH Member, City of Dover, but what about a resident? Meet Tina Corbett, Dover resident for the past 5 years.tina corbett

Plan NH: What have you seen change over the years? 

TC: I’ve seen a lot of improvements to downtown, a lot of restaurants and stores. It’s a really nice city. Where I live, I can walk to downtown.

Plan NH: What is your favorite thing about living in Dover?

TC: One of my favorite things is the Dover Long Hill Dog Park. I go there every day with my dog, when weather permits. If the park wasn’t there, my dog wouldn’t have anywhere to run! I have met so many great people there, too. Residents, and others from other places, love the park. Also it is great to see some residents playing Cricket games there in the summer.

Plan NH: One thing you’d like to see change? 

TC: Well… there is a lot of dog poop left on my street and the kids go to play in the park nearby! In the dog park, everyone is fine with picking up, but I wish everyone would pick up after their dogs in town. I hope they know it doesn’t go away and it’s gross!

Plan NH: What makes your community a vibrant village?

TC: The old mill downtown, the waterfall and the river with the trail. It just is a vibrant village. It’s very nice and very clean. The Children’s Museum and the Henry Law Park are great.  The whole area down there [downtown] is so nice. The Children’s Museum was a great addition to Dover.

other mill

Thanks Tina, it was so fun interviewing! Do you want to tell us about your community? contact us: [email protected]

 

Interview with Plan NH Member: The City of Dover

by Michelle | Feb 26th, 2016 | Leave a comment

Member Highlight- Interview with The City of Dover| Chris Parker is in his 19th year of working for the City of Dover. After working in various roles he was named City Planner in 2007 and serves as Assistant Manager now. But, Chris doesn’t think of Dover as is work place, it’s his home. 

Plan NH: What’s been happening in town? What’s changed over your time here? Dover_mural

CP: I have lived here for a long time. I don’t think about what has changed since 97, while working, but I look at what’s changed since I’ve been a kid. The community volunteerism and engagement have been the same [in a good way]. But, there is more opportunity and more diversity now–diverse community in economics and homes. We have the Liberty Mutuals as well as the Mom & Pop shops. We have the “McMansions” and unique apartments in the mill. And, over the past 5 years, people have embraced multi-family housing, and have embraced that housing being on top of coffee shops and businesses.

Dover has been leveraging the market and bridging the gaps, and has made decisions that took hold in 2007 chapter master plan, to embrace the downtown. We recognize the historical assets and reinforce that downtown is the way and where to build. We promote the idea that if you provide opportunity for people to live downtown, you will provide a lot of opportunity.

Some odd stats, Dover has more mass transit opportunities than anywhere in the state. Before they completed the Downeaster between Portland and Boston, Dover was the only station directly downtown surrounded by full services and attractions. I’m glad my predecessors fought for the station.

We encourage citizen leadership and civic engagement on regional and state level. We do a local engagement series in the fall to involve people with the municipality and on an economic level.

We don’t want to be Portsmouth or other neighboring communities, but looked at what they have and thought about what could happen in Dover.

Plan NH: What else makes your community dynamic and vibrant?

CP: We are unique with high quality amenities. And, there is a very strong sense of community and pride of the downtown. People like how it works. There is diversity in types of business, and there could always be more and more that are different. People like using the downtown, where you can buy a hammer and milk. We have figured out a way to have a tourism draw and a vibrant restaurant scene. And, have a reality check that you can go to the grocery store while downtown.

Plan NH: We have heard from a lot of people, Dover is transforming in a positive way. What would you say helped Dover transform from the old to the new?

CP: There is a very thoughtful, progressive demographic here. One benefit in [Dover’s] planning community is we have an open-minded constituency. People aren’t afraid of density in downtown or Accessory Dwelling Units or electric vehicle charging stations.

Plan NH: We noticed recently you tweeted, calling for opinion of transportation options from community members. What feedback did you get?

CP: We got about 150 responses with cohesive answers. A lot of drivers deal with congestion downtown and congestion at exit 7. The most outstanding aspects of the survey were the very low response on who uses the bus, but the fact people applauded having the bus and are willing to pay for it.

Plan NH: What about the renovation of the mills? How has that impacted community? There are apartment buildings and restaurants. We even noticed Dell. What was the before and after like?Dover Mills

CP: The mill life-cycle is an interesting concept. In the 1820’s it was an economic engine of one sort. In 1943, the City took control of it until the 1980’s. We looked at it from a vibrancy perspective, and thought the only way to have vibrant downtown is to have people living downtown. We looked at density and decided working parameters were needed in the downtown. There is so much character there. The mills have commercial potential, but commercial spaces don’t tend to pay for themselves. If you are a commercial business owner, landlords subsidize it. Mill owner can keep Dell there by offsetting rent cost balance using the economies of scale.

Plan NH: What challenges are faced within the City?

CP: One of the biggest is demographic shift. People who grew up here, who want the past, have different expectations of the community. Also, we face the opioid challenge in the community, like state and federal.

One challenge of being the oldest community in the state is that we don’t have much undeveloped land left. Most parcels have been through development once and will be redeveloped. Pro or con, it’s a challenge.

Also it is challenging maintaining the diversity. We don’t want all mobile homes and we don’t want all Mom & Pop shops. We want diversity, but the market drives so much. We want Dover to remain attractive and affordable.

Plan NH: What advice could you offer to other NH mill towns?

CP: Keep in mind that the shell of the building is most important part. What you see is the active mill, what’s inside is economic. You should be encouraging the adaptive reuse of the mills. There are things that prevent adaptive reuse, like safety, but you need to keep an open mind and relax density requirements. It pays off by adding more people and lowering the development cost, and it gets the tax development increase.

You need to help provide affordable housing. Someone needs to be able to go through all of the “home-changes” in one community. A lot of people in the mills are not fresh out of college they are the adults who had a house and now have downsized.

Plan NH: Is Dover planning for change over the next decades? If yes how?

CP: The biggest way is to continually update and review the Master Plan and Strategic Plan. We constantly keep our longer plan in mind. Also, we try to keep a flat infrastructure budget, keeping our roads maintained and not having financial spikes as we put out fires. Financially, the exception right now is the plan for a new high school. Continually planning long-range helps the impact because the plan is constantly being reviewed.

Plan NH: What would you recommend if someone were to visit Dover? What cultural and social assets are there to visit?

CP: I would tell people to park and go downtown. I think you’ll be able to see something you like. I would tell them to go to William Pond outside of town. More diversity in Dover: there is plenty of rural. The conservation commission does a great job protecting resources. Their work reinforces the importance in concentrating development, much of the rural portion of the community has been persevered.

What does it mean to you to be a Plan NH member? I think Plan NH is a great envoy that the built environment impacts the natural and vice versa. It offers educational opportunities and advocacy opportunities for people to learn about the value of the built environment and mix uses in the “village.” Also, the people in the group are very accessible and happy to talk about issues at hand.

What would you like to continue to see for Plan NH? Plan needs to continue to broaden its appeal. I would like to see APA partnerships or with OEP, and form partnership with other organizations. I would like to continue to see [Plan NH] forge relationships with other natural collaborators. And, be proud of what it does.

What would you like to see for the State? The state needs to invest in statewide planning activities. Due to changing demographic and volatility of the economy, we need to have strong statewide planning advocacy.

streetview

Now, check my interview with Dover resident, Tina: HERE.

New Hampshire “Middle-Child” Towns

by Guest Blogger | Feb 16th, 2016 | Leave a comment

“New Hampshire ‘Middle-Child’ Towns” by Plan NH Board President, Rob Dapice

I recently watched a TEDX talk by UNH Rural Extension employee Geoff Sewake (watch it HERE) on the power of rural attractiveness for small communities like the one where he lives in North Haverhill. I recommend the talk. It got me thinking about my own town.

As Geoff points out, people in the North Country, particularly those in communities with populations that are aging and shrinking, could do well by welcoming young adults who are attracted to those places, or those who have an existing connection to these communities, in order to make them more likely to stay.

He repeats “hey, hello, what’s up” as a means of emphasizing how informal this welcoming approach can be. He discusses how young adults can really contribute and make a difference in these communities that have been so depleted by outmigration. And, how showing up to two meetings in a row, for just about any board or committee, will likely result in their being invited to join.

I have lived for five years in Hopkinton, a town of 5,600 just west of Concord. Hopkinton is somewhere near the middle (demographically and geographically) of state trends. Hopkinton and many other communities in New Hampshire are expected to have approximately stagnant populations. I liken our situation to that of the middle child: not as outstanding as the first born and not as one might think. No explosive growth. No ominous decline. A stable population should make everyone happy. No problem, right?

hopkintonbridge
photo: wikimedia commons

In middle child communities like this one, the question is not so much “will we disappear” or “will we be overwhelmed” but the more complicated and touchy “who are we and who do we want to be?”. This is something that Plan NH Executive Director Robin Leblanc touches on when she says frequently “Communities in our state are so used to planning for growth; they need to start planning for change.”

To illustrate this, observe that certain communities in our state’s southern tier seem to still be booming. For example, Stratham has grown 14% between 2000 and 2010. Then, consider the population of Coos County that has remained virtually unchanged during that same time period and is predicted by the OEP to shrink over the next 30 years. The overall feeling of impending growth or decline makes up an essential backdrop that informs how many citizens are inclined to think about their communities. This shapes discussions and decisions on school budgets, zoning, and economic development.

Hopkintonsdsign
photo: www.hopkintonschools.org

Hopkinton has the seventh highest property tax rate in the state and has historically had higher taxes than neighboring towns which mostly seem to either have a stronger commercial tax base, a less costly school system, or both. Combined with the reality of declining school enrollments over the past decade, this has made the annual school budget rather contentious.

There are lots of good people involved in the perennial debate over school spending in Hopkinton and the details of what might be cut and what should be cut are not important here. I find the ways in which debaters on both sides seem to bypass each other with arguments interesting. They find their personal arguments compelling, but their reasoning can ring hollow among those whom they are trying to convince.

One frequently cited consequence of a high tax rate is that it will result in more people moving out of town. Assuming the high tax rate is the result of an expensive and well-regarded school system, as is the case in my town, it will also attract in-migration among families who move to town for the school system. This group of new residents who are attracted by the schools certainly includes, but is not limited to, families led by wealthy professionals.

Those who favor a higher school budget often invoke the testimony of other young families who have chosen Hopkinton because of the good school system. My family constitutes a data point in that argument. Those who favor a lower school budget in order to reduce taxes prefer to cite examples of people they have known who have left town because of the taxes. I know a few of the people; they are not imaginary. In some cases, they vacate homes that are then occupied by young-professional families whose stories will be used to justify our current approach to budgeting.

Should town policy favor longtime residents on fixed incomes to ensure that the community retains its character? Or should it be crafted to draw enough younger and wealthier people to town so that our town can buck the demographic trends of stagnation/decline? Of course, there is no easy answer.

I grew up in a town that has been so overwhelmed by rich people that I feel like it has become unrecognizable in the two decades since I left; it is not an accident that I chose not to return to it when I moved back to New England. If we continue down the road of high-performance, high-cost schools without restraint, we will become another Concord, Massachusetts in a decade or two; people will come for the schools and will be seen hammering the “For Sale” signs into their front yard the day after high school graduation.

However, the schools are a real attraction for Hopkinton. Like every New Hampshire town that depends on volunteers to keep the machinery working, Hopkinton is a better town for its tireless volunteers. Many of these volunteers were attracted to Hopkinton because of the school system. The School Board and the Superintendent deserve credit, in my opinion, for presenting a conservative and responsible school budget.

But the school budget is not the point here. The point is we all need to listen to each other. If you are preparing to make an argument that is incredibly resonant with you—about how you and your friends all moved to town because of the great schools, stop for a moment. Consider how your argument might sound to someone whose longtime friend and neighbor just moved out. And, to be fair to my demographic peers, if you are getting ready to stand up at a public meeting and tell those of us who want to improve their school system that they should move to Massachusetts, be respectful of the fact that not everyone who loves New Hampshire shares an identical philosophy.

Of course, school funding is an incredibly contentious issue in New Hampshire, especially its middle-child towns; I think that listing the lawsuits over state funding of education in the past 20 years would make for a longer document than this essay. But that is a topic for another day.

HopkintonNH_TownHall

 

 

 

Walkability 101.2

by Michelle | Dec 01st, 2015 | Leave a comment

As you remember from Walkability 101.1, walking isn’t just for exercise, right? Imagine burning calories on your:

Useful, Safe, Comfortable, Interesting walk, that just so happens to put you and other people first.

In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, Jeff Speck explains why communities that appropriately use walkability principles ooze excitement! But walkability doesn’t only work in large cities. It can happen in small town centers, too. Like we mentioned before, your walkable walk should be useful and

Safe| Protect the pedestrian.

If a sidewalk, crosswalk or area feels unsafe, it probably is. No matter the amount of sidewalks or retail space, you probably won’t walk around downtown if you constantly dodge cars. Curb bump-outs, pedestrian islands or street elements that provide buffers between people and cars enhance safety. Safety can also be improved by welcoming bikes. Bicyclist presence will help slow cars. And, bikeability means it may be less necessary to drive.

A number of other factors can determine a car’s speed such as lane width, visual cues and turning options. Consider a “road diet” with your community if drivers treat your main street like the Daytona 500. A road-diet can improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, increase downtown business and be the most cost-effective way to achieve street vibrancy.

Overall, more street activity creates cautious drivers. Pedestrian safety is key to a walkability transition, especially transition from an unvisited downtown to one “you’ve gotta visit.”

Is your community already walk and/or bike-friendly? Tell us about it! Stay tuned for more steps… until then, learn more with these resources:

Video! What’s a “Road-diet?” ; guide to creating a “bike to school day” in your town; US DOT initiatives; guide to complete streets

My Day as a Designer

by Michelle | Jan 18th, 2016 | Leave a comment

A Discovery|  I noticed the flier while perfecting my Joe at a coffee shop. Attend an introductory permaculture design course! With The Resilience HUB from Portland ME. This is it, I thought, this is my chance! Maybe I’ll design something… like a rain garden!  So, for two November Saturdays in Eliot, ME at a Bed & Breakfast and private residence, I eagerly waited to draw a beautiful design

The class met in a cozy, rustic house, equipped with a wood stove. Here, our class absorbed permaculture history, like how in the 1970’s, Permanent-Agriculture “Permaculture” concepts developed. And how, amazingly enough, the permaculture methodology was being created simultaneously yet separately  by Australians Bill Mollison & David Holmgren and Japanese Masanubo Fukuoka. Permaculture embraces ecology and is grounded by its ethics – Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share.

Permaculture involves using existing assets shared among people, plants, animals and non-living things. It inspires you to recognize patterns found in nature, and encourages you to mimic the beneficial ones. Permaculture aims to harvest a yield from the efficient, mutually beneficial interactions. All of this should occur while using resources most efficiently and increasing the benefit for the entire system.

The Class| 

Regardless of the subject, our class celebrated one theme continuously: diversity. The B&B owners (clients of the HUB and pupils of the class) demonstrated their diversity love-affair with their enchanting 5 acre property. They guided us through the site, introducing us to their goats and chickens, cats and dogs. We meandered below white pines, along hillside gardens and among a congregation of oaks. We handled herbs and rejoiced in the soothing smell of lavender.

The owners not only envision their home being a B&B. They dream of a community gathering space filled with eager families learning how to forage in an edible forest. They imagine the renovated barn, busy with neighbors enjoying homemade pizza at community movie night.

The owners recognized the need to design the property to best use its bounty and beauty, while saving them energy and time in caring for it. Here is where we came in.

Our class assessed which spaces had present and anticipated human activity for the growth of the B&B. We reenacted daily walks from the main house to the chicken coop then to compost pile. And, the occasional strolls into the patch of woods. We learned where the last snow melted and where the sun travels both during summer and winter. We observed and pondered these spots. We considered how patterns— the sun, microclimates and wind among many others—do and could affect these spots.

Zone mapping from a Resilience HUB project, courtesy of HUB

On personal maps we transcribed all activity into zones. Zone 0 being self/house, Zone 1 visited every day and so on until wild, barely visited Zone 5 which may not appear on every property. Permaculture designers pay particular attention to zones to carefully consider where travel occurs on a site   – and why. “Permaculture focuses less on the objects themselves than on the careful design and the relationships among them —interconnections—that will create a healthy, sustainable whole” (Gaia’s Garden, T. Hemmingway). My experience in November, ended with our class of novice permaculturalisits (very good ones, I might add) giving design suggestions to the B&B owners. No matter the novelty, our suggestions were valid, useful and creative.

Among many the lessons I took from the course, one has stuck with me; if we start with what we have and integrate, rather than segregate our resources, we build capacity. We can build capacity with the relationships between all moving parts– of an ecosystem or a community or anything, really.

We can extend this lesson far beyond the garden gate. Perhaps this is why the meaning of permaculture has been transforming from “permanent-agriculture” to “permanent-culture.” Maybe we can all be permaculture designers, if we look at our yards, homes, communities and even ourselves, holistically.

A Lesson|  By the end, I understood that I wasn’t going to design a pretty picture. Permaculture is not about drawing or planning a specific thing. Permaculture is a toolbox, a lens through which you can look at a combination of relationships and discover ways to make everything self-sustaining… and better.

Isn’t this what we want for community development and planning? We don’t plan for one building, even if it is a marvel, to remedy economic challenges or mitigate storm water run-off. Likewise we don’t expect one thing, whether a building or garden, to improve the well-being of people. We are continually affected by a combination of factors and relationships among people, place, plants and more. All from which comes the opportunity to learn, adapt and appreciate.

PS. I think you should check out permacultureprinciples.com during your coffee break.

Interested in the B&B? Search for them on AirBnb.

Walkability 101.1

by Michelle | Nov 18th, 2015 | Leave a comment

You follow the sidewalk. It ends. You want a coffee from the across the street. No crosswalk. Cars zip past. You scurry—phew, you made it! You grab a coffee and wait. Yay, space! You can dart again… hoping you don’t spill your coffee. We’ve all been there.

A walk is just a walk, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Your walk could be:

1. Useful 2. Safe 3. Comfortable 4. Interesting and place you and other people first.

In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, Jeff Speck explores walkability and why communities that appropriately use its principles have bustling cores. Spoiler alert: walkability doesn’t only work in large cities– any town center can benefit. Let’s break down items 1-4.

Useful| Sidewalks and crosswalks are useful and give pedestrians places to walk. However, if there isn’t a destination, people might not use them. A walk should mix uses with a balance of and between activities. Walking to greenspace, a coffee shop, the post office and restaurants in the same area provides excitement andStreetview6 economic value.

Increase utility of a walk, think creatively about parking. Parking can often make-or-break downtown visits. Too many spaces? Create a destination; energize a spot with an art display or temporary vendor. Too few spaces? Orient the parking to maximize space. Speck also notes the importance of collaboration between businesses who share parking areas or private lots. Free parking isn’t really free — someone somewhere pays. And, when spaces remain vacant in empty downtowns, someone still pays.

Marrying other transportation types to walking can also benefit a community. Buses, light rails, subways and bike lanes can help enhance walkability because they take individuals to destinations. As we like to say, they provide options for getting about. In any case, non-car transportation options must meet the needs of people and community before it can be truly helpful. Neighborhoods can be walkable without these options, but walkable cities depend on them.

Like Speck mentions throughout his book, cars are fine but put people first and cars in their place. By doing so, your community will be recharged and open to a new world of possibilities. Changes will take time, energy and money—but if this is your community’s shared vision, it will be worth it. Stay tuned…

Some resourcewalkingdwntwns: Jeff Speck Ted Talk, Boston WalkUp case Study, General walkability sources,Small towns vs cities, Parking problems/solutions resource

Pop-Ups Popping up?

by Michelle | Oct 27th, 2015 | Leave a comment

In April and May, with UNH Cooperative Extension, AARP, the Endowment for Health and many others we explored Communities for all ages with the City of Franklin. One of the guests, Josh Bloom from the CLUE group, introduced some cool ideas for economic development that stray from the industrial, manufacturing days of generations past. Let’s explore one of those ideas.

Halloween pop-up store*
Halloween pop-up store*

The Pop-up Shop| A pop-up shop is a store that appears in a vacant storefront or retail space for a short time. You may see them for holidays, summer months or high-traffic tourist seasons. Pop-up shops can benefit the retailer, landlord and community by allowing an entrepreneur to experiment with an idea, fill an underutilized space and create a community buzz.

Pop-ups operate on a short-term lease with affordable rent which enables a retailer to test success and educate consumers about its product. Although leasing space for them may be challenging with absentee landlords, pop-ups can be an especially unique opportunities to inspire creativity and involvement in communities plagued by retail vacancy. If leasing the vacant space for retail is too much of a jump, experiment with pop-up shops for a weekend arts, crafts or music community event.

Learn more about this economic trend with these sources: Pop-up Retail, Holiday Pop-up, Benefits of Pop-ups and a little Pop-up Philanthropy.

Think pop-ups could work for your community? Talk to your council, talk to local landlords and see if you can spark some curiosity. If you do, let us know how it goes.

sign-snip

 

*Deadwicks is a seasonal Halloween experience with a Victorian theme. Derived from the Portsmouth retail store, Pickwicks Mercantile, which captures the unique feeling from 19th Century Portsmouth, one can only imagine the enchantment stewing behind Deadwick’s unrevealing door.

Fall Fun in Laconia

by robin | Oct 08th, 2015 | Leave a comment

Who doesn’t love the transition between hot summer days and frosty winter nights? Well maybe not everyone, but who doesn’t love a fall festival? In New Hampshire, we are so fortunate to have beautiful mountains, lakes, coastline and fabulous fall festivals.

In August, we were fortunate to collaborate with the City of Laconia in a Community Design Charrette. With the Orton Family Foundation, the City of Laconia, Re-Imagine Laconia and passionate citizens, the Plan NH team recommended possible adaptations to the Land-Use Chapter of their master plan. Some of our suggestions included integrating traffic calming techniques to Beacon Street downtown and connecting Weirs Community Park to Weirs Beach with a walkway. Now it’s up to the City to discover how our ideas and suggestions could help their needs.

During charrette, we also discovered their excitement for hosting New Hampshire’s 25th Annual Pumpkin Festival!

On Saturday Oct 24th head to Downtown Laconia to carve pumpkins, run a 5/10k on the WOW trail or help the City attempt a world record! Check out the schedule of festivities taking place between 10:00am-8:30pm.

Laconia has so much to offer with its incredible location, historic buildings, fabulous coffee shop and delicious burritos and much more. If you find yourself with nothing to do Oct 24th, head to Laconia, grab some hot cider and march in a costume parade!walkingdwntwn

At the very least, celebrate the season somewhere in this great state with family, friends and community.

 

Enjoy, be safe, have fun!

Want to see more NH festivals? click HERE

Just want NH pumpkins or apples? Here are many GREAT FARMS!