Applying the Susan Boyle Lesson

Featured Shop Mill Brook Gallery . Concord

Britain’s singing sensation Susan Boyle has taught the world you can’t tell a book by its cover. Nor should one judge an art gallery and sculpture garden by location. For more than a decade the “Open” flag for Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden along Hopkinton Road (Rte.9) in Concord has flown, yet from the road it is hard to see. Pam Tarbell, owner of Mill Brook, has transformed her property into an artists’ showcase surrounded by pastures and perennials.

What is a sculpture/gallery doing along a residential road in Concord? I opened Mill Brook in 1994 when there just weren’t a lot of galleries around. I had this big contemporary house and was using half of it to hold art classes. A lot of students hadn’t seen much sculpture, so I brought that in and then when I gave up teaching I turned that space into a tri-level gallery.

What do most people say when they come here? They are a lot like you. They come in apologizing and exclaiming embarrassment for passing by so many times and never turning in. They arrive thinking they will pop in and out, and then they spend more time than they anticipated just wandering around.

What piece evokes the most comments? People who visit just have to have their picture taken next to the Woolly Mammoth by New Hampshire artist Bob Shannahan. I bet that sculpture has been around the world, at least in pictures. Now his newest piece, a prehistoric bear, is becoming a photo sensation.

How would you describe the gallery? We have a bit of everything for collectors. Some like traditional art, so we have Heidi Lorenz; for those who gravitate to contemporary work we have several pieces by Marsha Hewitt; and wonderful playful pottery by Megan Bogonovich. I host a lot of exhibits for artists around New England.

How is business? People who collect art are perhaps a bit more selective in what they buy, but we carry several items that are affordable and lovely. People don’t have to buy art to appreciate art, and that is why this gallery and sculpture garden is open to all at no charge.


So What’s New?

Olive Kids
More than just OK

Olive Kids takes the commercialization out of a good night’s sleep. Toss the Sponge Bob sheets and Hannah whatever, and turn to Olive Kids for colorful, inspirational and nostalgic bedding that whispers “sweet dreams.” Look for cowboys, cars, trucks and planes, tea parties and butterflies and more. You’ll hear good-night giggles over the wild animal bedding – just darling. Turn to the personalized accessories that include wall clocks, placemats and more for those grandkids with unusual names. Olive Kids is an online business operating out of an old barn in Marlborough. For more information visit or call (603) 876-9922.


Bella Funk Boutique
Hikes up urban style

Just because you might find yourself hiking in the White Mountains, don’t think fashion is in the clouds. Bella Funk has you covered. Opened by two sisters, Stefanie and Katie Cavanaugh, you will find only the hippest, newest trends and styles, including Free People and 7 For All Mankind jeans that flatter most any size. From Frye boots to Steve Madden sandals, Bella Funk Boutique rocks. Yes, you can look good after a long sweaty hike! Now in two locations: 9 Main St., Littleton, (603) 444-6597 and 165 Main St., Lincoln (new!), (603) 746-4700. Visit


Tie One On
It’s all about presentation

The Ribbon Studio, 13 Railroad Ave., Wolfeboro, is bursting with eye candy. Polka dot ribbons, satins and ribbons from all over the world are yours to savor as you explore this feminine boutique that beckons to the flirtatious spirit in every woman. Look for unique hostess gifts, cards, sandals with ribbon inserts and lovely satin whimsical slippers. Wrap yourself in a classic white cotton nightgown accented with innocent smocking or a pretty lace embellishment – and dance under the moonlight on a hot summer night.
Visit, (603) 569-9600.


Sock it to Me
Just get to Yikes

This Center Harbor landmark is a lifesaver for little gifts when last-minute invites to cocktails or cookouts come your way. Look for art, all American-made crafts and affordable gifts for all generations. Check out the new boutique section full of great cotton Tees and delightful cotton mismatched socks that will leave you “rotfl.” Old-fashioned lollipops in nine dreamy flavors – tied with a pretty bow make a sweet gift for less than $10. Great stop for day-trippers and boaters, across from the docks of the M/S Mount Washington. Yikes!, 23 Main St., Center Harbor. Visit or call (603) 253-4966.

Categories: Arts & Shopping