Best of NH 2015 This and That

Here are the Best of NH 2015 Editor's Picks that don't fit neatly into other categories. They range from an ice cream fundraiser to new hope for the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel.
The city of Berlin is this year's Editor's Pick for City on the Rise.

Chic Biker Magazine: Motorcycles have set the bar for style in film and fashion for decades. So it’s about time there was a stylish motorcycle magazine. Iron and Air Magazine with offices in Manchester is a work of art. It redefines that curious relationship between man, woman, and machine that finds its most intense expression in a throbbing engine with extra torque spinning rubber tires down an endless road to adventure

City on the Rise: Each year we highlight a town or city that’s showing new life and promise. Berlin, the “City That Trees Built,” suffered economically after the decline of the paper mill industry. A new motto, “Your Adventure Starts Here,” introduced by the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce, exemplifies the city’s — and the region’s — push to turn Berlin and the surrounding area into a hub for tourism. We’re happy to see that it’s working.

Collection of Concords: Back in March, ConcordTV hosted its annual fundraising telecast, “Concord On Air,” and to help celebrate the capital city’s 250th anniversary they reached out to more than 55 other communities in the world that share the city’s peace-inspiring name. Nine responded and some of their comments were featured during the station’s live program (and can still be seen in the playlist at

Community Radio: As neither a commercial nor a highly technical enterprise, community radio returns media to a treasured and time-honored tradition of connecting listeners person-to-person. The North Country Community Radio Project is living up to that mission with diverse programming to serve the unique needs of our state’s largest and most remote region. Staffed by passionate and talented volunteers, including the DJs, and funded by donations, underwriters and grants, the project broadcasts from a new studio in Littleton’s river district. The unique programs cover almost all genres of music and are live-streamed on the Internet as if “on-air” from morning to night. The programming is also shared with WZNC/99.9, a low-power FM station based in Bethlehem, while the enterprise awaits approval of its own FM/LP license.

Cowboy Singer: His music is genuine and the traditional songs Skip Gorman sings are about the real cowboys from the American West, not the Hollywood glamorized and sanitized version. Devoid of the Nashville pretensions, his unadorned music is original country and akin to what was sung and played on the Western trails and around campfires over 100 years ago. A consummate artist who plays the guitar, fiddle and mandolin, the Grafton resident and Brown University graduate tours across the United States and throughout Europe.  His music has been featured by Ken Burns, another New Hampshire artistic treasure, in his documentaries.

Grand Dream: Three and a half years ago, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch closed it doors. It was a devastating economic blow — the historic grand hotel, one of just three in the state, had provided 300 jobs and lured tourists to the area. Then businessman Les Otten and a development team put together a $143 million project that would turn the aging Grande Dame into what Otten calls “the ultimate resort in North America,” 20 times the size of the original Balsams. The plans are not set in stone yet; there are still millions of dollars to be raised. 

Ice Cream Fundraiser: The fun (and tasty) Common Man and Plymouth State University Apprentice Ice Cream Tasting Competition uses ice cream to raise money. Students, who work in teams, are challenged with the task of coming up with the best flavor they can make for the judges. The team must also make decisions about pricing, promotion, product placement, presentation and other real-world business decisions. Tickets are sold to the event and proceeds benefit the Common Man PSU Apprentice Scholarship Fund.  

Pork and Guns: Bardo Farm in Croydon calls itself an “off-the-grid, unintentional community.” The emphasis on permaculture and self-sufficiency extends from libertarian community life to agriculture to guns (they mill and manufacture their own). Their CSA Pork Plan allows you to buy a whole pig on installments, yielding about 13 pounds of woodland/pasture-raised pork per month.

Sustainable Transportation: Be a rack star! Businesses and other community partners in Keene and Swanzey can help reduce the carbon footprint while promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing traffic congestion and related emissions by signing on to the Monadnock Region Transportation Management “Rack it Up!” program offering free or subsidized bicycle racks. Started in 2014 as a more convenient and less expensive commuting alternative, it helps make bicycling safer and more convenient and welcoming while also solving the problem of limited vehicle parking in some areas. The racks can be located on either public sidewalks or private property, and 90 new secure spaces were created in Keene in the first year alone. The initiative is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the bicycle racks will even be delivered free of charge for installation.

Town Hall Renovation: John Brewster bequeathed the funds to construct a town hall in Wolfeboro and it was completed in 1890, but the ravages of time took their toll. After renovation proposals failed twice at the ballot box in recent years, a public/private partnership was formed and the Friends of Town Hall raised $750,000 to help defray the $4 million cost. When completed in September, the completely refurbished building will have all of the modern amenities and for the first time will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other regulations. For a fitting touch, Brewster’s restored portrait will hang over the fireplace.

Categories: Best of NH Winners