The Good Old Summertime

Fiberglass boats have their charms (mostly, they’re easy to take care of), but to the lovers of old boats, there is nothing like wood.

Yes, you have to spend hours staining and varnishing the old wood (or pay someone to do it), but early boat owner Shaun Berry says any negatives quickly disappear into the wake of his 1948 Chris Craft on a summer-day ride on Lake Winnipesaukee.

“There’s nothing like being out in an early boat and taking a run around the lake,” says Berry (below), who grew up with the wood boats. “It’s exciting to run them.” He has a new boat, too, but he says new boats don’t have the lines of the early boats, which he calls “works of art.” (The 1948 Chris Craft shown here is red and white painted cedar rather than the traditional stained mahogany because there was a mahogany shortage after WW II.)

Berry, a Wolfeboro Falls resident, was instrumental in moving the N.H. Boat Museum from its home at The Weirs to Wolfeboro six years ago. At the museum, you can see boats of all ages — historic (earlier than 1919), antique (1919-1942) and classic (1943-1968). And not just Chris Crafts, but Garwoods, Centurys, Penn Yans, Lymans and Hackers, too. At any one time there are 40 boats, canoes and kayaks on display along with other lake boat memorabilia. For more information call (603) 569-5931, or visit www.nhbm.org.


Experience the thrill of a wooden boat ride on Lake Winnipesaukee in a 1928-style runabout, the “Millie B.” Call (603) 569-1080 for more info.

July 28-30
33rd Annual Antique and Classic Boat Show, Meredith Public Docks. (603) 664-4200

August 13
Antique and Classic Boat Parade and Display, Sunapee Harbor. Parade lines up at Sunapee Harbor.

September 30
11th Annual Wolfeboro Rendezvous, Wolfeboro. Call (603) 569-0087.

Smooth Operator

Five o’clock shadow? Nicked kneecaps? Tiny rips of toilet paper stuck to your face? Eighty-five-year-old Warren Nissen isn’t shedding any tears of sympathy. And there is a reason for that. Nissen spent more than 25 years of his life with the Gillette Company in Boston working on perfecting America’s experience with shaving. Nissen, a Concord resident, invented the Gillette Trac II razor.

“Sometimes I think, I can walk down the street and there is a reasonable chance that 50 percent of the people I meet I have personally influenced their life — just by shaving, “ says Nissen, who is a self-educated engineer, inventor and holder of more than 40 patents.

Nissen’s best-known invention went to market in 1971, and it happened almost by accident. At the time, Gillette was gearing up to mass-produce a razor designed with two blades that were placed at angles on the head of the razor. Not quite happy with the product, Nissen began tinkering: “I don’t know how I got to it, I really don’t. I just said, ‘Put them the same way.’” He placed the blades together horizontally across the head of the razor. “I made up a half a dozen of them and handed them out to the head of marketing, sales and others, and they went nuts over it instantly.”

“The first blade goes and gets the hair in the follicle of the skin and the blade edge bites in but doesn’t go through the hair all the way and the hair pops back. Then, all of a sudden, before the hair pops back, here comes another blade and it catches the hair below the skin line and you get a close shave.” That, says Nissen, is the basis of the twin blade.

Would Nissen like to have a nickel for every one of the phenomenally successful Trac IIs sold? The answer, surprisingly, is no. “What would I do with it? I mean that. No, I wouldn’t wish that at all. That’s what I was there for, that was my job.”

– by Lisa Brown

Moooving South?

They’ve called us “Cow Hampshire,” so what’s this we’re seeing all over Boston this summer? Cows. Lots of cows, filling the parks, plazas and streets. Maybe Beantown was jealous of our catchier moniker but, whatever the reason, life-sized painted fiberglass cows were chosen for the city’s signature public art event/fundraiser that runs from now until Sept. 5. It’s a phenomenon that’s spreading across the country.

Here’s how it works. An animal is chosen and molded. Artists are selected to decorate them. They’re put on display in a city for a few months, then some of the best are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Money is also raised with sponsorships.

A New Hampshire artist, Lisa Andreasen, was selected to participate in CowParade Boston. The Manchester resident painted the cow shown here; she calls it “Opticow,” as in Opticow Illusion. Andreasen, who works as a graphic designer, documented the painting of her intricate swirls in time-lapsed photographs. You can see them at www.lisaandreasen.blogspot.com.

Humanities To Go!

Curious about how Abe Lincoln felt about his wife? Ask him. Wonder whether Albert Einstein was good in math as a schoolboy? Ask him. Of course you won’t be talking to the real Albert and Abe, but it’s a darn close second.

Thanks to the N.H. Humanities Council and its new “Humanities to Go!” catalog, you can, for a nominal fee, have living history presenters come to your civic group, professional organization, school or business to talk about their lives. You can choose from among 20 different historical characters.

That’s not all — there are nearly 200 other programs available: “Greek Mythology Unplugged,” “Spies in Time,” “Firefighters in the Civil War” and “Crosswords and Cultural Literacy” are just a sampling; there’s something for all interests.

Anne Coughlin, NHHC marketing director, says Humanities to Go “sums up what we as an organization do. We want our programs to be as accessible as possible.” For more information call (603) 224-4071, or visit www.nhhc.org.

Shaker Heyday

If you’ve been to Canterbury Shaker Village, you know how the old buildings pull you back in time, making it easy to imagine two centuries of Shakers going about their lives. Now, thanks to a new series of paintings by Roger Gagne, it will be easier yet. Gagne, an artist and Canterbury Shaker Village board member, has created 25 paintings that depict the North Family, an area of buildings established in 1801 as a haven for new Shaker converts. Over time, the North Family grew to include 20 to 25 buildings — dwelling house, infirmary, wash house and cow barn among them.

By 1894 the North Family was abandoned; its buildings were taken down some 20 years later. The watercolor-and-sepia works allow a view of it for the first time in more than 100 years. The paintings will be on display at the Carriage House Gallery (above the museum store) from now until the end of October. For more information call (603) 783-9511, or visit www.shakers.org.

Old Becomes New

James Aponovich, the state’s Artist Laureate, says this about the collection of art in “Visions in Granite”: “The most challenging aspect of the artistic vision is the reinterpretation of our visual world so that the old becomes new. This collection bears strong witness that the creative spirit still lives in the White Mountains.”

The recently released book showcases paintings of the White Mountains created over the last two centuries. Nineteenth-century works by Champney, Bierstadt, Shapleigh and others are paired with works by contemporary artists, providing an opportunity for a side-by-side comparison of style and technique.

Art historian Robert McGrath introduces the book with a primer for understanding and enjoying the paintings that follow. He says that, 200 years ago, the White Mountains “stood at the epicenter of national artistic consciousness,” and every American painter felt obliged to paint some aspect of the White Mountains.

That would change, he says, when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1868, and artists turned their attentions to the West and its newly discovered sights, like Yellowstone. McGrath also traces the renewal of artistic interest in the White Mountains.

For more information about “Visions in Granite” [Blue Tree, Portsmouth; $25], visit www.thebluetree.com. The paintings in the book can be seen at Banks Gallery in Portsmouth (www.thebanksgallery.com).

Bodacious BODE

When New Hampshire Magazine’s Best of NH party was over, we realized we had forgotten to give away some autographed photos of Olympic skier Bode Miller, who was chosen by our readers as “Best Celebrity” for 2006. So the first five people who e-mail Editor Rick Broussard (editor@nhmagazine.com) with the answer to this question will get one: What New Hampshire town does Bode live in? Be sure to give us your snail mail address so we can send it.

$22 a Pound?

Half the fun of eating lobster is the work it takes to enjoy it. We convince ourselves it must be delicious if we’re willing to use metal instruments and tiny spears to extract our food. If a group of scuba divers has their way, the fun may increase substantially. They hope to legalize lobster hunting in New Hampshire so that recreational divers can hunt their own lobster dinners.

Pete Perron, president of United Divers of New Hampshire, is leading the legislative charge. For three years, proposed bills have languished in the state’s Fish & Game Committee. F&G Commissioner Glenn Normandeau says that lobster diving raises a host of concerns including, most importantly, the impact on the lobster population. Perron dismisses the concerns as red herrings to disguise the real opposition: powerful lobbying by commercial lobstermen seeking to protect their turf.

This year, divers once again hope to shepherd a bill through the Legislature. Perron has spent countless volunteer hours lobbying for the change. What drives him to expend so much energy into what may well be a fruitless endeavor?

”Well, I’d like to hunt lobsters but it has become something more than that for me. It has become a freedom issue. Why shouldn’t we have the right to hunt for lobsters? The lobstermen practically have a monopoly on natural resources for commercial purposes. Imagine if they outlawed recreational deer hunting?”

For now, New Hampshire residents with boat access can obtain a recreational license to have five lobster traps in the water. For the rest of us, there’s always the local market. After accounting for diving gear and oxygen tanks, lobster diving will probably yield lobster meat in the $22 per pound range, which makes the lobsters in the supermarket tanks seem downright cheap.

And easy.

– by Marlissa Briggett

The Fantastic Parrish

He is reportedly the most reproduced artist in the history of art — ahead of even Van Gogh and Cézanne. In 1925, it’s estimated that one in every five homes had a Maxfield Parrish print hanging on the wall. And he’s still popular today — a recent national tour of his artwork drew record-breaking crowds.

Now fans of Parrish, who lived and worked in Plainfield, N.H., will have a chance to see much of the artwork that was on tour. From now until October 29, “Coming Home!”, a retrospective exhibit of the works of Parrish, Manship, Faulkner and Zorach, will be at the Cornish Colony Museum, 147 Main St., Windsor, Vt.

The four artists, all members of the Cornish Colony and close friends, died in the same year, 1966. The exhibit commemorates the 40th anniversary of their passing. Included in the exhibit is the spectacular 18-foot-long mural, the “North Wall Panel,” from the former Long Island home of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (a portion shown below).

Alma Gilbert-Smith, founder and director of the museum, says Parrish’s style is hard to pin down: “He’s not just a straight realist; I would call him an imaginative realist.” She adds that a juxtaposition of two styles allows Parrish to capture a moment as a realist does, but also capture the feeling as an impressionist does.

Parrish was a leading figure in the Cornish Colony, which at its height had about 100 artists, writers, sculptors, thinkers and politicians living in three connecting towns — Plainfield and Cornish, N.H., and Windsor, Vt. Gilbert says the artists were beguiled by “the sense of clarity and light” in the area, much as Van Gogh and others had been beguiled by the clarity and light in Provence.

Parrish’s work is in great demand once again at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Gilbert says people today want artwork where they can see “perspiration instead of just inspiration.” Plus, she adds: “He remains the perpetual Pied Piper luring and cajoling us into his special land of make-believe and enchanted fantasy.”