Arts & Entertainment

Artistic Journeys: Here, Where Ends Always Meet: Paintings by Loretta Stride and Turnings by Diane Vinyard

By Cynthia Melendy


The world feels a lot more prosperous than just making ends meet when you go to the WREN gallery in Bethlehem. Everything is so beautiful and the world is friendly; on First Fridays most of the community comes out to gather for the opening and support the artists of the month's exhibit and to visit one another. It's a great occasion!

The June opening was a great occasion, too. The combination of abstract oil paintings and wood turning seems a stretch at first thought, but the thoughtfully displayed paintings and turnings fall together perfectly.

My first thought about making ends meet wasn't about economics, but more about the idea of nests and trees. The beginning of one life, if one is a bird, is in a tree, and the end of that host's life takes the form of the tree itself as a bowl. The bowl, on the other hand, is so nest-like that nests and bowls create a visual synchronicity.

The bird begins in the cradle of the nest in a tree; the tree begins a new life as a bowl in the material world.

When I talked with both Loretta and Diane I could see why their work felt so closely aligned.

Loretta Stride is an abstract artist whose paintings have been exhibited in and around the Boston, Mass., area on and off for the past 25 years. She began her artistic career working as a muralist and furniture painter in and around the North Shore of Boston before moving to Littleton, where she set up her studio in her home nestled in the heart of the White Mountains. Loretta received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth. She has also studied at the New England School of Art and Design where she was trained in the art of faux bois and trompe l'oeil painting.

But the story is larger than just that: Loretta explains that she and her husband felt they had reached a plateau in their lives. Loretta explains that she was painting "regular art" — representational landscapes — and when she moved up north she began to experiment. This is where her light blue bird and nest paintings emerged. Rather than question this direction, with the support of the WREN community, she followed them, and realized that they expressed aspects of herself previously covered.

The pale blue, expressive of the sky in which a fledgling takes flight, suggests a new stage of artistic freedom.
It is exciting to watch the growth and development of an artist. Loretta said that WREN provides a safe and supportive place for experimentation where the community is involved and excited about every turn in an artist's career. These "meet the artist" receptions are a great way for the community to connect with artists, and for artists to network with each other as well as with potential buyers.

The community of nature also boosts artistic creativity. Diane Vinyard was born and raised in Berlin, and began developing her woodturning skills in 2005. Much of her wood supply is inherited from her father-in-law who made logging rules (as in measuring) for the paper industry. Diane is a devotee of Marshall McLuhan, it appears: You'll also find Diane in the forest with her chainsaw and a "dead and down" permit from the White Mountain National Forest. "Dead and down" means that she is permitted to cut a dead and downed tree).

Her bowls are exquisite, and when I mentioned that the last of my wooden bowls had broken, she told me that she is in the process of perfecting an inexpensive, quality turning method so that everyday people like me could afford to enjoy their 'salad days' in her beautiful bowls. Her array of wooden objects is impressive: She specializes in natural edge bowls while also endeavoring to master other forms of wood turning such as utility bowls, boxes, ornaments, and her newest pieces: salt and pepper grinders.

Before the roads clog up, I strongly urge you enjoy a trip through the Notch to acquaint yourself with Local Works, the gallery by WREN. It is an inspiring place, with amazing new art work every month.

The Gallery at WREN is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call Local Works Marketplace, WREN's retail market, at (603) 869-3100. WREN also has a gallery shop at the Omni Mount Washington. It's exquisite.
This exhibit is generously sponsored by Sugar Hill Inn.

WREN is a nationally recognized not for profit that provides and supports strategies for entrepreneurial development, access to markets, Main Street revitalization, and rural economic development. WREN inspires possibilities, creates opportunities, and builds connection through community and is dedicated to bringing rural people together to realize better lives and livelihoods by providing resources, education, and opportunity. For further information, call (603) 869-9736, email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or reach us on the web


Exploring plane wreckage on Mount Success

By Ed Parsons

Last week, I was leafing through old articles and came across this one from last year on Mount Success in the Mahoosuc Range. It is such a great hike this time of year that I decided to run it again.

I had been leafing through my copy of "50 Hikes North of the White Mountains" by Kim Nilsen. I was looking for a hike that was not too far north for a comfortable day trip.

Mount Success (3,565 feet) in the Mahoosuc Range fit the bill perfectly. Not only did it have a couple great vistas, but there was a mysterious plane wreck from a commercial DC 3 crash about half mile from the summit. A walk down the herd path to the wreck would round out the adventure.

I had been to the Mount Success summit years ago with three others and knew approximately how to get there, so instead of reading Nilsen's description thoroughly at home, I threw the book in my pack and headed.

The book was a large trade paperback, the same size as others in the "50 Hikes" series, and not one that I would normally carry on a hike. But I knew that Kim Nilsen's writing was enjoyable, so I brought it to add to the experience and find my way as I progressed on the hike.

That's exactly what happened. At three junctures that day I sat and read the guidebook.

The first was while getting there. Driving north on NH 16 in Berlin, I bore right on a bridge over the Androscoggin River just before the center of town, and continued a couple miles. At a small sign I turned right onto the dirt Success Pond Road.

One could say that the long Success Pond Road accesses God's Country, but isn't very wild itself. Many people on the east side of Berlin own four wheelers, and shoot out the road for a spin on one of the woods courses out there. The rough road itself is covered with small rocks, which keeps your speed down. The wide flat area north of the road is not national forest, and has been actively logged. Much of it has been clear-cut, and is in the process of re-growth. As one long time hiker told me, "The T.R. Dillon Company has really hammered the area."

On the other hand as you drive in, the green Mahoosuc Range appears above on your right. The Appalachian Trail goes along the top of this ridge. By driving in 5.4 miles on the Success Pond Road and climbing the Mount Success Trail for 2.4 miles you find yourself up on the quiet AT in the middle of a 26 mile ridge. Depending on the time of year, the people you meet are likely "thru-hikers" on their way north from Georgia.

In my opinion, the best view point on this hike is not up on the ridge, but halfway up the trail.

Returning to my car approach, at 5.4 miles on the Success Pond Road, I turned right at a sign onto a rutted road and into the trailhead at the end. The trail was gentle, then steep. In 1.6 miles I turned right on a loop to the Overlook, a fabulous lookout on top of a substantial cliff halfway up the mountain. It was only 8:30 a.m., and the quality of the light was good. The view contained all the elements, from the sweeping drop of the Mahoosuc Range, to the endless horizon to the north and west.

Here was my reward after weeks of rain. I felt liberated.

Then I continued for another 1.2 miles up to the ridge, where I stopped and perused the guidebook again. I headed south on the AT, where a steep climb for 0.6 miles would bring me to the top of Mount Success.

I met a young backpacker headed my way. He was a thru-hiker. His trail name was "Man-Child." He was looking forward to reaching the Maineborder in another mile or so.

I reached a ledge on the open top of Mount Success, and enjoyed the 360 degree view above stunted trees. Another thru-hiker approached from the south. He had ear phones on, and didn't hear my first greeting. He didn't tell me what kind of music he listened to, but, perhaps appropriately, his trail name was "Pounds the Ground." He quaffed some red drink and headed north.

I sat and read the guidebook. A quarter mile further south on the trail I was supposed to look to the left for a freezer sized boulder 70 feet from the trail in the tundra. A herd path would start there down into the woods to the plane wreck.

It was easy following the herd path, which had grown with use over the years. Soon I was at the wreck. It was broken in a few sections, and I wandered around it for 20 minutes before moving away and sitting down on moss for lunch and my last section in the guidebook.

Early on Nov. 30, 1954, a Douglas DC 3 designated Flight 656 left New York for Boston and Laconia, where is continued north towards Berlinas Flight 792. The weather worsened as they approached the Berlin Airport, located in the outlying town of Milan. The pilot approached the airport on instruments. But a combination of factors, including a possible instrument failure that gave him the impression that he was already above the airport, plus extreme rough air, caused him to fly much lower than the glide path and the plane crashed into the east side ofMount Success. It broke apart and came to rest 200 vertical feet below the summit.

The cockpit section hit first and shattered. It broke from the main cabin. The tail came to rest further down the mountain. All 7 people aboard survived the crash, but two in the cockpit died of their injuries that night.

Despite his severe injuries, the pilot William Carey survived. In the cabin, the three passengers and flight attendant survived without injuries.

Soon after the crash the crew sent out a weak message, initiating a search.

Two days after the crash, a search plane spotted survivors on the summit of Mount Success, and all were lifted out by helicopter.

As I found out years ago, when I accidentally bumped into remains of a plane wreck near Grafton Notch that were from a tanker plane that blew up high over the town of Bethel during World War II, aluminum plane bodies don't rust. I didn't know how old the remains were until I walked out to a nearby store and asked about it.

On Mount Success, the wreckage is crumpled yet bright, with rust only on steel interior parts. A couple sections are fairly intact. You can stand in the main cabin section and sign the logbook, kept in an ammunition box that is left on the flight attendant's food preparation shelf. You can look into the restroom where the metal toilet is intact.

At the same time, it has been so long since the tragedy that death doesn't seem to linger. It is an interesting story, and a shiny anomaly in the midst of a stunted forest.

Nilsen's guidebook notes that is it easy to get off the herd path on the way back to the ridge above, and if that happens, just climb upward and you will be back on the Appalachian Trail soon. It happened to me, and I found a beautiful mossy opening with a southern view towards the Carter Moriah Range. Then I kept bushwhacking upward.

Anita Perreault Exhibiting at AVH Rotating Art Program Open House July 7

It all started with "how to draw" lessons on the inside cover of TV Guide 40 years ago. Today, Gorham's Anita Perreault is showing a selection of her works at the Rotating Art Program in the Androscoggin Valley Hospital Cafeteria.

Anita's art will be on display until July 28. Members of the surrounding communities are invited to join the AVH staff, patients and visitors in viewing her work. She will be holding a "Meet the Artist" reception on Monday, July 7, from noon to 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served. This will be an opportunity to "talk shop" with the artist and discuss her techniques and choices of subjects.

Her interest in artistry began when her husband was working shifts in the mill and her children were young. After the kids were in bed and she was alone, she would unwind by doing sketches as instructed by short lessons printed inside the cover of TV Guide magazine. She says, "This led to taking art lessons from the late Leo Aubin in 1980, and I studied with him until his passing in 2005. I continue to do art on a weekly basis with other artists."

While the exhibit consists principally of oil renditions of local scenes, American flag themes and flowers, Anita's portfolio is considerably broader in terms of media and subjects. She loves a challenge and has painted on moose antlers, has painted with gouache (egg yolk & watercolor), pen and ink and, of course, oil. Her subjects include portraits, seascapes, wildlife and landscapes in addition to the several works on display. Over the years, she has shown her artwork at numerous fairs and has received several blue ribbons, a Judge's Choice Award and the President's Award.

Mark your calendar for noon to 2 p.m., Monday, July 7, to visit with Anita at her reception in the AVH Cafeteria! Her exhibit will be on display until July 28.



Line-up announced for summer concerts at Tillotson Center in Colebrook starting July 7

A Summer Concert Series hosted by the Great North Woods Committee for the Arts is bringing four top-notch groups of musicians to the area between July 7 and Aug. 1. These four groups are brand-new to the region. All four of the concerts will be held in the Tillotson Center on Carriage Lane (next to the Colebrook Post Office on Rte. 26).
First in the series is the Gothard Sisters, who will be playing, singing and dancing on Monday night, July 7. The Gothard Sisters are a dynamic all-female Irish music and dance group from the Pacific Northwest. Recently returning from a national U.S. tour, their live show is under large demand as high-energy, family-friendly entertainment steeped in Celtic and folk roots, classical violin chops, champion Irish step-dancing and lots of fun. Corporate sponsorship of this show is courtesy LaPerle's IGA and Guy LaPerle.
The second group to perform in the series is Coig, who will be playing on Tuesday evening, July 15. CÒIG ("Ko-ig" is Gaelic for "five") is an exciting ensemble consisting of five solo acts, and is one of Cape Breton's most captivating young bands. Originally coming together for a promotional tour for the Celtic Colours International Festival, the formation proved to be something special, and the group decided to continue to tour together as a band. Proving to be a serious force to be reckoned with in the traditional music scene with their driving tunes, haunting songs and infectious energy, Coig is a treat for the ears of every audience they meet.
Third in the summer series is Montana Skies, who will be performing on Monday, July 21. Their name, Montana Skies, is a metaphor for musical freedom, and they continue to follow their creative instincts far beyond traditional boundaries. In concert, these award winning musicians delve into music from Pink Floyd and Rush to Vivaldi, and "House of the Rising Sun," as well as their own originals that have been featured everywhere from NPR to the Travel Channel. Montana Skies combines elements of classical technique, jazz improv and the power and energy of rock n' roll.
The fourth and final performers in the series are Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb, who will be playing on Friday, Aug. 1. Loren and Mark first met in 2005 when they spent a few days working with the great Tommy Emmanuel at Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp. Their music is influenced by Bluegrass, Jazz and Western; their style of guitar playing is largely built upon the thumb-picking techniques pioneered by guitar greats Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed, and their songs feature Lorens superb vocals and some beautiful harmonies from Mark. Corporate sponsorship of this show is courtesy Pride Builders and Haze and Kathy Smith.
Admission to the concerts is $15 each, however a special one-price for all ticket is available for $40 which gives the ticket holder admission to all four of the concerts at a price of $10 per concert. Tickets are now on sale and available at Fiddleheads, 110 Main Street in Colebrook, or by calling 237-9302.
For more information on these and other GNWCA concerts, call 237-9302 or 246-8998, or visit


North of the Notch Ecumenical Singers will perform July 6

The North of the Notch Ecumenical Singers will be presenting a special patriotic concert as part of Lancaster's 250th birthday celebration on July 6 at 4 p.m.. The concert will be held at the historic Rialto Theatre and will feature the Joseph Martin cantata, "Of Faith and Freedom" and includes familiar tunes such as Song for the Unsung Hero and You Raise Me Up. The cantata includes not only wonderful music but also narration and famous historic quotes presented by Nathan Gair. It will also feature an audience sing-along of patriotic songs.

The North of the Notch Ecumenical Singers includes singers from all over the North Country and normally performs at the Lancaster Congregational Church. Past performances have included "Amahl and the Night Visitors" which is a delightful and inspiring Christmas opera by Carlos Menotti. The chorus is conducted by Brenda Bray and accompanied by Barbara Robarts.

The concert is free but donations are gratefully accepted. The Rialto Theatre is located on Main Street in downtown Lancaster and is air-conditioned. Come and celebrate Lancaster's birthday with us!