About Me

My Photo
Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Harrisville New Hampshire










Minnewawa Brook, Harrisville
On a regular basis I have blathered on about the unappreciated beauty of my home corner of New England. I do believe that the Monadnock Region and Southern Vermont is less appreciated and underrepresented in popular photography when compared to the admittedly spectacular northern mountains or the rocky coast of Maine and New Hampshire. But we in the heart of New England, it's true, check the map, live in a more authentically traditional New England in part, because of the fact that we lack the extreme spectacle that attracts, and can be overwhelmed by,the road choking hordes of tourists.  Also it is not easy to get to the Monadnock Region. There are no
Mount Monadnock
superhighways penetrating our territory. I often say that we are a community united within itself by miles of bad road. As the popular joke goes; "You can't get there from here.", and in few parts of New England is this admonition more apt. I would never claim that we have been totally forgotten by the outside world. We certainly have our attractions. By virtue of its manageable stature and proximity to cities, Mount Monadnock is one of the most climbed mountains in the world and during the winter we have a number of popular ski areas. But it doesn't take long to wander away from the few beaten tracks to find what has been called the Currier and Ives corner of New England.  Of course I am biased, but after years of exploration I think the best way to express the difference is that ours is a more natural and less self-conscious New England.

Harrisville Library
December Ice Storm, 2008
I say this not to trigger the inevitable flaming retorts defending the honor of the rest of the beautiful northeast, but rather as an introduction to what I expect will be a series of posts highlighting some of my favorite photographic locations around my home. Come by and check us out, but don't expect to blown away. Our magic takes time to seep into your soul; then we'll talk.




I can't think of a better place to start our tour than Harrisville New Hampshire. Harrisville is a classic old textile mill village located east of Keene New Hampshire. It is widely recognized as the best preserved example of a small 19th century New England mill town. Harrisville is most notable for its well preserved brick manufacturing buildings, but abundant water power has always been the key to the village's prosperity. The first textile mill began operation in 1794 harnessing the rushing waters of the Nubanusit River as Harrisville Pond drains through the village to Skatutakee Lake. The last mill closed in 1970, but  the people of Harrisville have done a marvelous job preserving and celebrating this irreplaceable asset. The classic textile manufacturing structures in the village center are essentially unchanged from the 19th century and are an National Historic Landmark protected by the Harrisville Historic District. It is not surprising that this is a unique location for photography. Harrisville is a place dominated by the water that made it possible and the opportunities are endless. The brick structures can be viewed across the Mill Pond, Harrisville Pond or composed with the rushing water that literally flows around and through the buildings.
Harrisville Design
At the head of the Mill Pond is a classic old school house which now serves as the village library. The factory buildings have fascinating architectural detail, with interesting doors, windows and an impressive bell tower. Many of the structures have found new life with other businesses.  Perhaps the most interesting and historically appropriate is Harrisvile Designs which has continued the tradition of producing high quality 100% wool yarn and features an extensive collection of weaving products. The Harrisville General Store fits nicely into the village. Owned and operated now by Historic Harrisville  it is the perfect combination of a classically preserved New England village store and WiFi.  Stop by for coffee, lunch or most importantly to buy one of my New England Reflections Calendars (I told you, I never stop!).








Mount Monadnock from
Cobb Hill, Harrisville
There are many more attractions in the hills surrounding the village. I feel that I have only begun to explore the many beautiful streams, lakes and farms. Hill-top locations often feature nice views to Mount Monadnock to the south. Harrisville Village runs northwest to southeast and can be nicely photographed in both morning and evening light, with the view across the Mill Pond to the Library best in the evening. This is one of the most photographed scenes complicated only by the maddening mesh of wires that ensnare the library. Given the hours that I have spent cloning, I would gladly contribute to a fund to BURY THE DAMN WIRES!
Mill Pond, Wires Gone!

Although I must confess to a touch of reluctance as I share one of my favorite photographic locations, Harrisville is certainly not a secret. I hope you get a chance to explore and I look forward to seeing the fresh angles and locations that you will discover. Just stay out of my shot!





Storm Coming, With Wires
Harisville is located east of Keene New Hampshire (42.94565167, -72.09463333).   Coming from the east take Route 101 west to Dublin New Hampshire, the home of Yankee Magazine.   Dublin Road heads north from 101 just past the village and goes straight to Harrisville.  From the west and Keene. follow Route 101 east  through Marlborough then north on Chesham Road to the little train station in Chesham.   Brown Road bears off to the right and takes you straight to Harrisville village.  If this is all too confusing, get a freaking map!  It's worth the effort.


Check out more images on my Harrisville Flickr Set.

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