Sean Hurley | New Hampshire Public Radio

Sean Hurley

North Country Reporter

Sean Hurley lives in Thornton with his wife Lois and his son Sam.  An award-winning playwright and radio journalist, his fictional “Atoms, Motion & the Void” podcast has aired nationally on NPR and Sirius & XM Satellite radio.  When he isn't writing stories or performing on stage, he likes to run in the White Mountains. He can be reached at 

Sean Hurley

At the summer meeting of the New England Santa Claus Society there was talk that this might be a year without Santa Claus. At least at the malls and stores.  And while many Santas opted to go virtual and the Kris Kringle business is way down, NHPR’s Sean Hurley says you can still find a Santa here or there, socially distanced, wearing a mask, likely behind a plexiglass wall.

Sean Hurley

For the last five years or so, NHPR’s Sean Hurley has been documenting what seems to be a growing Holiday tradition of decorating trees near his home along a favorite hiking path at Smarts Brook in Thornton.  He’s been worried that this difficult year might bring a temporary end to the tradition...until this past weekend.

Sean Hurley

Known as the “Birthplace of Freestyle Skiing” Waterville Valley is also credited for having the “First Trail Network in the Nation.” 

You can read all about the highs and lows of the town and its trails in the new Waterville Valley Guidebook NHPR’s Sean Hurley went out with the authors to find traces of the area’s history on its 125 miles of trails.

Sean Hurley

We heard a lot on Election Day about crowds of voters waiting in long lines before polling places even opened.  There are the first voters....and then there are the last voters.  NHPR’s Sean Hurley spoke to three voters who just barely made it in before the polls closed in Plymouth.

Sean Hurley

Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin may not be rising in the pumpkin patch this year – nor airing on TV this Halloween – but two great pumpkins can be seen high atop the twin spires of Rounds Hall at Plymouth State University.

For almost 50 years, locals have wondered how the pumpkins get there each October. NHPR’s Sean Hurley went to Plymouth to find out.

Sean Hurley

For the past two presidential elections, farmer Chris Owens has conducted an informal vote at his vegetable stand in Holderness, New Hampshire. Visitors are invited to drop a ballot into an outhouse toilet of their choosing - one assigned to each of the major candidates.  

Sean Hurley

In Stark, a small cliffside cemetery has been eroding into the Ammonoosuc for years – and both earth and bones have been lost to the river.

During a special town meeting in mid-September, locals voted thirty-four to one in favor of relocating Blake Cemetery to a new graveyard a few miles up the road and that work has now begun.

NHPR’s Sean Hurley recently visited Stark to find out just how one goes about moving a cemetery.

Sean Hurley

NHPR currently has a survey where we’re asking you how you'd like us to cover the upcoming elections. One question we’re asking - to learn more about you - is where you get your news.  And your answers to this question caught the attention of reporter Sean Hurley.

Along with NHPR, The New York Times and The Washington Post, many tell us they get their news from something called Daybreak. What in the world was Daybreak, Sean wondered? Here’s what he found out.

Here's another way to get your news - sign for one or more of NHPR's newsletters today!

Sean Hurley

The White Mountain Fritillary butterfly can only be found in one place on earth - above 4000 feet in the Presidential Range. A conservation effort is underway to make sure the insect can survive climate change… but scientists have only just begun to learn about the species and how it may be at risk.

As part of NHPR’s reporting project, By Degrees, NHPR’s Sean Hurley joined researchers atop Mount Washington to see four captive butterflies released back into the wild.

Sean Hurley

With statues coming down around the country in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, NHPR’s Sean Hurley recently heard about one town in New Hampshire that is considering putting one up.

Sean Hurley

As a crowd of protesters gathered on the town common, the Plymouth Select Board voted four to one Monday night to mandate mask wearing in public spaces. The mandate goes into effect immediately.

Sean Hurley

The coronavirus pandemic has drawn increasing crowds to the great outdoors, including many popular hiking trails, swimming holes and recreation areas in the White Mountains. But the burst in popularity has created new problems for the folks who manage New Hampshire's national forest.

Sean Hurley

The Plymouth Selectboard will host a town-wide zoom hearing Monday evening on a proposed ordinance mandating face coverings in town. Over the weekend, on the town common, an anti-mask mandate protest was held. NHPR’s Sean Hurley was there. 

Update: Plymouth's Select Board voted for the mask mandate on August 10. Click here for that story.

Sean Hurley

This past weekend the Hatbox Theatre in Concord became one of the first theaters in the state to begin offering live indoor shows, almost a month after the restriction on performing arts spaces was lifted on June 29th. NHPR’s Sean Hurley attended the opening of Copenhagen.

Sean Hurley

The town of Stark has finally decided what to do with its failing riverside cemetery: move it, as NHPR’s Sean Hurley reports. 

Sean Hurley

Following the discovery of human remains on the failing river embankment below Blake Cemetery in Stark, the Attorney General’s Office told town officials to shore up the bank -- or move the cemetery. But as NHPR’s Sean Hurley reports, either solution could bankrupt the small town.  

Sean Hurley

With normal life sort of coming into view, NHPR’s Sean Hurley thought 4th of July fireworks might be a distinct possibility somewhere in the state. Not really, he discovered.  

There won’t be fireworks displays in Concord or Merrimack or Nashua this 4th of July. Portsmouth Recreation Director Rus Wilson says even rescheduling wasn’t an option. “Yeah, we get close to 20,000 people in Portsmouth,” Wilson says, “so we're not going to go anywhere near that while this is going on.”

Sean Hurley/NHPR

As rallies against the killing of George Floyd entered their second week in New Hampshire, demonstrators gathered in rural communities across the state Monday to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sea / Sean Hurley/NHPR

After two months of being limited to curbside pickup and delivery only, restaurants and cafes across New Hampshire are again serving customers outdoors.

Monday marked the next phase in the gradual reopening of the state’s food service industry, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions.

Sean Hurley

The 31st Market Basket in the state is set to open tomorrow in Plymouth. NHPR’s Sean Hurley visited the grocery store today to find out just how grand – or not - the grand opening might be.

Marie Alderink and her husband Elroy peer through the just washed windows of the new grocery store. The Hebron couple thought today was opening day.

Sean Hurley/NHPR

Like a lot of restaurants, Mad River Tavern in Campton shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Most employees were laid off, and whatever ingredients could be saved landed in the freezer. 

With the doors closed, tavern owner TJ O’Neil rolled up his sleeves.

With the help of a skeleton crew, he refurbished the bar, painted walls, and did trim work. 

Sean Hurley

In a normal year, theaters around the state would be preparing for their summer seasons. With gatherings currently forbidden and uncertainty hanging over their heads, many are simply canceling the whole season. Others are postponing or, as NHPR’s Sean Hurley found out, discovering new ways to reach an audience. 

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Sean Hurley

If you’re thinking that right now is the perfect time to bag some peaks and get that Four Thousand Footer patch, AMC committee member Steve Smith says think again.   

“The mantra has been 'Stay Low and Local,'” Smith says, “but we felt that enough people weren't listening to that. And we decided that we needed to take a step further, and just say that we would not count the peaks for anybody that's working on a list as sort of a disincentive.”

Sean Hurley

On March 7, the Plymouth State University hockey team defeated UMass Dartmouth 6 to 2. A little more than a month later, a collaborative effort between PSU, Speare Memorial Hospital, the Public Health Network and the National Guard has turned the Savage Ice Arena into a supplementary COVID-19 ward for the hospital. NHPR’s Sean Hurley visited the site earlier this week and sends us this. 

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With the recent closures of Rumney Rocks and Pinkham Notch, and burgeoning crowds reported at popular New Hampshire parks, Governor Sununu on Friday encouraged outdoor enthusiasts to hike locally with his “Home Hike Challenge."

But on Saturday, the day after the challenge was issued, NHPR’s Sean Hurley visited the most popular hiking destination in New Hampshire - Mount Monadnock – where staff confirmed the mountain was busier than normal. 

Courtesy - Tomie dePaola via Facebook

Beloved New Hampshire children’s book author and illustrator Tomie dePaola died Monday at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon after complications from a fall. 

The New London-based artist was 85.

NHPR’s Sean Hurley spoke with New Hampshire storyteller and fellow children’s book writer Rebecca Rule about one of her favorite people and authors.  

Listen to the story:

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

Despite Gov. Chris Sununu’s stay-at-home order, which takes effect at midnight Friday night, New Hampshire residents are still allowed -- and encouraged -- to go outside to exercise.

But not every hiking and walking spot is available or safe to use during the coronavirus pandemic, according to conservation groups

Sean Hurley

18 year-old Elisabeth Roadcap is a senior at Milford High.  On Tuesday -- New Hampshire Primary Day -- she voted for the first time in a national election. NHPR’s Sean Hurley has followed Elisabeth’s effort to find a favorite candidate - and spoke with her three weeks ago, met with her again four days ago, and was with her today as she cast her very first vote.   

Editor's note: We highly recommend listening to this story

Joseph Sywenkyj

We’ve been hearing a lot about Ukraine recently. From where it is on the map to its debunked involvement in the 2016 election. Even so, photographer Joseph Sywenkyj says we’ve heard very little about the people of Ukraine.

Sean Hurley

We’ve all thrown pennies in fountains or wished upon stars. In this recollection, NHPR’s Sean Hurley recounts the way his son Sam came up with his own way of wishing - and his own special thing to wish for.

Editor's note: As with all stories by Sean Hurley, we highly recommend listening to the broadcast version