Saunders Restaurant being sold … N.H. girds for beetles … Aquarion raises prices and ire … State cuts to slam Rye … Beattie brings Shoals to life … Primer on water is a winner … Sad ending for Hampton Cinema

Members of staff

Flower power …

This is one of 20 amaryllis blossoms on an indoor plant now three feet high that was given as a gift to Kathy Feltz of Hampton. The bulb was purchased from a Jackson & Perkins catalog.(Judy Palm photo)

Saunders being sold …

Saunders Restaurant is likely to remain open until Labor Day, but owner-operator Doug Zechel has confirmed that the Rye Harbor restaurant is under a sale agreement. It's a bittersweet proposition for Zechel, who has been connected with the restaurant for 38 years.

The 2.72-acre site has been on the market for about two years and is listed at a price of $3.9 million by the Bentley By The Sea real estate agency, which notes that the property has 262 feet of frontage on the scenic harbor.

Technically it is a two-lot parcel. The prospective owner, Rye Harbor Realty, LLC, of 144 Washington Street in Portsmouth, plans eight single condominium units with a height of 28 ft., four units on the harbor where the restaurant sits and four on the south side of Harbor Road where there is now an overflow parking lot for the restaurant. A single septic system on that side of the road will service all eight units. The sewer system stops about a quarter mile south of the restaurant at Locke Road.

Atty. Peter Loughlin will be representing the buyer, requesting several variances, before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday night, March 11, accompanied by developer James Nadeau of York, Maine. (He's no relation to the attorneys by that last name in Rye and Portsmouth). Atty. Loughlin's law office address is the same as Rye Harbor Realty's.

Only a few years ago condominiums replaced a restaurant just a few hundred yards across the marsh south of Saunders.

Beetle mania x 3 …

Once again we are being attacked by unwanted beetles that are threatening our forests. The three insects that the State of New Hampshire will target with a media blitz this summer are the Asian Longhorn Beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer, and the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid was found several years ago in Portsmouth. Last year it was identified in Rye. Now it is in 17 towns in southern  New Hampshire. The Asian Longhorn Beetle is not in our state but has infected trees in Worcester, Mass. And the Emerald Ash Borer has now infiltrated our state. It comes in via camping visitors and local folk who take cut wood (for the camp and home fires) from one location to another, spreading  the beetle in the process. The trees these insects will destroy are, in part, maples, birches, ashes, hemlocks, etc. If you find one of these insects, contact your local Cooperative Extension office. (See Rye Reflections story last May regarding the battle against the Woolly Adelgid that infested hemlocks in Rye.)

Straw man …

Mourning dove perched on bristles of a broom on 9th Street porch in Hampton, possibly thinking it was a nest? There he stayed for an hour, ignoring nearby sounds of cars starting and doors closing. But the last straw (pun intended) was the click of the camera, and away he flew.(Judy Palm photo)

Aqua firma …

It'll take some convincing at a public hearing this month to overturn a major rate hike proposed for those on the Aquarion Water Company system in Hampton, North Hampton and parts of Rye (no increases are in the works for customers of the Rye Water District, according to a spokesperson). Aquarion has applied for a 21-percent rate increase and received approval in mid-February for a 7.65 percent temporary hike, effective as of Feb. 1, from the N.H. Public Utilities Commission. The next step is the PUC hearing at Winnacunnet High School at 6 p.m. on March 25. Residents and their state and local representatives are expected to turn out en masse. Aquarion argues that it has invested $5.6 million in system improvements in the last three years and is facing increased operations costs.

Men for all seasons …

Surfing on Jenness Beach in the winter can be a chilly proposition. Can you blame the one that got away on being too bundled up? (Gail Beamer photo)

Beattie spellbinds …

Did you know? By the mid-1660's the population of the Isles of Shoals was about 600 and for a number of years the Isles were considered by the English to be the most valuable colony in northern New England.

Ann Beattie
(file photo by Jim Cerny)
That was among the nuggets imparted by marine educator Ann Beattie, president of the Isles of Shoals Historical and Research Association, before a standing-room-only crowd at the Rye Public Library on Feb. 19.

From 1640 to 1775, she said, the Society for the Propagating of the Gospel to the Indians and other "persons" living in North America was quite active at the Shoals. For more than a century previous to the Revolutionary war, the little settlement flourished with a church, school house, court house and the usual municipal offices.

Much of what we know about the 19th Century life on the Isles off Rye came from the writings of Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), whose father arrived with his young family in 1839. Celia Thaxter wrote extensively about their experiences on Appledore, how they managed to survive the weather, the loneliness, and yet keep in touch with friends, said Beattie.

She also talked about Thomas Laighton (1839), a promising young Portsmouth businessman, who became the lighthouse keeper on White Island. He purchased several of the other islands in that year. Ultimately he succeeded as a hotelman with the purchase of the Mid-Ocean House on Smuttynose. He went on to build the Appledore House, a huge success after its 1848 opening.


On the level …

The recently-released New Hampshire Water Resources primer is chock full of solid, pertinent information. It was produced by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services with assists from expert individuals and organizations. A few factoids:
Go to des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/dwgb/wrpp/primer.htm for the full report.


The curtain came down on Hampton Cinema Six on February 15. The cinema had provided a family environment for entertainment on the Seacoast for 29 years and had many devoted fans. In combination with the Galley Hatch you could enjoy a dinner and show or simply have a popcorn lunch and see a movie. Some of the staff had worked there for years, including students who worked there summers.

These four women have been going to the Hampton Cinema for years on Fridays for a popcorn lunch and a movie. They are (from left) Jan Bernarducci, Martha Williams, Kathy Sowerby and Eileen Marine. Eileen spends several months in Florida each year but planned a trip home to take part in the farewell. (Photos by Judy Palm)

The marquee for closing day.

Hampton Cinema Six.

Staff preparing to serve the public for one of the last times.

March, 2009