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The light is on at The Lantern Inn

Couple realizes dream of running bed & breakfast in Lakes Region


LACONIA — The Lantern Inn, which was originally built as a summer vacation retreat by Byron and Doris Hedblom and in recent years has been operated as the Lighthouse Inn Bed and Breakfast, has new owners, Shay and David Doyon, who say they are realizing their dream of running a bed-and-breakfast inn in the Lakes Region.
The Doyons met while they were both working at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, and a few years later were married at the Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough. David is a assistant professor of accounting at SNHU and Shay has operated an upscale vintage and and second-hand store in Pembroke, Shay's Attic Treasures, where she focused on home furnishings and restored vintage pieces for home décor.
Shay Doyon's dream of owning an inn began in 2000 on a trip to England where she stayed at a charming countryside bed and breakfast where the cozy, quaint feeling of the inn and the warm greeting from the owners left a lasting impression.
"Ever since then I've wanted to run an inn where you have that kind of interesting interactions with guests and make them feel comfortable and help them have a unique and wonderful experiences," she said.
She and David stayed at Lighthouse Inn in 2012, when it was operated by Mike and Pat Recht, and fell in love with the inn, especially the cathedral ceiling in its living room, the detailed woodwork with knotty pine paneling and the unique guest rooms, each with their own gas or electric furnace and private bathroom and tiled shower.
They later purchased property in the Weirs and started making their home there four years ago. Last fall, acting on a sense that it was their time to try and realize the dream of owning an inn, they contacted the Rechts and were able to acquire the historic five-acre property on Watson Road.
Since then they have been busy refurbishing the historic inn with new furniture gathered from Shay's experience and developing themes for each of the five guest rooms. They are also constructing a covered outdoor pavilion which will add to the experience of their guests.
The Doyons are fascinated by the history of the property they now own and its links to the history of Weirs Beach. It was built by Byron Hedblom, inspired by his links to naval architecture, with a bay window which resembles the lookout from a ship's wheelhouse and there are three 15-foot-high working lighthouses on the property.
Hedblom, the founder of General Ship and Engine Works in East Boston, is the man who reassembled the Chateaguay into the Mount Washington after it was shipped by rail from Lake Chaplain to Paugus Bay in 1940 to replace the side wheel steamer which had burned at the Weirs in December of 1939. Hedblom owned the ship from 1941 until 1972 and also built two other ships which operated on the lake, the Sophie C, named for his mother, and the Doris E, named for his wife. He was called out of retirement in 1982 to oversee the lengthening of the Mount from 203 feet to 230 feet.

"There are so many interesting details he created here," said Shay, who points out that the Lantern Inn name was inspired by Dave, who observed that when a person first enters the inn they will see lanterns everywhere.
Each of the five guest rooms has its own unique personality, like the Bohemian, which has an artistic flair and was built onto the original house, using what was formerly a patio area space.
There's also a Rustic Lake room, which has twin beds and knotty pine paneling like that found in lakeside cottages, a Shabby Chic room with wedding themes, a French Country room with elegant furnishings and a Coastal room, with nautical themes.
The Lantern Inn features breakfasts such as crème brule French toast, Canadian bacon, egg dishes, blueberry citrus bread, berry parfaits and coffee and juice.
The Doyons are looking forward to greeting members of the community at a grand opening open house on Saturday, May 6 from 1-4 p.m.

lantern inn
David and Shay Doyon have fulfilled a long-time dream of owning a inn in the Lakes Region and will be hosting an open house at the Lantern Inn on May 6 from 1-4 p.m. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)


The Bohemian is a colorfully decorated guest room at the Lantern Inn. (Courtesy photo)

Rustic Lake

Rustic Lake guest room at the Lantern Inn features knotty-pine paneling and the look of a lakeside cottage. (Courtesy photo)

Tickets on sale for NH Music Festival

04-12 Silver Center audience

The Silver Center at Plymouth State University will host NH Music Festival events, along with events at the Kingswood Regional Performing Arts Center in Wolfeboro. (Courtesy photo)

PLYMOUTH — The New Hampshire Music Festival celebrates their 65th season this summer with free outdoor special events, an expanded orchestra, a new concert series in Wolfeboro, a new series of ArtsWalks as part of the Music in the Mountains series, the fourth annual Make Music Plymouth, international soloists, and the return of music director Paul Polivnick. Tickets for the 2017 New Hampshire Music Festival will go on sale May 1.
This summer’s popular orchestral events continue in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts on Thursday evenings offering a range of orchestral emotions beginning with the opening night featuring the Festival’s concertmaster and international soloist Yulia Milshtein performing the Bruch Violin Concerto paired with Beethoven’s epic Symphony No. 5. The season finale features renowned 26-year-old pianist Steven Lin performing the Prokofiev Piano Concerto and the orchestra on Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. In between these two masterwork concerts, the Festival presents a series of diverse concerts including Mozart and Mahler featuring a concert version of Mozart’s short opera The Impresario which pits two competing sopranos against each other and Copland in Mexico, a multimedia exploration of Copland’s time in Mexico and featuring a full showing of the film Redes accompanied by live orchestra.
This year the Festival is also thrilled to present their 4th annual Composer Portrait concert welcoming to New Hampshire composer Huang Ruo who has been lauded by the New Yorker magazine as “one of the world’s leading young composers.” A variety of Ruo’s music will be performed including his piece Leaving Sao, where Ruo will be featured as a vocalist in traditional Chinese folk style. This concert will conclude with Haydn’s powerful Lord Nelson Mass performed by the Festival’s Symphonic Chorus, conducted by Dr. Dan Perkins and featuring four Plymouth State University alumni.
Alongside the orchestral series the New Hampshire Music Festival continues the long-standing chamber music series on Tuesday evenings in the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts. This acoustical gem of a venue showcases the Festival musicians in an intimate setting performing Mozart piano sonatas to large scale compositions by contemporary composers. The full programming schedule for this series is personally curated by the musicians of the Festival and will be updated online as information becomes available. These concerts have been known to sell out the last several years so purchasing tickets early is recommended.
To celebrate Season 65, the New Hampshire Music Festival is expanding their orchestral offerings to a new region of the state by bringing performances to Wolfeboro. On the opening and closing weekends of the New Hampshire Music Festival the entire orchestra will present repeat performances of their Plymouth concerts at the Kingswood Regional Performing Arts Center. Other weeks during the summer will showcase chamber music on Saturday evenings and select outdoor events as part of the Music in the Mountains series. A Wolfeboro series subscription for all concerts will be available for purchase.
With generous support from the Lincoln Financial Foundation and with new support from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire Music Festival is excited to continue their third annual Music in the Mountains series presenting free informal concerts on lakesides and mountaintops. This year the series evolves to include a new set of events called ArtsWalks. On Friday mornings in select communities musicians will be performing along nature trails partnered with local artists who will be creating new work. At the head of these trails, local conservation organizations will be present to provide guided walks describing their efforts to promote and improve the ecology of their specific region. Details about ArtsWalk events will be available on the Festival’s website – www.nhmf.org - along with other Music in the Mountains series concerts that will be taking place across the state, including a chamber concert at St. Gauden’s National Historic Site, a free series of concerts at the Taylor Community in Laconia, the fourth annual Make Music Plymouth with a free family concert on July 22 and the second annual New England Choral Institute.

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Tickets at www.nhmf.org, at the New Hampshire Music Festival Office at 603-238-9007 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday, or in person at the NHMF office at 7 Main St, Plymouth, May 1-19 and at the Silver Center for the Arts for the remainder of the season at 114 Main St., Plymouth. Wolfeboro tickets can be purchased starting at 4 p.m. on concert days at the concert venue. Full season details can be found at www.nhmf.org

Photographer of galaxies - Jon Secord, Lakes Region's luckiest photographer

Pittsburg MilkyWay

A 20 second exposure of the Milky Way above Lake Francis in Pittsburg, NH. Probably the darkest area of the state, however you can still see some light pollution along the horizon.


CENTER HARBOR — When someone compliments Jon Secord's photography, he often deflects the praise, saying he's "lucky." It's not that there's anything accidental about the photograph – he studies geography, weather patterns and even astronomy so that he can be in just the right spot at just the right moment.  The reason he says he's "lucky" is because he is alive and in control of his life.

Secord, 28, lives in Center Harbor and was raised in Meredith, graduating from Inter-Lakes High School in '06. He said that he was never a good student, except when it came to photography. He took a photography elective, where he found himself working with black-and-white film.

"That's where I fell in love with it," he said. When he went on to Southern Vermont College, in Bennington, he chose to major in business, thinking that photography wouldn't be lucrative enough to figure into his career. Before he could finish his undergraduate degree, though, Secord's youthful indiscretions had gotten the better of him. What started as an enthusiasm for partying had led him to hard drug use, and by his junior year he was addicted to opiates and was kicked out of college.

Without school to attend, Secord's addiction gained more power over him. Until, one morning, he woke up and decided to change – and that is why he feels lucky. Some of the people he knew from those days have since died, or are still ruled by the addiction.

"I got sober five years ago, that was definitely a catalyst for major change," said Secord. He was one of the first residents of the Riverbank House, a drug detox and rehabilitation center in Laconia. And, he rediscovered photography.

Today, Secord's sobriety isn't a defining aspect of his identity – he doesn't even think about it on most days. Instead, he focuses on the beauty of a world that has always been right in front of him, yet he was unable to see while he was using.

"You live a pretty dismal lifestyle for a period of time – things are pretty tough (when using drugs). When you get over that, you rediscover life."

Secord's photography is the work of a man doing just that: discovering beauty that anyone could see, if they knew when and where – and how – to look for it.

He describes himself, in general terms, as a landscape photographer. Secord picked up a camera as a way to occupy his time and energies when he stopped using drugs, and remembered the fascination that he experienced as a high schooler. 

Through his camera – Secord shoots with a Nikon D750 – he has been able to record images that few have taken the trouble to look for, and some images that aren't possible to see with the naked eye.

Secord began his career in photography at a time when camera sensors became sensitive enough to capture photons of light from stars in galaxies so far away that they aren't visible to the casual observer. The technological advancement revolutionized astrophotography, and allowed photographers to capture rich images of the Milky Way's galactic center using only a tripod, camera and lens.

To do so, though, requires some forethought. Secord generally uses a 20-second exposure to photograph the Milky Way, and if his camera is sensitive enough to see light from distant stars, it is also sensitive to light sources much nearer. In New Hampshire, Secord said only the North Country is dark enough to get a clear picture of the galaxy.

"It's not dark enough around here – the light pollution is a huge issue in most of the state," he said.

Secord also photographs during the periods at either end of the night sky – sunrise and sunset, when the light is warm in tone and low in angle. His favorite place to be to capture such a moment is at a mountain peak – but being there is easier said than done.

"You wake up at 2 (a.m.), hike five miles in the dark, it sucks," he said, but, "You get to see the world come alive. It's amazing."

Photography doesn't pay all of his bills just yet. Secord works as a house painter when he needs to, but is working toward a day when he can devote all of his attention to photography. His business education, it turns out, is helpful after all.

Five years ago, photography was a means to keep himself busy. Today, it gives him purpose and a means to greater understanding.

"It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning. It's a teacher," he said. In the pursuit of photography, Secord has studied geology, biology, meteorology and astrology. "To really get great photos, you have to understand the world around you. I'll never get rich from this, but the life experiences I'm getting from this are worth more than any mount of money ... The world is a pretty amazing place if you just stop to look around."

"When I'm up on top of a mountain and watching a sunrise, I feel lucky because I'm seeing something that most people don't get a chance to see."


Thick fog blankets Squam Lake on a Fall morning from Mt. Percival

Simon's 'Biloxi Blues' performed in Wolfeboro

WOLFEBORO — The Lakes Region is fortunate enough to have two Neil Simon plays being performed this weekend. In addition to "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers," being staged at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, the Village Players community theater in Wolfeboro is in the middle of its presentation of Simon's semi-autobiographical "Biloxi Blues," which was inspired by Simon's experience as a Jewish boy from Brooklyn going through the Army's basic training in the deep south.

The Village Players will stage "Biloxi Blues" at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, at 8 p.m.; and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. For ticket information, visit www.village-players.com.