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Wicked New England- Favorite Buildings

Jessie: In New Hampshire, where the birds have started chirping in the mornings!

New England is blessed with beauty. We have coastline and mountains, lakes and acres of forested land. But we are also fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful architecture. From quaint villages to bustling, vibrant ports New England has so many man-made beauties as well. So Wickeds, do you have a favorite building here in New England?

Liz: I work in Hartford, which does have some beautiful buildings, but I’m enamored with the state capitol building. It’s close to my office, right across the street from a park I like to walk in during lunch when weather is nice. It’s something I always take notice of, especially when the sun reflects off the gold dome. Gorgeous.

Photo of Whittier’s Seat by Kathleen Wooten.

Edith: How could I not cast my vote for the Amesbury Friends Meetinghouse? Built in

1851, with John Greenleaf Whittier on the building committee, it is a treasure that reflects simplicity, one of the basic Quaker values. It’s been in continual use for Friends worship since it was new, and has been lovingly restored and maintained by the current

Photo by Ed Mair

congregation (of which I am one). The tall antique windows cast wavy light shows on the floor and walls, the wood of the floor and walls seems imbued with spirit, and the outside is modest and welcoming.

Jessie: I love the Portsmouth Music Hall, in Portsmouth, NH. They’ve done a beautiful restoration on an already lovely building. Part of the pleasure of attending events there is the beauty of the environment. If you’re ever in Portsmouth I highly recommend taking in a show just to see inside.

Barb: I had a really hard time with this. Beautiful public buildings are so much a feature of our lives in New England, we use them without thinking about them. What to choose? The Boston Public Library? Symphony Hall? Julie could probably give us a tour of Boston’s wonderful theaters. At the end of the day, I’m going for the Museum of Fine Arts. Bill and I make a pilgrimage there a couple of times a year at least. It’s such a wonderful place to spend a quiet afternoon. (Time your visit for after the school trips have left and before the evening hours have kicked in.) The experience renews you creatively. And the new American Wing is a knockout and blends beautifully with the old architecture.

Sherry: We are going to have to do this again — I have too many favorite buildings. Faneuil Hall, the Orchard House, the Unitarian church in Bedford, Massachusetts. And I’m sorry but I had to go with two. The first is what my family calls the Dr. Seuss building on MIT’s campus. MIT calls it the Stata Center but whatever you call it, it’s unique! I also love the Old North Church in Boston. Yes, the building where the two lanterns were hung so Paul Revere knew that Regulars were heading to Concord by sea. It’s Boston’s oldest surviving church. It’s also called Christ Church and is an active Episcopalian church. If you’re ever in Boston don’t miss the free fifteen minute talk. It’s fascinating.

Julie: New England does, indeed have beautiful buildings. And Barb’s right, I could give you a tour of some stunning theaters in Boston–we are blessed that so many gems (the City Wang, the Opera House, the Shubert, the Paramount, the Modern, and the Colonial) that have been restored over the past twenty-five years. But my favorite was my workplace for 13 years, Memorial Hall at Harvard University. It was built between 1870-1877 as a memorial to the Harvard alumni who fought and died fighting for the Union in the Civil War. Inside is Sanders Theatre and Annenberg (formerly Alumni) Hall. Acoustically, Sanders Theatre is one of the most stunning concert halls in New England. But it was also a lecture hall, where some amazing historical figures have given speeches. The picture is of the transept, which is where the names of all of the deceased Harvard alums are listed on tablets. See the three figures in the picture, for scale? I’m the one of the left, hard to see because I wasn’t wearing a white shirt.

Readers, how about you? Is there a famous or hidden gem of a place in your neck of the woods?

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