The Place Curiosity Calls Home
Curious George, the lovable monkey whose antics have delighted children for decades, was born in the imaginations of H.A. and Margret Rey.
But he and the Reys spent their summers in Waterville Valley, NH, a place that epitomizes Curious George's spirit of fun and adventure.
Early visitors to Waterville Valley Resort hiked, swam, played golf and took part in cultural events, surrounded by the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the White Mountain National Forest.
Today's visitors do all that and more? tennis, skateboarding, year-round ice skating, mountain biking, boating, stargazing, or simply looking for a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, just as the Reys did in the 1950s.
The Reys were drawn to Waterville Valley Resort because Hans was revising his popular astronomy book The Stars and needed a place away from the glare of city lights to do observation.
They quickly fell in love with the valley and spent the next twenty summers there, writing, drawing, and charming the community.
Hans was a Renaissance man, versed in history and natural history, while Margret was a potter and photographer.
Villagers and visitors were drawn to their little home? now known as the Curious George Cottage? which soon became an intellectual center for the town, hosting book clubs, discussion groups, and best of all, the magical opportunity to watch a children's author at work.
When the "author at work" sign was out, children would come and watch as he drew new adventures for George or his other characters. At other times, Hans would take the children on nature walks and delight them with his talent of throwing his voice.
Today, the spirit of curiosity and exploration lives on in the Margret and H.A Rey Center, whose mission is to honor the Rey's legacy by recreating the experiences they provided: nature walks, literary groups, writers workshops, discussion clubs, a monthly lecture series, art shows, and of course, activities for children.
The Curious Kids program takes children and families into the White Mountain National Forest around surrounding Waterville Valley for learning experiences.
Hans Rey was known for his chalk talks, in which he would entertain visitors as he drew. (Well-behaved children got to take a drawing home with them.)
There are weekly hikes, including "walk-talks" with an invited speaker on topics such as the glacial history of White Mountains and alpine ecology.
At times, hikers take part in the Appalachian Mountain Club's Mountain Watch program, identifying and cataloging local birds, mushrooms, and flowers as a way of tracking changes in the mountain habitat.
Three times a month, the center hosts astronomy nights under the dark skies that first drew Hans Rey to the valley. Local amateurs lead the stargazing sessions, along with a monthly visit by an expert from the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, NH.
The Rey's love of nature is reflected in the Center's strong environmental and conservation bent. Volunteers from the Center work alongside the National Forest Service doing trail work such as building rock retainers and creating drainage.
Margret Rey was an avid gardener, a passion the Rey Center celebrates through a program called Margret's Hat Garden, in which volunteers adopt one of several flower plots located around the valley and care for it.
There are also community garden plots next to the Curious George Cottage where locals can plant gardens, and a cooperative farm called Curious Gourds Garden just down the road. Volunteers buy shares in the farm, work the garden, and enjoy a bounty of fresh vegetables in the summer. The farm also sponsors a farmer's market and provides food to local restaurants.
Visitors and vacationers are welcome at all of the Rey Center's events, where they will often find themselves rubbing elbows with locals.
Today, as in the past, Waterville Valley welcomes the curious, the adventurous, and the inquisitive?young or old, human or monkey.
Areas like Waterville Valley Resort, to which families return generation after generation, allow parents to show their children what their most deeply-held values are.
In Waterville Valley, those values are family, community, integrity, tradition and love of nature and the outdoors. But now, people are moving to this town of some 400 people to live year round. Being just over two hours from Boston, Waterville is a pristine resort of 500 acres surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest.
Waterville Valley has a world-class ski area, award-winning tennis courts, golf, hiking, biking, lodging, water sports, indoor ice rink, tennis, boating, a skate park, and a host of outdoor activities. What it doesn't have are fast-food places, stoplights and big box stores.
The Curious George Cottage Family Festival takes
place August 13-15 this year. Here's a brief description:
Curious George and the Man With the Yellow Hat will visit Waterville Valley August 13-15, 2010 for a weekend of fun for the whole family.
The Margret and H.A. Rey Center's fourth annual Curious George Cottage Family Festival will feature a weekend full of family-friendly activities including a banana pancake breakfast, a family nature walk, a Fireman?s BBQ lunch, photo opportunities with Curious George and the Man With the Yellow Hat, a traveling barnyard, live music, face painting, games for kids, Curious George story hour and movie viewing, planetarium shows, a family spaghetti dinner, and more.
While here in Waterville Valley, families can also enjoy swimming and canoeing on Corcoran?s Pond, walks on the many hiking trails in Waterville Valley, and skating at the Waterville Valley Ice Arena among other activities.
For more information contact the Margret and H.A. Rey Center at 603-236-3308 or email email@example.com.
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