News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
Please enjoy the second installment of SBG's Meet Our Members!
What is your name and the name of your business?
My name is Katie O’Connell, and I am the owner of Dragonfly Yoga Barn Studio & Retreat.
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
My family moved to Center Sandwich when I was eleven and in the 6th grade. They had visited locally for years and loved the area, so we moved to Center Sandwich while our home on Wing Rd. was being built.
Tell us about your business. What do you make, do, or offer as a service?
Dragonfly Yoga Barn is a yoga studio and intimate retreat center offering daily classes, as well as yoga and meditation retreats, yoga teacher training, workshops and series classes, seasonal concerts, and an occasional wedding.
How did your business get started?
Well, that’s an interesting story. I started practicing yoga 23 years ago, right after my daughter, Bridie, was born. It was love from my very first downward dog. I practiced regularly for about three years before one of my teachers suggested I get certified so I could come and teach yoga at her gym.
During that time, my husband, Declan, and I had already disassembled and moved our first of three old barns (which some will remember as Edwin Elliott’s old barn across from the spring in North Sandwich). We put it back up as a barn on Bennett Street, about a mile from its original footings, and then started to look for another barn to move as our house.
While the search was on for the second barn, I completed my first yoga training and began teaching weekly yoga classes at the Benz Center, at a local gym, and at Inter-Lakes High School where I was an English teacher—getting my yogi feet wet, so to speak.
It was back in 2003 that I named our business “Dragonfly Yoga.” I’d always loved dragonflies and knew the animal spirit of Dragonfly as the energy of transformation, and since I believe yoga has the power to transform us in all capacities: body, mind, and spirit, it became our namesake.
The second barn went up as a house in 2003, we moved in during the fall of 2004, and in the summer of 2005, a friend of Declan’s was at a baseball game in Moultonborough and heard a man asking if anyone needed an old barn! Funny thing was, about a week before this, I had told Declan I would love to have a small yoga studio up here near our new “old” home on the edge of the forest… and literally the barn just appeared! We took the third barn down and stored it for almost two years while we started to make plans for building the studio.
I completed another yoga training in 2006, completed a final year of teaching English before I gave my notice, and in 2008 jumped into yoga full time! My Benz Center yogis actually came up to practice in the yoga studio when it was just a post and beam frame--they wanted to be a part of it from the very beginning. It was a magical time! We ran our first yoga retreats in 2009, and the rest is, well… a new piece of Sandwich history--all under the eaves of three old barns.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your work?
I love sharing yoga with my daily yogis, my retreat yogis, and my trainees. It’s hard to pinpoint what the most satisfying thing is, but I would say it’s when a student has that “a-ha” moment and something shifts in their body or mind as a result of the practice. The recognition that yoga can support us where we are in our lives at that moment--as well as in our evolution as beings--is very inspiring to me.
What is the hardest?
Owning a business on the farthest outskirts of a small town can be pretty challenging. We’ve spent over a decade wondering how many students would make the trek to the Whiteface section of Sandwich for a daily yoga class. I have such an amazing and dedicated crew that have been rolling out the mat together for years--and they love the community we’ve created, but sometimes it’s not easy to complete with frost heaves in the winter and living in a place with so many amazing things to do outside in the summer.
What has happened to your business in this last Covid year?
Our last retreat at Dragonfly was 14 months ago. Thinking about how many events have been cancelled in the past year is a little overwhelming at times. But Declan has been my greatest help and biggest cheerleader. To give it some perspective, I left for India in early February 2020 to lead an Ayurveda and Yoga retreat--there were 16 of us in the group--and I fully expected to reopen my studio upon arrival home, but when I barely made it back to the States on March 16th after a series of cancelled flights and hold-ups in Mumbai, it hit me that life was changing for all of us.
I came home to lockdown and had to pivot to online teaching. As much as it was nerve wracking to be in front of a live camera every day, putting my classes online has been something I’ve wanted to do for years. It has been so successful, I now think I’ll keep the online options even after we reopen to the public.
What are your goals for the future?
I can’t wait to lead international retreats once again... so stay tuned for adventures in Hawaii, Ireland, Greece, Central America, India, to name a few. It might take time to get back to some of my favorite spots and destinations, but I have faith we will have those wanderlust adventures again soon.
What else can you tell us about yourself and your business?
I love to garden, cook, spend time with my kids and husband, and perform with my band The Starlight Honeys. I love to paddleboard, snowshoe, walk in the forest, and I could spend days beachcombing for stones and shells. Sunrise and sunset are perhaps the most precious moments of the day for me. I’m definitely a Nature girl. All of these things are woven into who I am as a yoga teacher and what I share with my students every single day here at Dragonfly Yoga Barn. It is a wonderful way of life, this Yoga pathway, and I’m so grateful to be here in beautiful Sandwich.
Advice To The Players, Sandwich’s own Shakespeare company, is proud to kick off their 2021 season with a virtual performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, available online from April 23rd- May 2nd. For this production, ATTP staged this production to be filmed and presented virtually for the safety of both their actors and audience.
The link to watch the performance will be available starting on April 23rd, Shakespeare’s Birthday and audience members can be sent the link by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In celebration of Shakespeare’s Birthday, and the release of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ATTP is hosting their Bard’s Birthday Campaign- if they can raise $5,000 before the end of May, the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Foundation will award them with a $5,000 matching grant. These funds will allow ATTP to produce our 2021 Summer Season and continue to bring the literary and performing arts to our community.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream features everything from fairy mischief, a play within a play, and dramatic fights in the name of love! This production will not be one to miss, with wonderful returning favorites including Chris Boldt as Theseus, Ethan Fifield as Nick Bottom, and Lucy Randall-Tapply as Puck. Last season’s director of Winter’s Tale and As You Like It, Maryssa Wanlass graces the stage as Titania, with her husband, Mark Vashro, completing this dynamic fairy duo. The lover quartet includes 4 returning artists who among them have a long and rich history with the company- Caitlin Cremins, Alicia Edgar, Rowan Heard, and Julia de Aveliz Rocha. And as always we have a wonderful group of teens and community members completing this remarkable cast, such as Tom Hyde and Marion Posner.
For more information, please visit www.advicetotheplayers.org/
Our third online exhibition celebrates the coming of spring. Branching Out speaks not only to new growth but also to new ideas, new horizons and new reaches. Gallery artists have come up with an array of work in various media to illustrate the theme. To view the exhibit visit
Kathryn Field of Sandwich has painted an exquisite landscape. Melting patches of snow, birch trees eager to sprout leaves and a river still covered with ice make up a delicate and engaging composition. We can smell the wetness and feel the end of winter. The landscape beckons to us and invites us to linger in it’s misty light. This very appealing painting is Kathryn Field at her best.
Anna Jeretic is a painter, sculptor and printmaker who lives outside of Paris, France. Family connections in Sandwich led her to the Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery where we have exhibited her paintings and prints for many years. Branches and Trees 1 is an example of Jeretic’s delicate hand. Prints at the gallery include botanical renderings done against vivid color and wonderful animals based on her travels to Africa.
Though Margaret Barnaby lives and works in Hawaii, she has roots in Sandwich. Her small edition, woodblock prints are greatly admired not only for their technical excellence but also for their vivid color and exotic subject matter. They are large pieces each made from at least four hand carved wooden plates. Barnaby uses both Japanese and western approaches and techniques. Her work begins with the natural world around her.
Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery will open as usual in mid May. We are looking forward to an exciting and innovative season. Rebecca Shultz will show her paintings inspired by her internship at Hubbard Brook. Liz Nelson’s Symbolic Landscapes are based on her new book I Ching or Book of Changes. Both artists will speak about their intriguing processes. We welcome back our gallery artists as always as we continue to bring new ideas and innovations to the community.
For more information about the gallery visit our website at patricialaddcaregagallery.com.
In this year of Covid, SBG is not undertaking many of our previous initiatives, such as a marketing brochure. Instead, we want to promote our members and the Sandwich business community in new ways. Meet Our Members will be a recurring feature in which we learn more about the Sandwich folk engaged in local businesses and nonprofit organizations. These will be stories about our friends and neighbors, as well as their businesses.
What is your name and the name of your business/organization?
Martha Nichols, Gallery Manager of The Sandwich Home Industries; aka League of NH Craftsmen Center Sandwich Gallery
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
I have lived in Sandwich for 37 years! Before moving here in the early 1980s, I came to Sandwich as a child because my grandparents loved visiting the lakes and mountains of NH when they were young adults. They brought their family and rented a cottage on the lake and my parents continued that tradition every summer of my childhood. When my aunt and uncle bought an old farm in Sandwich in the 50s, I became a regular visitor to Sandwich.
What got you started in this job?
The manager job sort of fell into my lap when a friend told me about it. I had taken early retirement from teaching high school and was looking for a new adventure.
Tell us about the Sandwich Home Industries.
The Sandwich Home Industries is a non-profit organization supporting local artists and the local economy by providing a welcoming gallery and educational programs for area residents and visitors to Center Sandwich. The gallery sells a wide selection of fine hand-crafted items, and offers classes in arts and crafts. Our gallery stocks traditional and contemporary fine crafts made by juried members of the League of NH Craftsmen. Our Education Program is the cornerstone of our mission – we create a varied curriculum for both adults and children.
How did the Sandwich Home Industries get started?
The Sandwich Home Industries (SHI) has a rich history of supporting the craft economy of Sandwich. The Industries began in 1926 when Mrs. J. Randolph Coolidge and a committee of local Sandwich women organized an exhibition of locally made rugs and brought an expert from Boston to give a talk on the practical aspects of making and marketing rugs. From this experience the committee decided to form a cooperative venture. The Sandwich Home Industries opened in the summer of 1926 selling locally made handicrafts to support the local economy.
It was such a success that, a few years later, Mrs. Coolidge went to the Governor of NH to request a state-wide arts and crafts organization. In 1931, NH Governor John Winant supported their idea, establishing and funding the NH Commission of Arts and Crafts. As a result, the League of NH Craftsmen was formed in 1932 with Mary Coolidge as their President.
The League of NH Craftsmen has become one of the oldest and most recognized craft organizations in the country with seven galleries located throughout the state. For over 88 years, the nonprofit League has promoted fine craft, supported craftspeople, and educated and enriched New Hampshire’s communities.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your job?
The manager job allows me to use skills I acquired in my career as a teacher. I find it most satisfying to collaborate with creative people, so setting up the gallery each season is quite fun. I am interested in Feng Shui and enjoy arranging the gallery so that it not only looks beautiful, but has the positive feel and flow of energy throughout. It is most satisfying to observe customers’ reactions when they visit the gallery. I also enjoy learning more about the many aspects of marketing and social media, which has been new to me!
What is the hardest?
The hardest part is schlepping inventory from League Headquarters! Many artists deliver their work to us (we take most work on consignment), but we will also pick up merchandise in Concord.
What has happened to your business in this last Covid year?
The beginning of the pandemic was nervewracking. We (the Board of Directors and myself) had no idea if it would be safe to open or if people would want to come out to shop. Ordinarily, we open mid-May, but we were in lockdown, so we waited to see what the State would decide. When we were able, we decided to open on a limited basis last year, which meant 3 days/week. We laid off staff and reduced my hours. We applied for the government grants and were able to stay afloat, thankfully.
I was surprised at the number of people who came by to shop last summer. They were happy and thankful that we were open. Of course, we practiced safety measures recommended by the State, and the season progressed smoothly. This season, we are planning on opening mid-May with our usual 7-day schedule. We are also planning our 2021 education program.
How do you see the future for this business?
The brick and mortar retail business is challenging these days since one can buy almost anything on the internet. SHI has even started selling some inventory through the League Galleries Webstore. However, I believe that seeing fine craft in person at our historic gallery and being able to touch it and pick it up as well as imagine it in your own space is critical.
Our town, in the summer particularly, is a tourist destination. People enjoy stopping by and finding that special NH-made gift or item for their home. It is best to experience art with the senses and one can’t get that while online shopping.
What else can you tell us about yourself and your business?
We have amazing talent and dedication on our Board of SHI Directors and are working on strategic planning for the future. We maintain the historic character of the building while making necessary repairs and updating displays. Collaboration with local businesses is also important to us. Last summer we held an Artists on the Porch series where we invited local crafters to sell their work. We are always looking for new ways to engage our community and would love to hear more ideas from Sandwich folks.
I am looking forward to Spring and starting our annual opening process. This year marks our 95th season and we are working to keep SHI going strong through its 100th Anniversary and beyond.
Martha Nichols, Gallery Manager
League of NH Craftsmen Center Sandwich Fine Craft Gallery
PO Box 164, 32 Main Street
Center Sandwich, NH 03227
Open mid-May to mid-October
Shop our gallery online!!
When the Covid-19 pandemic ends, will we be able to put the children back in public school, give every child a standardized test, and continue school just as it was? Martha Carlson doesn’t think so. Founder and headmaster of a small progressive school in rural New Hampshire, Carlson thinks this might be the time for a national pause and some deep thinking about how school might need to be different.
Post-Pandemic School: When I do, I understand offers ideas and anecdotes from the private experimental school that Carlson and her husband founded in 1988. They operated Sandwich Community School for almost 20 years, exploring new avenues of learning that Carlson thinks may be pertinent for public schools in a post-pandemic world. Her book also examines several educational philosophers and how their abstract theories may assist our thinking about a new school paradigm. This book is for teachers and parents who know school will never be the same. Post-Pandemic School is available on Amazon.com in paperback and ebook formats.
Martha Carlson is a teacher, writer, and conservationist. She holds a PhD from the University of New Hampshire where she studied climate change and its impact on sugar maples and the New England forest. She and her husband taught environmental science to children at Camp Kehonka, Somerset School and Five Days of Sandwich. They founded their private high school to provide students with opportunities for place-based learning, independent studies and practice in democratic process.
Martha Carlson Editorial Consulting is a member of the Sandwich Business Group.
The 2021 application deadline is Friday April 16 at 5:00 pm ET. Please share this information with any students who could benefit from these scholarships for Sandwich students.
The Alfred Quimby Trust and the Doris L. Benz Trust both provide scholarships to Sandwich residents. These scholarships each have distinct and different criteria and processes.
Doris L. Benz Trust
The Doris L. Benz Trust will consider scholarship awards to Sandwich residents who meet ALL of the following criteria:
(1) Resident of Sandwich
(2) Graduated from Interlakes High School
(3) Enrolling in an accredited undergraduate post-secondary education program
Alfred Quimby Trust
Graduate and adult students or traditional students who did not graduate from Interlakes High School are not eligible for funding from the Doris L. Benz Trust.
The Alfred Quimby Trust sponsors scholarships for residents who do NOT qualify for the Doris L. Benz Trust. This means if the student is a Sandwich resident but did not graduate from Interlakes High School or is a graduate student or an adult student, they qualify for the Alfred Quimby Trust.
The Alfred Quimby Trust and the Doris L. Benz Trust scholarships are managed through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s online application.
The 2021 application deadline is Friday April 16 at 5:00 pm ET.
To access the online application and to receive further instructions students should visit the Foundation’s website at www.nhcf.org. For more information about the Quimby or Benz scholarships or other student aid resources, please contact the Student Aid Office at the NH Charitable Foundation at 1-800-464-6641 or email@example.com.
An important message from Julie Dolan, chair of the Sandwich Broadband Advisory Committee:
Exciting news: Sandwich is one of 58 towns that has received a letter from the NH Electric Co-op’s new broadband subsidiary announcing its plans to move ahead full speed to begin building fiber-optic networks to serve thousands of rural residents who now lack good internet service.
The new nonprofit company, called NH Broadband, will make decisions by this spring about which areas will be first to get wired up. Altogether, the 58 towns involve hanging 2,000 miles of fiber-optic cable, so it can’t all be done in one go.
As chair of our Broadband Advisory Committee, I’m asking you to help us make the case that Sandwich should be among the first towns. If you’d like to tell NH Broadband you’d be interested in their broadband service, click on this link: http://www.sandwichnh.org/boards_and_committees/broadband_committee.php Even if you’re an Eversource customer, please fill out the form. If you want to read the NHBB letter in its entirety, click on this: http://cms6.revize.com/revize/sandwich/NHEC%20Broadband%20Update.pdf
An expression of interest does not obligate you to anything. But it’s the most important thing you can do to advance our cause. In making its decisions NH Broadband needs an idea of how many households and businesses might subscribe.
We may remind you again to make sure everybody who might want to register interest gets recorded. Please act now. And urge your neighbors who may not have seen this post. Each one of you can make a difference!
News & Views
News of what's happening in Sandwich and other items of interest. An archive of blog entries from May, 2015 to May, 2018, is available here.
Personal Mastery Programs, a Sustaining Sponsor of this website, is proud to support the Sandwich Business Group in its efforts to promote small business in Sandwich and enrich the community through events and initiatives.
To learn more about Personal Mastery Programs, see the listing under services on this website, or go to www.pmpcoach.com