Hidden Treasures: Art Galleries of the Upper Valley
The Upper Valley is nestled in the Northeast’s woods, fields, and farmlands, and hidden among these are outstanding artists of all kinds. Finding examples of their talents is an art form in itself; a day trip to any one of these locations is to be savored and will delight your senses. Each gallery description here is accompanied by a recommended eatery that will complete your artistic excursion. Keep your eyes and mind open in any of these galleries, and the wonders of the Upper Valley art scene will inspire and amaze you.
• Aidron Duckworth Art Museum. This small museum, perhaps the most secluded of all, is a gem. Find it housed in the late Aidron Duckworth’s vibrant, salmon-colored home, just a stretch up Bean Road in Meriden, New Hampshire. Watch for the museum on the left immediately after turning onto Bean Road from Route 120. Duckworth was a collector himself, and after his death in 2001, his home was transformed into a gallery for contemporary artists of the area. In the museum today you will find a broad and seasonally changing collection of exhibitions. This summer look for abstract oil paintings, woven landscapes, and wood sculptures around the perimeter of the museum. The museum is open 10am to 5pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as by appointment, with free admission (although donations are gratefully accepted). Visiting season is May through the end of October, and more information about the museum can be found here. As you complete your tour of this amazing museum, you might find yourself ready for a bite to eat. If so, head over to the Meriden Deli for a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a giant maple walnut donut (one’s enough for the whole family), or excite your taste buds with the deli’s famous turkey panini.
• The Woodstock Gallery. Woodstock, Vermont, is a bustling town for Vermont artists displaying and selling their work. It is home to many fine galleries, but a particularly charming one is hidden in the town’s namesake gallery. Set on Elm Street in Woodstock, this gallery is a perfect example of a small business with a powerful impact for artists and affordable opportunities for buyers. The gallery’s website promotes its inclusion of everything Vermont, “from folk art to fine art.” The spirit of the gallery is one of fun, as their motto is “Life is fun . . . art should be, too!” Here you will find whimsical Vermont traditions in art form, as well as more-refined oil paintings and watercolors to grace your home. Come here in search of a gift for someone special or for unique home décor, or just come and enjoy an hour of art. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 12 to 4:30pm. After you’ve had a taste of some of Vermont’s best art, head over to the Mountain Creamery in Woodstock for a taste of creamy, homemade Vermont ice cream. Try the maple walnut, made with local maple syrup!
• League of NH Craftsmen. This jewel is conveniently located in downtown Hanover, New Hampshire, and offers locals and visitors a chance to purchase beautiful crafts as well as the opportunity to make their own. The gallery features some of the highest-quality craftsmanship to be found in the Upper Valley, in media ranging from traditional hand-woven baskets to pottery, photography, furniture, jewelry, silk scarves, and more. You can trust that each unique piece has been created with a deep respect for the art form and loving inspiration. At the League of NH Craftsmen Gallery, art and trade merge to form a wonderful space accessible to all. Whether you’re shopping for a special gift or just enjoying a day out, this gallery is not to be missed. Visit all year, Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm. For more information about the League and about taking classes with local artists, visit the website. After you have marveled at the talent, stop by the Dirt Cowboy Café for a latté and a biscotti or a slice of coffee cake. A gourmet treat will complement your experience.
What hidden art gallery or museum have you discovered on your adventures in the Upper Valley? Please share below.