I have missed Andy Knight’s blog posts and mentioned this to him earlier this week. Lo and behold, this morning I found a post by Andy on the Waterville Valley Foundation blog. Read it below or visit the WVF online and learn how you can support the people and programs that honor and preserve the rich history and sense of community that makes Waterville Valley unique.
By Andy Knight
This spring, if you’d said “the buzz” to any of the three-hundred-some-odd full time residents of Waterville Valley, chances are they would have thought you meant the maddening sound of a squadron of black flies and mosquitoes hovering inches from their ears and preparing to feast. Thank goodness the plague of black flies has faded as quickly as they came on, and we’re left with garden-variety skeeters in manageable numbers. Summer isn’t so tough, but spring can try the mettle of even the very brave.
In this case, however, I am thinking of a very different, and much more positive buzz, that we’ve been seeing and hearing all summer. It started about the time schools let out for the summer, when new faces started turning up all along Valley Road, on the beach, and in Town Square. The summer season was off to a solid start even before the first big holiday weekend.
And the Fourth of July weekend? Gangbusters. Everywhere you looked, there were people having fun, enjoying everything the Valley has to offer… Pick-up volleyball games and sandcastles ruled the beach. The thwack of Big Berthas filled the air up on the fourth hole of the golf course. The Adventure Center churned out mountain bike rentals, and the Rec department floated a virtual navy of kayaks and canoes. Come time for the fireworks, cars lined both sides of Route 49 and people packed into Town Square and Packards Field to enjoy the longest, best show I’ve ever seen in the Valley. Maybe they don’t rival the Pops and the Esplanade, but what our fireworks lack in sheer power, they more than make up for in intimacy; to me, the rolling thunder of the echoes booming up the notch between Tecumseh and Osceola is every bit as profound as the cannons of the 1812 overture.
A few weekends later, the Black Fly Tri came to town, and literally thousands descended on the Valley. Each morning, the air was punctuated by loudspeakers exhorting participants to do their best, and the roads were lined with athletes and well-wishers. For two days, the buzz ramped up to a happy, loud thrum.
Last weekend, the Rey Center’s Curious George Family Festival enjoyed perfect weather and the best attendance I’ve ever seen, with hundreds of happy young faces smiling up at George and the Man in the Yellow Hat. And throughout the summer, Shakespeare in the Valley played to packed houses nearly every performance, having their best season ever.
In January, I said to my buddy Mark, the problem with being back on the map is that people can find you again. There were a few days over the winter where we waited in longer lift lines, though somehow, Butch or one of the crew always showed up just in time to keep things moving, and it never felt that long.
This summer, the buzz was back in a big way. All those new guests made the weekend days vibrate with new activity — and sometimes, unaccustomed noise and traffic — but with each dusk comes the peace and quiet we all love.
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If this summer has brought many new faces, then it’s also important to remember a few beloved faces we won’t be seeing in the crowd anymore. Donald Jasinski, who passed away in January, and Mike Morin, who passed away in May, were two men who touched a great many people in the Waterville Valley community. The Waterville Valley Foundation has made a donation to the Pemi Baker Home Health and Hospice program in honor of both Don and Mike, who received invaluable hospice support in their final days. We’ll miss you gentlemen, but even in your absence, you continue to help and inspire others.
By Andy Knight, President, Waterville Valley Foundation