New Hampshire

Music, Art and Literature Studies in the Monadnock Region

Delve into the works of the Renaissance and American Vocal Music accompanied by live performances and music studies.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22953RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Travel on winding roads through covered bridges to the charming, postcard-perfect towns of West Swanzey, New Hampshire. The beautiful Monadnock region sets the perfect scene for a week of inspired scholarship. Join professionals and local experts as you delve into fascinating topics through lecture, discussion and performance. Let the music of professional musicians fill your soul as they take you on a musical journey from the Classics to Broadway. Then enter the world of great art and artists with emphasis on the Renaissance era, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli and others.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Through lecture, power point and discussion study the the great art and artists of the Renaissance led by an instructor who is the recipient of the outstanding Road Scholar Instructor award.
  • Enjoy the musical repertoire of professional local musicians from instrumental classics to Broadway favorites on piano, violin, viola and more during an evening in concert.
  • Take in the beautiful surroundings of the Monadnock Region with a boat ride on Swanzey Lake, and drive through Cheshire County to see its historic covered bridges.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Keene Sense of History II
by David R. Proper
Why did a Cheshire County man leave3 his house and live in a cave for several months during the Revolutionary War? What was a hogreeve? What Keene resident won the Boston Marathon seven times? These and many other questions are answered by Keene historian in David Proper's book.
"Not Theories but Revelations": The Art and Science of Abbott Handerson Thayer
by Kevin Murphy
Though perhaps best known for his portraits, American painter Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849–1921) also developed detailed theories of animal camouflage. With his fine-arts training and his careful observations of nature, Thayer created works that he believed argued for his views on natural selection. He later patented his camouflage patterns and lobbied the US military for the use of his designs on ships and uniforms; his theories were eventually published in 1909 and were hotly debated by leading scholars and public figures of the day, including Theodore Roosevelt. This book is the first to address Thayer’s participation in some of the greatest scientific and cultural debates of his age, proposing that the artist’s seemingly idiosyncratic religious subjects and scientific theories were an attempt to reconcile spiritual uncertainties in a time of emerging science. The new scholarship lends insight into an Anglo-American culture unmoored by Darwinism and the horrors of World War I.
A Place for the Arts: The MacDowell Colony, 1907-2007
by Carter Wiseman
The MacDowell Colony has nurtured some of the nation's most influential talents in the creative arts, from Edward Arlington Robinson and Thornton Wilder to Leonard Bernstein, Milton Avery, and Alice Walker. Founded in 1907 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, by the pioneering composer Edward MacDowell and his wife, Marian, the MacDowell Colony soon became a catalytic element in American culture. Based on the radically simple idea that creative people work best when they have time, space, privacy, and the opportunity to interact with fellow artists, the Colony has for the past century provided individual studios as well as living accommodations to thousands of writers, visual artists, composers, filmmakers, architects, and interdisciplinary artists who have gone on to chart the course of the nation's artistic life. Richly illustrated with original and vintage photographs, this volume includes a colorful history of the Colony, as well as insightful essays by leading cultural commentators Vartan Gregorian and Robert MacNeil. In addition, it contains pieces by former MacDowell Fellows--Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Chabon, Paul Moravec, and the late Wendy Wasserstein--on what it means to make art in America. A Place for the Arts documents what this country and the rest of the world continue to gain from the unique support MacDowell provides to the creative process. The book also includes contributions by Joan Acocella, Peter Cameron, Carol Diehl, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Robin Rausch, Ruth Reichl, Jean Valentine, Jacqueline Woodson, and Kevin Young.
My Antonia
by Willa Cather
My Ántonia was enthusiastically received in 1918 when it was first published. It was considered a masterpiece and placed Cather in the forefront of women novelists. Today, it is considered as her first masterpiece. Cather was praised for bringing the American West to life and making it personally interesting. It brought place forward almost as if it were one of the characters, while at the same time playing upon the universality of the emotions, which in turn promoted regional American literature as a valid part of mainstream literature. While interpretations vary, My Ántonia is clearly an elegy[citation needed] to those families who built new lives west of the Mississippi River and highlights the role of women pioneers in particular. Cather also makes a number of comments concerning her views on women's rights and there are many disguised sexual metaphors in the text.
Where the Mountain Stands Alone
by Howard Mansfield
In the language of the area's original inhabitants, Mount Monadnock, in the southwest corner of New Hampshire, is "the mountain that stands alone." This anthology, with its rich mix of original essays, historical texts, and excerpts from oral histories, celebrates the natural and human history of this region. Editor Howard Mansfield says that "the elusive feel of one place exists in that intersection of political and family history, landscape, destiny, expectations, weather and time." Featuring contributions from such writers as Sy Montgomery, Ernest Hebert, Janisse Ray, Tom Wessels, Richard Ober, Jim Collins, and Jane Brox, Where the Mountain Stands Alone ranges from the formation of the region's distinctive landscape to the lives and customs of its first inhabitants, from the industrialization of the antebellum period to the collapse of both farms and mills, from the region's influence on writers and artists to the rewilding and repopulating of the twentieth century. It is a selective but richly suggestive overview of centuries of human interaction with a particular landscape. "That New Hampshire bluff," as Henry David Thoreau said of Monadnock, "will longest haunt our dreams."
Barry Faulkner; sketches from an artist's life
by Barry Faulkner
Monadnock, More than a Mountain
by Craig Brandon
A fascinating history of “America’s favorite mountain,” Mount Monadnock. Brandon has put together an impressive compilation that combines the history and lore of this special place. Also known as Grand Monadnock, the pinnacle of the region.
Our Town: A Play in Three Acts
by Thornton Wilder and Donald Margulies (Foreword)
Our Town was first produced and published in 1938 to wide acclaim. This Pulitzer Prize–winning drama of life in the town of Grover 's Corners, an allegorical representation of all life, has become a classic. It is Thornton Wilder's most renowned and most frequently performed play. It is now reissued in this handsome hardcover edition, featuring a new Foreword by Donald Margulies, who writes, "You are holding in your hands a great American play. Possibly the great American play." In addition, Tappan Wilder has written an eye-opening new Afterword, which includes Thornton Wilder's unpublished notes and other illuminating photographs and documentary material.

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