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Home is Where the Heart Is!

There’s No Place Like Home

‘Karen and Jay share thoughts about the importance of making a house a home’

Remember Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz? Saying ‘There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.’ I think almost everyone can identify with that deep human sentiment. That yearning in each of us to return to a safe, warm, loving place – a place that we call ‘home.’ Sometimes we think of home as a certain place – perhaps where we grew up. Or perhaps where we are today. Or maybe, it’s not so much a particular place – but ‘going home’ may mean being together with our family, our loved ones. But whatever it means to you, the idea of ‘going home’ is so very special. It’s one of life’s true treasures.

Have you ever gotten home after a long day and thought to yourself, there is truly, no place like home? The word home itself can evoke so much for each of us. Sometimes we may think it’s just a place with walls and a roof over our head, but the truth is, our homes, and how we make them, are environments that have much deeper meaning and value. What we define, or how we make a home, is often the biggest reflection of who we are and what we’ve both experienced and what we value.

Home in our lexicon here in the States tends to be a physical place, shelter, and sanctuary, that gives us refuge from everything that happens outside of it. Interestingly enough though, throughout the world, home has different meanings or even translations across different cultures, once again reflecting its diverse interpretation. To really explore how we define the word home can do wonders for cultivating and developing our own understanding of the word and even who we are as individuals. For example, Karen’s dad used to say how ‘at home’ he felt when he was sailing up in Maine. Not a dwelling, but still a place that he felt most comfortable in. Home is a memory, a feeling, part of our imagination that helps us tell the story of ourselves and gives us context for our place in the world. In another sense, the United States is our home here, and with that comes a whole different contextualization for the understanding of home. When we travel abroad and share that we are American, it impacts our interactions, for better or for worse, but ‘home’ in this case once again grounds us with a sense of identity and self unlike few other things in life.

Perhaps when we were younger, we didn’t like making the bed in the morning or doing the dishes, but now you can’t live without it. Or maybe you grew up in one place you once thought you’d never leave, but did, and now call another place your home. The point being, where we make home, call home, or feel home is ultimately a place where we not only show our most vulnerable and comfortable selves, but where we make memories that tell each of our unique stories. And whether we want to believe it or not, a home is a home not just because it’s where we might sleep, or where we might feel most comfortable, but it’s where we are able to catch the best glimpse of who we really are. And because of this, yes, it’s true – there’s no place like home!

NH Home Show - It Just Keeps Getting Better Every Year!

There are so many events that take place in New Hampshire year after year. We all have our favorites e.g., it could be Bike Week at the Weirs, the Seafood Festival in Hampton, the Lancaster Fair (and to be fair - all of our great fairs of course!), or even Glendi in Manchester. One event that I continues to amaze and shine – now in its 56th year - is the New Hampshire Home Show taking place at the DoubleTree Hotel this weekend - March 4th and 5th in downtown Manchester.

This one-of-a-kind of event is in-fact one of the largest in northern New England - featuring home specialists from the entire region and beyond. Over 200 exhibitors from suppliers and remodelers of bathrooms to windows will be onsite and able to provide home owners with information and insight as they prepare their next home project. I know so many people who have attended the home show. In-fact, in a recent discussion about it with a friend, he mentioned how his family had gone to this fantastic event to learn about area HVAC companies. Two weeks later he hired one to have his furnace replaced and because of the company he found and relationship he established at the show, it even came in substantially under what he had originally budgeted.

Another especially valuable part of the home show is the wide range of seminars that take place. Speakers from across the region aren’t just talking construction or industry standards, they are educating the homeowner. Discussions range from mortgages, proper tips and tricks to keep your home safe, and when is the right time to prepare for the next home improvement project. This multi-day event thinks of it all and this year they really do have it all!

New to the Home Show in the Armory this year is a Beer Garden featuring local beers and not one but three food trucks so people can take in some of the coolest culinary delights while not having to leave the hotel. This year you might also want to plan on bringing along an antique or two, as you can get these assessed at the Antique Appraisers Alley.

My good friend Matt Mayberry and his team at the New Hampshire Home Builders Association are doing it right. They are creating a community of people who are interested in coming together to learn, discuss, and prepare in the home building/remodeling space. The Home Show is a wonderful and absolutely fun event to attend. Well done Matt and the members of the NH HBA. For more information on this amazing show, please visit

Homes of Legendary Granite Stater’s

The Bridges House, Concord, NH, Official Governor’s Residence

There are numerous places of historical significance in New Hampshire, with many of those being the homes of famous Granite Stater’s - including Daniel Webster, Styles Bridges, and Robert Frost. Let’s take a visit for a moment to these specific homes.

As you are most likely aware, Daniel Webster was a great orator and politician – U.S. Senator, Secretary of State and arguably New Hampshire’s most influential historical figure. He was born in Franklin in 1782 in a two-room log cabin. The house sits next to a creek and the mill that Webster’s father owned is known as being highly representative of early colonial living. The Websters moved to West Franklin in 1800 and sold the house to finance Daniel’s education at Dartmouth College. The house is a part of the State parks and can be visited in the summer.

Styles Bridges may be lesser known today. But especially during the 1940’s and ‘50’s, U.S. Senator Styles Bridges was a powerful force on the national stage. Moreover, his house is very occupies a unique place in New Hampshire politics, as the ‘Bridges House’ is now the official residence for whomever is the sitting Governor. While other states have mansions, the Bridges House, built in 1836 is a small Greek Revival house with a barn attached. Styles was Governor of the State and later a US Senator, and when he passed in 1961, his family donated the house to the State. In 2004, First Lady Lynch started renovations to make it a proper functional house for the Governor. The barn was turned into a beautiful seating area for guests, and the kitchen was remodeled for hosting. Every corner of the house reflects New Hampshire at its finest, with murals and reliefs of important locations. While our Governors are welcome to reside there, not everyone has. However, all Governors do use the House for important functions as well as official meetings.

Many of Robert Frost’s poems and books make mention of nature and mountains. One of his books is even called ‘The Mountain!’ But if you make your way to Franconia, you can see where he got his inspiration while at his cabin - a quaint little two-story building. The cabin was built when Frost was looking for land in Franconia. Spending summers there until 1976, many of Frost's poems can be traced to his time wandering the forests and mountains of Franconia.

These places are significant to New Hampshire's history and are worth the visit. More homes of NH’s famous can be found at

Positive Profile of the Week: Harold and Gerry LaValley - Builders of Homes, Community Leaders

This week we are delighted to highlight a spectacular couple and great friends of mine – Harold and Gerry LaValley of Newport. Successful in business, unparalleled leaders in our community and genuinely wonderful people.

Harold and Gerry founded LaValley Building Supply in 1962 with a single store in Newport, New Hampshire. Reliable service and honest dealing were the underpinnings of their success as they grew the company to include eight locations throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Together they have built one of the most respected and trusted building supply companies in the entire region. The company, now a third-generation family business, is known today as LaValley-Middleton Building Supply with 12 retail locations.

Over the years, LaValley Building Supply has been a reliable partner for individuals and contractors looking to build or renovate their homes. In addition to the wide range of high-quality products in their retail stores they offer truss and wall panel fabrication, a top-of-the-line paint and decorating center along with one of the largest most modern Easter White Pine sawmills in New England. Add to all this a very knowledgeable staff and you have a recipe for a great organization!

Despite their significant growth and success, LaValley Building Supply has remained committed to their roots and to their local community. The company sponsors numerous events and organizations throughout the year, and the LaValley family has been actively involved in local charities and civic organizations for decades. This giving back to the community has greatly helped Newport as it looks to reimagine itself for an exciting future. In fact, there have been no more generous supporters of the community and no greater friends of the Sunshine Initiative than Harold and Gerry.

Despite all their success, there’s a good chance you’ll still find them at the business where you can learn how to transform your home…or just stop in – they’ll be glad to listen and talk with you about how your vision is their passion!

We thank you, Harold and Gerry, for all you do!

Positive Quotes of the Week: There’s No Place Like Home

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." - Robert Frost

"Home is where the heart is." - Pliny the Elder

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." - Jane Austen "The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back." - Wendy Wunder

“Home is where our story begins." - Unknown.


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