Grand Circle Foundation and the Lewis Family Foundation believe in giving back to the world we travel, as well as making a difference in our own backyard. Alan Lewis’ family has owned a historic, 400-acre property in Kensington, NH since the 1700s, when the Sawyers and Blakes built small cabins on the property and named them after people they admired: Whittier, Whitman, Burns, and Thoreau. Kensington is where Alan spent his boyhood summers, and where Alan and Harriet take their children to retreat, recharge, and rejoice.
This space in Kensington hosts a variety of groups, organizations, and individuals in search of transformation through team building, finding a peaceful release, or creating new ways to honor our planet.
The newest addition to the property is a building called Alnoba—a recently completed, LEED-certified building that has been created from the strength and beauty of old New England timbers with modern “green” technology. Having been constructed with such “green” elements as passive and active solar energy systems and a geothermal heat pump, Alnoba is the first “passive” house of its kind in the Northeast. In January, Alan and Harriet invited a group of local O.A.T. travelers to visit Alnoba and explore the surrounding grounds. Sally and Ed T., 16-time travelers from Wilmington, MA, were among the attendees, and wrote in to share their impressions:
“We enjoyed the opportunity to visit your retreat center. The building is beautiful and we had the opportunity to explore some of the land. The day was beautiful and sunny and when we got to the top of the hill we first walked over to the fire pit and sat on the beautiful benches with the various quotes on them. As we sat there in the quiet we were reminded of our trip to Tanzania and the night on safari when we sat around the fire and looked up at the beautiful sky in the quiet of the night. Your fire pit reminded us of that experience as the sky there must be beautiful as one sits around the fire in the night.”
The word “Alnoba” comes from the Abenaki people and it means “becoming human.” This new building will be the site where the four pillars of the Lewis Family Foundation’s work will come together as they strive to build strong leaders and communities; foster conservation and sustainability; support local farmers, natural food, and healthful living; and provide inspiration through the beauty and art of nature.
The building’s design is based on New England barn architecture, but with a contemporary twist. The interior structure is framed by 200-year-old New England barn timber frames, and the triple pane windows provide heat insulation—one of the basic features of a Passive House standard building.
The Farm at Eastman’s Corner, a community-governed year-round farm and market created with support from the Lewis Family Foundation, will be the primary caterer for all meetings and events. The culinary team can provide meals ranging from soup and sandwiches, to Farm to Table meals, to high-end gourmet menus.
In keeping with the mission of the Lewis Family Foundation, proceeds from Alnoba will support programs for nonprofits and city youth in Boston and the seacoast area of New Hampshire through the Pinnacle Leadership and Development Team, the leader in serving non-profit organizations since 1993.
For more information on Alnoba, be sure to visit their website.
Discover the beautiful grounds of Kensington, NH and get an insider’s look at Alnoba in this film.