The Curious George Cottage in Waterville Valley, NH is the former summer home of Curious George authors, Margret and H.A. Rey. The Reys built their cottage in 1958 and spent many summers enjoying all that Waterville Valley has to offer. The lives of Margret and H.A. Rey were filled with continued learning and community service. The Reys were active in writing and illustration; astronomy; natural history; photography; environmental action (including calls for renewable energy); concern for animals; the simple joys of gardening, walking and bicycle riding; and, of course, children's experiential learning. These life pursuits of the Reys form the basis of Margret and H.A. Rey Center programs, a nonprofit organization formed to honor the Reys’ spirit of curiosity and discovery by helping people of all ages to learn about and experience art, science and nature. This mixture of art and science, the physical and intellectual, young and old, and ever-present curiosity is the foundation for the Rey Center, a multigenerational center for learning and exploration.
After having enjoyed their summer home for over 30 years, Margret Rey sold their cottage in 1992 as she approached the age of 90; Hans had passed away in 1977 at the age of 79. The new owners, Joe and Dottie Highland, in cooperation with Margret, donated the cottage to the Town of Waterville Valley. At that time, the cottage was moved across town to its location adjacent to the Waterville Valley Recreation Department and Elementary School and became known as the Curious George Cottage. Today, the Margret and H.A. Rey Center manages the cottage in partnership with the Town of Waterville Valley. The Rey Center hosts a variety of programs for youth and adults at the Curious George Cottage as well as holds open hours where families can come visit the place where the Reys worked on several of their Curious George stories.
|The Cottage being placed on the insulated concrete form |
foundation in 2010.
To honor the Reys’ passion for environmental action and renewable energy, the Rey Center and Town of Waterville Valley have been working to make the cottage more environmentally friendly. In 2010, the Curious George Cottage was relocated and renovated to help transform the cottage from a summer building to an efficient, year-round facility. Renovations and updates completed include an insulated concrete form foundation, new energy efficient windows, the addition of exterior wall and attic insulation, new high efficiency heating system, dual flush toilet, energy star appliances, insulating blinds for living room windows, and perennial gardens designed to attract pollinators and reduce the high maintenance of a lawn. These renovations, which significantly reduced the energy demands of the cottage, were made possible with funding from the Town of Waterville Valley and with additional support from ABODE Homebuilders, Pella Windows, Rod Ladman Window Designs, Gary and Cheryl Moak, the NH Conservation License Plate Program and Wayside Farms.
Once the energy usage of the cottage was reduced through the 2010 renovations, the Rey Center could look to renewable energy as the next step in greening the cottage. In the spring of 2013, with funding from the New Hampshire Electric Coop Foundation and support from the Town of Waterville Valley, Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, and Ted Hammond Construction, two solar photovoltaic panels were added to the roof of the Curious George Cottage. The solar panels are calculated to produce approximately 590 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or about half of the cottage’s current annual electricity demands. The solar panel system installed at the cottage, two SolarWorld Sunmodule panels with Enphase Microinverters, is designed so that additional panels can easily be added at a later date to increase the energy production capacity of the Curious George Cottage.
In 2012, the Rey Center partnered with Plymouth State University’s Sustainable Structures class to
|The Garden Shed built by students in Plymouth State |
University's Sustainable Structures Class.
The Rey Center has plans to continue greening the Curious George Cottage campus through measures such as LED lighting, rain barrel water catchment systems and edible landscaping. Interested in learning more? Stop by the Curious George Cottage this summer on Thursday mornings between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. or Saturday afternoons from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and we will give you the grand tour!