Author Howard Mansfield and Composer Ben Cosgrove to Perform Original Work at Annual Meeting

Anna Berry | July 27, 2023
The Rocks
A painting of the Saco River in North Conway featured in Mansfield's book.

A painting by 19th century artist Benjamin Champney of the Saco River in North Conway, as featured in Mansfield's book. (Photo: courtesy of NH Historical Society)

The Forest Society's Annual Meeting will feature A Journey to the White Mountains in Words and Music perfomed in The Rocks' new amphitheater by author Howard Mansfield and musician Ben Cosgrove, along with field trips, awards, and business meeting. The meeting will take place on Saturday, September 23 at noon and tickets start at $50 per person.

The unique performance combines Mansfield's words with Cosgrove's landscape-inspired music to explore the question of just what it is that people hope to find when they go to the mountains.

The show's text is based on a chapter from Mansfield’s recent book, Chasing Eden: A Book of Seekers.

“Pioneering artists in the 19th Century taught Americans how to look at the wilderness,” he says. “Americans were eager for the lesson, and, with guidebook in hand telling them where to see the views in the famous paintings, they followed the artists.

"Their art created a market for the views, filled hotels with tourists, and laid the bounds for national parks across the country. Today’s tourists to the White Mountains may not know it, but they’ve come in search of an Eden created by a legion of 19th-century landscape painters.”

Howard Mansfield poses for a headshot. He has glasses and curly graying hair.

About Howard Mansfield:

Author Howard Mansfield sifts through the commonplace and the forgotten to discover stories that tell us about ourselves and our place in the world. He writes about history, architecture, and preservation. He is the author of a dozen books, including In the Memory HouseThe Bones of the EarthThe Same Ax, TwiceThe Habit of Turning the World Upside Down; and Dwelling in Possibility: Searching for the Soul of Shelter.

His latest book, Chasing Eden: A Book of Seekers, is about Americans seeking their Promised Land, their utopia out on the horizon — which by definition, is ever receding before us.


Ben Cosgrove plays the piano as viewed from above.

(Photo: Max Garcia Conover)

About Ben Cosgrove:

Ben Cosgrove is a traveling composer-performer whose music explores themes of landscape, place, and environment. Ben has performed in every U.S. state except for Delaware, collaborated with groups ranging from rock bands to research scientists, and held residencies and fellowships with institutions including the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, Harvard University, Middlebury College, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, NASA, and the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology. His nonfiction has appeared in OrionTaprootNorthern WoodlandsAppalachia, and other publications, and he is based in New England.