Lebanon NH: Counting Fountains

And just in case you're hungry . . .

Ah, Paris, the City of Light, where I can sit entranced, basking in the sight and sound of the fountain in the Place St. Sulpice. Sacred space for me, and on those occasions when the fountain happened not to be running, I discovered that it is, sadly, not the same experience at all. 

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I consider it great good fortune that I live in Lebanon, NH, once known as the City of Fountains, and well on its way to reclaiming its title. Lebanon takes its fountains seriously. If you place yourself in the middle of the town green, facing City Hall, you can look left, look right, and see three fountains almost within spitting distance. 

The center of the green (Colburn Park) features the Colburn Park Fountain (pictured above and below), glossy black, and on a breezy day, a trifle misty. Lebanon natives and visitors do what people everywhere seem destined to do when meeting a fountain. They toss in a coin and pray to the gods. 

The Golden Girl with the Umbrella is located on one of the "islands" formed by the intersection of that mystifying tangle of roads encircling the park.  She glints in the sunlight but sensibly keeps her face in the shade.

The newest fountain is on the pedestrian mall in front of the restaurant, Three Tomatoes. Formerly a large flowerbed, it was remodeled in 2015 into a fountain that spouts and burbles. There is still a place to sit, although gingerly if you're an adult. Recently, a small child seemed to show no fear when running around the potentially slippery edge.

There is a Fountain Working Group in Lebanon, currently operating under the auspices of the Heritage Commission. According to published minutes of the last few committee meetings, yet another new fountain will soon be en route to the Lebanon cemetery. A more naturally constructed fountain--no statuary, nor basin--can be found in the pocket park with stone bench (see below) dedicated to the memory of Robert H. Leavett. 

On a recent afternoon, contemplating all of the fountains (not to mention the Giant Hand, a/k/a Astronomer, part of an art installation at the nearby AVA Gallery) caused me to work up a little hunger. The City of Fountains shares something else with the City of Light--a newfound enthusiasm for food trucks. You can find two of them--Boisvert for burgers and seafood and Phnom Penh for Cambodian food--at Colburn Park. Order lunch, grab a seat at one of the picnic tables, and take in the fountain and the kids on the swings. 

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