Road Trip – New Hampshire

By Clayton Kessler

October 27, 2001

So what does a trip to New Hampshire have to do with astronomy? I didn’t think the trip would have any connection at all unless we had an opportunity to use the binoculars that we packed. Let me begin at the beginning.

My brother was getting married so Jan and I took the time to spend a week on the New England coast as nether of us had been there before. We found a motel in Dover New Hampshire because it was close to my brothers’ house and not too far from the wedding site in Massachusetts. We had a great time eating lots of good seafood, visiting historic sites and shopping. So far, no astronomy…..

A couple of days before we left I was thinking that there was something familiar about Dover…… something I saw in a telescope magazine. A quick search of the internet turned up "Rivers Camera". Now I remembered! They are a Meade, Celestron and Televue dealer and they advertise in Sky and Tel and Astronomy. Well this could be interesting.

We arrived at the Motel about noon after getting up a 3 AM for our flight, working our way to the rental car place and driving up from Boston. The Day’s Inn was right in the center of Dover’s historic downtown area. After my nap I decided to walk out to the street and see what I could see. I was thinking to myself, "I wonder how hard it will be to find this River’s Camera place?" As I walked down the driveway my eye was drawn to a yellow sign across the street. "Rivers Camera" – wow how lucky is this?

I wandered over and noted that the front windows were full of telescopes! I went in and started to browse. Now I could have spent my entire week in here with no problem. There were a lot of interesting scopes to inspect. I got my first "in person" look at the Orion Starmax 102 Mak, the Meade ETX105 and the "Konus" series of Synta made refractors. These are different from the "Skywatcher" telescopes in the mount tripods. These CG4 and CG5 style mounts use a tubular stainless tripod similar to the Meade SCT Field Tripod. The legs are somewhat smaller than the Meade tripod but they support a smaller mount. They appeared to be much steadier than the aluminum tripod legs that have become so common. They also had a Pocono "German Equatorial Mount" and an Apogee "Multi Function Fork Mount". These two are commonly used to mount a small scope or as an equatorial camera platform. I ended up having many interesting conversations with owner Roger Rivers.

Roger mentioned that Saturday morning was a good time to stop by as some of the local astronomers come in to "shoot the breeze". I stopped by and spent a pleasant couple of hours talking with John Lanoue who was setting up to try astrophotography and to Kirk Rogers and Alan Jordan from the Astronomical Society of Northern New England. These two astrophotographers shared their knowledge and experience and graciously invited me to their new club observatory on Sunday for solar observing. Unfortunately I had to attend a wedding on Sunday and could not attend L . I did check out the observatory on the internet and it looked like a very nice setup. You can check it out here:

I was sorely tempted to purchase a used TV85 that looked to be in new condition ($1600.00 a very good price) but I restrained myself. I did pick up a nice pair of 10X50 binoculars and a good load of film for astrophotography. I got some Kodak Royal Gold 200 for hypering and a couple of rolls each of Kodak Royal Gold 1000 and Fuji Super HQ 1600. The latter two films will be used for meteor photography during the Leonids if the weather is good.

Rivers Camera carries a good supply of both new and used astronomical equipment. He has lots of Meade, Celestron and especially Televue Eyepieces and even some Losmandy accessories. Roger is happy to do mail order and they can be reached at 1-800-245-7963 or on their web site at:

I had a very nice time, both in New England and at Rivers Camera. Roger and the local astronomers made me feel welcome and I enjoyed some very nice conversations. If you are in the area I recommend a side trip to River’s and I am going to plan my next visit to my brothers place to coincide with a meeting of the Astronomical Society of Northern New England!