A Renovation In Progress
On February 13, 2019, a fire at The Rocks destroyed two historic buildings that we used for office space, programming, a gift shop and farm operations. In the wake of this devastating loss, the Forest Society has had an opportunity to rethink the vision for this iconic North Country destination.
Renovations are now underway to transform the historic Carriage Barn into an energy-efficient facility that features public program space and staff offices. This facility will offer ample space for staff to deliver adult and youth educational programming on forestry, conservation, natural history, maple sugaring, and the Christmas tree operation. It will also serve as a center where visitors can learn about the Rocks’ history and find out more about recreational activities both on-site and in the region.
Capital Improvements include:
- Constructing a new heated workshop and garage for Christmas tree farm operations, to be built by Garland Mill of Lancaster.
- Recontouring the landscape to maximize views of the White Mountains and provide spectacular outdoor venue space;
- Renovating the Carriage Barn as a Net-Zero energy-efficient public building with event space, classrooms, offices and Christmas tree sales.
Fire & Recovery
- February 13, 2019: Fire destroys buildings at The Rocks.
- February 14, 2019: Rocks Fire not considered suspicious.
- February 28, 2019: Recovery underway at The Rocks.
Campaign & Construction
- February 2020: Forest Society annouces the Forest Society North campaign.
- January 13, 2021: Bethlehem Planning Board approves plans for The Rocks' expansion.
- May 2021: Bethlehem Fire Department conducts training exercise to take down former office building at The Rocks.
- August 2021: First phase of construction expands parking and reshapes landscape at The Rocks. Landscape architect Leigh Starer and her crew used the massive granite foundation stones that once supported the Tool Building to transform the landscape into a rustic hillside amphitheater centered on a panorama that stretches from the Kilkenny Range to the Presidentials.
- September 2021: First phase of construction is complete. Read more.
- November & December 2021: The Rocks' Christmas tree farm is open for the holidays, an annual tradition, and the farm helps send 400 trees south as part of the Trees for Troops program.
- January 2022: Caledonian Record: Bethlehem SPNHF Board Continues To Move Ahead In Plans For The Rocks Estate
- Spring 2022 to 2023: The second phase of the construction project will take place.
- June 1, 2022: The Rocks' grounds, trails and parking lots are closed to general public use as heavy equipment rolls into place. In June, work will begin on the renovation of the iconic stone and shingle carriage barn at the center of the property, and in July landscaping will continue to create a new hillside amphitheater overlooking the easterly White Mountain view. Closure of the property is temporary — although the renovation of the building will continue over the next year, the construction zone will be contained so that the parking areas and public use should be open to the general public in August.
- June 23, 2022: Nearly 50 community members and local leaders gather to celebrtate the official groundbreaking for the renovations of the Carriage Barn.
- November 2022: Despite ongoing renovations at the Carriage Barn, The Rocks will host visitors for another holiday season in Bethlehem. Cut-your-own and fresh cut Christmas tree sales begin on November 19 and daily hours will take place from November 25 through December 18.
Learn more about the history of The Rocks
- Click here to read more history on the buildings lost in the fire prepared by the Chicago-based Glessner House Museum.
- Read more in the Autumn 2020 issue of Forest Notes about what was and what's next: