Mt. Washington Resort

Mount Washington Resort hosted the 2019 NNECAPA conference.

The Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (NNECAPA) annual conference was held at the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire on November 13-15, 2019. A total of 242 professional planners from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and other states attended the conference. The theme of this years conference was, “Live. Work. Play. Play. Play. Play.” which was fitting given the incredible scenery and opportunities for outdoor recreation in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire.

Photo of Mount Washington Resort

Nearly 250 planners attended the 2019 NNECAPA conference.

Day one of the conference got underway during the afternoon of November 13. The agenda included a welcome reception featuring author Dan Szczesny who gave a presentation about his book, “The White Mountain: Rediscovering Mount Washington’s Hidden Culture.” The presentation included stories of the 6,288-foot rock pile including the tales of climbers, hikers and tourists from around the world. After the welcome reception and dinner, planners were given an exclusive tour of the famous hotel and ended the night with social networking and fun at The Cave, a speakeasy bar located on the lower level.

Inside the Mount Washington Resort

Planners came to the conference from across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Day two of the conference commenced with a keynote address from Julie Renaud Evans, the Program Director for the Northern Forest Center. The presentation included how the Center approaches community and economic development within rural Northern New England communities such as Millinocket, Maine. The bulk of the conference’s breakout sessions were also held on day two. Planners attended many sessions throughout the day including topics such as land use strategies within resort communities, coastal planning strategies, historic downtown revitalization, outdoor recreation, and equity in planning.

A presentation at the 2019 NNECAPA conference.

The theme of this years conference was, “Live. Work. Play. Play. Play. Play.”

After the fulfilling day of learning, planners were treated to a wonderful buffet dinner and the annual NNECAPA Awards in the grand ballroom of the hotel.

2019 NNECAPA Awards

  • Professional Planner of the Year: Kate McCarthy, AICP – Sustainable Communities Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council
  • Citizen Planner of the Year: Jean Libby – Town of New Gloucester, Maine
  • Plan of the Year: Mount Washington Valley Age Friendly Community Action Plan
  • Project of the Year: Mill City Park – Franklin, New Hampshire.
NNECAPA conference presentation

Awards were presented in four categories.

Once again, planners descended to The Cave for cocktails and networking to wrap up a busy day of learning and celebrating planning in Northern New England.

The final day of the conference included a hearty breakfast and several more breakout sessions on topics such as citizen engagement, town forest planning and work/life balance for professional planners. The conference wrapped up with lunch and the closing session in the grand ballroom that included a fun state-specific raffle giveaway consisting of local gifts from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The 2019 NNECAPA Annual Conference was an incredible three days of learning and professional networking held in one of the most iconic hotels in the country. All of us with the Maine Association of Planners would like to thank the conference organizing group for planning such a wonderful conference. See you next year in Vermont!

View from Mount Washington Resort

Next year's NNECAPA conference is September 30 to October 1, 2020 in Burlington, Vermont.

Written by:

Jamel Torres

Jamel Torres is the Assistant Town Planner for the Town of Scarborough, Maine.