Dorie Goldman of Amherst, owner of the Backyard Bakery, dies in NH hiking accident

AMHERST — Friends of Dorie Goldman of Amherst, who died while hiking in New Hampshire on Sunday, recalled Tuesday her passion for bicycles and her enthusiasm for selling freshly baked bread at local farmers’ markets.

Goldman, 50, owner of The Backyard Bakery who was known for riding through town in a green, pedal-powered vehicle, died at Purgatory Falls in Mont Vernon, according to a statement issued by Police Chief Kevin Furlong. Police said Goldman fell 15 feet into Upper Falls, along Purgatory Brook after slipping “from the edge of a steep embankment and (falling) into the frigid waters.” Furlong said that no additional information about the accident would be released Tuesday.

The Nashua Telegraph quoted authorities as stating that Goldman fell over a waterfall, even though she was wearing spikes on her boots, and went under ice, where she was submerged for a “significant amount of time,” said Mont Vernon Fire Chief Jay Wilson. Goldman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Goldman was adamant about not driving a vehicle and in 2013 purchased a battery-assisted velomobile, what she described as a super-efficient, pedal-powered vehicle. This egg-shaped vehicle was not only her mode of transportation, but doubled as the table on which her products were displayed at outdoor markets. She was a regular at the Wednesday Market at Kendrick Park, where she sold bread and talked about her velomobile during Amherst Bike Week last May.

She had recently been accepted as a vendor in the long-running Amherst Farmers Market and was continuing to sell bread at the Amherst Winter Farmers Market. Tamsin Flanders, manager of the winter market, said in an email that Goldman had recently expanded her product selection and was about to move from half a table to a full table. “She brought unique and delicious bread and a solid customer base and a great, social friendliness and interest in the community to the market,” Flanders said.

The varieties of bread she made included Danish rye, honey wheat and flax sesame loaf. Sarah Swartz, a North Amherst farmer who ran a farmers’ market from her Meadow Street farm a few years ago, said she appreciated Goldman’s participation. “Dorie worked so hard,” Swartz said. “She had a plan and gave life everything she had.” Goldman was also the chairwoman of the town’s Public Bicycle and Transportation Committee, a member of the Transition Amherst group promoting sustainable living and was active in Renaissance singing.

John Coull, who ran Valley Bicycles for three decades, said he first met Goldman when she worked at his shop about 25 years ago, where she brought a passion for bicycles that she continued to refine. “My own feeling is it’s so hard to believe” she’s gone, Coull said. “She was so active, so out there, and so ready to go at any notice. She was a great person to know.”

Goldman’s death was the first recorded fatality associated with Purgatory Brook, which has become popular with hikers in recent years as land has been preserved and opened to trails and snowmobiles, the Telegraph reported. “She was a regular hiker … she was hiking and running and biking all year round, she was very experienced,” Peter Skott, Goldman’s former husband, told the Telegraph. “She was a fantastic person, who always went her own way.”

Goldman, who was born in suburban Philadelphia, attended Hampshire College where she discovered the bicycle and the freedom it gave her to explore the Valley. In 1991, she married Skott, a Danish visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts. In 1999 they had twin boys, and after about a dozen years in Denmark, the family returned to Amherst. Goldman and Skott were divorced in 2012.

Goldman’s death is being investigated by the Mont Vernon Police Department in conjunction with New Hampshire Fish and Game.

An autopsy is being conducted by the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office.