New Hampshire Magazine December 2021

Page 1


A Visit With Renaissance Man R.P. Hale

Tuning Up Your Skiing Skills

The Sise Cup


Concord’s master of multiple disciplines and lifelong learner




Who’s the Boss?

R E N A I S S A N C E M A N R . P. H A L E

Santa Claus, Of Course Special Guides to Holiday Gifts, Cocktails & Décor for the Door A Tribute to Our Friend & Colleague Bill Burke

H O L I D AY D R I N K S & G I F T S

Live Free.


December 2021 $5.99

Outdoors guru Marty Basch offers some tips

w w

The More, the Merrier

Visit our New Hampshire locations in Nashua | North Conway | Portsmouth | Rochester

I chose Granite State College.

I was in the military, full time, but I was thinking about my future and career beyond that. I wanted to set myself up for success. Going to Granite State College really fit my schedule; I even took classes while I was deployed overseas. The faculty were always there for me helping me build on my strengths and improve on my weaknesses.

It was learning on my time.

Derek | Granite State College | ‘20



NHMAGAZINE.COM Vice President/Publisher Ernesto Burden x5117 Editor Rick Broussard x5119 Art Director John R. Goodwin x5131

Managing Editor Erica Thoits x5130 Associate Editor Emily Heidt x5115 Contributing Editors Barbara Coles Bill Burke x5112 Production Manager Jodie Hall x5122 Senior Graphic Designer Nancy Tichanuk x5126 Senior Graphic Production Artist Nicole Huot x5116 Group Sales Director Kimberly Lencki x5154 Business Manager Mista McDonnell x5114 Sales Executives Josh Auger x5144 Jessica Schooley x5143

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Events & Marketing Manager Emily Samatis x5125 Business/Sales Coordinator Heather Rood x5110 Digital Operations Morgen Connor x5149 and Marketing Manager

Contributing Photographer Kendal J. Bush VP/Consumer Marketing Brook Holmberg

VP/Retail Sales Sherin Pierce

A SUBSIDIARY OF YANKEE PUBLISHING INC., AN EMPLOYEE-OWNED COMPANY 150 Dow Street, Manchester, NH 03101 (603) 624-1442, fax (603) 624-1310 E-mail: Advertising: Subscription information: Subscribe online at: or e-mail To order by phone call: (877) 494-2036

© 2021 McLean Communications, LLC New Hampshire Magazine® is published by McLean Communications, Inc., 150 Dow St., Manchester, NH 03101, (603) 624-1442. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publisher assumes no responsibility for any mistakes in advertisements or editorial. Statements/opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect or represent those of this publication or its officers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, McLean Communications, LLC.: New Hampshire Magazine disclaims all responsibility for omissions and errors. New Hampshire Magazine is published monthly, with the exception of February and April. USPS permit number 022-604. Periodical postage paid at Manchester 03103-9651. Postmaster send address changes to: New Hampshire Magazine, P.O. Box 37900, Boone, IA 50037-0900 PRINTED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

4 | December 2021


December 2021



56 First Things

603 Navigator

603 Informer

603 Living

6 Guest Editor’s Note 8 Requiem for a Friend 11 Feedback

Features 12 Tune Up Your Skiing

74 DIY

Preparing for a new season

by Marty Basch

54 Transcript

By John Goodwin

26 Blips

by David Mendelsohn

NH in the News

56 The Extraordinary R.P. Hale

by Casey McDermott

Spend some time with Concord’s own Renaissance man and lifelong explorer of knowledge.

28 Sips

Make Your Own Milk Punch

by Michael Hauptly-Pierce

by Anders Morley photos by David Mendelsohn

30 What Do You Know?

66 Ski Racing Against Time

The Hermit of Goat Island

The New England Masters Sise Cup Series is truly a race for (almost) all ages.

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONS 37 Faces of New Hampshire 80 Holiday Gift Guide 91 Cocktails for the Holidays

24 The Arts

Introducing MONA

Meet Dan Greenleaf, the ultimate Santa instructor.

by Brion O’Connor photos by Joe Klementovich

Crafting Holiday Wreaths

story and photos by Marshall Hudson

16 Our Town Portsmouth

by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers

20 Food & Drink Local Gift Ideas

32 Politics

Defining a Year

by James Pindell

34 Out and About

by Matthew Mead

78 Seniority

UNH Head Football Coach Sean McDonnell

by Lynne Snierson

99 Calendar

Top Holiday Events

edited by Emily Heidt

102 Health

The Benefits of Spices

by Karen A. Jamrog

104 Ayuh

The 365 Days of “A Christmas Story”

by Bill Burke

603 Diversity Launch Party

photos by Tom Miller

by Anna-Kate Munsey

ON THE COVER Starting on page 66, learn about the New England Masters Sise Cup Series, where skiers ages 18 to 90 can compete. Photo by Joe Klementovich

Volume 35, Number 10 ISSN 1532-0219 | December 2021 5




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f Bill Burke had his way, it would have been Christmas at his house yearround. Every year as Halloween neared, I’d await his pronouncement that the decorations were up, and the carols were playing. But he didn’t have to tell me, I already knew. As he rounded the bend to visit me in my cubicle, I could see that he had a bit more jolly in his step with a face lit up like a Christmas tree. He’d go on to tell me about the list of TV specials and movies that he was going to watch, and the long playlist of holiday tunes that I was pretty sure he’d been listening to since Labor Day. What I wouldn’t give to be able to tease him just one more time about his seasonal obsession. Around the time I would have heard the first stirrings about this year’s yuletide plans, I instead heard that Bill had passed away. Bill and I had been friends since 2008 when we met for lunch to discuss his humor column, “Dad on Board,” which had just started in Parenting New Hampshire magazine. A fellow Gen-Xer, we shared a favorite band and a sense of humor and could talk to each other in 1980s pop culture references and Neil Peart lyrics. It was at that meeting that he first told me that his goal was to work at McLean Communications, maybe even someday, New Hampshire Magazine. So, when the position of managing editor for custom publications opened, I lobbied the publisher hard to hire him. Not only because I knew he’d do a great job, but also because Bill by that point was driving me crazy asking me about potential openings. When he had something in his sights, forget about it. It’s what made him a great journalist. Bill became an integral member of the work family almost immediately. He worked hard and no matter how busy he was, he was the first to volunteer to help with a story or at an event. He was the consummate team player and collaborator. This no doubt came naturally to him having played hockey and the bass in bands. He also brought a lightness to the office. A conversation with Bill almost always ended with laughter. Bill’s fixation with all things Disney and Christmas fascinated me. He was a big kid at heart. In person, and through his writing, Bill, a born storyteller, had a desire to bring

Bill’s daughter Katie was the inspiration for his “Dad on Board” column, which ran for 12 years in the pages of Parenting New Hampshire magazine. They also appeared together in three feature stories.

joy into people’s lives. He wanted to bring his readers into his world to feel his enthusiasm. If Bill, the author of three books about traveling to Disney, wasn’t planning his next trip to the Magic Kingdom, he was spending time with his family and friends. Every day had the potential to be an adventure. He was humble, never one to sit on his laurels, or his writing awards. Praise easily pinked up the cheeks of the Irishman, who often lamented the loss of his red hair, and then his hair. For 12 years, I had the privilege of editing “Dad on Board,” starring his wife, Amy, and daughter, Katie. Writers and their editors develop a unique relationship when they work together to craft a personal narrative over a long period of time. It led to many great conversations that I cherish. When Katie graduated high school, Bill begrudgingly admitted it was time to end the column — and that he couldn’t go with her to college. But now Bill was writing for New Hampshire Magazine, his goal from the start, and he could not have been happier. And I could not have been happier for him. Bill’s tenure at New Hampshire Magazine, and his time with us, was way too short. All we can do is appreciate the time we did get to spend with him, and the writing he left behind. Included on my to-do list this holiday season will be rooting for the Boston Bruins, listening to Christmas music by The Killers, and enjoying a bit of whiskey. Bill would want us to. NH

Melanie Hitchcock is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer living in southern New Hampshire. Bill Burke’s penultimate “Ayuh” humor piece — featuring his love of Christmas — appears on page 104 of this issue.

Experience a one-of-a-kind Biergarten event at our Merrimack location! From bridal showers, holiday parties, and birthdays, our team will assist in making it un-forgettable!







About | Requiem for a friend

By Brion O’Connor


New Hampshire Magazine contributing editor Bill Burke with his two favorite people in the world, his daughter Katie and wife Amy


he verse above is the last half of a poem chiseled on the headstone of Hobart “Hobey” Baker’s grave, the final resting place of St. Paul’s hockey star who died too young in 1918. Bill Burke would laugh, maybe even blush, at my drawing comparisons between the legendary Baker and this son of Salisbury, Massachusetts. I hope he would be honored. The poem is appropriate, because Bill embodied “the beauty of your spirits,” and he loved nothing more than a good hockey game. Except for maybe his incredibly talented wife Amy. Or his incredibly talented daughter Katie. Or Disney World, and his countless “Mousejunkies” fans. Or his friends and family members. Or a solid bass line, or a chortle-inducing joke, or another viewing of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” while sharing a quality bourbon, or a really well-written story, or ... well, you get the picture. Bill’s big, buoyant heart held so much joy that it’s difficult to comprehend how it could have failed him. Like so many of his friends, I was stunned by the news. Like them, I was at a loss for words (an admission no writer likes to make). Like them, my heart ached for his wife and daughter. Like them, I was filled with regret, thinking of all the plans we had, from rubbing elbows with the rich and famous at the Myopia Hunt & Polo Club to catching the NCAA

8 | December 2021

hockey tournament next time it came to Manchester. So many good intentions. Gone. Bill’s gift — what made him truly special — was that he was utterly selfless. He always made you feel special, while never suggesting that he was anything special himself. Make no mistake, he had an ego (seriously, what rock ‘n’ roller doesn’t have an ego), and he was confident in his own abilities. But he had a genuine modesty that immediately put you at ease, and a steel-trap memory that made you believe that everything you said was unforgettable. I’m not alone in this opinion. Bill’s Facebook page features dozens who feel the same. If you’re fortunate enough to have “friended” Bill, take a look — the sheer level of emotion, the sheer love for the man, is overwhelming. And deservedly so. I first met Bill though his wife, a hockey goalie who I was coaching at a clinic. “You’re a writer? My husband’s a writer. And a total hockey nut,” said Amy. “You guys have to get together.” I’m forever grateful for that introduction. Bill was one of my editors. But far more importantly, he was my friend. Despite sharing many interests — hockey, strong women, strong drinks, daughters, greasy spoons and great Westerns — Bill and I weren’t mirror images. As a cantankerous Irishman, I admired Bill’s gentle, accepting soul. My cycling addiction puzzled and intrigued him. I kept trying to convince Bill to get a bike. Each time, he politely declined. Always politely. Never having been to Disney World, and having absolutely no interest in going, I was baffled by Bill’s obsession with all things Walt-related. It became a running gag between us. We both loved music, though our tastes differed dramatically. He played bass, which I admired tremendously. When I told him I was taking up the bass as a “mid-life project,” he inundated me with emails containing links to “learn to play” sites and beginner basses I might consider buying. Because that was Bill. It was all about inclusion. I pray that, if there’s a God, he’ll explain to me someday why he took Bill well before his time. I pray that Amy and Katie will take some consolation in knowing that this special man was so cherished by so many (the Facebook posts will dwindle, but the memories won’t). We are all richer for having known Bill, and infinitely poorer for his premature departure. Rest in peace, dear friend. Please save me a seat next to Hobey when we next get together. And bring your bass. I’ll be practicing. I promise. Sláinte! Thanks to Bill’s introduction, freelance writer Brion O’Connor is now a frequent contributor to both this magazine and its sister publication New Hampshire Home.

courtesy photo

— Anonymous | December 2021 9

Contributors The last piece Bill Burke wrote for New Hampshire Magazine is this month’s “Ayuh.” We will run his final column, written a few months ago, in the next issue.

Melanie Hitchcock was Bill Burke’s editor at Parenting New Hampshire for more than a decade. She wrote this issue’s “Editor’s Note” about Bill.

Former editorial intern for New Hampshire Magazine Anna-Kate Munsey wrote this month’s “Food & Drink.” She is a senior at the University of New Hampshire.

Freelance writer and frequent contributor Brion O’Connor wrote the tribute to Bill Burke and the feature story “Ski Racing Against Time.”

Joe Klementovich, whose work spans from Mt. Washington to the Everglades, took the photos for the feature story “Ski Racing Against Time.”

Stylist, author, photographer and lifestyle editor Matthew Mead produced this month’s “Living” on how to craft your own wreaths. spot the newt illustration by brad fitzpatrick

Anders Morley, who wrote the feature story “The Extraordinary R.P. Hale,” is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada who grew up in New Hampshire, where he learned to ski as a young child. He has worked as a translator and teacher in Italy, a tree planter in Saskatchewan, and a forester’s assistant in British Columbia. In addition to contributing to a number of publications, Morley’s first book, “This Land of Snow: A Journey Across the North in Winter,” is now available. It chronicles the time he spent cross-country skiing across Canada.

for December 2021

Spot four newts like the one here hidden on ads in this issue, tell us where you found them and you might win a great gift from a local artisan or company. To enter our drawing for Spot the Newt, visit and fill out the online form. Or, send answers plus your name and mailing address to: Spot the Newt, c/o New Hampshire Magazine 150 Dow St., Manchester, NH 03101

You can also email them to or fax them to (603) 624-1310. The November “Spot the Newt” winner is Susan O’Neil of Keene. November issue newts were on pages 2, 29, 91 and 95.

10 | December 2021

NEED A GOOD REASON FOR SPOTTING THE NEWT? The December prize is two five-packs of cards and two stickers from Seacoast Region’s Rouse House Design, offering “art and pattern for playful people” at or at the New Hampshire Made retail store, 28 Deer St., Portsmouth. New Hampshire Made is our state’s official promoter of all the good things made right here in the Granite State.


emails, snail mail, facebook, tweets

Send letters to Editor Rick Broussard, New Hampshire Magazine, 150 Dow St. Manchester, NH 03101 or email him at, & @nhmagazine

Leaf Peeper at Large


I wanted to share this photo I took today of a bull moose that was out enjoying the foliage at our tree farm on Mt. Cube. Feel free to share with your readers if you would like. — Tom Thomson, Orford

Finding Shinbone Shack

I just discovered New Hampshire Magazine even though I’ve lived in New Hampshire for over 40 years. I just loved the article about Shinbone Shack by Marshall Hudson [“What Do You Know?” November 2021]. I’ve been to Stoddard and am familiar with the area, but had never heard of this story before. Thank you for printing it. I sent the article to a bunch of my friends, and they also had never heard of it. I just wish the article could have been longer and gave details as to whether the property can be viewed, or if it’s all private property. Thanks again for a great story. — Carol White, New Castle

Editor’s Note: Marshall Hudson has a knack for finding those still-somehow-unknown stories of the state, so don’t beat yourself up when he surprises you — no matter how long you’ve lived here. When asked about the property, Hudson replied that the site is on private land and very remote, so a person wouldn’t come upon it by accident.

WDYK?: Interrupted!

I have to tell you that the current magazine was not put together very well. The pages are often out of synch throughout the publication. You need to do better.

photo courtesy

— Carol (a subscriber)

Apologies to those readers (like Carol) who may have been stumped by the interruption they experienced while reading last month’s installment of “What Do You Know?” What appeared to be a brand-new story popping up in the middle was in fact the cover of our inserted issue of a brand-new publication from McLean Communications titled 603 Diversity. The tipped-in magazine should have been placed in a less-intrusive spot, or at least we could have given a little more warning on the previous page that something special was there. And, for those who missed out on the insertion (which was only tipped into subscribers’ issues), you can view the whole thing, uninterrupted, as a digital flip book at

Note From a Close Encounterer

In the October “Feedback” section of New Hampshire Magazine, you asked if any readers had experienced a UFO encounter. In 1967, I had a first-person UFO sighting at the Garden City train station on Long Island, New York. It was around 7 p.m., and the train was packed with commuters from Manhattan, many of whom exited the train with me. We all stood on the platform and looked up at this huge, round UFO. It was hovering over the railroad tracks and had thousands of marquee-like white lights going around and around. None of the passengers said a thing. Nobody screamed or said, “Look at that.” We all stood there speechless. Eventually, the UFO silently took off like a shot in a horizontal direction. The passengers left the platform, got into cars and drove away. It was almost like we all expected to see this UFO and we were all in some kind of a trance. When I got home, I called the local police, but they weren’t interested in the story, and it was never covered in the press. Several days later, one of my friends was at a stop light on Long Island and saw the same UFO hovering over the electric lines. She and several other motorists stopped and stared at the UFO, but nobody said anything. Again, it was like they were in a trance. When the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” came out in 1977, I realized that the spaceship in that film was exactly the same as the one I had seen at the Garden City train station.

— Lila Sharkey, Moultonborough | December 2021 11

603 Navigator the most important thing in skiing is you have to be having fun. ‘‘IIfthink you’re having fun, then everything else will come easier to you. ”


— Lindsey Vonn

12 | December 2021

Our Town 16 Food & Drink 20

Tune Up Your Skiing Reintroduce yourself to the snow now, and get ready for a great season on the slopes BY MARTY BASCH


Skiers at Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury

fter a monthslong break from the slopes, get primed for the new season with some advice from a professional ski instructor. Maybe you skipped the snow all of last season or are recovering from an injury. Whether you are a newbie or crusty veteran, spending time with a pro can help ease a little rust. Tom Kirlin, Crotched Mountain ski and snowboard school manager, likes to remind skiers and riders that even Bode Miller and Mikaela Shiffrin have coaches. He usually takes a few folks out for their first turns of the season as sort of a tune-up and confidence builder. “If a skier or rider was working on a specific skill last season, it is a great idea for them to go out with an instructor to make sure no bad habits were developed during the off-season,” he says. But even before reaching the outdoor corduroy carpet, doing some indoor activities is beneficial. Nate Waterhouse, Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain ski and snowboard director, preaches the gospel of stretching. “For skiers and riders who are a bit rusty, I recommend they begin a whole-body stretching routine that includes stretches for their back, hips and legs,” he says. John Pawlak, Pats Peak snowsports school director, suggests exercises like toe touches, lunges and squats. If you haven’t been doing much, physically light activities like walking, cycling and jogging for small 5- to 10-minute intervals return energetic dividends.

Doug Daniels has been involved with ski instruction and training instructors for more than 25 years. He know the season’s first runs can produce everything from a little nervous energy to full-on anxiety. The Mount Sunapee skier services senior manager has a novel approach: Put on your ski boots for about 10 minutes at least three times before your first day. Walk in them. Flex in them. “[That] reminds your feet what ski boots feel like,” he says. Of course, checking and tuning your gear is essential before that first day. So is taking it easy. “Mentally begin to focus on your pace,” says Pawlak. “First day should be based on low intensity. If you are a blue square [intermediate] skier or rider, stay on greens [beginner] the first half-hour to hour. Build slowly from there.” Daniels suggests focusing on slow body movements at first, as turning takes priority over carving at the season’s onset. “A great drill to reintroduce yourself to snow and get you ready for the early season is making short turns with a very flat ski,” he says. “Let the ski slide on the snow and try to keep your upper body over your feet so that you keep up with your skis. This drill gives you the most control in the tightest spaces and sets you up for success on the side of the trail where all the good snow ends up.” A ski pro can also break those flaws that can emerge over the years. “An instructor will see this and help correct it. Our instructors are really good | December 2021 13


at movement analysis and can spot these bad habits early in the season,” says Kirlin. Instructors provide feedback and encouragement. But it’s also up to the skier and rider to practice. Pawlak says to go over two or three points of the lesson with your instructor. “Then maybe find a chair ride or coffee break to jot down the pointers,” he says. “Then practice on a good snow-conditioned trail with a light pitch.” Not only should skiers practice early on, but they should also be honest about their strengths, weaknesses and goals. “Be willing to talk about your concerns with the instructor,” says Waterhouse. “They are there to help you get the most out of your time on the hill. They can help with your skills and build confidence to allow you to push beyond things that may be holding you back.” Waterhouse sees a partnership between the instructor and student. It’s most effective when both sides communicate openly about those goals and how to reach them. “As you get more comfortable, the goals will change and so will the instructors guidance,” he says. “The best skiers and riders continue to develop, and using an instructor or coach is a great way to help you reach those goals or push past barriers.” So take those first early steps to make the best of the upcoming ski season — and beyond. NH 14 | December 2021


For skiers and riders who are a bit rusty, make sure to stretch well, and, on your first run, ski slowly until you’re warmed up.

Tailgating culture will continue at New Hampshire ski areas now in a second Covid-19 season. When it comes to safety, Ski NH Executive Director Jessyca Keeler says there is likely to be a degree of variation from one resort to the next, and things could change over the course of the season depending on what happens with the pandemic. Last season, social distancing ruled with skiers and riders advised to boot up in their vehicles, wear masks, and, at some resorts, make reservations. The result was cleaner and lesscluttered base lodges. Once again, skiers are advised to “know before you go,” so check resort websites and “While it remains to be determined whether some or all areas will continue to require people to boot up at their car, many people last year found the fun in doing so by turning the act into a sort of tailgating experience,” says Keeler. Vail Resorts, which includes the Granite State’s Attitash Mountain, Crotched Mountain, Mount Sunapee and Wildcat Mountain, will require mask-wearing indoors. Mountain access reservations are history, and guests are encouraged to continue using the Tock app to reserve dining time. Loon Mountain Resort will continue to limit day tickets and require mask use indoors and in outside areas where social distancing isn’t possible. With tips culled from resorts, tailgating brought festive and functional elements to the experience, with skiers bringing lawn chairs, step stools, towels, blankets and small rugs to boot up. Skiers also did so at home, if practical, or kept boots near a heater in the vehicle. Hand warmers in boots proved effective. Though many took snack breaks or picnicked at the car, food can always be brought back from the ski area cafeteria to the vehicle. Download your resort’s app and order from there. Bring trash bags just in case. Most importantly, be safe and have fun.


Covid Class of 2021-22

Social distancing will continue, with skiers and riders advised to boot up in their vehicles, wear masks indoors, and, at some resorts, make reservations.

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Rising Star Concord • Dover • Manchester • Nashua • Portland | December 2021 15


Christmas in Portsmouth Where to find the holiday spirit (and great local shops) BY BARBARA RADCLIFFE ROGERS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY STILLMAN ROGERS


hy go to Portsmouth in December? The historic houses are all closed, the flowers aren’t painting Prescott Park in rainbow colors, cruise boats no longer tour the harbor or travel to the Isles of Shoals. So why go? Because nobody “does” Christmas like Portsmouth. Even with Covid-related limitations, Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is

still a colorful, jovial time filled with holiday spirit, and we want to be a part of it. Strawbery Banke is always at the heart of a Portsmouth’s Christmas festivities. This year’s Candlelight Stroll will not include the interiors of the historic houses as it has in past years. Although we won’t be able to watch Mrs. Shapiro make potato latkes on her woodstove as she prepares for Hanukkah,

Market Street shops are aglow in welcoming festive décor for the holidays.

16 | December 2021

or see the elaborate Victorian decorations in the Goodwins’ mansion, the stroll through the museum grounds will still be enlivened by costumed roleplayers sharing the pleasures and traditions of Christmases past. During this year’s Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars, the Puddle Dock neighborhood comes to life with lights and greens decorating the exteriors of the historic homes and shops. Hundreds of candle lanterns light the way as guests stroll through the lanes. Doorways are decorated with wreaths and swags of fresh greens and dried flowers preserved from the summer gardens. Costumed performers greet visitors with music and stories, and Ice Dance International’s vintage skaters perform during the evening at Puddle Dock Pond. (At other times in the winter, the pond is a venue for pond hockey, and is open for public skating.) The Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars is held on Saturday and Sunday evenings from December 4 through December 18. A few blocks away, Market Square and Market Street are aglow too. Windows of specialty shops, boutiques and galleries present such a panorama of eye candy that even the most dedicated non-shopper is lured inside at least one. Nearly every doorway in the two blocks of historic mercantile buildings leads into a fresh selection of fine handcrafts, works of art, creative toys, smart household utensils or stylish wearables. Tulips American Handcrafts sells mostly works made in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, with a preference for things out of the ordinary. You’ll find colorful painted birdhouses by Maggie Nuhic, and Betty Wish’s whimsical “Lobster Art” along with unique jewelry pieces and works in all mediums. Attrezzi Fine Kitchen Accessories and Wine Room makes our mouths water every time we step in. Look here for cocktail mixers, barrel-aged white balsamic, whipped chocolate honey, cheese knives, truffle-flavored olives, chocolate covered figs, crêpe skimmers, glögg mulling spices, Icelandic extra-bitter

The annual stroll through the Strawbery Banke grounds will be illuminated with holiday lights and include costumed roleplayers sharing the pleasures and traditions of Christmases past.

chocolate, aprons with cheeky sayings and other necessities of a well-provided kitchen. Prelude Boutique carries handmade jewelry, plus fair trade and U.S.A.-made accessories; The Wear House is a consignment clothing shop; Ganesh Imports features stylish casual wear and accessories along with home décor; Scallops Mineral & Shell Emporium is a jewel box full of polished stones and crystals; Bliss Boutiques

sells women’s casual wear and SAULT New England is a menswear store. G. Willikers is a wonderland for kids, packed with more unique toys and children’s books than anyone has room for under the tree. Carrying on the wordplay with shop names, Macro Polo is a long-standing source of jokes and gag gifts. Among the Market Street shops are Durbar Square Restaurant, serving Nepalese

dishes, and Portsmouth Brewery, with a casual pub vibe and a long inventory of brews on tap. Tucked down Commercial Alley is Cava, a wine bar with tapas. In good weather, you can sip your wine under Cava’s Vertical Garden, an outdoor wall of living plants. Also on Commercial Alley is Fa La Lo, a boutique of handcrafted gifts, décor and clothing made in New Hampshire and fair trade goods. Shop windows have an extra appeal this year, as showcases for the Portsmouth Historical Society’s 31st Annual Gingerbread House Contest & Exhibition. Through December 22, downtown shops will spotlight gingerbread houses and other structures, which have in the past included gingerbread boats, cars, barns — even trees. Everything must be edible, even the interior supports and the “glue” that holds it together. The theme this year is “These Are a Few of My 603 Things,” referencing the Portsmouth Historical Society’s current exhibit, N.H. Now: A Photographic Diary of Life in the Granite State. This two-year project sent nearly 50 photographers across the state to paint a portrait of New Hampshire’s people, places, events and culture. The photographs, | December 2021 17

603 NAVIGATOR / OUR TOWN divided regionally, are on display at eight different venues, each featuring those of that region. The photographs will be on display through December 23. Not all the historic attractions are closed in December, and right on Market Square is the venerable Portsmouth Athenaeum. It’s easy to recognize by the cannons at either side of the front door, captured by Commodore Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie. Inside, the Randall Room Exhibition Gallery (open afternoons) houses exhibits of artifacts from the historical collections. Although the historic walking tours ended in October, the Portsmouth Historical Society’s Discover Portsmouth is open, with exhibitions spotlighting the art and history of the Seacoast Region. Large information panels feature historic houses and landmarks, and smaller galleries host changing exhibits. In the theater, you can watch “Welcome to Historic Portsmouth” to learn more about the city’s four centuries of history. From May through October, historic walking tours begin here, some covering specialized topics, such as women’s history and the evolution of various neighborhoods. The self-guided Black Heritage Trail, highlighting Black culture in the Colonial and Federal periods through the civil rights movement of the 1960s, can be followed year-round. The trail begins at Long Wharf, where slaves were auctioned straight from the ships that carried them from Africa. The most recent addition to the trail began in 2003 when public works excavation unearthed the remains of 13 people, shown

The towering North Church, constructed in 1854, dominates the eastern side of the square and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

by DNA analysis to be of African descent. Research found that this was once a field used for burial of enslaved and free Blacks in the 1700s, and it is believed that as many as 200 people were buried here. The African Burying Ground Memorial Park honors these people in a contemplative setting with sculptures and historical information. NH

Learn more

Strawbery Banke

(603) 433-1100 /

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth

Discover Portsmouth

(603) 436-8433 /

Black Heritage Trail

(603) 570-8469 / The Portsmouth Athenaeum is a nonprofit membership library, gallery and museum, incorporated in 1817 and located in the heart of Portsmouth’s historic Market Square.

18 | December 2021

Portsmouth Athenaeum

(603) 431-2538 / | December 2021 19



Get a true taste of the Fabrizia Lemon Baking Company by getting all of their delicious treats all in one box with the Fabrizia Variety Pack, or design a gift box of your choice.

The Gift of Yum

Treat everyone on your list with locally made gifts of good taste BY ANNA-KATE MUNSEY


he most wonderful time of the year is upon us, with twinkly lights and gleeful music and all those delicious sweets. There’s just one thing missing: Your gift list has you stumped. Don’t stress out — think local. Even better, think local food and drink. After all, who wouldn’t want to unwrap something tasty?

For the tea and coffee lover Even during the holidays (perhaps more than ever), morning caffeine is a must. Whether they prefer seasonal drinks, like pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas, stick to strictly black coffee all year, or go for less-caffeinated teas, there are a plethora of options. Terra Nova Organic Coffee Roasters in Keene > Travel the world with a single cup of joe with a mixture of beans from Indonesia, Africa, Central and South America. Complex, smooth and delicious, all of Terra Nova Organic Coffee Roasters’ beans are responsibly sourced and roasted in small batches. Fired on the Mountain in Lincoln > For those who enjoy morning coffee or tea, give them a personalized mug. This family-run pottery studio offers “make-and-take” pottery pieces, paint nights, and ready-to-purchase ceramic mugs in a mix of beautiful, bold colors.

The Cozy Tea Cart in Brookline > Sip on delicious warm tea as a respite from the freezing cold of January. Stick to a classic black or green, or try a trendy “blooming tea.” Teatotaller Café in Somersworth > The Teatotaller Café sells a variety of “Chai Curious” loose leaf teas, with a subscription option as well. Their clever blends combine tea leaves, fruits, nuts and seeds. Their Caramel Romance is a warm chai tea blend, with holiday spices such as cinnamon, clove and ginger — and heart-shaped sprinkles. Caramel Romance loose leaf tea >

20 | December 2021

For the beer and wine enthusiast

A Ray of Sunshine for the Holidays

Excellent wineries, craft breweries and distilleries continue to pop up all over the Granite State. Choose a gift card to any of these places, pick out an old favorite or ask for their recommendation — the holidays are a great time to experience something new. Try a fun, fruity wine, creative craft beer or spiced hard cider to ring in the New Year. Flag Hill Distillery & Winery in Lee > Every wine and spirit at Flag Hill has its own unique and carefully crafted flavor profile. What better drink to celebrate the holidays than their sparkling apple cranberry wine that combines fall and winter flavors with delightful bubbles. Coös Brewing Co. in Colebrook > The beers available at this North Country brewery are constantly revolving, so be sure to check on their social media for the latest updates. Try Woodland Wit, with notes of spices and citrus. North Country Hard Cider in Rolllinsford > With their website advertising their Fire Starter cider as tasting of “warm apple pie” or “fireworks in your mouth,” this is a perfect choice for the holiday season. Granite Roots Brewing in Troy > Beer plus coffee. Their Java Roots stout is just that. Need we say more? Available in dozens of locations across the state, Granite Roots offers a variety of IPAs, stouts, sours and more. Auspicious Brew in Dover > Arguably even trendier than microbreweries these days are kombucha breweries. Using fermented tea, fruits and spices, this woman-owned business crafts delicious flavors such as “Lilac Rain,” “Rose Colored Glasses” and “Swamp Thing.”

Get a true taste of the Fabrizia Lemon Baking Company by getting all of their delicious treats in one box with the Fabrizia variety pack or design a gift box of your choice.

Cookies, biscotti, whoopee pies and more — boxed and ready to ship


alk about making lemonade out of lemons, Phil Mastroianni, co-owner of Fabrizia Spirits in Salem, has built a delicious empire out of the zesty citrus fruit. It all started about 13 years ago with a limoncello designed around a family recipe. The line expanded to encompass a cream limoncello, a blood orange limoncello, a line of canned vodka sodas and a line of ready-to-drink, canned and bottled cocktails. Just released is a crema di pistacchio liqueur, made with real pistachios. While restaurants were closed during the early part of the pandemic, the company pivoted to a lemon-scented hand sanitizer, and then eventually started the Lemon Baking Company, using their own flavorful limoncello and lemons as the main flavoring agent. It may have started as a stopgap measure, but the Lemon Baking Company products have claimed, rightfully, their own raison d’être. Cookies and more are packed with lemon goodness and, of course, are delightful with a sip of their Fabrizia limoncello. The nicely packaged products ship well and the holiday-themed boxes are perfect for gift-giving. In addition to à la carte items, online find a holiday cheer box, Kris Kringle cookie box and a large limoncello lemon loaf holiday gift box. There, your December baking is done. Fabrizia Lemon Baking Company, Salem / / (603) 458-1745



For the candy and chocolate lover

< Byrne & Carlson Chocolatier in Portsmouth > For all the fancy folks on your list, look no further than Byrne & Carlson’s collection of elegant sweets, chocolates and truffles. Try a gift box of fresh cream-filled truffles in colorful foil wrapping.

Pearls Candy & Nuts in Salem > Centered around old-fashioned candy from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, Pearls also offers homemade fudge, delicious nuts and more modern favorites. Grab a couple classics or order a custom gift basket.

Chutters in Littleton > Home to the worldrecord-holding longest candy counter, Chutters offers a variety of candies, chocolates and fudge for every sweet tooth to indulge. Pick out your loved one’s favorites and wrap it all up with a shiny bow.

Woodard’s Sugar House in Surry > Enjoy the iconic taste of maple syrup in Woodard’s maple leaves, maple-coated pecans and cotton candy. They also offer plenty of traditional maple favorites as well, such as their bottled pure maple syrup and maple cream. NH

The impressive 112-foot-long candy counter at Chutters

Find more holiday gift-giving ideas starting on page 80.

22 | December 2021


There’s no better complement to holiday cookies, pies, sweet cider and cocoa than more sugar! No one has ever been upset by receiving food as a gift — especially something sweet and locally made. Maple sugar candy is the obvious choice, but we have plenty of other suggestions for the sweet tooth in your life. | December 2021 23

603 Informer “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” — Pablo Picasso

Multimedia artist Markus Linnenbrink in front of one of his pieces, for his exhibit T H E R E A R E S PA C E S T H AT B R E AT H E

24 | December 2021


Blips 26 Sips 28 What Do You Know? 30 Politics 32 Out & About 34

Introducing MONA The inaugural exhibition by Markus Linnenbrink


he Museum of New Art (MONA), a 6,800-square-foot art space in Portsmouth dedicated to contemporary art, opened its doors to the public in October with its inaugural exhibition featuring German-born, Brooklyn-based artist Markus Linnenbrink. The art includes site-specific, room-size installations, sculptures and three-dimensional works on canvas and paper, infused with resin and pigments to create objects and paintings saturated with dramatic colors. “Colors create their own space,” says Linnenbrink. “Taken in this light, they can open doors for us to experience the self and its surroundings in surprising and meaningful ways. Like music, colors also occupy our minds, not in a straight analytical way, but on very complex emotional, sensual, and seductive levels.” The museum, located in the recently restored and renovated 1905 YMCA building, is part of a new cultural hub in downtown Portsmouth that also includes Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club, a state-of-the-art music venue. Spanning the entire first floor, with three galleries and an atrium featuring a 17-foot ceiling, MONA anchors the landmark building at 135 Congress St. in the heart of the historic Market Square District. Learn more at NH

A large-scale “organic” resin sculpture piece by Marcus Linnenbrink | December 2021 25



Monitoring appearances of the 603 on the media radar since 2006

Parker McKay Finds Her Voice BY CASEY McDERMOTT Long before she was serenading Kelly Clarkson and other celebrity judges on “The Voice,” Parker McKay got her start performing in talent shows, choir programs and musical theater on the Exeter High School stage. While McKay’s turn on the show came to an end in October, she left a lasting impression with her vocal chops and her candor about her late mother’s experience with frontotemporal dementia. Now back home and onto other projects, we caught up with her about what she learned during her turn in the spotlight. (This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.)

How did you decide that you wanted to pursue “The Voice”? I’ve had a lot of friends who have done it, and it’s such a great platform. You know, millions of Americans watch it. I went to my first-ever singing competition audition when I was 17 with my mom, that was for “American Idol.”

Parker with her parents Greg and Tracey

26 | December 2021

Parker McKay performing during season 21 of “The Voice”

And then I auditioned for the first season of “The Voice” and many times after that and didn’t get cast on the show until season 21. What was your biggest lesson from your time on “The Voice”? It completely re-established that my love for music comes from my love of connection, because I had so many people reach out after the show to talk about my mom’s disease, and that was absolutely the most rewarding part of it for me. You’ve said that your mom gave you a love with music, and she passed away right before you left for the show. How did you try to navigate your time on “The Voice” while also dealing with such a difficult loss? I left less than a month after she passed. And, you know, I could either go and really do it or not go. So I just decided to go, and

honor her and everything she taught me and all the courage she gave me by putting everything I had into it. Luckily, everyone on the show is handpicked to be incredible in every way, so they really huddled around me and made me feel loved and supported through the process. What was your favorite part of being on “The Voice”? This sounds so cliché, but honestly, they do such an amazing job of picking people who are not only incredible artists, but who are these really compelling personalities and hearts. And meeting everyone who is on the show, all the other contestants, they’re lifelong family now. That was my favorite part. What was it like to work with Kelly Clarkson? She’s so cool. There’s no discrimination between when the camera is on and when


When did you know that you wanted to become a singer? Like when I was 2 — in the womb, basically. I feel like my mom was just always playing music and singing. She was really into the ’90s divas, like Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and I always just found what they did so compelling, and I wanted to achieve that feat.

it’s off. She’s just Kelly Clarkson. And it’s wild because I grew up watching her become a pop star just from, you know, this young girl — she just became this sensation overnight, and I was a huge fan of hers, and I thought, how cool would it be to do that someday? And then I got to do it and be with her. What do you hope other aspiring artists might take away from your story or your experience? I would say to just trust the process. I know how frustrating it can be when a door closes on an opportunity. But if I had been cast on “The Voice” when I first auditioned, I would not have been ready in any way, shape or form. It came at the exact right time for me as an artist, and I wish I had worried less about it and about other opportunities like it. Stay tuned for more from McKay. Visit her at or follow her at @heyparkermckay. If you’re interested in hosting a private concert at your home, McKay welcomes inquiries at

Stressed? You’re not alone. As noted by Eat This, Not That, a recent survey by Amerisleep put New Hampshire as the 18th least-stressed-out state in the country. If the mattress firm’s metrics are to be believed, our relatively low rates of environmental and health-related stressors were balanced out by higher scores for work- and money-related stress.

It might be way too late to savor the fall foliage, but you can still savor Joyce Maynard’s own “autumn journey” through New Hampshire, as recently chronicled in The New York Times. Weaving through Hancock, Stoddard, Holderness and other autumnal roads less-traveled, Maynard charts “an alternative approach to a tour that promised to offer as much glorious foliage and a lot fewer people and cars.” We bet her route would hold up well into the winter, leaves or no leaves.

Now Offering $0 Join Fee and NO DUES until January 2022 when you register online in the month of December. Use promo code, NHM1221, at checkout and cannot be combined with any other offer.

“You are not going to get the versatility of what you need for your family anyplace, except at the Y – for every age level of our family members!” Laura McGowan YMCA Member


YMCA of Greater Nashua |

1-866-644-3574 | December 2021 27



A True Classic The old one-two milk punch



ilk punch almost sounds like what you might receive if you offended a toughie in a bad ’30s pulp novel. “He bumped into my dame when we were walking in the apple. He went to make tracks, but my doll went bananas, so I gave him a milk-punch right in the kisser, see — the old one-two!” But milk punch is a drink with a much older provenance. First created in the 1600s, it became quite popular in the 1700s into the mid-1800s. Mary Rockett published the

28 | December 2021

first milk punch recipe, and such notables as Ben Franklin and Charles Dickens were early fan-boys. Her Majesty Queen Victoria actually issued a royal warrant to Nathaniel Whisson & Co. to provide the palace with the beverage. Although there is a style of non-clarified milk punch, such as eggnog, this article will focus on the more shelf-stable variety known as clarified milk punch. The possibilities for liquor/spice/fruit juice combinations are endless, and I have toyed

with jalapeño Mezcal versions featuring blood orange, or brandy with allspice and pomegranate. I wanted to create a drink that brought in warm spices and the boldness of dark rum, to warm the body and the soul as the snow starts to accumulate. This recipe requires 10 days of prep time, and requires a quantity of vessels, which my wife usually laments (every time I cook anything!), but once it is made, it is refrigerator-stable for up to a year. Don’t rush it, it will be worth the wait!

MHP’s Milk Punch Makes 2 Quarts Punch Ingredients: 8 English Breakfast tea bags 51/2 tablespoons sugar 1 cup ruby port 4 ounces dark rum 2 ounces “Rum Dram” (see below) 21/2 ounces fresh lemon juice 1 cup whole milk

Rum Dram Ingredients:


4 whole nutmeg nuts 4 cinnamon sticks 1 vanilla bean, split in half 21/2 cups highproof dark (navy) rum 1/2 cup sugar

Dram Prep: Crush the nutmeg roughly (the nutmeg likes it that way), I find placing them in a paper bag and hitting with a hammer or skillet effective. In a 325-degree oven, lightly toast nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla for 3-4 minutes. Add this to the rum in a sealed quart jar and give it 10 days to think about what it’s done. After it repents, strain

through a fine strainer into a saucepan over low heat, add sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved, 10-15 minutes. Punch Prep: Boil 21/4 cups water in a large saucepan and let cool for a minute, pour over tea bags and steep 3 minutes. Do not squeeze them, despite the temptation. Add sugar and dissolve, then add port, rum, dram and lemon juice. Let that chill as you ponder the universe for 20 minutes. Pour the milk into a large glass pitcher, and follow with the tea mixture. This is where we go to funkytown, as the milk curdles. It takes a while for this to happen, so waste an hour on social media or pacing the streets talking to yourself incoherently (really the same thing). Don’t molest the milk! It needs to be left alone with its thoughts. It will be checking your Facebook status periodically. Place a coffee filter in a fine strainer, and strain the mixture into a large (4-quart) container. This can take up to two hours, and gets slower as the process progresses.

Once again, leave it alone as it does its thing. The resultant nectar is ready to chill and serve. Store it in a 2-quart mason jar in the fridge for up to a year, if you don’t drink as fast as I do. I suggest a classic coupe glass, with a garnish of a cinnamon stick and/or a dehydrated lemon slice. It doesn’t require shaking or stirring with ice, as it is already at fridge temp, which makes this a perfect drink for entertaining — just garnish and serve. Until we meet again, at a bar or in my backyard, keep your glass full! NH

Mag Swag

a great gift idea! n h m ag az i ne .com / sho p | December 2021 29



James Murdock, also known as the Hermit of Goat Island

The Hermit of Goat Island He squatted over 20 years, and sometimes made the news STORY AND PHOTOS BY MARSHALL HUDSON


he tide is going out and the current is strong, so aim for the west end of the island, paddle hard, and you should land on that gravel bar about midway,” Kelle Loughlin says, pointing across the Piscataqua. “If you roll over, try to stay with your kayak, and I’ll try to pull you out.” I tell her I’d feel a lot better about her rescue plan if she hadn’t used the word “try” twice. “OK, Princess,” she taunts, and I shove my kayak into the current. I don’t want to wash up on the Isles of Shoals, so I aim for the end of the island and paddled hard. We come ashore on the gravel bar at the waist of Goat Island located in the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, a state and federal partnership of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Loughlin is a Fish and Game employee and director of the Great Bay Discovery Center. She has been kayaking out to the island since she was a

30 | December 2021

teenager, and I am not the first tourist she has guided here. Goat Island is about four acres in size and is located on the Newington side of the river in the heart of Little Bay. Seven different rivers empty into the bay here and mix with the daily tides, making the currents around the island unpredictable and constantly changing. Goat Island was once the site of an enormous timber bridge, constructed in the late 1700s between Newington and Durham. Currents were too swift downstream, and spans were too long upstream, but here the island could serve as a bridge pier partway across the river. The bridge investors also constructed a tavern on the island, which they advertised as “... a new commodious double house with a large convenient stable and well that affords an ample supply of water ...” The bridge lasted until 1855 when an ice jam took it out. The tavern caught fire and burned to the ground, and neither was rebuilt. Fifty years later, Goat Island became

A newspaper clipping from The Portsmouth Herald, dated August 8, 1906

Marshall Hudson approaching Goat Island, where you can see remnants of the granite-block bridge

home to a hermit who squatted on the island from about 1903 to 1925. A colorful character and bit of an outlaw, James Murtaugh was born in Ireland in 1840. He got involved in an unsuccessful revolution against the British government, which resulted in a bounty on his head. When a “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster appeared in his village, he grew a beard as a disguise, took a job on a merchant ship, and sailed for America. In America, he changed his name to “Murdock,” either to throw pursuers off his scent, or to anglicize the Irish name Murtaugh. Arriving in Boston, Murdock took jobs on schooner ships bringing supplies up to Exeter and Newmarket and returning with goods to Boston. He noticed Goat Island on these freighting runs and believed it to be unowned. For a while, Murdock left the shipping life and ran a saloon in Dover, where he met and married a woman. The couple had a daughter, but the marriage didn’t last, and Murdock’s wife left him, taking their daughter with her. Heartbro-

ken, Murdock sold his saloon, built a houseboat, and sailed it onto Goat Island. The houseboat was small, containing only a bunk, woodstove and cupboard. Murdock positioned it on the island near the well dug for the tavern 100 years earlier. Murdock’s appearance was enough to discourage visitors. A large man with long, unkempt hair and beard, he wore ragged shirts, bib overalls, and was a stranger to soap and water. He carried a double-barreled shotgun and posted a sign, “ALL PERSONS POSITIVELY FORBIDDEN ON THIS ISLAND.” Although lacking legal title, he would yell at passing boats to keep away from “his” island, and anyone setting lobster traps near “his” island would find their traps missing upon return. Old newspaper clippings report individuals being run off by a gun-toting hermit, or a hole shot through their boat below the waterline. The hermit kept a bird dog to retrieve the ducks and geese he shot for sustenance or sale, and he was reputed to be

Kelle Loughlin, director of the Great Bay Discovery Center, stands on granite blocks from the long-gone tavern.

an excellent marksman. His bird dog was also reputed to be excellent at retrieving chickens ranging near to the riverbank. The hermit was rumored to enjoy venison and would poach deer if the occasion presented itself. Neighboring potato fields were also subject to nocturnal poaching. While the taking of deer may not have been illegal in 1905, the taking of neighbors’ potatoes and chickens was. Murdock generated a small cash crop in wool and mutton when he realized the island grew enough feed for a small flock of sheep and did not require fencing. He bought six sheep and grew his flock as large as the island’s forage would support. Occasionally, Murdock hired out as day labor on neighboring farms, but generally supported himself by trapping lobsters, smelt, eels and other fish, which he sold at markets downriver. The earned cash paid for his coffee, crackers, pipe tobacco and shotgun shells. Annually, the hermit’s daughter, who had grown up and become a schoolteacher, would ship her father a crate containing a year’s supply of socks, long underwear, clothing, shoes and other necessities. A few friends also cared for him when he was sick or injured — these were mainly the neighboring farmers he worked for occasionally or sold lobsters to. These friends described Murdock as having a heavy Irish brogue and an unpleasant odor. Failing health and old age eventually forced the hermit to leave Goat Island, and he died in 1925 at the age of 84. After his death, his daughter tried to assert ownership of the island, claiming squatter’s rights and 20 years occupation by her father. The courts, however, sided with the landowner who held the deed and paid the property taxes. Loughlin and I explored the island and found the old bridge abutments, and the cellar holes and granite blocks where the tavern stood centuries ago. We searched for the tavern’s well, also used by Murdock, and we think we found it. Other than a few old photos, this well is the only tangible link to the hermit. Feeling successful, we board our kayaks and start for home. The tide had reversed and was coming in now, colliding with the river currents trying to go out. “Paddle harder, Princess, you’re not going anywhere,” Loughlin taunts. I aim for the boat launch and paddle hard, leaving the Goat Island legends behind me. NH | December 2021 31


Democracy: Into the Fray

Now is the time for the annual ritual of taking stock of what the previous year meant BY JAMES PINDELL / ILLUSTRATION BY PETER NOONAN


or New Hampshire, there is usually one big thing that defines each year. Consider the large-scale fight over the Seabrook nuclear power plant (1989), or the year Concord teacher Christa McAuliffe died on the Challenger space shuttle (1986), or the year the Claremont education lawsuit was issued (1991), or last year when Covid came. Lots of things happened in the Granite State this year, but 2021 is the year that was defined by many of the state’s residents just being angry. The year began with some Granite Staters taking part in the bloody attack on the nation’s Capitol. Two, in particular, stand out: David Ellis, the Troy police chief, and Jason Riddle, a Keene area mail carrier and corrections officer, who pleaded guilty to stealing items during the riot. The anger continued in school board meetings, which became the venue of a cultural battle that has riveted not just New Hampshire but the nation. Among the items being shouted about at these school meetings is critical race theory. It was unclear just how much this approach to education — through which many things in

32 | December 2021

American history are examined for the role racism may have played — was actually being taught. But the Legislature joined a number of states that banned the practice this year. Of course, the simmering anger was there nearly every day in 2021 regarding various responses to Covid. Residents in Portsmouth were mad their mayor didn’t provide more public safety measures. Others, who angrily protested outside of Gov. Chris Sununu’s private home in Newfields, were upset he signed too many restrictions though executive orders. And for school boards, there was the heat, especially in Nashua, about whether children should wear masks. One disruptive resident, asked to leave a meeting, shouted that the board — which backed national recommendations that unvaccinated children wear masks in the classroom — were child abusers. Both of these incidents could come and go and have very little impact on the day-to-day of New Hampshire residents or of the New Hampshire government itself, but things heated up again as temperatures fell in the fall. Those on the left in the state were also angry.

They held a number of Statehouse rallies protesting new laws related to abortion that passed in New Hampshire, as well as a very controversial new law in Texas, which could prove to be a test case to possibly overturn Roe vs. Wade. And anger boiled this fall when a small group of anti-Covid vaccine vigilantes loudly objected to a proposal in front of the Executive Council to spend $27 million from the federal government for vaccine outreach. This group was responsible for an unprecedented situation: An Executive Council meeting with Gov. Sununu was canceled because this group began with threatening language toward the elected officials and other government employees. Two weeks after that, the issue came up again; multiple arrests were made and the council rejected it anyway. As we come to the year’s end and pause to reflect on what is happening in the state politically, the throughline for 2021 is that the leaders of the state didn’t really lead so much as the anger from the political grassroots did. Here’s to hoping for a more civil, calmer and kinder 2022. NH




A night filled with over 1,800 quality wines with winemakers from all over the world and fine food from the area’s best restaurants and chefs!

January 27 at the

Tickets are limited, order today! For tickets, go to or call 1-888-368-8880. | December 2021 33


603 Diversity Party An invitation to all to Live Free and Rise! PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM MILLER


e threw a party on October 19 in the Spotlight Room at the Palace Theatre in Manchester to celebrate the launch of our newest publication from McLean Communications: 603 Diversity. Along with staff from McLean, New Hampshire Magazine and Yankee Publishing were many of the journalists who helped create 603 Diversity as well as some of the artists, speakers and change agents featured in its pages. Partiers snacked on dumplings and samosas from Manchester’s Café Momo and networked with fellow visionaries — in many cases meeting one another for the first time. That kind of interaction was one of the primary goals of 603 Diversity, says Publisher Ernesto Burden. “Our intent is that, as we introduce the state’s diverse communities to our readers, we also introduce some of state’s most creative people to one another,” he says. Burden adds that the publication is designed to serve as a catalyst for new partnerships and new visions for how to share the many stories, hopes and dreams of our rich and increasingly varied New Hampshire culture.


1 603 Diversity Editor/Publisher Ernesto Burden and Giselle Rodriguez of Northeast Delta Dental 2 Manchester NAACP President James McKim shares some thoughts with attendees. 3 Jarrett Daniel and Courtney Daniel of The Courtney Daniel Brand pose with New Hampshire Magazine Editor Rick Broussard 4 Kevin J. Rasch, vice president of Point32 Health, adds his name to those of other contributors and colleagues on a keepsake blow-up of the first issue cover of 603 Diversity.

34 | December 2021



2021 New Hampshire’s entrepreneurs and leading professionals bring experience, expertise and heart to their jobs and run organizations with a personal touch. Meet these standout individuals who represent their companies and their fields, making New Hampshire a great place to live and do business face to face.


Photography is by Kendal J. Bush unless otherwise noted








t is easy to understand why DREAM KITCHENS has won over 200 awards for kitchen and bath remodeling. Their kitchen and bath remodels are completely customized to the client and are a true design experience. Their designers are constantly keeping an eye out for new and interesting ways to store things so that countertops are completely clear, and they guarantee that your kitchen and bath will have at least 30% more storage. The design team works closely with you and will present you with at least three different options. After each design concept is discussed, you will choose the aspects you love from each one, and from there your design will take shape. The next step is to think of how to personalize your new space. At Dream Kitchens, they know how important it is that your newly designed space reflects your personality. When the project is completed, you will enjoy a beautiful kitchen and bath that has been customized for efficient storage and which reflects your personal taste. The Dream Kitchens team aims to provide you with a great remodel experience and results you can be proud of.







athryn (Kate) Skouteris is the Vice President of the New Hampshire market for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a Point32Health company. Serving in numerous local leadership roles throughout her career, she is devoted to New Hampshire and its local health care. Prior to joining Harvard Pilgrim, Kate worked as an attorney specialized in serving the needs of health care, insurance and financial industry clients. She also served in executive leadership roles at Southern New Hampshire Health System, most recently as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer. “Throughout my career, I’ve always felt a strong connection to improving health equity and being a part of the solution through the evolution of healthcare, especially behavioral health services. Serving New Hampshire through Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, I will continue to focus on these two areas and help drive positive change for our members and communities.” HARVARDPILGRIM.ORG | December 2021 37






2540 BROWN AVE., MANCHESTER ■ GUNSNH.COM 38 | December 2021


his is the fifth consecutive year that Manchester Firing Line has been named the Face of Firearm Safety and Education! It’s far more than just a place to shoot — it’s a welcoming family business filled with friendly faces on a mission to educate and raise awareness of firearms and the responsibility that comes with ownership. This veteran-owned company run by husband-and-wife team, Jake and TerryAnn Bowen, offers an impressive array of events, services and a gun store. From youth and beginner classes to advanced instruction for the most seasoned professionals, educators and personal instructors offer you confidence and knowledge — on and off the range. It is a place to go for date night, parties, team-building outings, marriage proposals and more. It continues to grow, and now offers walk-in firearm engraving. You’ll be in good hands with a staff comprised of prior law enforcement, military and NRA-certified professionals. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, this multiple award-winning, state-of-the-art range has something for you.









’m in the business of creating vibrant and beautiful smiles,” says Dr. Bryan Hoertdoerfer. “My patients want to look their best, and I have the privilege of providing cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry that restores teeth and boosts confidence.” Hoertdoerfer Dentistry provides family-friendly dental care to the greater Manchester, New Hampshire, area. Along with his experienced dental team, Dr. Hoertdoerfer and his staff proudly offer same-day, precision-based Cerec crowns, ZOOM whitening, veneers, bridges, partials, dentures, fillings and general hygiene care. Each visit includes the use of state-of-the-art technology and adherence to the strictest safety protocols to best serve the needs of their patients. For sports fans, knowing that Dr. Hoertdoerfer has served as the cosmetic and reconstructive dentist to the Boston Bruins, and continues to create custom-fitted mouth guards for several Bruins and other NHL players gives you one more thing to smile about! | December 2021 39






f all the building products you’ll use, we believe that brick and natural stone will offer some of the greatest inspiration. With two New Hampshire stone yards, LandCare Stone and Stratham Hill Stone combine 13 acres of northern New England’s




largest inventory of granite and blue stone, steps, landings and wall stone. For the inside or the outside of the home, we specialize in locally produced New England brick and stone for building, renovating, landscaping and masonry. Because our brick and stone come from the best producers and

quarries from around New England, it will be capable of meeting the widest range of designs and functionality — built to stand the test of weather and time. We like that our customers want to know the story behind their brick and stone. As we proudly support our New England

producers and those who work with our products, we are also dedicated to sharing our knowledge about one of New England’s oldest industries and the capabilities of the materials we sell. Our products, our catalogue and our story are online at | December 2021 41








s the leading experts in dental implants and wisdom teeth in Southern New Hampshire and the Northshore of Massachusetts, Doctors Moavenian, Braasch, Williams, Ahson, Schonfield, Reich and El-Ounsi. are committed to providing safe and compassionate care to our patients. Our early adoption of 3D digital imaging and computer aided planning software allows us to reduce the number of appointments and treatment time needed for dental implants. We can often place dental implants at the time a non-savable tooth is removed. We pride ourselves on availability and are always happy to accept new patients. Oral surgery problems are often urgent, and we go the extra mile to accommodate emergencies. We are also certified to provide your choice of local or general anesthesia. The doctors of NHOMS are Diplomates of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and on staff at hospitals in Nashua, Manchester, Exeter and Beverly, Massachusetts.







cLane Middleton is one of New England’s premier law firms for representing individuals and families in protecting and preserving wealth. Attorneys Patrick Collins, Caitlin McCurdy, and Whitney Gagnon work closely with clients to formulate and implement tailored estate planning strategies utilizing New Hampshire’s favorable trust laws. McLane Middleton’s Trusts & Estates Department includes 22 attorneys and 11 paralegals experienced in trusts and estates planning, probate litigation, Medicaid planning, tax planning, and trust administration. | December 2021 43

read p S h t l a e Vibrant H






ounded by Nicole Schertell, N.D. in 2009, Vibrant Health Naturopathic Medical Center has grown into a hotspot for integrative medicine in the Northeast. The group practice houses five naturopathic doctors, each with their own areas of expertise. “We have an amazing team of doctors who not only excel as clinicians, but who all share a passion for helping those with



unexplained symptoms, limited treatment options and lost hope,” Schertell says. “I believe we fill an important void in healthcare where conventional methods may fail to meet the patient’s needs. Too often we are the last stop for a patient, and I wish we were their first.” In 2018, with her 3-month-old son in tow, Schertell launched Thrive Med Spa & Wellness. “Similar to the healthcare we provide, our medical and wellness spa offers highly effective, non-toxic, and

non-invasive alternatives. Our goal is to help our clients to regain confidence, feel refreshed and appear more youthful, all while maintaining natural looking results.” says Schertell. The sister companies provide total body wellness and rejuvenation, including traditional day-spa services (such as massage and facials) with a naturopathic flare, and medical treatments including IV Nutrition, HydraFacial, laser resurfacing, platelet growth factors, RF micro needling and more. | December 2021 45









ince opening his orthodontic practice in 1977, Dr. William Mehan has been a fixture of the southern New Hampshire dental community, saying that, “It’s an honor and privilege to have helped so many people achieve healthy and beautiful smiles.” Dr. Paul Johnson III joined the Manchester orthodontic practice in April 2013, bringing with him a drive for excellence, beautiful smiles and happy patients. Known for his affable, down-to-earth southern nature and gentle care, Dr. Johnson’s “greatest pride is becoming part of a great family in and out of the office, with wonderful patients, friends and colleagues in the Greater Manchester community.” Dr. Johnson has served as president of the Greater Manchester Dental Society and president of the New Hampshire Association of Orthodontists.



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good portrait looks natural yet polished. A great portrait is both of those things, and it captures the person’s essence and personality — this is exactly what photographer Kendal J. Bush consistently delivers for her clients. Readers of New Hampshire Magazine will likely recognize her name, as Kendal is a frequent contributor, covering everything from professional portraiture to theater. During Kendal’s impressive career in video, photo journalism and freelance photography, she worked for numerous publications, NBC, CBS and the National Geographic

Channel, earning awards and traveling around the world, from under the ocean in the Galapagos to the top of an Alaskan mountain — all with camera in hand. She combines those years of experience with a sense of humor, a love for the arts and a laid-back attitude that instantly puts people at ease. Whether you’re an experienced model or dread the thought of appearing in front of a lens, Kendal excels at helping you relax so you look your very best. KENDALJBUSH.COM ■ (603) 345-3686 | December 2021 47








bout Face Medical Aesthetics is proud to be celebrating 10 years as one of the top aesthetic practices in the state of New Hampshire, providing clients with an exceptional experience they won’t find elsewhere. Ericka and her advanced trained team of nurses have over 25 years of combined experience in the field of aesthetic nursing. The entire team of About Face is focused on providing a caring, discreet and safe clinical environment that offers a broad portfolio of innovative nonsurgical services, including facial rejuvenation, fat reduction and body contouring, anti-aging skin renewal and hair restoration. Through creating highly customized treatment plans with a commitment to building long lasting relationships, the team’s goal is for clients to walk out the door everyday with confidence in themselves and their appearance.




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he safety of our drinking water is of increasing concern in the region and across the country. Secondwind Water Systems, with its A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, has thirty years of experience in treating the region’s top water health issues including arsenic, radon, bacteria and emerging contaminants such as PFOA. Eighty percent of New Hampshire’s Water Quality Association-certified water specialists work for Secondwind Water. They treat the area’s most common water problems such as hard water, staining and odor, bad taste, fluoride and so much more. Secondwind Water also specializes in commercial applications, serving hospitals, surgical centers, breweries and manufacturing plants as well as public water systems. Personalized, reputable service ensures clean, safe, great-tasting water for your home or business. 735 EAST INDUSTRIAL PARK DR., MANCHESTER ■ SECONDWINDWATER.COM | December 2021 49






s co-chair of our firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group, I am involved in many of our firm’s M&A deals. I thrive on structuring an M&A transaction that is perhaps the most important financial decision of a client’s lifetime. In doing so, I can appreciate the many sacrifices of long days, missed family time, financial risks and lessons learned while building their business. One of my greatest professional pleasures is to see my clients reap the financial rewards of a lifetime of hard work. The successful closing of a transaction represents not only the end of a very long and eventful chapter in their lives, but also the beginning of a new one.”



50 | December 2021







asterseals New Hampshire has been a leader in the human service sector in the Granite State since 1936. Though Covid-19 changed the way we delivered services this year, one thing that didn’t change is that our compassionate, dedicated and resilient staff — more than 1,500 strong — is our most valuable asset. And they never wavered in delivering on our mission to empower people. Through all the challenges the pandemic brought, we delivered. We helped people age in place, find paid employment, achieve sobriety, improve mobility, transition to independent living, develop life skills, access education, secure housing and connect with their communities. The results were significant for each of the tens of thousands of individuals and their families touched by our care and services this year. 555 AUBURN ST., MANCHESTER ■ EASTERSEALS.COM/NH | December 2021 51








n February 2021, Michael S. Calderwood, MD, MPH, was named Chief Quality Officer of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), a fitting responsibility for this much-respected and sought-after infectious disease specialist and hospital epidemiologist at the forefront of COVID-19 policy development and educational efforts for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) and across our region. Dr. Calderwood understands the ins and outs of a healthcare organization and the needed skills that a multidisciplinary team brings to address complex problems like the pandemic. “We had to quickly understand the science around COVID-19 as it evolved, how to keep our staff safe while also ensuring a safe healthcare environment for all seeking care. That involved putting our collective expertise together and working together as a team across D-HH,” says Dr. Calderwood. With the pandemic lingering, Dr. Calderwood’s focus on creating an environment where multidisciplinary teams work together to learn and improve becomes even more essential. “We want to ensure that DHMC is ready to address the next challenge and continue to deliver the world-class care that our patients, their families and our community expect.”








t the Nvest Group, we offer a true partnership to our individual and business clients that helps them to visualize, strategize and implement strategies regarding a plethora of financial and business decisions. We have a team of financial partners with Nvest Financial and business consultants with ROI Cubed who have the qualifications, experience and specialization needed to help you with all of your personal financial and business-related decisions. Our teams stay on top of trends and changing laws, and go through continuous education so we can bring you the most advanced strategies for your situation. Our holistic financial planning approach helps to ensure that our services and our advisors address all aspects of your financial needs so that you are prepared and educated no matter what the future may bring. We lead with integrity and compassion to empower you to make the proper steps going forward, and it is our commitment to provide you with an unparalleled client experience and exclusive personal attention.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Financial Planning offered through Nvest Financial Group, LLC, a ME, NH & MA-Licensed Investment Adviser, are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth. Fixed insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency.



Boss Claus Photo and interview by David Mendelsohn Being an A-game Santa is a serious business. Meet Dan Greenleaf — teacher, agent and independent coach of all things jolly. Want your own booking agent ? Need to polish up your Ho Ho Hos ? Are you an aspiring elf or Mrs. Clause looking for training? Contact this Super Santa and up your game. Summer camps or even personal consults beckon. Greenleaf also represents some 200 swell-bellied, bearded men, elves and Mrs. Clauses, keeping them all pretty much merry during a short but surprisingly lucrative season. So, don your gay apparel, and you’d better not pout. This guy’s coming to town.

The idea of becoming a professional Santa didn’t come until I was in my late 50s. A friend asked if I’d be Santa for an elementary school staff party. She thought my personality and Santa looks would add some fun to the gathering. And she had some funds available to pay me. I created and started looking for Santa Claus work. In addition to making personal appearances, I also offered personalized letters, phone calls, instant messaging, Skype calls and even autographed photos from Santa. My wife of 50 years, Diana, often joins me as Mrs. Claus. Of course, looking like Santa all the time comes with responsibilities. When folks see you as Santa, you have to behave as Santa. I have to watch my language in public. I have had to tone down my dissatisfaction with officials’ calls at sporting events. I can’t flip off a driver who cuts me off in traffic (especially when my license plate is IMSANTA). Being Santa Claus has made me a quieter, calmer, better person.

When I see an excited child whisper to a parent, “That’s Santa!” my response is often a grin and a wink, sometimes with my finger to my lips to keep our secret. I carry a pocketful of wooden “Nice List” nickels. When I’m spotted and spoken to, I give the child the coin, explaining it lets the elves know we met and they are on the Nice List. And for the parents, I tell the child if they are naughty, they have to give the coin to Mom or Dad and earn it back by being good again. That’s my gift to the parents. It’s not just kids who recognize Santa. I get adults who will call out, “Santa, why didn’t I get the new car/boyfriend/ million dollars I asked for?” My answer is simple: “You know why.” It’s always good for a laugh. Someone will say, “You know who you look like?” My response: “Oh, yeah. Chris Hemsworth. I get that all the time.” After limited in-person events and many virtual visits last year, we are expecting Santa will be very busy this year. We will still be doing some virtual visits, specifically for hospitals, but most want Santa back in person.

Summoning Saint Nick The Santa we all know and love owes a debt of gratitude to New Hampshire — he might still be dropping gifts (or lumps of coal) into children’s shoes if not for Newport’s Sarah Josepha Hale. She popularized the Christmas tree in her Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine in 1860. Her image of a decorated tree surrounded by a family, based upon the seasonal styling of England’s royalty Victoria and Albert, gripped the imagination of American women, and such scenes soon became the heart of the holidays (and a perfect place for Saint Nick to leave piles of presents). Here are some ways to add a little more Santa to your Christmas this year: – Greenleaf’s Santa booking company – personalized Santa-related consulting and training – New England Santa Society | December 2021 55


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Cultural historian Peter Burke argues in a recent book that a variety of Homo sapiens is facing extinction — a species of intellectual known as the polymath. Usually some combination of artist, scholar and scientist, polymaths have achieved mastery in multiple disciplines. Renaissance Italy furnished so many exemplars, including Leonardo da Vinci and Leon Battista Alberti, that in English we often use the term “Renaissance man” as a rough equivalent. Polymaths continued to appear with remarkable frequency until the end of the 18th century, by which time we find American specimens such as Benjamin Franklin (writer, scientist, inventor, diplomat, printer and publisher, political philosopher) and Thomas Jefferson (architect, lawyer, musician, president of the United States, etc.). A rare but singularly impressive example of a 20th-century polymath was Albert Schweitzer, the Alsatian philosopher, theologian, organist, organ builder, musicologist, Bach biographer and physician. Schweitzer grew up speaking three languages, learned several others during the course of his education, and wrote highly regarded books on a breadth of subjects in two of them. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work. Since the advent of the 19th century, however, the division of labor has decimated the ranks of polymaths. Of course, there’s room for discussion about what makes a polymath — which disciplines are worthy of their attention, for instance, and when does it become possible to speak of mastery? But no matter how we answer these questions, Burke’s basic claim holds true: Most educated people in the 21st century have become specialists. Even the exceptionally curious among us, who in an earlier age might have been drawn to the quest for universal knowledge, tend to be little more than dabblers when it comes to anything beyond our paid professions.

One morning last summer I went to see R.P. Hale, who is known around New Hampshire for his wide range of interests, at his home in Concord. Not 12 hours earlier, the solstice had ushered spring out the back door, and the long day ahead was shaping up to be a hot one. Even as he stood in his kitchen at the open freezer door, carefully breaking ice cubes into two glasses, beads of sweat gathered on my host’s forehead. 58 | December 2021

The strains of a string quartet on the radio and the hum of an air conditioner filled the background. Already I knew that trying to understand Hale in terms of anything so prosaic as a job description would be as unsatisfactory as trying to explain the solar system using Ptolemaic astronomy. When asked, he calls himself a “multigenerational interdisciplinary artist.” Such conciseness may work as a résumé headline, but for getting to know

someone, it’s too vague. It sounds evasive. I wondered if “polymath,” though hardly a job description, might come closer — closer even than “Renaissance man,” because modern science is so central to Hale’s sense of his place in the world. One of the reasons polymathy reached its apex in the 18th century and not during the Renaissance — when the ideal was certainly held in high regard — is that in the hundred or so years dividing the two eras, a radical

Travis Pastrana drove to a new record time of 5 minutes 11.54 seconds, at the Mt. Washington Auto Road in 2017,

R.P. Hale is playing the first harpsichord he ever built, which was completed in 1978. Behind him you can see the 22nd one, built a decade later. He numbers them in sequence, and has crafted a total of 47 to date.

development took place in the way intelligent people understood what it means to know something. Reason as an instrument of understanding had long been familiar to the learned, but in the 17th century Galileo, by using his telescope to give proof of Copernicus’ theories, demonstrated that reason backed by experiment could yield knowledge of an altogether different order. Science, in its modern sense, was born. Galileo, whom he has been known to im-

personate, is one of Hale’s personal heroes. So too are the 18th-century sibling team of musical astronomers William and Caroline Herschel, whom he calls his “patron saints.” All three were devoted in their own ways to the notion of the unity of knowledge, an idea that goes back at least as far as Aristotle (who, Hale points out, “was not a scientist”). Galileo, for instance, could trace his interest in physics and mathematics to the influence of his father, a lutenist who used nonlin-

ear arithmetic to describe the relationship between string tension and pitch. And because there were no instruments suitable for his observational needs in the early 17th century, the younger Galileo had to rely on his own abilities as a glass grinder, engineer and illustrator. The Herschels, too, were brought up in a family of musicians, and it was William’s interest in harmonics that led him to reading in optics and astronomy and eventually to the construction, with the aid | December 2021 59

Above: For a calligraphy commission, Hale is blowing moisture on the gold leaf so he can work with it. This an example of raised gilding, a 3D form of lettering. At right: Hale applies gold leaf to selected letters.

of his sister, of some of the most sophisticated telescopes of his age. So, what is R.P. Hale? Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Here are a few of the ways Hale spends his days: In addition to occupying a seat on the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, he is a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. Resident organist and music minister at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Manchester, he is a touring musician as well, performing on the harpsichord, the clavichord and the hammered dulcimer, all three of which he also builds, restores and sells. Hale has been an organist and teacher of both music and astronomy at St. Paul’s School and occasionally teaches these subjects along with physics, Spanish, U.S. history, and civics in other local schools. He was formerly a senior educator at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord and is a longtime student of solar, lunar and planetary astronomy, a member of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society, and an astronomical illustrator whose work has been commissioned by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has an intense interest in archeoastronomy, with particular reference to the astronomical systems of the Maya and Aztec civilizations, in whose cultures, languages and mathematics he is well versed. He is a professional medical illustrator, 60 | December 2021

pen-and-ink artist, wood and copper engraver, letterpress printer, calligrapher and manuscript illuminator, and paper and fabric marbler. Much in demand for his historical reenactments, he can frequently be found traveling up and down the country sharing his many skills in workshops or, closer to home, playing in Celtic sessions at the Barley House in Concord. In his late 60s, Hale has a pleasing, suitably baroque, stoutness about him. He is balding on top but has curly gray hair long enough to tie back in a short pony tail. He wears round spectacles and looks a little like Ben Franklin, a resemblance made stronger by his penchant for chuckling to himself after each of the witticisms he is frequently given to dispensing. He met his wife Alice 41 years ago while touring New England as a harpsichordist from Arizona. “There were a lot of great things you could do in Tucson in 1980,” he says as he pours me a glass of iced tea. “Being a harpsichord player was not one of them.” After several more visits to the region, he moved East in 1982. Two years later, the couple bought the house they still live in. “When we were looking, I told the real estate agent that I didn’t want to see anything in Concord Heights,” Hale says, “because that meant suburbia.” He crosses his index fingers in front of his left temple as if to say, “Heaven forfend!” He is the kind of person who, given a choice between “heaven

forbid” and “heaven forfend,” would choose the latter. As he likes to say, “I’m one of those obsolete types.” Despite his arguably patrician tastes, Hale speaks in an unpretentious accent from somewhere west of the Appalachians, generously sprinkled with (presumably selfconscious) ain’ts and phrases in Sonoran Spanish. He likes to make it clear that he’s anti-elitist, public-school educated, and that the multigenerational nature of his skills has nothing to do with belonging to a hereditary aristocracy. His progressive politics shines through in the stinging cartoons he occasionally publishes in the Concord Monitor. Hale first became aware of an affinity with the Baroque — that golden age of polymathy — as a kid in 1960s Tucson. “I was an unremarkable piano student,” he says. “However, my teacher figured me out. She found out I hated the 19th-century European repertory — that I didn’t like Liszt, could live without Chopin, and despised Wagner. She gave me a book of Handel pieces and said, ‘Try this.’ Well, that was that! Next, she baited me with a clavichord. She opened it up one day and played something. She told me later that when she turned around to look at me my mouth was hanging open. ‘Let’s have the lesson today on the clavichord,’ she said.” His piano teacher introduced him to various harpsichordists, including one he later took classes from at the University of Arizona. “I had found my instrument,” Hale says. At the same time, he found his two musical specialties — improvised accompaniment, known in Baroque composition as basso continuo, and the Mexican Baroque. “You have to remember,” he explains, “that Mexico was invaded a hundred years before the [British] colonies were.” Hale’s story, like that of Galileo and the Herschels, begins with the family he was born into. And Mexico plays a surprising role. When he first moved to Concord, his neighbors assumed he was from the area, Hale being a quintessential Yankee last name. (I can think of four New Hampshire notables without going to the encyclopedia.) So, when a Mexican tricolor went up the flagpole outside his house one day, everyone was perplexed. “What’s that about?” they asked. Es la bandera mexicana, he told them. Y yo soy mexicano. In reality, his English surname had been pronounced for generations like the first two syllables of “alleluia.” An unremembered Hale ancestor is thought to have left England as an indentured servant and ended up in Mexico. In | December 2021 61

the early 1900s, Hale’s grandfather, Felipe, was deported from his native country for criticizing its government in print and landed just across the border in Tucson (which had been ceded to the U.S. by Mexico only half a century before as part of the Gadsen Purchase, in a treaty authorized by none other than New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce). Thanks to the presence of a large Mexican-American community there, he was able to launch a Spanish-language newspaper called El Mosquito. The paper’s motto was Pica, pero no hace roncha (“It bites, but it doesn’t leave a mark”). In addition to reporting and editorializing, Felipe Hale put to use his abilities as an engraver, printer and calligrapher. These skills, along with a certain relish for political provocation, would eventually pass down to his grandson, by way of his son (R.P.’s father), whom Hale describes as a “non-practicing artist.” Hale’s paternal grandmother, who never learned English, was an orphan and may have been of Mayan ancestry — a possibility

that helped give rise to her grandson’s interest in ancient Mesoamerican cultures. Hale grew up speaking Spanish alongside English (with a “cholo” accent when it was socially necessary) and listening to Mexican music on the radio. At about the same time as he began to take an interest in Baroque music, his father gave him his first telescope. Because of its clear, dark skies, Tucson is one of the world’s major centers for groundbased astronomical observation, and gazing up at the planets, the sun and the moon (he was less interested in stars) soon joined Hale’s growing list of enthusiasms. He entered the University of Arizona as an art major but realized within two weeks that he had made a mistake. “This was at the time of what some of us sneeringly called the California style,” he explains with one of his chuckles, “the touchy-feely, just-do-it attitude. But I wanted to learn technique, so they saw me as a troublemaker. When they told me I was too realistic, I got up and left. I went straight to the administration office,

Above: A completed wood engraving commissioned by Francestown of the Old Meeting House, built in 1801 — 5 x 7 inches and ready for printing. At right: Checking a proof block — just a once-over prior to printing.

62 | December 2021

and in 20 minutes I was a chemistry major.” He graduated with a major in organic chemistry and microbiology and a minor in medical illustration. After graduation, he took a job with the university teaching scientific illustration and photography for several years before transitioning to touring the country as a harpsichordist. Meanwhile, he had developed an interest in building the instruments he spent so much time playing, and in 1978 he finished the first of the 47 harpsichords he has built since.

“Let’s look at some instruments,”

says Hale, when our iced tea is down to just ice. He leads me across the living room to a cluttered corner and begins clearing away books, assorted musical-instrument cases and other domestic detritus. “I have to deal with something called flat-surface syndrome,” he says. “I see a flat surface, I put something on it.” This psychological condition is known as horror vacui (fear of the void) among art historians, who recognize its sporadic recurrence in the history of painting, architecture and even music, where it results in a tendency to crowd empty secondary space with detail. It happens to be evident in much of Baroque art and has been variously interpreted as either a neurotic aversion to emptiness or as an aesthetic conviction that an ornamented surrounding enhances the main subject. The main subject here is “Number One,” or Hale’s first harpsichord. “This is the one that started it,” he says hunching over the keyboard. “I do not guarantee the tuning, what with the weather we’ve just been having. We harpsichordists say we spend 90% of our time tuning and the other 10% playing off key.” Then he makes his fingertips skitter over the keys to produce a sound like thin plates of antique glass shattering into a well. He winces. “We are ... out of tune. Oh, well.” Instead of playing, he goes over some of the instrument’s technical specifications — a 61-note keyboard with ebony and bone keys, three choirs of strings made from historic alloys, a total weight of 85 pounds — then moves to the virginal, a smaller and earlier form of the harpsichord. It’s more or less in tune, so he strikes out a few bars of a bright, trotting dance that transports us briefly to a forgotten Mexico City salon and gives me a sudden urge to straighten my posture and reach for a powdered wig. Next, he slides a hidden clavichord out from | December 2021 63

underneath Number One: “This is the original portable keyboard — 22 pounds, and it never needs to be plugged in.” The instruments keep coming; they’re stashed everywhere. “All in use,” he assures me. “If you ain’t gonna use it, don’t even talk to me. I hate collectors and I will not build for them.” He says his attitude has cost him a few sales, then unsheathes a tenor dulcimer from its case, hammers through some scales, riffs for a while on music theory, and finally tells me he’s recently begun studying the yangqin, the hammered dulcimer’s Chinese cousin. I ask him if he plans to build one and am surprised when he answers “no” — at least not for the moment. The day is getting on, so I suggest we see some of his printing work. “I suppose we can take a brief trip to the catacomb,” he says, apologizing in advance for the “tumbled about” state of his basement shop while the furnace is being replaced. In the middle of his next sentence, which has something to do with the Persian santur, he steps into a closet without explanation. For a second, I think he’s gone to fetch out another musical instrument, but instead he disappears. I advance a step to investigate, push a hanging coat to one side, and spy a sliver of light from behind a secret door. “Come on down,” says my host’s voice from somewhere below. In the basement Hale runs through another technical overview, this time of his four presses, wondering aloud for a moment about the force vectors of rotary presses

versus platen presses. Drying prints hang in festoons overhead, but since everything is dismantled thanks to the ongoing furnace replacement, there will be no demonstration of the printing process today. He points out the darkroom in passing — nothing to see — and we begin our ascent to another workspace called the studio. From the catacomb, two stories and a time warp take us to the scriptorium of a medieval monastery. Commemorative certificates bearing calligraphy are spread over a draftsman’s table. Hale picks up a heavy piece of paper announcing a new admission to the New Hampshire Bar. “Here I have to finish the illumination,” he says. Taking another sheet, he explains that he still has to lay the adhesive, or “size,” the first step in the gilding process. “Not a week goes by that I’m not doing calligraphy. It’s another one of those manual arts that’s obsolete but just won’t die.” Next, he shows me a set of engraving tools called burins and explains how they are used to incise both wood and copper. After describing the intaglio printing process, his eyes are drawn to a binder on a nearby shelf. “Oh, yeah,” he says vaguely, his thoughts apparently drawn in a new direction. This looks like absent-mindedness but is actually an immersion in the interconnectedness of everything surrounding him. He extracts the binder and opens it. “This is a program I put together explaining light and color for art and physics students.

These are trigonometric plucking ratios are an example of Hale’s math and harpsichord-building skills.

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An inked woodblock ready for printing. The image was inspired from a photograph that Hale’s daughter sent him. It took 30 hours of drawing and 50 hours of engraving. He uses a rotary letterpress that is about 100 years old. It is both rugged and finely constructed — a machine built for precision. He acquired it about 30 years ago by trading it for a dulcimer he built.

They handle spectroscopes, and artists find out why white light isn’t all created equal.” Putting the binder away, he says, “That and the Mayan presentations are very popular in schools,” but his eyes keep ranging over the shelves. “Oh, yeah,” he says again, in the same faraway-seeming tone, “astronomical color filters. These will brighten up the same color and darken the opposite. This one’s a Mars filter.” Then his eyes come to rest on a crinkly piece of transparent plastic sticking out from some papers. “A student brought this old wrapper in and wanted to know what it was. I took one look and said, ‘This is dichroic film!’” He holds it up to the light and asks me, “What do you see it reflecting?” I see green. “What’s it transmitting?” I see a light red. “Yes!” says Hale. “It reflects green and transmits its opposite, but if you turn it, you can see it shifting. It’s the same principle that makes soap bubbles work — refraction on thin films.” He snaps up a small glass cube lying nearby and says, “This will do the same thing.” The student made his day by giving him the wrapper. “Saved me the 150 bucks. You take your inspiration where you can get it!” All of this ends up in educational curricula he is constantly developing alongside his work as an artist.

In another binder, he shows me copies of his grandfather’s Spanish newspaper from 1922, commenting on news items and admiring the printing. When we’re about to head back downstairs, he pauses, picks up a boxwood engraving round, and weighs it in his palm. “You’re looking at about 600 years of growth here,” he says. “I haven’t found the image that’s worthy of this block yet.”

As we trundle down the steep staircase to the end of our visit, I ask Hale whether some overarching vision unifies his plurality of interests. He starts in on one of his favorite tropes: “Anybody educated in the 18th century would have ...,” but I interrupt him. “Is that all there is to it? Do you just have a fixation with the 18th century?” “Not so much a fixation,” he says, “but I was brought up interdisciplinarily. So much of my artwork is applied physics. In the studio, it’s technique and color theory. There’s a crossing over.” “Are you saying you’re drawn to the 18th century because it was a time before the arts and sciences were strictly divided?” “Yes!” he says. “I think that divide was one of the worst things that ever happened. When you think of ancient cultures, or even more recent ones, where does 99% of the information we have about them come

from? From their art. And sure, they didn’t have science, but they made observations, mostly in the name of religion. Every Egyptian temple to Amun-Ra was somehow oriented to the sun. Every religiously significant Mayan site is oriented to August 13, which was the new year, or its opposite. These things were astronomically based. Given enough time, prescientific cultures could devise an awful lot.” Yet R.P. Hale considers himself a scientist, and the greatest of the polymaths lived just as this divide was happening. The scientific method, which so effectively multiplied our ability to make sense of the details of the world, was a product of polymathic minds. The technologies their discoveries spawned accelerated the pace of change to such a degree that by the 19th century, owing to the sheer quantity of knowledge available, it became almost impossible to imagine becoming a polymath. This is itself a paradox inherent to the life of the mind — that the more we know, the more aware we are of the limits of our own knowledge — but Peter Burke, the cultural historian, sees a second paradox rising out it: As more specialization leads to the further fragmentation of knowledge into increasingly closed fields, it becomes more vital than ever to have at least a

few people around who can still see the big picture. There’s one more thing I want to ask Hale before I go. Burke remarks in his book that polymaths are almost always workaholics. Aware now of everything Hale does with his days, I ask him if he ever sleeps. He looks slightly puzzled, then says, “I always get a full night’s rest.” Earlier in the day he had said, “I don’t work. My work is my hobby. My hobby is my work.” Claims like these are sure to exasperate run-of-the-mill 21stcentury specialists who pride themselves on their work ethic, but I can’t help wondering whether this dignified sense of work and leisure as one is what really made a Leonardo, a Galileo, a Caroline or a William Herschel. Since Hale is clearly not taking my bait, I politely but sincerely tell him I admire his ability to focus. “You have to have that,” he says. “When I’m doing my engraving, I’m not thinking about the energy I’m putting into it. I’m thinking about getting a result.” And it occurs to me that maybe another aspect of polymathy is this ceaseless pushing toward something beyond. Any given what is bound to lead to the more complex questions of how and why, the discovery of each of whose answers may necessitate the asking of a new what. Albert Schweitzer’s organ playing (the what) begat an interest in organ building (the how) and musical history (the why); his study of philosophy and theology motivated him to work out his own moral code, based on a generalized reverence for life, a profound understanding of which prompted him in turn to devote himself to the study and practice of medicine. Polymaths are driven forward by an unrelenting cycle of curiosity. In the end, I doubt whether R.P. Hale truly qualifies as a polymath. Peter Burke, who is an authority on the subject, sets the bar so high that he can think of only two bona fide polymaths living today. What I do know is that in an age that often appears bent on fragmentation — a specialized workforce, a cultural obsession with exclusive and hyperspecific identities, each of us defending our own tiny corner of reality from everyone else, shrinking away from those who are different — there’s something refreshingly human about Hale’s complexity. It holds up a better mirror to the complexity of the world outside him. R.P. Hale is just one human being living in an ordinary house in Concord, New Hampshire, but he contains multitudes. He is, in his own peculiar way, a microcosmos. NH | December 2021 65

Eric Cutting, 72, moves through the gates with good speed and great form.

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E M I T T AGAINS FOR MANY SKI RACERS, THE SISE CUP IS NEW ENGLAND’S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH By Brion O’Connor / Photography by Joe Klementovich | December 2021 67


he eclectic collection of skiers milling about Mount Sunapee’s Spruce Lodge were obviously kindred spirits. Little did I know just how much we had in common. Women and men, most dressed in the padded skin suits favored by ski racers, many with sprouts of gray or white hair indicating that they might well be past their competitive primes, shared lighthearted banter and twinkles in their eyes. Age had not encumbered them. The easy laughter was contagious. I leaned in when the conversation turned to dealing with joint replacements. “You’re racing with a new hip and a new knee?” I asked one gentleman, incredulous. “That’s amazing.” “Feels as good as new,” said David Strang, an emergency room physician from Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Norman Boucher “So you must be a racer too,” Stacey Weston, a scientist from Massachusetts, asked me.

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“No, no,” I replied with a chuckle. “I just happen to have a few new body parts too.” Welcome to the New England Masters ski race series, which might be more accurately described as winter’s fountain of youth. Also known as the Sise Cup, after founder Al Sise, an inductee in the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame and the National Ski Hall of Fame, the series is the oldest annual Masters racing program in the country. The Sise Cup series, which includes slalom, dual slalom, super-G, giant slalom, and downhill disciplines, is typically confined to the northern four New England states. In the recent past, New Hampshire has hosted events at Mount Sunapee, Cranmore Mountain, Waterville Valley, Gunstock Mountain, Mittersill, Whaleback Mountain and the Dartmouth Skiway. “Compared to ski racing in the western United States, we don’t have to travel nearly as much,” said 52-year-old Alex Gadbois of Bow. “They often have drives that are

six hours or more. We’re fortunate that you can find at least a few races an hour or so away, so it’s a day trip.” The drive isn’t discouraging these folks. While skiing is considered a lifetime sport, the same can be said for ski racing. The New England Masters often has competitors well into their 80s and even older, such as 92-year-old Paul Rich of Laconia and 91-year-old Alphonse Sevigny of Amesbury, Massachusetts. Many continue to snap into their bindings and answer the starting gun thanks in part to the miracles of modern medicine. “The medical world has been terrific for ski racing,” said Gregory Gill, a 73-year-old retiree from Sutton who started skiing at 12 and has been racing since 16. “We have both men and women who have had hips, knees, hips and knees replaced, and are racing better now than before they had surgery. “Recovery time to ski racing usually takes almost nine months” following hip

replacement, said Gill. “Most racers have another activity that complements their winter ski racing, like biking, tennis, sailing, running. We aren’t getting any younger, but our commitment is unwavering.” That commitment is a common theme. Ask any of these Masters racers as they warm up in the lodge or shuffle with nervous energy in the lift lines if they’d rather be doing anything else, and they’re likely to look at you like you’ve got three heads. Weston, at 64, has had “two spinal fusion surgeries, 11 years apart, one successful hip replacement, and a variety of other medical issues over the years that have curtailed my racing periodically.” Still, she has no plans to hang up her skis and race suits, defying the adage that “all good things must come to an end.” The lure of pushing her skis downhill, as fast as possible, is simply too strong. “You can’t just quit the sport — it gets in your blood and your soul,” said Weston. “It makes me happy.”

Top left: Cold temps, wind and snow make for ideal conditions on race day at Mount Sunapee. Top right: Jesse Anser looks on as Alphonse Sevigny charges through the final few gates. Above: These races are open to ages 18 to 90 (and older). | December 2021 69

Brandon WIlson throwing up some serious snow as he cuts a tight line through the gates.

A similar joy is what brings Matthew Dodge, 32, a financial planner originally from Meredith now living in Concord to these events. “We’re a bunch of individuals who will wake up early, drive hours to the mountain, wait at the top of the course in the cold and wind, only for a 45-second opportunity to take part in the sport we love,” said Dodge. “Often times, we may be disappointed with the outcome, or worse, end the day with an injury. “We might seem a little crazy to those who don’t understand us. We racers have a connection in that we all recognize the challenge this sport can be at times, and respect our fellow competitors for joining us. Strang echoed similar sentiments. A “latecomer” to the sport, he started racing at the ripe old age of 21, at the urging of his best friend from high school and lured by the speed and the challenge of competition. “I became enthralled with ski racing as an activity that could be done in a season when we tend to be inside and more sedentary,” said Strang. “As I stayed in it, I made friends with my ‘winter family,’ people who

From left: Kathlyn Gerhard, Sarah Hotchkiss, Jill Luby and Erica Irvin from St. Joseph’s College of Maine

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had similar interests and skills as I did, but whom I often only saw during the winter competition months. It now represents something that I not only do in the winter, but prepare for and train for in the summer and fall seasons.” In fact, Strang admitted to scheduling his surgeries so they’re less likely to interrupt his racing season. When I first met him, he was six months removed from a total knee replacement. “I’ve joked we should start a ‘Prosthetic Cup’ within Masters and have a handicap system like NASTAR, where you lower your time based on the number of joint repairs or replacements that you’ve had,” he said. “I was back on snow just four months after my knee replacement, so absolutely there is a real pull of the sport.

Erica Irvin of St. Joseph’s College hikes up to the race zone at Mount Sunapee.

“When you become a ski ‘racer,’ you’ve reached the epitome of the sport, the top of the ladder. You’ve typically refined your technique to such a degree that you can now race. But, if you want to stay on top, to keep winning, you’ve got to train and keep in shape.” Staying is shape is a requisite since the sport is demanding. It’s more than just letting gravity pull you down the hill. Instead, ski racing at a high level requires nerves of steel, sturdy legs and a solid core, and cat-quick reflexes. Its greatest rewards, in terms of trophies, are reserved for the fittest, said Lisa Densmore Ballard, a former New Hampshire resident and multiple New England and national champion. “The stronger you are, the faster you’ll go just naturally because you’ll be able to

handle the various forces that ski racing puts on your body,” said Densmore Ballard, who literally wrote the book on running the gates — “Ski Faster! Guide to Racing and High Performance Skiing.” “You’ll also be able to maintain good technique longer and have ‘gas in the tank’ at the end of a long course. “Don’t forget to pay attention to your flexibility,” she said. “Many adults forget that, especially men, but ski racing demands athletic moves in extended positions, and if you want a low, aerodynamic tuck, you need to have good hip and back flexibility.” Truth be told, a distinct lack of suppleness marked the gaits of most competitors at Sunapee the day I visited. Many walked with a hitch that couldn’t be attributed to just their ski boots. Playing hurt is commonplace and not all that surprising, given that these men and women are pushing their muscles, sinew and synapses often to the breaking point. My wife, an occupational therapist, quipped that she could open a first aid stand — like a food truck — at the resort’s parking lot, selling salves and bandages, and make a killing. Although she was joking, her comment contained an unmistakable kernel of truth. Whenever you have “senior” athletes, age 40 and older, testing the boundaries of their bodies, strains, sprains, and injuries will happen. In some regard, ski racing is a game of attrition. And it’s easy to lose sight that this is a part-time endeavor.

“Everyone who races Masters goes to work on Monday,” said Gill. “Our intent is not to get hurt.” Beyond fitness, the sport also draws people with analytical minds who embrace a challenge, and can appreciate the incremental improvement that comes with dedication. A great comparison, said Densmore Ballard, is golf. “After 18 holes, you’re sure you can lower your score, so you come back another day for another round,” she said. “Likewise, every time you cross the finish line of a ski race, you’re sure you can lower your time. It’s addictive. For many, even those with Olympic aspirations, it’s a passion.” That passion is captured by Dodge, who said racing’s magnetic force is renewed every time he races, regardless of location. “I think it’s a unique feeling in sports to stand in the starting gate, knowing you’re about to engage in adrenaline-filled competition within mere seconds, and you look down the course to see the expansive snow in front of you,” said Dodge. “You look further, and you see rolling hills in the distance. You see the beauty of the moment, and then launch yourself down the icy slope in search of more and more speed. “After 50 seconds, you’ve descended the slope and you can look back up at where you just came from. It’s a bit of a rush that keeps you coming back for more.” Coupled with that rush is the sport’s precision. Mistakes that cost milliseconds | December 2021 71

Alphonse Sevigny and Paul Rich, both in Class 14, which is the age 90-and-over class

can spell the difference between winning and finishing off the podium. Every race, said competitors, can be a humbling experience. “Ski racing also teaches you humility and respect,” said Strang. “You may beat one of your friends one weekend and then get crushed by them the next. You have to learn how to both give and receive praise with equal sincerity and genuine respect.” Rubbing elbows over the course of the winter season also promotes a great sense of camaraderie, a reflection of an everwidening circle of friends who share a common enthusiasm, and exuberance. “Masters racers come from all walks of life, but they all are drawn to the competition, the challenge of doing the best we can and having that ‘breakthrough’ race,” said Strang. “Although none of us have been to the World Cup, when we watch the Hahnenkamm (in Austria), the Olympics, or other high-level races, in our minds we’re skiing just like these world-class athletes.” Those relationships, collectively, are another key component to Masters racing’s 72 | December 2021

popularity. The social aspect is what made me, a non-racer, feel so at home with this group at Sunapee, trading tales of replacement body parts. The after-race parties are relished as much as the actual races. “There are many lifelong friendships and relationships that have come out of Masters racing, including friends all across the country,” said Nadine Price, who is “66 going on 25” and vice president of the group’s board of directors. “The part about how good a skier you are is only important for a few minutes, but the friendships last forever.” The expansive age range that defines Masters racing also allows for a wonderful mingling of generations, with experienced racers welcoming newcomers into the fold. “This year, I did my first Masters races with my son,” said Gadbois. “That’s a whole new aspect of it for me. He really enjoyed the experience as well. “I’d encourage anyone who has a love of skiing and a challenge to give it a try. The skiing may bring you to a Masters race, but the people and relationships are what brings you back.”

Still, competitors decked out in helmets and padded racing suits can look a little intimidating to those unfamiliar with the sport. It is one of ski racing’s lingering misconceptions. “A lot of people who do beer league or recreational league ski racing don’t think they’re good enough to do Masters races, and that’s totally false,” said Gadbois. “If you’ve done NASTAR or a beer league race, imagine a course two or three times longer, on a more interesting trail, with a great group of enthusiastic, like-minded skiers. The vast majority of [Masters racers] are very willing to help out new skiers.” Not surprisingly, with so many different racers, so many different categories, so many different ability levels, there are many “races within races.” Each event produces age-related lists of results, so each racer can see where they finished in their competitive categories. But many acknowledge that the true measure is how they did compared to their own expectations. “One thing that has become very clear to me since I started racing Masters about nine years ago is the diversity of experience each racer brings,” said Dodge. “Some of us are former Division One college ski racers who have trained in this sport since a young age. Others found the sport late, and are just now exploring it in retirement. “However, we all come into the race with unique goals and have the ability to reach them on any given day,” he said. “Although we all ski the same course, we are all running our individual race in some ways. It allows for any one of us to be a winner on any given day.” To put it more succinctly, when I asked Dr. Strang how long he expected to keep racing, he told me: “I’ll keep doing this until I can’t walk or hold in a turn anymore.” NH

Deborah Adams competes around the world on the FIS Masters circuit.

Learn more

For more details on New England Masters and the Sise Cup Series, visit | December 2021 73

603 Living Alice! A childish story take, And with a gentle hand, Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined In Memory’s mystic band, Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers Plucked in far-off land. — Lewis Carroll

Seniority 78 Calendar 99 Health 102 Ayuh 104

Décor for the Door Make your own wreaths that last through the yuletide season and into the new year WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MATTHEW MEAD


esides the Christmas tree, there is no more iconic symbol of the season than the wreath. A prominent focal point for your doorway or mantel, the holiday wreath is a celebratory sign of unity, joy, and the full circle of another year coming to a close. Green wreaths of myrtle, laurel and bay originated during the Greco-Roman era, and were worn as status symbols, which were later adopted as a Christian tradition to signify and welcome the Christmas season. It’s then they became fashionable accessories for the front door. Today, wreaths have morphed beyond the simplistic, becoming a welcoming representation of individual style. Gather some basic wreath forms at craft stores and garden centers, and personalize them with ornaments, nuts and fruits, berries and dried botanicals.

WOODLAND WREATH > New Hampshire twigs and berries are a classic way to dress up your front door. Purchase the wreath at a garden center and anchor the botanicals with hot glue.

NUT STAR WREATH > Craft an everlasting star wreath with a wire wreath form and a mix of whole nuts. Hot-glue nuts directly to the wire form and edge border with sprigs of boxwood. | December 2021 75

603 LIVING / HOLIDAY WREATHS WREATHS NEEDN’T BE RELEGATED TO AN EXTERIOR DOOR. But if yours is, make sure it’s right for a New Hampshire winter. Use faux fruits and berries on outside décor in order to avoid constant freezing and thawing in the winter elements. Other materials like dried pods, cones and twigs also hold up well in inclement weather. Use durable wreath bases made of wire and reinforced with hay, moss or grapevine to anchor your design. Green wreaths made of spruce, boxwood or pine will be easy to find at garden centers, grocery and home improvement stores. Here are a few other places to hang a wreath: gate, window, cupboard door, mirror.

BERRIES AND MOSS WREATH > Try an oval wreath shape woven with a mix of white tallow berries and red marsh berries. Fill in any open gaps with reindeer or sheet moss.

EVERGREEN AND ANEMONES WREATH > Add some chartreuse berries and faux purple anemones to a traditional green wreath. Everlasting blooms will defy the winter elements.

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APPLE MEDALLION > A wreath can take other forms, such as a medallion made of apples, nuts and pine cones. Use a hot-glue gun to secure items to a form.

EMBELLISHING Host a wreath party and invite friends to decorate their own. Have hot-glue guns and floral wire on hand and a whole array of possible decorations. • Ribbon • Dried nuts and pods • Faux leaves and flowers • Glass ornaments • Pine cones • Berries • Faux and real fruits

SPARKLE ORNAMENT WREATH > Steal a mix of ornaments right off the tree to make this sparkling wreath in coastal colors. New or vintage ornaments can be glued onto a wreath form of silvered greens.

SUCCULENT WREATH > Faux succulents lightly sprayed with glitter look festive with greens and red berries. Touches of evergreen add a holiday flourish. NEW HAMPSHIRE IS DOTTED with charming stands to find beautiful wreaths to embellish. Here are some favorites: House By The Side Of The Road in Wilton, Black Forest Nursery in Boscawen, Tendercrop Farm in Dover, The Rocks in Bethlehem, NH | December 2021 77


Coming Back Strong UNH coach beats the odds not once, but twice BY LYNNE SNIERSON


ean McDonnell grew up in the Thoroughbred horse racing mecca of Saratoga Springs, New York, and worked summers through high school and college delivering hay and oats to the stables, so he knows about long odds. Nonetheless, the head football coach at the University of New Hampshire never bet he’d have to beat them not only once, but twice in the last two years. McDonnell, who starred in the defensive backfield from 1975-78 for the Wildcats and captained the team, is in his 30th year on the coaching staff and his 22nd as the program’s wildly successful head coach. On August 26, 2019, he stunned the UNH community with the news that he needed an indefinite medical leave of absence, and he would later disclose he had bladder cancer. “You’re going along as good as it gets and then you get hit with a lightning bolt. You, your players, your staff, your friends and your family all have to adjust. I was really fortunate that I was diagnosed early,” says the coach, who credits his team of specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover for his recovery — he turned 65 on October 15. “They were off-the-charts good. You realize how lucky you are with all the people who take care of you, and when they take care of you like this, it’s really something special.” The outpouring of constant support and kindness McDonnell and his wife, Jenny, received from UNH President James Dean, Athletic Director Marty Scarano, his current and former players and coaches, and the students is something special too.

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“It was overwhelming, and it was very humbling,” says the man known as Coach Mac. “It was pretty cool because it showed what the University of New Hampshire is all about.” That goes both ways. According to the conventional wisdom, Coach Mac is the personification of UNH. He’s even called Mr. UNH. “I don’t know about that. There are a lot of other people, and I can think of a ton of them, who are more deserving. That’s longevity. That’s being in a place for a long time,” he says. After playing for the legendary Bill Bowes, who coached the football team from 19721998 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, he took over the program in 1999 and carried on his mentor’s tradition of excellence. Then McDonnell added his own stamp. Destined for the Hall of Fame himself, he took the Wildcats to the playoffs in 14 consecutive seasons. Twice (2005 and 2014) he’s been honored with the Eddie Robinson Award as the top head coach in the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and is just one of three two-time recipients. “Sean is a UNH guy through and through. He doesn’t bleed red; he bleeds blue. That’s

who he is,” says Steve Stetson, a Laconia native who was an All-Ivy quarterback at Dartmouth College and gave McDonnell his first job as an assistant coach when he was Hamilton College’s head coach. “What Sean has done for the UNH program is amazing. Twice the national coach of the year. From UNH. That’s unimaginable.” What is also inconceivable is that as soon as McDonnell conquered his cancer and came back on the job in March of 2020, was ramping up plans for the season, and starting to recruit his next class of student-athletes, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “This is going to sound crazy, but the pandemic threw me more for a loop than the cancer did in a lot of ways,” he says. “With what happened to me, we had a plan. We were going to do the radiation, get ready for the surgery, have the operation, get the bladder out, and then go from there with it so it was bang, bang, bang. You get to March 1, everybody says it’s fine, so you’re getting ready for spring practice. Then the pandemic hits. And nobody’s got a blueprint for any of this.” McDonnell says that when UNH went on spring break, he figured the hiatus would last for only those two weeks. Little did he, or anyone, know that they were all done until the following August. “You lose March, April, May, June, July with your team and your coaches. There are all these things you have to start wondering about. How many guys can be in the weight room together? How many guys can be in the locker room at the same time? All the protocols for the pandemic wore on me more than anybody ever knew. It was hard. You couldn’t do the things that you normally would with your players,” he explains. “We adapted, as did the whole university.” Then they only got to play one game before the 2020 season was canceled. “Every week was a roller coaster. Are we going to play or are we not? We actually had to cancel the Rhode Island game on a Friday (the day before gametime). As bad it was to be diagnosed with what I had and being sick, that other journey was extremely difficult for all of us,” concedes McDonnell, adding that compliance with current NCAA guidelines for Covid testing, isolation, quarantine, and

“This is going to sound crazy, but the pandemic threw me more for a loop than the cancer did in a lot of ways.” — Sean McDonnell, UNH head coach

Coach Mac’s Coaching Tree The number of coaching trees in pro and college football make it a veritable forest, but through all those branches the tree of UNH Head Coach Sean McDonnell stands mighty tall. Consider that Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day and UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly were assistants on his staff. Kelly, who starred at Manchester Central High School and played at UNH, served under McDonnell with the Wildcats (1992, 1994-98; offensive coordinator 1999-06) before going on to the University of Oregon, where as head coach he won six different national Coach of the Year awards in 2010. Kelly then became the first New Hampshire man to be an NFL head coach (Philadelphia Eagles, 2013-2015 and San Francisco 49ers, 2016) and is now the top man at UCLA (2018-present). Day, who excelled at Manchester’s Trinity High School prior to being McDonnell’s quarterback in his collegiate career, began his coaching career at UNH (2002) and worked his way up to become

Ohio State’s interim head coach in 2018. He got the job in 2019 and led his team to an undefeated season. In January, his team played for the national championship and was ranked No. 2 in the nation. “Both of those guys were really good coaches. They have an unbelievable IQ for football, an unbelievable feel for kids, they are creative in what they did,” McDonnell says. “It is impressive they’re on my tree, but more importantly, it’s the culture of the UNH program starting with (McDonnell’s predecessor and Hall of Famer) Bill Bowes. Chip and Ryan were part of his regime. I don’t think of it as my tree as much as I do of it being the UNH tree.” Says Coach Ryan Day, “I would never be where I am today without Coach McDonnell, who has had an impact on thousands of young men over his career. He taught us hard work, dedication and commitment, and I will forever be indebted to him for what he did for me and my career. I’m proud to say he is a very close friend of mine to this day.”

vaccinations for players, coaches and staff presents additional challenges. But now Coach Mac is back, the culture is intact, and at press time the Wildcats were on track to another winning season. “When I heard that he had cancer, I knew that if anyone can beat this, it’s Sean, because

he’s got such a positive attitude and he’s a fighter,” says Stetson, who was McDonnell’s assistant from 2002-05. “UNH had no idea when they hired him, none of us did back then, what they were getting. He’s evolved season by season, and has risen to such successful levels. It’s been amazing to watch

his rise in the profession of coaching college football. Just amazing.” He adds, “I’ve known Sean since day one and this man is ridiculously talented at what he does. He wouldn’t appreciate that word at all. He wouldn’t consider himself talented in the least. He just thinks of it as work and considers himself a worker. That’s why he gets things done. He is very productive. He’s a man of character. There are a lot of positive attributes put together in one person. I have the utmost respect for this man. He is the man.” In the intensely competitive world of college sports and its revolving door for head coaches, it’s unusual to stay at one school for this long. “I’ve been fortunate. The most important thing for me is I’ve been able to share this with my family,” says McDonnell. “My two boys, who never played football but were ball boys, were able to make trips to the away games with me, so that was a lot of fun. Jenny made a ton of trips, and with 14 years in the playoffs, we had some great trips. She has made some great friends with UNH people and the parents over the years. That family atmosphere at UNH is really special to us. UNH is very special.” NH

Your binge-worthy options just got interesting. | December 2021 79




’Tis the Season for Local Gifts A curated selection of New Hampshire shops and gift ideas for (almost) everyone on your list

For the foodie: Specialty food stores A visit to one of these charming shops comes with (delicious) rewards for the gift-giver. — Erica Thoits Head to the Squam Lake Restaurant & Marketplace in Holderness around lunch, order a Best of NHwinning BLT, follow it with an ice cream sandwich, and then start your shopping on a full stomach. Reopened and renovated by the owners of the Squam Lake Inn in 2013, they sell an expertly curated selection of local goods, from beer and coffee to cheese and jams, all perfect for creating your own gift basket. Learn more at Pressed for time? Zeb’s General Store will do the work for you, drawing on their decades of experience to craft a custom gourmet gift basket. You can do this over the phone (or order pre-made baskets online), but we suggest you walk around this North Conway favorite. That way you can pick out a treat for yourself, like something from the 80-foot candy counter or the store’s own kettle corn. Order or peruse items at Feel good about supporting local agriculture — and find great gifts — at Tendercrop Farm in Dover. All year long, they offer a number of handmade items such as soaps, dried flower arrangements, wreaths, gift baskets, candles and more. Plus, around the holidays, the top floor of the barn is dedicated to even more gift ideas and festive décor. You can also stock up on produce, cheeses, coffee, jams, syrups, snacks, baked goods, dips, salsas ... basically, whatever you need for either edible gift-giving or party-hosting. Plus, if you’re wiped out after a day of shopping, take home one of their prepared food items for a tasty and simple dinner. See more at

For the person who has everything: Curiosity shops Look, if you can’t find the perfect gift for the quirkiest person on your list at one of the following shops, then they truly are impossible to buy for. — Erica Thoits


Pickwick’s Mercantile and the related Deadwick’s Ethereal Emporium in Portsmouth channel a Victorian-era apothecary and the occult, respectively. Pickwick’s, which happens to be the largest niche perfumery in New England, also sells everything from artisanal soaps and shaving cream to a Harry Potter Gryffindor wax seal set and secular “saint” candles (think Ada Lovelace and Jane Austen). Deadwick’s dips into the mystical, and is the place to go for all of your tarot card and crystal needs. They also stock herbs, candles, clothing, incense and, for the really interesting person on your shopping list, a muskrat skull. Learn about both shops at RavenWood Curio Shoppe isn’t exactly an in-and-out kind of place, so plan to spend a good deal of time exploring this Jackson emporium of all things, well, curious. The fact that you have to drive through a picturesque covered bridge to get there adds to the charm. This is probably the only place where you can walk out with a garden gnome, pink lawn flamingo, local artwork, a metal moose sculpture, a funky bracelet and an antique clock. Check the hours on Facebook and visit them online at

FOR THE READER: Covid Spring II: More Granite State Pandemic Poems edited by Alexandria Peary

When New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary began the “Covid Spring” project in April 2020, there were no plans for round two. Yet, as the pandemic wore on, the writing continued, and the latest volume was released this fall. To compile both volumes, Peary shared prompts every day during National Poetry Month (April), inviting writers to submit their work for consideration. You can certainly read the second anthology on its own, but to experience a broader view of how the pandemic affected the Granite State, why not gift both? Each is available for $18 through Concordbased publisher Hobblebush Books. Tip: Check out the Hobblebush online gift shop, where you can add on items like “Read Local” stickers or book darts to tuck inside the pages. You can also visit your local bookseller for more great recommendations and to find other items readers will love. — Erica Thoits Hobblebush Books



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For those who love the gift of experiences and activities For your loved ones who prefer a gift that’s a bit more hands-on, give them the gift of experience. And why not consider buying two tickets so you can join them on a new adventure? — Anna-Kate Munsey PAINTING & SIP EVENTS: Art with a Splash, located in the heart of downtown Ports-

mouth, offers nightly guided painting classes — and it’s BYOB. Each month’s calendar has a variety of paintings to choose from, including local spots and more general scenes.

Muse Paintbar in Manchester combines a bar and restaurant

with top-notch painting instruction — and absolutely no art experience is required. The calendar of events is filled with classes on landscapes, theme nights and seasonal paintings. The bar selection is curated to help you get those creative juices flowing, and their food menu caters to those who strive to have a brush in one hand and a fork in the other.

Granite State Whale Watch, which departs from Rye, is a great gift for the snowbird on your list, or just someone who loves wildlife. As the season doesn’t commence until spring, this gives them something to look forward to in the new year. Canterbury Shaker Village in the quaint town of Canterbury will make for a memorable visit for the history buff. Guided tours include the original buildings, forests and fields that make up this National Historic Landmark. All of it is both beautiful and educational. The Currier Museum of Art, located in Manchester, is one of the premier art museums in the country. It features exhibits ranging from the Renaissance to today, with core strengths in European, American and contemporary art, along with revolving special exhibits and events. This makes for the perfect gift for the artsy friend or family member. You can purchase tickets for the day or an annual membership at


The museum also offers tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Zimmerman House for the architectural enthusiast, as well as art classes for your young budding artist.


Our elves have been busy Let Jacques help make the holidays merry with our home and office decorating services! Florals & Plants for Personal & Professional Occasions 1-800-622-5155 • 603-625-6153 712 Mast Road, Manchester, NH 03102



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Musical Stocking Stuffers Back in the early 1980s, a popular slogan at mall record stores (remember them?) as the holidays rolled around was “Give the Gift of Music.” Another popular phrase featured at music stores was a skull-like silhouette of an audio cassette tape over some crossed bones with the words “Home Taping Is Killing Music.” Now we float in a sea of streaming media where any artist can be summoned like a Christmas Ghost just by whispering a name to your kitchen smart speaker. But music still is and always will remain a wondrous gift, no matter whether it’s a carefully wrapped CD or an Airdrop to your iPhone. With that in mind, here’s a short list of albums and songs by local talent that has been curated to please any music lover on your gift list. The selections, below, left, are from the copious catalog of Pittsfield’s Rocking Horse Studio, where many of the most famous recording artists in New Hampshire (and beyond) have laid down tracks for producer extraordinare Brian Coombes. original Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips with this collection of reimagined songs from Phillips’ solo career. It features Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and Supertramp’s John Helliwell on saxophone. Available as a CD and download at

The Cat Attic

“City Folk” is the sophomore effort from Cat Attic, a Boston-based indie folk group with New Hampshire ties. Led by mandolin and fiddle, with lush vocal harmonies and a bit of 21stcentury experimentation, “City Folk” shows Cat Attic expanding beyond the limits of traditional folk to include elements of indie rock, prog rock and bluegrass. Available to download from

Dakota Smart

“Lovely Lady” is the lead single from Dakota Smart’s upcoming album. New Hampshire’s rising star and multiple New England Music Awards nominee, Smart combines big hooks with insightful lyrics into songs that will please all generations. Look for his fulllength album in early 2022. Available at

Rocking Horse Music Club Caroline Carter

The debut album from former Ms. New Hampshire Caroline Carter, “Star Girl” mixes indie-synth pop with folk and musical theater, all featuring Carter’s quirky lyrics and powerhouse vocals. Available for download or through


Brian Coombes and his talented friends at Rocking Horse Music Club were the official music acts for New Hampshire Magazine’s Best of NH Party for a number of years, and Coombes kept us informed and grooving to new sounds ever since, so we’re including a selection by Coombes’ own house band. New Hampshire’s favorite supergroup pays tribute to | SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


Two Sides of the Granite State New Hampshire’s own Fred Marple writes and performs audio bookends for the Granite State of mind. “In spite of popular demand, I’ve released two albums of original songs,” says Fred Marple, prominent citizen of the semi-mythical town of Frost Heaves, New Hampshire. “Folks have said my songs are ‘moving,’ ‘funny” and ‘better than listening to the coffee grinder.’”

Justin Cohn

New Hampshire’s Justin Cohn released a pair of singles in 2021, including “Lie to Me” and “On the Other Side Was You.” The two songs shine a light on the different shades of Cohn’s musical identity. “Lie to Me” is a biting rock song with scathing lyrics, while “On the Other Side Was You” is a tender and vulnerable song of devotion. Both songs will appear on Cohn’s debut album, scheduled for release in 2022. Available digitally from all music retailers.

“Crabby Road” is humorous tunes about Yankee life — black flies, baked beans and people from away. “My Mountain” is a collection of folk songs about New England. Both are available as digital downloads or physical CDs from



(603) 497-4940


Gift of Membership to Strawbery Banke Museum

Membership Benefits Include: Free museum admission • Free or discounted admission to Signature Events Discounted admission to Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond Discounts to uni ue talks and educational programs Exclusive offers from local shops, services, and restaurants • So much more

STRAWBERYBANKE.ORG/JOIN.CFM 14 Hancock Street, Portsmouth NH |603.433.1100



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Gifted Local Musicians Make

Giftable Local Music

Kenny Brothers Band: “Friends, Lovers, and Radios”

The Newmarket region has always been a great nugget of fun, harboring some of the very best musicians from around the state, all while staying pretty much under the radar. But what can’t be hidden is the talents of The Kenny Brothers Band — Billy, Taylor and Joe (with Tim Martin on keys) — from nearby Stratham, whose music is a mashup of rock and roots, low country road songs, and harmonic reflections on now and then. “We listened and played many different types of music growing up, but I think roots music was always at the heart of everything we listened to,” says Joe Kenny, the youngest of the musical herd and originator of most of the songs. Their new CD “Friends, Lovers, and Radios” is a doozy, full of harmonic beauty, open roads with a smoky glow, featuring some key players from around the state popping in to lend a hand. “We had Scott and Betsy Heron of the folk duo Green Heron play fiddle and banjo on ‘Yes Man Blues’ and ’Forever Now,’ and Jake Davis from the Whiskey Stones played some lap steel on ‘Praying for Love,’” says the redheaded bandleader. Available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, and find more at

Will Hatch & Co.: “Downtown”

Will Hatch & Co. from Concord wasted no time when they decided to put out their first studio EP called “Downtown.” Recorded in one day at The Bridge Sound & Stage in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “Downtown” has everything you need going into a long, cold winter, opening up with “They’re Red Hot,” a classic written by bluesman Robert Johnson back in 1936. The band, made up of some of the most talented and charismatic Concord-area musicians, hammers the number out convincingly with quickness and clarity. “Beer Bottle Blues” makes you want to slug something cold and get to grooving, warming those winter mitts. If it’s a banjo cut that pops like fire in the wood burner, or a fingerpicking number that demands your attention, there are many moments on this EP that will leave you pleasantly thawed and toasty. Available on Spotify. Find more at

Becca Myari: “Holy Day”

Thinking back on Christmases past, when the days were centered around home and games and caroling, Becca Myari from Westmoreland knew exactly where she wanted to go with her new holiday song “Holy Day” (featuring Santa Croce and Senie Hunt). The result is a celebration of family, the act of giving and of loving unconditionally. “Holy Day” is available on all streaming platforms, including Spotify, Amazon, SoundCloud and iTunes. — Rob Azevedo (Azevedo, who has reviewed music for us over the years, has recently partnered on the new music venue Pembroke City Limits. We’ll keep you updated.)

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For the outdoor explorer Everyone has that one family member. On vacation, they’re up at 6 a.m. for a sunrise workout, with a full itinerary of hiking, biking, snorkeling or exploring. Embrace their beloved outdoorsiness this holiday season and gift them something for their next adventure. — Anna-Kate Munsey Plymouth Ski & Sports, has outdoor equipment for every season. And for the skier on your list, take inventory of what they already have, and find the perfect complement to make their time on the slopes even more enjoyable. This shop offers footwear and apparel, along with both sales and seasonal rentals of new and used equipment. TAKE A HIKE: Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters in

North Swanzey has the gear, no matter what the weather is like outside. A walk in the woods is lovely any time of year, but a thick coat of snow on the trails can present some challenges — mainly, what to wear. Sneakers will get soaked, chunky boots will be uncomfortable, so there lies the brilliant invention of the snowshoe.

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The Mountain Wanderer Map & Book Store is a small but well-stocked retail store located on the Kancamagus Highway in Lincoln. If they already have all their outdoor gear needs covered, you can’t go wrong picking out some light reading from this store specializing in New Hampshire-based outdoor recreation books, travel guides and maps.

ns for the Holiday’s here they es $198 for up to 2 ppl 4 Prior up to 2 ppl. Please High-

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Give the gift of dance Get started any time with our Introductory Lesson which includes a Private, Group and a Party for only $50! 2 Private lessons 2 Group classes 2 Practice parties $198 for up to 2 people

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For the holiday season fanatic: Real Christmas stores Forget the Christmas Tree shop. These two local stores are all Christmas, all the time. — Erica Thoits The Christmas Dove, founded in 1973 in Barrington, is a beautiful — and expansive — place to shop. Now featuring two stories and more than 30 gorgeously decorated rooms, you’ll have a lovely time wandering past hundreds of Christmas trees, wreaths and displays as you search for that perfect gift. See a sampling of their wares at The Christmas Loft, located in both North Conway and Woodstock, has everything a true fan of all things yuletide could ever need or want. The shelves are stuffed with figurines, lights, toys, stockings, wreaths, candles, Advent calendars, collectibles, linens, mistletoe, electric candles, bath accessories ... this could go on and on. See for yourself in person or online at

FOR THE PROUD GRANITE STATER: Here comes the shameless plug! Our new New Hampshire

magazine online store debuted earlier this year, and it’s filled with New Hampshire-themed items. The biggest hits so far are the lovely glass suncatchers from Old Hancock Glassworks, especially the one depicting the late, great Old Man of the Mountain ($11.95). Other gift ideas (all for under $40) include cutting and serving boards, coasters, photo frames, totes, calendars, wooden signs and more. Check it out at

For the knickknack lover From old country stores to niche speciality markets, there is no shortage of knickknacks in this state. From toys for the kids to a photo frame for the grandparents, there’s something for all ages at these locations. — Anna-Kate Munsey Winnisquam Country Store & Deli in Tilton has a market and deli, bait and tackle shop, and plenty of gift-giving merchandise options. For the die-hard Granite Stater, pick out a state-adorned T-shirt, mug or sign. They’ll get a constant reminder of the state they love the most.

Calef’s Country Store in Barrington has been operating since just after the Civil War, and today they source over 90% of their products from small New England-based providers. Give a sample of their classics — ginger snaps, “rat trap” cheese and more.

Annalee in Meredith has been designing heartfelt gifts and timeless Christmas decorations for the holiday season since 1934. Whether they’re a longtime Annalee collector or just love small dolls and knickknacks, you can’t go wrong with a seasonal doll. 90 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


Love.Yarn.Shop. Head to Bethlehem for your craftiest loved ones, pick out soft, highquality yarns in brilliant hues for them to begin their next knitting project. A community favorite, Love.Yarn.Shop also offers knitting classes for those just getting started.








Bourbon Cider


Bourbon Milk Punch




3 parts whole milk 2 parts half-and-half 1.5 parts Jim Beam® Bourbon 1 part sifted powdered sugar Vanilla extract

1 part Maker’s Mark® Bourbon 1–3 tablespoons sugar, to taste 2 dashes Angostura® Bitters 3 parts dry hard cider Cherry and orange peel

In a champagne glass, stir together the sugar and the bitters until the sugar dissolves. Add Maker's Mark®. Top with cold cider. Garnish with a cherry and an orange peel.



Fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon stick

In a pitcher, whisk together milk, half-and-half, bourbon, sugar and vanilla. Freeze until slushy and ready to serve. Stir before serving it in a chilled glass, finished with a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Kiss Me Cocktail Ingredients:

1 part Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon ½ part DeKuyper® Razzmatazz® Schnapps Liqueur 1 part passion fruit juice Sparkling wine

Garnish: Lemon peel

Shake all but sparkling wine with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute then top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon peel, or place a strawberry on the rim.

Merry Berry Buck Ingredients:

1½ parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon ¾ parts lemon juice 1½ parts cranberry juice Ginger beer


Fresh cranberries and lemon wheel

Add Maker’s, lemon and cranberry juice to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass over ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with fresh cranberries and a lemon wheel.

Maple Old Fashioned Ingredients:

2 parts Knob Creek® Smoked Maple Bourbon 2–3 dashes of bitters Small pinch of raw sugar Splash of club soda


Orange slice and cherry

In a rocks glass, muddle the sugar and bitters. Add ice to the glass and pour bourbon over. Top with a splash of club soda, then garnish with the cherry and orange slice.

Bourbon Eggnog Ingredients: 750 mL Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon 1 quart milk 1 quart heavy cream 2 dozen eggs 1½ cups sugar



Separate eggs. Beat yolks, whip in sugar and add Basil Hayden’s®. Beat whites until stiff, adding ½ cup sugar, if desired. Beat cream. Add whites, cream and milk to mixture. Add nutmeg to taste. Garnish each cup with nutmeg.





Basil Anise Smash

Sugar Spice, Red Hot Nice

Caorunn Alexander







Muddle basil leaves in an old-fashioned serving glass. Add remaining ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into glass with muddled basil. Garnish with a fresh basil sprig and star anise. Enjoy!

Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until hot. Pour into a thick-walled mug and garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick!

Add all ingredients in a shaker, shake and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with grated whole nutmeg.

2 ounces Smoke Lab Aniseed Vodka 1 ounce fresh lemon juice ½ ounce simple syrup 1–2 fresh basil leaves Fresh basil sprig and star anise


1½ 1 ¼ 3

ounces Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz ounce apple brandy ounce lemon juice ounces water

Thin apple slices and cinnamon stick

1½ ½ 1 ½

ounces Caorunn Gin ounce Crème De Cacao White ounce cream ounce milk Nutmeg

Granty Burn Old-Fashioned

Espresso Martini





Add ingredients to a rocks glass with ice and stir well. Garnish with an orange peel.

Combine ingredients with ice and give a strong shake. Strain and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

2½ ounces Speyburn 10 Year Old ¼ ounce simple syrup 3 dashes orange bitters Orange peel

2 ounces vodka 1 ounce FAIR Café Liqueur 1 ounce coffee (cold or freshly brewed) Coffee beans or cinnamon

Hatozaki Highball Ingredients:

2 ounces Hatozaki Finest Whisky 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon fresh ginger Top with club soda or seltzer



Build in a highball glass and stir. Garnish with lemon.




Fiery Eggnog



1 part Fireball® Cinnamon Whisky 2 parts Mr. Boston Egg Nog

Serve on the rocks or chilled.





1½ parts Myers’s® Original Dark Rum ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar Few dashes of bitters Water Maraschino cherry, orange or lemon peel

Place sugar in an old-fashioned glass and moisten the sugar with a few dashes of bitters. Add enough water so the sugar can be crushed and dissolved. Add ice and top with Myers’s® Original Dark Rum. Garnish with a cherry, orange or lemon peel and enjoy!


Tincup Hot Toddy


2 1 2 ¼

parts TINCUP RYE® tablespoon mild honey teaspoons fresh lemon juice part boiling hot water

1 lemon twist 4–5 cloves

Fill glass with boiling water and let stand. Cut a lemon twist and stud it with cloves. Throw out the water in the mug and add fresh boiling water. Add honey and stir to dissolve. Add lemon and clove garnish, along with lemon juice, and stir. Add TINCUP® Rye and stir a final time.

Snowfall Spritz Ingredients:

1 ounce Grainger’s Deluxe Organic Vodka 1 ounce St. Elder Natural Elderflower Liqueur 1 ounce pomegranate juice 4 ounces sparkling wine

Combine all ingredients and serve over ice in a wine glass.

Monkey Shoulder Piña Colada Ingredients: 2 2 3 ¾ 3

parts Monkey Shoulder parts Coco Lopez parts pineapple juice part lime juice dashes angostura bitters Pinch of salt


Pineapple fronds and wedge

Granada Highball Ingredients:

1½ ounces 1800® Cristalino Tequila 1 ounce pomegranate juice ½ ounce simple syrup Top with soda


Fresh pomegranate and lime

Build in a highball glass and stir. Garnish with fresh pomegranate and lime.

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add a dash of sugar syrup to taste. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and chunk.





Winter Apple Toddy Ingredients: 2 3 1 1

parts X by Glenmorangie parts pressed apple juice part lemon juice dessert spoon of honey (to taste)


Clove studded orange wheel, cinnamon stick and star anise

Pour ingredients (except whisky) into a saucepan and bring to a simmer on a low heat. Do not allow to boil. Pour whisky into glass and top with hot ingredients.


Hendrick’s Cranberry Fizz Ingredients:

1 part Hendrick’s Gin 2 parts cranberry juice 1 part sparkling wine


Cucumber slices, mint sprig and cranberries

Combine all ingredients in a highball glass filled with cubed ice and lightly stir. Garnish with cucumber slices, mint sprig and cranberries.

New England Royale Ingredients: ½ ounce Flag Hill Cranberry Liqueur,

Raspberry Liqueur or Blueberry Liqueur 5 ounces Flag Hill Sparkling Cayuga White


Lemon twist or cranberry spear

In a champagne flute, add ½ ounce of desired Flag Hill fruit liqueur. Top off glass with Flag Hill Sparkling Cayuga White. Add garnish if desired.


Calendar Ch oi ce


Ed ito r’ s

November 25-January 2

Gift of Lights > Remember when your parents used to stuff you and your siblings in the van to drive around checking out neighbors’ Christmas lights? This is that drive and then some. More than 400 light displays, 60 holiday scenes and two million LED bulbs light up New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Spectators are urged to drive the route (including the tunnel and part of the track’s road course) and revel in the sights around them. $30-$35. 4:30 to 9 p.m. daily, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 1122 NH-106, Loudon. (603) 783-4931; December 2-12

Wolfeboro Festival of Trees > More than 65 exquisitely decorated Christmas trees deck the halls of the Wright Museum for this annual event. Marvel at the colorful conifers (spread across two floors) and enjoy live entertainment from local performing groups such as Expressions Dance Academy. $2-$15. Times vary, Wright Museum of World War II, 77 Center St., Wolfeboro. (603) 948-5504; December 2-22

“A Christmas Carol” at the Palace Theatre > Watch your favorite Charles Dickens Christmas novel come to life on the stage at the Palace Theatre. Follow the story of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve, accompanied by lively song and dance, actors from all over the country and a live orchestra. Don’t miss out on a chance to see an old miser forever changed by holiday joy. $25-$46. Times vary, The Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester. (603) 668-5588; PHOTO BY STUDIO PYZATA

Weekends December 3-19

November 20-December 19

NH Jingle Bells Winery Tour > Starting this month, there’s no shortage of ways to find holiday cheer — from pops concerts and plays to tree lightings and parades, you’ve got options when it comes to getting festive. But this year we’re recommending something unique — an event that blends holiday music and décor with one of our favorite things — local wine. (Full disclosure, this event is presented by New Hampshire Magazine.) Participants will have the opportunity to visit seven festive wineries throughout New Hampshire over the course of five weekends ending on December 19. The self-guided tour through New Hampshire wine country includes a tasting at each location accompanied by light hors d’oeuvres (available on weekends only). Participating wineries include Flag Hill Distillery & Winery, Seven Birches Winery, Averill House Vineyard and more. Along with the tastings, festivities will include a unique holiday ornament from each winery, music and a holiday spirit contest. $40-$75. 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Locations vary. See the event’s Facebook page for more details.

Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars > The signature event of Portsmouth’s Vintage Christmas celebrations, Strawbery Banke’s holiday classic encourages families to enjoy a bit of “stopfulness” amid the crazy pace of the season. Watch historical reenactors create scenes of Decembers gone by, while walking along pathways illuminated by candlelight. $10-$20. Sat. 5 to 9 p.m., Sun. 4 to 8 p.m., Strawbery Banke Museum, 14 Hancock St., Portsmouth. (603) 433-1100; December 3-30

Journey to the North Pole > Journey to the North Pole and Santa’s workshop. Sip on hot chocolate and enjoy treats as you take a scenic train ride through the White Mountains. At the North Pole, you’ll be greeted by Santa’s elves, who will make sure you remember to drop your letter to Santa at his workshop. In addition to Christmas carols, enjoy a reading of the tale “The Night Before Christmas.” $48-$78. Times and locations vary. | December 2021 99



December 4

Portsmouth Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting > Head to Market Square for music and a tree lighting, followed by a hometown holiday-themed parade. This event will illuminate your night and ignite your Christmas spirit with a visit from the jolly star himself, Santa. To help others and spread holiday cheer, bring a nonperishable food item to donate to volunteers walking through the parade with shopping carts for the city’s annual food drive. This event is a part of Vintage Christmas. Free. 5 p.m., Downtown Portsmouth. December 4

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100 | December 2021


Ed ito r’ s




32nd Annual Christmas in Strafford Craft Fair > Local artisans and craftspeople from all around Strafford will be safely opening up their homes and studios this holiday season. There will be over 20 locations open and over 50 crafters, including local homes along with the Bow Lake Grange Hall and Bow Lake Church. Watch out for large “Cardinal” signs with marked stop numbers to help guide you to your destinations. Free. Times and locations vary. (603) 664-5787;

December 11

Holiday Pops Concert > The Boston Esplanade Orchestra visits SNHU Arena for their cherished Holiday Pops concert. The magical music will be the highlight of your holiday season by capturing the special winter charms of New England. Listen and delight to their signature “Sleigh Ride,” as well as other holiday classics and new seasonal arrangements, joined by Metropolitan Chorale and an appearance from the Man in Red during the finale. Prices vary. 7:30 p.m., SNHU Arena, 555 Elm St., Manchester. (603) 644-5000;

December 4-19

Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour > Find enchantment on a magical sleigh ride through the snowy mountains of Northern New Hampshire, plus enjoy delicious chocolate treats from local chocolatiers. The Austrian horsedrawn sleigh makes its way to Jackson Village, halting at various stops for tastes of homemade sweets. $32. Times and locations vary. December 11

Holly Jolly Craft Fair > Procrastinators, this one’s for you! The last event of the year from Joyce’s Craft Shows, this fair carries both stocking-friendly small gifts and larger items including quilts, gourmet food and holiday floral arrangements. Sat 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 2 Somerset Plaza, Nashua. (603) 528-4014; December 11-12

24th Annual Inn to Inn Holiday Cookie & Candy Tour > Nine country lodges open their doors for visitors to taste their best holiday cookies and candies and snag some recipe and décor ideas. Stay at one of the participating inns and you will also receive a keepsake ornament. Prices and locations vary. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., (603) 356-2642; December 11-12, 18-19

“The Nutcracker” > You can catch one of Northeastern Ballet Theatre’s signature productions this month as this classic ballet takes the stage for three shows in Dover and Wolfeboro. $17.50-$30. Dover High School December 11-12, Kingswood Arts Center December 18-19; (603) 834-8834;


December 17

Christmas with the Celts > Step dancers, vocalists and a rollicking band combine with Irish instruments such as the bodhran and uilleann pipes to create an evening of classic holiday music from both sides of the Atlantic. Tickets start at $39. 7:30 p.m., The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performing Center, 39 Main St., Plymouth. (603) 536-2551; December 17-19

The Christmas Revels Festival > The Christmas Revels, one of the region’s most unique and popular holiday traditions since 1975, returns once again. Each day of The Christmas Revels Festival will include a free outdoor production in the heart of Lebanon at Colburn Park, which will include many of the songs, dances, and themes audiences have come to expect from The Christmas Revels year after year. Along with the outdoor event, there will be five reduced-capacity ticketed performances inside Lebanon Opera House by three different musical acts sure to delight their audiences. The Christmas Revels Festival will be both familiar and surprising, safe and entertaining, and a long-awaited opportunity to gather the community in celebration of the winter solstice. Prices, times and locations vary. Lebanon. As of press time in late October, the events listed here were continuing as planed. However, due to changing conditions surrounding Covid-19, some events may have been canceled by the time this issue appears. Please check with event organizers before you head out! To submit events for consideration, send information to Emily Heidt at eheidt@ at least eight weeks in advance. Not all events are guaranteed to be published either online or in the print calendar. Event submissions will be reviewed and, if deemed appropriate, approved by a New Hampshire Magazine editor.

Spend the holidays touring New Hampshire’s wineries! Visit 7 wineries, enjoy tastings, light hors d'oeuvres, and receive a unique ornament from each location.

Every Weekend, November 20–December 19 Tickets: $40/person or $75/couple | December 2021 101


Spice Up Your Life Not only does it add flavor, it’s good for you BY KAREN A. JAMROG / ILLUSTRATION BY MADELINE McMAHON


hat’s in your spice cabinet? It is a worthwhile question to consider, given all the goodness packed in the little jars that line your spice rack. Not only can spices and herbs elevate a dish from dull to delightful, but they also come with a bounty of health benefits. From China to India and ancient Greece, people in some parts of the world have long used spices and herbs for medicinal as well as culinary purposes, but now mounting research that highlights the health-boosting properties of spices and herbs is gaining 102 | December 2021

the attention of more people in the U.S. Among their benefits, spices and herbs are loaded with phytonutrients (also known as phytochemicals), which are compounds

in plants that may lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension; reduce inflammation and protect the body’s cells from damage that could lead to cancer; and support the immune system. “There is overwhelming evidence to show that high-quality spices and herbs ... have phytonutrients, and that they contain phytonutrients that you can’t get anywhere else,” says Sarah Jacobson, R.D.N., L.D., a registered dietitian at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Weight and Wellness Center in Bedford. “So even if you’re eating all your fruits and vegetables, there are specific phytonutrients and antioxidants that herbs and spices and alliums [such as onion, garlic and scallions] have on their own.” Individual spices and herbs have been studied to varying degrees, Jacobson says, “but as a group, it’s very clear that they have health benefits.” Scientists are still learning about how spices and herbs might be used to treat certain diseases, but in the meantime, we can take advantage of the cumulative health perks associated with frequent use of spices and herbs — especially because, in addition to the phytochemicals and other benefits that spices and herbs deliver directly, people who routinely use herbs and spices in the kitchen typically reduce their intake of sugar, fat and salt, Jacobson says, “and by doing that, you’re improving blood sugar and blood pressure and all of those other chronic diseases that we worry about.” Typically, the average healthy American adult who eats a varied diet should aim to cook with herbs and spices rather than pop a related supplement or two. “There is a benefit to getting [phytonutrients] from whole foods or getting them from the entire spice or herb itself versus just isolating those phytonutrients,” Jacobson says. “The body always has more of a benefit when you’re eating the food itself.” With so many spices and herbs to choose

“This is a way to shift how people are cooking and a way to shift the foods that they’re being exposed to on a regular basis.” — Sarah Jacobson, R.D.N., L.D., Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Weight and Wellness Center

Bring on the spice The pandemic has led many of us to expand our recipe box as we cook more at home, providing a perfect opportunity to explore spices and herbs. Spices and herbs are like tasty tricks that do more than boost food’s flavor; routinely using them can lessen the risk of acute and chronic disease and help keep weight in check as they make food taste good without the use of harmful ingredients such as sodium and sugar. What we eat each day “can have a huge impact [on health], whether it’s positive or negative,” says Sarah Jacobson, R.D.N., L.D., a registered dietitian at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Weight and Wellness Center in Bedford. Using spices and herbs, she says, makes it easier “to cut out processed and harmful foods, and add flavor with something that has health benefits.” For ideas on how to step up your spice game, check out Oldways at to see recipes based on traditional, whole-food cooking from around the world. from, you might wonder if you should focus on certain ones that appear to be heavy hitters in terms of supporting health. Cinnamon, for example, took a turn in the spotlight when studies linked it with lowered blood sugar, which reduces the risk of diabetes. Similarly, research helped turmeric become recognized for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

properties that have the potential to benefit body and brain. As research highlights a specific spice or herb, “people take notice,” Jacobson says. But ultimately, she recommends that “people determine which spices and herbs they love, because they all have benefits, and the cumulative effect of using them is, I think, in many ways much more important than

just focusing on one specific herb or spice.” Whichever spices and herbs you choose to use, store them properly by protecting them from heat, light and oxygen to best maintain their antioxidants, Jacobson advises, and when possible, pay attention to their quality and origins, avoiding ones that have been chemically treated. Dried or fresh, spices and herbs can help bolster health, but evidence shows that in some cases dried herbs and spices provide more benefits than fresh, Jacobson says, because they contain less water, so by weight, they can offer more antioxidants. So, whether you’re baking for the holidays, making a salad, or cooking a casserole, put a little peppah on it, as we New Englanders might say, because spices and herbs aren’t just for dinner anymore. “This is a way to shift how people are cooking and a way to shift the foods that they’re being exposed to on a regular basis,” Jacobson says. “If that helps them improve or prevent disease or even lessen their medication, then we’ve made a huge impact.” NH | December 2021 103


The 365 Days of “A Christmas Story” Editor’s note: This was the very last story our friend and colleague Bill Burke wrote before he passed away on October 11, 2021. We will continue to miss his companionship, team spirit, wicked sense of humor, and incredible zest for life.


here was a time when the leg lamp in the front window of our southern New Hampshire home acted as a beacon to all passersby: Herein resides a weirdo. And while these “A Christmas Story” souvenirs appear a little more often, few are standing sultry guard year-round. That’s what sets us apart. The full-size, fishnet-clad, high-heeled, kitschy/awesome major award sits on its own antique table, right out front, 365 days a year. I say it’s because we need the illumination so as to read important works and such. In reality, it’s because I have a black belt in Christmas-fu, and I am as a child. I was once introduced to someone at a town gathering on a summer day, and when he figured out where we lived he said, “Oh, you’re the leg lamp guy.” If not for the side-eye, I’d keep our holiday decorations up all the time. Spend enough time in our house and little things will start to jump out. There’s a string of evergreen tucked up under the edge of the bar. We have a fireplace grate in front of

the logs — which I will claim are yule in nature — that has an impressionistic Santa entwined in the metal. Here’s the thing though — despite my sometimes disturbing enthusiasm for all things decked and figgy, I’m also capable of throwing great disarray into the proceedings. When my daughter was not yet 2 years old, I brought home a pair of brass Christmas stocking hangers. They were heavy (capable of holding tchotchkes aplenty) and topped by carved snowmen complete with jagged, pointy edges. As snowmen are. To demonstrate the brilliance of my latest Christmas acquisition, I placed one of these things on the edge of a table and hung a stocking from it. My daughter crawled over and did what any normal kid would do — yanked on the stocking. The weighty, pointy, brassy decoration tipped forward and plummeted downward, the decoration (now more of a whimsical ninja star) spinning toward the top of her head. Spoiler alert: She’s 19 and in college now,

so I’ll skip the suspense and reveal that the stupid stocking hanger missed her completely. But just barely. This was a valuable lesson in the perils of unnecessary Christmas expression, but it didn’t dissuade my annual explosion of festive excess. By the time you read this, it’ll look like Santa threw up all over my living room. In the coming weeks, there will be Grinches and Ralphies and Burgermeister Meisterburgers aplenty. It’ll all lead up to the Christmas Eve, when I swear I won’t be scrambling to wrap presents. But there I’ll be, surrounded by enough tinsel and garland to choke Rudolph and praying I don’t run out of Scotch tape. The Charlie Moore marathon will be on TV, and there will be a bottle of cheer nearby. I live for this. We recently had friends over for the first time since before the pandemic. They remarked how we had our outdoor Christmas lights up nice and early this year. Yes. Nice and early. That’s it, exactly. NH



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