New Hampshire Magazine September 2021

Page 1



Seeking the sublime amidst mountains, huts and echoes

Tales of survival while serving others

SE PT E MBE R 2021


Meet s er 13 Leadaved Who S ear the Y


on the Waterways of the Swamscott River




NH & the New UFO Reality Northwoods Brewing Company Vernon Family Farm

S T I L L I N E D E N , Part 2

Live Free.


September 2021


munity of friends is you at Taylor

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© 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

2 | September 2021

Contents 40


First Things

September 2021


603 Navigator

603 Informer


603 Living


4 Editor’s Note 6 Contributors Page 8 Feedback

by J.W. Ocker

Features 38 Transcript

Meet sailor and educator Capt. Sue Reynolds. by David Mendelsohn

40 By Water:


Paddling to Exeter

Take a paddleboarding trip down the Squamscott River to Exeter. by Katherine Englishman photos by Joe Klementovich

50 Women on a Mission

We spotlight some of the women who are leading nonprofits through the pandemic.

by Emily Heidt

10 New Hampshire

30 Blips


by Casey McDermott


by Lynne Snierson

16 Our Town


by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers

by Barbara Coles photos by Jared Charney

20 Food & Drink

60 We Are Still in Eden, Part 2

by Bill Burke


Enjoy another exclusive excerpt from Howard Mansfield’s latest book, “Chasing Eden.” by Howard Mansfield

ON THE COVER Photo of Katherine Englishman by Joe Klementovich Read the story about “Paddling to Exeter” starting on page 40.


32 Politics WINGING IT

by James Pindell

33 Artisan


by Susan Laughlin

34 What Do You Know? BLOWING IN THE WIND

story and photos by Marshall Hudson

36 First Person SAVE THE MOOSE

by Bobby Dee illustration by John R. Goodwin

78 Calendar


edited by Emily Heidt

84 Local Dish


recipe by Tyler Brooks

86 Health


by Karen A. Jamrog

88 Ayuh


by Bill Burke

Volume 35, Number 8 | ISSN 1532-0219 | September 2021 3


I was 23 when I saw them, like three glass lenses examining the edge of a high cloud. Then something started to fall from them, tiny dark spots fluttering hundreds of feet until I could tell what they were: leaves. Trusted Advisors For Changing Times | 603-223-2800

4 | September 2021


hat’s my UFO story in its briefest form. I’ve told it a number of times and would have told it more often if it made any sense. Glass lenses examining a cloud? That’s how I remember it. Leaves? Yep, plain old leaves. They fell close to the place we were — my girlfriend of the time and I — but too far away for us to retrieve any before they settled in the nearby woods. This was in rural Northwest Florida, by the way, in 1975. Yes, the girlfriend remembers it (sort of). Yes, it was the 1970s with all that might imply. So it was probably a “temperature inversion” or something. Who knows? I’ve just never forgotten it. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this issue that might have inspired my monthly preliminary essay, but I guess I’ve always wanted to “reveal” my big UFO mystery and can’t think of a better time than September (UFO month in New Hampshire) in the year in which the Navy finally admits it’s got a real UFO problem with our floating-city battleships being pestered by what they tactfully describe as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. I was a childhood “buff ” regarding UFOs. I can still remember the pulp smell of the sensational magazines I’d buy at the drugstore filled with grainy photos of glowing hubcaps over farms. Like all childish things, I put my UFO magazines away at a point and got on with my life, adopting a skeptical mindset that whatever was happening to those hapless fishermen or drivers on lonely roads, it was probably happening inside the heads of the viewers more than in the sky. Then, this year, a 2004 video (yes, grainy) shot by the targeting radar of an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighting jet flown by Cmdr. David Fravor of N.H. was made public and a slumbering hunk my 23-year-old self was reawakened just long enough to go, “Whoa.” If you somehow haven’t seen it, Google Nimitz Tic Tac and enjoy the ride. Fravor, by the way, is just the latest in a long string of connections that the Granite State has to UFO history. Chances are you’ve heard about the Betty and Barney Hill abduction story

and the Incident at Exeter. If not, please enjoy writer J.W. Ocher’s excellent summary starting on page 24 But, for true UFO investigators, the connections run even deeper. The Hill’s hypnosis-restored memories of their abduction have become the standard blueprint for too-close-for-comfort encounters with aliens. The Exeter “incident” typifies another trope of UFO activity: Flying saucers seem to be attracted to nuclear technology like moths to a porchlight. At the time, nearby Pease Air Force Base was home to the 509th Bombardment Wing, a Strategic Air Command unit originally created just to drop an atom bomb on Japan. But UFO secrets seem to pop up everywhere you look in New Hampshire and just a little digging in this fertile field tends to turn up new (at least to me) stories. In October 1967, when a hypnotized Barney Hill was asked to describe his alien abductors, the man who captured it on a sketchpad was the late Jackson poet and artist David Baker — a local character who deserves his own feature (one of these days). Baker knew the Hills because of a shared love of jazz music. His rough sketches, currently in the possession of the UNH Library, clearly reveal the now-iconic alien features: big heads, huge eyes, small mouths and nose slits. Baker explained that he took Barney’s description and embellished it a bit to add “the known laws of bone structure.” Baker ran a popular roadside gallery in Jackson and was famous for his “vitreous flux” watercolor technique. His works still sell for thousands of dollars. His alien sketches, once for sale for a few hundred bucks, are now priceless artifacts of our state’s cosmic connections. If you’ve got a UFO story worth sharing, chances are you’ve already worn down friends and family telling it. Feel free to share it with me via email. Having heard mine, you know I won’t laugh.

photo by bruce richards

Saucers of Secrets

Photos by Jane Kelley and Jennifer Kalled

Wear it with your blue jeans...

Jewelry by nationally-known artist Jennifer Kalled.

Kalled Gallery Wolfeboro, NH and Santa Fe, NM 603.569.3994

Before calling the Monadnock Region home, photographer Kendal J. Bush — who took the photos for “Food & Drink” and portraits for “We Are Still in Eden, Part 2” and “Women on a Mission” — traveled the world as an editor and videographer for the National Geographic Channel and NBC. She combines years of experience as a photojournalist with her film school education to yield beautiful, creative portraits as well as corporate, wedding and event photography. See more of her work at

for September 2021

Joe Klementovich, whose work spans from Mt. Washington to the Everglades, took the photos for “By Water.” See more at

New Hampshire Magazine contributing editor and New Hampshire Magazine’s Bride editor Barbara Coles wrote the feature “Women on a Mission.”

Yoga instructor and freelancer Katherine Englishman wrote “By Water.” She loves travel and the outdoors. Learn more at

J.W. Ocker, who wrote “Informer,” pens macabre travelogues, spooky kids’ books and horror novels. His latest book is “The Smashed Man of Dread End.”

Acclaimed author Howard Mansfield provided an excerpt from his latest book “Chasing Eden” for part two of “We Are Still in Eden, Part 2.”

Jared Charney’s work has appeared in numerous prestigious publications. He took photos for “Women on a Mission.” See more at

About | Behind the Scenes at New Hampshire Magazine Q3 2021

A Work in Progress: 603 Diversity TEASING HEADLINE GOES RIGHT HERE




Coming November 2021

Food and other

Passions Q3 2021





603DIVERSITY Sample covers for our new magazine 603 Diversity (the real cover is still under wraps) feature photos by Jenn Bakos (top) and Kendal J. Bush (bottom).


everyone Something for

at Manchester’s Bookery | September 2021

Among the assumptions and tropes regarding New Hampshire, one is particularly galling in this era of diversity and inclusion: the idea (and statistical fact) that ours remains a highly undiverse state. But more important than the statistics are the people themselves, because in the small pond of New Hampshire a single individual can make big waves. When we conceived a new magazine devoted to the topic of Granite State diversity, that’s where we began: with the people who would staff it. Untold numbers of talented writers, photographers, artists and designers of color live here. We knew a number of them when we set out to create 603 Diversity — our new publication revealing the state’s culture, commerce and community from the point of view of our minority and immigrant populations. Now we know many more and have enlisted an enthusiastic new crew to write, photograph and guide 603 Diversity under the leadership of our publisher, Ernesto Burden. The final product will be mailed out with the November issue of this magazine and distributed statewide by various groups and institutions. We predict a great future for their efforts and look forward to seeing what this group comes up with now that their talents and visions are combined for a creative cause.



w w | September 2021 7

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


emails, snail mail, facebook, tweets, & @nhmagazine

Home Runner

Editor’s note: Send us an update and some photos we can share with readers, and thanks for your service to our veterans.

Wondering Why

Just wondering why there was no category for Car Washing or Auto Detailing this year. Or did I just miss it somehow? Chuck Lundberg Milford Editor’s note: Our Best of NH survey changes from year to year based on a number of factors (including the comments we receive right here). 8 | September 2021

A Note From Marshall Hudson

When I interviewed Tom Thomson for the Lupine Truck Road story [“What Do You Know?” August 2021], he suggested I come back again later and help with the seed harvesting. So I did. Photo attached of him and me gathering lupine seeds to replant elsewhere. Also a photo of an indigo bunting we saw while there. Buntings used to be common in N.H., but lately you don’t see them anymore. In response to the Editor’s Note from last month, regarding bird calls, I describe their call as “cheap cheap cheap cheapskate,” but what do I know? The cardinal is said to make a call that people have described as “weirdo weirdo weirdo,” but doesn’t sound like that to me. Marshall Hudson Here, there and everywhere New Hampshire Magazine’s sales representative Josh Auger (right) and his son Julian dropped off some Best of NH issues to Editor’s Pick winner Morgan Clark outside of her diner in North Woodstock. Clark, of the Clark’s Bears family, opened Morgan’s Diner upon returning from pursuing her music career in Nashville. “I’m charmed and rejoiced to be an editor’s choice,” says Clark. “That’s the songwriter coming out in me.” Also pictured is the diner’s BBQ pitmaster Daniel Kassel (left), who also worked with Clark on the concept and design for the diner.

courtesy photos

Although not exactly under the category of New Hampshire history, I would like to share some information on a worthwhile cause in which I will participate in on September 25, 2021. The Love of the Boston Red Sox stretched all over New England, Massachusetts to Maine, and, of course, New Hampshire. Carlton Fisk was a New Hampshire native living in Charlestown, New Hampshire. For the past three years I have attended the “Run to Home Base” event to raise money and awareness for veterans dealing with PTSD. For the first two years, the event was held at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Last year, due to COVID-19 we were unable to assemble at Fenway Park, so instead I walked from the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, New Hampshire, to the Veterans Home in Tilton (11 Miles). This year, I plan to walk from the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord to the NH Veterans Home in Tilton, a total of 19 miles With limited visitation due to COVID 19, the veterans in Tilton really appreciated a “Flag Waving” visitor and gave me a heartfelt, warm reception. The event this year was initially planned to be virtual again, so I requested permission from the Veterans Home to once again make it my destination. My request was granted and the residents were excited to be able to greet me again. Last month, the event changed from “Virtual” to an “On-Site” event at Fenway Park again. I made a promise to the veterans on Winter Street in Tilton that I would be there, so I intend to keep my promise. Richard Marsh Oxford, Massachusetts

illustration by brad fitzpatrick

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 August “Spot the Newt” winner is Dolly Smith of Meredith. August issue newts were on pages 11, 17, 25 and 107.









The September Spot the Newt prize is for wine lovers with more than $50 worth of New Hampshire-made, wine-inspired accessories including Laurel Hill wine jelly, a Boyd & Doyle mini shade for your bottle wick, Fine Wine Designs gift bags, Jack’s white wine crackers, and pocket corkscrews from Bear Images. Cheers! From the NH Made retail store, 28 Deer St., Portsmouth


SEPT. 10 - 26, 2021


OCT. 15 - NOV. 14, 2021

OCTOBER 21, 2021 GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY! | September 2021 9

603 Navigator “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” — Tom Peters

Master fruit carver Ruben Arroco’s work is the centerpiece of this summer promotional shoot at Lake Massabesic. It’s a “New Hampshire Chronicle” tradition to begin each season of storytelling with a creative rendering (in flowers, ice, sand, etc.) of the show’s logos.

10 | September 2021

Our Town 16 Food & Drink 20

Thanks for the Memories “New Hampshire Chronicle” Celebrates 20 Years BY LYNNE SNIERSON | PHOTOS COURTESY WMUR-TV


or the past 20 years, “New Hampshire Chronicle” has been navigating the state’s cultural scene to provide both vicarious adventures and guided tours to where the action is, and it’s introduced us to some of the most interesting and inspirational citizens in our state. Each weeknight, when this lifestyle and cultural newsmagazine airs on WMUR-TV/ABC (Ch. 9), it’s as though a coffee table book about New Hampshire is opened and the chapters and the characters come to life. “It’s all about the people. Everybody’s got their story, and they’re all fascinating,” says Maryann Mroczka, the executive producer/managing editor of “New Hampshire Chronicle,” which has been recounting those stories with a compelling local flavor and flair since September 2001. In this era, Chronicle’s relaxed style of long-form broadcast journalism seems incongruous with the hard-edged, hard-driving, sometimes-alarming, and always-urgent television news shows with their flashy kaleidoscope graphics and jarring bells and whistles. “People still just want the simple stories told. I think they like to see themselves reflected in those stories. We’re New Hampshire people telling New Hampshire stories. We’re telling people about themselves, and I think there is something comforting about that,” says Mroczka. She came on board shortly after the Hearst Corporation bought WMUR and its executives wanted to create a show with a newsmagazine format that mirrored the highly successful “Chronicle”

on sister station WCVB-TV (Ch. 5) in the Boston market. “If you told somebody in New York that we have a guy who’s 85 years old and he comes on every night for three minutes and just tells a story, they’d look at you like, ‘Wait. Whaaat?’” she says. That guy is the inimitable Fritz Wetherbee, who celebrated his 85th birthday on July 3, and is Chronicle’s resident historian and storyteller. Wetherbee has been on the show since Day One and was featured for the first 11 years alongside WMUR news anchors Tiffany Eddy and Tom Griffith. For the last nine years, he’s co-hosted with Erin Fehlau and Sean McDonald. “Storytelling is exactly the same as it was 1,000 years ago,” says Wetherbee, whose extraordinary research, reporting, writing and editing skills, coupled with his talent for turning a phrase, allow him to weave his tales like a tapestry. Nonetheless, this TV format has become a rare commodity. In addition to WCVB’s “Chronicle,” the only other newsmagazines still airing in local broadcast markets are “Evening Magazine” in Seattle and “Eye on the Bay” in San Francisco. Shows of this sort are mighty expensive to produce, and they require dedicated resources and talented staff. It’s vastly cheaper for a station to simply air syndicated programming, game shows and reruns of old sit coms. Then there’s the added competition from cable news shows, movies, the ever-growing list of streaming services, and the internet. “We have the backing of the Hearst Corporation to keep going. Very much so. They’re very proud of it. They love this | September 2021 11

603 NAVIGATOR / CHRONICLE Sean McDonald, Erin Fehlau and Fritz Wetherbee at Parker’s Maple Barn (2012)

program,” says Mroczka, who is rightly proud of the 19 Emmy Awards, four regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, and five other prestigious awards the show has been honored with. “Our numbers are still great. They’re really, really good. We’re lucky people are with us.” As “New Hampshire Chronicle” celebrates its platinum anniversary with special programming throughout the week of September 16, Mroczka estimates there have been more than 8,000 individual segments that have already aired. Wetherbee is a major contributor. “I do at least 200 stories each year, even with time off for elections, sports games and summertime, when too many people are on vacation so they can’t get me a crew. If I were just being modest here, it’s 4,000 stories, and may be 5,000, that I’ve written. It’s a wonderful read list,” says Wetherbee,

Above: Fritz Wetherbee, Tom Griffith and Tiffany Eddy at Rye Beach (2004) Right: Karen Meyers with the trophy for Outstanding Environmental Feature at the New England Emmys (2017 ©Eric_Antoniou)

12 | September 2021

A Granite State institution A restored 1969 Impala driven by former host Peter Mehegan to gather stories for WCVB’s “Chronicle” became a kind of trademark for the show. So what’s “New Hampshire Chronicle’s” unofficial trademark? “We have Fritz,” says Maryann Mroczka, who has been the executive producer/managing editor of WMUR-TV’s newsmagazine since its inception. Fritz Wetherbee is indeed a Granite State institution. He’s been Chronicle’s resident storyteller since the first show aired in September 2001, and a recent poll named him the most trusted person in our state, not to mention the most recognizable. “I’ve got the bow tie. I tried not wearing it a few times and got notes and calls on it. I have a nice collection of regular neckties and I haven’t worn a single one in years,” he says in that commanding voice that teases his segments with, “I’ll tell you the story.” “All my bow ties are tied. They are not pre-tied. No clip-ons,” he says. “My grandmother used to say that clip-on ties are rude. She’d say that only people who sell ice cream wear them.”. Wetherbee, who by his count has told more than 4,000 stories on the show, even has his own leadin music, and it’s as original and authentic as he is. When viewers hear the 1930s rendition of “There’s an old-fashioned home in New Hampshire and a light in the window for me” played on a 78 rpm record, they know they’re going to be treated to a thoroughly researched, beautifully written, crisply edited and fascinating tale. On July 3, Wetherbee — a ninth-generation New England Yankee who can document his ancestor’s arrival in Boston in 1765 — celebrated his 85th birthday. He’s been a radio news director and reporter, a filmmaker, a TV cinematographer, producer and on-air talent, a voice-over artist, a college instructor and an ad agency creative director. “This job is the most fun of them all. This is a heck of job,” says Wetherbee, who has a collection of five Emmy Awards and has been nominated for another 10 or so. “As long as they have a place for me, I’ll show up. It’s a lot of work, but it’s great fun, and if I didn’t have this job, I don’t know what the heck I’d do. It’s good to be working full time at 85. It gives you a little more oomph to your life.” FOREVER FRITZ: Of the 4,000-orso stories that Fritz Wetherbee has logged for NH Chronicle, around a thousand have been preserved in print in nine volumes by Plaidswede Publishing:

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nhd I 021 2 h t ber 9 o t c O



rop d k c u



PRESENTED BY | September 2021 13


Clockwise from top left: Sean “punches” Erin at Block Party Social in Hooksett (2015), Tom and Tiffany play checkers at Robie’s Country Store (2004), Sean and Erin get creepy at The Ghoullog Haunted House at Mount Cranmore (2018), and Audrey Cox finds an admirer at the Acappella Alpaca Farm in Hollis (2015).

the author of nine books where 1,000 of those stories appear in print form. Even after 20 years, there is always something fresh to discover. “If on Tuesday you come into my kitchen and look down, you will see me there, curled up in the fetal position, moaning that I have used all my stories up and there are none left. But at the end of the day, I’ve got most of them written and ready to go,” he explains. “I have a huge library of New Hampshire stuff. I have nearly all the town histories there are. I save a future file as big as anybody could have. I will look at a town and think, I’ve done that. And I’ve done that. And I’ve done that. But every week I find something, at least one or two stories, that I didn’t know about and it surprises me. Where did that come from?” Mroczka has no idea how many miles the Chronicle crew has traveled in total, 14 | September 2021

but she is certain they’ve been from Coös to the sea, and more than a few times. “I can’t think of any place in the state we haven’t been. For so many years, when someone asked if we’d done this or that story, I’d be able to recall it immediately. Now, after 20 years, my data bank is getting full. We’ve kept good records so I can go back and look, but yeah, we’ve been everywhere,” she says. That includes the hamlets, villages, notches, and tucked-out-of-the-way places even we natives don’t even know are there. “When you find them, it makes you appreciate this place even more,” she says. “Even after 20 years we still feel that sense of wonder and appreciation for how truly beautiful and special this state and its people are. Even more so now. We still find those hidden gems. People are seeing this state through fresh eyes and

that gets reflected in the program.” When viewers invite TV personalities into their homes every night, there must be an established level of trust. Throughout the pandemic, Chronicle became the comfort food, the soft slippers, and the warm blanket for many. “During Covid, people expressed their appreciation to us all that time that we were there. We were still telling, for the most part, happy stories that could get their minds off the fear and everything. That was a challenge. We had to do a lot of Zoom interviews, but we still managed to keep going, says Mroczka. “It was remarkable that we could do that through Covid. We had to scramble. We knew we had to keep going, but we couldn’t go out and shoot anything. We thought, ‘How are we going to do this?’ But we did it. And it wasn’t half bad.” NH | September 2021 15


Originally a tavern built circa 1789, the Hancock Inn is full of history, including 19th-century murals and stencil art.

Historic Hancock Soak up some small-town charm



e love browsing through the original 1938 WPA Federal Writers’ Project guide to New Hampshire, a somewhat idiosyncratic encyclopedia of our home state, for the history and for the wonderful tidbits of local lore it shares. Case in point: “Right from Hancock on Stoddard Rd., is ‘Hooter’ Farm, 2.5 mi., where a former officer in the Imperial Guard of the Czar of Russia raises turkeys.’ Who knew? In 1938, Hancock was described as “an old-fashioned community,” where “it would not seem incongruous to see a stagecoach come down the highway and stop at the tavern as it did a century ago.” The tavern — now the Hancock Inn & Fox Tavern — is still the landmark in the village center, 16 | September 2021

with its wide porch and rockers facing Maine Street. A Concord Coach laden with travelers still wouldn’t look out of place in front of the inn. First settled in 1764, the town didn’t have enough population to incorporate until 1799, when it was named for John Hancock, who owned about 1,000 acres of land here. Difficult as it is to picture now, it became a manufacturing center, at one time producing nearly half the cotton made in the state. In the early 1800s, rifles were manufactured here, but by the end of the century more than 60 family farms were the economic base. The railroad came in 1888, and Hancock’s Elmwood Station was the crossing point of two lines, the Manchester & Keene

Railroad and the Peterborough & Hillsborough Railroad. This made it easier for farmers to get their produce to city markets, and it also brought the first tourists seeking fresh country air and cooling summer breezes. The rail lines were closed after the hurricane of 1936 washed out several segments of track, but the visitors kept coming, many buying summer homes. Several taverns served the carriage trade, and one of them, a four-chimney brick structure built in 1800, is now the Hancock Historical Society, housing a museum with antique furniture, household goods, textiles and a large tool collection. Another that served the carriage trade is The Hancock Inn, built circa 1789, making it the state’s oldest continiously operating inn. It opened a decade before the town was incorporated, providing meals and — unlike the others — accommodations to travelers. The inn passed in ownership to a state

Hancock’s historic Main Street on an early fall day

senator, who made it a social center, hosting a distinguished clientele that included then-U.S. Sen. Franklin Pierce. The railroad brought more guests, and the inn hosted gala balls in its second-floor ballroom. In 1915, as new owners were renovating the inn, they discovered early 19th-century murals by the famous itinerant painter Rufus Porter, and later work by stencil artist Moses Eaton Jr. Eaton was a local boy, born in Hancock in 1796 (he later moved to Hancock Road in Harrisville, where his 1782 house is on the National Register of Historic Places). Although wallpaper was being imported from France by the late 1700s, only the wealthy could afford it. Others seeking to add color and style to their rooms hired itinerants like Porter and Eaton to decorate their walls with stenciled scenes. Several guest rooms in the inn are decorated with Eaton’s and Porter’s stylized stenciled landscapes. The inn’s restaurant, Fox Tavern, serves three-course, prix-fixe dinners with a changing menu based on seasonal ingredients. Ice cream is made in-house, as is the inn’s signature blackberry cabernet sorbet. The inn is only one of the fine buildings that make up Hancock’s Village Historic | September 2021 17


Left: Take a workshop, stay overnight or simply pick up some delicious goat cheese at Main Street Cheese. Right: Find refreshment at Fiddleheads Café.

District. Most prominent of them is the Hancock Meetinghouse and First Congregational Church, which share the same distinguished building, as they have since 1820. On October 28, 1819, Hancock’s first meetinghouse was destroyed by fire, and the town immediately set about replacing it. Because the town needed both a church and meetinghouse, it was agreed that the two would share the building; the town could use it and the church would sell pews at a public auction. There was enough money left over from the sale of pews to purchase a bell from the workshop of Revere and Son. The bell was hung in the steeple in mid-October of 1820. The completed church was dedicated on October 25, three days short of a year from the destruction of the previous one. One of New Hampshire’s finest Federal-style churches, Hancock’s is reputedly one of the most photographed in New England. The façade has three doors and a large Palladian window, and the square tower has an open-arched belfry where Paul Revere’s bell #236 still chimes hourly around the clock. The meetinghouse is part of the group of distinguished and well-preserved 18thand early 19th-century buildings around the common and along Main Street that comprise the Hancock Village Historic District, now on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the Vestry (formerly an academy building), the grange and a schoolhouse. Between the church and the inn is one of our favorite stops in town: Main Street 18 | September 2021

Cheese. The tiny honor-system shop sells fresh and aged goat cheeses, as well as goat meat and frozen prepared dishes, such as curries. Behind the shop is a garden where in the summer there are goat kids, part of the larger herd of Alpine goats on the farm outside the village. Main Street Cheese recently stepped into the agritourism scene, offering overnight experiences that include daylong cheesemaking classes and workshops, dinner based on their products and lodging. On the other side of Main Street are The Hancock Market and Fiddleheads Café, which serves bounteous made-toorder sandwiches, salads and fresh-baked breads, along with pies, cookies and other baked goods. Norway Pond, behind the meetinghouse, has a boat ramp, but our favorite place to launch our kayaks is in the nearby 1,700acre dePierrefeu–Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, a pristine pond alive with birds, including loons. On the way in, we passed a 14-foot glacial boulder beside the road, and a walk along Tamposi Trail revealed half a dozen more, including a pair that form a cave. Also off Route 123 is the Harris Center for Conservation Education, named not for the estate’s creator Dr. L. Vernon, but for the cat of his granddaughter Eleanor, who turned the land into a nature preserve. She made their stone house into the education center, and from the lower field below its terraced lawns, a trail leads into the East Side trails. Dandelyon Trail leads to Boulder

Loop, whose name should tell you it would be the one we’d follow. The highlights are Split Rock — a giant boulder cleaved in half — and a balanced rock with an overhang you can walk under. Hancock has more than a fair share of beautiful kayaking waters: At Powder Mill Pond, you can paddle under the covered bridge and up the Contoocook River and the winding channels through its marshes; Nubanusit Lake has power boats, but there’s a short portage to the remote Spoonwood Pond. NH

Learn more The Hancock Inn & Fox Tavern (603) 525-3318 |

Hancock Historical Society

(603) 525-9379 |

Hancock Meetinghouse and First Congregational Church

(603) 525-4626 |

Hancock Village Historic District

Main Street Cheese

(603) 525-3300 |

The Hancock Market

(603) 525-4433 |

Fiddleheads Café & Catering

(603) 525-4432 |

dePierrefeu–Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary willard-pond-wildlife-sanctuary

Harris Center for Conservation Education

(603) 525-3394 |





























at Woodman’s Florist | September 2021 19


A pint of Northwoods’ coffee porter and a cruller makes for an interesting and tasty combination.

20 | September 2021

Sweets and Brews

Pints, pizza, crullers and clams — Northwoods Brewing Company has them all BY BILL BURKE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY KENDAL J. BUSH


oute 202 winds through Northwood, passing over Tucker Brook and snaking around Harvey Lake until a large, barn-red building topped by a trio of cupolas rises up alongside a sweeping field just over the crest of a hill. It’d be easy to appreciate the picturesque scene as another typically beautiful Granite State vista you’re likely to find along the backroads of many quiet towns. But then, zipping past Northwoods Brewing Company without stopping would cause you to miss out on the closest thing to Willy Wonka’s factory we’ve got. After all, there’s not a lot the brewers, bakers and chefs here can’t do. They make excellent beer, ales, stouts and sours, among other hoppy concoctions, but there are also a number of inventive pizza creations, hand-scooped ice cream, golden fried clams, and probably the best handmade donuts this side of the Suncook River. Yeah, donuts. At a brewery. Technically, they’re crullers, but they’re round with a hole in the middle, so let’s not quibble over the terminology. Yet. It’s all here under one roof, just a scone’s throw from Northwood Lake. The only thing missing might be Augustus Gloop’s New Hampshire cousin, Derek Gloop, being washed away in a river of IPA. “It is quite a melting pot here,” says Sarah Fenerty, head of marketing and recreational event coordinator. “We do a lot.” It starts just inside the front door at The Bake Shop at Northwoods Brewing, where visitors encounter a glass case of baked goods — sticky buns, cinnamon rolls and lemon scones, but primarily the oversized, swirling, grooved, multicolored (OK, we’ll say it) crullers. “The crullers are more of a pastry,” Fenerty says. “It’s a very delicate dough that’s not made with the same structure of something like a potato donut. It’s a light batter that they pipe out and deep fry.” Toppings like cinnamon sugar, bacon, almonds, chocolate, raspberry, and even

a peanut butter and jelly icing, among many others, sit perfectly between the thick grooves that rise up from the pillowy dough. Additional flavors are inspired by the brewers going about their work on the other side of the glass that separates the bakery and dining/taproom from the brewhouse proper.

If you’re willing to sell your dietary discipline to the devil, head for the crossroads of beer and baked goods. It’s worth it. “Without a doubt, our coffee porter goes so well with any of those crullers,” Fenerty says of the Kveik-fermented, coffee-forward brew. “It’s not really

Sarah Fenerty is responsible for the vivid artwork that wraps the cans at Northwoods Brewing Company. | September 2021 21

603 NAVIGATOR / FOOD & DRINK like drinking beer. It tastes like a nice, really rich coffee. Usually, I suggest that if you’re doing a cruller and you’re here to get beer, try the coffee porter or any of our darker beers. They pair really nicely.” A dining room with high ceilings lined with natural wood and a tasting bar that looks directly into the brewhouse is filled with the sound of music and patrons ordering flights, pints, and choosing from a number of unusual pizzas. Pies range from the recognizable (red sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, etc.) to the Loaded Baked Potato — roasted and black garlic, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella, sharp provolone, baked potato, bacon, sour cream and chives. The challenge, then: Choose the perfect pizza/beer pairing. Luckily, there are plenty to try. Arrive at any given time and there are typically 24 different beers available between Northwoods and its sister restaurant, just on the other side of the wall from the taproom. “We’re not just trying to throw out random beers and see how many we can produce,” Fenerty says. “Each one has to have a specific story about why it came into production and what the experience could be for the consumer — the heart of the beer.”

Team Northwood in the brewhouse, from left: Head Brewer Geoff Gyles, Brewer Steve Schmidt, Lead Brewer Alex Kopf, Apprentice Quinn Grady, Marketing Director and Recreational Event Coordinator Sarah Fenerty, owner Rebecca Fenerty, Brewer Josh Fenerty and Brewer Ryan Hamer

22 | September 2021

Pizza and beer — a match made in Northwood.

The dairy bar at Johnson’s has been a Northwood institution for generations.

Head Brewer Geoff Gyles and his staff of four (and two apprentices) each bring different skillsets with them, resulting in a rotating and inventive roster of brews. Historically, Glass, a double-hopped IPA, has been a top seller, but recently, Landlocks & Brookies has worked its way up the list. A pale ale fermented with the Juggernaut Kveik blend, it offers notes of peach rings, papaya, pineapple and lime. A little further afield, Surf Candy is a puckering sour with lactose, blackberry, raspberry and key lime. And yet, people love their IPAs. Perennial favorite and Northwoods’ flagship brew, Mac and Margie, is a New

A pile of perfection: sweet, light crullers from The Bake Shop at Northwoods Brewing

England-style double IPA with flavors of candied citrus peels and apricots. “It’s all pretty toe-to-toe as far as sales go,” Fenerty says. “There’s something out there for a variety of beer drinkers. If you’re not that IPA person, there are others. What’s really nice is we always have a different variety of things on tap or in the tanks. We’re not just focused on pushing IPAs or lagers all the time. We like to have different styles that aren’t as common.” The brewhouse recently hit full capacity, but the team worked to ensure there would be tank space available to produce some of those experimental styles of beers. One of Fenerty’s recent favorites is Loud in Your Heart — a fruity saison aged half in white wine barrels, and half in red wine barrels and then combined. The selection changes often, with different craft brews available between Northwoods and its sister restaurant, Johnson’s Seafood & Steak, which has been open since the 1940s. Fried clams, lobster, pasta and steaks have kept locals coming back for decades. An ice cream counter with an extensive list of outrageous flavors (Unicorn Delight, I Scream for Cake) has made for a perfect ending for local families for generations. Fenerty’s father, Jeff, purchased the business nearly 21 years ago with an eye to maintaining the institution’s commitment to the community. “It was important to my dad to honor the tradition of Johnson’s,” Fenerty says. “The Johnson’s dairy bar has been a

staple in Northwood for a long time.” So, when it came time to expand, the family kept that lineage in mind. “We wanted the outside aesthetic to fit the location we’re in,” she says. “We’re surrounded by these big, beautiful fields, and one of the biggest obstacles is that we didn’t want it to be an eyesore. It had to add to the aesthetic of the town.” The exterior of the building features the gorgeous Northwoods Brewing logo — a fishing fly that cleverly incorporates hops and barley among its hackle and wings. Fenerty — an artist who designs all the labels — helped come up with the logo design. “I started thinking of who my father is and what he loves to do,” she says. “He’s an avid outdoorsman and his Zen thing to do is to fly fish.” The brewery portion of the business opened its doors and poured its first pint in November of 2018, enjoyed a year of normalcy, and then was forced — like everyone else — to deal with the economic effects of COVID-19. A challenge? Sure. But “we were very fortunate because people kept drinking beer during the pandemic,” says Fenerty. Fresh off of a canning shift at the brewery (Landlocks & Brookies on this particular day), Fenerty had a chance to reflect on the previous year. “It’s going to sound like nepotism, but I’m really proud of my family and my parents,” she says. “The one thing I love is that no job is beneath them. There’s no job where they won’t help out. My mom is here, in the tasting room, bussing tables and helping customers. The number of times my dad has come in to help wash dishes because they got backed up — he’s driven down and done dishes at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night plenty of times,” she adds. “I’m really proud that they’re really so humble and hardworking,” continues Fenerty. “The staff enjoys working with these two people who make it known that they care about their staff and support them as much as possible. People see that. Even I’m not here just because I’m their kid. I love working with my family and making it a place we can be proud of.” NH

Find it Northwoods Brewing Company

1334 First New Hampshire Turnpike, Northwood | September 2021 23

603 Informer “Scully, you’re not gonna believe this.” —Fox Mulder

Todd Radict, the owner of Skele-Tone in Rochester Linoprint by John Herman

24 | September 2021

Blips 30 Politics 32 Artisan 33 What Do You Know? 34 First Person 36 Transcript 38

The New UFO Reality Whatever happened to the good ol’ days of UFOs? BY J.W. OCKER / ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN R. GOODWIN


UFOs ain’t what they used to be. Once upon a time, a strange light in the sky could shake up a town, empty a police headquarters, get picked up in newspapers across the world, and make a small town famous. Once upon a time, a UFO would invite you inside and provide you with enough IP to go straight to Hollywood with that irresistible “based on a true story” hook. Once upon a time is a strange phrase to use when you’re talking about extraterrestrials. That’s why, in New Hampshire, we celebrate our classic sightings. And September is our month for that. Because September


eptember in New Hampshire is UFO season. Not in the sense that it’s our busiest month for UFO sightings. That, like most states, is June or July, when more people are outdoors. Not that sightings are much worth sighting anymore. We’re in a New UFO Reality, one where the government releases as much blurry footage of UFOs as do UFO conspiracists on YouTube. One where terrestrial drones of every shape and LED configuration zigzag the skies like they’re auditioning for Lady Gaga’s next Super Bowl appearance. One where that strange craft in the sky is probably just a billionaire playing “Brewster’s Millions” with his cash.

Barney and Betty Hill holding a newspaper reporting their alleged alien abduction in the White Mountains on September 19, 1961 | September 2021 25



was when two towering tentpoles of UFO lore happened here. On September 19, 1961, husband and wife Betty and Barney Hill were driving home to Portsmouth after a vacation in Canada. It was almost midnight when they hit the dark hole in the state that is the White Mountains at night. That’s when they saw the light in the sky. One of those shake-up-a-town kind of lights in the sky. It seemed to be coming after them. Barney took a peek at it through binoculars, and what he saw terrified him into stomping the gas pedal. But his 1957 Chevy Bel Air couldn’t outdrive the kind of technology that can cross interstellar space. He and his wife were stopped by the disc-shaped craft, and then disappointingly human-like aliens in shiny black uniforms took them inside to perform inscrutable medical-type tests on their bodies before letting them go. That’s the simple version, anyway. If you want all the details, you can read the popular book by John G. Fuller called “The Interrupted Journey” or watch the movie based on the story starring James Earl Jones and New

Above: UFO sightings have been reported in New Hampshire skies since the 1950s and continue today. Top: The historical marker in Lincoln that immortalizes the Hills story

26 | September 2021


The 1975 film “The UFO Incident” tells the story of Barney (portrayed by James Earl Jones) and Betty Hill (portrayed by Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons), a couple from Portsmouth who encounter a UFO but decline to talk about it. Years later, their secret has put a strain on both themselves and their marriage. They visit a psychiatrist and, under hypnosis, deliver remarkably similar stories about what they say happened to them on that fateful night. | September 2021 27


On the night of September 3, 1965, 18-year-old Norman Muscarello was hitchhiking to his home in Exeter when he saw five red lights blinking in sequence in the sky on what seemed to be a craft the size of a house. For the next few weeks, scores of UFOs sightings were reported in the area.

Hampshire’s own Estelle Parsons (a Lakes Region seasonal lifeform) called “The UFO Incident.” Although you can probably guess the details yourself — after all, this alien abduction story set the template for every alien abduction story of the modern era. Four years later, on the night of September 3, 1965, 18-year-old Norman Muscarello was at the end of a long hitchhike to his home in Exeter, just a town or two away from the home of the Hills in Portsmouth. He was thumbing down Route 150 when he saw five red lights blinking in sequence in the sky on what seemed to be a craft the size of a house. When the lights moved toward him, he dodged them in a ditch. Eventually, he made it into town and headed right for the police. Officer Eugene Bertrand returned with him to the site to check it out. It was the second report Bertrand had received that night about a UFO. Earlier, two women claimed that a red craft had chased them while they were driving. The first twist in the story is that, when Muscarello and Bertrand arrived, they both saw the red lights hovering over a farm. 28 | September 2021

Bertrand radioed for backup and Officer David Hunt joined. The second twist is that he also saw the lights. The third twist is that, for the next few weeks, scores of UFO reports poured in. The Exeter Incident would become one of the most documented sightings in the lore. It also got a popular book by John G. Fuller, this one called “The Incident at Exeter.” No movie, though. But the Hills’ experience and the Exeter flyover aren’t the only talking points for UFOs in New Hampshire. There’s the Derry Fairy, a short, loose-skinned Spielbergian creature witnessed in 1956 by Alfred Horne in the woods of Derry. He tried to catch it, but it screamed and got away (Reese’s Pieces wouldn’t be invented for another two decades). And there’s Daymond Steer of the Conway Daily Sun, who, in full accord with his journalistic duties, keeps asking presidential candidates where they stand on UFOs when they stump through the state. (Hillary Clinton said she would look into it before losing to Donald Trump.) For a while, people thought that the oldest UFO photo in the world was taken in New

Hampshire. It dated to 1870 and depicted a cigar-shaped form against what looked like clouds above Mount Washington. The craft turned out to be a ruler in a snowbank. UFOs sightings are still happening today in the state — a black speck racing above the Robert Frost Homestead in Derry, a silver orb in the clouds above Canterbury, a gray triangle hovering ten stories above Somersworth. But these days you have to dig deep into the digital to learn about those sightings. And they’re probably just drones. Or billionaires. So what do we do in New Hampshire during UFO season besides look longingly at the sky (not for UFOs necessarily but out of nostalgia)? We can retrace the route of Betty and Barney Hill, all the way down old Route 3 to the sign in Lincoln that immortalizes their story and on to their graves in Kingston where their epitaphs still tout their encounter. And in Exeter, we can buy alien T-shirts and listen to UFO lectures at the annual Exeter UFO Festival. Well, we usually can. Covid has taken it down two years running. But it’ll be back. Until then, we’ll dream about the good ol’ days of UFOs. NH | September 2021 29



Monitoring appearances of the 603 on the media radar since 2006

The Black Experience in the Spotlight JerriAnne Boggis honored with Ona Judge Award JerriAnne Boggis wants to complicate the rest of the country’s narrative about New Hampshire. Specifically, one persistent misconception she hears over and over again: “They don’t have any black people there.” “Well, no, we have a long history,” she says. “ We may have small numbers of black people, but we all face the same issues from New Hampshire, across the country, as any black group does.” As the executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, Boggis devotes her life to the task of making visible the often-overlooked stories of its Black residents through the centuries. But now, she’s excited to have the chance to bring those stories into an even bigger spotlight as one of the inaugural recipients of the Ona Judge Award for Human Rights, awarded by the Human Rights Society at Penn State University. The new award is meant to recognize those who “champion the cause of human rights in their personal and professional lives and to represent communities that are often the target of human-rights abuses.” News of the honor came as a surprise, but an especially welcome one since Boggis has spent lots of time educating the public about its namesake, who has a deep connection to New Hampshire. Ona Judge was enslaved by George Washington and his family, but she escaped — eventually finding freedom in Portsmouth. But, as noted by Penn State, Judge’s grasp on freedom remained tenuous throughout the rest of her life: “When she died in New Hampshire on Feb. 25, 1848, at the age of 75, [Judge] was still legally the property of George Washington’s step-grandchild.” Boggis is thrilled to see Judge’s story getting more of the attention it deserves. “Ona’s story complicates the narrative that we know about American history,” she says. “Here is somebody who defied, with not much power at all — actually no power — the highest power in the land.”

30 | September 2021



JerriAnne Boggis

That narrative becomes even more complicated when you consider that the same president who claimed to support the abolition of slavery also went to such great lengths to chase down Judge after she fled his estate. Boggis says she’s also excited to have a chance to share Judge’s story with more people because it helps to tell a

more nuanced story about Black history in New Hampshire. “That she would come to Portsmouth and disappear in the Portsmouth community tells us that there was a Black community that she could disappear in,” she says. “So often, New Hampshire talks about just being a white state with no Black history. So that changes that narrative — you know,

who supported her when she came?” From here, Boggis is hoping to use the momentum from this award — and one other forthcoming honor she couldn’t quite disclose as of press time — to draw more attention to the Black Heritage Trail’s mission of using history to help inform present-day conversations about race in New Hampshire and beyond. “We learn from history, but history helps us to perform today, when we talk about it,” Boggis says. “And in performing today, it helps us create the future that we want.” NH

New Hampshire Join us at

Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 COURTESY PHOTO


A belated but hearty congrats is in order to Dover native and Olympic silver medalist Jessica Parratto for her world-class performance in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She earned the secondplace spot in the women’s 10-meter synchronized diving competition. “It just goes to show that if you stay focused and you’re confident, anything can happen,” Parratto said following her win, according to Another reminder to be kind fo the people serving your coffee: As reported by the Daily Dot, a TikTok user was recently “accused of ‘snitching’ by posting a viral video of a messy Dunkin’ location in New Hampshire.” The video, viewed more than 700,000 times, showed the inside of a local store that appeared to be covered in kids’ toys, blankets and boxes. “The sheer notion that a parent could be financially forced into occupying a Dunkin’ left many sorrowful, however,” the Daily Dot reported, noting that it reached out to the company and the user who posted the video.

New Hampshire’s largest mental health and suicide prevention event!

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Just Winging It

The two-party system sprouts a third limb BY JAMES PINDELL / ILLUSTRATION BY PETER NOONAN


here was only one topic of New Hampshire political conversation in the summer of 2021 — the potential for a blockbuster race for U.S. Senate in 2022. Republican governor Chris Sununu has not said whether he will challenge Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan. Yet the idea that it could happen has framed everything else in the state politically — from how to spin the state budget to local COVID response to Washington legislating to other races down the ballot. This is logical enough in terms of the early political jockeying. The problem is that this focus misses what is arguably a much bigger story in state politics this summer. The year 2021 should be remembered in New Hampshire political history as the year that libertarians found their footing inside the political establishment. Indeed, at no time in the state’s history have libertarians had a bigger say in how the state is run. For the last half-century, what existed of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party was a separate, quirky sideshow. Occasionally, a Libertarian would reach at least 4% in a statewide race, meaning the state would recognize them as a political party. But that status was fleeting. Lately, when there is any talk at all about New Hampshire Libertarians, it’s about the

32 | September 2021

Free State Project. The two-decade-old idea was, if 20,000 libertarians moved here and ran for office, they could alter the trajectory of the state. In the end, they only achieved a quarter of the goal. Along the way, many who moved to the state did run for office, but they began to run within the two-party system, especially as Republicans. The transformation of the Libertarian Party to what is now considered to be the Liberty wing of the state Republican Party has had immense consequences for the everyday politics of the state and in very discernible raw-power ways. For the first time, a liberatarian is in state political leadership. House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, 43, a Republican from Auburn, first came to New Hampshire as the Free State Project was getting underway. In 2020, he gave $50,000 to a political action committee dedicated to helping libertarians win nationwide. It’s important to note that Osborne didn’t become a leader just because of his own talent and personality but because he has a group of libertarians he leads in the House. It is this group, using the existing power structure, that passed the most libertarian

state budget in decades. Yes, Democrats will call it the most conservative budget in decades, but that forgets that concession after concession was to the libertarians to ensure the budget passed. What concessions? Taxes were cut, school choice credits expanded, religious freedoms expanded, and the ability to limit the power of the governor were suddenly topic No. 1. Politically, members of this group in the state are even bigger players than they get credit for because it is not as obvious. To be clear, the state Liberarian Party is a mess. Even their longest-serving members want nothing to do with their antics. But consider this: While Democrats haven’t been able to touch Sununu politically since he was first elected in 2016, it is libertarians (with a small L) who were constantly protesting outside of Sununu’s house and driving up his negatives in poll numbers, not the Democrats. And, without another libertarian-minded person, Aaron Day, who ran for the U.S. Senate as an independent to siphon off 17,000 votes from Kelly Ayotte, and Libertarian Party candidate Brian Chabot getting another 12,000 votes, Hassan, who won that race by a little over a 1,000 votes, wouldn’t be a senator today. NH


Keep on Turning Letting the light shine through BY SUSAN LAUGHLIN


It’s backbreaking work to lift cumbersome 200-pound sections of wood, up to 22 inches across, onto the lathe. He eventually acquired an electric winch to help with the arduous process. As the wood spins at 800 revolutions a minute, it gets lighter as he carefully shaves down the outside with hand tools, and then the inside for a thickness averaging 1/10 of an inch. And that is the magic. The turned piece now weighs less than a pound. As a completed translucent lampshade, it glows warm from the light within, revealing all the imperfections of the wood, now prized as variance in color and pattern. It takes patience and fungi in a process called spalting to create that added interest. Bloch’s workshop is stacked with aspen logs that are aging in place. While they sit around, the logs are attacked by white-rot fungi, which does the important work of creating colorful streaks and pattern changes, and allows for a few insect holes that create pinpoints of light.

To give himself new challenges, Bloch has worked in collaboration with other artisans. His smaller lampshades are suspended over dining room tables via the iron work of David Little of Winnipesaukee Forge. Donna Banfield’s pyrography, or woodburning, can be seen enhancing an edge here and there with dark accents. Bloch also turns his lamp bases using a variety of hardwoods to contrast with the shades. Bloch’s shades can be see in the dining room of the New London Inn and also the Flying Goose Brew Pub. His work is also usually featured in the Living With Craft exhibition at the League of N.H. Craftsmen’s annual fair, held at Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury from August 7-15. His website is well stocked, and his showroom is open by appointment only. Prices range from $1,000 to $4,000, with collaborative work ranging upward to $12,000. NH

Find it Peter Bloch | WoodGlow |

courtesy photos

eter Bloch has been turning wood for close to 40 years and making his signature lampshades for most of them. He was accepted into the League of N.H. Craftsmen on the strength of his bowls and other functional wood products, but he quickly switched lanes and is now considered an expert in the field of wooden lampshades. At one point, Bloch stumbled upon the use of aspen, which is also called white poplar. The wood is not prized by many, but for him, its most important characteristic is its beautiful transparency. “No other wood, when turned very thin, looks this good,” he says. And creating shades for lights seems the perfect match for the logs he salvages from New Hampshire forests. Throughout his long career, Bloch has made more than 2,000 shades. “I don’t advertise, exhibit in galleries or attend craft shows — people just find me,” he says. And, lately, most of those folks are return customers, adding to their collection of WoodGlow shades. But Bloch is giving them notice — he expects to retire within the next two years.

Peter Bloch demonstrating the art of woodturning and how light shines through the delicate wood | September 2021 33


Blowing in the Wind

Flags on the 48 to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11

The flag goes up on Mt. Liberty as particpants observe the Flags on the 48 activities last year in remembrance of those who perished on September 11.



’m partway up the Liberty Springs Trail and starting to hurt. I still have some distance to go before reaching the peak of 4,459-foot-high Mt. Liberty and I’m wondering what I’ve gotten myself into. The guidebook says it is 4.1 miles from the trailhead to the summit and should take three to four hours. That means it is also 4.1 miles and another three to four hours back down again after the exertion of going up. The guidebook indicates an elevation gain of 3,150 feet between parking lot and summit and describes the hike as “difficult.” I’d describe it as being on a relentless stair-stepper machine for eight hours while wearing a 25-pound backpack and being eaten by mosquitoes. Why am I doing this? I’m with a team of like-minded trekkers scaling the mountain with the goal of flying Old Glory on the summit. In addi-

34 | September 2021

tion to the usual mountain hiking gear, we are also packing flagpole parts, guy wires, ropes, duct tape and a large American flag. These components are divvied up amongst team members to minimize the extra weight any one person might carry. My portion consists only of camera and notebook, so perhaps I’m getting off easy. Our headcount was 22 when we left the trailhead, but like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, we’ve been picking up others in groups of twos and threes and fours along the way. By the time we break tree line and start climbing the rocky pyramid dome, we are a colorful, sweaty band 44 strong with three dogs. Our team is not alone on this mission; similar teams are ascending all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot mountains with the shared goal of flying the flag between noon and 2 p.m. for the annual Flags on the 48 memorial hike.

Flags on the 48 is a grassroots effort by volunteers who believe that those who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, should never be forgotten. Experienced mountain hikers and passionate nonhikers join forces each September to raise American flags on New Hampshire mountaintops in memory of the lives lost on that day. This memorial service originated three days after the 9/11 attack as Americans were reeling from the devastating news, wanting to fight back but finding little they could do. Six hikers found a way to express their emotions by climbing Mt. Liberty and raising a 96-square-foot American flag on the summit. Perhaps an insignificant event, but it was symbolic, patriotic, demonstrated a defiant unbroken American spirit, and paid tribute to the rescuers and thousands of innocent people who died in the attacks. Their effort received a tremendous out-

probably wouldn’t have survived. Jackie and Michelle are 24 and from Swampscott. When they attended elementary and high school, their classes would halt mid-morning for a moment of silence each September 11th, but after graduating they felt a void in the lack of memorial services, so they wanted to be a part of this one. Alex deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 with the 91st Engineering Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. Jennifer from Nashua is doing FOT-48 for the third time. She is hiking with friends Jessi, Erin and Amanda, all in their early 30s and all have people in their lives who served in the military in response to the 9/11 attack. Volunteers from the 455th Medical Company out of Ft. Devens are here in battle dress uniform to carry their Guidon to the summit.

Volunteers from the 455th Medical Company carried their Guidon to the summit.

pouring of support. Volunteers who wanted to participate if it were to be done again came forward, and the Flags on the 48 memorial hike was born. Over the next couple of years, more volunteers joined the initiative, and more flags were raised on more mountaintops. Reactions from participants and observers were overwhelmingly positive and the effort continued to grow. By 2004, all 48 peaks were covered, and what had started as a small tribute by six hikers now involved hundreds.

Hikers resting before beginning the journey back down the mountain

Collectively the Flags on the 48 memorial hike is done in memory of those who lost their lives in the attacks, and to show support for the servicemen and women placed in harm’s way as a result of the events of that day. But speaking individually with those hiking today, I learn that everyone has a personal reason for participating: George from Hollis lost two co-workers on 9/11 who were traveling on a flight bound for California. Rick from Manchester was at Ground Zero just after the attack and saw the building rubble still smoldering. Denny from Nashua is 78 and knew one of the people killed in the attack. Brian from Manchester is 63 and this is his 14th time participating. He will serve as chaplain and lead the prayer and moment of silence on the top. Ann had family in New York City. One of her relatives worked in the towers and was running late for work that morning. She caught the subway later than usual and was stuck in it for hours. Family members didn’t know if she was dead or alive. If she had been on time for work that morning, she

We reach the peak and assemble the flagpole. It is windy and guy anchors are secured before the flag is raised. A prayer and a few words are spoken, followed by a moment of silence. A list of names of those who perished is placed on the summit. I learn that on other mountains “Taps” is sounded by someone who packed a bugle up the mountain. Hikers share memories and photos of family members or friends tragically lost on that day. The panoramic vista is cloudless, and to the north I see another group raising the flag on Mt. Lincoln. Across the valley to the southeast, the colors are being unfurled on Mt. Flume. With binoculars off to the west, I can make out flags on Kinsman and Cannon. Overhead, a Blackhawk helicopter circles with crew members hanging out the door and giving us the thumbs-up. The mood is both exhilarating and somber. At 2 p.m., with our goal achieved and respects paid, the flag is lowered and folded like a tricorner hat. We stow the pole and guy lines and pick up everything, leaving no trace we were there. Not wanting to be caught on the mountain after dark, there is an urgency upon us and hurting a bit more, I start back down. NH

Flags will be flying This year, Flags on the 48 will be on Saturday, September 11, the 20th anniversary of that fateful day. Flags will be raised on all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot summits to commemorate those lives lost on 9/11. | September 2021 35


Save the Moose! Radio high jinks and tall tales BY BOBBY DEE / ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN GOODWIN


f there’s one thing I’ve learned during my nearly five decades of being in the radio business, it’s that you can’t always

believe what you hear on the air. And then there’s “doomscrolling,” or

obsessively scanning the news and social media for the latest bad news. It seems counterintuitive — if you’re stressed, why seek out upsetting news? Experts say most often, doomscrolling is fueled by anxiety and a desire to gain control in a time of uncertainty. Just a few months ago, I read about a woman who won a radio contest where the 36 | September 2021

prize was a brand new Toyota. She was overjoyed ... until she arrived to claim her prize. It turned out to be a toy Yoda — a “Star Wars” action figure. The prize had been described only on the air, not in actual writing anywhere,

so it was no surprise that she, and every other listener, had misunderstood. She, however, wasn’t at all amused by the station’s joke. Joking with, duping and misleading the listeners in an effort to gain attention and publicity have been ploys used by on-air personalities ever since the first one sat in front of a microphone. At one station where I worked for a brief time many years ago, there was a custodian named George. He was a diminutive guy, barely 5 feet tall, but he had a big talent — he could imitate the voices of a number of famous singers. So, whenever things at the station became a bit dull, or the ratings started to take a downward slide, George would be asked to do his thing and give a shot of adrenaline to the listeners. “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re not going to believe this!” the DJ would announce. “Guess who just walked into the station? It’s Ricky Nelson!” And George would launch into his best Ricky impersonation. There weren’t any personal computers back then, so no one could check to see that Ricky actually was on tour in Germany at the time. But if anyone had decided to complain, the DJ already was prepared with his defense: “It was Rick E. Nelson. You just misunderstood.” Another DJ I knew would tape several of his shows in advance whenever he had to be elsewhere. The only problem was, the public was supposed to believe it was a live show. So, to add realism, he also would insert a contest or two into the tape. “If you’re the third caller right now, you’ll win two tickets to the Strand Theater!” he’d say. And then he’d have whoever was available at the station at the time call him on one of the extensions, give him a fake name, and win the contest, so he could tape it in advance. When the show finally aired, the unsuspect-

I was awakened by sirens and a lot of commotion outside. I looked out and saw police cruisers, fire trucks and crowds of people rushing toward the bridge.

ing listeners would rush to their phones in an attempt to win a nonexistent contest. But my favorite radio stunt, one I had the opportunity to witness firsthand, occurred over 70 years ago. I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It was back in the late 1940s, when I was just a kid and my family was living in the Amoskeag area of Manchester, not far from the bridge. I was awakened early one spring morning by sirens and a lot of commotion outside. I looked out the window and saw police cruisers, a fire truck and crowds of people rushing toward the bridge. Curious, I hurried out to see what was going on. As I approached, I noticed that many of the people were carrying cameras and binoculars. I also saw a concerned-looking man who was dressed like Smokey the Bear, complete with a badge, running back and forth and looking down into the water, which was really high, due to the spring thaw. Someone said he was a game warden. My first thought was someone had jumped or fallen off the bridge and was struggling in the rushing water below. I squeezed my way through the crowd and peered over the bridge’s railing, but couldn’t see anything of interest. So I finally asked one of the bystanders what was going on. “Norm Bailey, the morning DJ on WKBR [a radio station located near the bridge, with a view of the river from the big picture window in the back], just announced in a panic that he was looking out of the window and happened to spot a big moose on an ice floe, coming down the river and heading straight for the dam! I’ve never seen a moose before. Hope I’m not too late!” My curiosity was piqued. I wanted to see the moose too. Even better, I wanted to see

the moose being rescued from the middle of the river. I mean, how, I wondered, would the authorities manage to safely remove such a huge beast from a chunk of ice? I doubted it would just calmly stand there and allow them



to lasso him and tow him back to shore. So I was picturing a battle worthy of the best rodeo competition. Every second, more people arrived, all talking about saving the moose before it plunged over the dam to its inevitable, bone-crushing demise. With eager anticipation, all of us looked down at the water. We looked hard. There were chunks of ice floating by, but there was no moose standing on any of them. “It must have gotten spooked and jumped off and drowned!” someone shouted, eliciting cries of “Oh, no!” Finally, one of the policemen announced that it was time for everyone to leave and go home because there was no moose — and there never was. Norm Bailey, he said, had confessed he’d created the story out of boredom. It was all a hoax. There were a lot of angry-looking people, especially the game warden, as the crowd dispersed. In fact, I suspected that if Bailey had emerged from the station at that precise moment, he probably would have been the victim of an impromptu lynching. Even I was so disappointed, I willingly would have provided the rope. Rumor has it that Bailey was suspended for a couple weeks afterward, due to his boss’ lack of amusement over his stunt. All I can say is I have to give Bailey credit for proving that Orson Welles wasn’t the only one who was able to incite panic with a contrived radio broadcast. NH

Bobby Dee of Hooksett has had a radio career spanning nearly 50 years at a number of stations, including New Hampshire’s WKBR-AM, WNHQ-FM, and for the past nine years, WNHNFM. He earned the nickname “King of the Golden Oldies” when he originated the first all-golden-oldies radio show in New Hampshire. Tune in to “Bobby Dee’s Rock and Roll Caravan” show on the award-winning WNHN 94.7 FM Saturdays from 8-10 p.m. and Sundays from 12-2 p.m. | September 2021 37


Light On Photo and interview by David Mendelsohn This seasoned New England mariner whose handsomely etched face bears testament to a lifetime spent on open waters is Capt. Sue Reynolds, sailor and educator. She has been navigating our gray Atlantic since childhood. The White Island Lighthouse was raised 200 years ago from “rubblestone” and has been guiding mariners around the Isles of Shoals ever since. Some 20 years ago, the Lighthouse Kids arose from one of Capt. Reynold’s civics classes to help save it. Now, she and these children raise the funds necessary to keep this important New Hampshire landmark beaming.

As a child, summers were spent living and slowly constructing the family cottage in Hampton. Often, I was my father’s helper, learning the value of tools to accomplish tasks that initially seemed impossible. All aspects of the ocean fascinate me; however, I’d rather be on the water than in the water. Sailing was the perfect leisure activity to apply my knowledge of physics and problem solving, to experience independence and become self-reliant. Over the years, I have taught sailing, raced and cruised the Atlantic from the Bahamas to the Bay of Fundy. I was a public-school educator for 40 years with 38 years spent in North Hampton ... applying knowledge learned in the classroom to real-life situations. While conducting a beach clean-up at North Hampton State Beach, I pointed out the lighthouse in dire need of repair and suggested that, as part of our seacoast service learning, we could try to raise public awareness to the plight of White Island Light.

For [one of my] civics lessons, a local state legislator was guest speaker. At the end of his talk, he asked students what he could do for them. One astute student said, “You can help us save a lighthouse.” After a visit to the Portsmouth Athenaeum, “Lighthouse Kids” was officially named! In 2003, while two Lighthouse Kids were speaking before the NH House of Representatives, the question was asked, ‘Why is it important to save White Island Lighthouse?’ The unscripted student response was, ‘The lighthouse is an important part of New Hampshire’s history and the only offshore lighthouse. The tower is in danger of falling down. It’s like the Old Man of the Mountain. What would you do if that fell down?’ (And ironically, the Old Man did fall three months later.) On my teaching retirement day, June 16, 2006, NBC Nightly News, “Making a Difference” with Brian Williams, featured Lighthouse Kids! For 20 years, Lighthouse Kids’ efforts have helped raise awareness and funds to maintain White Island Light.

Lighthouse Kids Motto: “Let the Light Live On!” Official keepers lived on White Island until 1986, when the lighthouse was automated. The US Coast Guard continues to maintain the light as an aide to navigation; however, the USCG is not responsible for maintaining historic structures. The Lighthouse Kids board of directors, in 2004-2005, created the LobStar fundraiser, which quickly grew into a community project with reach beyond North Hampton. Parents, Lighthouse Kids, students and teachers from neighboring schools, community members, local businesses, Hampton Rotary and lots more all worked together to create artistic LobStars that were sponsored, then auctioned off at a dinner under the canvas tent at Odiorne Point. The project raised over $188,000. Officially, Lighthouse Kids has had a memorandum of agreement with the State of New Hampshire (owner of White Island) since September 2003. The most recent Lighthouse Kids’ fundraiser, June 15, 2021, was Rye Elementary School’s Annual Walkathon. To help with maintenance and repairs, more than $5,000 was raised by third- and fourth-graders. Visit to help out. | September 2021 39

: by water Paddling to Exeter

By Anders Morely Photos by Kendal J. Bush

Sure, you could drive there, but where's the adventure in that? by 40

Katherine nhmagazine.comEnglishman | September 2021 | photography by joe klementovich

Bridget Freudenberger warms up her paddling skills on the Squamscott River. | September 2021 41

There’s something about approaching a town that you’ve never visited before from the water — it’s a much different kind of entrance than driving down the main drag as you do your best to outsmart other cars and victoriously claim a prime parking spot. From this direction, you are most likely coming in from the backside of town, and instead of being greeted by storefronts, shop signs or eye-catching displays, your first impressions are of its quiet, day-to-day activities instead. On the river, you get glimpses of locals walking their dogs or enjoying lunch with friends. It’s not the bombastic persona that they want you to see and experience; it’s the silent yet potent pulsation of everyday people living their lives. To me, that’s a far more interesting introduction to a place than a drive down Main Street.

In this case, the town was Exeter and the waterway was the Squamscott River. Our plan — myself and two friends, Bridget and Joe — that day was to meet at the put-in, where Route 108 crosses the river, and paddle downstream to let the tide softly pull us along as we made our way into town. I didn’t have my own, so I borrowed a friend’s bright-pink-and-blue paddleboard for the day, and tossed on a matching sweatshirt to counteract the mood of the gloomy, overcast morning. I had a backpack full of essentials (plus rain gear) secured neatly under the bungee cords on the nose of my board and personal flotation devices (PFDs) accessible on the

Above: A small pack with a phone, extra layers in case of rain, snacks and water fit easily on a paddleboard. Right: Bridget (left) and author Katherine Englishman paddle along the relatively undeveloped shoreline.

42 | September 2021 | September 2021 43

Expert Tips for Standup Paddleboarding If you want to feel more confident on a standup paddleboard, Ian Troost, co-general manager of Portsmouth Paddle Co., shares some of his best tips and tricks to help any SUP lover improve their paddling skills on the Squamscott and beyond.

Tip #1: Take the Plunge

“One recommendation that we at Portsmouth Paddle Co. tell beginners during a lesson is to take a quick dip in the water before getting onto the paddleboard,” says Troost. “If you’re already wet from swimming, you don’t have that subconscious — or very conscious — fear of falling in the water. This helps to take the edge off when doing something new, and [you will] be less afraid of falling in.”

Tip #2: Build Up Your Balance

“Another recommendation we give is to start paddling from your knees, especially if it’s windy or if there is a current, as often there is a current in tidal rivers and other waterways. This allows beginners to get used to the board, how it moves and handles weight, and allows them to feel comfortable before they stand up.” When you’re ready to stand on the board for the first time, Troost suggests doing the following three steps: 1) Take a deep breath. 2) Look 5 to 10 feet ahead of the board. 3) Start trying to paddle, even if your form isn’t perfect. Paddling helps with balance because a moving board is easier to balance on versus one that is still.

Tip #3: Go With the Flow ... Literally

“You never know how it’s gonna go on the river,” says Troost. “A weird current or gust of wind can give any rider an unexpected dunk. Listen to your guides or do research ahead of time to learn about any potential currents, the tide and which way it’s moving. There are a lot more variables on a place like the Squamscott than an open lake or beach. You need to be in tune with what the river is doing, versus just mindlessly floating.” His best tip for staying safe while paddling these waters? “The route you took out may look different on the way back as the water level changes, possibly exposing new rocks or obstacles, but this can make things fun and help you become a more experienced and confident paddler.”

44 | September 2021

back. I wasn’t terribly worried about falling off my loaner board, which was broad and sturdy, but glanced nervously at my adventure buddy, Bridget, who seemed less than confident in her much smaller SUP board’s ability to hold her upright. Whether one of us capsized or not, it would be an adventure for sure, because, honestly, how many people plan to have a day in town that involves paddling six miles down the river and back? Not many, I’m sure. Yet, that sense of adventure tops the list of reasons why I love New Hampshire and New England in general; there is no shortage of new and interesting ways to explore the area, and at least one or two friends who are happy to come along for the ride.

It’s hard to pinpoint

exactly what makes a human-powered trip down a river

feel so intimate.

Katherine follows the incoming tide up the river.

Whether it’s a canoe, kayak or SUP board, there’s a sense of stillness being in such close proximity to the water, not to mention the action of gliding through it in a way that feels so effortless it was as though you were flying. At times, the tide went slack and our output increased. Other times, it did pull us along as we had hoped, and it wasn’t hard to feel the water’s momentum as it moved toward the sea. Everything became a little easier and lighter when you could go with the flow of its natural movements, and during quieter moments, I waxed poetic to myself about being in harmony with the dance of the gravity between Earth and the moon, among other things. Funnily enough, there were few quiet moments when it came to the three of us. While paddling, you naturally stick close to one another and fall into sync with one another’s steady strokes. Despite the crummy weather and threat of rain, there was a buzz of happy energy just to be there together, with the same end goal and nothing else to do but paddle, that kept us totally present. I marveled at how simple and accessible this could be for anyone who wanted to simply try. You don’t | September 2021 45

Timing the tide just right, Katherine paddles into Exeter on the incoming tide.

need a lot of skill or previous experience to paddle a short distance down the river, just the willingness to find a board, pick your route, and go. For miles we never heard the nagging bing or beep of a phone, just the continuous sound of happy chatter and the occasional “Woah!” when one of our boards caught us off guard and wobbled beneath our feet. True serenity, I’d say. Perhaps that feeling of intimacy also stemmed from our unusual vantage point of people who live on the river. Some yards backed right up to the shores of the Squamscott with docks or boats at the ready, while others were tucked away into its lush, marshy vegetation. Sheerly out of curiosity, we peered into the houses from a far enough distance that we could conceal our nosiness, wondering about the lives of these riverside folk and what they thought of our meandering trip down and then back upstream again that day. Only once did we encounter a boat, 46 | September 2021

a relatively small motorboat that came roaring around a bend, and the three of us held on for dear life as its waves rocked our SUP boards (some more than others) without knocking us off. However, even after traveling for quite some time, we didn’t see a soul aside from a few great blue herons that would silently soar through the air and completely capture our attention. For a while, the scenery all looked the same: Heaps of pale green and golden stems of tall marshy grass lined the silty banks of the saltwater river holding the sediment and other semiaquatic vegetation in place as it has done for hundreds of years when this was a busy, working tidal river. Our leisurely paddle was a far cry from the kind of bustling activity that the Squamscott and another nearby waterway, the Piscataqua River and the Great Bay, a tidal estuary that was a hub of the seacoast, used to see.

However, when we turned a corner, the landscape suddenly transformed into a far more urban setting. The river opened wide and the town’s historic mills came into view. It’s been nearly 200 years since these mills were built and packed full of workers, but the place was still buzzing with energy. Even from a distance, it was easy to see that the deep-red brick exteriors had developed a weathered patina that gave away its age, and our watery approach made me feel like an intrepid explorer triumphantly arriving at the seaport.

Top: Bridget (left) and Katherine land at the town dock at high tide. Above left and right: A healthy and delicious lunch from Laney & Lu Café, which is just a short walk from the town docks Left: Katherine (left) and Bridget enjoy a walk through town and a couple of smoothies before setting off back down the river. | September 2021 47

A Local’s Guide to Exeter Jennifer Desrosiers knows more about Exeter than where to get a bite to eat. Here are some of her favorite spots and recommendations for the next time you’re in town.

Where to Shop:

“Travel & Nature is my go-to spot for adventure gear and clothing,” says Desrosiers. “The guys at Exeter Cycles are always super helpful.” Feel like doing a little more shopping? “Boutiques like Forest + Ash, Ganesh, Lunachics and Cymbidium can’t be missed,” advises Desrosiers. “Then finish the day at Enna Chocolate for an amazing sweet treat.”

Where to Adventure:

“From standup paddleboarding on the Squamscott River into Great Bay, mountainbiking in the Henderson-Swasey Town Forest, or cross-country skiing at the Phillips Exeter trails, there is fun for all levels,” she says. Her ideal day of outdoor adventure in and around Exeter includes more than one activity and, yes, plenty of delicious local food. “For the perfect multisport day in the area, take a sunrise paddle in Great Bay, then grab a pour-over coffee from D2 Java and stroll along Swasey Parkway. Load up with snacks and egg sandwiches at Laney & Lu, and then hit the mountain-biking trails at Henderson-Swasey [also known as Fort Rock]. Be sure to download a map first or consult with the bike shop.”

Bridget and Katherine check out the Squamscott River upstream of the dam.

48 | September 2021

Katherine and Bridget pass under the Route 101 bridge as they ride the outgoing tide back to the launch.

With soggy toes and growling stomachs, our group was eager to get into town and pay a visit to Laney & Lu Café, owned by New Hampshirite and fellow outdoor enthusiast Jennifer Desrosiers, who had put Exeter on our radar not too long ago and raved about this bustling riverside destination. “Exeter is an amazing spot for adventuring,” says Desrosiers. “It’s nestled in close to the Seacoast with a historic downtown, unique boutiques and a developing restaurant scene.” As the owner of one of those amazing eateries, Desrosiers is deeply embedded in the community and committed to serving sustainable food to hungry locals, which is a key part of her business’ mission. “We source from more than two dozen local farmers and merchants, support local nonprofits,” says Desrosiers. “The community is supportive of small businesses, health-conscious, and embraces a strong local food movement, making it the perfect spot for Laney & Lu Café.” I scarfed down a delicious egg and avocado sandwich called The Epic (it truly was epic) and slurped up a Wild Lemonade that was packed full of nourishing ingredients, and tinted blue from a dash of spirulina (it is a health food café after all), all while taking in the scene of this thriving

town on the river, happy to be a stranger seeing this place with fresh eyes, an open mind and slightly damp pants.

As we returned to the town docks where our paddleboards had been secured,

I chuckled to myself as I reflected on our journey here. We had begun our trip at a quiet put-in off the side of a busy road beneath a bridge in the early morning hours not knowing what to expect. Yet this was a unique outdoor adventure that, yes, had a means to an end (lunch and a spin around downtown Exeter) but offered us so much more than merely a way to arrive at our destination. A paddle down a river can be all kinds of things: rough and turbulent or gentle and smooth; it can be used for work, as a mode of transportation or as a form of recreation. It engages your imagination in a reverie of the past and capture your present attention with its playful ripples and changeable face. Moreover, it reminds us that, especially on the river, we are always in a perpetual state

of flow, moving onward to something new and exciting. For thousands of years, people have traveled along rivers because of the way they link places together — like a connective tissue between cities, ports and harbors. Gliding along the water’s surface felt like we had somehow managed to slow down time, as well as travel through it, linking the past and present at once. As we left the excitement and chatter of downtown Exeter behind us in our wake, I was glad to be back in its flow, and from the surface, consider its depth. NH

Where to Rent a Paddleboard Near Exeter

Buy or rent your own standup paddleboard for a day or lifetime of enjoyment on the water.

Seven Rivers Paddling

185 B Wentworth Rd.,Portsmouth (603) 969-5120 |

Portsmouth Paddle Co.

70 Heritage Ave., Portsmouth (603) 777-7428 |

Summer Sessions

Rye Beach Shop and Café 2281 Ocean Blvd., Rye (603) 319-8207 |

Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Company 931 Ocean Blvd., Hampton (603) 929-7467 | | September 2021 49

➼ these

Women Mission on A

led the nonprofit sector with resilience in times of crisis More than a year of crisis has created untold need in New Hampshire. The state’s nonprofits — many of them women-led — stepped in to help meet that need, all the while having to navigate the immense obstacles the pandemic posed. Here we spotlight the weighty and wondrous work of some of those women and their organizations.

By Barbara Coles | September | September 2021 2021 5151


meet the women on A mission

Angie Lane of Red River Theatres


hen the pandemic shut down Red River Theatres in Concord, Executive Director Angie Lane says she and her staff, then reduced by more than half, began “preparing for the worst and working like hell to make sure that didn’t happen.” They knew how important River River Theatres, or RRT, was to the community as a cultural touchstone. There’s nothing else like it in New Hampshire. With a mission to present film, and the discussion of film, to entertain, broaden horizons and deepen the appreciation of life for audiences of all ages, RRT screens first-run indie films, classics, singalongs and more. “We are not just a

52 | September 2021

movie theater,” Lane says. “We are a community space, where people engage and connect to each other and the world through film.” Important discussions about issues like the environment, social justice and mental health are generated by the films. Being shut down for 15 months meant a huge loss of revenue. Like many other nonprofits, it stayed afloat thanks to ongoing donations and state and federal programs designed to support nonprofits during the pandemic. RRT’s big screen came to life again in July. “Unlike other industries,” Lane says, “the in-person experience is the experience, so we’re happy to welcome people back.” ❤

“I was proud of how everyone pitched in to make it happen.” — Marianne Jackson

Phoebe Bray of The Community Kitchen



or almost 40 years, The Community Kitchen has provided healthy hot meals and take-home food boxes to the lowincome men, women and families with children in the Monadnock Region. When the pandemic struck, Executive Director Phoebe Bray says closing their doors was never considered: “People living on a low income are the fastest and hardest hit in any crisis. Very few of our clients have savings to fall back on.” Bray says she and her staff turned the in-person meals, served weekdays and on Sunday, into a take-out service “almost overnight,” scrambling to find enough containers. Their pantry program changed incrementally — first by limiting the number of people being served, but then creating a drive-through pantry. In the beginning, for both programs, food supply was an issue. “Our suppliers were having the same supply difficulties that supermarkets were experiencing,” Bray says. “It calmed down, but the first few months were very worrying.” Going forward, Bray says the drive-through pantry service — now valued by clients with children, mobility issues or a lack of time — is likely to continue. The dining room will reopen. What Bray calls “the silver lining” of the past year is a closer relationship with their clients. ❤

Marianne Jackson of Gibson Center for Senior Services



nriching the lives of seniors and fostering connection, joy and purpose — that’s the mission of the Gibson Center in North Conway. This past year made accomplishing that mission difficult. The Center was required to close, cutting off the area’s elder population from its many programs, among them exercise classes, social events and bus trips. The congregate dining that served thousands of meals shut down. The wheelchair-accessible buses that took people on errands came to a stop. “The pandemic was severe on the elder population,” Executive Director Marianne Jackson says. “Besides the real fear of the disease, many felt abandoned.” To ease the isolation, the Center provided seniors with free computers along with training and advice about broadband connection. Also easing isolation, the Center’s staff reached out to people with more than 5,000 phone calls. Plus, all of the people receiving Meals on Wheels continued to receive them. “It required onsite work in the kitchen with half the staff,” Jackson says. “I was proud of how everyone pitched in to make it happen.” One of the innovations of the past year that will continue and grow: computer/ internet literacy programs. “We’re excited to move forward,” Jackson says. ❤ | September 2021 53

meet the women on A mission Marty Sink of CASA



ow the pandemic is experienced and responded to is not universal. As Katherine Kolios, executive director of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara, points out, some parts of the world don’t have enough hospitals, doctors or equipment to support communities in normal times, much less during a pandemic. The Portsmouth-based Rain partners with rural and nomadic communities in Niger to build resilience through access to education and economic opportunity. Last year, the country’s resilience was quickly tested as the pandemic hit. Kolios says, “As travel was prohibited and supply chains were impacted, prices in Niger skyrocketed. If food and water weren’t available locally, they simply weren’t available.” There were warnings of famines of biblical proportions. Rain went to work establishing hand-washing stations, drilling wells, creating market gardens, distributing masks, and providing communitywide health and hygiene training. They also worked, successfully, to keep girls from dropping out of school because of the prolonged closures. “Niger can feel very far away, especially when our home communities are suffering and our natural inclination is to focus inward,” Kolios says. “But, as this pandemic reminds us, we live in an interconnected world.” ❤

54 | September 2021


Katherine Kolios of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

n its statewide work advocating for abused and neglected children, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of New Hampshire does just about everything face to face. “Every aspect of CASA’s work is relational, and face to face is critical,” says Marcia “Marty” Sink, CASA’s president/CEO. “Because of that, the pandemic posed major challenges, and we had to adapt very, very quickly.” The urgency came from statutory mandates that require certain timelines for court cases that involve abused and neglected children. “Delayed permanency can be so devastating, whether that’s reunification with the child’s biological family or adoption,” Sink says. “The courts recognized the need to carry forward with these cases.” To accommodate that need, judges held hearings telephonically. That meant Sink and her staff had to ensure that the volunteer advocates who deal directly with the children had the capacity to participate in the hearings. “We also had to work on how advocates could maintain a presence in the lives of the children they were advocating for,” Sink says. Recruitment and training were also a challenge. Instead of in-person recruitment presentations, CASA created virtual presentations. The mandatory preservice training, normally done in classrooms, also went virtual. Sink says that turned out to be a benefit: “People from all over the state can train at the same time. it’s been incredibly effective and efficient.” Sink says the past year has been grueling, but CASA met the challenge: “The kids needed to know that we weren’t abandoning them or stepping away because of the pandemic.” ❤


“As this pandemic reminds us, we live in an interconnected world.” — Katherine Kolios

Eileen Groll Liponis of the New Hampshire Food Bank


food bank with a rapidly diminishing inventory. That’s how it was the for the New Hampshire Food Bank when the pandemic suddenly and simultaneously increased demand and reduced supplies. “It flipped our model upside down,” says Executive Director Eileen Groll Liponis. Because of the demand, grocery stores, the primary donors to the Food Bank, had nothing left to donate. And there were no food drives. That meant the Food Bank had to buy the food. “We purchased more food in March of 2020 than we did in all of 2019,” Liponis says. Thanks to the generous financial support they received, they were able to keep up with demand. The Food Bank distributes food to more than 400 partner agencies around the state, with the goal, as Liponis says, “to

feed the hunger and nourish the health of New Hampshire’s food insecure.” Among other things, they also have programs that teach nutrition and a culinary job training program that produces more than 700 meals a day for feeding programs throughout the state. The biggest challenge — replacing volunteers who distributed food. Liponis says, from April to August of 2020, the New Hampshire National Guard stepped in to help. That worked so well, the Food Bank will continue to use the Guard’s model for mobile food pantries. Despite the challenges, Liponis says, it was imperative the Food Bank’s services continued: “New Hampshire was depending on us. We had to stay strong to feed those in need.” ❤ | September 2021 55


meet the women on A mission

Lyn Schollett of NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence


hen stay-at-home orders were issued as the pandemic began to take hold, it had a profound impact on survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. “They were trapped at home with their abusers and increasingly isolated from services and people who could help them,” says Lyn Schollett, executive director of the Concord-based NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. With a mission to create safe and just communities through advocacy, prevention and empowerment of anyone affected by domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as stalking and human trafficking, Schollett says the Coalition launched a statewide media campaign to

reach survivors and worked collaboratively with their 12 crisis centers to quickly implement new online chat, text and video services. They also worked with courts to allow victims to file for restraining orders online and to make sure there was enough funding to place survivors fleeing abuse in hotels when shelters were full. Schollett says the pandemic worsened stresses that victims already face — among them, economic hardship, the absence of school and childcare, and extreme isolation. “Through it all,” she says, “crisis center advocates continued to be innovative, scrappy, and completely focused on the well-being and safety of victims.” ❤

Pam Sullivan of WREN

56 | September 2021



edicated to supporting better lives and livelihoods in the North Country, the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network, known as WREN, provides marketplace access and technical assistance to both emerging and established artists. That access, says Executive Director Pam Sullivan, provides “a visual presence and economic living in the region while also providing cultural engagement for residents and visitors.” In March of 2020, WREN was scheduled to change all of its programming to in-person at its Bethlehem location. With the pandemic gaining strength, Sullivan, only two months into the job, had to quickly pivot. “We transitioned to the Zoom platform,” she says. “We also changed and modified our curriculum to serve the new needs of our participants.” When the Gallery at WREN and the Local Works Marketplace were shut down by the pandemic, an online store was set up for members. Sullivan and her staff used the downtime to update the gallery and marketplace to make them into what Sullivan calls a must-go-to destination in the North Country. “It’s clear,” she says, “that WREN is now needed more than ever.” ❤

“This pandemic took a toll on kids, and it will take a while to fully recover." — Sharron McCarthy

Annette Escalante of Farnum




Sharron McCarthy of Girls Inc.


e are a second home to our girls, their safe place — they rely on us,” says Sharron McCarthy, CEO of Girls Inc. “We feel a huge responsibility for their welfare.” When the Girls Inc. centers in Manchester and Nashua were closed down by the pandemic, McCarthy says she and her staff were determined to find solutions that allowed the girls to continue to thrive and for their care-takers to go to work with peace of mind. At the centers, there are numerous programs for girls ages 5 to 18 — including financial and media literacy, STEM, wellness, leadership and fitness — that are designed to inspire all girls to learn to be “be strong, smart and bold” in a safe, encouraging, uplifting environment. That way, McCarthy says, “they can realize their full potential and see beyond their existing circumstances.” Among the actions taken, with schools and the Girls Inc. programs shut down, a full-day “Smart Café” was opened to provide supervised remote learning. Chromebooks were provided, if needed. “This was the perfect solution for many of the families we serve, many of which are single parents or grandparents,” McCarthy says. Once schools reopened, the regular Girls Inc. after-school programming resumed, its safety enhanced by a new air purification system. Other programs are up and running as well. Key to continuing on was assistance from the federal CARES Act and funding from local foundations. “This pandemic took a toll on kids,” McCarthy says, “and it will take a while to fully recover and get to ‘normal.’” But, she adds, “Knowing we were able to be successful during a time like this reminds us of what we are capable of accomplishing.” ❤

or people recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, the pandemic created many more stresses than they were already facing. “Isolation especially is not optimal,” says Annette Escalante, senior vice president of Farnum, an Easterseals NH alcohol and drug treatment facility. The isolation of working from home, the lack of physical interaction because of social distancing, job loss or reduction in hours, the fear of the unknown — all, Escalante says, contributed to a rise in substance misuse. Like other treatment providers in the state, Farnum was already dealing with a considerable increase in opioid use and overdoses. The pandemic required Farnum to quickly change all aspects of its work in order to continue delivering services, and to do so safely. Among the changes, the number of beds for residential treatment was reduced. Those in treatment were no longer allowed inperson visits; families stayed connected by Zoom. Telehealth technology was used for meetings with staff. “The Farnum mission is to help adults reclaim their lives from addiction,” Escalante says. “No one should ever feel they have no hope of achieving recovery — even during a global pandemic." ❤ | September 2021 57


meet the women on A mission

Tina Sawtelle of The Music Hall



he Music Hall has survived much in its 140-plus years, and it will survive another 140,” says its executive director, Tina Sawtelle. But this past year was one for the books; it presented Sawtelle and her staff with historic challenges. “It was truly an unprecedented time, with a period of forced closure and then tremendous uncertainty about how best to safely operate.” When the Portsmouth-based Music Hall — its theater, music, dance, opera, cinema, literary discussions and other performing arts — fell silent, revenue dropped more than 90%. Finally, finding a way to safely operate, the decision | September 2021

was made to reopen. “We felt strongly that, for the Music Hall to successfully come out of the pandemic without having to rebuild from the ground level, it was key to keep our constituency of patrons and supporters visiting our theater.” Still, there were challenges, Sawtelle says: “Maintaining audience confidence, staff reductions, unrelenting and constantly changing ground conditions, keeping the existing staff healthy, and avoiding complete burnout.” It was all for the cause. As Sawtelle says, “We believe that art binds us together for greater understanding of human experiences, and is a critical element of wellness.” ❤

“We believe that art binds us together for greater understanding of human experiences.” — Tina Sawtelle

Toni DeGennaro of the New Hampshire Philharmonic

Reach Out, Learn, Support




irst taking the stage way back in 1895, the New Hampshire Philharmonic has confronted the challenges of a pandemic twice, in 1918 and now. Through it all, its mission has been to connect people to the power of classical music through compelling concerts, engaging programs and educational outreach. Composed of more than 60 professional, amateur and student musicians from across the state, the orchestra, known as The Phil, is what Executive Director Toni DeGennaro calls “a living laboratory.” But that came to a sudden stop when the 2020 season was canceled. Like many nonprofits, The Phil found its revenue stream quickly drying up. No ticket sales, diminishing grants, reduced charitable giving. Despite that, DeGennaro says, “we pulled off two livestream concerts during the pandemic, and it felt amazing.” One of the concerts was dedicated to a Phil player who died due to Covid. The Phil will continue to livestream. Its venue, the Seifert Performing Arts Center in Salem, has installed livestreaming equipment and will put it to work when it reopens, likely in the fall. “It’s not as hard as it looks,” DeGennaro says. And, another big plus, it allows the performances to be shown globally. ❤

Donnalee Lozeau of Southern NH Services


he scope of the work of Southern NH Services, one of the state’s five Community Action Agencies, is wide: workforce development, Head Start, childcare, nutrition, energy assistance, housing for the elderly and more. Overall, the aim is, as Executive Director Donnalee Lozeau says, “opening the doors of opportunity to people of low income.” With the majority of their services federally or state funded, the service model was primarily face to face. As the pandemic worsened, Lozeau says, “that was turned upside down. Most services were provided remotely. For those without access, we provided other means to get their information.” One service that couldn’t be provided remotely: childcare. “As the ‘helpers,’ we could not close. Childcare had to be open for essential workers.” The biggest challenge: “The sheer amount of what had to be done,” Lozeau says. In addition to its usual work, the agency was tasked with launching pandemic-related federal assistance, such as the CARES Act Housing Relief Program and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, “with no playbook.” And, she adds, it had to be done “carefully, thoughtfully, safely, efficiently and quickly.” ❤ NH

The Community Kitchen

New Hampshire Food Bank

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

The Music Hall

Gibson Center for Senior Services


NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence


(603) 224-8893 |

140 Queen City Ave., Manchester (603) 622-3020 |

Red River Theatres

Girls Inc.

37 Mechanic St., Keene | (603) 352-3200 | 700 E. Industrial Park Dr., Manchester (603) 669-9725 | 14 Grove St., North Conway (603) 356-3231 |


2011 Main St., Bethlehem (603) 869-9736 |

New Hampshire Philharmonic

44 Geremonty Dr. Seifert Performing Arts Center, Salem (603) 647-6476 |

138 Coolidge Ave., Manchester (603) 626-4600 |

Southern NH Services

40 Pine St., Manchester (603) 668-8010 |

222 Court St., Portsmouth (603) 371-0676 |

11 South Main St., Suite L1, Concord (603) 224-4697 |

28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth (603) 436-2400 |

1171 S. Willow St., Manchester (603) 606-1705 |

“Charitable nonprofits feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture people of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status, from coast to coast, border to border, and beyond. They foster civic engagement and leadership, drive economic growth, and strengthen the fabric of our communities. Every single day.” —National Council of Nonprofits | September 2021 59

“we Are Still in Eden” PART II

⟵ ; : ⟶ By Howard Mansfield



60 | September 2021

In Search of “Visual Magic”


ne autumn my wife and I spent

a few days hiking from hut to hut in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains. The Appalachian Mountain Club runs the huts, staffed with a young “croo” who make dinner, show you to your hard bunk bed, and gather everyone after dinner to tell us, for god’s sake, to “drink in advance of thirst.” Sometimes they’ll put on a skit trying to deliver this simple message. You meet other hikers in the huts, and after dinner there’s a lot of time to sit around and talk. That year we kept running into recently divorced men in their thirties. They were confused and adrift. “She said, ‘I’ve grown beyond you,’” one told us, looking at us as if to say, Have you ever heard of such a thing? “I don’t know why I’m walking,” he said, and then treated us to a flood of talk so earnest it was bound to ruin any quest, scare off any evanescent moment. He was looking for a sign, a way forward, an epiphany, a pardon perhaps. In the hut’s logbook, the bewildered seeker left a long quote from the Tao te Ching, all about flexibility and rigidity, being like a flower not a rock, and so on. (Other hikers left comments that were, unknowingly, right in the tradition of

Sunset at Lake of the Clouds Hut, in the Presidental Range, Mount Washington

This is the second excerpt from Chapter 1 of "Chasing Eden," the latest book by Hancock's Howard Mansfield, who "sifts through the commonplace and the forgotten to discover stories that tell us about ourselves and our place in the world.” Check out our August issue for more and buy “Chasing Eden” in October at your favorite independent bookstore. | September 2021 61

the sublime. [For more on this tradition, see part one of this two-part saga, “Awe on the American Plan” in our August issue or online.] “The view is awesome!!” wrote one 12-year-old boy.) We had similar conversations with more divorced men at other huts that year. Why are you here in the mountains? they asked, as if you could dial up a transcendent moment if you had the right hiking gear and made it to the summit on a good day. Why are you walking? These hut-to-hut walkers were like the nineteenth-century tourists, like the artists, too. All of us want something from the mountains—activity, repose, renewal. We ask a lot of granite and pine, water and sky. On the day that I stood with my artist friend, James Aponovich, watching cars and motorcycles race up Mt. Washington, we were just two more guidebook-bound seekers wanting something from the mountains. James grew up in New Hampshire, in Nashua, an old mill city on the Massachusetts border that is known today for its sprawl and malls. Though he is a native, he had seldom been north of Concord, the state capital. He described our trip to the North Country as “going to see New Hampshire.” His whole adult life he has known the White Mountains as the artists had painted them. He has known Thomas Cole’s mountains and John Frederick Kensett’s mountains, and here, just a few hours into his visit, he was squinting at this race to the summit. James wanted to know if “visual magic was still happening.” He made a face that looked as if he were tasting a lemon. When he does this, he is in a painter’s world. He’s surveying, auditioning the scene for composition, color, and light. Did this place speak to him as the mountains had spoken to the earlier artists? Could he catch a moment when it leaps to life, “hums” as the Mojave had for Robert Irwin? I stepped aside, let him be, making a note to ask him later about what he saw. I had visited Nashua with him and his wife, Beth. I had insisted on it. He didn’t want to go, and once we were there, I understood why. In Nashua, as in other mill cities, the mills are like red brick dams. They rise four or five stories, close to the narrow sidewalks, casting the streets in Manhattan-like canyons of bluish shadows. The dam wall repeats, window after window, block after block. In that repetition is the story of a mill city. Day after day making shoes or cloth until your life goes by. A mill city’s life is repetitive or it fails and the mills shutter. 62 | September 2021

James’s family worked in the mills, his grandmother in the “shoe shops,” his father in a sweatshop that made cheap luggage, “a scene like Dickens. Hell itself,” said James. His mother was a clerk at an insurance company. He grew up in a cheerless home with a distant, cruel father and a mother who had such a dark outlook that she was known in the extended family as the “black hole.” His grandparents were laid siege by drink and depression. His mother’s father drank to a stupor, the cigarette in his mouth burning down to his lips. James would come upon his mother’s mother sitting alone, crying. She’d been shipped to America from Poland at age thirteen, not speaking English. A few years later she was forced into an arranged marriage. In her wedding pictures she’s angry. Her husband spent his last years in a mental hospital. James would wait outside while his mother visited, working with a learn-to-draw kit. His grandmother was a hard worker, setting aside enough on mill wages to have a duplex house built, send her daughter to secretarial school and put

a son—James’s uncle—through Harvard. She rented out one side of the small duplex. James’s family lived with her on the other side. He shared a room with his brother. As a boy, he found refuge in the city parks and ponds by the Salmon Brook. He knew “every muskrat hole, every inch” of the rushy recesses along the river, the park, and the ponds. He fished and swam there, and at age sixteen had his first job as a lifeguard. The park was his little bit of Eden. “My release, my way of getting away from it, and I did daily, was to go into nature where I sought solace,” he said. He learned solitude; he learned about life and death. For years he walked by a fallen tree. One day it was covered with mushrooms. Life was this moment, but it was also ever-renewing. He still has a map he drew of his favorite pond. He also hung out with a neighborhood friend, drawing on boards from coal bins. As if recapitulating history, they drew animals, the cellar coal bin a Cave of Lascaux. He remembers how much he enjoyed drawing; he’d never experienced that kind of pleasure before.


Aponovich (seen at left above with author Howard Mansfield) says his grandmother spent hours reading and was an ideal subject for his early sketches, like this 1972 portrait from the Currier Museum of Art collection.

He struggled in school; no one had noticed until he was in the third grade that his right eye was 20/80, one quarter of normal vision. Trying to see the blackboard, he frequently had headaches and was nauseous. He had cheated on the eye tests so he wouldn’t get in trouble. He dreaded parent-teacher nights; his parents would come home and beat him. At age eight he drew a picture of his father whipping him with a big whip. “He was a very violent man, very unloving and uncaring.” James was also left-handed, which to his mother was a sign of the devil. She forced him be right-handed, which just scrambled his brain, leaving him even more uncertain. He began stuttering. His father, retired from the Navy, made James and his brother stand for inspection. They had to sit up straight at the table, no leaning back. They had to call him “the Boss,” not Dad or Father. His father never celebrated anything; he refused to accept gifts from his sons. His mother tried her best with birthdays and Christmas. There were no books, no bedtime stories, no art in the house, no flowers—“Why buy flowers when they’re just going to die?” said his mother. In later years, his parents never went to one of their son’s art shows, never stood full of pride before any of their son’s paintings, which are in the permanent collections of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago and about twenty museums across the country. Though I had known him for years, James had never told me any of this until our tour. He believes that you are responsible for creating your adult life. You are not fated to repeat the sins of your father. He has no patience for people who parade themselves as victims of their childhood. The chief message of the Nashua of his childhood was to stay in your place. It was a city of immigrants, each wary of the other groups. The city was strictly sorted by parish: the Irish ruled the lower classes, grasping respectability as merchants; the Polish were next; and the French Canadians, the most numerous, were the last to arrive and thus the most despised. Main Street ran downhill from the wealthy North End— which “was like the promised land of big houses and big lawns”—toward varying degrees of poverty in the tenements of the East and West Ends, and the striving working class in the South End, where James grew up. At the high school, the kids from the North End and the South End used different entrances. “I was well aware of my | September 2021 63

64 | September 2021


standing in life. You were reminded of it every day,” he said. One day when he was fourteen years old, James and a friend were walking around the North End looking at the big Queen Anne and Shingle Style houses. A cop stopped them. “Where are you from?” he demanded. “The South End,” they answered. “Get outta here. You don’t belong up here.” If you had seen James back then walking along the street, nearly blind in one eye, stuttering, you might have said, “You see that kid? See that Polack?”—for that is how you would have talked—“That kid is going nowhere.” That’s what his hometown taught him. There was no one around him saying: be an artist, follow your “bliss,” live up to “your potential,” and other such feel-good talk that lives in nice suburban homes. James was depressed for a week after our visit and I was, too. Any time he returns to Nashua he gets nausea. I had expected it to be grim, but I was unprepared for the layers of oppression, each building on the next like eons of limestone pressing down, fossilizing any bit of life. It was a dark and claustrophobic childhood. In college he studied geology first, then, after seeing a Degas or a Renoir still life with flowers and experiencing his “first aesthetic seizure,” art history. He borrowed a friend’s paints and brushes and began to paint. Time and again he was told that he wasn’t an artist, that he “didn’t have it.” So he studied by himself, teaching himself perspective and composition. He took the masters of the Italian Renaissance as his teachers. He admires the freshness and discovery in their work. His adult life is the obverse of his childhood. He and Beth take time to celebrate. They are accomplished cooks, gracious hosts, spirited, ambitious gardeners, and devoted parents to their daughter, Ana. Art brought them together. Beth is an artist who composes still lifes in pastel, oil, and pencil. Their life and their art are one. Everything they do is “about making something harmonious and beautiful from elements. Cooking. Gardening. It’s not always conscious, but you find it happening,” he said. They are a close couple seen together everywhere, even if it is just the weekly trip to the town dump or the hardware store. I’ve joined them on sketching trips. There is a long foreground in making a painting. They go to work first by looking. You could easily miss this kind of work. It’s a lot of ambling around—looking and sketching and looking some more. They quietly discuss what they’re seeing with the economy of language of two

Artist James Aponovich with his wife, Beth

longtime married people, shorthand talk that is more like thinking aloud. Coming down a hill, James stopped the car and said: “I like the thrust of the pointed balsams against the softness of the hills.” Beth took a photo. He propped his sketch pad on the steering wheel, studying the scene, before sketching a series of vertical arrows with a bowed line behind suggesting a hill. He liked the darkness of the balsams against the lighter green hill. When they are working like this, they will return to the same place many times at different times of the day, take time always for a good lunch, and amble around some more, scouting out other locations. As Beth said when they were sketching a few houses, “when you draw, you feel each building.” James is known for his portraits of flowers, often against imaginary Italian landscapes. The flowers are precise and heroic, visions of a more perfect order. When he paints flowers they are idealized, larger than life, freed from the Japanese beetle that ate them. He lets them be their true selves. If the flowers in James’s portraits are

aristocratic, Beth has given him a head start. The tulips in Beth’s gardens seem to have an extra dimension. They are larger and more colorful than most tulips from a florist. A florist’s tulips seem meek and repressed when set down near these tulips. A vase of her pink French Menton tulips has nobility. Her striped parrot tulips are ablaze. They command attention in a room. These are the tulips that star in many of James’s paintings. When they built a new house about fifteen years ago, they began the gardens years before construction. Beth planted one thousand bulbs, as well as annuals. The Aponoviches ran a garden-to-canvas operation. The season flowed from the garden through the studio. They view gardening as they do painting and sketching. “There’s no difference,” said James. “Gardens are a living, breathing sculpture.” The flowers on his canvases are also living and breathing, because he’s painting more than just the surface. There’s a depth animating these scenes. “If I am painting a peach, it’s not just the soft, furry flesh outside, but the hard pit inside,” he said. If he’s painting an empty pot, he paints that emptiness. And he paints the air.

photo by david j murray,


hen a painting lives, you are aware of the air—the air has a life, he said. “You can see paintings that just look dead. They look dead at the surface; they look flat. There’s nothing fluid in there. There’s no movement.” These paintings lack the “invisible, uniting force” of air that “goes way back into the landscape and comes forward again. It becomes the thing that transforms it from two dimensions—something you can knock your fingers on—to something that you can inhabit. Your depth of field is infinite. And through that you come back again, and go around things visually,” he said, reminding me of Starr King pleading for tourists to see the mountains “through large intervening depths of air.” “You go back to the Chinese, and they said a painting is a journey where your eye wanders for thousands of miles. You have to bring the viewer through, around everything for a total understanding of the reality that’s occurring,” James said. His paintings are a happy journey for many viewers. At the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, I’ve stood near one of his paintings—Castello Nuovo: Still Life with Day Lilies and Watermelon—just watching people look at his art. Many were smiling. Two women were talking about where they’d hang that painting, if they could, back home, you know, over the blue sofa. When I told James this, he smiled broadly. (Another woman has had this painting tattooed on her arm.) “There is an unmistakable joy in the paintings of James Aponovich,” said Thomas B. Parker, associate director of the Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York City. Parker curated a show of James’s art. “Few still lifes are as unabashedly positive or visionary. With their exuberant color, billowing clouds and twisting ribbons, these distinctive combinations of landscape and still life are mood-altering. Their vibrant light and almost palpable details seem to spill off the canvas. . . . These works are celebrations of the life James and his wife Elizabeth have built together with their daughter. . . . Know these paintings and you will know James Aponovich. They tell of a life well-lived—the stuff of dreams and happiness.” My friend is an escape artist, but that’s probably true of every artist and writer, of anyone who shapes something out of his life. In the happy scenes of flowers and fruit, the pit is hiding, the still center is hiding, giving form to the entire show.


had organized James’s trip “to see New Hampshire.” I had plotted a great circle route that wheeled us clockwise through the notches—Franconia, Crawford, and Pinkham. Heading for home, we stopped at Cathedral Ledge. We were visiting the sites of the great paintings as you might visit, in some churches, the Stations of the Cross. We were moving through the mountains at a very un-Starr King-like rate. It was an odd day. My usual trip, with my wife, is an early morning beeline to a trailhead and a day of hiking in the mountains— Washington, Eisenhower, Lincoln, Lafayette, and others. We don’t keep score; we do have favorites. But on this day with James, we stopped at rest stops and tourist viewpoints we’d always driven past. We were marking the bounds of where the nineteenth-century painters had worked. A few of our stops: Echo Lake: We arrived as modern travelers, after parking. The Echo Lake parking lot took us by surprise. It was a large empty lot with a row of imposing motorhomes parked at one end, about a dozen white boxes, looking like huge refrigerators lying on their sides, pulled tightly together. In the shadow of the boxes were families at tables having breakfast. In the rest of the lot, two overweight kids, age eight or so, were riding tiny “pocket” motorbikes—fleshy blobs tottering over comically small motorcycles looping around and around. “Oh my God, circus midgets,” said James. The whole scene looked like a depopulated Fellini film—a Fellini scene after budget cuts. We walked down to the beach, where there was a strong sewage odor. The beach had been raked. A bathroom and snack stand crowded the shore. A few canoes were on the lake. At the far end we could see traffic hurtling by on Interstate 93: buses, trucks, and motorhomes racing north. In that view was the recent history of Franconia Notch. Echo Lake was an oft-painted scene, the small oval serving as a tranquil foreground for the steep mountains of the notch. It was one of the beloved places of this “little Yosemite,” along with the waterfalls and pools of the Flume Gorge and New Hampshire’s symbol, the Old Man of the Mountain. The old paintings of Franconia Notch have a sweet presence; they sit in their own light and quiet. It’s a small, wild world, like a wilderness in a bowl. The notch was a complete world conjured by the artists. Thomas Cole loved Echo Lake and its

close companion, Profile Lake. Standing here about 180 years earlier, before snack stands and parking lots, he was moved to rapture by this “wild mountain gorge”: “Shut in by stupendous mountains which rest on crags that tower more than a thousand feet above the water, whose rugged brows and shadowy breaks are clothed by dark and tangled woods, they have such an aspect of deep seclusion, of utter and unbroken solitude, that, when standing on their brink a lonely traveler, I was overwhelmed with an emotion of the sublime, such as I have rarely felt. It was not that the jagged precipices were lofty, that the encircling woods were of the dimmest shade, or that the waters were profoundly deep; but that over all, rocks, wood, and water, brooded the spirit of repose, and the silent energy of nature stirred the soul to its inmost depths.” Franconia Notch has survived extinction twice. In the 1920s the notch was threatened with clear-cut logging (winner take all). A national outpouring of editorials, poems, and money rescued the notch. Donations came from bankers and women’s clubs; children at an orphanage sent in their pennies. Franconia Notch was set aside as a state park. Then, in the 1950s, the notch was threatened again, this time with an interstate highway. The blasting and filling for four lanes and shoulders and access ramps would have overwhelmed the narrow notch and buried parts of Echo and Profile Lakes, squeezing what was left behind retaining walls. After twenty years of court challenges, studies, and new federal laws, a declawed two-lane “parkway” edition of the interstate slips through the notch, not much bigger than the old state route it replaced. It was a great victory. This is the only place in the 46,876 miles of interstate where the mandated four-lane highway was overturned. Today we have a scenic highway, a tamed landscape, still beautiful, but the spirit that moved Cole and many other artists has walked away. I chi-go, I chi-e the Japanese say—“one encounter, one opportunity” or “one time, one meeting”—one of the many Japanese expressions, tricky to translate, for the fleetingness of life, for the way moments arise and are gone. I chi-go, I chi-e—“for this time only.” Willey House: The Willey House in Crawford Notch made the White Mountains famous. In 1826 the Willey family was caught in an avalanche. They ran out of their house—the lone house for miles | September 2021 65

Cathedral Ledge: The ledge was a favorite of the nineteenth-century landscape painters. You would be hard pressed to find most of their viewpoints, which have been subsumed by a monster-sized case of sprawl. We tried, poking around behind outlet malls and near a fantasy adventure motel. (Your choice of rooms: Log Cabin, Roman Spa, The Jungle, Dragon’s Lair, Deserted 66 | September 2021


around—only to be killed. Their house was untouched. Had they stayed home they would have lived. The family of seven, plus two hired hands, died. The bodies of three children were never found. This story captivated people for years, figuring in stories, poems, and sermons. Tourists visited the house, which sat as the Willeys had left it, with the Bible open on the table. Everyone was ready with a moral about the strength of the family hearth and the Lord’s mysterious ways. The house was one of the White Mountains’ most popular tourist attractions until it burned down in 1899. In engravings and paintings the Willey House is starkly surrounded by huge boulders on a steep hillside. It looks forlorn and unforgiving. The engravings are meant to make the viewer gasp: How could anyone live there? The Willey House site, marked by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 1926, 1925 is in a flat place right by a souvenir stand and bathrooms. What you see is a brown souvenir stand with an air conditioner sticking out the window close upon the DAR-marked foundation, which has a footprint about the size of a toolshed. Behind it is a telltale white cane, a vent pipe for a septic field, and behind that, bathrooms. The souvenir stand is retro-tacky, summer-camp rustic. Inside there are cute little souvenirs with bears and moose, a few booklets about the Willey family disaster, ice cream, and a big display of manyflavored fudge. The Willey House site says, “A family died here. Would you like some fudge?” That’s the story I get from our visit. We had a hard time accepting this as the site of this wilderness tragedy. The Willey disaster never coheres into a myth, to a clear story, to “essences” beyond human complexity, as Roland Barthes said. It’s muddled. The nineteenth-century storytellers and moralists wanted it to become a fable, to pass into a new-forming American myth. But it was just upsetting: a panicked family rushing out into the night to die.

The artist, surrounded by some of his works, including a self-portrait visible over his shoulder

Island, 1970s Love Shack, New York Penthouse, Motorcycle Madness, among others.) We looked off a famous hill and found one view near a banana hut-themed water slide. Here, in the summer of 1850, John Frederick Kensett made the sketches for what would become an iconic view of the young nation, Mount Washington from the Valley of Conway, with the great mountain seen across the valley known as the Intervale. The American Art Union bought the painting the next year and circulated an engraving to its thirteen thousand five hundred members. Artists set out for the Intervale. “The meadows and the banks of the Saco were dotted all about with white umbrellas in great numbers,” recalled Kensett’s close friend and painting companion Benjamin Champney, noting the umbrellas that shaded painting easels. Currier & Ives altered Kensett’s painting (recasting Mt. Washington as a Swiss Alp), making it the most popular American landscape painting in the nineteenth century. “This view from Intervale can not be surpassed for living, glowing beauty by anything in New England,” said Champney. “The view has been painted many times and by artists of great distinction, but never has the ideal been realized. Its elusive charm can not be fully grasped.” Starr King agreed, praising the valley and the village of North Conway. “Such profuse and calm beauty sometimes reigns over the whole village, that it seems to be . . .

a suburb of Paradise. . . . Certainly, we have seen no other region of New England that is so swathed in dreamy charm.” The broad valley bewitched artists. Their love for the Intervale shows. Their paintings carry you into the valley’s Sunday quiet. In hundreds of paintings, the Intervale provided a bucolic foreground and middleground to Mt. Washington. Along the Saco’s curving riverbanks, cows grazed under elms. The land was as soft and open as the English countryside, a contrast to the rough profile of Mt. Washington in the distance. Champney painted the Intervale many times, as well as other grand mountain scenes, but his favorite place was the Artists’ Brook near his summer home. “From the first day I sketched . . . I have never ceased to be loyal to my first love. Many, many days and hours have I passed, painting and singing an accompaniment to its silvery music,” he said. He knew “almost every nook and transparent pool in its three-mile course.” He’d set out with his lunch in his pocket and his “trap,” his paints, easel, and canvases, to work in “some secluded, solitary point, with no voice but the brook to cheer me or urge me on to the struggle of solving Nature’s mysteries of light and shade and color.” If you were looking for a prescription for how to live, this would be it. We could all do well by being Benjamin Champney at Artists’ Brook. Live local, look deeply; realize the impossibility of ever really knowing

even a few square inches of the earth. Sing the joys of your place, over and over, knowing that you can never get it right. “These have been the most happy days, for the striving to do a difficult thing is most pleasurable, even though the work is not successful,” Champney said. This is what artists know. “Artists, by the nature of their work, are solitary,” James wrote for a catalog to one of his shows. “Our most important hours are invisible to the public, days of quiet work, both exultant and tortured. We are judged not by our effort but by the end product . . . the art. But most art is not entirely successful; it only points the way for improving on the next attempt. A painting is only finished when there is nothing else one can do to make it any better. True success is simply starting again, striving for something ineffable, unrealized and unimagined.”


e drove to the top of Cathedral Ledge, where there were three oddities:

• A low chain-link fence near the edge. It is probably the only fence on any of the thousands of ledges, cliffs, and overlooks in New Hampshire. • A sign: Do Not Throw Objects

Rock Climbers Below

• The rock climbers, who clanged like Marley’s ghost as they tied themselves to a spindly tree worn smooth from so many ropes, hopped the low fence and dropped out of sight. James surveyed the Intervale below. On one farm, an old-timer on an old red tractor was making hay. In the next field, migrants working, backs bent, were picking strawberries. In the forest was the beach of a state park, which even at this distance looked trodden. Overused and underfunded. Directly below, the forest was cut into lots. A-frame houses. Vacationland! The wide, sandy banks of the Saco River curved through the valley. Across the way as the hills climbed were a sandpit, a ski resort, and a platoon of condos—long gray slots in the green. James got that lemon-tasting look on his face. “Forget it,” was all he said as he turned away. He looked seriously disappointed, like a captain disgusted by a false report of a landfall. “It’s closed to us,” he said. “What those early painters saw is closed to us.”

“It is,” I agreed. “On this day, at this moment, it’s closed to us.” We left. Back in the valley we stopped at a drive-through strawberry stand. (We got out of the car.) On our way to our last stop we passed a mobile-home dealership that featured a log-cabin model. A log cabin on wheels. There’s a lot of American history right there: The frontier on the road. Daniel Boone meets Jack Kerouac. Little House at the Gas Pump.


he old order was a walker’s pace. Even after the railroad had delivered the tourists to their hotels, they spent much of their time walking the piazza and nearby trails or on horseback or in a carriage. The grand hotels were a European transplant, an echo of the Old Country in an immigrant nation. The North Country has never gotten over the grand hotel era. They have spent a long time thinking about when they held the world’s attention as “the Switzerland of America.” Everywhere you go in the White Mountains you are confronted with souvenirs of past glory, historic signs and dates on buildings, and photos of vanished hotels. The new order is American. The interstate highway wedged right into Franconia Notch. Zoom and go and go some more. During Laconia Motorcycle Week in June, which brings a couple hundred thousand motorcycles into New Hampshire, my wife and I were far up a trail in Franconia Notch, by a waterfall. We couldn’t escape the motorcycles’ pulsing song. Americans are not a people who sit in mountainside teahouses and write haiku or paint or do calligraphy. Faced with a big landscape, with a big place, we increase our rpm—we go, go, go. We up our gear—big motor homes with stuff hung on the side or top: kayaks, mountain bikes, motorbikes, and a car or all-terrain vehicle in tow.

Draped in piles of dangling carabiners like modern chain mail, we throw ourselves over rock ledges. We dress in leather and Kevlar pants and motorcycle, or bright yellow jerseys and Lycra pants and bicycle.

We don’t look at landscapes. We move through them. Motion. Not emotion. The auto road is a monument to motion, to the crazy American refusal to accept the end of the road. Drive on.


s James had watched the cars going up and down the Mt. Washington Auto Road, he’d almost had vertigo, he said. The mountain seemed trivialized as an amusement ride. He was saddened by what he had seen, by the lack of “rest” in the rest area. “It’s the sadness of not arriving,” I said. You are here—but you are not. You are in transit. Where is here? The signs tell you, the exhibits, all trying to make up for the disconnection. Most tourist places are defined by an accumulation of narrative: signs, pamphlets, and exhibits. Explanation or, rather, “information” is the mark of a tourist site. Everything will be explained: What you are looking at, why you are looking at it, and the best place to pose for a photo in front of it. You are not here and soon you are gone. On to the next attraction. There is no smack in our seeing.


e didn’t drive up the mountain that summer day. We returned in winter. James booked two seats for us in the snowcat, the giant snowplow that clears the road in winter. The summit that day wasn’t home to “the world’s worst weather”; it was having a fine, blue-sky day. We could see for more than a hundred


hat did we see? I have a one-word answer: motion. We saw traffic. We saw people in their motor-home community, so friendly over breakfast, so ready to pack and roll. Community divisible in ten minutes. We saw obese children on little motorbikes. We saw cars and motorcycles zooming up a mountain. We saw people in ropes and gear throwing themselves off a cliff. We saw a drive-through strawberry stand. We saw a log-cabin mobile home. We saw mountains scarred for ski runs. We saw motion. We kept moving. | September 2021 67


s all our activity—the auto road, hiking, rock climbing, driving all-terrain vehicles into the woods—an attempt to shout down the sublime? To turn mountains into selfies? Or is it what we do to fill a void, the void where the sublime was? All the paintings, the mountains bearing the names of presidents and scrambled Indian legends, the historical markers, all of this is an effort to domesticate a place, to make a wilderness more homelike. It’s an attempt to make ourselves visible amid the mountains. To declare a view sublime or beautiful is also to downsize the mountains, to get a frame around them. The paintings are stories and the stories they tell are of mountains that are there for us—to uplift, to instruct, to thrill— but all for us. So much of our activity is about naming. In the early 1800s, Lucy Crawford

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miles—mountains in all directions. The view, James said, is all distance. There’s no middle ground; the foreground is created by having someone stand in front. We were looking at space. Mountains without end. No narrative. We couldn’t shuffle the deck and make it tell stories. The summit is choked with narration, with the histories of the Tip-Top House, the stage office, and signs and markers and tales of different climbs, different peaks we could see from there. Supplying this history is the equivalent of trying to make up for the lack of foreground and middle ground in the view. It’s an attempt to add our scale, our size. The same can be said of the paintings and guidebooks whose mission is to get what we see into a shape we can understand: beginning, middle, end; foreground, middle ground, background. Let’s put the human eye in the equation and let’s put our sense of narrative here. Let’s make a clock we can read. But nothing in the mountains is moving to the timeline of our short lives. The mountains are millions of years old, having arisen as continents drifted and collided. They rose up and up, were scoured by ice for millennia, and stand here today in this brief moment between ice ages. The sublime was about glimpsing that other timeline, a view into eternity or, as Emerson said, “an influx of the Divine Mind into our mind.” The artist’s task, said Cole, was to teach people “the laws by which the Eternal doth sublime and sanctify his works, that we may see the hidden glory veiled from vulgar eyes.”

The “Yankee Flyer Diner” mural by Aponovich is situated in downtown Nashua, across from City Hall.

guided many climbing parties up Mt. Washington. She was a skilled host; she ran an inn with her family. She knew what her guests wanted; that’s why she went through the trouble of carrying up the mountain a large sheet of lead, “eight or ten feet in length, seven inches wide, and the thickness of pasteboard.” It was for her guests to write their names on with an iron pencil she had made. This was much quicker than waiting for everyone to pound their names into the summit with a hammer and chisel. Her hiking parties often stayed only long enough to carve their names, just long enough to downsize the mountain with their story. All the historical markers and photos, all the applications of history is foreground—it’s carving our names. Here’s a vast landscape, one that it’s easy enough to die in, so we throw dates and narrative at the big mountains. It’s a way of creating foreground, of pushing the mountains back. We can’t inhabit the vast mountain itself, even on the top of Mt. Washington with all its buildings.


he early visitors to the White Mountains delighted in echoes. Innkeepers would fire off a gun or a cannon in Crawford Notch to entertain their guests. Guidebooks would direct hikers to the better echo points, such as Mt. Agassiz, where at the right spot, they could hear the mountain returning their call five times. There are two Echo Lakes, only forty-five miles apart. “These mountains are full of echoes. There are ‘echo lakes’ and ‘echo hills’ and echo places unnumbered,” reported the newspaper published on Mt. Washington’s summit, Among the Clouds, in 1877. In Franconia Notch, the firing of a cannon was part of the ritual of visit-

ing that Echo Lake. The echoes broke the silence; the mountains spoke to them. What we want to find in the mountains is everything that’s missing in the valleys— freedom, adventure, a new self, a new earth. The hope is that a sheer rise of rock, a new angle of light, will liberate us from ourselves.


riving home, James was thinking about what it takes to make a “lump of rock” mean something to humans. After discussing this for many miles, we more or less agree that a good painting makes the unseen visible, and once visible, the painting buries it. The scene becomes obscured by what people have been taught to see. Expectations are clouding the view. The real thing is covered over by an image that is diluted in reproductions, postcards, mugs, tote bags, and with words and analysis. The mountain view disappears. It becomes a sign, a representation of itself— something we recognize in a blink, in an outline. Great art promises liberation, contact with the real, but ends up, too often, as yet another obstruction to seeing. The progression of our visits to art museums sadly mimics the rise and fall of seeing. We confront the works of art and spill out into the gift shop where the art is reduced to a signature painting or part of a painting on a shopping bag—a sign of a sign. “To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees,” said Paul Valery. But naming the thing, painting the thing, is to forget seeing. Like a leviathan, the mountain view rises from the deep, is seen, is named, and then disappears. NH

Visions of Grace and Granite

James Aponovich’s compositions trace divine curves and proportions like a bespoke suit and are saturated with colors so rich they threaten to bleed if gazed upon too deeply. The art of James Aponovich is globally acclaimed and prized, so most of his original works aren’t easy to access, but there are plenty of local opportunities to view a genuine Aponovich if you’re lucky enough to live in his home state. Several of his paintings are in the collection of the Currier Museum. Two are on display in the first-floor atrium of Nashua City Hall, the Nashua Public Library has a Nashua cityscape he painted available to view in a public space, and his mural of Nashua’s beloved and long-gone Yankee Flyer Diner (photo on previous page) is always just a few steps away for downtown Gate City dwellers. For art lovers willing to travel, there will be an Aponovich exhibit at Clark Gallery, Lincoln, Massachusetts, from midOctober to mid-November. (Note: The Clark Gallery recently moved to a new location in Lincoln, so check before jumping in the car.) An illuminating and educational look at his process focused on his “Appledore, Agapanthus” (below, right) is available in an October 2013 post titled “The Evolution of a Painting” on his Northwind Clearing (tulips), oil on canvas, 40" x 50" blog

Sunflowers (tied bouquet), oil on canvas, 30" x 26"

Appledore, Agapanthus, oil on canvas, 40" x 50" Left: Appledore, View from Celia Thaxter’s Garden, oil on canvas Right: Portrait of O, oil on canvas, 34" x 24" | September 2021 69

603 Living “Devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” — Mitch Albom

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Calendar Local Dish Health Ayuh

78 84 86 88

Labor of Love A Newfields family farm celebrates community, connection and shopping local BY EMILY HEIDT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNY MCNULTY OF WYLDE PHOTOGRAPHY


he minute that you pull into the driveway at Vernon Family Farm, you’re considered part of the family. Whether you’re doing your weekly shopping at the farm store, getting a tour of the farm from Jeremiah, or attending a Friday summer night live music and fried chicken event, this family farm focuses on creating a community space that serves as your home away from home — a mission that owners Jeremiah and Nicole Vernon have been passionate about since they founded their 33-acre farm in Newfields in 2014. “Family, community and connection have been the backbone of our farm since the beginning,” says Jeremiah. “Especially coming off of the last year that we’ve all gone through, it couldn’t be more evident that community is what holds us all together and keeps us going in trying times. We’re so grateful to give back and be able to play a role in that.” The Vernons founded Vernon Family Farm (VFF) in 2014, but they came into their new family business with a decade of prior experience in farming everything from livestock to vegetables. It was during their time leasing property before buying their own that they were able to run a variety of farmers markets where Jeremiah and Nicole noticed a

Left and above: Jeremiah and Nicole Vernon and their VFF family work hard to provide local communities with local, healthy, nutrient-dense food that is grown and raised humanely. | September 2021 71

603 LIVING / VERNON FAMILY FARM The Vernon Family Farm farm store is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

missing product offering — chickens. “We started our Newfields property raising anything from vegetables to dried flowers, but we put everything aside and used the chickens that we already had established from our past property to carry over and make our primary focus at the farm,” says Jeremiah. “We raised 1,200 non-GMO chickens on pasture our first year. Now we are raising around 20,000 a year. Fried chicken, rotisserie chicken and marinated drumsticks, you name it, we have it. Chicken is the name of the game for us.” Chicken production isn’t the only area of growth that the farm is celebrating during their seven-year anniversary this summer. The farm went from one employee to 10 employees who are now year-round staff, and their store now supports over 30 different local growers and makers from the surround-

Buy From CSAs CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs were created to help alleviate the stress of high expenses for farms, but Vernon Family Farm’s is a little different. Instead of purchasing a share at the farm where you’ll receive several boxes of produce (including items you may or may not love), you can partake in their debitstyle CSA where you can pick whatever you want. Use your CSA membership throughout the year at your local farmers market or their farm store where goods are available from more than 30 farms year-round.

Happenings on the Farm September 3, 4-8 p.m.

BBQ + Rotisserie Chicken Night With Skyfoot > Enjoy live music by Skyfoot and a finger-licking-good rotisserie chicken dinner, raised and cooked by the farmer on the farm. September 11, 4-8 p.m.

Fried Chicken Night With Not Fade Away Band > Love the Grateful Dead? Don’t miss fried chicken dinner on the farm with N.H.’s tribute to the Grateful Dead, Not Fade Away Band. Drive-thru pick-up for fried chicken also available. September 17, 4-8 p.m.

BBQ + Rotisserie Chicken Night > Enjoy a Vernon Kitchen rotisserie chicken dinner on the farm with your crew. BYOB and make a night of it. September 24, 4-8 p.m.

Fried Chicken Night with OldHat Stringband > Grab your people and head to the farm for a fried chicken dinner and live music with bluegrass trio OldHat Stringband.

Looking for more ways to support your local farm? A CSA is a great option for you.

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September Rotisserie Chicken and Live Music Nights at VFF

ing community. “The store started as a household freezer, and over the course of five years, we were able to build up to the store you visit now where we have glass display cases,” says Jeremiah. “We opened it daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. year-round and it’s stayed open ever since. It’s a one-stop shop for eating local food with an intentional focus on protein like pastured chicken and other grass-fed and pastured meats, fruits, vegetables, sauces and spices. It’s consistent with what’s available in that season. It’s a blast to be able to work with such a wide array of vendors now to keep a wide selection of products available, especially during the pandemic.” Growing deep roots isn’t just essential for the produce being planted but also for the farms planting them — it isn’t a matter of if the storms are coming, but when. They are no strangers to weathering storms all their own, and the last year certainly tested the depths of their roots. “The last year was overwhelming and taxing for the farming community as a whole, but it only solidified our resilience even more,” says Jeremiah. “With grocery stores closing left and right, our business exploded overnight. Walk-in freezers started breaking and dying as we tried to accommodate the need, but for better or for worse, we were still able to be a place of convenience

and consistency amidst uncertainty. We had so many heart-to-heart conversations with customers in our driveway, and while I would never take that back, I am glad that we seem to be on another side of it all. All I ask of our community is that they would help us keep the momentum going that we started last year.” Instead of going back to Shaw’s or Market Basket, stop by the farm store or visit them (and other local farmers) at your nearest farmers market. Jeremiah recommends taking time now to stock up your freezers for the holidays with VFF custom cuttings like a half a cow or a box of chicken. (And don’t forget to start planning for other holiday meal essentials like pies, breads, veggies and more. Thanksgiving is going to come sooner than we’d all like to admit.) If you’re looking for a unique, special way to gather safely with your friends and family, their community events are perfect for you. They’re a great way to delight your senses and taste the freshest locally raised food prepared by Vernon Kitchen, hear the sounds of nature, farm and local music, and see your farmers and community. But that’s not all the Vernons have up their sleeves this season. “We are particularly excited about our wildflower meadow project this year,” says Jeremiah. “It was designed and installed by pollinator conservationist Jarrod Fowler, and focuses on regenerative agriculture. The habitat will take about three years to establish itself completely, but we’re looking forward to seeing how the acre will continue to grow and regenerate. We’re grateful to the Agrarian Trust and Patagonia for making it happen.” After long days and seasons of dealing with the stress of owning and running a farm, it’s the community VFF has built that keeps Jeremiah and his family and farming staff going. “At the end of the day, we do this because of our passion for our farm and our family, and we love sharing both with you,” says Jeremiah. “Farming is difficult but incredibly rewarding. All of what we’ve experienced to date is an authentic example of how teamwork makes the dream work and how it truly takes a community to make amazing things happen. We can’t wait to welcome you to the farm.” NH

Find it Vernon Family Farm

301 Piscassic Rd., Newfields (603) 340-4321 | Follow along on Facebook and Instagram @vernonfamilyfarm. | September 2021 73


INSIGHT SPOTLIGHT: Naming a Trust as an IRA Beneficiary: Key Considerations As the significance of IRAs has grown, it has become more common to name trusts as IRA beneficiaries. Read our recent article to understand whether this may be an attractive option for your IRA. Learn more:

Wealth Planning | Investment Management Trusts & Estates | Philanthropy | Tax Contact: Michael Costa at 603-695-4321 or





Experts Planning for what happens after your death isn’t the most uplifting task, but it is important. Any delay could create additional difficulties for your family, and it could result in your assets being distributed in a way you hadn’t intended. We reached out to a trio of experts to learn more about wills and estate planning.








Chisholm, Persson & Ball LACONIALAW.COM


Who should have a will, and why? If you don’t have a last will and testament, the state of New Hampshire has a statute that specifies the persons who will receive your assets upon your death. The statute may not reflect your intent of how your assets should be distributed. This is particularly true for couples who live together but are not married, couples with minor children, and individuals with no spouse or children.

In executing a last will and testament, you are telling the probate court who you want to be in charge of handling your estate and to whom your assets should be distributed upon your death. Your will is also where you nominate guardians for any minor children and disinherit any children that you do not wish to get anything from your estate. Couples who live together have no statutory right to inherit from each other. Proving common law marriage is very difficult for inheritance purposes. A last will and testament can make clear provisions for your partner. In general, having a last will and testament provides peace of mind, a clear expression of your intentions, and guidance to those who will be managing your affairs after your death. — Susanne M. Chisholm, Shareholder Chisholm, Persson & Ball




What is the difference between a will and a trust? Why would I choose one over the other? A will is a legal document that expresses your wishes regarding the distribution of your property to beneficiaries, and the appointment of a guardian to care for your minor children after your death. Settling your estate begins with filing the will in probate court. Initially, the court appoints an executor, who then identifies the assets in your estate. If necessary, your executor will also file an inventory with the court. After the payment of your debts and expenses, and after the six-month period for creditors to file claims expires, your executor files the proper paperwork to distribute your estate to your beneficiaries. Probate is a public process that is potentially lengthy and costly. Unlike a will, a trust becomes effective when it is signed. A trust provides for the private management of your assets during your lifetime, in the event of incapacitation, and after your death. Trusts can be structured

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in many ways and specify how and when your assets are transferred to your beneficiaries. While the trustee must keep the beneficiaries reasonably informed about trust management, generally, there is no requirement to report to probate court. In New Hampshire, the use of a pour-over will, where guardians can be named, and a revocable trust, is frequently at the center of an estate plan because of the advantages of avoiding probate. ­— Jeanne S. Saffan, Partner Upton & Hatfield




McLane Middleton MCLANE.COM



What happens to your estate if you’re married, have a minor child, and you die without a will? Under New Hampshire law, persons who die without a will are subject to the intestacy statute. Under the intestacy statute, if a person dies married with children living, the spouse will receive the first $250,000 of the estate plus one half of the balance. The remaining half of the balance goes to your minor child. If the amount passing to a minor child is less than $10,000, the court will require opening a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act account with a custodian to hold the funds. If the inheritance is greater than $10,000, then the court will appoint a Guardian over the estate of the minor.


What is a will executor, and what are his/her responsibilities? The executor of your will is responsible for complying with the court’s probate rules including properly notifying the beneficiaries and any creditors. The



executor is also responsible for collecting and organizing the decedent’s assets. This may include closing bank accounts, liquidating tangibles, claiming life insurance proceeds, and working with financial advisors to transfer other investments. Once the assets are collected, the executor is responsible for paying any last debts, filing final tax returns, and paying any taxes. Finally, the executor is responsible for correctly distributing your estate in accordance with the wishes set forth in the will. — Christina L. Krakoff, Attorney Trusts and Estates Department, McLane Middleton

call for entries


2021 SMALL HOME DESIGN WINNER: Mighty Views by TMS Architects

Make sure your project gets the recognition it deserves —


New Hampshire Home will celebrate an array of design excellence at the Design Awards gala at LaBelle Winery in Derry on January 19, 2022.

2021 INTERIOR DESIGN WINNER: Meredith Getaway by Bonin Architects & Associates

Mark your calendar and stay tuned for details. For a complete list of award descriptions, judging criteria and the submission process, visit Sponsors of the 2022 New HampsHire Home Design Awards:

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Opening September 30

Jimmy’s on Congress > Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club is a one-of-a-kind jazz and blues club that will be paired with fine cuisine, libations and a lively scene in a century-old, state-of-the-art venue in downtown Portsmouth. Your hosts, brothers Michael and Peter Labrie and their team, have put heart and soul into creating a spectacular venue for you to enjoy extraordinary musical, cultural and culinary experiences. The spirit of Jimmy’s dates to the early 1900s when the local YMCA was erecting a landmark structure that would enliven this seaside city’s cultural and community life — and when musical pioneers in the Deep South were discovering and developing uniquely American art forms that would become known as jazz and blues. Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club aims to honor both of these traditions — serving as a community connecting point for arts and culture, and as a world-class “listening room” built for music lovers and the inspiring artists who perform here. Located in the heart of Portsmouth, NH’s vibrant and historic Market Square district, Jimmy’s can accommodate up to 600 — formal seating fronts the stage and the club’s high-tech sound and video systems allow patrons to wander and 78 | September 2021

socialize with clear sight lines throughout the venue’s unique spaces. Performers and patrons alike will discover an architecturally breathtaking, acoustically superior music venue and club that is decked out to deliver an “ultimate sensory experience.” Michael Labrie says the family’s shared vision is to welcome visitors to a memorable space that aims to earn a reputation as “one of the top clubs in the country and a cultural center of the city.” Legendary jazz musician, multi-instrumentalist and five-time Grammy-nominated artist Joey DeFrancesco Trio will be playing at 7:30 p.m. on opening night on September 30. Christian McBride and Inside Straight will also be gracing the stage on October 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. The goal is to give artists the musical freedom they deserve in a wholly original, multilevel “listening room” where all the conditions are in place for that special connection between artist and audience to truly come alive. Visit for updates on the progress toward the grand opening, and for your fun curated mix of music, video, arts news and surprises. Jimmy’s on Congress, 135 Congress St., Portsmouth. (888) 603-JAZZ;


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September 17-18

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Reach the Beach > This overnight relay race begins in Bretton Woods and ends at Hampton Beach, where you can celebrate at the finish line party complete with music and the medal ceremony. If you and your team aren’t quite up for the entire 200-mile stretch across New Hampshire, consider the shorter 55-mile Ragnar Sprint Reach the Beach, a one-day, 12-leg race with six runners. September 18

Claremont Brewfest: Battle of the Brews > This is a combo brewfest and 5K race held by the Kiwanis Club of Claremont. Sample beers from more than 30 New England breweries and vote for your favorite. Tickets are $30 and $50 for the VIP hour. Designated driver tickets are available for $10. The VIP hour is from 12-1 p.m. with general admission from 1-4 p.m. Visitor Center Green, 14 North St., Claremont. September 18

September 11-12

Thunder Over: New Hampshire Air Show > The 2021 Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show promises to be a weekend packed with heart-pounding air performances and family-friendly activities. This is your chance to get an up-close look at the aircraft and pilots in action. Although general admission is free, a limited amount of premium seating is available while supplies last. Get your tickets early to see the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and so much more. Premium tickets start at $40. Times vary, Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth.

Fairs & Festivals September 4-6

31st Annual Labor Day Weekend Craft Fair at the Bay > Celebrate summer by attending this crafty event. The Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront will come alive with color, flavor and music. Over 75 artisans from around New England will display and sell their handmade arts and crafts. Free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Alton Bay Community House and Grounds, 24 Mt. Major Hwy., Alton Bay. (603) 332-2616;


September 11

Auburn Day & 28th Annual Duck Race > Each September, thousands of people gather in beautiful Auburn to enjoy a family-friendly and fun-filled day to benefit the Auburn Historical Association. The cornerstone for this annual event is the famous duck race, which awards cash prizes for the 10 fastest ducks, including $1,000 for first place. Other event highlights include the Salmon Falls apple pie baking contest, the pretty chicken contest, Duckling Dash 5k road race, plenty of New Hampshire artisans and vendors, music by Peabody’s Coal Train, food and more.

Free to attend. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Auburn Village, Hooksett Road, Auburn. September 11

Wingzilla/Ribzilla > This annual food and fun fest features a chicken wing cook-off and a Hawaiianthemed ATV poker run, among other festivities. If you’re up for a particular brand of torture, sign on for Killazilla, a competition to see who can snarf down the most blazing hot wings. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Service Credit Union Heritage Park, 961 Main St., Berlin. September 17-19

NH Highland Games & Festival > Heading north for this beloved fest, you could almost convince yourself that the mountains on the horizon are the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands — and once you hear the bagpipes and spot the sea of tartan on the festival grounds, you’ll really start believing it. Though things will be a bit different this year (advanced tickets are required, and no tickets will be sold onsite), you can still expect to enjoy athletic feats of strength and endurance, Celtic music, sheep dog trials and more. Prices vary. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Loon Mountain Ski Resort, 60 Loon Mountain Rd., Lincoln. (603) 229-1975;

NH Maker & Food Fest > This annual event is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to chefs, the Maker & Food Fest is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments and projects, and for everyone to enjoy fantastic food. New this year, participating Makers can submit online content either in addition to or instead of attending the Fest in person. These videos, photos, blogs, etc. will be shared on CMNH’s social media in the weeks leading up to the Fest, and exclusive content will be available online for two weeks after. $5. Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, 6 Washington St., Dover. (603) 742-2002; September 18

Fall Equinox Fest > Celebrate the final days of summer and welcome in the first days of fall with this fun festival. It takes place at Swasey Parkway and features some of the Seacoast’s finest artistic and musical talent, as well as cultural exhibits and local food. There will also be yoga, dance performances, activities for kids and hooping. $10. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Swasey Parkway, Exeter. (603) 512-8396; September 25-26

Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival > Join dozens of folk and sea music performers as they bring maritime folk music and song to downtown Portsmouth and through five virtual venues on Zoom. This festival showcases music from the United States, British Isles and Canada. Past performers have included The Johnson Girls, Anayis Wright, Craig Edwards, David Jones and many more. Free. Virtual. September 26

20th Annual Lake Sunapee Chowder/Chili Challenge > This Sunapee PTA fundraiser used to be a solely chowder-based enterprise, but it added chili in the last couple of years and now splits the competition between the two dishes. Taste the offerings from local pros (past contestants include Suna and Peter Christian’s Tavern) and cast your vote — People’s Choice and Kids’ Choice honors are awarded in addition to the judges’ picks. $10. 12 to 3 p.m., 1 Lake Ave., Sunapee. Facebook | September 2021 79


603 LIVING / CALENDAR September 26

4th Annual Beer & Chili Tasting Festival > Join the team at the Castle in the Clouds for their tasting festival. With a hint of fall foliage and the spirit of Oktoberfest in the air, enjoy three hours of tasting, mingling and music in their fields. Relax in the vista, take in the views, and let that delicious chili and beer settle. Tickets are limited and must be purchased by September 25, so be sure to reserve yours soon so that you can sample beer and chili from local restaurants throughout the state. $25. 5:30-8:30 p.m., Castle in the Clouds, 455 Old Mountain Rd., Moultonborough. (603) 476-5900;

Miscellaneous September 5


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Labor Day Weekend Fireworks > End your Labor Day weekend festivities with fireworks at Hampton Beach. Walk the boardwalk, enjoy some Blink’s fried dough, and experience the magic of the night sky lit up by a beautiful fireworks display. Free. 9:30 p.m., Hampton Beach, Hampton.

October 2

BREWERY & TAPROOM 126B HALL ST., CONCORD, NH WED-FRI 4-8 P.M. /SAT 12-8 P.M. / SUN 12-6 P.M. Check out the expanded taproom! • (603) 219-0784 80 | September 2021

Powder Keg Beer & Chili Festival > One of your favorite events is back this year, but it may look a little different and we wanted to let you know about it sooner rather than later. This year’s event will be the powder keg without the chili, but it will still be one to remember. At this 11-year-old festival, sample brews from more than 20 breweries and cideries during one of two-two hour sessions. $10-$35. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Swasey Parkway, Exeter.

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September 12

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BioBlitz! > A daylong species scavenger hunt in Odiorne Point State Park, where families explore alongside scientists and field experts to find and record data on as many species as possible. It is a great way for children to get excited about science. Exploration teams will be birding, looking for insects, snakes and amphibians, exploring fresh water ponds, tracking mammals and so much more. $10-$30. 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Seacoast Science Center, 570 Ocean Blvd., Rye. (603) 436-8043; September 18

Smithsonian Museum Day Live > This annual “celebration of boundless curiosity” sponsored by Smithsonian magazine invites cultural institutions around the country to open their doors for the day, and three New Hampshire museums have opted in for 2021. Head to the event’s website to find the local no-fee museums nearest you. Free. Times and locations vary. Through Fall


September 10-12

Hampton Beach Seafood Festival > Close out your summer with the granddaddy of all Granite State food fests. Even though event organizers are working to adapt the festival to increase safety, you can still expect Seacoast restaurants offering up lobster, fried clams and other surf and turf favorites, plus skydiving demos, fireworks, a lobster roll eating contest and more. Prices and times vary, Hampton Beach, Ocean Boulevard.

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Critical Cartography: Larissa Fassler in Manchester > Larissa Fassler focuses on the symbiotic relationships between people and places. She is interested in how the architecture of cities affects people both physically and psychologically. After a period of reflection, Fassler created four new monumental drawings that reflect her impressions of Manchester’s downtown through intricate compositions featuring maps, annotations and imagery. Her works explore the use of public spaces, the role of community organizations in supporting the needs of citizens, and the effects of poverty on the physical, mental and emotional health of a community. Currier Museum, 150 Ash St., Manchester. (603) 669-6144;



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July 22-September 5

September 1

“Cabaret” > Life is a cabaret! In Kander and Ebb’s daring, provocative and exuberantly entertaining musical, an American author and a cabaret dancer fall in love in the backdrop of 1930s Berlin as the Nazis rise to power. Tickets and times vary, Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. September 1-18

“It Had To Be You” > Set to the music of two of America’s iconic songwriters of the early 20th century, the story tells the tale of the loves and losses of three women from high school graduation in 1916 through the Great War, the Roaring Twenties and the Depression era. Relive hits from the Great American Songbook set to an exciting new story. $29-$39. The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, 33 Footlight Circle, Meredith. (603) 279-0333;

Melissa Etheridge > Known for her confessional lyrics and raspy, smoky vocals, Etheridge has remained one of America’s favorite female singer-songwriters for more than two decades. She released “The Medicine Show” in April 2019. For this album, Etheridge reunited with celebrated producer John Shanks and sounds as rousing as ever, bringing a new level of artistry to her 15th studio recording. “The Medicine Show” deals with universal themes of renewal, reconciliation, reckoning, compassion and, most profoundly, healing. Don’t miss out on a night to hear this iconic performer and songwriter. $55-$400. 7:30 p.m., The Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. (603) 436-2400;

September 9-26

“Clue” > The classic board game is brought to life in “Clue: On Stage.” Six guests are invited to a dinner party thrown by an anonymous host. They are given aliases — Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum and Miss Scarlet. Each is presented with a weapon and an option: Pay their extortionist double or kill the innocent butler. What follows is a madcap, slapstick evening full of murder, mystery and laughs as they seek to puzzle out the culprit amongst criminals. Prices and times vary, M&D at Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse, 2760 White Mountain Hwy., North Conway. (603) 733-5275;

September 11

The Machine performs Pink Floyd > The Machine has forged a 30-year reputation for extending the legacy of Pink Floyd, selling out theaters, premier showcase rooms and casinos across North America, Europe and Asia, performing at renowned music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Riverbend and Gathering of the Vibes, and sharing the stage with full symphony orchestras, including the Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Charlotte and San Diego symphonies, as well as the Buffalo Philharmonic. The New York-based quartet performs a diverse mix of The Floyd’s extensive 16-album repertoire, complete with faithful renditions of popular hits as well as obscure gems. With stellar musicianship and passionate delivery, The Machine explores collective improvisation rivaling that of an early 1970s Pink Floyd. Tickets start at $34. 7:30 p.m., The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center, 39 S. Main St., Plymouth. (603) 536-2551; September 16

David Cook > David Cook (winner of “American Idol” season seven) certainly knows his way around a good song. He is starting fresh with his new album, “Cromance,” which includes songs like “Gimme Heartbreak” with an up-tempo track that throws the listener right in to the record. $35-$40. 8 p.m., The Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry. (603) 437-5100;



— 9TH

11AM - 1PM 2PM - 4PM


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40 For more information or to purchase tickets visit

82 | September 2021


Summer Theater

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Sports & Recreation

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September 18-26

Seacoast Cancer 5K > Join more than 2,000 participants for a morning of family fun benefiting cancer care and services at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. The virtual race is from September 18-25 or you can choose to participate in person on September 26. The course starts at the hospital and winds through Dover. Runners and walkers are invited to partake in this event, and there will be pre- and post-race activities like food, entertainment, kids’ activities and more. $10-$35. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, 789 Central Ave., Dover. (603) 740-2687; September 25

Fox Point Sunset Road Race > Runners who love to race but hate the break-of-dawn start times, this one’s for you. A 5-mile course winding through Newington Village and around Great Bay, this Seacoast Road Race Series event is designed to align with the sunset — no 6 a.m. registration table in sight. Stick around after you’ve crossed the finish line, where a free post-race BBQ will be waiting to replenish those calories you just burned off. $10-$25. 5 to 7 p.m., Newington Old Town Hall, 338 Nimble Hill Rd., Newington. (603) 834-3177;


September 30-October 3

Deerfield Fair > Apple crisp, fried dough, carousel rides and horse pulls must mean that the Deerfield Fair is back in town. New England’s oldest fair is back with all of your traditional activities and attractions like amusement rides, annual horse show and more. $12. Times vary, 34 Stage Rd., Deerfield. (603) 463-3064;


Find additional events at calendar. Submit events eight weeks in advance to Emily Heidt at or enter your own at 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.

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Make a day of it and explore the trails at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center! | September 2021 83


Sticky Toffee Pudding The Pudding 1 cup pitted dates, chopped 1 cup boiling water 3 tablespoons butter, cold and diced 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 1/3 cup demerara sugar* 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 2 eggs ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons flour Place chopped dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow dates to soften (roughly 10 minutes). Preheat oven to 350°F, grease muffin tins with nonstick spray Combine butter, baking soda, salt, demerara sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla extract in a food processor. Pulse ingredients until just combined. Add softened dates and ½ cup of water from the dates to the dried ingredients. Using the food processor, pulse the mixture until well combined but not completely liquified. Pour batter into greased muffin tins and bake for roughly 6 minutes, rotate and continue baking for another 6 minutes. Remove from muffin tins after they are cooked fully.

Sticky Toffee Sauce 8 tablespoons butter 21/4 cups heavy cream 9 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add brown sugar and gently simmer for 3 minutes. Add salt and remove from heat. Slowly add cream while whisking.


luscious but homey dessert, this recipe is served at Epoch Gastropub in Exeter, but why not try your hand at home? Executive Chef Tyler Brooks shares the recipe here. Executive Chef Tyler Brooks is back at Epoch with a fresh new menu. The interior of the space was updated with yellow lucite tables in the dining room that give off an ethereal glow, while the banquette seating, thankfully, remains. The restaurant has been rebranded to Epoch Gastropub and their famous burger remains on the modern New England and approachable menu. The pretty patio, beautifully landscaped, is the perfect place to enjoy an early evening dinner and maybe a game of corn hole. The fire pit in the rear is ideal for chilly evenings and gathering of friends. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, lunch on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. The dining space and the hotel were closed during the height of the pandemic and used for Phillips Exeter Academy students. The restaurant reopened in early July.

84 | September 2021

Once cream is emulsified, return to stove and gently heat the mixture to serving temperature.

To Serve:

Pour ¾ of sauce over cakes and bake for roughly 2 minutes (the sauce will absorb into the cake). Once cakes and sauce are hot, place into serving bowl and spoon remaining sauce over the top of the cakes. Serve with your favorite candied nuts and/or favorite ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Epoch serves theirs with vanilla from Memories Ice Cream in Kingston. * Demerara sugar has a course grain and is a light brown. You can substitute with turbinado sugar, light brown sugar or granulated sugar, but for the latter, add a teaspoon of molasses.



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603 LIVING / HEALTH up for treatments — especially those that are outside the realm of proven medicine. Take craniosacral therapy (CST), for example. CST is a noninvasive therapy rooted primarily in the notion that the gentle laying on of hands on the head, neck and lower back area can reduce compression or tension in the body and help remedy fluid imbalances within the central nervous system, which in turn can alleviate symptoms associated with a number of conditions

“If a patient believes that [CST] is what they need,” Sackos says, it can act as a placebo and effect change. Also, CST can help soothe patients, which brings its own benefits.

Craniosacral Therapy Is the practice hokum or helpful? BY KAREN A. JAMROG / ILLUSTRATION BY MADELINE McMAHON


mart consumers know that caveat emptor is the golden rule to observe before opening one’s wallet. The same standard should apply when it comes to signing up for what are known as “alternative” or “complementary” health and wellness therapies. Some are excellent choices; others, a waste of money.

86 | September 2021

Make no mistake: Alternative approaches to health should by no means be painted with a broad brush or as a group be derisively dismissed as snake oil; just because a therapy originated outside of traditional Western medicine doesn’t mean that it’s ineffective or harmful. However, it makes sense to do your homework before signing

including chronic pain, migraines, TMJ disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. In theory, CST helps relax the fascia, or connective tissue, that exists throughout the body and surrounds organs, bones, muscles, nerves and more. Critics say it’s a lot of bunk. Still, it appears to help some people, says Dana Sackos, P.T., a physical therapist at Concord Hospital. Although there isn’t much scientific evidence to support how CST works, Sackos says, there is anecdotal evidence — some patients swear by it — and he does see mobility and functional gains in some patients who receive CST. Sackos says he uses metrics such as range of motion, patients’ subjective reports of symptoms, and other functional outcome scores to determine the effectiveness of treatment, but he does not typically treat any patient with only CST, so it’s difficult to say whether CST truly is effective. He doesn’t discount the power of psychology, however. “If a patient believes that [CST] is what they need,” he says, it can act as a placebo and effect change. Also, CST can help soothe

grams of force, or the weight of a nickel. That’s not much, but depending on the needs of the patient, very gentle techniques can be beneficial, Sackos points out. Patients who have experienced physical or emotional trauma, for example, might have a sympathetic nervous system that “is basically revving too high,” he says. If the therapist does something too intense, it could make the patient tense up even more. To Sackos, this underscores the ultimate goal of CST: to relax the sympathetic or involuntary physical response in patients who have been living with chronic pain, stress or a perceived threat, he says, that is unrealistic or exaggerated. Although CST is not backed by solid scientific evidence and is not typically covered by insurance, it is considered safe for most children and adults. Check with your doctor to be sure it is OK for you though. Individuals who have experienced blood clots or a recent concussion or brain aneurysm, for example, might not be candidates for CST. NH

CST, foam rolling and the fascia connection Part of the goal of craniosacral therapy (CST) is to get the body’s fascia, or connective tissue, to relax. In this regard, CST is akin to foam rolling, which has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. Never heard of foam rolling? As the name implies, foam rolling involves rolling or maneuvering the body back and forth over a hard piece of foam, or sometimes maintaining pressure to reduce tension in the fascia so that the layers of tissue can move more freely. With foam rolling, the immediate sensation can be one of pleasure, pain or a sort of hurts-so-good feeling, but ultimately the practice can create a relaxed feeling that is similar to a good muscle stretch. patients, which brings its own benefits. Sackos admits he sometimes feels conflicted regarding CST. “I’ve been a clinician for 26 years in a department that is very much evidence-based,” Sackos says, so sometimes he finds it “a challenge” to employ alternative treatments such as CST. “I’m not seeing anything from a scientific standpoint,” he says, “that validates some of the theories as to how [CST] works.” But he says many patients he’s treated with CST have told him, “‘No one’s ever treated me the way that you do, and you helped me more

than anybody’s ever helped me.’” Sackos adds, “How do you balance off what you can prove with the results that you get as a practitioner?” The main intent of CST treatment, Sackos says, “is to normalize tissue tensions.” The idea is that releasing tension in the head, spinal cord, and area where the lower back meets the pelvis will improve function of the central nervous system, which affects the body in a variety of ways. A very light touch is used to achieve this — the pressure amounts to roughly five








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BB Phone Home


ew Hampshire residents, particularly in the southern part of the state, have had a good number of renowned encounters with extraterrestrials and their futuristic transports — Betty and Barney Hill and the Exeter Incident among the more notable. When’s it going to be my turn? As someone who was a kid in the ’70s, it was very much a part of our pop culture. Luke wanted to go to Toshi Station, Roy Neary fashioned a mountain out of mashed potatoes, and Kirk had 100 quatloos bet on him at Triskelion. After school, I’d watch “Star Blazers,” and at night, grainy broadcasts of “Doctor Who” on a tiny black-and-white TV that got Channel 11 if the tinfoil antenna was pointed in the right direction and the weather was right. It was all around us, all the time. So, I was understandably fascinated by the idea that aliens could be hanging out in Exeter. I saw “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in the movie theater, and

thereafter, when our family was driving anywhere at night, I’d scan the skies. We lived on a lake in Barrington at the time. There was very little light pollution, and every night the heavens stretched out endlessly. But much to my disappointment, there was also very little evidence of flying saucers. Still, I stayed alert. I knew that if I remained vigilant, someday in the far-flung future — like the 1980s — I would stumble into my own close encounter. I did, but it ended up just being Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick on Hampton Beach. It was raining, and he put a trash bag over his head and walked into walls. I assure you this really happened. I thought by now we’d be in our own flying cars, blasting womp rats with laser rifles on Betelgeuse. Instead, when I did take down an animal, it was with a Subaru in Plaistow — about a zillion parsecs from the galactic environs I had envisioned and not nearly as lasery as I

hoped. Where is my holodeck? Where is my Romulan ale? The only alien-related artifacts I’ve been able to get my hands on are Reese’s Pieces and a light saber I made at Walt Disney World. Jimmy Carter, Sammy Hagar and Kurt Russell all have UFO stories. Good old Bill doesn’t, quite yet, but I’ll keep my eyes on the sky. And though I never did catch a glimpse of something unexplained streaking across the horizon or an alien creature standing back-lit in the middle of a lonely country road (I’ve seen enough “X-Files” to know that, if you’re going to see an alien, it’s going to be fairly flamboyant and look like it was shot by Roger Deakins), I welcome the opportunity. Besides, Toshi Station sounds like a pretty cool place. A note to the Grays: I’m like, one town over from your — let’s just say it — melodramatic Exeter Incident. I’ll meet you at the Dunkin’s just off 101. Let’s do this. NH






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