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T H E S Q UA R E spring/summer 2016

THE SQUARE The Magazine for Seacoast

Creativity, Culture & Community


FREE Square style

Square Style

Pop into Spring pg.8

The Penn Program

g o o d e at s

Education outside the box pg.24

Chases Garage

the penn program

Artists give an old shop new life pg.40

Portsmouth’s West End Change on their terms pg.46

chases garage

PLUS: Shopping

Shelter, Dining, Events

PORTSMOUTH ’ S w e s t e n d

The Seacoast is your Oyster!

spring calendar

Spring/Summer 2016


inside Volume 03

Number 01

Spring /Summer 2016 on the cover

A fresh catch of oysters arrive at Row 34 Photo by Greta Rybus

06 Square One

For everything you need to know about the Seacoast.

18 The Invisible Thread

Denise Wheeler quietly makes a difference

22 Bringing it Home

Ned Roche and Cait Giunta bring a York Beach landmark back to life. Story by Annie Noonan

46 The West End

photo by jasmine inglesmith

40 Chases Garage

photo by annie noonan

24 The Penn Program

An adventure in education

30 One Posture at a Time

Sara Curry brings Sober Yogis to the Seacoast

34 Reading Round the Seacoast

Residents and business owners are rejuvenating their neighborhood on their own terms. Story by Maggie Wallace

Bright & Lyon makes its mark on the local music scene

From Beat Night to the Silo Series, area poets make their mark

40 Chases Garage

A gallery and artist space creates community in York Beach

46 Portsmouth’s West End

The “up-and-comin” area of Portsmouth steps into the spotlight

52 Lessons in the Art of Lounge

Chance shows us how to slow down and relax

58 Portsmouth on the Half Shell

Where to go to slurp and sup oysters? Here’s the scoop.

Oysters are at the top of the menu again, especially in Portsmouth. Story by Debbie Kane


Spring/Summer 2016

66 Cosmopolitan Coast Indian? Thai? Mediterranean? There’s more to dining on the Seacoast than ever before. Story by Katie Shine

photo by jason mckibben

58 On The Halfshell

photo by greta rybus

66 The Cosmopolitan Coast

There’s more dining options on the Seacoast than ever before


Good Eats!



It’s time to eat healthy


Get out and explore

What The?

Can you solve this photographic mystery?


Why we’re here. We love the intersection of history and new culture and arts in Portsmouth. Portsmouth is the perfect size. It can feel big when you want it to feel big. But when you need it to feel small and cozy, it can be that too. We’re Kristy and Dylan and that’s why we’re here.

You love it here. We love it here. Kennebunk Savings. The power of local. Member FDIC

New Hampshire: Portsmouth • Dover • Newmarket • Hampton

From the Editor

President/Publisher Sharron R. McCarthy x5117


Spring/Summer 2016

her stylish home and life in Kittery Point. “MJ Something!” Jen said triumphantly. “MJ Blanchette!” I responded. I’ve known M.J. through the arts community for years and as an admirer of her work, I was excited to have an excuse to contact her. Her photo essay is a moving tribute to her late dog, Chance, and a reminder to all of us to take time to lounge. There are even more connections as you browse through this issue of The Square. Chris Hislop is a contributor to The Square, but this time we put him in the spotlight. Guy Capecelatro III is back with “Words About Pictures” and also a part of Writers in the Round on WSCA, which Debbie Kane covers in “Reading ‘Round the Seacoast.” Sara Curry’s work with Sober Yogis, and her successful Bikram yoga studio, is an anchor of the emerging West End which was profiled by the writer/photographer team of Maggie Wallace and Jasmine Inglesmith. Sometimes the Seacoast feels as if it is bursting at the seams with newcomers and tourists, which it is, but at other times it feels that we are only two degrees — or less — away from each other. And who knows? That recent transplant sitting next to you at the bar at Block Six on a Friday night could be a new friend. Just say hello, and follow the connections as they emerge.

Editor Meganne Fabrega Art Director Chip Allen x5128

Managing Editor

Erica Thoits x5130

Assistant Editor Sarah Cahalan x5115 Creative Assistant Candace Gendron x5137 Production Manager Jodie Hall x5122 Senior Graphic Designer Wendy Wood x5126 Graphic Designer Nancy Tichanuk x5116 Office Manager Mista McDonnell x5114 Sales Executive Tal Hauch x5145 Events/Marketing Manager Erica Baglieri x5125 Sales/Events Coordinator Amanda Andrews x5113 Business/Sales Coordinator Heather Rood x5115

VP/Consumer Marketing Brook Holmberg

VP/Retail Sales Sherin Pierce

Digital Media Specialist Morgen Connor x5140

150 Dow Street, Manchester, NH 03101 (603) 624-1442, fax (603) 624-1310

Meganne Fabrega Editor

E-mail: Advertising:

© 2016 McLean Communications, Inc. The Square® 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, Inc.: The Square disclaims all responsibility for omissions and errors.

photo by alyssa alameida duncan

Connectivity. Synchronicity. Six (or more like two) degrees of separation. All of these terms could apply to our lives here on the Seacoast and are especially relevant to this issue. When I moved back to the Seacoast 16 years ago, I was amazed at how many people were still here that I knew from my youth, or who left and returned as I did. Despite the fact that Portsmouth is home to 22,000 people year-round — a number that balloons to over 100,000 in the summer months — I can walk downtown at any time and run into a neighbor, a co-worker or the woman I sat next to in third grade. This issue in particular seems like a result of the organic creative process that the Seacoast inspires. Andrew Fersch of The Penn Program contacted me last year to inquire about an internship for one of his students. While The Square’s Seacoast office has no room for an intern (just a four-legged one that barks), I was intrigued by The Penn. That conversation led me to speak to Denise Wheeler, whose name I had seen repeatedly since moving here in 1999. I wanted to know more about her extensive involvement as an arts and nonprofit advocate in the area; so I proposed a profile. As a result, you’ll read about Denise in this issue, as well as an essay by Denise’s daughter, Ella McGrail, about her time with The Penn. When I drove to scout out a possible story location with Jen Moore, a friend as well as a contributor, we passed about 10 minutes as she tried to remember the name of an artist who had an Instagram account where she posted photos of

Executive Editor Rick Broussard x5119

Making Connections

Contributors Jessica Beebe is a photographer and stylist who specializes in portraiture, product and lifestyle photography. Her photographs don’t just capture a moment in time, they create one. Her work has been shown in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland and other major cities across the country.

MJ Blanchette is a painter living and working in Kittery Point, Maine. A fanatical space-maker, organic gardener and avid naturalist, she has a keen appreciation for wildlife, natural habitat, and open spaces … and dogs. Find her work at Craig Robert Brown is a freelance arts, culture and travel writer. Craig’s writing has appeared in various publications including Dispatch magazine, The Sound, The Wire, Neutrons/Protons literary journal, The Higgs Weldon, Atlas Obscura and more. He is also the Director of Media at the Green Alliance in Portsmouth. Find him on Twitter: @craigiswriting. Guy Capecelatro III is a storyteller and songwriter in Portsmouth who owns the record label Two Ton Santa. He is the creator of “Some Women” and guest curator of “Songwriters in the Round” at The Music Hall Loft. His latest release is “Scatter the Remains” through Burst & Bloom records. Isis Ulery Chapman is a homeschooling high school freshman that lives in Nottingham, NH. She spends a lot of her time at her homeschooling Co-Op working on her new food podcast, “Dishin’ The Deets” and learning more about psychology and mental health. She enjoys writing in her spare time and is interested in trying slam poetry. Jared Charney is a portrait and editorial photographer based in New England constantly inspired by people and how the camera & lens is an access to study and reveal the people he meets. When not seeing the world through a viewfinder he can be found running around the small North Shore town with his son, daughter and wife. Jasmine Inglesmith started taking “photographs” with her hands sitting in class when she was in the third grade. “I would imagine them printing out really big in my bedroom closet. One image I remember was of my friend blowing spit bubbles. I have grown in many ways but the love I have for my family and my obsession with photography has stayed the same.”

Ella McGrail is currently a junior at Portsmouth High School. She spent her sophomore year at The Penn Program, an alternative homeschooling cooperative where she and her classmates engaged in real world learning experiences. She is a blogger for the Portsmouth Herald, an aspiring novelist and a chocolate enthusiast. Jason McKibben is a visual storyteller. He spent a decade working for newspapers all over the US and now freelances for clients throughout the Seacoast. He’s also on a mission to brew the perfect pale ale. He lives in Durham with his wife and son. See his work:

Jennifer Moore is a library clerk, maker and sustainable style blogger. Find her via Twitter @recovergirl. Jennifer lives in Kittery with her husband, two boys and two cats Cocoa & Scratch. Annie Noonan is a freelance editor and writer living in York, Maine. She works with a wide variety of content but has a particular interest in art. Originally from Vermont, Annie is inspired by the beauty of the natural world and by interesting people. She writes, draws, paints and photographs to make connections and find meaning. You can reach her at Greta Rybus is a photographer who specializes in editorial, portrait, food and travel photography. Originally from Idaho, she bounced around a bit before landing in Portland, Maine.

Katie Shine is a freelance writer, event producer and public relations specialist for KSH PR Group. She can knit like a mad woman, is obsessed with mozzarella sticks and is the brains (and body) behind the pop-up party “Cabin Fever Portsmouth.” Try to keep up: @KatieShineH on Twitter and Instagram Robert Squier is an illustrator whose work appears regularly in Highlights for Children magazine. He has also illustrated several books in the popular Who Was series published by Penguin. He lives in Portsmouth with his wife, son and dog.

Maggie Wallace is a Portsmouth-based freelance writer who covers travel and community. She has hiked the Appalachian Trail, cycled across the US, and is currently hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Read more at

Debbie Kane writes, lives and runs on the Seacoast. She balances writing about various lifestyle topics with attempts at parenting two daughters. The best part of her job is sharing stories about the unique people who live and work here. More at

Michael Winters is a photographer and a counselor at Portsmouth High School. A collection of his work, Friends and Muses, was published in 2015 and can be purchased at select locations in Portsmouth. Visit to learn more.

Stephanie Simpson Lazenby is a writer, educator and performer. She runs enrichment workshops at local elementary schools, helping students learn through writing and acting. Performances include, “Listen to Your Mother,” telling true, NSFW tales of the aftermath of childbirth. She also makes a helluva good spaghetti and meatballs.

Kelly Wright is the director for Freeman’s Trusts & Estates (New England) and a current appraiser on the “Antiques Roadshow.” He lives in Portsmouth with his family. He is happy to provide free and confidential advice. Wright can be reached at (603) 4989530 or email him at

Spring/Summer 2016


8 style 12 seacoast shopkeepers 14 five faves 16 vintage seacoast 17 words about pictures

Drop the beat around the campfire with this banana shaker. Kumbaya, my friend. Tycoon Percussion Banana Shaker $11.99 at Drum Center of Portsmouth Portsmouth


Spring/Summer 2016

From baking up batches of her gourmet shortbread to whipping up whimsical wedding cakes, Kate’s creations were becoming a hit with more than just friends and family. She decided it was time to move her business out of her home kitchen, so she called us. After reviewing her business plan, we secured the loan. She’s now settled into a location on Badger’s Island. Kate has a passion for what she does, which is exactly how she described working with us.

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3/21/2016 2:01:45 PM


noteworthy items from around the t. Seacoast to add to your shopping lis By Jennifer Moore

Pura Vida Bracelets Endless Summer Pack Friendship bracelets are a thing again. Start with this stack from Pura Vida. You will, of course, need to buy a matching set for your BFF.

Ice Cream Cone The unofficial beginning of spring on the Seacoast is when the Ice House Restaurant opens for business. They opened this season on April 15. Celebrate with three scoops and some jimmies. Prices vary The Ice House Restaurant Rye,

Appalachian Trail poster Hang this locally designed poster as a reminder that hiking the Appalachian Trail is on your bucket list. $25-45 Brainstorm Prints & Goods Dover,

Summer Sessions Hat A classic trucker cap is great for keeping the sun out of your eyes during important outdoor activities, like putting your feet up and reading a paperback. $32 Summer Sessions Portsmouth


Spring/Summer 2016

photos by jennifer moore

$70 Pear Tree Gifts, Dover

Cuppow Canning Jar Drinking Lid Show off your sustainable style. Bring your kale smoothie and coldbrewed coffee to work in a reusable mason jar and Cuppow lid. $8.99 White Heron Tea & Coffee Portsmouth Oval Foam Floating Key Chain It floats! You don’t need to work or play on the water to make use of this floating keychain. The pop color and squeezable foam make it easy to find at the bottom of your tote bag.

photos by jennifer moore

$4.99 Kittery Ace Hardware Kittery, Maine,

Topo Designs Rover Pack — Kelly/Navy This bag is that rare design that improves with age. Use if for day hikes or traveling in coach. It’s designed with an inner laptop sleeve, and a convenient side pocket for water bottles. Made in the US. $139 Papa Wolf Supply Co. Portsmouth

Novelty Socks Show off your legs and humor with a pair of novelty socks and sandals. $8.94 PacSun Outlet at Kittery Premium Outlets Kittery, Maine

Blue Lizard Sunscreen (5 oz) You really need to be better about sunscreen. This smart bottle can help. The bottle turns blue when it comes in contact with harmful UV rays, alerting you to lather up, or get in the shade. $24 Prelude Portsmouth,

Spring/Summer 2016


Cashew Bar Toasted cashews, sesame seeds, dried cranberries and brown sugar caramel, all atop a shortbread crust. Think of this as your power bar for thrifting. $2.50 Beach Pea Baking Co. Kittery, Maine

Convivial Link Blanket

These beach blankets are constructed with buttons down one side and buttonholes down the other. This clever linking system allows you to button your blanket to your friends’ blanket. The more the merrier. Made in the US. $89 Inside Out, Portsmouth

Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Willow 3-Speed in Tangerine Avoid the stress of trying to find a parking spot; ride this cruiser into town instead. The no-bar design makes it easy to navigate in a dress or a suit. Add a basket and a bell for the full experience.

Gripple by Dublin Dog Splurge on a new dog toy this spring. Fido will thank you. This brightly colored, oddly shaped one is designed for erratic bounce and easy gripping. Made in the US. $14.95 DogLand Portsmouth

courtesy photos

$600 Papa Wheelies Portsmouth

Spring/Summer 2016


innamon Rainbows


ave Cropper is the real deal: a person who truly follows his bliss. Guided by an early and enduring love of surfing, he began working at Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Company when he was 16. Over 25 years later, Cropper, along with his wife Heather Day and a dedicated staff, has built Cinnamon Rainbows into a world-class surf shop that attracts pros and first-time surfers alike. “It comes down to this: I love surfing. I cannot imagine doing anything

else,” says Cropper. At the tender age of 19, he purchased Cinnamon Rainbows. “The opportunity came up and I certainly didn’t have the means. I got ‘no’ everywhere when applying for a loan.” Cropper says that it couldn’t have happened without the help of his grandmother, Brenda Noyes. “When my grandmother found out about this chance, she told me that she wanted to see her grandson pursue his dream, and she gave me a small business loan.” Since then, he has watched surfing and boarding grow from a niche sport into a multi-billion dollar industry. “I used to beg my school librarian to order Surfer magazine for me, and she did because there wasn’t much else around.” When he was growing up, the closest surf shop was in Rhode Island, and fall and cold-weather surfing was for only the most dedicated surfers. Cropper continues, “Technology has dramatically improved items like wet suits, so it actually makes it comfortable to surf into the winter. As kids we would hope to catch the weather on the radio. Now, our website has a live feed of the ocean right outside the shop, plus

Cinnamon Rainbows is located at 931 Ocean Boulevard in Hampton, cinnamon Smiles, with Surfing for ing volunteer in interested are you If .com. rainbows site, email Taylor, Lindsey or Chelsea at, visit their page. Facebook their or


. Spring/Summer 2016

courtesy photos

Seacoast Shopkeepers: C

a wave report.” For those who feel they might be intimidated by the thought of surfing or simply walking into a surf shop for the first time, Cropper and his staff strive to “…make it as unintimidating as possible. We pride ourselves on making our place healthy and fun for all.” Even though we can order anything from the couch with just a click, that doesn’t concern him. “There is no substituit. tion for putting a surfboard in your hands. It’s like a guitar, you gotta strum other.” each to talk wax, the smell in... come to like really People He adds, “The water is a special place and to share our experiences is a gift to our community.” This is where his actions speak louder than words. Cinnamon Rainbows is directly involved with programs such as Surfing with Smiles and the Wounded Warrior Project. Surfing with Smiles is a local, surf, all-volunteer program that gives people with special needs a chance to hit veterans and members service while the Wounded Warrior Project helps the to cost no at t equipmen the of all donates the water. Cinnamon Rainbows to paid care special is there events both For ing. participat those or programs those who may use wheelchairs, be missing limbs or suffer from post-trau matic stress disorder. More important than surfboards, Cropper and his staff give their time and knowledge to Surfing with Smiles and the Wounded Warrior Project. “These It’s events are very important to us. It brings such joy to all that are involved. the be: to place great a this make something very special. It’s the people that Seacoast is a great community.” adds. “I feel really lucky to be able to travel and surf all over the world,” He senti“And not to take away from anywhere, or my experiences, but there is There mentality about where you grew up surfing. I love it here on the Seacoast. Lazenby Simpson Stephanie — world.” is nowhere like it in the

Go beyond building with the cabinetmakers at Oxland Builders — distinctive, high-quality, custom cabinetry for the whole home


Five Faves all ready to head back outside, When the weather warms up we’re ption. Here are five local and our four-legged friends are no exce the happy dance. jaunts that will have your dog doing


Illustrations by Robert Squier Downtown Portsmouth is a dog’s paradise with water bowls lining the sidewalks and plenty of other pooches to meet! Grab breakfast at The Works Bakery Cafe (9 Congress St., and enjoy the local scene at one of their outdoor tables, or take your bagel to Peirce Island Dog Park (Peirce Island Rd., where dogs are allowed off-leash in designated areas under voice control. Does your Fido tend to wander? Then take him to the fenced South Mill Pond Dog Park where there

is a separate play area for the miniature mutts. If your dog has been a good boy, then treat him to a cookie at Canine Cupboard (220 State St., and head back to Market Square for your own delicious pastry at Popovers on the Square (8 Congress St., Just visiting Portsmouth? Stay at The Hotel Portsmouth (40 Court St., or the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel (250 Market St., where your furry friend is more than welcome.


If your canine prefers woods to water, there are plenty of local options to choose from. Wagon Hill Farm (Route 4, Durham) is best known for its winter sledding hill, but it also has lots of trails to explore with your leashed pet. If you need a little more freedom, continue on to the Kingman Farm Trail on Route 155 in Madbury. Owned by the University of New Hampshire, this 355-acre farm is open to the public with an intricate trail system. When you’ve worn your buddy out, you can go to downtown Durham and grab an iced coffee at Breaking New Grounds (50 Main St., 603-868-6869) or satisfy your sweet tooth at The Candy Bar (44 Main St.,


“Go West, young man…” on Route 33 to the “super big dog scene” (as one local described it) at Stratham Hill Park (, where you should keep your pup off of the playing fields and pick a trail to explore. Cool off in downtown Exeter with a cone of Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream (190 Water St., 603-777-5077) and then take Route 85 towards Newfields to Raynes Farm where woods and fields lead down to the banks of the Squamscott River. Does your buddy need a new friend to join the family? You can circle back to the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Route 108/33, Stratham, and meet a potential new family member or peruse their list of classes and clinics that are open to the public.


Spring/Summer 2016


If you’d like to experience “The Way Life Should Be,” then you can cross over the border into Maine and enjoy the patio that sits between Lil’s Café (7 Wallingford Square, lilscafe. com) and Maine Squeeze Juice Cafe (7 Wallingford Square, Carrot juice, coffee or crullers...the choice is yours. Drive along Route 103 to Gerrish Island in order to get to Fort Foster Park, which offers stunning seaside views, lots of trails and beaches. Looking for more of an incline? You can go to Mt. Agamenticus (Route 1 North to Agamenticus Rd., for a leisurely hike and bird’s-eye view of the area. Stop by local institution Flo’s Hot Dogs (1359 Route 1, Cape Neddick, for a bite... don’t forget the relish!




New Hampshire’s small but mighty coastline offers up sandy fun and open water swimming for dogs who can’t get enough of the water. During the warmer months, an early morning stroll or late evening amble is the best time to check out the beach; most local beaches strictly enforce hours that dogs are allowed to (officially) explore these areas. The breakfast burritos at Rye General Store (2203 Ocean Blvd., 603-964-5915) have a loyal following; eat them al fresco and watch the surfers salute the sunrise at Jenness State Beach (2280 Ocean Blvd., If you prefer an evening stroll, then you can get an ice cream to go at The Beach Plum (16 Ocean Blvd., and drive to North Beach in Hampton (920 Ocean Blvd., to take a long walk along the wall and watch the sun set.

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Spring/Summer 2016


Vintage Seacoast

By Kelly Wright

Childe Hassam’s Isles of Shoals “Upon these islands I could see neither one good timber tree nor so much ground as to make a garden.” courtesy photos

English explorer Captain Christopher Levett

Childe Hassam (1859-1935), oil on canvas, “The Norwegian Cottage” (Isle of Shoals) sold at Freeman’s on March 30, 2014 for $242,500. (Photo courtesy of Freeman’s)


hen it comes to artistic inspiration, New Hampshire has no shortage of iconic vistas. The drama of the White Mountain wilderness and the lush serenity of the lakes region are well known subjects for paintings, poems and novels alike. It seems unlikely then that a small cluster of treeless rocky islands off the coast of Rye became the inspiration for America’s best known Impressionist painter. The English explorer Captain Christopher Levett remarked in 1623, “Upon these islands I could see neither one good timber tree nor so much ground as to make a garden.” Fishing communities had thrived on the islands, but


Spring/Summer 2016

by the early part of the 19th century they were largely uninhabited. Not until the famous hotel built by lighthouse keeper Thomas Laighton on Appledore Island in 1847 did the Shoals become a summer destination. Under the management of his daughter Celia Thaxter in the early 1860s, then one of the most beloved poets in America, the resort became a summer salon for luminaries from Boston and beyond. Among those invited by Thaxter, including Nathaniel Hawthorne and Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a young painter named Childe Hassam who began visiting the island in the early 1880s. The two quickly became mutual admirers and Hassam would be a

summer fixture on and off for the next 30 years. In addition to her love of poetry, Thaxter was an avid gardener, and her bright blossoms, which transformed the islands, are frequent subjects of Hassam’s work. In 1894, just a few months before her death, Hassam illustrated her final publication, “An Island Garden.” After Thaxter’s death, Hassam’s star continued to rise. His public at the time preferred his Paris and New York street scenes and snapshots of urban life. Yet he continued to return to these remote coastal outcroppings punctuated with splashes of flowers and washed in a stark northern light. His works from the Isles of Shoals feel as if they were painted for no one but himself and are much more contemplative and personal. Indeed, of the estimated 3,000 works produced in his long and prolific career, more than 400 feature Thaxter, her gardens and the environs of Appledore Island.

words about pictures

by Guy Capecelatro III

courtesy photos

Fallout Shelter Childe Hassam (1914) oil on canvas, “Self-Portrait”

Widely acknowledged as the American master of Impressionism, works by Childe Hassam can be seen in museums internationally. Closer to home, the Peabody Essex Museum, in conjunction with the Shoals Marine Laboratory, will be mounting an exhibition entitled: “American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals.” On view July 16, 2016 to November 6, 2016 the exhibition features “more than 40 oil paintings and watercolors dating from the late 1880s to 1912, offering a sustained reverie on nature, the pleasure of painting and a rapturous sense of place and color.” Kelly Wright is the Director for Freeman’s Trusts & Estates (New England) and a current appraiser on the “Antiques Roadshow.” If you have an item or collection that you are curious about, then he is happy to provide free and confidential advice. Kelly can be reached at (603) 498-9530 or by email at

At her mother’s funeral, Madigan was quiet in the way Stanford had become accustomed; her eyes flitting about the room, buoyed by the wall behind her. Aunt Helen, with the ashen eyes, gripped her elbow firmly and whispered a shaky condolence, “You were her favorite, you know.” Madigan walked through the thinning crowd of people gathered in the kitchen, grabbed a carrot from a platter and walked out to the backyard. As she swung on the swing, surprised it still held her weight after all these years, she tilted her head back and watched the world go from horizon to sky to horizon and on again. She remembered her father in the heat of summer, 1961, digging a giant hole in the ground as Madigan watched from her tree house. He seemed to spend all his time in there, piles of dirt forming like tiny mountains everywhere around the yard. Her mother said it was to be a fallout shelter,

but he never finished and that hole proved to be a catalyst for Madigan; it was the place of her first kiss, her first cigarette, the first time she laid naked with a boy. Somehow the hole became a sanctuary, a respite from the world outside. When she came home from Wisconsin to help care for her mother, Madigan was surprised and slightly saddened to see it had been filled in, a garden with tomatoes and tulips where there once was a void. “Maddy,” Stanford called from the back porch. “They’ve all cleared out.” Inside there were casseroles littering every flat, raised surface in the house. She pulled out the tin foil and began covering the glass

containers. She didn’t know where she would put them all. Madigan could hear Stanford in the attic, and, when he came down, he was carrying the shiny phonograph her grandfather had brought over from Germany. Stanford put on a 78 of big band music, undid his tie then stripped from his suit, carefully laying it on a chair. Madigan smiled and pulled off her dress and two of them danced through the house as though they were teenagers. As though they were the only two people left in the world. Guy Capecelatro III is a Seacoast songwriter/performer/landscaper who occasionally allows old photos to arouse his literary muse.

Spring/Summer 2016



. Fall/Winter 2015

The Invisible Thread Denise Wheeler Quietly Makes a Difference by Meganne Fabrega, Photos by Michael Winters ong before I met Denise Wheeler, I knew her name. Since moving back to Portsmouth in 1999 I had wondered: who was this woman at the center of so many arts and nonprofit causes? Guessing that many other people in our community may be wondering the same thing, I asked Wheeler if she would be willing to be interviewed for The Square. After turning a deep shade of crimson, she conceded, but not without protesting that she wasn’t sure what was so special about her. It is this authenticity and genuine modesty, fueled by her passion for social justice and arts advocacy, that make Wheeler such an integral part of the Seacoast culture scene. Scott McKee, a longtime friend of Wheeler (and himself a unflagging advocate on the Seacoast for social change) says, “Always one to downplay her estimable role in the fabric of our community, the reality is that Denise quickly becomes the heart and soul of any organization that is fortunate enough to retain her services. She is a natural storyteller, and if I were to describe her leadership style, I would say that she has this innate ability to communicate a compelling narrative that gets to the core of why the work is so vital, and then sets about gathering just the right community members to successfully tackle the job. She combines a strong bent for social justice with the soul of an artist and musician. There are countless hungry children and struggling local musicians and artists who will never know how much her tireless advocacy on their behalf has improved their prospects and their lives.” I sat down with Wheeler at her home in Portsmouth, a comfortable space filled with local art and eclectic furniture, to talk about the evolving arts scene in Portsmouth, her work with area nonprofits and her role as a children’s librarian at Rye Elementary School.

Meganne Fabrega: When did you move to the Seacoast? Denise Wheeler: I moved here from Cambridge in 1991 to create Spotlight Magazine for the Portsmouth Herald because they had no arts supplement. They had a TV guide that was called Spotlight and it would feature one article about an artist or performance. But we were going for a full-blown arts supplement at the time.

she called and said, “Get up here.” MF: So how would you compare the arts scene then to the arts scene now? DW: More artists got to live in town, but a lot of the artists that I knew and loved then are still in the area and still performing around here. We’re all a lot older, and it’s a part-time gig/labor of love for these people. But there are new opportunities like Russ Grazier’s PMAC [Portsmouth Music and

It is this authenticity and genuine modesty, fueled by her passion for social justice and arts advocacy, that make Wheeler such an integral part of the Seacoast culture scene. MF: So were you one of the first, or only, arts publications on the Seacoast at the time? DW: There were other liberal, cultural publications out there that were quite good, but at that moment in time there seemed to be a lull in all that. The Portsmouth Herald editor had fired a lot of people and told me I could have any position I wanted. I said “I don’t want any of those positions. I want to make an arts publication.” The editor was new, so I asked, “Do you know how awesome the cultural scene is here?” She looked at me skeptically and I thought I didn’t have the job, then two weeks later

Arts Center] that create more jobs, paying jobs, for artists and keep them in Portsmouth’s orbit. When we talk about keeping the artists here to keep the culture alive, there’s this side benefit that we also have to look at: literally the thousands of dollars they donate in talent [to community events]. MF: Do you feel that the artists that were performing in the early and late ’90s are now driving the arts scene here? DW: No. I hate to speak for them, because I am just a fan at this point, but I think they feel marginalized

Spring/Summer 2016


by the changes here. You can still play at the Press Room and Blue Mermaid, which are great, and we’ve got the Birdseye Lounge launched now and 3S. We are in another shift. Portsmouth is wrestling with its cultural identity: I think the city’s popularity is a double-edged sword. MF: Do you think it’s growing pains, or do you think this is the new norm for Portsmouth? DW: I think we people who have been here for 20 years or more have to adjust to the new ecosystem and go where the music is. I often leave town to see music. There’s a lot I could say about that, but in a nutshell, I wish there were more opportunities for artists in Portsmouth. I’m hopeful that they will come. Portsmouth is so conscientious. I’m in a Portsmouth Listens group right now and we talked about artists — space for them and opportunities

for them. That’s a significant theme in our conversations about development in the west end. Portsmouth cares about its artists and has what I want to call an honor code. We understand that artists built much of the cache that this city has — and we want to honor that by keeping that part of our identity alive. The catch is to figure out how to do it in a new era of development. Portsmouth is a beautiful tapestry of strongly–opinionated people. I’m hoping if there’s a will, there’s a way. MF: Let’s talk about your work with area nonprofits. DW: The nonprofit I’ve been working with the longest, where I’m now an emeritus board member, is Share Our Strength Seacoast, which has a goal of ending childhood hunger in the United States. Our group primarily works to end hunger here in the Seacoast area. That’s something I’ve been doing

for 20 plus years. I was a founding member and we’ve raised well over a million dollars now, most of which stays in state and in the region to help organizations that help feed kids. It’s a cause that is near and dear to my heart. That’s what led to starting the Fill the Hall Food Drive last year with Monte [Bohanan, director of marketing at The Music Hall] and the Seacoast Family Food Pantry. MF: And the others? DW: I’m also on the board to save White Island Lighthouse out at the Isles of Shoals. I take students out there to teach. Every spring I go out with a boatload of kids and they learn about the folklore, sustainability and the flora and fauna of these islands that are part of their community. And the Portsmouth Halloween Parade board, of course. The Halloween parade is powered by a group of minions — we call ourselves minions. It’s very organic; run by volunteers, not the city. I love the parade’s storybook pageantry and its grassroots elements. It is, in the end, an amalgamation of the community being creative and celebrating together, and the PHP volunteers trying to make sure the foundation is laid for the parade to go on every year. MF: Where do you work now? DW: I am the library media specialist for Rye Elementary School; so basically I’m a children’s librarian. It’s my second career and I love it. There’s two dimensions to the job. I do a lot of storytelling with kids. We use costumes and puppets and it’s very lively and dramatic. I try to create a sense of wonder using literature. I also have a Master’s degree in integrating technology in education. This means I also focus on being a kid in the digital age and how to navigate that; how to write nice emails; how to research and evaluate websites; how to stay safe in video game chat rooms and protect privacy: issues like that. MF: And do you learn from the kids as well? DW: The number one thing I get from the kids is joy. They feed my heart every day. I learn a lot from them as a person and as a parent. I’ve seen some incredible parents with great parenting skills. I’ve seen some pitfalls I want to avoid as a parent. My main focus is to create a love of books and a sense of joy in the library.


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MF: How do you integrate the arts into your curriculum? DW: Right now, thanks to a grant from The Rye Education Foundation, I’m working with our art and music teachers to have artist Roger Goldenberg’s visual jazz curriculum, “In Ears ‘n’ Eyes” at the school. He brought a jazz band with him to our school, and they taught the kids how to freeform paint while they listened to jazz. The response from the kids, grades three through five, was, “We get to do whatever we want? We get to be free in the moment? There’s no right way/wrong way?” They were so liberated and energized by that opportunity and they had a blast. We read biographies about jazz artists, we had instruments for the kids and the students got to improv — thinking in the moment, communicating without talking. These were just seeds we’re planting, but they’re valuable characteristics in life to have. I think if you’re teaching the arts properly, they are incorporated into all of your subjects. As I turned off my recorder and we started to swap out our water glasses for wine glasses, Denise asked if she could add something else. “In college I decided I was always going to give back to the community I lived in because I think civic engagement isn’t just a fulfilling thing to do, it’s a patriotic duty. I feel that if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. Our country does have a lot of problems, and, if I can’t give money, then I can give time. While doing this, I have been inspired by some of the individuals in this community and made some of my best friends. Portsmouth is this rich tapestry of colorful, talented, educated individuals: I like to think of myself as just the thread in this beautiful tapestry. You said I do a lot...a lot of people in Portsmouth do a lot. That is the public spirit of this city. Part of the city’s power and allure is that its people are so engaged and they have diverse talents that they bring to the table: not just our artists, but our chefs, entrepreneurs, our government... all the different voices and types of people create that exciting dynamic. “It has been my privilege to be engaged in this city. It has given me a lot. I don’t watch TV all that much, you can see I don’t clean my house all that much,” We both laugh. “...but I take advantage of what the city has to offer and I try to give back.” p

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Spring/Summer 2016


bringing it home Chris Hislop Wants to Grow the Local Music Scene One Venue at a Time By Craig Robert Brown Photos by Jared Charney


. Spring/Summer 2016

hris Hislop is busy. It’s a Saturday morning, but he isn’t slowing down. This week he had to replace his glasses (because of an accidental bump from his son’s wayward hand) before heading to his office at Boldwerks, an advertising agency where he’s the content director, and overseeing the hanging of an art installation. His weeknights and weekends are spent securing interviews for the three weekly music articles and popular arts column he writes for the paper. He’s also an author (with one book under his belt and plans for more), works with the University of New Hampshire’s Music Mentors Program and, last year, found the time to launch his own company, Bright & Lyon Productions. During all of this, he remains a devoted husband and father. “Yeah, I have a few things cooking,” laughs Hislop. Bright & Lyon, which brings live entertainment to New Hampshire, has booked sold-out shows at some of the Seacoast’s most popular venues including Newmarket’s The Stone Church as well as 3S Artspace and the Birdseye Lounge in Portsmouth. Through the company, Hislop blends local upand-comers and nationally touring artists, like Tan Vampires, Anaïs Mitchell, the David Wax Museum, And the Kids, Kingsley Flood and more, to foster an organic growth for artists in New Hampshire. Hislop is no stranger to the game. For the better part of a decade, he’s had his hand in the industry, first as a managing partner with the Stone Church after graduating from UNH, and later helping friend and Prescott Park Arts Festival president, Ben Anderson, book the summer festival’s lineup in 2013. “I was completely taken aback by it,” says Hislop about being asked by Anderson to help. “He has always kept that very close. He’s never asked for help in that capacity.” Taking the job was an honor for Hislop as he felt that Anderson, who Hislop credits as developing a tradition with the arts festival, saw something in him. The invitation came as a surprise to those close to Anderson as well. “I had met his father a month or two after I began working with him and his father took my hand and just stared at me with one those awkward stares for a few seconds, then he’s like: ‘You’re the guy. I cannot believe that you got into that, you broke down that wall of Ben,’” says Hislop. For many touring musicians, New Hampshire is

a way station between venues in Boston, Portland and even cities like Montreal. While conceiving of Bright & Lyon, Hislop turned to Anderson for guidance, hoping he’d share insight from his 20 years in the industry to help turn New Hampshire into a destination for performers instead of a drivethrough state. “With Prescott Park and the network I developed at The Stone Church, and the network that Ben has built up in his two decades in this line of work, bands are always looking for gigs touring the northeast. They’re always contacting us to see what we can do. In all the work we’ve done over the years, we’ve developed a network of friends that have venues throughout the state of varying capacities,” says Hislop. Though he consulted on Bright & Lyon’s creation,

& Lyon does, it also serves as a grassroots middleman for both the artists and the local music scene. “Part of the goal is to help [artists] grow in the area, too, and put them in front of people that trust what we do and what our tastes are,” says Hislop. Hislop isn’t hesitant to admit that the company has a predilection for booking rootsy or Americana acts over indie rock or heavier bands, either. After celebrating its first anniversary this April, Bright & Lyon released New Hampshire folk singer songwriter Tristan Omand’s latest album, “The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand,” on CD and vinyl through its new label imprint. As a long-time fan of Omand’s work, and watching artists like Omand struggle to get their music heard, Hislop wanted to help make Omand’s latest record a reality. “It’s really hard to raise the funds to bring those

“We make a little money on the shows that we do, and if we can take and invest that money into another avenue of the music industry, just to get the music out there a little bit more, then that’s really the mission.” – Chris Hislop

Anderson remains committed to his responsibilities at Prescott Park. As the company’s one full-time employee working from home, Hislop says that Anderson was integral to the company’s start. Admittedly, Hislop loves live music but doesn’t like the idea of traveling far to see his favorite performers: with Bright & Lyon, Hislop can bring the music home to him. To anyone else, providing the right venue for musicians and nurturing a local music scene may seem like a daunting task, but for Hislop it’s a labor of love. “Because I have so many projects happening, Bright & Lyon, by design, is supposed to be a very low-stress type of arrangement. And what I mean by that is we’re going to place bands that we have a lot of belief in and we want to promote to the best of our abilities,” says Hislop. Though promotion is a large part of what Bright

projects to fruition sometimes,” says Hislop. “We make a little money on the shows that we do, and if we can take and invest that money into another avenue of the music industry, just to get the music out there a little bit more, then that’s really the mission.” Hislop is realistic about the fickle nature of the industry. Right now, even with Omand’s record, a number of sold-out venues, and many more on the way, the future of Bright & Lyon is still an open book. The company isn’t a retirement plan or a back door into a career as a musician according to Hislop. He just wants to have fun and watch the musicians he loves succeed. In fact, though he plays guitar, Hislop doesn’t consider himself a musician. “That’s doing it a disservice to the people that are actually making a go of it. I’ve got two fans: my wife and my son,” says Hislop. “And my dog, so maybe three.” p

Spring/Summer 2016


The Penn Program An Adventure in Education Too many adults, myself included, are faced with the daunting task of finding, and sustaining, a challenging, fulfilling education for our children. Often, conflicting visions of what constitutes that education become a political battleground where the child’s, or young adult’s, individual needs and wants are barely considered. The following essays reflect the experience of two young women in The Penn Program — a homeschooling cooperative run by educator and author Andrew Lapham Fersch. Andrew first contacted me regarding a possible internship for a Penn student, and, as we spoke further, my interest in The Penn Program grew. Instead of sending an adult reporter out to cover The Penn, I proposed that students write about their first-hand experience with the program. Needless to say, I was blown away by the writing talents of Isis and Ella, and I am sure you will be too. – Editor


Spring/Summer 2016

photo by kevin hardman

Current Participant Isis Ulery Chapman irst of all, I feel I should explain the type of education I’d grown up with. I had been Unschooled for the past seven years before starting at The Penn. If you don’t know what Unschooling is, it is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. It was great and I loved it, but I needed more. Before I joined The Penn, I wanted more structure but still wanted time to pursue my interests. And The Penn is exactly what I was looking for. Joining was the best decision I’ve ever made. At The Penn, there may be no “normal” day, but lately it’s been looking a bit like this: from 8 to 9:30 a.m., we meet at the local gym and run, bike or play basketball. Exercise is a huge component of The Penn — most of us run 5Ks weekly, bike regularly

and are in the process of hiking the 48 4,000-footers in New Hampshire. We then head over to the public library and start our independent class time. We have three and a half hours every day to work on classes that we design (with the help of Andrew) that will nurture our interests and help us learn more. We have all chosen a wide variety of topics, or “subjects,” to learn about: For my classes, I have chosen culinary arts, jewelry design, podcast design, psychology, math and an internship with Seacoast Eat Local. For culinary arts, I am getting experience in a restaurant kitchen and talking with local chefs. For jewelry design, I have taken a metalworking class and have spent a lot of time making new items that I plan to sell at a craft fair. As far as podcast design, I have started my own food-focused podcast called “Dishin’ The Deets.” Food has always been one of my true loves

and I’ve been listening to podcasts since I got my first iPod when I was eight years old. I had wanted to combine these two loves for a while but never knew where to start — having Andrew there to help find resources and help you find where to start is invaluable. I now have a podcast that’s on two podcast sharing platforms and I have a website for it. For my internship with Seacoast Eat Local, I volunteer at the SEL farmers markets and write blog posts for their website. I have met so many incredible people through SEL and have really learned a lot about the local foods community. And lastly, for psychology and math, I am using a website and an online course to help strengthen my skills and what I’ve learned. As I said before, we’ve all chosen a wide variety of classes, everything from history, writing, computer science and biology to geometry, violin, sabermetrics and all of my chosen classes.

The Penn is exactly what I was looking for. Joining was the best decision I’ve ever made. At about 11:45 a.m., we all head back to the program space to eat lunch. Andrew makes lunch for the group; this can be anything from PB&Js and smoothies to General Tso’s chicken with rice and broccoli to roasted winter vegetables with fried eggs on top. No matter what it is, it always ends up being delicious! After about a half hour- to an hour-lunchtime, everyone clears the table and two people will wash dishes. Once everything is cleaned up, it’s siesta time! For some of us, including myself, this may not mean naptime but reading time or time to finish up some work. We have an hour of this “quiet time” and then we move on to the second half of our Students hiking one of the 48 “4,000-footers” in New Hampshire as a part of their curriculum

Spring/Summer 2016


Taking a break from thru-hiking Vermont’s Long Trail

independent class time. We have an hour and a half each day that we have to be offline, at a time that we don’t need the internet for our classes. I tend to do a lot of my jewelry designing in this time. This brings us to 3 p.m., when we start Andrew’s classes. When I explain this to people, this is what I usually say: Andrew’s classes consist of many things — politics, poetry, religion and reading many different novels together. In our poetry studies, we are all individually working with a local poet. We read through all of the author’s poetry and communicate with him


Spring/Summer 2016

or her through letters. Since we are all working with different poets, I think that we are all learning some different things from this course. I am working with Barbara Bald, who writes a lot about her experience working in a nursing home. Alongside really appreciating the writing, it has made me think a lot about remembering to live in the moment and not taking this life for granted. For politics, we’ve gone to a handful of political events: The New Hampshire Democratic Convention, the No Labels Problem Solver Convention, the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner, the Portsmouth Democrats

Gala, the third Democratic debate and we saw Bill Clinton speak at the Exeter Town Hall. We also took a course through UNH called FIRST!, which was an online course taught by UNH professors Andy Smith and Dante Scala. We later had them in for lunch to talk with them in person. For the four weeks leading up to the primary, we all did hours of research on our top three candidates and chose the one we agreed with the most to volunteer on his or her campaign. We are doing a bunch of things with the campaigns of our choice: making shirts, working on phone banks, writing op-ed pieces, making

educational videos and hosting events. We worked with that campaign up until primary day. And finally, religion. We finished our religion studies in December. We were all assigned a religion and we had three months to learn just about everything about that religion. At the end of it, we all created presentations to show the rest of the group, so all of us could understand the most common religions. I had Buddhism, but some of the others that the group studied were Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Confucianism. We also attend quite a few cultural events. These can be anything from going to see a musician or going to see a play. As far as musical acts, we’ve gone to see Della Mae, Vieux Farka Touré, Mother Falcon, Ben Sollee, Sofia Talvik, Dave Gerard, Andy Pratt and Canadian Brass. We have seen “Waitress,” “La Bohème,” “Nice Fish” and “The Nutcracker.” We’ve learned how to blow glass, what the process of publishing a book is like, attended TEDxSomerville, and we went to see “Star Wars.” At The Penn we learn about so much and have so much fun doing so. We are exposed to so much — the arts, issues in the world and such amazing

Student Ella McGrail (at left) marching with the New Hampshire Rebellion

people. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to join it and become a member of the program. You can check out Isis’ podcast, “Dishin’ the Deets,” on iTunes or check her out on Instagram at @dishinthedeets.

Former Participant Ella McGrail We’d been just over a week on the Long Trail when we arrived at Butler Lodge, a tiny wooden cabin tucked into the side of Mount Mansfield. Stretched

out beneath us was Burlington, Vermont, and, beyond it, the Adirondacks in New York. We would spend the evening watching the sky gradually fade to dark behind the pale blue thumbprints of the Adirondacks. Cards would be played, an Illuminati symbol would be drawn onto one of the porch rails and shooting stars would be spotted in the sky as they streaked over the bright lights of Burlington. Back in New Hampshire, my school friends were toiling over homework or watching TV, while I was here witnessing nature’s majesty and making lifelong friends. This was what The Penn was all about: learning to live. The Penn Program started out as a five-student, one-teacher home schooling cooperative. The program’s teacher is Andrew Fersch. Andrew had been a public school English teacher for seven years, and wanted to invent a school model that took education further than our current system. The Penn was based on the principle that every student’s education should be hand-tailored to that student. A person’s individual strengths, weaknesses, needs and desires should be considered when building their education. It was also a core principle that a

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Spring/Summer 2016


Penn Students on one of many field trips to Boston

person’s education should get them out in the world and inspire them to help others. After returning from the 273-mile hike that kicked off our year, we found that Andrew wasn’t interested in simply having a school. He wanted a community. Our days at The Penn were dynamic. Our classes were split between courses we’d designed for ourselves and courses that Andrew had designed for all of us to take. Andrew’s classes included Identifying Bias in the Media and Cost of Living, among many other hands-on courses. In Identifying Bias in the Media, we studied the five main modes of bias, read real newspaper articles, identified the bias in them and, as a final project, studied a single media outlet in-depth and wrote to the author pointing out the bias in their publication or program. In Cost of Living, we had to track our family’s budget for a month and find a way to cut our expenses by 5 percent. Our classes often took us away from our desks. For our civics class, we joined the New Hampshire


Spring/Summer 2016

Back in New Hampshire, my school friends were toiling over homework or watching TV, while I was here witnessing nature’s majesty and making life-long friends. This was what The Penn was all about: learning to live.

Rebellion in protesting the corrupting influence of money in politics in a four-day January walk from Portsmouth to Concord. Along the way I blogged about our experience and interviewed Hedrick Smith, the author of “Who Stole the American Dream?”, as well as Mary Ellen Humphrey, a former state Senator. I would continue to write this blog throughout the year. A few weeks later, my classmates and I would return to the State House to testify for a bill with the NH Rebellion. We wrote constantly at The Penn, but our biggest literary project was a poet study. We read books written by local poets, wrote responses to the individual poems and engaged in a workshop with the poets in which we discussed their poetry and they helped us write our own. The courses we designed for ourselves ranged from guitar and computer coding to psychology and Islamic Studies and beyond. We had two hours of every day dedicated to these independent classes.

Running the Musk Ox Family 5k

Most of my individual class time focused on my passion for writing. I spent my study blocks on poems, short stories, political blogs, lyrics and my novel. Returning to public school this year has sharpened my understanding of what makes The Penn successful. Even though I go to an excellent school with more resources than most, the system is impersonal. At The Penn, how and if I was learning mattered. In public school, it doesn’t matter what’s behind the A so long as I’m getting As. My novel

and my activism no longer matter. Health does not matter. How I treat people and how they treat me no longer matters. Gone is the community in which my classmates and our families are all looking out for each other’s well being. Gone is the understanding of where I need extra help, and where I can move ahead. The Penn has two elements that our current educational system lacks: community and a focus on the full person. Forming a community of students, their families and their teachers ensures that the students are being taken care of on an emotional level as well as an educational level, and that the teachers and students are able to understand each other on a deeper level. A person’s education needs to address life, not just academics. Figuring out how to be a good person, taking care of yourself and being a responsible world citizen should be the core subjects of school. Math, science, English and social studies are vital tools, but they alone won’t teach you how to live a meaningful life. At The Penn, I became a version of myself I’d been too afraid to be before. The environment of judgment and bureaucracy that had existed

in public school was replaced by a democratic and personal system where we were encouraged to think openly. We were pushed to challenge convention and question the social restrictions we found ourselves in, while remaining respectful and responsible. As I learned to push my strength and question my limits, I gained self confidence and open-mindedness. And it wasn’t just me; I watched every member of The Penn blossom into a kinder, stronger, more thoughtful person. We were an extended family dedicated to nurturing one another into better people. I am forever grateful for the person and writer The Penn has helped me become. The Penn is a system that is built to change depending on the individuals involved in it, which allows it to succeed anywhere there are people willing to create a community of learning. Good teachers learn from their students and a good education model should do the same. p For more information about The Penn program, you can go to or email Andrew Fersch at

Spring/Summer 2016


One Posture at a Time Sara Curry and Sober Yogis at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth

By Stephanie S. Lazenby

Photo of Sara Curry by Jessica Beebe


Spring/Summer 2016

he statistics for addiction are grim in the Granite State. Over 300 people died of an overdose in 2015—almost one person every day. Law enforcement, parents and everyone in between are trying to find a way to battle the monster of addiction. Thankfully, there is another side to addiction — recovery. Empathetic citizens are helping to break the cycle and shame of addiction, an effort that, for Bikram Yoga Portsmouth owner Sara Curry, takes the form of the Sober Yogis program. You may think of yoga as simply a way to exercise, but, for many, it is an integral path to physical and emotional healing. When Curry became the owner of Bikram Yoga Portsmouth in 2004, she had a clear vision of the of studio she wanted to create. “I wanted a community that I would be a part of: filled with smiling faces; a place that missed you if you didn’t show up.” Curry describes Bikram Yoga as “a direction-based format where the teacher gives body part centered instruction to assure that you are always aware of your body.” Every class is 90 minutes and takes place in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity. Curry continues, “The inherent nature of Bikram Yoga is very physically intense. People go through many emotions in there on the mat. All of that leads to a tremendous intimacy.” “We have always had folks who were in recovery; it’s a big part of the yoga community. I knew that this could be very effective for those in recovery, but I would have never taken the step on my own to start a program without some kind of support,” says Curry. This is where kismet flies in. At the same time that she was contemplating how Bikram Yoga Portsmouth could help, Barbara Hendricks, who is a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor with over 25 years experience, was a regular Bikram student. Says Hendricks, “I just started going for my own health benefits and I began recommending Bikram to my clients. I found that there was an increase in self acceptance and relief from their subsequent post acute withdrawal symptoms.”

photo courtesy james rogers


A variety of students practice postures in a class at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth.

Spring/Summer 2016


Once a person has gone through the initial detoxification, post acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS sets in. PAWS — a cute word for an ugly and dangerous part of the recovery process — is a cluster of symptoms that set in once the body has completed detox. As people begin to focus on the emotional and social aspect of their rehabilitation, PAWS can make this extraordinarily difficult. Hendricks explains, “It has a severe impact on a person’s thought processes, decision-making and ability to control emotion and physical coordination. Patients experience anxiety and the inability to organize and process thoughts.” Curry explains, “The thing about addiction is the person is trying to get away from many feelings; neglect, insignificance, sadness or physical pain.” Hendricks adds, “You don’t have the numbing agents any more, but yoga can help you to tolerate early recovery better. Neuroplasticity in the brain is a wonderful thing, but your brain needs time to change as it reaches a new normal.” She continues, “Yoga increases attention, focus and concentration, and decreases depression; it can increase your energy, self-acceptance and motivation.”

“I just started going for my own health benefits and I began recommending Bikram to my clients. I found that there was an increase in self acceptance and relief from their subsequent post acute withdrawal symptoms.” – Barbara Hendricks

Leigh Ober of Kittery became involved in the Sober Yogis program when her mom offered to buy her classes for one month. That was a year ago, and she hasn’t stopped. Ober says, “I was drawn to the need of a community. I was so isolated before. The first time I walked into Bikram, Sara said to me, ‘Welcome to the family.’ This has been the healthiest I have been — I have this amazing community — I never feel shame because everyone is at Bikram to improve their health, sober or not.” This feeling of acceptance and community are integral to the vibe at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth. “Yoga is so effective to help people live their best life,” says Curry. One part of the recovery process that many find difficult is coping with feelings of pleasure that were usually associated with being high on their drug or drink of choice. Many feel that having fun is dangerous to their sobriety, but it doesn’t have to be. “When you leave class and blood is flowing through you, there is that euphoria and it’s OK — pleasure is good — you don’t have to live miserably,” explains Curry. “These feelings are all similar to when you have a great day skiing or eat a delicious


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Spring/Summer 2016


photo courtesy james rogers

piece of chocolate cake. I want to teach people that they will have those feelings. Sometimes you feel good and sometimes you are low, and they need to be comfortable and live with that. How to handle these highs and lows are skills we all need to survive life.” “There is no difference in how we address a Sober Yogis class and a regular class. That’s the whole point: we all are suffering. My suffering, your suffering… yours may be a heavier burden at this moment, but Namaste [this roughly translates into, ‘the light within me recognizes the light within you’] is always at the base of it all. We are all going through the same stuff, just in a different form.” With all the depressing news that we hear on a daily basis, from the heroin epidemic to eating disorders in teenage girls, Curry, Hendricks and the staff at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth are positive reminders that not only is recovery from addiction possible, you can live a healthy and productive life. Or better yet, as Ober says, “Sober Yogis has uncovered my authentic self.” p

With Bikram Yoga, the room temperature is set at 105 degrees.

For information about the Sober Yogis program, visit Bikram Yoga Portsmouth’s website at They have also teamed up with Bikram Yoga in Epping to offer the program as well. Visit their site at

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Spring/Summer 2016


Reading ‘ ‘Round the Seacoast Area Poets make Their Mark by Debbie Kane

Sarah Anderson welcomes guests to the Silo Series at The Word Barn.

photo by ben anderson


Spring/Summer 2016

d photo by denise wheeler

Founded in 1997, the PPLP grew out of the Shipyard Dance Project, a collaborative arts project between the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and The Music Hall.


t’s a full house inside The Word Barn, a 19th century barn in Exeter. People mingle or sit in folding chairs, waiting expectantly for the afternoon program of poetry and short story readings to begin. It’s the third installment of the Silo Series, organized by poet and writer Sarah Anderson. Nearly every chair is occupied, an indication of how popular the series has become in the short time — less than a year — it’s been in existence. Similar scenes are playing out in various venues around the Seacoast where seasoned and aspiring

Crystal Paradis steps up to the mike at Beat Night at the Press Room.

poets read their work in front of appreciative audiences. “Poetry speaks to people’s lives,” says David Phreaner of Greenland, co-chair of the board of trustees of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program (PPLP) and host of its monthly Poetry Hoot. “It’s a unique way to tell a story.” Poetry persists, despite rumors of its demise. According to the 2012 national Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, only 6 percent of Americans had read a work of poetry at least once in the past year; the survey also noted that the number of poetry readers has shrunk 45 percent since 2002.

On the Seacoast, however, poetry is thriving. One reason is the PPLP. Founded in 1997, the PPLP grew out of the Shipyard Dance Project, a collaborative arts project between the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and The Music Hall. The experience brought together a diverse group, including Nancy Moore Hill, a resident interested in building community through poetry. Hill was a driving force behind founding PPLP, establishing its endowment and serving as chair of its board for a decade. With a mission to build community through poetry, the program selects a poet laureate who serves a two-year term and spearheads a poetry-based project that brings people together, much like the Shipyard Dance Project.

Spring/Summer 2016


photo by meganne fabrega

Deidre Randall gathers poets and songwriters together for the Writers in the Round show on WSCA.

“The PPLP has a great deal to do with the vibrancy of the poetry scene in Portsmouth,” says writer Katie Towler of Portsmouth, a former PPLP board member. “Projects conceived by different poet laureates have done so much to promote community among local writers and build awareness of poetry on the Seacoast.” Those projects have included reproducing poems in public outdoor spaces around Portsmouth, free workshops taught by area poets and organizing “creation circles” for aspiring poets to meet and read poetry (many of those groups continue to meet regularly).


Spring/Summer 2016

Kate Leigh is the tenth Portsmouth poet laureate. The Portsmouth resident’s project is Poems for Peace, which brings students together to explore social issues through poetry. Leigh uses the city’s African Burying Ground memorial as a starting point for middle and high school students to discuss issues like race and social justice. During her school visits, after Leigh reads a poem, everyone — Leigh, teachers, and students — writes for 15 minutes. Then they share what they’ve written. “It’s more about process than results,” says Leigh. “Kids know about the social unrest in the world; they’re paying attention and they

“The music profoundly changes the way you read your poem,” says Nelson. “It’s pretty unique and a hell of a lot of fun.”

Looking for your own “third space” to explore? See the resources below for Seacoast hotspots for poetry fans. The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program/Hoot Beat Night The Word Barn Writers in the Round Writers Series University of New Hampshire

photo by wendy cannella

photo by denise wheeler

Book and Bar Portsmouth Poetry Out Loud NH Statewide high school poetry contest POL/2016/ Beat Night host Mike Nelson with the Beat Night band

New Hampshire Poetry Festival

love writing poetry. It’s so gratifying to see how much they care.” There’s a loyal following of adults who enjoy poetry, too. In addition to the newer creation circles, local poetry writing groups have existed for years. One of the longest running is City Hall Poets, an invitation-only gathering that’s met off and on at Portsmouth’s City Hall for nearly 20 years. Although much of its meetings are social, the purpose is share each other’s poems and get feedback. Mark DeCarteret, Portsmouth’s seventh poet laureate, is a member of City Hall Poets. He sees a shift in how people share poetry. “Poetry readings and groups may fall by the wayside,” he says. “You can post your poem online now and everyone can comment. I wonder if getting together and offering a one-onone critique is something that future generations will be comfortable with.” Yet there are many area poetry programs drawing appreciative audiences. Continued on page 39

Portsmouth Poet Laureate Kate Leigh works with a group of young poets at the Portsmouth Public Library.


Spring/Summer 2016


When I lost faith in my writing, I thought of him making his penny collections of poems. If he could carve such a unique and wonderful life for himself, surely I could keep writing despite the rejections and dubious prospects for publication. I often walked into town late in the afternoon. This was an opportunity to run into Robert, and he was frequently there, marking a stooped path along Congress Street to the post office. If I stepped directly in front of him and said hello when I met him in the post office lobby, he would raise his eyes and return the greeting. I felt that I had committed an act of violation when I did this. On the street, I would see him approaching and ready myself to speak, but when he did not look up, I would let him move

past and go on. Sometimes I stopped to watch him from a distance, thinking that I might absorb a bit of his quiet concentration. I recognized that in comparison to Robert, I had been, and still was, a flighty butterfly ricocheting between the world of people and the world of my writing. His focused attention had clearly been honed through years of practice. His cadence was measured, as though he were considering each step before committing to it, his feet going before the rest of his body. This gave him the appearance of moving at an angle, pulling himself along. If it rained or snowed, he added a pair of old-fashioned rubbers over his shoes, propped a tweed cap on his head, and wrapped an orange scarf around his neck. These were his only concessions to the weather. I got to know Robert, to the extent that I could be said to know him, through our chance meetings on the street, though a brief exchange of glances was sometimes our only communication. I would remember his averted eyes, as if to suggest we both had more important business at hand than trading common pleasantries, when I returned home to my desk. When I lost faith in my writing, I thought of him making his penny collections of poems. If he could carve such a unique and wonderful life for himself, surely I could keep writing despite the rejections and dubious prospects for publication. One afternoon I encountered Robert as I passed through Market Square. This day he came toward me on the brick walk, head raised, eyes lively, and called out hello before I had a chance to speak. I returned the greeting with the sense that being so publicly acknowledged by him represented a breakthrough of some sort. He withdrew the hand sunk in the pocket of his trench coat and held it toward me. It took a moment for me to realize there was something there, in the palm of his hand, that looked like a square of yellow paper.

“I have that book for you,” he said. What book, I thought. “Your poems?” I said, comprehension dawning on me. He nodded in the affirmative. I took the small book from his hand. It had the handwritten title “Watching the snow” across the top with a little block print of a snowflake-like design beneath. Under this was simply “Robert Dunn.” “What do I owe you for this?” I asked. He gestured toward the book, indicating I should turn it over. On the back cover, off to the side, was the notation 1 cent. I felt, for the first time with Robert, something like annoyance. I did not intend to give him a penny. I fished in the pocket of my jacket and found a five dollar bill. “Oh dear,” Robert said. “I’m afraid I don’t have change for that.” “I don’t want change.” “No, no.” He curled his fingers closed in a gesture of refusal. “If you don’t have a penny, you can give it to me another time.” “How about a dollar?” I took out another bill. He pulled back the hem of his coat and extracted a collection of coins from the front pocket of his corduroy pants. I watched as he counted out pennies and nickels and quarters. “I don’t want the change,” I said. He ignored me. “Robert, really, keep the change.” He didn’t raise his head. When I persisted, he agreed to accept a quarter from me. I would have paid him twenty dollars for the book if I could have, but this transaction, like any with Robert, would happen on terms he dictated or not at all. I went on to the post office, and he crossed the street to the Athenaeum, leaving me amazed, as he often did. I had not quite believed he actually sold his little books for a penny. As I made my way home, I remembered the expression of pure delight on his face when he extended his hand with its small offering and wished I could embrace that sort of delight myself more easily. My initial reaction was that the transaction had felt all wrong; in giving him so little money, he had forced me to adopt his standards, financial and otherwise. This was the genius and beauty of his penny books, but how confounding and humbling I found the experience, how much it asked me to reconsider my understanding of being a writer.

Excerpted from Katherine Towler’s book, “The Penny Poet of Portsmouth,” available now at area and national booksellers.


Spring/Summer 2016

Continued from page 37

The Hoot


About 50 people show up regularly for the Poetry Hoot, an open mic poetry reading at Café Espresso in Portsmouth. Held the first Wednesday of each month, the Hoot, launched in 1999 by then poet laureate Robert Dunn, is a convivial gathering of new and experienced poets who gather for dinner, then read their works out loud. Published poets read during the first part of the program, then it’s open mic, when anyone can read their poem. “We’ve tried to create a culture where as many people as possible can access poetry,” says PPLP’s Phreaner. “It really works.”

Beat Night

When the creator of Beat Night moved away from the Seacoast three years ago, Mike Nelson, a longtime participant in the 17-year-old live music and poetry reading event, knew he had to keep it going. He’s now Beat Night’s organizer and host. Held monthly at Portsmouth’s Press Room, Beat Night features performers accompanied by a live band. Prior to their readings, performers tell the

Beat Night band the tone of their poems. The band, a talented group that only performs together during Beat Night, improvises a musical backdrop. “The music profoundly changes the way you read your poem,” says Nelson. “It’s pretty unique and a hell of a lot of fun.”

The Silo Series

Sarah Anderson’s idea for the Silo Series evolved from a daydream she had one winter day, gazing out the window of her farm house at the finished barn on her property. “I initially thought of hosting writing workshops in the barn,” says Anderson, an adjunct English teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy. “But then I thought about poetry and short fiction readings. I loved that idea.” Named for the grain silo across the street, the Silo Series launched in May 2015 in Anderson’s aptly renamed Word Barn. There have been four readings, featuring local poets and writers Anderson has met from her MFA poetry program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina and writing workshops like Middlebury College’s Breadloaf Writers Conference. Featured


readers have included Todd Hearon, Tim Horvath, Jessica Purdy, Maggie Dietz, Andrew Mitchell and Chard deNiord, the poet laureate of Vermont. Anderson hopes to eventually host writing workshops.

Writers in the Round

Singer/songwriter and poet Deidre Randall founded “Writers in the Round,” a live radio program, 12 years ago at Portsmouth Community Radio. Each Monday night, Randall or co-host Guy Capecelatro III (they alternate as show hosts) welcome a poet and local songwriters to perform on air and discuss their work. “We think of it as an artist’s salon,” she says. The show is hosted on location, live, at Prescott Park on Mondays in the summer. It’s also live streamed on the WSCA-FM website. Opportunities to read, or listen to, poetry abound on the Seacoast. More than a unique way to tell a story, they’re a foundation for building community. “I think of [poetry readings] as a third space,” says Beat Night’s Nelson. “We have spaces for home and work, this is like a third space for community, where everyone can participate.” p

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Spring/Summer 2016


Chases Garage Artists give an old shop new life Photos and story by Annie Noonan


Spring/Summer 2016


rom the outside, Chases Garage is not what you’d expect. The 1920s building in York Beach, Maine, with its garage bay and Mobil-brand red flying horse over the doorway, is a nod to an earlier era. But these days it’s something else entirely: a bright, airy gallery and one-of-a-kind working space for artists. Walk through the front door, and Atlas is there. He and his blond brother, Toph, are German Indian dogs by breed, and they are massive. They instill a sense of wonder, of misaligned scale. Visitors are primed for possibility. And possibility — along with good timing — is just what propelled co-owners and couple Cait Giunta, 27, and Ned Roche, 28, to jump into such an ambitious venture, straight out of art school. Giunta, from Chelmsford, NH, and Roche, a York native, met at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where both studied illustration. Starting a business wasn’t really on their minds, but it was hard to ignore the opportunity. Roche’s family had purchased the building in 2000, and after a few false starts was ready to try something new with the space. “We started thinking in our senior year about the possibility of turning it into a gallery,” says Giunta. The family—especially Roche’s mother, who had been taking ceramics classes for years—was on board. So Giunta and Roche began meeting with owners of local arts businesses and asking for their advice. “We looked to people who had galleries or who we met through trying to figure out what the hell we were doing,” Giunta says. “Because we went to school for fine arts and not for business or construction.” The pair brought people in to look at the place before any walls were up. Giunta’s mother, an openspace planner, was willing to help, as were other family members and friends, all of whom seemed to have a useful skill or to know someone who could contribute. Of course, the willingness of friends to pitch in wasn’t a complete coincidence. “Most of them were artists,” says Roche. “They knew that when it was done they’d have access to what they needed.” But Giunta and Roche knew they had a lot to learn. “We figured it out as we went,” says Roche. “We just had a basic idea of what we wanted to do and kept asking people, ‘How did you do it? Where are we messing up?’” From there, things started to come together. “It was so much about being in the right place at the right time,” Giunta believes.

“We looked to people who had galleries or who we met through trying to figure out what the hell we were doing.” – Cait Giunta

One person in the arts community the co-owners went to for advice was Mary Harding, owner of the George Marshall Store Gallery down the road in York. Giunta and Roche needed a name for their business but were undecided. Harding felt it was obvious. “She said, ‘Why would you ever change the name? This business has been around for a long time. Chases Garage just sounds right.’” Honoring the building’s history was important to the couple. So they ventured over to see their neighbor, Nancy Chase, 85, whose family had owned the garage

The exterior of Chases Garage, which was a mainstay of York Beach for many years.

Spring/Summer 2016


When it came to envisioning the specifics of the new space, Giunta and Roche enlisted McHenry Architecture, the firm that helped create 3S ArtSpace in Portsmouth.

Above – A printmaking studio ready for use Right – One of the studio artists brings clay to life on a potter’s wheel Left – Pieces await final firings and glazes


Spring/Summer 2016

and who had worked in the office there for years. “Nancy has a bit of a sweet tooth, so we brought her over some cupcakes. We asked if we could keep the name and she said yes.” Even prior to that, Giunta and Roche kept Chase in the loop. “She was one of the first people we talked to about what we were doing,” says Giunta. When it came to envisioning the specifics of the new space, Giunta and Roche enlisted McHenry Architecture, the firm that helped create 3S ArtSpace in Portsmouth. Renovations took place in 2012 and the doors opened in 2013. “It’s a very specific kind of space but versatile, too,” says Giunta. “We used found materials, lots of doors and windows. We set it up that way for momentum and collaboration. Artists do need isolation at times, and you can put a shade on your window and just focus. But you also have the opportunity to learn from the people around you. It’s motivating.” The couple rents the nine studios to artists with diverse specialties. “We don’t want a lot of overlap,” Giunta explains. “We’re looking for a sense of friendly competition and the

ability to get information if you don’t already have a particular skill as an artist.” There are ceramicists and illustrators, printmakers, painters, photographers and more. The studios are filled with still-life scenes in flux: thoughtful arrangements of feathers, books, boxes and brushes. Giunta and Roche add their own creative touch with antiques they’ve acquired, such as the red and white “vents from a ship” that have been rigged as speakers. “There’s always an opportunity to change and evolve,” she says. Chases Garage is Giunta’s full-time job, and Roche, who also helps with his family’s longtime locksmith business, puts in no end of hours, making shelves, fixing things, seeing projects though. Yet for all the time they give the business, they are also creating a place that informs their own art. Both have shifted from working primarily on paper to experimenting with ceramics. Roche works in the studio early some mornings, creating his “Things” out of clay. The pieces remind you of creatures you’ve seen before, but not quite. “I’ve learned not

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Spring/Summer 2016


Owners and artists Ned Roche and Cait Giunta put in “no end of hours” to make Chases Garage a welcoming experience for visitors and artists.

For Chases Garage, the big picture is diversification. to be too specific with their titles,” he explains. Giunta, who says she’s always felt her drawings could be “schematics for 3D objects,” has been making a series of spherical ceramic “planets,” often paired with antiques and found objects. She says, “they are a reminder that there is always a bigger picture to think about.” For Chases Garage, the big picture is diversification: each part of the business supports the others. “We have printing, painting and ceramics classes,” Giunta says. They also offer ceramics memberships and hope to offer printing memberships soon. These allow participating artists to utilize Chases’ space and materials for a monthly fee. There’s also the gallery, which features work from artists both within and outside of Chases Garage. “I have always stood behind having a gallery, even though it might not financially be our strongest part,” Giunta explains. “But it’s so important for connecting with people.” The business may seem at odds with the arcades and t-shirt shops of York Beach. But really, says Giunta, it is perfectly positioned. There have been galleries in the area before. Plus there are plenty of other artistically minded ventures in surrounding towns, as well as in York. Still, for Giunta and Roche, “the building is what drove everything. We’re two minutes away from the water, and yet we’re not directly on the strip. We have our own slice of York Beach here. And we have parking.” In the summer, visitors from the beach scene do wander in and can purchase artists’ wares through the gallery and adjacent gift shop. There’s also a recently opened online store that offers shirts, aprons, prints and other moderately priced goods. When


Spring/Summer 2016

visitors arrive, they are likely to get a tour; Giunta and Roche want the public to get to know artists, to see them where they work. This is where their show openings for the gallery come in. “A lot of people are so tentative with artists and galleries.” Giunta says. “Openings are a great way to let people have a conversation. It helps them see that artists are just people making stuff.” The openings are grand affairs. With Roche’s mom, Anita, in charge of party planning, there is often a theme, and in the warmer months, food is likely to be plentiful and inspired by whatever’s good from a friend’s bountiful garden plot. “The food draws people in and makes them want to come back. It helps us grow the relationships.” Giunta understands that it takes time to really get to know people. “I’ve gotten good at remembering names,” she says. That’s important, because she and Roche are in no hurry. They say they want Chases Garage to be around for a long time. p

Chases Garage recently opened an online store that offers shirts, prints and other moderately priced goods.

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Spring/Summer 2016


The West End of Portsmouth Creating Change on Their Own Terms by Maggie Wallace, Photos by Jasmine Inglesmith


Spring/Summer 2016


t 1 in the afternoon, White Heron café is full of life. A hissing espresso machine interrupts conversations and bright winter sun illuminates the vibrant walls. “I like the West End because it reminds me of Portsmouth when I was growing up,” explains owner Jonathan Blakeslee. “That’s kind of why we put ‘tea and coffee community’ on the sign.” Since it opened in 2013, White Heron has become a central hub for the Islington Street corridor, affectionately known by its residents as “The West End.” Portsmouth has come a long way since its industrial days, transforming from a working-class town to a tourist destination. The past two decades have provided a classic example of gentrification. Small business owners are weighing the advantage of greater income against higher rent, functional stores have been phased out in favor of boutiques, and high-rise condos obscure more of the Piscataqua every year. The downtown is more polished — but less personal. All of this has had the effect of pushing locals and their identity further out of the downtown. At the end of last year, the website Thrillist dubbed Portsmouth’s West End the “Brooklyn of New Hampshire,” lending an outside voice to a theory locals have held for years. “This is the up-and-comin’ area,” says Karen Valencia, the owner of the Grecian Key Beauty Salon for the last 10 years. “Downtown is saturated, that’s done. It’s like Boston.” “You can only go to expensive stores so often. I think it’s nice to be able to walk to the grocery store,” says Megan Glenn, who recently bought a single-family home and started a family. With the current condo boom in downtown Portsmouth, young couples like the Glenns find that living in the

White Heron’s owner Blakeslee takes in the view on Islington Street.

The old Frank Jones Brewery is slated for renovation.

Spring/Summer 2016


“This is what civic dialogue looks like.” – Karen Marzloff

Top – The modern, comfortable office of Red Post Realty, complete with four-legged companions. Above – Arlene Esterline welcomes customers to Bob’s Broiled Chicken. Right – Owner Nikki Nachampassak brings her family’s báhn mì recipe to a local institution.


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West End is not only more affordable, but more convenient. Eric Chinburg’s plans to renovate the derelict Frank Jones Brewery reflect more than renewed interest in the West End; they echo a nationwide movement to create affordable housing for service workers, artists and other low-income earners because, in Todd Hudson’s words, “That’s the heart of any town: people being young and innovative.” Hudson, who owns Red Post Realty, a modern West End office where couches replace cubicles, recognizes that gentrification may be on the heels of West End development. “You can’t really fight it; you need to get creative — and the micro-apartments, that’s a great way to do that.” Sara Curry agrees. “The focus on affordable housing is really important, because we’ve gotten into this situation where the only people that can live in Portsmouth are people that are independently wealthy.” In addition to co-owning Bikram Yoga, Curry also helps to coordinate the West End Business Association (WEBA). WEBA’s motto is “live, work, play,” a reference to their efforts to make the West End a more vibrant, cohesive community. Last summer, they organized a West End barbecue that was expected to attract a handful of residents; instead it drew hundreds.

Jamie Fournier — a.k.a the Frank Jones Barber

Wares on display at Papa Wolf Supply Co.

Throwing a neighborhood barbecue in a public parking lot isn’t something that could occur in downtown Portsmouth without involvement of city officials, but the West End still has the right balance of residential density and community involvement to make it possible. “A lot of cities have post-industrial buildings, but not every city’s lucky enough to have residents that are excited about bringing revitalization to their area,” explains Rebecca Perkins, City Council liaison to the planning board. With the Islington corridor comprised of half a dozen residential and commercial zoning districts, building projects are complicated at best. Instead of handling re-zoning exclusively within the city planning board, the city has created Portsmouth Listens, a series of meetings where business owners and residents come together to express their thoughts about the new West End. “This is what civic dialogue looks like,” says Karen Marzloff, the co-founder of Seacoast Local and vice-chair of PS21, organizations that look for local business solutions. The West End, with all of its possibilities, has become a hotbed for “classic entrepreneurship,” as Marzloff calls it. “When you walk into a business, you see the owner is behind the counter.” The combination of lower rent and greater space in the West End seems to provide a safe environment for small businesses to test their mettle.

Spring/Summer 2016


Resident Sharon Finley and her dog Zeke relax at their home on Cass Street.


Spring/Summer 2016

An example of classic entrepreneurship with a modern twist can be found in Gallagher’s Place Plaza where, less than a year ago, Papa Wolf Supply Co. had its grand opening. Featuring locally made leather wallets and a motorcycle-packed Instagram feed, its rough image is enhanced by the old brick buildings. “It’s a little more gritty out here,” says owner Rian Bedard, best known in town as the owner of the grassroots compost company, Mr. Fox. Bedard has capitalized on a new wave of marketing — selling history. In a concrete room that once held coal for the Frank Jones Brewery, now you can get a haircut or straight-razor shave from Jamie Fournier, the Frank Jones Barber. Across from Papa Wolf is a 25-year-old staple, Bob’s Broiled Chicken, opened by Robert McDonough when “the West End was much rougher.” Baby pictures of the now-grown McDonough children line the walls while next door, relative newcomer Street decorates with bicycle-wheel lamps and graffiti-covered tables. The Button Factory provides an industrial backdrop for this area that is a true example of Portsmouth’s melting pot; an area where a dry cleaner and a craft beer cellar can co-exist. Here, old meets new. Around the corner from the plaza, Darleen’s Sub and Pizza changed hands a year ago, adding Vietnamese cuisine to the menu and “Bahn Mi’s” to the sign. The new proprietor Nikki Nachampassak returned to her hometown to do what she loves — cook her family’s recipes. “If you’re in Asia, there’s no cooking school. You just learn it from your grandmother, your mother and everyone else.” She serves generous samples of the Phat Si Ew while Darlene Rahn, the original owner, rolls out her famous pizza doughs in the back. Here on Islington, away from the hustle of the downtown, the pace of change is still set by locals. It is locals and not façades that determine the personality of a town. At a time when downtown Portsmouth has replaced hardware stores with souvenir shops, when townhouses sell for more than a waiter could hope to make in a lifetime, it seems that artists, families and the original generation that built this town have taken refuge in its outskirts. And there they remain, forming focus groups, starting up businesses and assuring us that the historically colorful spirit of Portsmouth hasn’t faded — it’s just moved further West. p

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Lessons in the Art of Lounge Photos and captions by MJ Blanchette


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or decades, oysters have captured the imaginations — and appetites — of diners, farmers, authors and others. Far beyond a food trend, the briny bivalves have been a mainstay of New England diets for hundreds of years. The popularity of “farm-to-table” dining has increased interest in the provenance of oysters, as well as their sustainability. With an upsurge in oyster consumption and a growing number of oyster farms ready to feed that demand, it’s no surprise that oysters top many seafood menus (and command top dollar, costing upwards of $2-$3 each at some area restaurants). The rise of the once-humble mollusk has led to another phenomenon: a synergy between commercial oyster growers, restaurant owners and people striving to restore the regional oyster population. There’s a sense of community around oyster production and consumption. You see it in Portsmouth restaurants like Row 34 and The Franklin Oyster House, who’ve established partnerships with oyster farms, as well as among conservation groups working in Great Bay to preserve and repopulate the estuary's oyster reefs. “Eating oysters has historically been a communal activity,” says Matt Louis, chef and co-owner of The Franklin Oyster House. “We’re fortunate to be in a community where people celebrate that and recognize the importance of preserving the bays where their food is sourced.”

“Eating oysters has historically been a communal activity,” says Matt Louis, chef and co-owner of The Franklin Oyster House. 58

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rtsmouth on the Half Shell As the oyster experiences an upswing in popularity, restaurateurs, conservationists and oyster farmers work together to ensure that this briny bivalve is here to stay.

Left – Fresh oysters at The Franklin Oyster House

By Debbie Kane Photos by Greta Rybus

Spring/Summer 2016


During the peak of their popularity, in the mid-19th century, oysters could be slurped almost anywhere: from street carts, at saloons and in neighborhood oyster houses. A Little History Oysters weren't always trendy. Thousands of years ago, they were a plentiful source of protein for New England’s Native Americans, as well as for 18th and 19th century cooks, who used the bivalves in everything, from stuffing for turkey and chicken, to pies, stews and soups. During the peak of their popularity, in the mid-19th century, oysters could be slurped almost anywhere: from street carts, at saloons and in neighborhood oyster houses. “Oysters were a huge part of society,” says Skip Bennett, owner of Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Mass. Then, suddenly, they weren’t. Environmental changes during the 20th century dramatically transformed oyster populations along the east coast. In the 1950s and ‘60s, parasites wiped out huge swaths of oysters. In New Hampshire, as many as 1,000 acres of live oyster reef covered the floor of Great Bay until at least 1970, according to the Nature Conservancy. More than 90 percent of the population has been lost to pollution, over-harvesting and disease.

The Preservationists Matt Louis of The Franklin Oyster House shucks a fresh one.


Spring/Summer 2016

Once the oyster population started to shrink, scientists took notice. “About 20 years ago, we really began to understand what oysters did

Row 34

The Franklin Oyster House Right – Mel MacDonald of Row 34 prepares oysters for the lunch crowd

Spring/Summer 2016


Chef Matt Louis at The Franklin Oyster House, which recently partnered with Bay Point Oysters to produce an oyster exclusive to the restaurant.

A server at The Franklin Oyster House holds one of their most popular cocktails, “All About the Benjamins.”

in the ecosystem because most of them were gone,” says Ray Grizzle, a research professor from the University of New Hampshire’s Jackson Estuarine Laboratory. Oysters are environmentally friendly. One oyster naturally filters about 30 to 50 gallons of water a day, removing excess nitrogen (which contributes to water pollution) and preserving sea life. Working with a team of UNH scientists and volunteers from the Nature Conservancy and the Coastal Conservation Association of New Hampshire (CCANH), Grizzle is rebuilding and repopulating Great Bay’s oyster reefs. The process starts with recycled oyster Continued on page 64

The Franklin Oyster House 148 Fleet St. Portsmouth (603) 373-8500

Row 34

5 Portwalk Place Portsmouth (603) 319-5011 62

Spring/Summer 2016


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shells, collected from area restaurants by CCANH volunteers, dried out and delivered to Jackson Laboratory. In the lab, oyster larvae attach themselves to the shells. Called “spat,” the baby oysters are then distributed to volunteer conservationists around Great Bay, who suspend the young mollusks in cages under water until they reach the size of a quarter. Grizzle’s team then collects the oysters and returns them to reconstructed reefs in the estuary. Since 2009, 18 acres of reef have been restored, adding four million oysters back into Great Bay.

Farmers and Restaurants

Above – Peter Whitehead pulls a draft from Row 34’s extensive selection of beers. Right – A Pink Lady cocktail pairs nicely with the warm buttered lobster roll at Row 34.


Spring/Summer 2016

Bay Point, Fat Dog, Wagon Hill, Little Grizzlies: oysters have their own provenance, just like wine. As quaint as these names are, they’re the base of Little Bay’s aquaculture industry, where there are at least 12 working oyster farms (including Grizzle’s Granite State Shellfish, producer of Wagon Hill and Little Grizzlies). “Every community along the Northeast coast seems to be adding oyster farms,” says Island Creek Oysters’ Bennett. “I hope it continues to grow. There’s really a demand for more farms and new farmers.” The oyster renaissance has spawned more partnerships between local oyster farms and restaurants. Bennett is a partner in several Boston area restaurants that feature Island Creek Oysters and the company supplies most of the oysters sold by Row 34 in Portsmouth. The Franklin Oyster House recently partnered with Bay Point Oysters to produce an oyster exclusive to the restaurant. It’s a synergy that benefits everyone, says Jay McSharry, owner of The Franklin Oyster House. “The oyster farmer has a guaranteed outlet and the support of a local restaurant,” he says. For Bennett, whose operation supplies oysters to restaurants around the US, oyster farming was “something waiting to take off,” he says. “There’s been such a demand. The next logical step was to bring the local oyster bar back.” The Seacoast appetite for oysters just keeps growing. Row 34 and The Franklin Oyster House report consistent crowds; there’s even Oysterpalooza, organized by CCANH, which celebrates oysters and raises awareness of preservation efforts. “The oyster culture is strong everywhere,” says Jeremy Sewall, chef and co-owner of Row 34. “Oyster preservation, healthy oyster farming in Great Bay, the community embracing oyster bars — they’re all important pieces of the puzzle and great for the community.” That’s delicious news for everyone. p





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Cosmopolitan Coast While we may be best known for our seafood, there’s an international dining scene on the Seacoast that shouldn’t be missed by Katie Shine, Photos by Jason McKibben

The dining room at TInos Greek Kitchen in Hampton


Spring/Summer 2016

Executive Chef Mark Segal puts the finishing touch on a dish at TInos Greek Kitchen in Hampton.

A twist on chicken souvlaki at TInos Greek Kitchen

Tinos in Hampton

Tinos Greek Kitchen is the latest culinary creation by the owners of The Galley Hatch and Kay’s Café. Opened in 2015, Tinos is steadfast in their conviction of a simple mission; “It’s important to be yourself, stand by your identity, ideals and convictions and provide honest, high quality products and service,” says John Tinios of Tinios Pro Hospitality Group. The warm bar and open kitchen fires up your racing mind. Where to sit? What to drink? What to order? First, take a chance and order the Chef ’s Daily Mezze Selection; no matter what the offerings are, order it now. After you’ve expanded your horizons, head over to the Greek classic, the gyro. Specifically, The Riverslea Farm Goat Gyro. Finish up the meal with the quintessential Mediterranean dessert, presented here in miniature form, the baklava. If this doesn’t sound like your usual Greek fare to you, then you are not alone. Tinios knows it’s a challenge to get patrons to think outside the box, or outside the gyro, but they’ve had great success so far. “Our service style is very interactive and many guests have already told us they’ve tried items like octopus and goat for the first time. We are very encouraged by the adventurous nature of Seacoast diners!” says Tinios. After seeing Greek cuisine catch on in larger cities, Tinios joined forces with Executive Chef Mark Segal. “I started exploring the possibility of opening a place together and it seemed like a natural evolution of our brand. The culmination of our mutual

love for the ingredients, cooking style and hospitality embodies Greece and aligns with the trend of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet,” adds Tinios. Tinos isn’t your typical corner gyro shop— they cater to a contemporary clientele while remaining rooted in familial history. “Growing up in a Greek family we always had guests over who expected to be fed. My parents and relatives loved to cook their native cuisine. Naturally the classic Greek menu was always on the dinner table,” Tinios says. Contemporary Greek cuisine exposes the consumer to a rich and full take on its culture and dynamic. “People are exposed to different tastes, ingredients, cooking methods and mediums and a different approach to food. Food is one of those items that’s both a necessity for life and a luxury. You glimpse a whole culture when you experience their cuisine, the challenge is only in the openness and willingness to immerse yourself in that culture.” Tinos Greek Kitchen, Hampton,

Also Try Unassuming Lebanese Location: Martha’s Restaurant in Hampton Falls, (603) 929-5092 The Gyro Heroes: Café Nostimo in Portsmouth Fast Falafel: Quick to Go in Dover, Tried and True: Pauly’s Pockets in Durham New Kids on the Block: Habibi Mediterranean Café in Portsmouth,

Spring/Summer 2016


Top Left – Customers check out the delicacies in the display case at La Maison Navarre in Portsmouth. Top Right – Salted caramel macarons are prepared in the kitchen. Above – Danielle Wiseman, right, helps a customer. Right – Danielle Wiseman makes a savory crêpe.


Spring/Summer 2016

La Maison Navarre in Portsmouth

Freshly baked macarons at La Maison Navarre on Congress Street in Portsmouth.

La Maison Navarre on Congress Street kicked off their French revolution in the summer of 2015, becoming the newest place to grab a sweet treat and coffee on your way into the office. Transported to Paris without the cost of an airline ticket, La Maison Navarre’s charm begins from within. Upon entering the downtown pastry shop you are immediately welcomed with clean lines, elevated ceilings and the fresh doughy aroma of impeccable French delicacies. Flaky, sweet, fruity, buttery, goodness; French cuisine does not get a bad rap from anyone (unless you hate flavor). Manager Charlotte Reymond says, “It’s not hard to find people who want to try something new at our shop. Our main products are well known, croissants, baguettes, macarons, éclairs, etc. For the rest, we try to introduce different pastries

that are more well known in France.” One of the buzz desserts as of late is the colorful and petite treasure, the macaron. It’s no surprise they are one of the most popular choices at La Maison Navarre. “Easy to share, too!” Reymond adds. If you are looking to venture outside the colorful box, then Reymond suggests the profiteroles. “Because it’s difficult to picture, it’s one of the harder ones to get people to try,” says Reymond. Going on to add, “It’s not easy to find people who have been trained in French delicacies. We have to spend a lot of time to transmitting our French food culture.” La Maison Navarre, Portsmouth,

Also Try Hidden Gem: Bridge Street Bistrot & Wine Bar in Portsmouth, Classic: Anneke Jans in Kittery, Maine Best non-French restaurant poutine: The Black Birch Restaurant in Kittery, Maine

celebrating the iconic dishes of greece with a more modern approach, while incorporating the finest, freshest ingredients from our region driven seasonally.

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Spring/Summer 2016


The final garnish is placed on a crispy chicken entrĂŠe at 5 Thai Bistro in Portsmouth.

Pad Thai is prepared in the kitchen.


Spring/Summer 2016

5 Thai Bistro in Portsmouth

papaya salad or their larb chicken salad to name a few. Looking to get spicy? Veggies only? Extra beef? Thai cuisine is quite versatile, granting you the freedom to get into the ethnic spirit while still inching your way into uncharted waters. Customization is key to pleasing every customer that comes through the doors of 5 Thai. Nicholas goes on to add, “Our menu is tailored so that customers can choose the level of spice, the meat or vegetables they want in their dish, and all of our dishes are made to order to adhere to the taste and dietary requirements of each customer.” Like any restaurant that isn’t pushing the “twin lobster special,” 5 Thai faces a challenge in getting patrons to try something new. Their simple goal, making dishes the best way they can be time and time again, is the easiest way to turn the picky into the daring.

For a region almost 8,000 miles from Hong Kong, it’s surprising to find an overflowing array of options for Asian cuisine. Sushi, egg foo young, spring rolls, Pad Thai, crab rangoons, sashimi: the offerings are endless. Rounding out one of the top spots for consistent quality is 5 Thai in downtown Portsmouth. The location, which couldn’t be more downtown if you tried, is perfect for out-of-towners to do some after-dinner exploring. Opened in March of 2013, 5 Thai incorporates authentic international cuisine with traditional Seacoast dishes. “Our offerings allow any locals or tourists to try authentic Thai food and still get a taste of New England specialties, as well,” says 5 Thai owner and manager, Nuttaya Nicholas. Most of us are probably familiar with typical “New England” Chinese food (the egg roll, the spare rib), so, when 5 Thai Bistro, Portsmouth, offered Thai as an option, you might be unfamiliar with how to kick things off. 5 Thai offers the traditionAlso Try al staples, freshly prepared and done well. “For Elevated Ramen: Anju Noodle Bar in Kittery, Maine, those who are less familiar with our food, we have The Best Sushi (no contest): Shio in Portsmouth, staples like Pad Thai, fried rice and traditional stir Best Crab Rangoons: Tasty Thai in Kittery, Maine, fries,” says Nicholas. Lunch Time Asian: Saigon & Tokyo in Dover, (603) 750-4127 If you’ve eaten Thai before, then you can safely Comfort Chinese Food: Pink Bamboo, Portsmouth, head directly to their variety of classic dishes, green

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Spring/Summer 2016


The finishing touches are put on lettuce tacos at Vida Cantina in Portsmouth.

Diners are served at Vida Cantina

Vida Cantina in Portsmouth

If you grew up on the east coast, then you know that “Mexican night” was comprised of hard taco shells, ground beef, cold iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes and shredded cheddar. As international cuisine as a whole becomes more mainstream, it’s no surprise that authentic Mexican follows suit. Vida Cantina, which opened in May 2013, set up shop in the old Friendly’s restaurant just off the beaten path on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth. The shell still resembles the classic ice cream shoppe but inside a cornucopia of color and warmth tells a different story altogether. First look up, yes, to the ceiling, and let in the bright pinks and neon greens hanging over your hungry head. Secondly, look down, at the simple metal tray filled with color and spice. Let me tell you what’s on it, specifically (if you’re smart) — first up the Chupacabra, refreshing and spicy this drink will set the tone for the rest of your evening. Hopefully you don’t have too many friends joining you because next up is the cheesy, gooey goodness that is the Goat Cheese Fundido. Topped with their house made chorizo, it will be hard to share this one. Now you could go rogue and try each and every one of Vida’s taco offerings (and you very well should) but you’ll always come back to their reigning champ, the Confit Pork Belly Taco. Savory pork and sweet mango salsa come together


Spring/Summer 2016

in what can only be described as taco heaven. Try all seven, but make sure you get two of the pork belly tacos—you’ll need it. Chef David Vargas began his journey at Vida in August of 2014. With almost 20 years of experience, Chef Vargas welcomes our lobster roll-loving roots. “We embrace the region we are in, using traditional Mexican flavors with modern technique and New England flair,” says Chef Vargas. There are some challenges, though. “We get a wide variety of people through our doors. It’s hard for some to understand what we are trying to do, we aren’t your typical New England Mexican restaurant.” Nor should they be. Vida prides itself on making you think differently about Mexican cuisine while still catering to the out-of-town seafood lover. Vida Cantina, Portsmouth,

Also Try Fast & Cheap: Dos Amigos in Portsmouth and Dover, Big & Classic: Loco Coco’s Tacos in Kittery, Maine, Street Taco Traditional: Cinco de Mayo in Dover, Mom and Pop Shop: Taco Room in Hampton, (603) 926-8226 Beach Burritos: Las Olas Taqueria in Hampton and Exeter, The Mecca for Chile Colorado: La Carreta in Portsmouth,

The dining room at Shalimar in Portsmouth

Shalimar India Restaurant in Portsmouth

This year will mark the 25th year for the Indian restaurant, Shalimar, in downtown Portsmouth. The unassuming location shares a wall with a local billiards bar on Hanover Street. Open the glass doors to their large colorful room, and you are greeted with warmth and spice. No one has ever said Indian food was bland. With bold colors, bright spice and plentiful accoutrements, Indian cuisine bows down to flavor lovers everywhere. Chef and owner, Kulbir Kaur has been in the restaurant game for over 30 years now. For Kaur, international cuisine is deeply rooted. “My father owned a restaurant in India. This is an industry my family has been a part of for generations.” At times, ethnic food can be polarizing. “I HATE sushi,” says a friend. “Oh I can’t stand that food,” says another loudly. But if you step outside the conventional pizza box, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. With Indian food there are similar strong opinions that come along. “One of the biggest challenges is getting individuals to understand that Indian food is not necessarily spicy. We cook everything in house, and though it’s true that, if you went to India, the spice levels would be different than in America, we are able to adjust the spice according to your preference,” says Kaur.

Naan cooks in a traditional tandoor oven at Shalimar.

Once you become comfortable with Chef Kaur’s delicacies, she suggests ordering the Vindaloo Curry. “Since it’s labeled hot, it’s hard to get new customers to try it at first. This is a dish that needs to be served at a spicier level to get all of the authentic flavors. However, once our customers start venturing out into other menu options, then this becomes a hit!” says Kaur. One of the best aspects of international cuisine is that the preparation is so versatile, not just spice level, so vegetarians and carnivores can both leave the table full and happy. With more and more international restaurants popping up, the competition for “new, hot and exciting” is ongoing, but Kaur has a simple and easy way to combat that. “Locals are looking for ethnic cuisine, along with tourists, and almost everyone wants to try something new. The biggest challenge is that there are a lot of options out there. So it’s very important to keep your cuisine ethnic and approachable to new customers,” says Kaur. Food that is simple, deeply rooted and appealing — what are you waiting for? p Shalimar India Restaurant, Portsmouth,

Also Try Sunday Buffet Deal: Taste of India in Dover, Ambience and Naan: Tulsi in Kittery, Maine,

Spring/Summer 2016


Good Eats! The Juicery 55 Hanover St., Portsmouth and 14 Manchester Square at the Pease Tradeport (603) 431-0693, Vegan wraps, smoothies, wheatgrass shots and salads with house-made dressings make this a busy place in Portsmouth! (The Peanut Butter Bliss smoothie is this editor’s favorite.) Not only good for you, but good for the environment—all of their to-go ware is eco-friendly and fully compostable.

Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro & Bar 35 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth (603) 427-8344, This popular Portland restaurant has come south to share its tasty Asian vegetarian fare with the Seacoast. Super fresh vegetables are the order of the day, and by dinnertime this place is packed! Take-out is available, but you’ll want to stay and sample one of their colorful cocktails. Lots of vegan and gluten-free dishes are available.

Madeline’s Truly Organic Kitchen 151 Congress St., Portsmouth (603) 436-1722 Nestled in the rear of the Portsmouth Health Food store is Madeline’s Truly Organic Kitchen, a small but mighty space serving vegetarian and vegan specialties to those in the know. There are just a few stools, so get your goodies to go and find a sunny spot to enjoy your lunch break.

Mizuna 381 Portsmouth Ave., Greenland (603) 436-4002, It would be easy to pass by this spot on busy Route 33 in Greenland, but stop by for lunch and you won’t be disappointed by their large selection of salads, Asian dishes and take home meals for dinners as well.

Laney & Lu Cafe 26 Water St., Exeter (603) 580-4952, The newest addition to Exeter’s burgeoning food scene already has a dedicated clientele. The restaurant itself is as fresh and bright as their veggie specialties. (Check out founder Jennifer Desrosiers’ recipe in this section for a yummy and healthy Blueberry Quinoa Smoothie Bowl!)


Spring/Summer 2016

The Friendly Toast 113 Congress St., Portsmouth (603) 430-2154, A longtime favorite with the kid crowd, this local institution is also renowned for its extensive vegetarian options. Get the tofu scramble with a big mess of veggies and vegetarian sausage to tide you over for the day.

Time to step away from warm stews and thick slabs of bread and embrace the fresh bounty of healthy food that comes along with the warm weather! Here is a list of locales to go to on the Seacoast for fresh healthy fare and vegetarian options. (Don’t forget your local farmer’s market!) Lexie’s Joint 212 Islington St., Portsmouth (603) 319-4055, Lexie’s understands that even vegetarians need a good burger once in awhile! Enter Lexie’s yummy beanie burger, doctored up with any of the toppings of the meat burgers and, if you’d like it, a gluten-free bun! There are also some delicious fish sandwiches for the pescatarians out there. Don’t forget the fried pickles.

The Kitchen 171 Islington St., Portsmouth (603) 319-8630, A bustling eatery that offers a towering veggie Reuben panini to send you staggering back to work. Get a cone of their famous Spudsters with a spicy dip if you’re looking for the ultimate lunch, and this might become your daily dish.

The Fresh Press 90B Fleet St., Portsmouth (603) 373-8886, The quinoa and açai bowls get a big thumbs up from Fresh Press’ customers as a healthy breakfast options, but as their name suggests, freshly made juices and smoothies are their specialty. If you want a special combo that’s not on the menu, don’t be shy...just ask!

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Spring/Summer 2016


Seacoast Soups 122 Lafayette Rd. North Hampton (603) 379-2787 Conveniently located on Route 1, Seacoast Soups is the go-to place for a healthy lunch or dinner to go. Sample a soup, then serve up a big container to take on the road. Lots of gluten-free and dairy-free options to please the whole family or your fickle book group.

Blue Moon Evolution

Street 801 Islington St., Portsmouth (603) 436-0860, Looking to please all palates? Head over to Street, where vegetarians and carnivores can all be happy. Fun atmosphere for kids and adults, casual vibe and curry fries to die for.

8 Clifford St., Exeter (603) 778-6850, Blue Moon Evolution’s accolades are too lengthy to list here, but let’s just say that their fans come from far and wide to experience the fresh, organic and inventive fare such as the sunflower pate, superfood salad and seasonal specials.

Dover Natural Marketplace & Café 7 Chestnut St., Dover (603) 749-9999 After you’ve some some shopping, stop by the café at the back of the store for some vegan or vegetarian lunch options to eat at one of their tables or take to go. Smoothies and juices are also available, as well as freshly made soups and homemade bread.

Maine Squeeze Smoothie & Juice Cafe 7 Wallingford Sq., Kittery Maine, (207) 703-2079 Located in the old bank drive-thru, this smoothie and juice bar serves up cool, refreshing drinks in record time. Snag a seat on the patio and people watch in the center of Kittery Foreside.

Recipe by Jennifer of Laney & Lu

Blueberry Quinoa Smoothie Bowl Recipe …protein and antioxidant rich…. 4 oz. almond milk, or other nut/seed milk 1 frozen banana 1 heaping cup frozen blueberries 1/4 cooked quinoa Add all ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth but still thick. Top with fresh fruit and granola. Sprinkle with nutrient dense foods like bee pollen, cacao nibs and hemp seeds. Drizzle on a bit of local honey for sweetness to taste.


Spring/Summer 2016

White Heron Tea & Coffee 601 Islington St., Portsmouth (603) 294-0270, Sure, this café is hopping during the a.m. hours caffeinating the worker bees of the Seacoast, but come lunchtime they are serving up fresh vegetarian wraps and chili. In a hurry? Visit their website and you can order ahead online!

Spring/Summer Events It’s time to get out and experience all of the events that the Seacoast has to offer! Here’s a sampling of what’s to come, and for up-to-date event information, like us on Facebook at The Square or follow us on twitter @TheSquareNH. Have an event you’d like to share? Please e-mail details to We’d love to help you promote it!

MAY TEDxPiscataquaRiver Portsmouth, May 6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. TEDxPiscataquaRiver is returning to 3S Artspace and open to even more attendees than before! This extremely popular community-organized event strives to spark conversation and ignite positive community action by bringing together community representatives and showcasing new ideas from local, regional and national voices across diverse disciplines and backgrounds.

Alejandro Escovedo at The Music Hall Loft

Wrong Brain Spring Bizaare

“World Cultures” Art Student Installation at Bedrock Gardens

Newmarket, May 7, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The Wrong Brain Bizaare is a semiannual multimedia arts open market, pop up gallery, music exhibition and creative celebration that brings you the strange, unconventional, underground, alternative and emerging of the Seacoast.

“What’s it Worth” Appraisal Event Portsmouth, May 14, 1-5 p.m. Freeman’s experts will venture into northern New England for an appraisal event in conjunction with the Portsmouth Historical Society. Held within the Discover Portsmouth Center, Kelly Wright, New England Director (and “Vintage Seacoast” columnist for The Square) will be joined by specialists Virginia Salem, Richard Cervantes, Lynda Cain and Tim Andreadis. These appraisers, many of whom have been seen on “Antiques Roadshow,” will be evaluating works of jewelry, fine art, silver and the decorative arts of Asia, America and Europe. Admission is $10 with a limit of three items per person, with all proceeds to benefit the

30th Annual Cochecho Arts Festival Friday Night Headliner Series photo by greg west photography

Portsmouth Historical Society. Reservations are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. For more information or to schedule an appointment for this event, please contact Kelly Wright, (617) 367-3400 or

Dover, Fridays, July 8 - August 19 The Friday Night Headliner Concerts are the signature series of the festival, with average crowds ranging from 750 to 1,500 people per night. Music lovers of all ages flock to Henry Law Park with picnic blankets, lawn chairs, friends and family to enjoy music in a setting that truly epitomizes the charm and sense of community found only in New England cities as vibrant and historic as Dover. On the banks of the winding Cochecho River, and surrounded by 18th and 19th century mill structures of brick and granite, Henry Law Park boasts a gently rolling lawn, gigantic shade trees, pristinely manicured gardens and walkways and the beloved Rotary Arts Pavilion.

Portsmouth, May 14, 8 p.m. Alejandro Escovedo’s authentic Austin sound has led him to national stardom and critical acclaim. His journey to legend has taken him from Texas to California to New York and back to Texas, encompassing a breadth of musical styles.

Lee, May 21 and 22, 12 to 4 p.m. Celebrate the wide, wide world! Art students aged 10 to 18 from several schools will honor different cultures of the world in a far-ranging installation throughout Bedrock Gardens. You will be amazed at what they come up with. There will be music from 12–2 p.m. on Saturday by The Jazz Lab. Bring a friend, your family and enjoy a lovely oasis on the New Hampshire Seacoast.

“Hansel and Gretel” at The Players Ring Portsmouth, May 28 – June 11 This original musical adaptation of the Brothers Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel” is about many things. It’s about loss. It’s about being lost and feeling lost and finding a way to love what you’ve lost. It’s about desperation. It’s about manipulation of innocence and theft of spirit. It’s about good and bad, right and wrong. It’s about love: fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. It’s about losing faith in crumbs and trusting faith in mind. It’s about making your way through the blinding darkness and finding “home,” wherever that may be.

JUNE John Fullbright at The Stone Church Newmarket, June 2, 7 p.m. After his jaw-dropping performance almost a year to the day, Bright & Lyon are proud to bring

Spring/Summer 2016


back John Fullbright! Whether you’ve heard him on NPR’s “World Cafe,” Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” or caught him on “Late Show with David Letterman,” this singer-songwriter is one of the fastest rising Americana stars, and one of our favorites. Come find out why this serious talent has been labeled as the one to watch.

Valerie June at The Music Hall Historic Theater

Portsmouth Music and Arts Center’s Teen Rock Performance Portsmouth, July 22 & 29 PMAC’s performers always put on a good show, especially when they take the stage at Prescott Park during the summer months! The Teen Rock Performance is just one of the many times that aspiring and seasoned PMAC musicians get to show off their talents. Visit the website for more performance times, as well as summer camp and class information.

Portsmouth, June 7, 7:30 p.m. Valerie June brings her own brand of “organic moonshine roots music” to the Seacoast for one electrifying night as part of her US tour. Buy your tickets now!

Market Square Day Portsmouth, June 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Downtown Portsmouth is transformed into a funfilled outdoor festival with music, food, vendor booths and more! Join thousands of other visitors in celebrating the beginning of summer on the streets.

Wendy Turner “Island Light” Exhibition at Discover Portsmouth Portsmouth, June 17 – September 30 Local artist Wendy Turner shares her unique vision of light and water in the main exhibition space through September 30.

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” Portsmouth, June 24 – August 21 The Prescott Park Arts Festival’s theatre production this summer is based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film: Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” With

Eighth Annual


3 Vote online from April 1 to May 31, 2016

For more details and to vote visit 78

Spring/Summer 2016

DOVER New Hampshire

Downton Tea in Downtown Portsmouth at The Warner House

Quilt & Widowspeak at 3S Artspace Portsmouth, June 25 “Plaza” is the third album by Quilt; a name implying a meeting place, a crossroads, a coming together. In the space of ten songs, “Plaza” clarifies Quilt’s musical stance of a congregation, mixing folk, pop-psych and wanderlust into a common ground where each form takes on the characteristics of one another to create something wholly satisfying, styles and sentiments hand in hand, the purest and sharpest distillation of Quilt’s group aesthetic to date. music by eight-time Academy Award-winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.” Presented by C&J Bus Lines.

“Reefer Madness: The Musical” at Seacoast Repertory Theater Portsmouth, June 24 – July 24 Inspired by the original 1936 film of the same name, this raucous musical comedy takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the hysteria caused when clean-cut kids fall prey to marijuana, leading them on a hysterical downward spiral filled with evil jazz music, sex and violence. Reefer Madness is a highly stylized and satirical political commentary for an adult audience.

JULY An American Celebration at Strawbery Banke

Portsmouth, July 4 An American Celebration is Strawbery Banke Museum’s annual salute to America, Independence Day and the joys of summer. Beginning with a US Naturalization Ceremony, Strawbery Banke gives

Portsmouth, July 10 Back by popular demand! Learn the Warner House connection to the popular television show “Downton Abbey.” Participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters for tea, light refreshments and other activities in the delightful garden of the English-styled Warner House, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year. Prizes for best costume and trivia. Reservations required.

Halcyon Music Festival

DISCOVER events,

entertainment, festivals, parades, and attractions

EXPLORE the city’s shops,

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Throughout the Seacoast, July 20 -– 30 The Seacoast’s premier chamber music festival, led LEARN how our history, location, schools, homes, by Artistic Director Heng-Jin Park, opens its third and businesses sustain a thriving economy season this July. Over 20 international virtuosos will gather for two weeks to live, rehearse and perform in 603.742.2218 a collaborative environment. The aim of the festival is to bring chamber music of the highest quality to Portsmouth and the surrounding communities. Our returning participants, including David Hardy Dover Chamber Square Ad 1-6 page 4CP 9-2015.indd (principal cello, National Symphony Orchestra) and Abel Pereira (principal horn, National Symphony Orchestra), will be joined by Brian Manker (solo cellist, Montreal Symphony Orchestra), Wendy Warner (first prize, Rostropovich Cello Competition) and others. restaurants, pubs, theaters, galleries, and museums

AUGUST Straight No Chaser at The

Music Hall Historic Theater Portsmouth August 3, 7:30 p.m. If the phrase “male a cappella group” conjures up an image of students in blue blazers, ties and khakis singing traditional college songs on ivied campuses…think again. Straight No Chaser (SNC) are neither strait-laced nor straight-faced, neither are they vaudeville-style kitsch. They have emerged as a phenomenon with a massive fanbase, numerous national TV appearances and proven success with CD releases. “The New Old Fashioned Tour” comes to town on the heels of the release of their new album, “The New Old Fashioned,” their fifth album release through Atlantic Records.


multiple generations the opportunity to enjoy the 10acre living history museum on a day when American history takes the spotlight. All children under 17 are admitted free and, as a Blue Star Museum, active duty military and their families are free.



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Now is a great time to check out next year’s school options for your rising 6th, 7th, or 8th grader. Heronfield Academy offers an outstanding program for the middle school years!

Call or email Admissions today for more information at (603) 777-1336 or 356 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, NH

Spring/Summer 2016


What The? Can you solve this photographic mystery?

We’ve all been there. That fleeting moment at a party where someone yells, “Let’s get a picture!” You stand somewhat I showing my best side? Try not to blink. Someone yells your name, and you look over, just for a second. Flash. The moment’s over. This photo is of four unidentified partygoers at


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the Wentworth By The Sea Hotel, all dressed up for a luau sometime in the 1970s. Do you recognize anyone? Maybe even yourself? If so, James Smith, photographic collections manager at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, would love to hear from you: he can be reached at (603) 431-2538 or via email at

Aren’t banks better when they’re open? Longer hours than other banks. Stop by one of our convenient locations today, visit us at or call 1-888-751-9000.

TD Bank, N.A. | Open longer compared to top metropolitan competitors.

Photos: David Murray/Clear Eye Photo THE MUSIC HALL presents THE OGUNQUIT PLAYHOUSE production of


The Square NH Spring/Summer 2016  
The Square NH Spring/Summer 2016