4 Shore Things: October 25 – November 27


Race time

Support the Great Bay Estuary by running in the The Wicked-Fast Great Bay 5K on Saturday, Oct. 27, starting at 9 a.m. at Stratham Hill Park (157 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham). There will also be a “competitive walker” division, a kids’ fun run, and age group awards and costume contests for the 5K and fun run. Visit greatbay5k.org. Enjoy a brisk run at the Trick or Trot 5K Race and Fun Run on Sunday, Oct. 28, starting at 9 a.m. at the Dover playing fields (1 Shaws Lane, Dover). Cash prizes and medals will be awarded to the top three female and male finishers. Search for “Trick or Trot 5K & Kids Fun Run” on Facebook. Try to qualify for the Boston Marathon with the Loco Half & Full Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 8 a.m. at Rockingham Ballroom (22 Ash Swamp Road, Newmarket). Visit locomarathon.com. And support veterans and their families with the Dan Healy Memorial 5K on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 11 a.m. starting at the Daniel R. Healy Outdoor Pool (4 Hampton Road, Exeter). Proceeds will benefit the Dan Healy Memorial Foundation. Search for “Dan Healy Memorial 5K” on Facebook.


Best eats

The Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the eighth annual Best of TASTE Bash on Friday, Nov. 2, at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Enjoy food from 50 restaurants, paired with wines, craft beers and cocktails. The cost is $79 per person.


Digital drawing

Attend a free drawing workshop lead by artist Emily Kalina at the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton. Procreate is a powerful and intuitive digital illustration app available for iPad. Emily will be demonstrating basic techniques, the app interface and gestures. Registration required. Contact the library at 926-3368.


NH Open Doors

Attend local vendors participating in NH Open Doors on Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 5. Visitors can connect with artists, craftsmen and business owners around the state at their studios and businesses; participants will offer tours, demos, refreshments, and beautiful art, craft, food, wine and more for sale. Participating businesses, artists and craftsmen in the Seacoast include:

Art Up Front Street in Exeter

Barbara Smith McLaughlin in Stratham

Bruce Jones Studio in Exeter

Enna Chocolate – Bean to Bar Chocolate Factory in Epping

Herlihedrons in Rye

Lori Martone Pottery in Exeter

Waterstone Art Studio in Stratham

Andrew’s Adventure: Haunted Overload

Where I went: I traveled a couple miles inland to Lee to enjoy Haunted Overload at DeMeritt Hill Farm, 20 Orchard Way, Lee (hauntedoverload.com).

What it is: Haunted Overload is an ever-growing horror tour that takes over DeMeritt Hill Farm every October in an attempt to scare and entertain as many guest as possible in its few short weeks of operation. Twice voted as being one of the top 13 haunted attractions in the country, it brings thrill seekers and horror enthusiasts from all around New England and the country to this otherwise small corner of the state just a couple of miles down the road from the main campus of the University of New Hampshire.

There are three levels of fear to choose from while spending the day at the farm. The Day Walk allows guests to wander the path without the actors or sounds set to scare and is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $6. The second tier of terror is their Friday Night Lite exhibit, which sees that the sights and sounds are up to par, but the actors and monsters are taking the day off. The remaining date for the Friday Night Lite selection is Monday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and will cost $14. These two options allow for those who are more faint of heart to stop by and enjoy the amazing craftsmanship of the exhibit without the scares. The third level is the award-winning, full-blown Haunted Overload display with sights, sounds and monsters lurking around every corner, which will cost $26 per person.

What I did: I love horror. Every October brings me the joy of being able to sit down and flip through the channels and binge-watch scary movies to my heart’s content, so having the opportunity to explore first-hand what it might be like to be at the front and center of one of my favorite types of movies really piqued my interest. That being said, I wound up opting for the Day Walk option. I did this for a couple of reasons, but the main reason was that I wanted to sample the tour before diving in on the main event.

Little did I know, the day that I chose to partake in this experience happened to be their annual trick-or-treating day, so my experience was partially tainted by families and children running through the winding maze of horror and digging into goody baskets while getting all hopped up on candy. (That being said, I might have partaken in the offerings as well.)

Choosing the day walk in terms of checking out the haunts was the perfect experience that allowed me to take in the full spectacle of the Haunted Overload. Without the anticipation of a monster hiding around the corner, I was free to enjoy the master craftsmanship before me and truly evaluate this haunted walk.

Without giving away too much and ruining the experience for interested readers, I will say I was fascinated and completely drawn in to the experience before me, despite the lack of horror that can be found through the nighttime experience. As I wandered the woods traveling from one themed segment to another, I was sucked in by unbelievably realistic and brutally disfigured props and sets around me. From a haunted house to a crooked carnival, a mummy room and more, I was struck by an unrelenting sense of anxiety and anticipation that, despite my knowing that there were no actors ready and waiting, still left an uneasy feeling in my stomach that left me thinking that something was going to jump out at me sooner or later. This, of course, never happened, but it left me ready to go back again for the full nighttime experience later this month before it is closed down for the season on the first of November.

Who else would enjoy this? The Day Walk is the perfect option for younger children who are able to comprehend the fact that the bodies and skeletons, blood and gore scattered throughout the walk are nothing more than props intended to entertain and scare. Braver souls can venture into the self-guided tour at night. Personally, I can not wait to return for the full experience, but I would not recommend this adventure for young children or anyone not looking to be pushed to their limits. I would advise interested guests to read the lore before venturing into the experience; it can be found on the Haunted Overload website and really help to set the scene.

— Andrew Clay


This Week on the Seacoast: Art on the Edge

Contemporary gallery opens in Newmarket

Four years ago, Michael Valotto started painting every night as a way to decompress after a busy day of school and work. When he decided it was time to start sharing his art with the world, he was disappointed to find that there were few outlets for his abstract, contemporary style.

“I showed at coffee shops as much as I could, but you really need to be in some sort of gallery to establish yourself,” he said. “I looked, and there was just nothing there.”

Now a senior studying journalism at the University of New Hampshire, Valotto has finally found a place to show his work and the work of other artists who share his struggle. Earlier this month, he and his business partner, Lauren Moore, opened Bad Tree Fine Arts in downtown Newmarket, an art gallery that they hope will be “a catalyst for a renaissance of art” on the Seacoast, he said.

“We’re a New York-style gallery. We’re unconventional. We’re not about seagulls and sailboats. Our art has an edge to it, and I think the Seacoast is ready for that,” he said. “We want to be that entity that disrupts the established arts market here on the Seacoast.”

A membership gallery, Bad Tree is open to artists and artisans of any medium. The 600-square-foot can fit work by around nine 2-dimensional artists, plus another five or so artisans working with metal, pottery, jewelry and other crafts, Valotto said.

It currently features the work of four members: Jim Brown, a furniture maker from southern Maine who uses old and new materials to create one-of-a-kind pieces; Kyle Stockford, an experimental painter from Massachusetts who has been invited to create paintings for the INside Out Art Museum in Beijing, China; Alonzo Clarke, a Newmarket-based watercolor painter who depicts scenes from his travels and observations of daily life; and Valotto, an abstract painter who works primarily with oils.

“My art is a representation of myself,” he said. “Lately, I’ve been taking a step back to take a more minimal, clean and focused approach to the way I paint, and I think that’s how my life has gone. It’s not chaos anymore. It’s more of a direct narrative at this point.”

Valotto said he hopes to also invite UNH students and faculty to independently showcase their work at the gallery.

“We represent the underdog, the little guy who’s overlooked, the younger artists, and the older artists who haven’t found a place to show their work,” Valotto said. “There is no right or wrong to what we can take on. We just want people [for whom] art is their passion.”

Bad Tree is a place not only for visual arts, but also for performance arts and community events.

“Maybe, one night, there’s a small acoustic concert, or a charity event, or an art soiree,” Valotto said. “We don’t want this to be solely an art gallery. We want it to be a place for the community, where people can come together.”

Additionally, there are monthly art workshops open to the public, lead by artists whose work is featured in the gallery that month.

“We don’t believe in the secrecy of art. We like to teach people about art rather than keep all the secrets for ourselves,” Valotto said. “It’s cool that you can come to the gallery and learn from the individuals who created the art that you’re looking at.”

Bad Tree Fine Arts

Address: 102 Main St., Newmarket
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact: badtreefinearts.com, 292-5438

— Angie Sykeny

4 Shore Things: October 4th-24th

Scarecrows and pumpkins

The James House Fall Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The James House, 186 Towle Farm Road, Hampton. There will be free scarecrow making, free pumpkin painting and carving, vendors, live music, a yard sale and more. Free pie will be provided by Apple Crest Farms. Find the event on the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and RSVP so there are enough pumpkins and scarecrow parts.

Birds in autumn

Enjoy a fall migration bird watch on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 8 a.m. to noon at Odiorne State Park (570 Ocean Boulevard, Rye). Meet in the parking lot and take a walk around Odiorne, followed by birding south along the New Hampshire coast. This is a free event. Visit seacoastchapter.org

Brew samples

Don’t miss the 10th annual New Hampshire Brewfest on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m. on the grounds of Cisco Brewers (35 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth), where visitors will be able to sample from more than a dozen local breweries. General admission is $40 and VIP admission is $50. Admission includes entry to the event, a five-ounce souvenir sampler cup, beer samples and live music and entertainment. Visit prescottpark.org

Classical night out

International pianist Paul Dykstra and the Great Bay Philharmonic Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth) on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $38 to $54. Visit themusichall.org

Cider and then some

Sample freshly made ciders and apple-centric cuisine, listen to live music and enjoy the crisp autumn breeze at Dover’s Apple Harvest Day on Saturday, Oct. 6.

The gates open at 9 a.m., and the event will feature vendors, five stages with live entertainment, and “Orchard Alley” with kids’ activities and various food options lining Central Avenue.

The Apple Harvest 5K will precede the festivities starting at 8:30 a.m. and will begin on River Street.

The day-long festival now enters its 34th year and is expecting upward of 50,000 visitors.

“It started just on Central Ave. downtown … with around 10 vendors and now today it has grown to about 400 vendors. [There are] pony rides, a roaming train, we have animal exhibits, we have tons of food vendors, so it is super popular,” said Morgan Faustino, community events manager of the Dover Chamber of Commerce.

Apple Harvest Day has turned into the largest fall craft festival in the Seacoast and will begin at the top of Third Street, where vendors will be lining both sides of the road.

“We go all the way down Central Ave. where we have vendors along Second Street for the first time, and we have First Street, which is our Auto Alley,” said Faustino. “They’ll have all kinds of muscle cars, monster trucks — it’s a gear head’s paradise.”

The festival will continue down to Henry Law Ave. and will cap off at Henry Law Park, where there will be food vendors, and the Wentworth-Douglass Kid Zone, which will have inflatables, pony rides, a roaming train and more kid-friendly activities. Of the various vendors, many are opting to stick with the apple theme, said Faustino, including fan favorites such as King Tut’s and their fresh pressed cider, and Harvey’s apple crisp.
With the growth of the annual celebration reaching its maximum in regard to physical land size availability, said Faustino, the challenge that comes with bringing guests back year after year comes not with quantity but rather with quality.

“We have little room to grow in terms of a footprint, so we are trying to focus on the festival itself, to make the quality of the festival even better than it already has been. We do that by having vendors that make people want to come back year after year,” he said. “There are people that come back every year because it always has something new and because it has something for everybody.”

Specialty booths will be set at various locations along the route and include a K-9 Chaos Doggy Refresher station and a cell phone charging station. Blue Dolphin Screen Print and Embroidery will have an apparel tent that will be selling merchandise with proceeds going to charity, Faustino said. Along with the food vendors at various locations along the streets, two food courts can be found at Third Street and Henry Law Park.

“Dover is unique in that it has some urban feel as well as a small-town feel. Apple Harvest Day is a way to get the best of both worlds and get everybody together,” said Faustino. “It’s a great time of year because summer is starting to turn into fall, it’s not too hot, and it’s just a fun day to bring the family down and enjoy some of the foods, see all the crafters and the fun games and rides.”
Visit dovernh.org/apple-harvest-day

— Andrew Clay

Featured photo courtesy of Morgan Faustino.