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