4 Shore Things: January 10-23

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On Monday, Jan. 14, the Stratham Historical Society and the Wiggin Memorial Library will present “The James Homestead of Hampton, NH” in the Community Room at The Stratham Fire Department, 4 Winnicutt Road, Stratham. The presenter, Skip Webb, will conduct two 30-minute programs while dressed in 1723 attire. The first program is titled “The James Homestead,” with information on the James House construction, its surrounding property, its history and why the homestead is a National Historic Site. The other is “An l8th Century Farmer” depicting the life of Benjamin James, from his time as a weaver and farmer in Newbury, Mass., and including his marriage to Susanna Smith in 1702. It continues with the purchase of the James property in Hampton in 1705, building the James House in 1723 and what farm life was like in the mid 1700s. The program begins at 7 p.m., with a business meeting of the Stratham Historical Society preceding it at 6:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 603-772-4346 or visit library.strathamnh.gov


Join the chorus

Rockingham Choral Society is welcoming new and returning singers for its spring concert. There will be open rehearsals Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 at the Cooperative Middle School, 100 Academic Way, Stratham, and all are welcome. Regular rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings. Auditions for membership are required but no preparation is needed. The major work for this concert will be Les Sept Paroles du Christ en Croix by Ceasar Franck. Dues are affordable and are waived for high school and college students. Find us on Facebook or visit rockinghamchoralsociety.org


Peaceful day

Normally the Children’s Museum of NH is closed on Mondays, but it will be open Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day with activities that emphasize peace. Make a peace dove, create your own peace sign and explore your own dreams. There will also be readings of MLK stories, as well as stories about peace, throughout the day. This program is free with museum admission. Visit childrens-museum.org


NHAA showcase

The New Hampshire Art Association presents its New Member Exhibit at the Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery East Gallery (136 State St., Portsmouth) through Jan. 27, with an opening reception on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. The exhibit highlights the work in a variety of styles and media by more than 30 artists who were juried into the organization in 2018. “This 78-year-old organization continues to regenerate its membership and offers visitors the most expansive selection of art in Portsmouth,” Carol Reynolds, gallery manager, said in a press release. “We invite the public to see this exhibit and meet the new members at the opening reception.” Call 224-2508 or visit nhartassociation.org


Andrew’s Adventure: Tokens Taproom



Where I went: Tokens Taproom at 282 Central Avenue in Dover, tokenstaproom.com, 603-343-2879

What it is: Tokens Taproom is an arcade straight out of the 1980s, with two rooms filled to the brim with favorites such as Streetfighter, Centipede, Mortal Kombat, Time Crisis, Donkey Kong, pinball and many more classic hits from the arcade era. Tokens also has a bar with a variety of food and drink options. It is open from 4 p.m. until midnight Monday through Thursday; from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Friday; from 11:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. on Saturday, and from 4 to 11 p.m. on Sundays. Minors are allowed to visit under supervision of a legal guardian on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

What I did: A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about a place in Dover that was a unique combination of bar and old-school arcade straight out of the 1980s. Having missed the golden age of arcade heaven but always having had a profound interest in all things classic video games, I was all about checking this place out. I rounded up some of my friends, and we headed to Dover. We entered the taproom and made our way through the bustling entryway to order ourselves a couple of drinks before cashing in our dollars for tokens.
I started my adventure by heading straight to Street Fighter, where my friends and I switched off in a semi-unregulated and very disorganized impromptu tournament before, after a couple of rounds, we decided to move on. Following Street Fighter, I made my way to my all-time favorite machine, Time Crisis, a game that I had fallen in love with after various trips to movie theaters growing up where they were set up to help kill time before each flick. Embarrassingly, I only lasted a couple of minutes before accidentally shooting an explosive barrel and losing my last life.
Frustrated, I went to get another drink before my friend Chris invited me to play The House of the Dead with him. It did not go well. So I took to a game that I knew I would excel at. With fiery determination in my eye, I approached Duck Hunt, a game that I played on my older brother’s Sega growing up. Ducks and disks flew through the air, one after one exploding into oblivion, direct hit after direct hit. I was on fire and in arcade heaven as I had finally found a game that I could succeed at. As the final round concluded, I was asked to shoot my initials into the record boards and I am proud to say that I am forever memorialized as being the fifth-best Duck Hunt player to ever wield the orange revolver — at that one particular machine, and only until someone knocks me off the leaderboard.
With the night coming to a close and tokens still rolling around in our cups, we spent the last remaining coins on a Simpsons game and pinball.

Who else would enjoy this: Tokens Taproom is a place to relive the glory days of arcade gaming. With so few located around the United States, it is rare to find a place so dedicated to replicating the authentic arcade experience. The thing to keep in mind is that Tokens Taproom is also a bar. This means that, except for certain hours, it is limited to those 21 and older. This also means that toward the later hours of the night the rooms can get very crowded and very loud, and waiting for your favorite game might take a while. That being said, one thing that I found to be incredibly nice about Tokens was the bang for your buck. Five dollars’ worth of tokens lasted me the entire night, and in no way was I being frugal with my coins. Most machines run on a single token, which means guests can stretch their money to very easily last a couple of hours. Overall, Tokens Taproom lived up to my expectations. There was so much variety between games and plenty to do while waiting for the next machine to open up. I will certainly be returning in the near future to make sure my name still stands at the No. 5 spot on the Duck Hunt leaderboard.

-Andrew Clay

Bonfire and Brews: Smuttynose hosts Crackle and Hops Winter Festival



Slide down an inflatable toboggan, drink hot chocolate or beer, make s’mores over a fire pit and watch a live ice sculpting performance at Smuttynose Brewery’s Crackle and Hops Winter Festival on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 2 to 8 p.m. at 105 Towle Farm Road in Hampton.

Kourtney Auger, secretary of the Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization, which will benefit from the proceeds of the event, said she is looking forward to meeting new people around the community and enjoying the casual environment.

“I anticipate that it’s going to be the sort of thing where people come, hang out around the bonfire, enjoy having a drink with a couple of friends, maybe talk with some people around the fire that you’ve never met before,” she said. “I envision it as having that town-square feel where a bunch of different people from the community are coming together and just hanging out. It’s a time to do something fun and meet your neighbors. It’s going to be a family event.”

Admission to the event is free for people of all ages and guests will find various activities around the Smuttynose campus. Food and drinks, including beer and spiked hot chocolate, or regular hot chocolate for those under 21, will be available for purchase, as will s’mores kits and tickets to ride on the 40-foot inflatable toboggan slide. VIP tickets are on sale for $30 and include two beer tickets, two hot chocolates (or one spiked hot chocolate), a s’mores kit, a koozie, a 9-inch pizza, front-of-the-line access to the beer tent, and 10 rides down the 40-foot inflatable toboggan slide.

There will be winter competitions with prizes as well as live ice sculpting and a chance to try Smuttynose’s newest Smuttlabs beer, a peanut butter stout. A DJ will be playing music throughout the event.
Proceeds go toward supporting the Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization, who will also be in attendance. Guests are welcome to speak with them at the information booth.

“Last summer at the barbecue, someone came up to us saying, ‘Hey, I heard you help local people when they’re struggling and in times of need. I know someone that needs help. Can you help them?’ By all means, we love it when people reach out to us. We can’t possibly know everyone that needs something, so we’re there to tell people what we do,” said Auger, “We want to be a presence and make sure that people know that we’re not just here to go on ambulance calls. We want to be involved in our community and we want to give back and to help out and this is one way that we do that.”
Smuttynose and The Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization have worked together in the past to promote the idea of giving back to the community, according to Auger.

“Last August they did a barbecue; we worked with them to do that. They also reached out to help us with our toy bank drive that we had in November. We had a chili cookoff and Smuttynose came and cooked a couple of chilis for that. They put their beer on tap at Wally’s and donated one dollar for every beer that was sold back to our toy bank so we could buy toys for children in the community,” Auger said. “When they reached out again with this event in January we jumped at the opportunity.”

The Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization will also be accepting donations and selling T-shirts at their information table throughout the event.
“We hope people come out and enjoy the event and continue to support both us and Smuttynose, as well as other businesses in the community,” said Auger. “We always like when we can meet townspeople before or aside from when we’re meeting them on an ambulance call.”
The organization was formed only a few years ago with the original intent of aiding fellow firefighters in need, but has since grown to serving community members and brother and sister stations across New England.

“We realized that there was nothing that served that niche of a community, so we raised it originally when someone in our department needed assistance and we started fundraising for him. After that need was gone, we realized that there will continue to be needs so we kept it going,” Auger said. “We’ve done things like making donations when the Lawrence fires happened; if someone loses their home to a structure fire in town we might make a monetary donation to them. We do different things as a way to give back to our community.”

— Andrew Clay