4 Shore Things: February 21- March 6



Play some mini golf
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover is going to transform its two floors of exhibits into an 18-hole mini golf course on Sunday, Feb. 24, from noon to 5 p.m. The event is recommended for ages 2 and older, but all are welcome. Tickets are $5 per person and free for kids under the age of 2. There is a special family ticket price of $20 for a family of 4 or more, which includes 2 adults and their dependent children. The evening before, on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m., the museum invites adults 21+ to enjoy a grown-up Mini-Golf Play Date, with a cash bar, flavored popcorn provided by PopZup and a chance to decorate your own golf visor between holes. Discounted advance online tickets to the evening Saturday Grown-up Mini Golf event are $10 per person, or $12 at the door. Visit childrens-museum.org


Freeze your tail off
Join the New Hampshire SPCA’s for its ninth annual Doggie Paddle Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New Castle Great Island Common. The official plunge happens at noon. The event benefits the thousands of animals that will turn to the NHSPCA in need of warmth, nourishment, medical care and love this year. Registration is $35 for an adult plunger, $25 for youth under 18 and $15 for virtual plungers (who don’t want to dive in but still want to help). Visit nhspca.org


Paint without fear
Rollinsford artist Dawn Boyer will teach a one-day painting workshop, “Paint the Fear Out of Here,” on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Red & Shorty’s Studio (4 Paul St., Dover). The workshop, geared toward both beginner and experienced painters, will explore the foundational elements of painting, color, composition and value, as well as techniques to let go of self-doubt and express yourself freely. Participants will create a painting to take home. “In a way, [fear] is necessary for the creative process, but it can also paralyze us,” Boyer said in a press release. “I created this workshop to address that need … based on years of research on creativity, vulnerability and fear.” The cost is $150. Register at dawnboyer.com/classes-workshops or by calling 207-450-8016.


Learn to save lives
All are invited to PITA Hall in Newbury on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. to celebrate the installation of the new public access defibrillator (AED) and emergency phone on Plum Island. Find out more about where and how to access this life-saving device. There will be a brief demonstration of the equipment and opportunity for questions and discussion. Join us for this kickoff and to offer thanks to officials and donors who helped bring this emergency equipment to Plum Island. Refreshments will be served. This celebration will be followed by a free Heart-Saver/CPR class for attendees who would like to stay for in-depth education and training on how to respond to cardiac emergencies. The class will be conducted by Newbury Police and will last approximately 90 minutes. Contact lmather@buffalo.edu for more information.


Andrew’s Adventure



Where I went: I drove 18 miles up the coast along Route 1A from Blue Ocean Music Hall (4 Ocean Front North) in Salisbury, to Odiorne Point State Park (570 Ocean Boulevard, Rye) in Rye.

What it is: Route 1A is the beachside road connecting the 18 miles of shoreline along the New Hampshire border, and down into Salisbury, Massachusetts.

What I did: I have spent the last year driving up and down 1A, and I had always admired its beauty but had never had the time to slow down and really appreciate it, so with this adventure I really wanted to focus on taking my time and appreciate the journey rather than the destination. Initially I planned to start north and make my way south, but decided against it because I knew that heading north along Hampton Beach brought me closer to the water down along the section where it splits into two one-way roads on opposite sides on the boardwalk. I arrived at the start of my journey, Blue Ocean Music Hall, rolled the window down, turned up the heat and began making my way north along the ocean.
Cruising up through Salisbury, I really took the time to look around and take in the sights that I had passed by without noticing prior to this adventure. Beachside shops and shacks and restaurants closed for the season, the surprising number of birds of prey circling overhead, eventually I found myself at the bridge separating Seabrook and Hampton. The first time I was able to see the water. From there I found Hampton Beach, where I pulled into a parking spot and got a coffee and breakfast sandwich from Jumpin’ Jack’s.
I have always favored the offseason at the beach — there are always fewer crowds, and parking is free and easier to find. I drank my coffee on the walkway along the beach where I watched a group of riders on horseback make their way along the shoreline, and I took the time to relax and watch the waves roll into the sandy beach.
From Hampton Beach, I made my way along the twisting and winding road where I was able to take the time and truly appreciate one of the most underappreciated stretches of road in the state. With bikers and joggers cruising along the rocky outcropping and mega-mansions overlooking the Isles of Shoals and the Atlantic Ocean, it was nice to take the time to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the Seacoast that I had so many times overlooked. I was pleased to see cars pulling off the road into temporary parking spots to take the time and enjoy the view.
By the time I had hit Wallis Sands, I turned back one last time to take in the best view of the entire drive before carrying on my way back home.

Who else would enjoy it: Far too often people are caught up in getting where they’re going; sometimes it is nice to slow down and appreciate the journey that it takes to get there, for passengers to put down the phones and look out the window, to take the time to have a cup of coffee and look out over the ocean. I had always found 1A to be one of the more underappreciated roads in New Hampshire. I am glad that I took the time to really slow down and enjoy it, and I urge you to do the same. Just watch out for bikers.

-Andrew Clay

4 Shore Things: February 7-20



Tea with T-Rex

On Saturday, Feb. 9, families are invited to a special Tea Party with their loved ones at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover. Guests will enjoy all the typical Valentine’s Day things like decorating sugar cookies and indulging in sweet treats, with the added bonus of an appearance by a friendly costumed T-Rex dinosaur. Guests are invited to wear fancy, whimsical or prehistoric attire to the tea party. Pre-registration is required, and there are three times available: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. Cost is $25 per adult/child pair. Additional children are $10. Cost does not include admission to the museum. Visit childrens-museum.org to register.

Garden talk

The Hampton Garden Club’s next meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 at the First Congregational Church. The guest speaker will be Pattie Elwell, and her topic will be harvesting and drying flowers and herbs from your garden to use throughout the year. There will be a short business meeting and refreshments, and the meeting is open to the public.

Hear and read poetry

The Ferguson Reading Series, a monthly poetry feature and open mic, continues at Water Street Bookstore (125 Water St., Exeter) on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m., with featured reader Elisabeth Farrell. Farrell will present her latest book Earlier Heaven. After her reading, the floor will be open to anyone who wants to read. Bring one or two poems to share. Call 778-9731 or visit waterstreetbooks.com

Dancing dream

The Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) presents Billy Elliot Feb. 8 through March, with showtimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Based on the 2000 film by Stephen Daldry and adapted for the stage by Elton John and Lee Hall, the musical follows a young boy from a traditional coal mining family who discovers a passion for ballet. Tickets cost $16 to $44. Visit seacoastrep.org or call 433-4472.

Andrew’s Adventure: Dover Community Trail



Where I went: The Dover Community Trail; the main entrance is at 38 Fisher St. in Dover.

What it is: Dover Community Trail is a winding trail through the woods that snakes its way along the Cocheco River. Along the 3.8 miles of the trail, hikers can find themselves making their way along the river, walking along the streets and along the railroad tracks. It offers an escape into nature and allows for walking, biking, dog-walking and more.

What I did: Once again, my poor sense of direction, navigational challenges, and my forgetting to check the weather before leaving led to yet another interesting adventure. Rather than bring me to either end of the trail, the GPS on my phone decided that it would be a better idea to lead me smack dab into the middle of it.
When I arrived, I was very confused because I was expecting a trail marker or a sign indicating that I was at the right destination, but instead all I got was an apartment facility and a couple of youth baseball fields.
I parked in a lot atop the hill next to another car, a little confused but undeterred. I double-checked the map on my phone and made my way down the hill and around the back of the baseball fields, where I came across a young couple and their dog heading in the direction that I had just come from.
After asking them to confirm that this was, indeed, a section of the Dover Community Trails, I reassured myself that this was where I wanted to be, and I continued on my way back deeper behind the fields and out to the Cocheco River.
I had found the trail. Because I had been dropped into the middle of the path, rather than starting at the entrance, I had a choice to either go left or right. I chose left.
From there, I found myself treading along the weaving and winding frozen river. The ice cracked loud as the rushing waters shifted the frozen top coat. Birds circled and flew overhead as I made my way farther along the path and closer to the river. With biting winds and a temperature in the single digits, I quickly pulled out my ski mask and hat before continuing down the path. I came across a small walking bridge, where I took a second to take in the surroundings. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to stop and take everything in. There I looked out over the frozen river and watched the rushing water flowing beneath the frozen layer of ice that sat on top.
I continued on my way until I finally reached the road portion of the trail. I considered carrying on, but by that time the subzero temperatures were outweighing my urge to continue. I decided that now was the time to turn around and head back to the warmth of my car before calling it a day.
Someday soon I would love to return to the Dover Community Trails and start at the entrance, only next time on a much warmer day.

Who else would enjoy this: The Dover Community Trail is an excellent escape to nature for anyone looking to get away for a short time without leaving home. With such diversity among trail type and plenty of things to see and do, the trail offers something for everyone.
From bird-watching to biking, to those looking to picnic at one of the many tables placed across the almost four miles of trail, to those just looking for some exercise, the Dover Community Trail is that and then some.
There are some parts that are difficult to navigate, especially in the winter. I found myself slipping and sliding quite a bit throughout my short time there, but it is an excellent spot to escape, if only for a short time.

– Andrew Clay