Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mental Health Impact (and Tips)

By Lara Bricker
December 18, 2008 6:00 AM
Tempers are flaring, patience is wearing thin and the stress of the situation is becoming too much to bear for some people still without power after last Thursday's ice storm.
"People are needing to decompress," said Ellen McFarland, a staff therapist at Seacoast Mental Health, who works in Portsmouth and Exeter. "It's perfectly normal at this point to be feeling the way they're feeling."

Kensington Still In the Dark

By Lara Bricker
December 17, 2008 2:00 PM
KENSINGTON — Electric crews from Tennessee arrived in Kensington Wednesday morning where local fire officials say 60 to 70 percent of the town is still without power.
Kensington Fire Chief Charlie LeBlanc said he was told that power would be restored by Wednesday night to most of the town, though he is skeptical about whether that will really happen. Route 107, the major road in town, was still without power Wednesday.

I lived through the outage without canned ham

By Lara Bricker
December 16, 2008 6:00 AM
Day four of no electricity and I have not yet resorted to eating a canned ham. I've eaten ravioli, soup, grilled sausages from my freezer cooked on a mini-barbecue grill, bad instant coffee and potato chips. But, no, I did not eat the canned ham.
Why the fixation with the canned ham? Well, there I was Friday morning inside Market Basket with a crowd of stunned people like myself who were completely unprepared for the storm. It was dark in the store, the dairy and meat coolers were blocked off, and people were running around like I envision we would if under a terrorist attack. I felt like I was a looter after a hurricane. And then I heard the voice over a makeshift loud speaker "we have canned hams, canned hams by the deli counter."
I was sure I could survive the storm by eating Chef Boyardee, soup and sandwiches. I told the deli guy I was taking a pass on the canned ham.
"Lady, by tomorrow you're going to be begging for the canned ham," he told me.
More like begging for real coffee.
I didn't think of myself as an addict before this storm, but I know now that I need those two cups first thing in the morning. Of course, I figured I would just drive off to Dunkin' Donuts in Stratham or Exeter and get a cup. I had no idea what awaited for me outside. My friend Jason called as I was about to drive out of my driveway.
Don't drive anywhere, he told me, there's trees falling all over the place, what are you crazy? It's worse than the ice storm of 1998, he said. Just then, some large branches came crashing down on my driveway. I was starting to realize just how bad it was.
Click here for entire column:

Power Outage Brings Out Thief

Ice Storm Related Death

By Lara Bricker
December 15, 2008 3:05 PM
EPPING — An Epping man dependent on medical oxygen was found dead inside his home Sunday night.
The 60-year-old man had a battery backup for his oxygen, but the battery only worked for a limited amount of time, Epping Police Chief Greg Dodge said. A neighbor called police to ask them to check on him Sunday night.
Police responded to the 3 Mill Pond Road apartment at 9:15 p.m. Sunday and found the man lying on his bed, deceased, Dodge said. The man lived alone and no one had heard from him since Friday. The exact cause of death is not known, though it is suspected the lack of medical oxygen is to blame.
A medical surge shelter was opened inside the Epping Fire Department over the weekend with cooperation from the Epping and Exeter fire departments. That shelter was opened to care for people left without power who had health concerns, such as the need for medical oxygen. At the height of the power outage, the medical shelter in Epping was used by 10 to 12 people, according to fire officials.

Sunday of Ice Storm, Day 3

By Lara Bricker
December 15, 2008 1:38 PM
BRENTWOOD — A fireplace used to heat a home left without power during the ice storm may be to blame for a blaze that heavily damaged that home Sunday afternoon.
The Brentwood Fire Department was called to 82 Haigh Road at about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, after the family that lived there returned home to find smoke coming from the house, Fire Chief Kevin Lemoine said.
Click here for rest of story:

Day 1 of the Ice Storm Power Outage

By Lara Bricker
December 12, 2008 2:15 PM
STRATHAM — Shoppers maneuvered grocery carts through dark aisles inside Marketbasket Friday morning as they rushed out to get bottled water, candles and canned goods.
Instant coffee was sold out before 11 a.m. and store officials were also bringing in more bagged ice.
"It is kind of surreal," said Eileen Bichoff, of Stratham, of the scene inside the darkened store. Bichoff loaded up on bottled water and said she was not expecting the storm to be as severe as it became.
The Stratham store opened for business as usual Friday, but store officials had no idea how long they would remain open, according to Assistant Store Manager Dean Clevesy. The store was operating on a natural gas generator, which powered the doors, cash registers and minimal safety lights. Shaw’s Supermarket in Stratham and Stop and Shop were also open Friday morning.
All meats, dairy products and frozen foods were cordoned off and no available for purchase. Some perishable food was taken to a giant refrigerator at the rear of the store. Customers were able to buy gallons of milk, but most came out for bottled water, as they had no water without electrical power.
Clevesy arrived at the store at 3 a.m. Friday after receiving a call at his Exeter home about the power outage. He said his drive to the store in the wee hours of the morning was "very scary" with branches falling from the weight of ice all over the place. "It was kind of eerie coming down Front Street (in Exeter), you could just see steam coming up out of the man hole covers," Clevesy said.
Jean Bragel and her husband drove all the way from Raymond to the Stratham store after finding no stores in Raymond open.
"It’s a mess," Bragel said of the driving conditions.
Tom Muse, of East Kingston, was scheduled to work as a bagger Friday morning at 8 a.m. but it took him two hours to get to Stratham from his home due to the number of roads closed and trees down. "The cops are out there sawing off trees," Muse said.
Muse was not expecting the scene he found inside the Stratham store when he arrived. "Everyone that’s been in here’s been in a frenzy," Muse said. "They’re buying water and canned goods."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Running of the Brides (Ladies) at Arjay's

Gram and I have just returned from an event I'm terming the running of the brides, Exeter version. It was "Ladies Night" at Arjay's on Lincoln Street, which meant from 6 - 9 tonight, every lady in the store got 25 percent off their entire purchase, everything in the store. I wasn't planning ahead too much for this, but thought I'd pick up some Carhart work pants for my brother Will for Christmas and possibly some other things. Well, apparently everyone else in town had the same thought. The place was mobbed by 6 p.m. I had to drop gram and go in hunt of a parking spot. No carts left. Only a few baskets.
But there were two Santas. Go figure.
We made out well. At one point, the line of people trying to check out was all the way to the back of the store. Wow. In a pretty dismal economy, it was great to see people out doing their shopping at a locally owned business like this.
There's still time to get over there, open until 9. Maybe if you're lucky, Santa will give you a candy cane!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My neighbor Sharon, a hynotherapist, is offering a deal on her line of relaxation and guided imagery CDs this holiday.

Here's a link to a story about Sharon's work and here's some info on her holiday sale:

Year End Clearance From Atlantic Complementary Medical Solutions
Feeling Stressed?
Planning your New Year's Resolutions?
Now is the time to TakeThe Plunge!
Our popular Guided Imagery CDs may be your key to moving to the next level of health and wellness.

Choose from the following:

"Peace of Mind", for general anxiety

"Creating Optimal Health and Wellness", for changing habits

"Preparing for Surgery", to increase feelings of optimism before surgery

"Cancer Be Gone", to cope with the diagnosis and treatments

"Paradise in the Dental Office", for dental phobias

"Fertility Enhancement for Couples", set the stage for a healthy pregnancy

Now until December 23, 2008 $15.00 each (regular price $17)

Free Shipping and Handling

Same day shipping for most orders

Please call toll free 888-441-3332 leave a call back number if our lines are busy.

Or, e-mail

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not So Humble Anymore

So, I was amazed to see how much space the Humble Pie on Lincoln Street has now. They expanded into the space next door and now have a huge refrigerator section with lots more food. It's a good place to hit during the crazy holidays when you don't have time to make dinner and don't want pizza or take out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another New Blogger in Exeter

And this time, it's Town Manager Russ Dean. Check out his new blog about town events and happenings at:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yes, it's Ladies Night, Oh What a time

Arjay Ace Hardware Celebrates the Holidays With Ladies’ Night
Ladies Receive 25% Discount, Refreshments, Prizes and More

Exeter, NH – Arjay Ace Hardware is holding a special =E 2ladies’ night” event that includes a 25 percent discount on all purchases (except gift cards and town trash bags), free refreshments, fabulous prizes, free gift wrapping and friendly, knowledgeable advice.

The event will be held on Wednesday, December 10 from 6:00-9:00 pm at Arjay Ace Hardware, 55 Lincoln Street in Exeter.

“We provide a fun, festive atmosphere for ladies to come in and shop for holiday gifts, seasonal products and much more,” said Dan Jackson, Arjay Ace Hardware’s owner. “This is a wildly popular event each year, and our customers really appreciate the disc ount, the prizes, and our assistance in picking out perfect holiday gifts for everyone on their lists.”

“We’re holding a food drive once again this holiday season, and any customers that bring a non-perishable food item to the store during the Ladies’ Night event will receive a free set of Christmas lights,” Jackson added. “We remain committed to giving back to our community and our customers.”

Store employees will be giving away wonderful raffle prizes throughout the night, including a Nextar GPS navigation system, a Keurig Coffee Brewer and a Bosch Miter Saw.

Arjay Ace Hardware is a fourth-generation family-owned store that has served the Exeter community for 24 years. They carry the finest brands, including Benjamin Moore paint, Weber, Carhartt, Ace brand and much more, and many of these products come with a lifetime guarantee. Arjay Ace=2 0Hardware employees take great pride in their work, offering exceptional customer service and friendly, knowledgeable advice. In fact, the award-winning Arjay Ace Hardware has been consistently named one of Ace Hardware’s premiere stores.

For more information about Ladies Night, please call 603/772-6054.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Historical Society Open House Tuesday

Join us on Tuesday evening, December 2, at the Exeter Historical Society at 47 Front Street for our annual Holiday Open House. Stop by between 5:30 and 7:30 and enjoy the exhibits, refreshments, music, decorations and good cheer! To set the mood, Mamapella--a 12-woman a cappella group based in Exeter--will be performing from 6 to 6:30 p.m. The Culinary Arts department of the Seacoast School of Technology is catering the Open House, for the fourth consecutive year. Instructor James Collins and his students will create scrumptious treats for all to enjoy. Don’t miss out on what promises to be a delicious kickoff to the holiday season! The event is free and open to the public.

The Exeter Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and preservation of Exeter’s past. The Historical Society is open to the public on a weekly basis, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 – 4:30 pm, and on Saturdays from 9:30 am to noon. Exeter Historical Society, 47 Front Street, PO Box 924, Exeter, New Hampshire, 03833, 603-778-2335,,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NHPR Seeks Citizen Reporters

Help NHPR cover Election Day
We can't be everywhere on Election Day, but voters will be - and we'd like your help in covering the day's events. Were there campaign volunteers at your polling place holding signs? Did you run into a candidate on your way to vote? What are people saying at the polls? Share your experience by clicking below. Remember, all responses are confidential, and we won't quote you without permission.
Tell us about your voting experience
(Not voting this year? Feel free to ignore this message - or forward it to someone you know who might have insight.)
As always, your responses will be kept confidential, and we won't quote you on the air or on the web without your permission. Finally, please pass this note to any friends, family or colleagues who would also be interested in sharing their knowledge and insight with NHPR. Feel free to contact me directly anytime with ideas for news coverage, questions or concerns. Thanks for your time! We look forward to hearing from you soon.Best regards,Brady CarlsonNew Media Coordinator - Public Insight AnalystNew Hampshire Public

Monday, November 3, 2008

People are Riding the Downeaster

Press Release from the train people just came my way:

EXETER__As Amtrak ridership across the country grew last fiscal year, some of the largest increases were seen in routes that travel through New England.
The Downeaster, operating daily between Portland, Maine and Boston, Mass., showed a dramatic 31 percent increase in comparison to passenger counts for the same time period a year ago. Downeaster trains carried 474,492 passengers during Fiscal Year 2008, which ended Sept. 30, 2008. Ticket revenue climbed by over 36 percent to over $6.5 million during the same period compared to Fiscal Year 2007.
“Our continued ridership growth is certainly impacted by the global economy and a growing awareness about the benefits of public transportation,” said Patricia Quinn, Executive Director, Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which funds the operation of the Downeaster service. “But it is also a reflection of the excellent service provided by the Downeaster crews, the efforts we have made to market the service, and our customer focus. People feel good when they ride the Downeaster, and that’s what keeps them coming back.”
Amtrak’s Empire Service, operating daily between Albany, Niagara Falls and Toronto, Canada, also enjoyed a strong year, with ridership levels increasing by almost 23 percent over the previous fiscal year and 19 percent higher than budget. Ticket revenues rose by over 29 percent, a $4.9 million, over FY ‘07. 354,492 passengers traveled along this route in FY ’08, compared to 298,238 a year ago.
The Vermonter, which runs daily between Washington, DC and St. Albans in Northern Vermont, had another impressive year, surpassing last year’s ridership levels by more than 14 percent, 10 percent over budget, carrying 72,655 passengers during FY ‘08 Ticket revenue was up by over 17 percent from the same time period a year ago. The Vermonter, which is run by Amtrak, is also supported by the State of Vermont.
Amtrak system-wide ridership in Fiscal Year 2008 increased to 28,716,407, marking the sixth straight year of gains and setting a record for the most passengers using Amtrak trains since the National Railroad Passenger Corporation stated operations in 1971.
“After another record-breaking year, in which the railroad achieved double-digit growth, Amtrak has solidified its role as a leader in the nation’s transportation network and proven intercity passenger rail’s relevance in today’s world,” said Alex Kummant, President and CEO of Amtrak. “Highway and airway congestion, volatile fuel prices and increasing environmental awareness all contributed to Amtrak’s successful year, as did our continually improving service and on-time performance.”

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Column From Today's Papers

Chasing After Todd Palin in Fremont
By Lara Bricker
October 17, 2008 6:00 AM
Just when the media frenzy of the presidential primary seems a distant memory, we have been thrust back into the national campaign trail. Obama's picking apples, Sarah Palin's "ovah in Dovah" and Biden was also in the state. And oh yeah, there has been a giant cardboard version of Obama waving to motorists in downtown Exeter in recent weeks in case you haven't noticed.
There are only weeks to go before the big vote and the campaign is everywhere. This now includes the annual grass drags snowmobile event in Fremont. Hold yourselves back ladies; I was there when Todd Palin, snowmobile racing legend, made a stop last Saturday.
Link to the entire column:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Supporting Local History

American Independence Museum & Exeter Historical Society in Last Weeks of Statewide Membership Challenge

The Exeter Historical Society and the American Independence Museum have teamed up to offer a dual membership deal. In response to the $25,000 membership challenge posed by the Robert and Karin Finlay Foundation—which ends on October 31st--the two history-oriented non-profits are working together in an effort to increase membership in both organizations. Take advantage of this exciting opportunity to join both organizations and save 25 percent. Help preserve our town’s rich heritage by joining today!

For more information, contact Laura Gowing at the Exeter Historical Society at 603-778-2335,, or Julie Tiebout at the American Independence Museum at 603-772-2622,,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Today's Story

Not like I need an excuse to schedule a massage (with this trial I'm covering my shoulders are beyond tight) but this was a really nice story to be able to write.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nothing Like A Giant Cardboard Obama

I just couldn't resist stopping to get a closer look at this giant cardboard Obama that's been making his way around downtown Exeter recently. When will the Sarah Palin cardboard in a bikini make its way to downtown??

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hungry Like A Wolf

So I haven't heard any coyote's around my house lately, but this sounds interesting:

Coyote & Wolf in the New England Landscape
a presentation by
Chris Schadler, Wild Canid Ecologist

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 · 7:00 pm
First Unitarian Church, Elm Street, Exeter
free & open to the public (registration not required)

Do we really want ‘wilderness’ in New England, and do animals like the wolf have a place in our woods? Will coyotes evolve into wolves, and would we accept them? How do coyotes use the landscape and interact with humans – are we or our pets at risk?

After 28 years of research and many teaching awards, Chris is recognized across New England as a passionate and captivating speaker and a knowledgeable authority on wolf and coyote. Her presentation, punctuated with fascinating stories and photos, has packed halls around NH. It will appeal to adults as well as children of middle school age and up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

EEE Found in Town

The state Department of Health and Human Services announced today that mosquitoes from Exeter and Newmarket tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
These findings raise the number of EEE positive mosquito pools in the state this season to eight.
The infected mosquitoes found in Exeter were discovered in the area of the Brick Yard Pond on Kingston Road. The Brick Yard Pond Park located on Kingston Road will be closed until further notice.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Exeter Inn Update

So we've been straight out busy for the past month+, but did take a trip to the new restaurant at the Exeter Inn recently. I had posted earlier, when they first opened, about the lack of any wines under $9 on the menu. Well, either everyone's reading my blog (hooray), or others also made the same suggestion. They had a number of much more reasonably priced wines by the glass, including a few for only $4 a glass. I have to say that even at the other bars/restaurants in town you'd be hard pressed to find a glass of wine for under $5. So way to go Exeter Inn!

(But no, we saw no Two Buck Chuck, the $2 bottle of wine phenomenon that swept the country a few years back.)

Our local historian has a book out

So Barbara Rimkunas has published a book of her columns. There's a book signing coming up. Here's the details:

Get a jump on the holiday season while supporting the Exeter Historical Society by shopping at Barnes & Noble in Newington, New Hampshire. Barbara Rimkunas will be on hand at 1 p.m. signing copies of her new book, Exeter: Historically Speaking, a collection of Rimkunas’s Historically Speaking newspaper column. In an effort to raise funds to aid them in educating the community about the significance of Exeter’s past, the Exeter Historical Society is working together with Barnes & Noble Booksellers by hosting a bookfair—and book signing—at the Newington Barnes & Noble store.

On October 12 from 12 – 5 p.m., Barnes & Noble will contribute a percentage of every sale made with a special bookfair voucher to the Exeter Historical Society. Vouchers will be available online at the historical society’s website——and in hard copy at the Exeter Historical Society.

The Barnes & Noble bookfair will help the Exeter Historical Society and the greater community of Exeter in a couple of ways. First, a percentage of bookfair sales will underwrite the fulfillment of their mission. Second, the libraries of Main Street School and Lincoln Street School have created wish lists for titles to enhance their library collections. Bookfair supporters may choose books from an in-store wish list display to purchase for the schools’ libraries. Purchases from the wish-lists will help both the schools’ libraries and the historical society.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Support Breast Cancer Research and Wash Your Car

I've known Wayne Raymond since I moved to Exeter over a decade ago now. I first met him through the fire department where he serves as the official photographer. Later, I got to know him and his family because I kept my horse Penny across the street from his home in Newfields. Wayne's wife Gail passed away in 2004 after a brave battle with breast cancer. Before her death, she raised funds for, and walked in, the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Exeter. She was a member of the team sponsored by the Tavern At River's Edge and I'll never forget Wayne coming to bring the money she and the family had raised in 2004 just days before Gail passed away.
Since then, Wayne and his sons Lucas and Mitchell have organized and run a benefit car wash each year to raise money for the annual Making Strides Walk.
This year, the the car wash will be held at Graham’s Sunoco on Portsmouth Ave., Exeter Saturday Oct. 4, from 8 a.m. until noon. All monies collected will be donated to breast cancer research through the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk the following weekend. Raymond is a member of the Tavern Nips team, sponsored by the Tavern at River’s Edge in Exeter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Primary May Be Over, But Not Done Yet

Exeter Historical Society Program Explores the History of the New Hampshire Primary and its National Significance

Exeter, New Hampshire – Join the Exeter Historical Society on Tuesday, October 7 at 7:30 pm (with refreshments at 7 p.m.), for a presentation by Caroline Amport, Director of Programs at the NH Political Library. The program will take place at the Exeter Historical Society, 47 Front Street, Exeter, and is free and open to the public.

Amport will explore New Hampshire's unique political culture and the elements that have established the Granite state as not only the First-in-the-Nation Presidential primary, but as a time-tested proving ground for candidates seeking the highest office in the nation. This program looks at the history of the NH Primary from its beginnings in 1916 through its continued impact on the American Presidential selection process in the 20th century and beyond. Using political cartoons, examples from past elections and other relevant materials attendees will come away with a greater understanding of “Why New Hampshire?” For more information, contact Laura Martin Gowing, program manager, at the Exeter Historical Society at 603-778-2335 or

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yet Another New Exeter Blogger

The Exeter blogging revolution continues. Joe Pace has joined the ranks of bloggers, though he's staying away from local politics and blogging about national issues (and sports). Go check Joe out at:

Brentwood Library Tonight

I'll be at the Brentwood Library tonight to give a talk about moose milking:

How do you milk a moose anyway?
When: Thursday, Sept. 25, 7pm – 9pm
Where: Mary E Bartlett Library (map)
Newspaper columnist Lara Bricker answers that questions and other pressing issues of the day in her 1st book of columns.

Another New Exeter Blog

Two of Exeter's lawyers, Alex Yiokarinis and Rich Taylor, have started their own blog. Go check it out and give them a nice welcome. (And ask your legal questions!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


We checked out Islandfest last weekend down at the Ioka. It was an AWESOME event and one I hope they bring back each year. We felt tired watching organizer Todd Picanso zipping back and forth around the theater all night. It was a long night, especially for a Sunday, but three great acts, Scott Kirby, Peter Mayer Band and Club Trini. Check out Peter Mayer below The place was packed and the line started forming pretty early out front
Luckily we were able to get in early to the pre party and got great seats. (and got to meet the band!!).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Chicken/Rooster Has A Home

Well, apparently the standoff between our local animal control officer and the red rooster down on Swasey Parkway has come to an end. I noticed as I drove through this afternoon a sign posted up in the area where this bird has been hanging out. It said "Rooster Has Been Adopted" and went on to give the address of the people at the Head Over Heels shoe store on Water Street.

From the sound of it, the rooster has been eating quite well of late thanks to a growing fan base of area children and adults who came to visit every day.

I still want to know where this bird came from in the first place???

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Competition Underway at Jumper Classic

By Lara Bricker
HAMPTON FALLS — Olympian Norman Dello Joio and his nine-year-old Dutch gelding Malcolm posted two clear rounds and the fastest time over the jump course at the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic to win the main event Friday afternoon.
"He's getting to be a very consistent contender," Dello Joio said of the horse he has been competing with for the past three years. "He just needed some experience and some confidence."
Dello Joio is a veteran competitor in the equestrian world, who is known for riding his horse Irish to the individual bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics. He had just returned from coaching riders from Mexico at the Beijing Olympics and is one of a number of Olympic equestrians at the top-level horse show taking place this weekend on the grounds of the Silver Oak Equestrian Center.
Dello Joio was one of only four riders to post a clear round in Friday's class, meaning his horse made it over the course of jumps without knocking any rails down. Riders are given four faults for each rail they knock down. Horse-and-rider combinations with the least number of faults proceed to the jump-off round where they jump for time over a shorter course to determine the ultimate winner.
The Welcome Stakes is considered a qualifying class for the main event of the show on Sunday, the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, explained Margaret "Peggy" Lynch, the show's manager. While horses are not required to compete in the qualifying class in order to compete in the grand prix their participation, and performance, in the class Friday determines the order in which they ride on Sunday, Lynch said. For example, horse-and-rider combinations that opted out of Friday's class will be called first to ride the course on Sunday. From a strategical standpoint, this means they will not have the chance to watch other riders negotiate the course before they go, which often helps them spot trouble spots before their own ride.
Show organizers also kept their eye on forecasts for rain this weekend from Tropical Storm Hanna, though they say the show will go on, rain or shine. Riders may use bigger studs that attach to the horse's shoes, similar to cleats, to keep their traction on the grass jumping field, said Jeff Papows, the chairman of the Jumper Classic and a competitor. They may also warm their horses up longer to make sure their muscles are limber before taking to the jump course.
"Very likely it will have very little effect," Papows said of the expected storm.
Irish rider Kevin Babington, who rode in the 2004 Olympics, placed fourth in the Welcome Stakes on his horse Souvenir. Babington, who is based at a farm in Pennsylvania, has been riding the bay horse for the past year and says the horse can be a challenging one to pilot around the course as he tends to get very excited when jumping. Babington's strategy was to settle his equine partner at the very start of the course by asking him to take shorter strides, five rather than four, along the first line of jumps in the course. "Then he settled into the bridle," Babington said.
The course, designed by noted course designer Linda Allen, allowed horses and riders to make a lot of their own decisions with their strategies for the jumps, Babington said, which is a good test of their training. "It's the technical challenges of the course that make it exciting," Babington said.
Jumping courses in the United States are most often conducted in a sand riding arena and the grass field at the local show is said to have a European flavor. It is also a challenge for some of the horses, Babington said. "Horses are a lot spookier on the grass field," he said.
Last year's grand prix winner, Kent Farrington, is bringing along his new horse, the seven-year-old mare Untitled, at the show this year. The mare did not make it to the jump-off round as she knocked down one rail in the initial jump course round, but Farrington said Friday's class was a good experience. "It's a good change to get the horse in the ring in a new venue and to get them comfortable in a new setting," he said.
He will wait until he sees the course on Sunday to decide whether to compete with Untitled, as she is not a seasoned competitor and he is still bringing her up in the grand prix level. "She's very sweet in the stable but when she's showing or competing, she's a fighter," Farrington said. "She's a tiger."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Think Human Athletes Take Care of Themselves? Check out the Equine Athletes

By Lara Bricker
HAMPTON FALLS — Behind each top horse competing at the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic horse show is a group of support staff that rivals those of professional athletes.
There are equine massage therapists, equine chiropractors, equine dentists and equine acupuncturists. Equine farriers keep the athletes' hooves in top form. And then there are the horse show grooms and barn staff who do everything — feed, brush, bathe, exercise and generally pamper the athletes both before and after their show ring performances.
"These horses, they're like NFL or NBA stars; they travel with their own entourage," said Jeff Papows, chairman of the board for the show as well as an avid competitor.
Olympic rider Nona Garson describes it like another well-known sport.
"It's like having a Formula One race car; there's a whole pit crew that goes with the horse," said Garson. "These high-level horses get a lot of care. We go with a lot of natural, holistic methods to make the horse feel better."
Competition at the Jumper Classic, a top-level equestrian show on the grounds of the Silver Oak Equestrian Center, resumed Thursday with a series of show jumping classes for younger riders and amateur adult riders. Today's schedule includes the $10,000 Welcome Stake competition, which is a qualifying class for the main event of the show on Sunday, the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix.
The Welcome Stake will include rides by a number of Olympic riders, including Mclain Ward, who is just returning from the Beijing Olympics, where he was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. team. CLICK FOR ENTIRE STORY

Equestrian Fun Comes to Town

So I've landed the job of reporting daily from the big Jumper Classic horse show out on Hampton Falls Road at the Silver Oak Equestrian Center. For those who don't know, I actually have a degree in horses (not journalism) which makes this an ideal writing assignment for me. So why am I writing, and not riding, these days? Well, after one too many falls in college, I considered what might I do if I ended up in a body cast from a horse. Write of course!

Here's the first day's report:

By Lara Bricker
September 05, 2008 6:00 AM
HAMPTON FALLS — A group of Olympic-level equestrians was poised and ready to answer questions from its youngest fans under a tent at the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic Wednesday afternoon.
No doubt top rider Nona Garson was not expecting the first question of the day, posed to her by 10-year-old Britney Swane."Where did you get your belt?" the young Exeter girl asked Garson, drawing a round of laughter from the crowd.
Garson, who rode the horse Rhythmical in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, replied that she found the belt through a vendor at another horse show she attended.
The first day of the Jumper Classic, a top-level equestrian show on the grounds of the Silver Oak Equestrian Center, included a special meet-and-greet event with top riders, the jump course designer, organizers and a prominent sponsor, Miele, a manufacturer of heavy duty washing machines for horse gear. CLICK FOR FULL STORY

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Teen Heart throb comes to Hampton Falls

So while other girls were pasting photos of Kirk Cameron and other teen heart throbs on their wall, I was putting up pictures of boys that actually rode horses. Such as McLain Ward. And now today, I get word from the people at the Jumper Classic horse show that McLain, just at the Olympics, is coming to the show here next weekend. Good thing I've already scored my tickets!

Here's the info:

Just days after winning the team Gold Medal in show jumping at the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing, China, McLain Ward informed show organizers that he is coming to the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire to compete in selected classes, including the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix on Sunday, September 7, 2008.

The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (the USA Show Jumping Team claimed gold in both 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing) will headline some of the top competition coming to the event to be held for the first time at its new location at the Silver Oak Equestrian Center. Ward has long been in the Equestrian spotlight and has been named American Grand Prix Association’s Rider of the Year numerous times.

“We are thrilled, McLain is a phenomenal athlete,” said Jumper Classic President Melissa Lovasco. “This is the first time he will compete at the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic, and to have him select our show on the heels of his incredible Olympic success is so very exciting.”

The Jumper Classic has a rich history of Olympic athletes competing, including Margie Engle, Joe Fargis, Leslie Burr-Howard, Chris Kappler, and Nona Garson. This year will be a spectacular performance for all of our New England audience.

New Art Gallery Opens

The Yellow House Art & Tiques Gallery opened this week at 20 Water Street, the historic "yellow house" where Nancy Kingston has her real estate office. The shop features the art of Linda Anason, a local landscape artist. It also features primitive, functional, contemporary, and eclectic artifacts and antiques.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Clothing Shop Opens Saturday

The new tenant downtown, Ablaze, apparel for men and women, is opening Saturday at 9:30 a.m. I'll be curious to see what they have.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mystery Chicken

No, it's not the mystery chicken/meat you sometimes find at a bad fast food restaurant. It's a chicken that seems to have taken up residence on Swasey Parkway. My husband has been telling me about seeing this bird for about the past week, but I thought he was joking. That was until we saw it this afternoon, just strutting about as nice as could be.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Balloon Festival Almost Here (and mechanial bull riding)

It's time for the annual Highnote Balloon Festival out on the McPhee Farm in Epping. This is a great day of family fun with hot air balloon rides, music, food from Zampa and Goody Coles, and get this (I'm WAAAY Excited for this part) a mechanial bull! Check it out at:

Don Clement Steps Down

I was disappointed to hear that Don Clement had resigned from the Conservation Commission this week. I always think of Don, whether it be at the ConCom or deliberative session or at other meetings, as the voice of reason.

Here's the full story about Don's decision and time on the commission.

As for his regrets, Don had this to say:

"I didn't get a chance to sit in the new chairs in the Nowak Room."

Now, I can say my sources say that Don is also involved in a new career in the movies. Perhaps we will soon see him on the big screen...

Fire News

By Lara Bricker
EXETER__Fire investigators suspect a fire inside a Tamarind Lane garage early Tuesday morning was sparked by the spontaneous combustion of some rags covered in linseed oil."We’re suspecting it was discarded rags," Exeter Fire Chief Brian Comeau said. Exeter firefighters were called to 5 Tamarind Lane at 2:15 a.m. for a report of a fire in the residential garage, Chief Comeau said. The homeowner had noticed the fire and was trying to extinguish it on his own by the time fire crews arrived on the scene. Firefighters were able to douse the flames quickly using water from a tanker truck, Comeau said, adding there was a fire hydrant in the area if they needed additional water. "The damage was pretty much contained to the garage area, it never got into the house," the fire chief said. "There was some smoke and heat damage within the garage, but it was not a total loss."The fire Tuesday is the second time in recent months that a fire was believed to have been started by spontaneous combustion of oil soaked rags. In May, a home at 6 Gill St., was heavily damaged when rags stored in a sealed metal container heated up and caught fire. "The fires are being caused by how these rags and the painting materials are being stored after their use," Comeau said. For example, a homeowner may use rags to stain a piece of furniture and then place the rags inside the sealed stain container. "When they get in a closed container like a gas container, the rags will heat up and spontaneously combust," he said, adding people should always read the label of a stain or paint can for special instructions. And they should keep an eye out for linseed oil. "Linseed oil is the culprit," Comeau said.If using a rag or cloth to apply stain or paint, people should make sure to leave the rags in an area away from their home when done. "So if it’s going to do anything, it will do it without damaging your property."

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'll take the tuna...NOT

Stop & Shop is voluntarily recalling tuna salad because it could be contaminated with Listeria.
The supermarket chain says the recall covers pre-packaged 12 oz. containers of Stop & Shop Tuna Salad with a sell-by date of Aug. 19, as well as tuna salad sold at the service deli.
Customers can return the product to stores for a full refund.
The company says no illnesses have been reported. The bacteria Listeria monocytogenes can be fatal to the elderly, newborns and people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and newborns. It can also cause miscarriages.
Home Made Food Brands of Newburyport, Mass., says the tuna salad was distributed to stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and New Jersey.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More Water Woes.

Old gas plant blamed for black goo in Squamscott River
By JASON SCHREIBERNew Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent
EXETER – Officials have traced the source of a black, slurry-like substance found bubbling up in the Squamscott River to an old gas-making plant that closed down many years ago.
Exeter Health Officer Ken Berkenbush said the substance is a byproduct left behind when coal was turned into gas at a plant that was located on Water Street for several decades.
Berkenbush said he believes remnants left over from the gas production have just now begun to surface in an area of the river near the pavilion at Swasey Parkway.
"We know what it is, but we don't know how it got there," Berkenbush said yesterday.
The substance was discovered at low tide last week in a section of the river along the parkway. It was visible again rising up through the ground around low tide yesterday, Berkenbush said.
Officials are now trying to figure out exactly where the substance is coming from in the river bed. It may have been dumped into the river years ago when the plant was in operation and for some reason has recently begun to resurface, or it could be related to an old retention pond in the area that held remnants from the gas production.
The heaviest concentration has been mapped out in a 20-foot by 30-foot section that now has a boom around it to filter the substance out before the contaminated water moves downstream.
Officials from the town, the state Department of Environmental Services, and Northern Utilities are working on a plan to pinpoint the source and clean it up.
Berkenbush said he believes the substance began surfacing only in recent weeks. So far, he said, none of the wildlife in the river appears to have been affected.
"It needs to be cleaned up, but it's not a catastrophic event at this time," he said.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Say It Isn't So..

The buzz is at an all time high about the rumored sale of the Townlyne Grille on Hampton Road. I have heard from about half a dozen people over the past few weeks that Chris Moutis is preparing to sell, or has sold, the restaurant. I will miss their honey chicken, though my thighs won't! I guess I'll have to investigate this one further...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Froyo for Fido

In the what will people think of next category, our local Barking Dog owner has a line of frozen yogurt treats for dogs.

Jody Rodgers, founder of The Barking Dog, Ltd., a dog boarding and daycare with three locations, wanted to create an all-natural treat that dogs would love – and that their owners would feel great about feeding them. In 2006, yöghund® (a combination of the Dutch words for “yogurt” and “dog”), was born. The probiotics and prebiotics contained in yöghund® have benefits that aid dogs’ digestion, strengthen the immune system and improve intestinal health. Yöghund® is available in two delicious flavors, Organic Banana & Peanut Butter and new Organic Blueberry & Vanilla Bean. Dogs love the cool refreshment of this calming snack, and their owners love knowing it’s good for them. Yöghund® can be purchased at many major supermarket and pet store chains and specialty markets including Shaw’s, Whole Foods, Petco, Hannaford’s, and Roche Brothers’, as well as online.

But wait, there's more. They have new flavors..

Yöghund® New Organic Blueberry & Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt for Dogs Now Available in Shaw’s
Yöghund®, creator of the organic frozen dog yogurt category, has introduced an Organic Blueberry & Vanilla Bean flavor. This is the second flavor of yöghund®, a follow up to the company’s popular Organic Banana & Peanut Butter.

Organic Blueberry & Vanilla Bean yöghund® is USDA certified organic. The low fat yogurt used in yöghund® contains probiotics, which aids digestive health and strengthens immune systems. The organic blueberries are rich in antioxidants and the vanilla aroma is calming for dogs as they enjoy their healthy, delicious treat.

Organic Blueberry & Vanilla Bean yöghund® is also made with water, organic blueberry juice, organic vanilla bean extract, organic inulin, organic guar gum, and organic gum arabic.

Yöghund® is more than a delicious treat – it’s a functional food. Low in calories and high in nutrients, yöghund® is a treat dog owners can be proud to reward their dogs with.

Yöghund® can be purchased at many major supermarket and pet store chains and specialty markets, as well as online. Yöghund® is available in a 3.5 oz. cup (SRP $2.00) and a 4-pack box (SRP $5.99). A store locator is available at

IslandFest--A HUGE Parrothead Event!!

Okay, so to those who are not Parrotheads, this may sound a little insane. Those who are, are probably totally excited like I am. I've been seeing this sign on the Ioka about IslandFest. Not sure what it is, I checked it out. This is totally cool--basically the entire Coral Reefer Band that tours with Jimmy Buffett is headed to Exeter on Sunday, September 7 for a benefit concert for Friends of the Earth, Sea & Space Center, and a non-profit organization working to develop a museum of earth, sea and space here on the New Hampshire seacoast.
Among the musicians who will be here are Peter Mayer, Michael Utley (even you non Parrotheads know the Volcano song--he's the little guy who plays the keyboard in it), Robert Greenidge on steel drums, Ralph McDonald, and my personal favorite, the lovely Nadira Shakoor--she has the most amazing voice.
I know Buffett is headed to the annual Labor Day weekend show in Massachusetts the day before this Exeter event.. Exeter also houses the Margaritaville Shrimp headquarters. Could Mr. Buffett make a surprise showing??

Monday, July 28, 2008

Goodbye to the Gundalow for This Year

I just happened to be driving along Swasey Parkway Saturday morning when I spied the Gundalow being pulled down the river.

Of course, our honorary Mayor Arthur, was on hand for the event with his ever-present camera. He was quite excited to see the massive barge leave town as he'd never seen it in motion before.

One of the many retired men who volunteers to help out with the old gundalow I'm sure.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Super Hero in Disguise at Stratham Fair

Well, the Stratham Fair is in full swing this weekend, for those who didn't know. We took a little trip over Friday afternoon and I discovered that there is a new breed of super hero about--Super Sheep.
Like other super heros, this one has a snazzy costume to disguise their true identity. Until of course, they have to save the day in a flash.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The NY Deli

So I finally went to get something to eat at the Gandolfo's Deli on Portsmouth Avenue. I had an excuse since I was going to write a business profile on them. It's nice inside with several tvs and they offer beer and wine for the evening crowd. I had an Italian, which came with ham, salami and pepperoni on a fresh baked roll. It was pretty tasty, though I spiced mine up a bit with the addition of some pepperoncini's, a good move.
The girl who owns the place, Jocelyn, is extremely friendly and personable and an Exeter High alum.
Here's the full story:
By Lara Bricker
July 22, 2008 6:00 AM
EXETER — The new Gandolfo's Deli on Portsmouth Avenue isn't just another sub shop.
"This is a sandwich shop," said co-owner Jocelyn Warren, 30, who owns the local shop with her father, Dick Warren. "You can get an authentic Reuben sandwich here, hot pastrami sandwiches, fresh deli salads."

In all, the deli offers 71 different specialty sandwiches, in addition to a build-your-own sandwich combination option. The deli has several televisions, a selection of bottled beer and wine, and cozy seats for patrons. "It's perfect for any gentleman that's out there that wants a sandwich, a beer and to watch a game," Warren said.
Warren has worked in the restaurant business locally at Paddy's American Grille, the Weathervane Seafood and others. She always wanted to start a business with her father, an environmental engineering consultant, but was looking for the right franchise in which to invest.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another New Local Blog

My friend Jason Schreiber, another longtime journalist in the area, just started his own blog. Of course, he's been blogging like nuts this first week. Kind of like when I decided to join My Space and Facebook. He has all sorts of newsie items about Epping, Fremont, Kingston and other tidbits. Go check it out at:

Cheap Gas!!

I never thought I'd hear myself saying that $3.81 was cheap for gas.. but yet, I just sent Kenny off to fill up my car upon hearing that gas at the Great Bay Camping on Route 108 in Newfields was down to $3.81.

Monday, July 21, 2008

String Bridge Building--Oops

It seems the storm and rain took a toll on this building over on String Bridge. Check out the complete story here:

Everyone's Taking the Train

I just received this from the Downeaster train folks:

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority has released final Downeaster ridership numbers for fiscal year 2008, which was July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008.
Downeaster ridership for FY08 was 441,769 riders – a 28% increase over FY07.
Downeaster ticket revenues for the same period were $6,076,517, a 33%
increase over the previous year. NNEPRA credits gas prices, in addition to
increased frequency, a better schedule and reduced travel time, with the
dramatic increase.
Ridership increased on all trains and among all markets. Records were set in
both April 2008 and June 2008 when Downeaster monthly ridership surpassed
40,000 monthly riders for the first time. Overall, the average number of daily
riders increased from 947 in FY07 to 1,207 in FY08. To accommodate
additional riders, and additional passenger car has been added to each
Downeaster train.
Across the country, Amtrak has seen a significant system-wide ridership increase
of 12.7% during its fiscal year to date (October 1, 2007-June 30, 2008).
Ridership on the Downeaster has increased 31.9% since October, which is the
greatest percentage increase among all of Amtrak’s 30 different routes.
Despite the dramatic increase in business, the Downeaster continues to be
among Amtrak’s favorite routes as well, scoring 97% in Amtrak’s national
Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) survey in May 2008. The average national
CSI average for all Amtrak routes was 80%.

Breaking News

Firefighters, Department of Public Works and the Building Inspector are on the scene of a wall collapse downtown Water Street at 9:30 a.m. Sounds like it might be a storm related problem. Some guy looked out his apartment window and saw, yikes, there was no wall on the building. More details to follow as they become available.

Storm Damage

Trees and wires were down all over town this weekend, including a big one over by Elm Street. I spotted this one out behind the downtown businesses on Water Street, by Two Flights Down and the Tavern at River's Edge.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Off to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Fund-Raiser

I'm off to man the table for our team, The Tavern Nips, downtown for a few hours.
Doing what?
Here's the info:
Come down to the American Independence Festival this weekend and help support breast cancer research.
The Tavern Nips, a regular team at the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk each October, will be holding a fund-raiser this Saturday, July 19, in front of the Tavern at River's Edge in downtown Exeter. The team is sponsored by the downtown restaurant and its owner Jeff Roth.
The team raised more than $13,000 for the 2007 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event and hopes to top that figure at this year's event.
On Saturday, The Tavern Nips will be taking orders for specialty olives, taking orders for Yankee Candles and selling raffle tickets for an exciting prize that will be announced that day. The handmade olives are the perfect treat for a martini and are stuffed with either blue cheese, jalapenos or garlic, then finished in a special marinade.
Funds raised through the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk enable the American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer research, provide up-to-date cancer prevention and early detection information, help ensure all women have access to mammograms and follow-up care, and provide free programs and services that improve the quality of life for people facing breast cancer.
Other upcoming fund-raisers sponsored by the Tavern Nips include:
Team member Sally Gray, an independent representative for Silpada Designs, a line of fine sterling silver jewelry, will donate a portion of proceeds from all jewelry parties from now until the walk, toward the fund-raising efforts. Those who would like to schedule a party or event can contact Gray at 926-2503 or
Gray will host a Silpada Jewelry Fund-Raiser on Sept. 21 at the Tavern at River's Edge, which will include a silent auction for a number of exciting gift certificates and products from area businesses.
The time and additional details of the Sept. 21 event will be announced later this summer.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rev Fest Weekend

I know, I know, it is officially called the American Independence Festival now.. but to me, it will always be "Rev Fest." (Revolutionary War Festival). And for those who haven't seen the signs out for the past month, it's tomorrow, Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. downtown Exeter. Check out the schedule of events at

I am always a fan of the great battle on the Swasey Parkway, but think the cannons might be a bit too much for wee Willie to handle. I'm also sad that they did away with the beer tent after only two years..

But, never fear, I'm sure if you head to the Tavern downtown tomorrow night, some of the historical folks will be there in costume with their old mugs drinking beer. I love it when they show up every year, always fun to try to throw them off character after they have a few pops!

Another Wild Critter Visit to Our House

First the groundhog, then the turkey. Now, it's a family of foxes. I first spotted big mama fox a few weeks back trotting down our driveway. She seemd to come every day around 1 p.m. She always followed the same route, down our driveway, then out along the path in our neighbor Dee's backyard. Then, there was the incident, where I heard an awful noise one night after dinner. I went outside to investigate and there was the mama fox barking at our cat, Bear. I yelled at her, she looked at me, and slowly trotted away. And now, we have the young fox seen here. I looked outside the other morning, and see this little fox, investigating the charcoal grill in front of the house. Then he trots around in a circle, lays down, rolls over like he's playing, and trots around some more. What's he doing? Well, apparently, he and Bear the cat are checking each other out. The cat was sitting, calm as could be, in the garden watching him. I opened up the window to yell at little fox, who trotted out the driveway, followed by the cat. I'm not exactly sure what was going on here, but they seemed to almost be hanging out together..

Little fox checks out my recent plantings?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Destination Epping Again

So, my friend Jason had this story in today's Union Leader. I'm thinking, hmm, perhaps Wal-Mart should help sponsor this bus financially if they decide to run it again next summer? What do you think?

Beach Bus' first stop becomes the destination
By JASON SCHREIBERUnion Leader Correspondent

EPPING – It's called the Beach Bus, but for some it's more like the Wal-Mart Bus.
Ridership on the new Beach Bus service linking Epping, Exeter and Hampton hasn't been as high as bus officials expected, but they've been surprised by the number of people hopping aboard to shop at the Epping Wal-Mart Supercenter.
The bus service by Dover-based COAST began operating on July 5 and will run on weekends through Sept. 7. It operates about every two hours on Saturdays and Sundays, with several trips between Epping, Exeter and Hampton.
The route has several stops, including one right in front of Wal-Mart's doors.
Jeremy LaRose, supervisor of operations at COAST (Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation), said the low ridership has been a bit discouraging, but he hopes it will pick up as word spreads about the new service.
While people are catching the bus in Epping and Exeter to head to Hampton Beach, LaRose said just as many are taking the bus from Exeter and Hampton to head to Epping to shop at Wal-Mart. CLICK FOR FULL STORY HERE

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NHPR Has Interesting Public Input Project Going On

Help NHPR learn about housing and real estate
The week of July 6 saw the stock market decline on concerns that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage giants, might be in big trouble.
NHPR is following how this might affect New Hampshire residents, and we want to hear about your experience as a mortgage holder or a home buyer. You can help by clicking on the link below to share your own experience. Everything you share is kept confidential to the newsroom, and no answers are required. Only tell us what you're comfortable sharing.
What's your mortgage or home-buying story?
(Not buying or selling a home? Feel free to ignore this message, or forward it on to friends or family who might have knowledge to share.)
As always, we won't quote you on the air or on the web without your permission. And please feel free to forward this to others you know - the more we can learn, the more informed our coverage will be.

Win a Free Vacation--Sounds Good To Me

This press release came my way this afternoon. Sounds interesting, especially since gas in Exeter is now over $4 a gallon at some locations.

CoCo Key Water Resorts is giving away the bank or rather, eight exciting tropical vacation experiences valued at more than $1,000 each in the "CoCo Key Ultimate Staycation Challenge."
With record high gas prices and the headaches of air travel, a family vacation close to home, or "staycation" as it is commonly referred to, never sounded so good. As a fun and exciting way to celebrate the staycation experience, CoCo Key Water Resort is launching a search for the most creative and resourceful ways families have staycationed in the past. Vacationers can tell their stories online at
Gone are the days of the weeklong vacation. Families are opting to save their precious time and hard earned dollars by taking a one or two night local trip. But just because consumers are staying near home this summer, doesn’t mean that they can’t experience that vacation they always wanted.
"We understand that families are looking for economical ways to vacation," said Elizabeth Beutel, Director of Sales and Marketing at CoCo Key Danvers. "CoCo Key Water Resort is that hot, new, affordable vacation experience located right here in your own backyard."
How to Enter
Consumers are invited to go online to and in a 100-word essay, tell CoCo Key Water Resort the most creative way their family has staycationed in the past and why they desperately need to escape to the tropics this summer. Winning essays will appear on the CoCo Key Water Resort web site.
The Prizes?
Eight families will win the ultimate staycation – which includes an unforgettable trip to CoCo Key Water Resort, VIP treatment and a host of other prizes.
One winning family will be selected for each of the CoCo Key Water Resorts (a total of seven across the country). Winners will receive a prize package valued at over $1,000, which includes:
A two night stay for a family of four at their nearest CoCo Key Water Resort
VIP treatment including:
o Ground transportation to/and from CoCo Key Water Resort
o Upgraded room (where available)
o $100 food credit
o $50 towards arcade play
o A CoCo Key gift pack for the family
o Meet and greet session with CoCo, including a family photo
10 water park passes for that next staycation
One grand prize winner will be chosen from all entries submitted from across the country. The winning family will receive a prize package valued at over $2,200, which includes:
The prize pack above
Plus, unlimited day visits for a family of four for one full year to a CoCo Key Water Resort near them and a $200 gas card!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good News for Hungry Debit Card Users

I can't count the number of times I've said, "Hey, I want to get a sandwich from Billingsgate, but don't have any cash on me." For those not familiar, the popular downtown deli has been a cash only establishment for some time. I found this out the hard way one day when I found myself running out to the ATM as the girl was making my sandwich.. But hooray, they have just added credit card service. They take Visa and Mastercard credit and ATM cards now!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Outdoor Funky Fun on Sunday

Funky Divas of Gospel are going to be at the Stratham Hill Park Sunday at 5 p.m. If I can drag myself off the boat, this is sure to be a fun event. And our local real estate agent turned singer Bette Henneberry is sure to be belting out the tunes with the group.

Not familar with Bette's move into the singing world?

Check it out:

Review of Pimento's from Our Area Food Critic

Sounds like things are going well down at Pimento's. I've been meaning to get back there in between summer craziness. And they already have a new summer menu. Wow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Checking out the New and Improved Exeter Inn

I've been a bit busy, so got behind on postings.

So we headed out two weekends ago to the new and improved Epoch Restaurant and Bar at the Exeter Inn. I'd been over earlier in the week to do a story on the opening, but at the time, there were still construction men everywhere. And I was having a hard time picturing the bar area done in time for the grand opening event.
It was.
And by Saturday, when we went, the place was hopping. We ran into local drycleaner turned male model and piano player, Russ Fieldsend, who was thrilled beyond belief to see such a classy, upscale bar in town. The place is really nice. Red leather bar stools, granite topped bar and bar tables.
We tried the cheese platter to start off and it was delicious. Three kinds of cheese, including one I later found out, that was a triple cream, high fat, right to your thighs variety. But it was tasty, so I forgot about that fatty part. Several kinds of chutneys and a tomato relish of some sort. Dried fruit, crackers and fresh fruit.
They have a specialty martini list, including a little sampler trio where you get to try three mini versions of the real deal. Here's the thing to remember, just because they look like cute, small drinks, doesn't mean they don't have liquor in them... beware. I was a fan of the blackberry martini, which had real blackberries mashed up in it.
We'd planned to try some of the Kobe beef sliders, but by the time we went to put in our order, they were sold out. I'm not surprised since just about everyone in the bar seemed to be ordering the little mini cheeseburgers.
So we went for real dinner.
It was a great way to spend an evening, in a new location in town, which actually made you feel like you'd been transported somewhere else.
My only word of warning would be the cost of drinks. The wine list was extensive but had no "house" wine choices and so when I asked for a house red, I was given the least expensive red wine on the menu at $9. Martinis were $10-12 each. This is probably market rate at restaurants of this caliber, but I guess I've been spoiled at the Tavern and Townlyne Grille where you get a little "side car" or second drink with your martinis. (For the price of one).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Benefits of Having a Nice Lawn

This turkey came to visit our back yard Monday morning. Apparently, like the little woodchuck a few weeks back, she was lured in by the clover.

Tai Chi and Tea (Hey that has a nice ring to it)

White Lily Teas is now offering tai chi classes every Wednesday night from 6-7 p.m. $12 if you sign up before and $14 to drop in.
Somehow I just can't get the tai chi and tea little ditty out of my head...