Monday, June 30, 2008

Dance Party Comes to Ioka

I was just out and about and heard about some exciting new developments for those looking for nightlife in Exeter. The da Club Series, a themed night club/dance party event, is going to be coming to Club Ioka every third Friday, starting July 18 with the New York Theme event.

Check out more info at

New Clothing Store

I often hear from Alex Booth, of High Street Grocer fame, that the town needs a place for men to buy clothes. After Stone's left the downtown, no one ever came to take thier place. Well, something is coming into the downtown, according to these signs. Anyone know what it is??

New Non Profit Thrift Shop Seeks Support

I received this from the people out at the new non profit thrift shop on Epping Road:

Wonderland Thrift Shop, the new non profit store in Exeter, needs your support.
The store has a full inventory of quality clothing, housewares, toys, books etc.. and now needs the community to come along and shop with us so that the shop can grow.
4th July celebrations, specials all week, including children's clothing $1, youth/teen $2.00 and a dollar rack every day.The store is open Monday through Saturday 10:00am-4:30pm.

Closed 4th July, open Saturday July 5th from 10:00am-2:00pm.

Free cookies every day this week.The store is located at 96 Epping Road, Exeter, Route 27, NH 03833, opposite B&M Glass and the bus barn. Call the store on 603-686-5313.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Avoid Driving Downtown Tuesday Evening

The annual Seacoast Criterium bike race will be going on downtown Tuesday, so find an alternate route

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Holy Experience

So I finally made it over to check out the Holy Grail in Epping now that the crazed rush has calmed since it first opened. Housed in an old church, with tables that look like pews, it was sort of fitting since my dear friend Susan, aka, Minister Susan was up visiting for a few days. The place is huge inside. They had 2 guys playing live music, some Irish tunes, some what I could call "bar tunes" like Sweet Caroline, The Gambler. You get the picture. It's really nice inside but really loud. The acoustics once designed for a church, to carry sound, still do the same. But it was packed with a young and lively crowd. They seem to have scaled down their lengthy menu since they first opened. You've got your traditional Irish pub fare--bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, rueben sandwich. They had a very small wine list with only one choice for chardonnay, the Fat Bastard variety, which I wasn't really into. But I tried a riesling next which was much better.
And this below, it what happens when you give a drunk guy your camera to take a photo, ie, blurry and out of focus. But this lovely chap we posed with is what greets you when you come in and hidden inside are the child's menus. Aside from the friar tuck-like fellow, we have Minister Susan, reporter Jason and myself.
This is going to be a fun type of place to go with a group of people but not necessarily the place to go if you want to have a quiet conversation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Seek Alternate Routes

The summer construction season is well underway, hooray.. not. So, they are apparently doing some work on Route 111a/Brentwood Road this week, going down along Main Street by Park Street. I've limped through as the traffic guard guys give me the "slow" or "stop" signs all week as I drive Willie to daycare out on 111A. But this afternoon was apparently a big time for the work. I came out the end of 111A to meet a sheriff's deputy. He gave me that cop arm/head shake thing with the big finger pointing repeatedly where I was supposed to go.
What, I can't go straight back onto Main Street?
Apparently not.
I looped up Washington Street and tried to make a loop back down past the auto body place/Harvard Street, so I could cut across past the park and get out to Newfields Road.
Nope, sorry, another deputy met me.
And so, I turned around, went back out to Front Street, out to Portsmouth Avenue and home via 101.
Don't you just love the summer construction season?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Medicinal Herbs That Are Legal

White Lily Teas has an interesting class coming up next Wednesday, June 25 called "Herbs for Medicine & the Garden w/ Rebecca Ross"

Come & join Rebecca while she discusses the many benefits of specific herbs that you can successfully grow in your garden & also use for medicinal purposes.
Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Catnip, and Peppermint and Chamomile will be some of the herbs discussed. As always, there will be a question/answer period following the lecture.
Come & share in this interactive evening. A detailed handout is included.
Wednesday, June 25th from 5:30 -7pm
Cost $35
Pre-registration is required on all classes
Deadline for signup is Tuesday June 24th
More info at:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Exeter Inn's Bar/Restaurant is Finally Going to Open!

After months of anticipation, the Epoch Restaurant and Bar, inside the Exeter Inn, is finally set to open a week from today on June 26.
I just went for a little preview tour of the place, still in the midst of construction/renovations. But you can really see how it's coming together. The little living room/lobby area that used to be directly to the left by the reception area is now the giant bar. The bar overlooks the dining room and you can walk down on, get this, red stairs that will be lit up from underneath. Sounds cool, but I can just see myself tripping and making a grand entrance as I look down at the red walk..
The people there are a wee bit excited to open to say the least. Chef Stephen Harding, who most recently worked at the Wentworth by the Sea, had this to say "We just want to get cooking."
Here's some additional info from their very enthusiastic sales manager Tom O'Gorman, who by the way likes to joke "We're the only bar in Exeter that's above ground."
(Well, aside from Margarita's. But The Tavern, 11 Water Street, and Pimentos, are all underground bars).

Harding plans to combine an outstanding selection of wines, his sophisticated preparation of local produce, game and seafood, and a fresh, intimate Ralph Lauren-type décor (warm, hues of red, patterned wood floors, a view overlooking the courtyard at the Exeter Inn) to produce a new era in Seacoast dining. At the center of it all is a cozy bar, framed by the bins and cubes of a large enclosed wine cabinet (Epoch will feature more than 100 wines, many available by the glass), and set into what was once the lobby of the Inn. The bar at the Epoch is a perfect spot to gather with friends, savor a Cosmo or a fresh Mojito, taste new wines …..and savor the cuisine.
"Epoch will offer our guests the ambiance and culinary sophistication of a New York restaurant at reasonable New Hampshire prices," said Harding. "Our menus will often change daily, to allow our kitchen team to create from the freshest ingredients obtained directly from local fishermen and growers. Signature items like Corn Encrusted Lobster-Crab Cakes, Fennel Seared Chilean Sea Bass or our succulent Hoisin Grilled Nieman Farms Pork Chop should appeal to nearly any palate."
Growing up in central Connecticut, Harding quickly gravitated to the kitchen, moving into management positions in several of the area’s larger restaurants. Upon relocating to New Hampshire nine years ago, Harding joined the New England Center, where he eventually advanced to the position of Chef de Cuisine before returning to Connecticut as Executive Sous-Chef at the Westin Stamford. New Hampshire beckoned once again, however, and Harding joined Ocean properties initially at Wentworth by the Sea, and eventually as Executive Chef at Ocean’s Sunset Key Resort in Florida, prior to joining Epoch.
"We are delighted to welcome a chef with Stephen’s energy, knowledge of the local area and passion for food," stated Exeter Inn General Manager Tom Petot. "Stephen brings a wealth of experience and is eager to establish Epoch among the most noteworthy restaurants on the Seacoast."

Traffic Snarled on 101 This Morning

Traffic had ground to a standstill on Route 101 east just before 9 a.m. this morning just past the Epping Road exit. I passed this going the other way on the way to daycare. It looked like a two car accident and they'd blocked off the road while they hauled one of the cars off on a flatbed truck. I took 111A home, so didn't see if it had cleared up yet.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Poodle Skirts on the Parkway

So the annual summer concerts on Swasey Parkway begin tomorrow night at 6:15 with the Soda Pop Band. They herald themselves as a 50s and 60s rock and roll band and urge us to channel our inner poodle skirts and bobbie sox. Somehow I can't see myself wearing an outfit like this.. but the concert should be a good time.

Checking out Pimento's

So I’ve been completely neglect in posting about my trip to the newly opened Pimento’s downtown. We went down on opening night and had a drink to scope the place out. It was already packed and they hadn’t even advertised, just put up a sign that afternoon saying they would be opening. Apparently, the musical duo that used to be very popular there on Thursdays when it was Vincent’s got word, and showed up to play.
We checked out their smaller plate menu downstairs and tried a cheese plate. It had a huge portion of about 5 different cheeses, including my personal favorite the mango ginger stilton. But it came with olives and no fruit, bread or cracker. Now I love cheese as much as the next person, but I guess I’m a carb addict because I needed something else. So we asked for some bread or something and got some pita toasts which helped a lot.
We headed down that weekend for dinner and met up with another local couple. The menu prices are reasonable by Exeter standards (in line with the Tavern, Townlyne and 11 Water Street), with a range of about $14 to $26. The menu is interesting but a bit too many combinations of flavors in each entree for me. It kind of reminds me of when the Foxfire Grill opened in Epping and they had like 5 different accompaniments to each food.
I tried the skirt steak with herb butter, as did Ken, and the others tried salmon and some sort of pork tenderloin. Mine was really tasty but I got the impression that the kitchen staff was still working to coordinate getting everything out at once, as mine was a bit cold. But I think the place has potential and certainly opening week is crazy for any new place (ie., The Holy Grail running out of food opening week) like this. I'm sure by now they are well into the swing of things.
One nice thing was that the owner Ken remembered us from the first night. Apparently he had accidentally charged us for two drinks we didn’t have. He came over, told us about this, and took the drink bill from the first night off our tab that night.
Anyone else been there yet? What did you think?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fire at PEA tonight

So I hear the scanner toning up, and up, and up, and think to myself, oh yes, it's Tuesday Night Tone Test. Wrong. There was a real fire, coincidentally at the same time of the weekly test. Sounds like a basement fire at Lamont Hall at PEA on Tan Lane. Details to come

Moose on the Loose

I received an email from alert driver in Exeter this morning who spied two moose crossing the river around 7:20 a.m. They came from the Fort Rock Farm area, exited the river by the Powder House. Where are they now? Who knows. Keep your eyes open.

NO, this is not the real moose, only a photo stand in

Monday, June 16, 2008

Seeking Oldest Resident

Margaret Schultz

I got word today from Peg Duhamel at the Council on Aging that our newly honored Boston Post Cane holder, Margaret Schultz, has passed away. This means that Duhamel is on the hunt once again for the town's oldest resident. Anyone with a lead is asked to call her at 772-3705

Here's the story I did just a few months ago on Margaret Shultz:

By Lara Bricker
February 01, 2008
EXETER — Margaret Schulz wanted to be sure everyone put their best face forward at a special party in her honor Thursday afternoon.
That included her son James.
The 103-year-old Margaret noticed her son had a few eyebrow hairs amiss when he arrived at her room at SunBridge at Exeter. She did not hesitate to pull out a pair of tweezers and pluck the offending hairs.
Looking lovely in her own bright pink sweater, Schulz then went to the special ceremony where she was presented with the town's Boston Post Cane — an honor bestowed upon the town's oldest living resident.
"I don't know what to say and do," the 103-year-old woman marveled. "I'm so excited I can't talk."
Exeter Selectman Lionel Ingram presented Schulz with the town's replica of the cane during a festive ceremony Thursday afternoon at SunBridge at Exeter where Schulz lives.
"I'm not the oldest yet," Ingram joked as he handed the cane to Schulz, who was flanked by her son James and daughter-in-law Ann.
"Is this for me?" Schulz asked. "What a nice thing."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Something's Going Down

So I'm glued to the scanner this morning. Something's going down that has required all available firefighters to respond to the station. From what I can gather, there was a suicidal person. They are now out on the Harbormaster's boat searching for this person. The police chatter is heavy but scant on details over the air.

UPDATE: Sounds like this was just a sad story that played out in the public yesterday afternoon because of the police search. The person was clearly having some sort of psychiatric issue and was taken into custody by police after fleeing to the roof of a building near the Post Office. They were then taken to the hospital.

A Family Trip With the Other Woman (Today's Column)

By Lara Bricker
June 13, 2008 6:00 AM
I spent much of the last weekend on a road trip with the family — and our new friend, "The Maestro." The Maestro is my husband, Ken's, latest toy, which he proudly presented me as we climbed in the car Friday afternoon for a four or so hour drive to Westport, Conn.
Ken and I have different traveling styles. I am more fly by the seat of my pants, we'll get there when we get there, no worries. This drives Ken insane. My blasé approach to travel, which often includes not exactly leaving on time, is more than he can take. And he always wants me to print out directions to our destination a week or so in advance. I usually scribble them on a spare piece of paper in my ever present reporter's notebook.
And so it was Friday afternoon that he found what he felt was a partial solution — the onboard GPS direction gadget do-dad. Proudly attached to the cup holder, and plugged into the cigarette lighter, The Maestro was everything that I am not — prepared, organized, well-traveled and ready to leave on time. Complete with an annoying pseudo-sexy computer voice.
"What's the address?" Ken asked as we began out of the driveway. He typed it into The Maestro, which promptly told us that we would be turning left out of our driveway in point five seconds. I was sick of this thing already.
Stay on the current road for two miles, the semi-sexy voice told us. OK. Another 10 seconds later. Stay on the current road for one point five miles, it announced. This was getting annoying already. Prepare to turn left in one mile. As we turned successfully onto Route 101, it gave a happy little ding.
"I feel like I'm in my own video game," I announced. "We have made it to level two."
Oh boy. And only four more hours of this to go. Apparently, The Maestro's usual human counterpart does not listen to directions well. I came to this conclusion as we headed down I-95 south. For each exit we passed, The Maestro told us no fewer than two times per exit, "Remain on the current road. Remain on the current road." And when we listened to the directions, we were again rewarded with the happy little ding. I tried to turn off the voice component of The Maestro, which is apparently not an option. It seems once you get The Maestro, you get all of her, like it or not.
About halfway through the trip, we pulled off the highway for food. The alert went off from The Maestro. "Recalculating route, recalculating route, make legal U-turn where able." Ha, I felt a little smug satisfaction. Take that Maestro, we're not following your directions.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Daily Critter Patrol

Willie was eating dinner last night when I heard Ken mutter while looking out a back window "Why you little (expletive deleted)." Of course, I raced over, and there he was, a little ground hog, munching away on some clover. He scurried off after a few minutes, but somehow I think he'll be back.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ride 'Em Cowboy

Well, apparently people in Exeter are looking to liven things up. According to my poll from last week, a whopping 73 percent think we should get a restaurant with a mechanical bull. Wowie.

Carol Aten Leaves Post at Squamscott Community Commons

I heard this news over the weekend, but wasn't sure it could be true. The amazing dynamo Carol Aten has stepped down from her position as Executive Director of the Squamscott Community Commons. She will serve on their advisory board from here on out. The move comes after the deal to buy the old Junior High, which will be leveled to make way for the green community center.

From the web site:

Since Carol joined The Commons in January 2005, her accomplishments include building the organizational infrastructure with a new community board, committee volunteers and professional staff; establishing the website; completing a successful six-town vote to acquire the property; securing the seed funding; completing the conceptual and design development of the facility; and acquiring the municipal and state regulatory permits needed for construction. “Working together,” Davis continued, “we have made very real progress in this first-of-its-kind effort and the foundations that have been laid, in very large part by Carol and her staff, have positioned us to make this community center a reality.”
Exeter resident Robin Drunsic has been promoted from Director of Finance, a position she has held since August 2006, to Executive Director. Robin brings to The Commons a strong academic background in business management, a keen entrepreneurial spirit, and the experience of working in the development office of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, one of the most highly visible and successful fundraising organizations in New England. Prior to moving to Exeter, Robin and her husband operated a successful 70-seat café in Vermont for which Robin was responsible for all aspects of business administration. Robin holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire as well as an M.B.A. from Simmons College School of Management.

Going Raw

So when I think of "Raw food" as in the Raw Food Movement, I think of that episode of Sex and the City. You know, Samantha is hot after some waiter who works in the trendy NYC all raw food restaurant and eats the all raw food for hour after hour to outlast another lady, also after the hot waiter.
Well, celebrity connections aside, the raw food movement has hit Exeter. This goes back to my theory that everything has an Exeter connection eventually.
Kathy Gallant, of the Blue Moon Market, Green Earth Cafe, and the yoga center, started eating raw with her husband this winter. She eats about 80 percent raw food while her husband is a devoted 100 percent raw food follower. I'm not sure I have the will power for this.. and I hate to say as I'm writing of this healthy movement, but I do love red meat...
But for those who would like to learn more about this style of eating, the Blue Moon is hosting a class on raw foods on June 24. For more info, check out their web site at

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rainy Kick Off to the Farmer's Market

The Farmer's Market kicked off this afternoon on Swasey Parkway, drizzle and all, for the 2008 season. Check them out every Thursday afternoon, from 2 to 6 p.m., throughout the summer season.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Clarification on the Mechanical Bull Poll

I have been asked for some clarification on the poll this week about a mechanical bull. One person thought this was a live bull that would accompany the Don Campbell band when they come to town. Not exactly. I'm thinking similar to this image--you know like you might see in Texas. I think this could really liven up the downtown bar scene. Now that we have a taxi service, you can hitch a ride home with them if the bull knocks you out.

Holy Madness

The saga of the Holy Grail Pub in Epping continues. My sources tell me that they were closed Sunday and won't open again until Wednesday. They are apparently having a big training with the waitstaff and working to figure out how they will respond to the crowds of hungry and thirsty patrons that converged on the place last weekend.
Another local I know went there on Saturday night (just one night after they first ran out of food) and they ran out of food again. I hope there weren't too many "liquid diets" at the place Saturday night. Not to stereotype, but it is an Irish pub after all. I have several Irish friends and can say they like to have a few pops..

Again, I'll say it sounds like they did not anticipate the interest in the place.

Their web site reports today:

Thank You for a Tremendous Grand Opening!
Special Hours this week
Closed Monday June 2 and Tuesday June 3
Reopening June 4 at 11:00 am

Monday, June 2, 2008

How Can You Go Wrong with Free Ice Cream?

Just when I was trying to think about eating healthy again, I have to see this on Portsmouth Avenue this morning...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Boater Fights Back

By Lara Bricker
The thought of pumping 120 gallons of diesel fuel into the tank of his 30-foot boat this summer didn't sit well with Paul Sirois.
And so the retired Exeter fire lieutenant decided to take matters into his own hands — he built a biodiesel processor over the winter. In March, he made his first batch of the fuel, and has since made about 200 gallons. The cost of diesel when he checked recently at the marina was $4.59 a gallon. His cost: $1.30 per gallon.
He hasn't used it in his boat yet, but has used it in his tractor.
"There is one drawback to burning this fuel — it makes you hungry," said Sirois, referring to his use of recycled vegetable oil previously used for frying in area restaurants.
Sirois, 54, who was the Fire Department's mechanic and also works as a carpenter, started to think about making biodiesel at the end of last year's boating season. Fuel was around $2 per gallon, but it was rising and there seemed to be no end in sight.
"Since I retired, the price of fuel is a burden," he said.
And so he began his research. He went on the Internet to read about the process of making biodiesel and the equipment needed. A biodiesel processor costs about $2,500, and so Sirois decided to build his own. He went to an area scrap yard and found a stainless steel tank.
"The rest of it was stuff I had hanging around the house," he said.
He went to a local plumbing supply shop for hoses and purchased a heating coil. Then he welded his processor together. The cost of his materials was only about $150. Several of his friends were skeptical.
"He's always experimenting with something, that's what he does," said friend Chris Soave, a fellow retired firefighter and carpenter.
Soave said he didn't hold out much hope at first, but was amazed when Sirois called him one day to say he'd made his first batch of the fuel.
"I can't believe he actually did this," Soave said, adding he decided he might give it a try for his diesel work tractor. "It's not that complicated."
The process begins with vegetable oil, which Sirois picks up at area restaurants. The oil must be strained to remove any particles of food. He was originally going to use an old pair of blue jeans as a strainer, but opted instead for old towels.
Once the oil is strained, it goes into the processor, where it is heated up to 140 degrees for several hours. This gets all of the water out of the oil, which Sirois said is critical. If there is water in the oil, you get chunks of glycerine soap. The oil then sits to cool for at least four hours.
Two chemicals are needed to make the fuel. The first is methanol, which Sirois bought from a race car shop in Eliot, Maine. The second is potassium hydroxide, which he was able to purchase through the Internet.
The methanol and potassium hydroxide are mixed together and then added to the oil. Sirois does the mixing outside with safety goggles and gloves because the methanol is flammable.
The mixture is mixed into the oil and combined for at least one hour. It then sits for about 24 hours and is ready to use.
For the first batch, Sirois started with one liter as a trial run.
"It went superb," he said, adding he was a little nervous at first.
He moved on to a 25-gallon batch, and is now making 50 gallons at a time.
His brother-in-law, Richard Jette of Hampton, who helped him, is also planning to use some of the biodiesel in his boat this summer.
"Dickie was not convinced at first," Sirois said. "In the process of watching me and helping me on the weekends, he became convinced."
Sirois estimates he needs 250 gallons for his entire summer boating season. His boat, a lobster-style Bruno Stillman, burns six gallons of fuel per hour.
Each year, he travels about 250 to 300 nautical miles from his home port at the Great Bay Marina in Newington.
While Sirois admits his initial reason for making the biodiesel was more financial than environmental, he says he has become more impressed with the environmental benefits of the fuel.
"It's not a hazardous material; you can spill it on the ground (with no worries)," he said. The downside of the fuel, he said, is that it will be harder to use in the colder winter months.
His boat, the Sea Jet, required no modifications to run on biodiesel, but he said the fuel will eat away at the rubber fuel lines, which might require their replacement at some point.
While he said the actual process of making the fuel is not hard once you know how to do it, he doesn't think many people will try it.
"It's too much work for people," he said. "It's time consuming and it is a commitment."