On-the-go deliciousness

How food trucks are finding new ways to serve up their eats

It’s a hot afternoon in July as Tony Elias begins gearing up his new food truck, The Spot To-Go, for dinner outside Manchester Firing Line. You’ll find him there every Monday during the range’s Cruise Night car shows, in addition to other spots throughout the week, serving up Puerto Rican foods he grew up eating, from empanadas to jibaritos.

Even though he’s in the middle of his first season behind the wheel of The Spot To-Go, Elias is no stranger to food trucks — he’s also owned Made With Love 603 since 2014, a food trailer offering a similar menu of Puerto Rican eats. He took about two years off from the business, getting a day job while working with different recipes under what would be a new, rebranded concept.

Earlier this year, Elias was all ready to get out there and cook — but then the pandemic arrived, forcing the closure of city government offices and temporarily preventing him from getting his licenses. He eventually was able to open for business, albeit several months later than planned, during the first week of June.

“I had the food truck custom-made and everything … and it must have been like three days after I got the truck that everything started getting shut down,” he said. “At that time, I had already given my notice at my job. So everything was kind of stuck in limbo, and I had no choice but to ride it out, but I did have time to come up with a menu and imagine everything I wanted to do.”

Indeed, the pandemic came to New Hampshire as the state’s food truck industry was continuing to boom. Currently, there are 199 licensed mobile cook units in the state, according to Colleen Smith of New Hampshire Food Protection — an increase of nearly 50 percent since April 2016. Now, as the virus has all but wiped out the already short window of time for food truck festivals in the Granite State, many truck and trailer owners already licensed with the state have chosen to sit out the season, while those who are carrying on have sought out other avenues to make up for lost business.

New trucks rolling in

Launching a food truck is hard enough, Elias said, never mind maintaining a regular schedule during a pandemic. That’s why he jumped on the opportunity when he was contacted earlier this year about parking The Spot To-Go at the Firing Line every Monday. He can also be found on the Beech Street side of the JFK Arena and in the parking lot of Titan Auto Repair on Elm Street, depending on the day.

His menu is similar to that of the Made With Love 603 trailer, featuring favorites like beef and chicken empanadas, combo plates with pork, rice and beans, and jibaritos, or fried plantain sliders with pork, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo ketchup. But Elias has also added a number of new items — his tacos, for instance, have been a huge hit.

“I call them Puerto Rican tacos. I do them differently with the seasoning in the meat and on the shell,” he said. “You bite into this taco and it’s just an explosion of flavor in your mouth.”

He has also introduced canoas and mofongo “cones.” Canoas feature a roasted yellow sweet plantain sliced all the way down the middle and stuffed with beef, melted cheese and cilantro, resembling the shape of a canoe.

Mofongo traditionally consists of fried plantains mashed up and stuffed with meat, cheese and seasonings. Elias takes his creation a step further by shaping the mashed plantains into a cone and wrapping it in foil. You can get it with roast pork, fried pork or chicken.

“I actually came across a video on Facebook of a place in Puerto Rico doing it, and I said, ‘Man, that is a great idea,’” he said. “So we shape [the mofongo] into a cone, and then we fry it a second time, so it’s a nice crunchy outside with a soft inside, and a bang of flavor.”

A plant-based comfort food truck known as The Hungry Caterpillar also launched last month, owned by Christy and Nick Ortins of Geary Farms in Chester. Christy Ortins said the couple’s original plan for the truck was to secure bookings at festivals. But once all of the festival cancellations were set in motion, she said, they began contacting nearby business owners inquiring about possible parking spots.

“We reached out basically to anybody we could think of that had commercial property,” she said, adding that The Hungry Caterpillar can now be found at Hampstead Health & Fitness most Mondays and at Sue Padden Real Estate in Sandown most Wednesdays and Fridays. “Our next step is to contact some breweries and wineries.”

Popular items at the truck include a homemade black bean burger, fried cauliflower bites, “plant-a-rella” sticks, or plant-based cheese sticks that are breaded and deep fried, and a tempeh sandwich with sliced tomato plant-based mayo and local greens on bread from the Portsmouth-based Me & Ollie’s Bakery & Cafe. Christy Ortin said the truck has also recently begun offering a few flavors of vegan ice cream from Memories Ice Cream of Kingston, while specials may include fried zucchini slices or summer squash they grow themselves on the farm.

In Concord, a 20-foot food trailer called Wander Roll made its debut earlier this month, serving several types of locally inspired Vietnamese-style egg rolls. Co-owner Andrew Weakly of Bow said he and his wife Inga were supposed to receive the custom-built trailer from M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks in Florida in April — but due to the pandemic, it didn’t actually arrive until mid-June, delaying the couple’s licensing application process. Once they were ready to go, they had what they called a “soft launch” on July 11 outside a friend’s South End home.

“I think, short of having actual events, one of our strategies is going to be around … pop-up neighborhood events, and then also some private events,” Andrew Weakly said.

Wander Roll is starting with five types of egg rolls, named after places the Weaklys have lived, are from or have traveled to — a traditional pork roll (the “Can Tho”), a Buffalo chicken roll (the “Brighton”), a sweet potato black bean roll (the “Bristol”), a honey ginger tofu roll (the “Concord”), and a cake puff dessert roll topped with powdered sugar and homemade chocolate sauce. Andrew Weakly said the trailer also offers fresh limeade and is in the process of collaborating with downtown Concord’s Revelstoke Coffee to introduce a Vietnamese iced coffee. Wander Roll’s next public appearance will be on Sunday, Aug. 2, at Lithermans Limited Brewery in Concord.

Also recently serving its first customers in the Capital City is The Food Abides, a new food truck named after a play on words from the famous quote “the dude abides” in the ’90s film The Big Lebowski. The Lunch Lady food truck, as it was formerly known, was sold to Jesika Belair, owner of Umami Farm Fresh Cafe in Northwood, in February.

Now, Umami chefs Patrick Harris and Max G. Dowling are a two-man team, bringing The Food Abides to several local breweries. The truck served a special Jamaican-themed menu on July 26 at Lithermans, but Harris said the menu will feature all kinds of creative takes on sandwiches, tacos and salads. The Food Abides is scheduled to appear at Henniker Brewing Co. on Saturday, Aug. 15, according to Harris, and will be available to rent for private events later this fall.

“We definitely want to alternate [menu items] depending on where we go, and if we’re at a brewery then we want to use that brewery’s beer in our cooking … to give people a full culinary experience,” Harris said.

The Gyro Spot in downtown Manchester recently announced it has built a food truck. According to owner Alex Lambroulis, the plan is for the truck to offer catering services and to be at various breweries in the area in the near future.

In Loudon, the Whisked Away Cafe food truck is also in the middle of its inaugural season. You can find it most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at a dirt turnaround road on Route 106 in Loudon, steps away from the Cascade Campground. The truck is run by sisters Korrie Garland and Crystal Hopkins, along with their mother, Louise Cloutier, who owned the Bonne Femmes restaurant in downtown Pembroke about 15 years ago.

Socially distanced catering

Despite the absence of festivals, some seasoned food truckers have reported a surge in other aspects of business, most notably in the form of private event catering requests.

Dan DeCourcey is the owner and pitmaster of Up in Your Grill, a barbecue food trailer based in Merrimack. He said he initially had to pivot his operations to roadside vending only because every fair, festival and catering event he had booked at the onset of the pandemic was canceled. But by the end of June, “the catering floodgates seemed to open,” he said — now he gets at least one and oftentimes multiple catering inquiries a day.

“People are looking for good social distancing alternatives to traditional catering buffets and summer barbecue buffet-style events. Food trucks are very well positioned to fill the need,” DeCourcey said in an email. “We can provide individual meals from the window and folks can have socially distanced outdoor events.”

Lately, DeCourcey said he’s seen an increase in requests for “treat the team for lunch” company parties and gatherings. When he’s not catering for an event, he can be found in the parking lot of Vault Motor Storage in Merrimack on weekends, offering several items that can be ordered as combo plates or sandwiches, like pulled pork, pulled chicken and beef brisket.

Windham chef Adam Wactowski of Walking Gourmet, a food truck converted from an old church bus in Ohio, is at a few public locations in New Hampshire during the week, while his weekends have mostly been devoted to private events. He said rescheduled weddings and rehearsal dinners from months ago have been some of the most common.

“Brides and grooms had to scramble when everything shut down, so they’re being creative and having a lot of fun with their menus,” said Wactowski, who will often create personalized menus from the truck for his clients. For instance, he said he recently did a breakfast-themed menu for a wedding with made-to-order crepes, croissants and hash brown “egg nests.” When he’s parked at a public spot, he’ll usually dabble in his own gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches and rangoons with a variety of fillings.

The Winni Wagon food truck, which appears at several spots in Laconia, has also been getting attention from couples looking to have a caterer at their rehearsal dinners. Owner Janine Geddis started the Winni Wagon last year in a former FedEx truck. She serves all kinds of comfort options from burgers and hot dogs to a Buffalo chicken grilled cheese and a cheesesteak sandwich with peppers and onions, many of which are named after an island on Lake Winnipesaukee.

“People have changed their plans from this big wedding to a small backyard wedding where they can’t necessarily take a large group to a restaurant, so they’ll contact me and say, ‘Hey, you can come to my backyard rehearsal?’” Geddis said. “I’ve had them do what they want [with the menu]. They’ll pick maybe three or four items from my main menu and a couple of sides.”

Safe gatherings

Like Elias’s weekly appearances at the Cruise Night car shows, food truck owners are still finding ways to serve their customers in safe environments. Last month the Derry-Salem Elks introduced food trucks to its outdoor pavilion on Shadow Lake Road in Salem every Tuesday through Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., rain or shine.

“[The pavilion] is normally private, but during these times we’ve allowed the public to come sit at the picnic tables by the gate,” Derry-Salem Elks member Melissa Levesque said. “We’re trying to plan something like a small festival at the lodge, since we have a huge parking lot.”

Every Tuesday you can find B’s Tacos outside the pavilion gate. Owner Kenny Spilman launched the Londonderry-based truck in 2013, serving Tex-Mex-style tacos, burritos and other items using fresh ingredients. He has a second trailer that you can also find every Tuesday through Saturday outside the BP Gas Station on Mohawk Road in Londonderry.

On Wednesdays the Walking Gourmet takes over cooking duties at the gate, and Wactowski will often have at least one burger, one chicken sandwich and one rangoon option in addition to a few sides and children’s meal items. Then on Thursdays it’s all about the barbecue as Doug Loranger of the Nashua-based Ranger’s BBQ comes around to serve several meats and sides.

The pavilion, according to Levesque, features eight tables that seat up to six diners each that are first-come, first-served and regularly sanitized.

In Milford, owner John Goldberg of The Riverhouse Cafe has put together his own outdoor seating area for his recently launched food trailer, Fuel — complete with a full-service craft cocktail bar, covered seating and live local music acts every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer. Fuel features several upscale comfort foods like its own ground burgers, hand-cut fries and dry-rubbed chicken wings and, as of earlier this month, fried seafood and buttered lobster rolls. Goldberg said the trailer is expected to provide food options for the upcoming Station 101 craft beer and wine bar opening next door.

Breweries also continue to be popular spots to enjoy food trucks. Able Ebenezer Brewing Co. in Merrimack, Lithermans Limited in Concord, Henniker Brewing Co. and Twin Barns Brewing Co. in Meredith all have regular schedules of food trucks and outdoor patio seating.

Where to find local food trucks and trailers

Even though there are almost no annual food truck festivals this year, dozens of New Hampshire-based food trucks, food trailers and mobile caterers are still actively operating across the state. Here’s a list of them with information on what they offer, as well as where and when you can find each one. Know of an active food truck or trailer in New Hampshire that’s not on this list? Let us know at food@hippopress.com.

B’s Tacos (nhtacotruck.com, find them on Facebook) offers a menu of fresh Tex-Mex options like tacos, burritos and rice bowls prepared using family recipes. Find them outside the BP Gas Station (3 Mohawk Drive, Londonderry) every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A second truck regularly appears at several locations across New Hampshire. On Tuesdays, for example, you can find them at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge (39 Shadow Lake Road, Salem) from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Follow them on Facebook for updates.

Baked, Brewed & Organically Moo’ed (bakedbrewed.com, find them on Facebook @organicallymooed) features a menu of organic ice cream, locally roasted coffee and baked goods, like the “bubble waffle,” made to order with a scoop of ice cream, maple syrup, freshly made whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. Find them at 915 Suncook Valley Road in Alton (hours vary) and at the Gilmanton Community Farmers Market (1385 Route 140) on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.

Dulces Bakery (dulcesbakerynh.com, find them on Facebook @dulcesbakerynh) launched a dessert truck earlier this year, offering its own assorted cookies, cupcakes and other pastries and treats, including more than two dozen flavors of tres leches. Find them at 16 Walnut St. in Nashua on Saturdays, from 1 to 8 p.m.

Flaco’s Mexican Street Food (find them on Facebook @flacosmexicanstreetfood) offers a variety of made-to-order Mexican options, like tacos, burritos and quesadillas, with fillings such as asada (grilled steak), al pastor (marinated pork), chicken, slow-cooked pork and Mexican sausage. Find them at 185 S. Main St. in Newton every Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., weather permitting.

The Food Abides (find them on Facebook @thefoodabidestruck) is a new food truck run by Patrick Harris and Max G. Dowling of Umami Farm Fresh Cafe in Northwood. It held its first public event on July 26 at Lithermans Limited Brewery in Concord, offering creative takes on sandwiches, tacos, salads and more. The truck is scheduled to appear at Henniker Brewing Co. on Saturday, Aug. 15.

Fuel (damngoodgrub.com/fuel, find them on Facebook @fuelnh) is a new food trailer offering scratch-made options like its own ground burgers, hand-cut fries and hand-breaded chicken tenders, along with more than a dozen original sauces, or “fuel,” to choose from. Find them outside The Riverhouse Cafe (167 Union Square, Milford) every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Live music begins at 6 p.m. outside the truck on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Gyro Spot (thegyrospot.com, find them on Facebook @gyrospottruck) recently announced a food truck that is available for catering, according to owner Alex Lambroulis. He said they also plan to park at local breweries weekly in the near future.

The Hungry Caterpillar (gearyfarmsnh.squarespace.com/foodtruck, find them on Facebook @thehungrycaterpillarnh) is a new food truck offering plant-based comfort items like black bean veggie burgers, hand-cut fries, fried cauliflower, fried zucchini and summer squash and more, owned and operated by Christy and Nick Ortins of Geary Farms in Chester. Find them on Mondays from about 4 to 8 p.m. at Hampstead Health & Fitness (45 Danville Road, E. Hampstead), and on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sue Padden Real Estate (346 Main St., Sandown).

Island Bowls (islandbowlsllc.com, find them on Facebook @islandbowlsllcnh) is a mobile food wagon offering organic açaí bowls, spirulina bowls and Hawaiian shaved ice. Find them at 589 Elm St. in Milford every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Jayrard’s Java Cafe (jayrardsjava.square.site, find them on Facebook @jayrardsjavacafe) is a mobile coffee shop specializing in Costa Rican coffees, organic teas and more. The trailer appears at several locations throughout southern New Hampshire. Its next event will be during the Village Green Summer Concert Series in Pelham on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 5 p.m.

Just Like Meme’s (find them on Facebook @justlikememes) is a Rumney-based food trailer offering comfort items like doughnuts, burgers, steak tips and more. On select dates in August you can find them at the Heritage Harley-Davidson in Concord (142 Manchester St.).

Mama’s On the Run (find them on Facebook @mamasontherunn) is a Hillsborough-based food truck brought to you by the owners of Mama McDonough’s Irish Pub, offering a selection of American-style foods with an Irish twist. Their featured locations vary week to week, including at Twins Smoke Shop (80 Perkins Road, Londonderry) and at the Henniker Brewing Co. (129 Centervale Road). Follow them on Facebook for the most up-to-date details.

Messy Mike’s Barbecue & Catering Co. (messymikesbarbecue, find them on Facebook @messymikesbbq) is launching a 30-foot mobile food trailer in the coming weeks that will soon be in the parking lot of Rockingham Acres Greenhouse (159 Rockingham Road, Derry). The menu, according to owner Michael “Messy Mike” Massiglia, will include various meats sold by the pound, sandwiches and sides, including cornbread provided by Cheryl Holbert of Nomad Bakery in Derry. Details on days and times are still to be determined, but Massiglia said the trailer will likely be there at least every Thursday through Sunday.

Pressed for Time Mobile Cafe (pressedfortimecoffee.com, find them on Facebook @pressedfortimemobilecafe) offers all kinds of specialty coffees, creative takes on breakfast sandwiches, bagels, crepes and more. Find them at Seacoast Sport Cycle (129 Rockingham Road, Derry) every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Fridays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ranger’s BBQ (rangers-bbq.com, find them on Facebook @rangersbbq17) is a food trailer specializing in a variety of styles of barbecue, including North Carolina-style pulled pork and slow-cooked Memphis-style ribs, as well as smoked brisket, pulled chicken and several sides, like homemade macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, cornbread and smoked baked beans with bacon. Find them at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge (39 Shadow Lake Road, Salem) on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., and at 324 Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua (near the Tyngsboro, Mass., state line) most Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Follow them on Facebook for the most up-to-date information, as owner Doug Loranger will sometimes cater for private events on the weekends.

The Rolling Stoves (find them on Facebook) is a new Meredith-based food trailer offering menu items like burgers, hot dogs, wraps, french fries and more. They appear at several different locations, but most regularly at Twin Barns Brewing Co. (194 Daniel Webster Highway, Meredith).

Smoke N’ Butts BBQ (smokenbuttsbbq.com, find them on Facebook @smokenbuttsbbq) offers several barbecue options like pulled pork tacos and burritos, seasoned pork spareribs and smoked chicken wings. Find them at The Farmer’s Wife (20 Main St., Candia) on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Spot To-Go (find them on Facebook @thespottogo603) offers a variety of Puerto Rican options, like beef or chicken empanadas, pinchos (chicken kebabs), tostones (fried plantains), canoas (roasted yellow plantains stuffed with beef and cheese) and mofongo cones, or cone-shaped plantains, fried and stuffed with your choice of fried pork, roast pork or chicken. Follow them on social media for the most up-to-date details on their whereabouts, but they’re most often found at the Manchester Firing Line (2540 Brown Ave.) on Mondays from about 5 to 8 p.m. during the shooting range’s weekly Cruise Nights; at the JFK Memorial Coliseum (303 Beech St.) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from about 3 to 8 p.m.; and at Titan Auto Repair (151 Elm St., Manchester) on Thursdays and Fridays from about 3 to 8 p.m.

Taco Time (find them on Facebook @tacotimenh) offers authentic Mexican cuisine like tacos, quesadillas, nachos and occasional specials, like tres leches, coconut rice pudding, three-bean chili with cornbread and fresh fish tacos with haddock or shrimp. Find them at 244 Elm St. in Milford (in front of the former Lefty’s Lanes bowling alley) every Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Up In Your Grill (upinyourgrill.com, find them on Facebook @upinyourgrill) is a Merrimack-based barbecue food trailer offering pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket, sausage, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, cornbread and more. Find them at Vault Motor Storage (526 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack) most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., except for when the trailer is hired for a private event. Hours for the week are always posted to the Facebook page.

Walking Gourmet (find them on Facebook @walkinggourmetnh) is a food truck converted from an old church bus from Ohio, offering an ever-changing menu of comfort foods. Popular items include unique takes on burgers, chicken sandwiches and rangoons. The Sunday chicken sandwich (pictured on the cover of this issue), for example, features fried chicken breast with Swiss cheese, Brussels sprout and radish slaw, garlic dill pickles, black pepper aioli and maple Dijon. Find them on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge (39 Shadow Lake Road, Salem), and on Fridays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Griffin Park (101 Range Road, Windham).

Wander Roll (wanderroll.com, find them on Facebook @wanderroll) is a new mobile food trailer launched by Andrew and Inga Weakly of Bow, specializing in Vietnamese-style egg rolls. They also offer fresh limeade and are in the process of introducing Vietnamese iced coffee in collaboration with Revelstoke Coffee in Concord. They’ll be at Lithermans Limited Brewery (126 Hall St., Unit B, Concord) on Sunday, Aug. 2, from 2 to 6 p.m., and will likely appear at other venues and pop-up events later this summer.

Whisked Away Cafe (find them on Facebook @whiskedawayfoodtruck) offers a diverse menu of sandwiches, wraps, chicken fingers, empanadas, sides, salads and more. Find them at 485 Route 106 South in Loudon, near the Cascade Campground, most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (hours vary).

Winni Wagon (winniwagonfoodtruck.com, find them on Facebook @winniwagon) offers a menu of fresh comfort foods, many of which are named after different islands on Lake Winnipesaukee. The Cow Island, for example, features a four-ounce Angus patty topped with macaroni and cheese and a drizzle of barbecue sauce, while the Mark Island is a cheesesteak sandwich with peppers and onions. The menu also includes sides like loaded cajun fries and drinks like homemade strawberry lemonade. Find them most Mondays at Trustworthy Hardware (1084 Union Ave., Laconia) and Thursdays at the Irwin Hyundai dealership (446 Union Ave., Laconia), from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on both days. If the truck does not have a private event booked on Fridays or Saturdays, it will sometimes appear at Trustworthy Hardware on those days as well, according to owner Janine Geddis.

Licensing and permitting
All food trucks and trailers must have a mobile food unit license from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. If a truck is operating in any one of the state’s 15 self-inspecting cities and towns — Bedford, Berlin, Claremont, Concord, Derry, Dover, Exeter, Keene, Manchester, Merrimack, Nashua, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Rochester and Salem — its owner must additionally have a hawkers and peddlers license issued by that municipality.
Additional single-day permits are also required for a truck to participate in an event such as a festival. Some food truckers, either to save money on fees or because an event in a self-inspecting city or town has been canceled, have chosen not to renew their hawkers and peddlers licenses.
Earlier this year a bill had been introduced in the New Hampshire Legislature calling for the establishment of a committee to study food truck regulation, with the goal to streamline the licensing process. SB 479 was passed in the Senate with amendment on March 5 before it died in the House, but Sen. Harold French of Franklin, the bill’s prime sponsor, said he plans to raise the issue again during the next legislative session.

Featured image: Sunday chicken sandwich (fried chicken breast, Swiss cheese, Brussels sprout and radish slaw, garlic dill pickles, black pepper aioli and maple Dijon) from the Walking Gourmet food truck. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

Kiddie Pool 20/07/23

Comic check in
Free Comic Book Summer
, the Covid-era-reworking of Free Comic Book Day, kicked off in mid-July and continues into early September. Each Wednesday, a different handful of free, special for Free Comic Book Day comics are available. You can find a schedule of what’s hitting stores when at freecomicbookday.com (with all-ages rated books scheduled each week). All-ages comic books set for release on Aug. 5 include LumberJanes: Farewell to Summer, The Tick, Zoo Patrol Squad: Kingdom Caper and Bibi & Miyu/The Fox & Little Tanuki. Check in with your favorite shop (you can find a list of stores on the Free Comic Book Day website) for their Free Comic Book Summer procedures. For example, at Double Midnight  Comics (which has shops at 245 Maple St. in Manchester and 67 S. Main St. in Concord; dmcomics.com), customers can request the Free Comic Book Day comics on their release day, according to an email from the store back in July. At Jetpack Comics (37 N. Main St. in Rochester;  jetpackcomics.com), they’re offering a different free comic book every day (with a teen-rated and all-ages rated option each day as well), according to their website. They are also selling bags of 10 Free Comic  Book Day or other special or promo comics for $7 each week, with either an all-ages or teen-and-mature option (the bags are available for pickup or for mail order for an extra $7). 

Worlds of magic
The 2020 Bank of New Hampshire Children’s Summer Series continues at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) with Aladdinon Thursday, July 30, and Alice in Wonderland, Tuesday, Aug. 4, through Thursday, Aug. 6. The kid-friendly shows are at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and are about 45 minutes long. Tickets cost $10 and are only being sold over the phone.

See SEE Science
This weekend is the first of two scheduled “members only” weekends at SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St. in Manchester; see-sciencecenter.org, 669-0400). On Saturdays and Sundays (Aug. 1 & 2 and Aug. 8 & 9), the museum will offer admission by pre-reservation to members from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m. (between 1 and 2 p.m., the staff will do a deep cleaning of the museum), according to the website. Guests will be asked to stay six feet apart, a temperature check will be done at the door and everybody above the age of 2 will be required to wear masks, the website said. Memberships start at $100 and include a year of free admission for everybody in a household, the website said. The museum will reopen to the general public weekends only starting Aug. 15 and, as with the member weekends, visitors will need to book a time slot in advance, according to a press release.

Ripe and ready

Pick-your-own blueberries and raspberries

After an unusually short season for strawberries at some local farms, pick-your-own blueberries and raspberries are back, now through July or into August, depending on the weather conditions and the status of the crops.

Samantha Fay of Sunnycrest Farm said too much precipitation late in the fall and inconsistent temperatures in the winter were to blame for the poor showing of strawberries.

“We only had [pick-your-own] strawberries for two days before we were picked out,” she said. “We usually have five beds, but this year we only had two, so we lost some.”

Blueberries and raspberries, on the other hand, have been going very well. Fay said both are available now for pick-your-own every day from 7 a.m. to noon.

Customers normally purchase a container and return to the farm stand after they’re finished picking to have it weighed. But in an effort to maintain social distancing and limit the amount of surface contact, Fay said all containers are being provided with a flat rate.

Similar measures are being taken at Apple Hill Farm in Concord, which is also offering pick-your-own blueberries and raspberries after recently concluding its strawberry season.

“Usually you have to come back into the farm stand and have [your berries] weighed, but we’ve eliminated that this year,” co-owner Diane Souther said.

According to Souther, some late varieties of blueberries at Apple Hill Farm are usually around until about mid-September. Raspberries will likely last another couple of weeks from now, depending on the weather.

“Raspberries like the heat, so they’ve been going full force and doing great with the hot days we’ve been having,” she said.

Apple Hill Farm is open for pick-your-own every Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon. While you’re not required to wear a mask while out on the farm picking berries, Souther said the farm does ask customers to wear one inside the farm stand and to keep children close by.

At Berrybogg Farm in Strafford, blueberries are ripening right on schedule, according to owner Julie Butterfield. For the first time this year you can call the farm to schedule a pickup for blueberries they’ll pick for you.

Bob Marr of Durocher Farm in Litchfield, which features three acres of more than 2,500 blueberry bushes for picking, said there are separate designated entrances and exits for pickers.

Masks are recommended, but not required. Picking hours are daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., with additional evening hours on Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We have an outstanding crop this year,” Marr said. “We have five varieties that extend our picking season into late August.”

At Berry Good Farm in Goffstown, pick-your-own blueberries are available seven days a week. Co-owner Rich Bailey said more checkout stands on the farm and extra parking have been implemented to encourage social distancing.

“It’s different every year, but a lot of times we’ll make it until the end of August,” Bailey said. “We have five to six different varieties that last for quite a while.”

Where to pick your own blueberries and raspberries
Most of these local farms will offer pick-your-own blueberries through the middle or the end of August, depending on the weather conditions and the availability of the crop. Some also offer a few varieties of raspberries as well. Do you know of a farm offering pick-your-own blueberries or raspberries that isn’t on this list? Let us know at food@hippopress.com.

Apple Hill Farm
580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862, applehillfarmnh.com
What: Blueberries and raspberries
Picking hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon

Berry Good Farm
234 Parker Road, Goffstown, 497-8138, find them on Facebook
What: Blueberries
Cost: $3.09 per pound (cash or checks only)
Picking hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Berrybogg Farm
650 Province Road, Strafford, 664-2100, berryboggfarm.com
What: Blueberries
Cost: $2.75 per pound ($2.65 per pound for seniors)
Picking hours: Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Blueberry Bay Farm
38 Depot Road, Stratham, 580-1612, blueberrybayfarm.com
What: Blueberries and raspberries
Picking hours: Daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Blue Moon Berry Farm
195 Waldron Hill Road, Warner, 410-9577, find them on Facebook
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Brookdale Fruit Farm
41 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240, brookdalefruitfarm.com
What: Blueberries and raspberries
Cost: Blueberries are $3.25 per pound; raspberries are $5 per pint
Picking hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Carter Hill Orchard
73 Carter Hill Road, Concord, 225-2625, carterhillapples.com
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., when blueberries are available; calling ahead is recommended.

Durocher Farm
157 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield, 494-8364, pickyourownberries.com
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m., now through mid-August.

Grandpa’s Farm
143 Clough Hill Road, Loudon, 783-4384, grandpasfarmnh.com
What: Blueberries
Cost: $2.75 per pound
Picking hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to dusk

Grounding Stone Farm
289 Maple St., Contoocook, 748-2240, groundingstonefarm.com
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kimball Fruit Farm
Route 122, on the Hollis and Pepperell, Mass., border, 978-433-9751, kimball.farm
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lavoie’s Farm
172 Nartoff Road, Hollis, 882-0072, lavoiesfarm.com
What: Blueberries
Cost: $3.99 per pound
Picking hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Norland Berries
164 N. Barnstead Road, Barnstead, 776-2021, norlandberries.com
What: Blueberries
Cost: $2.50 per pound ($2.25 per pound for seniors)
Picking hours: Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m

Pustizzi Fruit Farm
148 Corn Hill Road, Boscawen, 496-1924, find them on Facebook
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rossview Farm
85 District 5 Road, Concord, 228-4872, rossviewfarm.com
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: Opens daily at 7:30 a.m.; closing times vary depending on the crop and the weather conditions

Saltbox Farm
321 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 436-7978, find them on Facebook
What: Blueberries and raspberries
Cost: Blueberries are $4 per pound; raspberries are $5.65 per pound
Picking hours: Tuesday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stark Farm
30 Stark Lane, Dunbarton, 854-2677, starkfarmblueberries.com
What: Blueberries
Picking hours: Sunday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; calling ahead the day of or the night before is recommended.

Sunnycrest Farm
59 High Range Road, Londonderry, 432-7753, sunnycrestfarmnh.com
What: Blueberries and raspberries
Picking hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to noon

Featured Photo: Blueberries from Berry Good Farm in Goffstown. Courtesy photo.

Blueberry balsamic salad dressing
Courtesy of Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord

1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt and pepper

Slightly simmer the blueberries in the water. After they soften up, whip them slightly and add in the remaining ingredients. Stir together and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Drizzle on fresh green salad, or use as a marinade on grilled chicken or fish.

Big Nana’s blueberry buckle
Courtesy of Rich Bailey of Berry Good Farm in Goffstown

¼ cup butter or margarine
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
2 cups blueberries
½ teaspoon salt

For the crumb topping (ingredients blended together):
½ cup soft butter
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter, add sugar and beat until light. Add egg and beat well. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and beat until smooth. Fold in blueberries. Pour into a greased 9x9x2 pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Kiddie Pool 20/07/23

A show for the littles
The 2020 Bank of New Hampshire Children’s Summer Series continues at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) with The Little Mermaid on Thursday, July 23, and Aladdin, Tuesday, July 28, through Thursday, July 30. The kid-friendly shows are at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and are about 45 minutes long. Tickets cost $10 and are only being sold over the phone.

A show for the bigs
Catch The Goonies (PG, 1985) Friday, July 24, at 8:45-ish p.m. at Fieldhouse Sports drive-in (12 Tallwood Drive in Bow; fieldhousesports.com, 266-4646). Like many 1980s PG movies, this may feel more modern-day PG-13; Common Sense Media pegs it at 10+. Admission costs $25 per vehicle (for up to four people, $5 for each additional person).

Your backyard animal adventure

Hovering hummingbirds, colorful salamanders, the occasional porcupine and more neighborhood wildlife

Curious about the wildlife you’ve seen during your neighborhood hikes and backyard hangouts? Rebecca Suomala, a biologist for New Hampshire Audubon, and Lindsay Webb, wildlife educator for New Hampshire Fish and Game, shared fun facts about 22 birds, insects, mammals and reptiles you might see in the nature around you.

By Matt Ingersoll & Angie Sykeny


Blackpoll warbler
Most likely seen during the summer into early September, especially in spruce-fir forests
“Blackpoll,” Suomala said, refers to the black cap of this bird seen in males, similar to that of a chickadee or a goldfinch. Blackpoll warblers are characterized by their white breasts, black streaks and yellow feet. They also weigh less than half an ounce. Beginning in September, these birds make long-distance migrations, flying non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean for nearly 2,000 miles before reaching their wintering grounds in South America.

Northern cardinal
Most commonly seen at lower elevations
According to Suomala, the northern cardinal is the only species of cardinal you’ll find in North America. Over the past several decades the species has extended its range farther north, and it’s now found almost everywhere in the Granite State except in higher elevations. Males are bright red with a fat red bill, while females are a brownish color with red highlights and an orange-red bill. The northern cardinal is a year-round, non-migrating resident of New Hampshire.

Ruby-throated hummingbird
Most likely seen during the summer into early September
At around three to three-and-a-half inches long, the ruby-throated hummingbird, Suomala said, is the smallest bird that can be found in New Hampshire. It makes its home in the Northeast in the summer before migrating to Central America in the winter. Males have a bright red throat with feathers that are reflective in the sunlight. These birds feed on nectar from honeysuckle plants and cardinal flowers. According to Suomala, this hummingbird’s wings can flap up to 53 times per second and its heartbeat rests at 250 times per minute. A male can go into a dive at more than 60 miles per hour.


Green darner dragonfly
Most likely seen in your backyard if you live on or near a body of water
Green darners are among the largest dragonflies you’ll see in the Granite State, growing up to three inches long, about the size of a hummingbird, with a wingspan of another three inches, Suomala said. You’re most likely to see them around water — these dragonflies migrate to the north in the spring and south in the fall. Females will typically lay their eggs on vegetation in or near the water. In its nymph phase (or larva phase) it lives entirely underwater, feeding on insects, tadpoles and small fish, before the dragonfly emerges out of the water as an adult.

Luna moth
Not likely to see them often; your best chances are at night, or around big lights, in June or July, when the adults emerge from their cocoons
These bright green moths, according to Suomala, are commonly known as giant silk moths because of their size, which can be as large as seven inches with a wingspan of four-and-a-half inches. They used to be very common in New Hampshire, but their population has since declined. If you live in a city you’re less likely to see them, because the caterpillars feed on trees like white birches and hickories. Caterpillars will eat all summer before they spin a cocoon, where they spend the winter before emerging in June or July.

Monarch butterfly
Very likely to see them at the peak of summertime and into the early fall
Monarch butterflies are characterized by their large orange and black markings. According to Suomala, they spend their winters in Mexico, but the same butterflies don’t make it all the way back up north. In fact, it takes about three generations for them to return to New Hampshire in the summer. The caterpillars feed on milkweed and eventually make a chrysalis, which takes them about 8 to 15 days to hatch from.

Large mammals

Black bear
Common, with an increasing population throughout New Hampshire.
Black bears are omnivores, eating with the seasons whatever they can find. “They have a great memory and sense of smell, so keep your trash locked up tight and reduce other bear food sources such as pet food, bird seed, and keep your grill cleaned up and secured,” Webb said.

Sightings have been on the rise in recent years, especially in the southern part of the state
According to Webb, the bobcat gets its name from its “bobbed” tail, which is shorter than the tails on most domesticated cats. The average length of a bobcat tail is around six inches but can reach up to 10 inches. A mother bobcat may raise a litter of two to four kittens in the spring. Elusive and lovers of solitude, these nocturnal feline predators are always on the hunt for rabbits, squirrels, mice, chipmunks and birds, Webb said, adding that they can swim and have little hesitation going into the water in pursuit of their prey.

Reside throughout New Hampshire, but are most commonly seen in the northern part of the state
Moose are active all day but do most of their moving around in the early morning or late afternoon, when the temperatures are cooler. They’re also, according to Webb, “pretty good swimmers.” “They love to feed on wetland plants and will dive down under the water to get at aquatic vegetation,” she said.

White-tailed deer
Common throughout New Hampshire in a variety of habitats, such as fields, farms, neighborhoods and woodlands
Though white-tailed deer prefer to hide out in the woods, they often make an appearance along woodland edges of towns and cities and in many farming communities. “In the summer, you may be lucky to see a fawn curled up in some tall grass or in a hidden spot in the woods,” Webb said. “Don’t be alarmed; this young one is not abandoned. Fawns are left alone for long periods of time while their mother goes off to feed and lead predators away, but she will come back for her fawn.”

Reptiles and amphibians

Gray treefrog
Much more likely to be heard than seen
Despite their name, gray treefrogs have the ability to change their color to match their background, from black to almost white or even a greenish-gray. Suomala said you can identify them by their trilling call at night. They are year-round natives of New Hampshire, hibernating underground. In fact, about 40 percent of a gray treefrog’s body can freeze — it can survive freezing temperatures by producing its own glycerol that’s circulated through its bloodstream and vital organs.

Painted turtle
This is the most commonly found species of turtle in the state
You can find painted turtles statewide, anywhere there are ponds. They reach a maximum length of just over seven inches; according Suomala, their sexual maturity is determined by the length of their shell, not by how old they are. Males require a length of at least three inches before they can reproduce, whereas for females, the required length of their shell is about four inches. If you see a turtle moving away from a pond, don’t move it in the direction of the water; Suomala said this is because female turtles are moving toward an area with sand or loose soil to lay their eggs. Painted turtles are also year-round residents of the Granite State, hibernating below the mud in the bottom of ponds.

Red eft salamander
Most likely found in damp, rainy conditions
Also known as the red-spotted newt, this amphibian has two different stages, according to Suomala — a water stage where it is characterized by its olive-green color with red spots, and a land stage, where it’s a bright orange-red color. You’ll most likely see them on land if you’re walking on a trail just after it has rained, she said. The female will lay its eggs underwater. Once the salamander reaches the land stage, it spends the rest of its life that way, for about two to three years.

Small mammals

Common throughout New Hampshire in ponds, lakes and other wetlands
“If you’re lucky to have a lake or pond in your backyard, beavers might be a common sight for you,” Webb said, adding that, if you see one beaver, a whole family, consisting of anywhere from three to eight beavers, probably isn’t too far away. They can be difficult to spot as their dark brown fur blends in well with dark water, but there is “no mistaking the ‘slap’ of their tail when they feel threatened,” Webb said. Beavers leave a lot of clear evidence of their presence, including chewed stumps along the edges of bodies of water; stick dams that hold back water, creating deeper ponds; and stick lodges that extend down into the water. They may also build their lodges on islands or along the shore.

Eastern chipmunk
Common throughout New Hampshire, in woodland edges and forests
Though similar to squirrels, chipmunks can be differentiated by their size — they are a bit smaller than squirrels — and by their coloring, which includes brown fur with black and white stripes that run down their backs. According to Webb, chipmunks also have extra skin in their cheeks, allowing them to expand their mouths to carry more food back to their burrows. They often build their burrows at the base of a tree or under a stone wall. In the winter they spend most of their time sleeping, waking up every few days to eat from their stockpile of food. In a good year, when food is abundant, chipmunks can produce up to two litters of pups. “If you see a lot of chipmunks this year, you can bet that food availability was really high the previous year,” Webb said.

Eastern cottontail
Common in southern New Hampshire, often seen nibbling on clover and grass in backyards and parks
Eastern cottontails have multiple litters a year. In New Hampshire, they can have up to four or five. The mother cottontail builds a small shallow nest in the grass, well-disguised, with dead fern leaves covering the hole. “She only visits [the nest] a few times a day, so if you find a nest of kits — baby cottontails — just leave them be,” Webb said. “They are not abandoned; their mother will be back soon.” A rarer species of cottontail, the New England cottontail, can also be seen within a smaller range, restricted to the southern part of the state.

Eastern gray squirrel
Common throughout most of New Hampshire in woods and neighborhoods with plenty of deciduous trees
While gray squirrels have, as their name implies, mostly gray fur, there can be some variations in color. “Melanistic gray squirrels are black in coloration and albinistic gray squirrels look white,” Webb said. “Sometimes, small localized populations of black squirrels show up and persist for a few years. Gray squirrels often bury more acorns and seeds than they can recover, facilitating seed dispersal and resulting in the growth of many new trees every year.

Most likely found in forested areas
Fishers — or “fisher cats,” if you prefer — are not actually cats. According to Suomala, they’re part of the mustelid (or weasel) family, with brown fur, a long tail and a pointed nose. They have a reputation for emitting a loud, caterwauling scream. But in reality, Suomala said, this sound is more likely made by a fox, while fishers are generally silent, instead occasionally making low chuckling or hissing noises. They’re the only animal in the state that regularly targets porcupines.

North American porcupine
Most likely seen in forested areas, at night
One of nearly two dozen species of porcupines throughout the world, the North American porcupine is found throughout New Hampshire. According to NH Wildlife Journal, a publication from New Hampshire Fish & Game, porcupines are large rodents covered in around 30,000 sharp quills. These quills, Suomala said, are hollow hairs with barbed tips made of keratin. Some people believe porcupines have the ability to shoot or throw their quills. In reality, Suomala said, this is not the case, although they can raise their quills in self-defense. Porcupines are nocturnal animals that feed on woody vegetation. They do not hibernate in the winter.

Common throughout New Hampshire, in wetlands, woods, farmlands and neighborhoods
Raccoons often do their food hunting, with much success, in human-populated areas and claim their den sites under porches and sheds. In fact, raccoon populations tend to be higher in cities than in their natural woodland and forest habitats. “Raccoons have easily adapted to the presence of humans and will gladly check your trash can for scraps of food,” Webb said. “[If] you’re battling a raccoon family this summer, keep your trash locked up tight or store it in a secure building instead of outside.”

Red squirrel
Common throughout New Hampshire in forests with plenty of coniferous trees
“These chattery squirrels are quick to let you know when you are bothering them with their red bushy tails raised, announcing themselves with loud trills, chatters and chips,” Webb said. Surviving on food they stashed during the winter months, the squirrels often forget to dig up all of their hidden seeds and nuts each year, which then grow into trees.

Especially likely to be found if you have a garden in your backyard
Not to be confused with moles, voles are small rodents that are experiencing a population boom in New Hampshire right now, according to Suomala. They look similar to mice, except they have smaller eyes and smaller ears. Voles are a nuisance in backyard gardens and orchards, but are actually a key food source for large birds like hawks and owls, as well as foxes and coyotes, she said. There are two types — meadow voles, and pine voles, which are slightly smaller, lighter in color and have a shorter tail than meadow voles. One female vole can produce four to eight litters per year, Suomala said, with about five young per litter.

Kiddie Pool 20/07/16

At the Audubon
The New Hampshire Audubon is offering an in-person event at the Massabesic Center (26 Audubon Way in Auburn; nhaudubon.org, 668-2045) on Saturday, July 18, from 10 to 11 a.m. Learn to “Be a Nature Detective,” a program geared toward families and featuring outdoor exploration (families will have their own investigation area), according to an email from the Audubon. Masks will be required and the center (and restrooms) will remain closed, the email said. Advance registration is required. The cost is $30 per family.

At the drive-ins
Teens and up might want to check outFootloose (1984, PG but Common Sense Media pegs it at 13 and up). The movie will screen Friday, July 17, at 8:50 p.m. (or so, depending on when it gets dark) at Fieldhouse Sports Drive In (12 Tallwood Drive in Bow; fieldhousesports.com). Tickets can be purchased online for $20 per car (for up to four people, each additional person is $5).

On Monday, July 20, head to Portsmouth (the Pease campus of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital) for The Lost Summer Drive-In Movie Series, presented by the Prescott Park Arts Festival (which canceled its summer programming) and sponsored by Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. Drive-in movie-experiences have been created in two locations — Pease on Monday nights and Blue Mermaid/Tributary Brewing in Kittery, Maine, on Friday and Saturday nights (on July 17 and July 18, the movie is The Princess Bride) — with programming scheduled to run through Sept. 5. See the movies and reserve a spot (suggested donations are $25 per car; pre-bagged popcorn is available for $6.24) at prescottpark.org/event/seacoastnh-drive-in-movies.

Or head to Hampton Beach on Monday, July 20, for a free screening of Toy Story 4 (G, 2019). “Movie Night Mondays at the Beach” are scheduled to run through Aug. 31; movies begin at dusk, about 8 p.m., according to hamptonbeach.org, where you can find a list of upcoming movies and an explanation of procedures. Admission is free.

Kiddie Pool 20/07/09

Cars and food trucks
The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road in Londonderry; aviationmuseumofnh.org, 669-4820) will hold its annual Classic Car Show outdoors on its grounds on Saturday, July 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, which welcomes vehicles of all makes and eras, including odd or unusual vehicles, will include a raffle, a yard sale and several food trucks, according to a press release (which also noted that while the museum remains closed, portable toilets will be available). Admission costs $5 per adult; children 12 and under are free; admission is cash only, the release said. The museum’s reopening is scheduled for Saturday, July 18.

In-person science
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Dr. in Concord; starhop.com, 271-7827) reopened last week and will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., in July and August, according to the website. Admission costs $11.50 for adults, $10.50 for students and seniors, $8.50 for children ages 3 to 12 and free for children up to age 2, plus an additional $5 per person for planetarium shows, the website said. Visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear masks and sanitizing wipes will be provided to wipe down exhibits before use, according to the website, which runs down the list of other protocols.

SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St. in Manchester; see-sciencecenter.org, 669-0400) has scheduled a few “members only” weekends in early August. On the first two Saturdays and Sundays (Aug. 1 and Aug. 2, and Aug. 8 and Aug. 9), the museum will offer admission by pre-reservation to members between the hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. (between 1 and 2 p.m., the staff will do a deep cleaning of the museum), according to the website. Guests will be asked to stay six feet apart, a temperature check will be done at the door and everybody above the age of 2 will be required to wear masks, the website said. Memberships start at $100 and include a year of free admission for everybody in a household, the website said. See the website for details about the member weekends and the in-person summer camps, which start July 27.

Family movies
Catch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PG-13, 2019) at the Merrimack Parks & Recreation’s Movies in the Park series at Wasserman Park (116 Naticook Road in Merrimack) on Friday, July 10, at 8:30 p.m. A movie that ties up the nine-movie saga of the Skywalker family, Rise of Skywalker is two hours and 22 minutes long. The screening is free, open to residents and non-residents and weather-dependent. See merrimackparksandrec.org or call 882-1046.

For more family films, check out some of the offerings at area theaters, which are screening older films mixed in with some of the 2020 releases that have made it to theaters. For the younger moviegoers, check out Trolls World Tour (PG, released in April), which is screening at Chunky’s in Manchester, Nashua and Pelham, andDespicable Me(PG, 2010) screening at both Chunky’s and the Milford Drive-In, where it is paired with Shrek(PG, 2001). For older moviegoers, check out the double feature of Ghostbusters (PG, 1984 — so like a 1980s PG, be warned) and Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13, 2019). The 1984 Ghostbusters is also screening at Chunky’s, as is The Goonies(PG, 1985) andJaws (PG, 1975). 2016’s The Jungle Book (PG) is also screening at Chunky’s. See milforddrivein.com and chunkys.com for details. These film line-ups are through July 9 and may change on July 10.

Kiddie Pool 20/06/25

In-person summer camp!
SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St. in Manchester; 669-0400, see-sciencecenter.org) is accepting registrations now for its in-person summer camps, which will be held in July and August, according to a press release. FIRST PLACE Invention Challenge camp (with sessions the weeks of Aug. 3 and Aug. 10; the cost is $350 per week) for ages 9 to 14 will feature Lego Mindstorms robots and a brand new FIRST Lego League Challenge for the 2020-2021 competition season, the release said. Camp Summer Science, for ages 7 to 13 (the cost is $250 per week), will feature an exploration of different science topics and run sessions the weeks of July 27, Aug. 3 and Aug. 10. The camps will feature small-size camp sessions and procedures to fit with the state guidance for day camps, the release said. Discounts are available for SEE members and families registering multiple children, according to the website.

More Mo
Earlier this spring, New England author Mo Willems of, among others, the Elephant & Piggie books and the Pigeon books, hosted a three-week, 15-episode series called “Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!” (they’re still available at kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems) that featured him in his studio showing his artwork and demonstrating doodles (of his characters and other drawings). Since then, more content has been added to the site. In May, Willems released four episodes of “Mo Willems’ Thank-O-Rama Thank You Thursdays,” which featured more doodling along with some thanks passed along to groups like teachers (a “Thank-O-Rama” wheel helps him decide who to thank). The newest video is called “The Yo-Yo Mo Show: An Evening of Musical Doodling” and features Yo-Yo Ma playing cello while Willems draws as well as Willems showing off some cool paper creations to Ma’s music. The website also features a playlist so you can listen and draw yourself.

More drawing inspiration
Find more drawing inspiration at the website of New England author Jarrett Lerner (of the EngiNerds series), jarrettlerner.com/activities. In addition to blank and half-done comics pages, the website’s “Activities” page features a series of “Thank You” prompt sheets (for teachers, sanitation workers and others), writing and drawing prompts and “How To Draw” pages for drawing pizza, robots, cats, fish, trucks and more.

Movie news
If your kids loved (or just gave you a moment of peace thanks to) Trolls World Tour (PG), released by Universal via video on demand in April, get ready to have another movie night/94 minutes to yourself. The animated movie, which features the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, had its digital for-purchase release on June 23 and will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD on Tuesday, July 7.

Kiddie Pool 20/06/18

Camp for free

Camp CHaD, a program from Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, is registering campers now for the virtual camp program to begin on Monday, July 6, according to CHaD’s website. Campers will receive weekday emails with virtual classes on subjects such as arts and crafts, movements and STEM, the website said. Go to chadkids.org to register (registration is free though CHaD is accepting donations at dhmcalumdev.hitchcock.org/camp-chad).

Camp in a box

Looking for at-home, summer-camp-like activities that don’t require keeping to a schedule? The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover (childrens-museum.org) is offering “Stay and Play Summer Camp Kits” — mini camper kits are available for ages 4 to 5 and discovery camper kits are available for ages 6 to 10, according to the website. The kits have “25 hands-on activities with instructions, a calendar with additional activity ideas and most of the materials needed to complete the project,” the website said. The kits will include opportunities for check-ins with museum educators and don’t require screen time, though some activities will have optional YouTube videos, according to the website. The cost of the kit is $100 ($85 for members, $160 for a “Community Builder” option which pays for an additional kit to go to a family in need), the website said. The kits will be available for curbside pick-up the last week of June, the website said.


And speaking of the Children’s Museum, catch a free “Wow Magic Workshop” on Monday, June 22, at 3 p.m. for kids ages 8 and up, according to the website (childrens-museum.org), where you can register for the interactive online event. Wayne and Kali Moulton of Sages Entertainment will teach magic effects that can be created with items from around the house, the website said. Register in advance.

Kiddie Pool 6/11/2020

Animal adventure

Sneak in a little learning during your walks through nature. The New Hampshire Fish and Game department have Wildlife of New Hampshire cards available on their website at wildlife.state.nh.us/nongame/cards.html. The two-page color pdfs are on subjects such as “Wildlife of Young Forests,” “Backyard Wildlife of New Hampshire” and “Wildlife of Rivers and Streams” as well as cards for hawks, wild bees, frogs, dragonflies, different kinds of birds and more.

Join a circus

The Flying Gravity Circus based in Wilton will be offering an at-home program called “Circus in a Box” this summer. With two programs (one for ages 6 to 8 and one for 9 to 14) and three weeklong sessions, “Circus in a Box” delivers circus-related materials (such as a puppet stage for the younger group, juggling balls for the older group and clown noses to everybody) in a box and then offers five days of programming for kids to follow at home, according to the website. The cost is $100 and camps run the weeks of June 29, July 6 and July 13. See flyinggravitycircus.org.

Circus Smirkus, the Vermont-based youth circus that has traveled to New Hampshire in past summers, won’t be touring this summer but Smirkus fans can still get in some clowning. Circus Smirkus will present Smirk-O-Vision, an online presentation of six events. A season pass costs $90 or individual events (six are scheduled) cost $15 to $18, according to the website, which lists the shows including “Inside the Circus: Backstage at the HQ” (on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.), which looks at how they put on the shows each year, and “Inside the Circus: Directors’ Commentary” (July 2 at 7 p.m.). The group is also offering Smirkus@Home programming on subjects including juggling, magic, clowning, contortion and more, with classes for kids as young as 5 and schedules that include one-day classes, weeklong classes or sessions with weekly classes. See smirkus.org.

Bee prep

Netflix’s new documentary Spelling the Dream (see page 24 for a review) is all about kids (and their families) competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The movie is rated G and might be a good way to inspire kids who are “meh” about spelling but like competition, trophies and the idea of going on ESPN. And, if they catch the Bee bug (or if you are just looking for ways to get kids spelling practice), you can check out the official Scripps app Word Club. It has a paid component, of course, but it offers some free word lists that users can be quizzed on in a variety of ways. The app presents the phonetic spelling, audio of someone saying the word, definition, part of speech and other information similar to what you’d get in a bee.

Photo courtesy of https://www.smirkus.org/

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