Flowers fit for a dog

In celebration of Daffy

Daphne mezereum was the registered name of my corgi, Daffy, who passed away on Aug. 25. Born in 2006, Daffy was my constant companion who was always ready for an adventure — or especially a meal or snack. When her back legs gave out, she figured out ways to propel herself forward with glee — ignoring the inconvenience, and trying to overcome the pain. Finally, when the pain was nearly constant, we reluctantly called the vet.

We buried Daffy alongside her cat friend, Winnie, who passed naturally at age 23 in June, and Abby and Stanley and Emily, all good dogs who have passed on and been buried in a quiet shady place on our property. Each had their graves decorated with flowers from the garden. Let’s take a look at some of the plants I grow, and that I used to commemorate Daffy and celebrate her life.

Of course I cut branches of her namesake, Daphne mezereum or February Daphne. It is a fabulous shrub that blooms in May here in Cornish Flat, displaying pinky-purple fragrant flowers in abundance. It is slow-growing, so easy to maintain. No need to do much pruning, other than stems I cut to force in a vase each year in April.

And I put in her grave a couple of stems from a Harry Lauder’s walking stick shrub. A walking stick seems fitting for a dog that had trouble walking. It’s a curly hazelnut that would not really be good as a walking stick — there are no straight bits. Mine is a variety called ‘Red Majestic’ of the European filbert (Corylus avellana).

In the spring the leaves are a deep red-purple but develop a greenish tinge as the summer progresses. I have mine in a flower bed and have been able to keep it to a six-foot-wide and -tall tree by annual pruning.

And I sent Daffy off with diamonds: Pink Diamond, that is. It’s a lovely variety of hydrangea paniculata. I bought one that is a “standard,” meaning that it came with a straight trunk that had branches grafted on at the four-foot-high level. So it started out as a shrub with some height, and never suffered from the awkwardness common to many hydrangeas that start as multi-stemmed shrubs.

At the bottom of Daffy’s grave I placed boughs from a Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). This is a native evergreen tree that grows well in sun or shade. In 1972 I dug up several growing wild in a field nearby and planted them as a hedge. They are now 50 feet tall or so. My late sister, Ruth Anne, lived in Canada and loved Daffy fiercely, calling her “the dog of joy.” So these boughs commemorated them both. I no longer promote planting hemlocks because an insect pest, the wooly adelgid, is decimating them, though thankfully not in my area, as yet.

Of the woody plants, the last I placed in Daffy’s grave was a stem from my Bartlett pear. Daffy, always hungry, would gorge on the pears that fell on the ground beneath this tree, so it seemed fitting to put a branch in.

I cut fresh perennial flowers for Daphne’s grave, too. Phlox have been gorgeous this year, disease-free and fragrant. Daffy is the only dog I’ve had who noticed flowers. I have a picture of her checking out a vase of tulips. But phlox is in all its glory in sunny beds, so I cut some.

Daffy had a sunny disposition, even at the end when she was in pain, so I included a sunflower. Like Daphne, it was a short one, perhaps ‘Teddy Bear.’ There are so many great sunflowers out there, many short and with multiple flowers branching off the main stem. They are easily started from seed. Chipmunks love them when they are just starting, so I grow them in six-packs until they are tall enough to ignore the rodents. Deer love sunflowers, too, however, when they get bigger.

And roses went in the grave, too. My favorites are the Knockout roses. Perhaps because they are not fragrant, they don’t seem to be attractive to the Japanese beetles that can plague old-fashioned roses. They are fast-growing and can reach a height of four feet in a couple of months even if all above-ground stems died over the winter. The one I selected for Daffy has had 25 blossoms most of the time this summer.

Then we added some Shasta daisies, those wonderful, cheerful flowers with white petals around a central yellow button. My patch of those gets a bit bigger each year in full sun. And Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia), a six-foot-tall orange annual in the daisy or sunflower family. We start lots of these by seed each year, and I am always delighted by the results.

I suppose there were other flowers we picked for Daphne’s last day, though it’s all a bit of a blur. I do know that flowers always lift my spirits, and certainly they needed some lifting that day. But I’m doing better now, and being in the garden has helped. Later this fall I will plant bulbs on her grave – snowdrops. They are the first flowers to bloom in spring, and always bring me joy. And after all, she was the Dog of Joy.

Glorious hydrangeas

Now in full bloom

When I was a boy, I always took note of cemeteries as we drove by them. I’d lost a beloved grandfather, the original Henry Homeyer, and my mother’s mom. I was taken with a shrub or small tree in cemeteries that I called either “the snowball bush” or the “cemetery bush.”

Back in the day what I now call the PeeGee Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) was present in every cemetery. They bloom for months, require no work other than planting, and will grow anywhere. Now there are dozens of species and varieties of hydrangeas, offering a great choice for small gardens — these never get huge, like a maple or an elm.

In the nursery trade the PeeGee hydrangea has fallen out of favor, mostly. Now Limelight, Pinky Winky and others with jazzy names and bigger flowers are more popular. But I love my PeeGee that I planted some 25 years ago. It is blooming with over 100 large white flowers now. It’s about nine feet wide and eight feet tall. Like most hydrangeas, if I wait until just before frost and cut some flower stems to put in a dry vase, they will look good all winter — and longer.

Most hydrangeas like full sun or part shade, good soil and adequate moisture. Some, like the panicle hydrangeas, bloom on new wood, while others — those that bloom early in the summer — bloom on buds developed the summer before, also called “old wood.”

The blue hydrangeas (H. macrophylla or big-leaf hydrangeas) generally bloom on old wood, and for those of us in the northern part of New England, that is unfortunate. Our tough winters ruin the flower buds, so the plants don’t bloom in June as desired. Nurseries in the South grow them, ship them to us in full bloom, but after Year 1 we are lucky to get three blossoms in September. Period.

Then along came Endless Summer, a big-leaf hydrangea that promised to bloom all summer long. I tried it, and called it Endless Disappointment. It died back in the winter, grew, but rarely flowered. Newer varieties are out there, and may be tougher, but in Zone 3 or 4 I say buy them in bloom and use as annuals. Not only that, blue hydrangeas produce pink or insipid colors if the soil pH is not acidic enough. ‘Nuff said.

I like my Pink Diamond, a panicle hydrangea with strong stems and fewer florets per flower head than the PeeGee. That means it doesn’t get weighed down by rain and drop to the ground like many other hydrangeas. It starts out white, then gradually turns pink. It is an excellent cut flower, too.

What about shade-growing hydrangeas? There are two nice ones. H. arborescens Grandiflora, also known as Hills of Snow, does well in shade. Its pompoms are much smaller than those of Annabelle, another of the same species, so it does not flop much after a rain. I like it better. It gets to be five or six feet tall and wide if left to its own, but many people cut it to the ground in late winter. The vigorous new growth will be shorter, and the pruning invigorates the plant.

My favorite shade hydrangea is the climbing hydrangea (H. anomala ssp. petiolaris). This tough vine will grow on the north side of a wall and can attach itself to brick or stone. It is slow-growing when young but after five years or so becomes quite vigorous. I attached the stems of mine to the side of my barn when young, but later the stems slipped through cracks in the barn and held on. Mine has even bloomed inside the barn! Climbing hydrangea has showy white, sterile petals on the outer rim of each flower panicle, and less showy, fertile flowers in the center. It blooms in June and the white petals stay white all year, so the flowers always look good. The vines have shaggy exfoliating bark, which is interesting in winter, too.

I recently attended a Hydrangea Walk at the home of Chris Wilson of Newbury, Vermont. Chris is a nursery professional, having worked at EC Brown Nursery in Thetford, Vermont, for over 35 years. Chris collects hydrangeas, lilacs and daffodils and opens his gardens three times a year to view them. This time we all wore masks and practiced social distancing. We didn’t want, as Chris said, “to die to see a hydrangea.” Chris has at least a couple of dozen different kinds of hydrangeas — and a good sense of humor.

Chris had two hydrangeas I had not ever seen before that I like. The first, called Great Star (H. paniculata), was first discovered in the gardens of Princess Greta Sturdza in Varengeville Sur Mer, Normandy, France. It appeared as a naturally occurring branch mutation of an unnamed seedling of Hydrangea paniculata. It has very prominent wide, strap-like sterile florets that are star-like. I hope to find a specimen and plant it in my garden.

The other hydrangea I saw there is another that does well in shade, H. paniculata White Moth. Chris had it tucked in near a large tree, and it was blooming nicely.

Don’t have a hydrangea? I highly recommend them. Most have blossoms now, when most flowering trees are done for the year. So go to your local family-run garden center and see what they have. I bet you’ll find something you like.

Featured Photo: Hydrangea “Great Star”. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Re-wild your lawn

Start small to build up your garden

Tired of mowing your lawn, but afraid to stop? What would it look like, and what would the neighbors say? I was on a panel discussing “re-wilding” the lawn on New Hampshire Public Radio recently. Here are a few of the points we discussed.

First, a lawn is the easiest, least time-consuming way to maintain your property. If you want a meadow of flowers for birds, bees and pollinators of all kinds, lots of work is involved. You can’t just quit mowing, or rototill the lawn and broadcast some wildflower seeds, and then step back to enjoy. You would get some nice flowers, but your yard would also fill up with weeds and invasive trees.

My advice? Start small. A little corner of the yard, say something four feet wide and 15 feet long, would be a good start. Decide how much time you can commit to it, and how often you want to work in the garden. Can you dedicate half an hour each morning before work? An hour after work? Good gardens are built by people who do something in the garden every day.

Get a soil test done. New Hampshire and Rhode Island have stopped doing tests, Vermont will do them for Vermonters, and Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut accept samples from out of state. Get a home gardener test with as much info as possible.

Next, you have to remove the grass. That means slicing through the lawn to create one-foot by one-foot squares that you can remove and take away to your (new?) compost pile. Don’t try to do it all at once. Do a little at a time.

Do your homework. Read books and go online to see what will work in your yard. Do you have full sun (six hours or more each day), part sun, or shade? Is your site hot and dry or cool and moist? Select flowers that will work in your climatic zone, and get a variety of bloom times: some for spring, others for early summer, late summer and fall.

Improve your soil. All soil can be improved with compost. Buy it by the truckload, not the bag. Get it delivered if you don’t have a truck. Work the compost into the soil after the grass is removed.

If you want to support butterflies, birds and bees, think native plants. Native plants are those that co-evolved with the wildlife. And let wildflowers be part of the mix. Right now Queen Anne’s lace is in bloom along the roadside. It’s a biennial in the carrot family and is loved by the bees. Learn to recognize the small first-year plants, dig up a few and plant them. Once established, the flowers will drop seeds each year.

But what about the neighbors? One of the panelists had done a study in Springfield, Mass. She asked homeowners to mow their lawn either weekly, every two weeks, or every three weeks. So that the neighbors would be more understanding, they put signs in the yards telling others that they were part of a scientific study.

They counted insects and found a two-week schedule for mowing was best for bees and pollinators: clover and dandelions had time to bloom and to provide food without being hidden in tall grass.

To create a sustainable non-lawn, you need to introduce not only those tall, bright flowers like black-eyed Susans and purple coneflower, but groundcovers that will fill in between plants.

One of the panelists, Thomas Rainer, is the co-author with Claudia West of the book Planting in the Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes. In their book they explain that in nature there are plant communities: plants that need roughly the same soil and light, and that co-exist nicely. If you want a balanced plant community, you need a diverse, supportive collection of plants, including groundcovers.

Groundcovers can act a bit like mulch: They can prevent soil erosion and suppress weeds. It is often tough to find good native groundcovers like groundsel or goldenstar for sale, but they are available if you look hard enough. Winecup is a good groundcover for hot dry, sunny places, and is often available. Oregano and thyme can be used as an understory ground cover that bees love, and they are readily available.

And Creeping Charlie? It’s that “weed” hated by lawn-lovers because it can “spoil” a nice lawn and spread like crazy in part shade. But it is a native plant with nice flowers and is loved by bees. Think about letting it proliferate in your “non-lawn.”

Lastly, if you want a landscape that is beautiful and low-maintenance, think about planting trees and shrubs. Many bloom nicely and all are useful to wildlife. Some native shrubs that I grow and love are fothergilla, blueberries, elderberry, buttonbush and our native rhododendron and azalea.

If you stop mowing the grass and want flowers, put up a sign. I recently saw one that was very simple: it said “Butterfly Crossing.” Hopefully that appeased the neighbors a little.

A sign like this lets neighbors know you are not lazy, but letting the lawn grow for a reason. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Good riddance

Three plants to avoid

Three plants you don’t want on your property are wild parsnips, purple loosestrife and Norway maples. The first causes severe skin reactions in many people, the second can take over our wetlands and the last can outcompete our native sugar maple and eventually take over our woods.

Wild parsnip is in bloom now. It’s a tall plant, 24 to 60 inches, and has yellow blossoms arranged in flat flower panicles at the top of the stems. It looks a lot like Queen Anne’s lace. It is genetically the same plant as garden parsnips but has escaped and become a weed. Some people are horribly allergic to its sap.

Here’s how you and your kids can stay safe. Learn what it looks like, and avoid it. Sap from the stem, if on the skin and exposed to direct sunlight, can cause horrible burns. Not everyone reacts, however. Assume you do. If you get sap on you, go inside immediately and wash the affected area thoroughly.

Wild parsnip has a two-year cycle; the first year it stays low and develops a deep tap root. The second year it bolts and produces a tall flower stalk. If you have a field of wild parsnip, get it mowed before the flowers set seeds, and re-mowed until it gives up. The sooner you mow it, the less likely the flowers are to produce viable seeds after they are cut down.

First-year plants growing now will send up flower stalks next year. And each year, for a while, seeds in the ground will grow new plants. But each year there will be fewer, and eventually they will be gone.

This is the time of year when swampy areas often are ablaze with tall, pink-purple flowers that dominate the wetland. These are the flowers of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), an invasive plant that you should not encourage but that you probably can’t get rid of once established.

But why worry about it? It’s such an aggressive grower that it out-competes native plants. It moves into shallow wetlands where fish and frogs lay their eggs among native plants, creating dense monocultures. Biodiversity is healthy for the environment, and purple loosestrife inhibits many other kinds of plants from growing.

Mature plants develop massive root systems that can’t be dug out. They also develop long side-roots that will easily break off and start new plants if you try to remove the clumps.

A big clump can produce up to 2.7 million seeds in a year. And like time-release cold capsules, the seeds become active over time, not all in one year. And since they grow in wetlands, you can’t use herbicides.

If you have big, established plants the best thing to do is cut them down every summer, just above the soil line, preferably more than once. Do it now, and this should prevent them from producing seeds this year. It will also reduce the vigor of the plants. It won’t kill them, but it will keep them from spreading. A string trimmer will do the job, if you have one.

First- or second-year plants often show up in my garden near my stream but can be hand-pulled. Look for plants with a square stem that quickly get 18 to 24 inches tall and may have a reddish-brown tinge to their stems. Older plants get to be three to seven feet tall or more. Leaves are long and narrow with a smooth edge, and they attach directly to the stalk without an attachment stem. Leaves generally appear in pairs, across from each other on a stalk. Many flower stems arise from the main stem.

Beetles from Europe have been introduced in some places to eat purple loosestrife, reducing populations by as much as 90 percent. But those beetles are not available for purchase, at least not yet. So if you have it, cut the plants down. Today!

Lastly, there is the Norway maple, a maple that will thrive anywhere wet, dry, shady or sunny. It sends roots long distances, sucking up water and soil nutrients. It produces massive numbers of seeds, seeds that blow or wash away and end up in our woods. It can out-compete our native sugar maples, and will. Fortunately, it is now against the law to propagate, sell or transport these bad boys.

The most popular Norway maple is a cultivar called “Crimson King.” It has leaves that are a deep purple almost black. Many cities and homeowners bought these 50 years ago and installed them. Removing them is difficult and expensive.

Here’s another problem: Crimson King is a hybrid, and its seeds rarely produce trees with that distinctive purple color. So they pass themselves off as sugar maples.

The leaves are a bit bigger and wider than sugar maples, but you can I.D. a Norway maple by picking a leaf. Look at the place where it snapped off: if it oozes a white sap, it is a Norway maple. If you have one, please consider having it removed.

Saving the world starts with small steps. If we each do what we can, we can leave the world a better place.

‘Crimson King’ Norway maple. Photo courtesy of Henry Homeyer.

Find art outdoors

Watch artists at work, hunt clay monsters and browse a bazaar, plus more in-person arts events

It’s been a trying year for the art world. Galleries and theaters have been closed, art shows and festivals have been canceled and artist collaborations have been forced to go remote or stop altogether. But things are looking up. As restrictions on public gatherings are lightened, some arts organizations have found a way to still hold their events, and to do so safely: take it outdoors.

Nashua International Sculpture Symposium

The sculptors for this year’s Nashua International Sculpture Symposium had already been selected by the time a state of emergency was declared. Jina Lee from Australia (originally from South Korea), Jorg Van Daele from Belgium and Taylor Apostol from the Boston area were expected to arrive in Nashua in May, but the travel ban made that impossible, and with the quarantine order in place, the Symposium’s start date of May 7 was out of the question.

Because the symposium takes place entirely outdoors, organizers and the City of Nashua were hopeful that they could still hold the event later in the year. They set a new tentative start date of Aug. 20 and invited two sculptors from the U.S. — Elijah Ober of Maine and Kelly Cave of Pennsylvania — to join Apostol and take the places of Lee and Van Daele.

“We felt that, if we could figure out a way to continue this annual tradition and do it in a way that is safe, we should do it,” symposium co-chair Kathy Hersh said. “Having it outside is the perfect way to do that, because that’s what we do anyway.”

Started in 2008, the Nashua International Sculpture Symposium was inspired by the Andres Institute of Art International Sculpture Symposium, a similar event held in Brookline every fall. It is the only international sculpture symposium in the U.S. that is held in a city, with the sculptures being placed on public property.

“The idea is that these sculptures belong to the public,” Hersh said. “There are no signs saying, ‘Fragile’ or ‘Don’t touch.’ They are made for people to see, touch, sit and climb on.”

Traditionally, the symposium brings in three experienced sculptors from all over the world. They spend three weeks in Nashua, creating sculptures that are permanently installed at different sites of their choosing throughout the city.

This year’s symposium, however, will look very different. For one thing, it will be the first time that all three sculptors are from the U.S.

“Even though it’s supposed to be the ‘international’ sculpture symposium, I think it’s really exciting to be able to give local and regional artists this opportunity,” symposium artistic director Jim Larson said.

All in their 20s, the sculptors are also the youngest to ever participate in the symposium.

“We really wanted to help out emerging artists, artists who are early in their career,” said Larson, also in his 20s and acting as the sole artistic director for the first time. “This gives them a chance to expand their portfolios with large-scale public work, and to work with new media.”

Rather than creating standalone sculptures to be placed in separate locations, the sculptors will work collaboratively to create their sculptures as a series. All three pieces will be placed together at the west entrance of Mine Falls Park, situated on a secluded wooded hill above the parking lots for a boat ramp and skate park.

“The space itself is definitely off the beaten path and doesn’t get much traffic,” Larson said, “but I think the artists are excited to make work for this forgotten little patch of woods that will surprise viewers as they stumble upon it.”

Some aspects of the traditional symposium, however, will remain the same. Volunteers from the community will still host the sculptors at their homes and provide them with meals and transportation to the worksite. The sculptors will still work six days a week, Monday through Saturday, outside of The Picker Artists collaborative, and, as always, the public will be welcome to observe and interact with the sculptors, as long as they practice social distancing.

“It’s still very much a community project,” Hersh said. “That’s the way it was designed, and that’s the way we want it to be.”

“Being able to see the artists working gives the community a better understanding of where the work comes from and what it took to get it there,” Larson added, “and being able to have that communal experience is meaningful, especially right now.”

The sculptors were all required to quarantine for 14 days before their arrival. They will be kept at least six feet apart from each other at the worksite and “are no strangers to wearing masks,” Larson said, since respirators are needed while sculpting anyway, to protect from inhaling debris.

Visitors will also be required to wear face masks and stay at a safe distance from the sculptors and other visitors.

An opening ceremony will be held on Thursday, Aug. 20, where the mayor, the symposium board, Chamber of Commerce members, funders and others involved with the symposium will welcome the sculptors to Nashua. The ceremony is not open to the public but will be streamed online.

The closing ceremony, at which the finished sculptures will be revealed, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the installation site. The public can attend, as long as they wear face masks and maintain social distance, or they can watch the ceremony online as it will also be streamed.

13th annual Nashua International Sculpture Symposium
Opening reception:
Thursday, Aug. 20, 5:30 p.m., not open to the public but will be streamed online at at 8:30 p.m.
Visit the sculptors: Sculptors will work Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., outside The Picker Artists studios (3 Pine St., Nashua) from Aug. 24 through Sept. 4, and at the installation site at the west entrance of Mine Falls Park from Saturday, Sept. 5, through Friday, Sept. 11.
Closing ceremony: Saturday, Sept. 12, 1 p.m., at the west entrance of Mine Falls Park, open to the public and will be streamed online.
More info:

Meet the sculptors

Elijah Ober, Maine

What do you enjoy most about sculpting?

I really enjoy how there are so many different stages to it: the conceptual thinking at the start of a sculpture, considering what a material brings to the table, seeing how the material responds. The process is often meditative.

What do you have planned for the symposium?

I’ve been letting the site inspire me. It’s right next to the Mine Falls dam, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the river as a timepiece … and how it creates a sense of time without really telling it. I want to create a work that does that in a similar way.

What do you hope to get out of the experience?

I hope to learn some new skills and get some experience working with new materials that I haven’t worked with much in the past … and [to form] new friendships, connections and a tie to Nashua.

Kelly Cave, Pennsylvania

What do you enjoy most about sculpting?

I love making things come to life, especially as public art. I love the idea of creating work that can talk to a community, introduce people to art and bring people together to admire a space.

What do you have planned for the symposium?

With Covid and so many people losing so much, I’ve been thinking a lot about memorializing loss. … I’ve been doing a lot of research about monuments and memorial markers, and how they’re incorporated into our society. … I definitely want to get there and feel the space first, though, and let the space have its effect on me, so I’m keeping things a little loose.

What do you hope to get out of the experience?

The symposium is very unique in that it’s encouraging us [artists] to talk to each other and have our work talk to each other, so I’m hoping that will lead to a lifelong connection with them, and with people in the community.

Taylor Apostol, Massachusetts

What do you enjoy most about sculpting?

I think it’s the physicality of it, especially with public works. I love making something that draws people in, that people want to touch. I love that sense of interaction.

What do you have planned for the symposium?

My piece will be very connected to the natural setting, but also brightly colored with flocking. … Right now, I’m planning one large piece with a few smaller abstract pieces emerging and scattered around, kind of playing with scale and manipulating form.

What do you hope to get out of the experience?

The experience of shifting to more collaborative work as opposed to installation-based work, and of doing something more spontaneous, taking things as they come, instead of being stuck in that focus, ‘finish-it’ mode like when I’m doing something for commission.

Greeley Park Art Show

Nashua’s 67th annual Greeley Park Art Show is still on for Saturday, Aug. 22, and Sunday, Aug. 23.

“So many art shows have been canceled already,” said Lauren Boss, co-president of the Nashua Area Artists’ Association, which hosts the event. “We didn’t want to take away another show from these artists when we know we can have it safely outside and the park is big enough to spread everyone out.”

Around two dozen juried artists from New Hampshire and Massachusetts will display and sell a variety of artwork, including oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, drawings, mixed media, jewelry, photography and digital art. Works will range in price from under $20 to over $1,000.

“Everyone has their own style,” Boss said. “It’s a good representation of all the talented, professional artists in our region.”

The artists’ booths will be situated 10 feet apart, and artists are encouraged to display their art on the outsides of their booths as much as possible. Visitors must wear masks (masks will be provided to those who don’t have one) and observe social distance from others. There will be hand sanitizing stations set up as well as hand sanitizer at the artists’ booths.

Boss said the Greeley Park Art Show is a “Nashua staple” and an event that people look forward to all year.

“Even though it’s going to be a little different than in past years due to the pandemic, I think this is something people need right now,” Boss said. “People need to be able to get out and do something normal, and if we can help them do that safely, we’re going to do it.”

Where: Greeley Park, 100 Concord St., Nashua
When: Saturday, Aug. 22, and Sunday, Aug. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free admission
More info:

Capital City Art Bazaar

The Concord Arts Market and Concord Handmade present the first Capital City Art Bazaar on Friday, Aug. 21, outside in Concord’s Bicentennial and Eagle squares. The evening arts market will feature 10 to 13 local and regional vendors in each square, selling a variety of handmade items like jewelry, pottery, textiles, paintings, photography, home decor, fashion accessories, soaps and more.

The bazaar was originally scheduled to take place in May at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage. Instead of canceling, organizers decided to postpone the event and move it outdoors.

“Having it outside is a viable option, and it’s definitely safer,” Concord Arts Market producer Christa Zuber said.

All vendors are required to wear face masks and have hand sanitizer available at their tables. Attendees are requested to wear masks and not touch the items for sale unless they plan to purchase them. Payment will be contactless, via card.

The bazaar gives artists an opportunity to “get back in the habit” of participating in arts events and selling their work, Boss said, and art lovers an opportunity to reconnect with and support local artists.

“Artists, whether they do [art] as a living or as a hobby, do it because they love it,” Boss said. “After having so many events canceled this year, I think they are really excited to be able to get out in a safe way and talk to people about their art again.”

When: Friday, Aug. 21, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: Bicentennial and Eagle squares, Concord
Cost: Free admission
More info:

More outdoor art

• The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth) presents two outdoor author events as part of its Live Under the Arch Series. Meg Mitchel Moore will discuss her book Two Truths and a Lie on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 6 and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $44.75. Then, Acadia Tucker will discuss her book Growing Good Food on Thursday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $38.75. Tickets include a signed copy of the featured book. Events will be held right outside of the theater. Visit

• Intown Concord’s Market Month continues in downtown Concord with International Arts Week from Thursday, Aug. 20, through Sunday, Aug. 23, with a full schedule of multicultural music and dance performances, arts and activities on Saturday; and a Sidewalk Sale from Thursday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Aug. 30. Admission is free. Visit

• The Concord Arts Market takes place in Concord’s Bicentennial Square every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., now through Sept. 26. The juried outdoor market features a variety of art and crafts by local artists and craftspeople. Visit

Monsters are on the loose again in Manchester. On Saturday, Aug. 22, Studio 550 Art Center will hide 100 small red clay monsters — each a unique and handmade piece of art — around downtown in outdoor places that are typically overlooked, such as windowsills, benches and flower planters. The hunt starts at 1 p.m. and goes until all of the monsters are found. If you find a monster, you get to keep it, and receive goodies, giveaways and discounts from downtown businesses like Dancing Lion Chocolate and Bookery. The person who finds the one colored monster will get a free workshop at Studio 550. It’s free to participate in the hunt. Also on that day from 1 to 3 p.m., Studio 550 will host outdoor low-cost monster-themed activities for all ages. Visit

• Alnoba (24 Cottage Road, Kensington) will give an outdoor guided tour of its international and eclectic collection of art on its property on Friday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon. Visitors will be able to see the art up close, touch it and hear stories about it and the artists who created it. Tickets cost $15 and must be purchased in advance. Visit

• Enjoy some outdoor theater with Seussical Jr., presented by All That Drama and Nottingham Parks & Recreation, outside at the Nottingham town bandstand (139 Stage Road). Performances are on Saturday, Aug. 29, and Sunday, Aug. 30, at 5 p.m. There is a $5 suggested donation to see the show. Visit

• The 20th annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Classic is still on for Thursday, Sept. 3, through Saturday, Sept. 5. Head to Ocean Boulevard to watch as 10 of the world’s top sand sculptors compete for cash prizes and awards. Stick around on Saturday for the judging and to vote for your favorite sculpture from 1 to 3 p.m., and for the awards ceremony at 7 p.m. The sculpture site will be illuminated for night viewing through Sept. 13. Visit

• Theater and baseball come together at “Shakespeare in the (Ball) Park” on Sunday, Sept. 20, at 2 p.m., at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (1 Line Drive, Manchester). Cue Zero Theatre Company will perform a reimagined baseball-themed version of Romeo and Juliet. Tickets will go on sale soon and will cost $10. Visit

• Now, you can take a self-guided audio tour of the public art in downtown Nashua. There are two types of tours — sculptures and murals — with 10 to 15 stops on each. They are offered through the Distrx app (available for free on Android and iOS), which uses Bluetooth iBeacon technology to automatically display photos and text and provide audio descriptions as tourists approach the works of art. Visit

Featured Photo: “For the Love of Friendship” sculpture by Tony Jimenez, near Lovewell Pond in Nashua. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

Queen of the garden

Why tomatoes rule

If I could only bring the seeds of one plant with me when exiled to a distant island, I would bring tomato seeds. Tomatoes are the center of much of my cuisine from soups and stews to sandwiches and salads. They are tasty raw or cooked, are healthy to eat, and are relatively easy to grow and propagate. My tomatoes are ripening up now, and I’m not only eating them two or three times a day, I’m putting them up for winter use.

My mother and grandmother slaved over a hot stove in August and September to can whole tomatoes or to make sauce and store it in jars. I rarely do. Mainly I freeze tomatoes whole. I call them my “red rocks” and store them in zipper bags for use in soups and stews.

To prepare red rocks I simply rinse them off, allow them to dry, and slip them into gallon freezer-grade plastic bags. I use a straw to suck the air out of the bag after I have the zipper closed 99 percent of the way. That minimizes frost on the tomatoes in the freezer.

To use frozen tomatoes, I just run hot water from the faucet over them. The skin thaws quickly, and rubs right off. Or I’ll drop a few in a pan of hot water. That helps to thaw the tomatoes and makes them easier to chop up for use. If I freeze cherry tomatoes, I don’t bother removing the skins before cooking with them.

I have a couple of food dehydrators that I use to dry tomatoes, too. The Cadillac of dehydrators is the Excalibur. Mine is a $300 deluxe model that blows hot air sideways equally over all nine trays. My other is the NESCO American Harvester, a serviceable machine that pushes air up or down through a stack of trays.

The downside to the NESCO model is that you must rotate the trays to get equal drying. And it uses 1,000 watts of energy per hour, while the Excalibur uses only 660 watts. Still, at about $125 for the basic machine, it is more affordable. You can stack up to 30 round 15-inch trays over the fan and heating element, but the more trays you add, the longer it takes to dry all the food. I find about eight trays is as many as I want to stack.

Most summers I grow eight to 12 Sun Gold cherry tomato plants, and each is prolific. Most of the fruit I dry in my dehydrators. I cut them in half and dry, cut side up. I store them in zipper bags in the fridge or freezer, and use them in soups and stews. Dried tomatoes can be stored in the pantry, too.

Sometimes I dry plum or slicing tomatoes. I cut them about 3/8 of an inch thick. They tend to stick to the trays, so be sure to buy the special no-stick screens to put on the trays. That makes cleanup much easier.

A sandwich is not really a sandwich, for me, without slices of tomato. One way to save slices of tomato for winter use is to roast them. I do so in the oven at low heat until they are caramelized and soft, not tough and dry. Then I place them in zipper bags and freeze them — but just one layer of tomatoes per bag. When I crave a tomato in my sandwich, I pull out a few slices and heat in my toaster oven until warm. Not a fresh tomato, but better than most sold in the grocery store in January.

I also make tomato paste. Lots of paste. I store it by freezing it in ice cube trays, and then putting it in zipper bags when frozen. No more half-used cans of purchased paste going fuzzy in the fridge for me. To make paste I use imperfect tomatoes — and I usually have plenty. I cut out the bad spots, then core them. I squeeze the cored tomatoes in the sink, which gets rid of most seeds and lots of juice. Then I quarter them, place them in a food processor, puree, and then add to a large enameled iron pot and cook them slowly for hours. I know they are done when I can literally stand up a spoon in the pot. I let it sit all night, uncovered, to cool and lose some more water. In the morning I spoon the paste in the ice cube trays. When it’s frozen, I empty the trays and put cubes in zipper bags.

Canning tomato sauce the old-fashioned way is hard work and takes hours of work. Part of that work is blending the tomatoes and herbs, salt and pepper to get the flavor and consistency just right. In addition to pureed tomatoes I use onions, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and thyme. I cook it for 45 minutes or so, as I like it nice and thick.

But then there is the canning itself. First you have to boil the jars and lids to sterilize them. Once they’re filled with cooked sauce, one needs to boil the sauce in sealed jars to kill the bacteria that causes botulism, a potentially fatal disease. Forty minutes at a rolling boil is recommended. All in all, making seven jars of sauce — which is what a canning pot can hold — takes an evening.

The Lazy Guy technique for making sauce is to freeze it, not can it. I have an aversion to using plastic for storing food, but make an exception for tomato sauce. I have quart plastic containers with screw tops, though one can also use zipper bags. Since I have two large freezers, I have plenty of space for garden produce.

People raise their eyebrows when I tell them I grow between 35 and 50 tomato plants each year. But since I eat my own stored tomatoes all year, I can barely grow enough of the Queen of the Garden.


Beyond perennials

Making your garden a very special place

By Henry Homeyer

My garden is the place I go in times of sadness, worry or stress. It makes me feel better. I took a few moments one morning recently to really look at what was in my garden to see what made it so special. I saw that in addition to the plants (and who cannot be happy snacking on red raspberries or Sun Gold cherry tomatoes?), I have many things that remind me of friends and of good times. Let’s take a look at my garden, and perhaps you’ll get some inspiration for yours.

I’ve been working on my gardens for about 40 years and have created some nice stone projects. As a young man I built a low 80-foot stone retaining wall to create a terrace that would allow me to plant some fruit trees — most of my full-sun space was near a small stream with a high water table, which is not good for fruit trees.

I worked with my stepson, Josh Yunger, who was a young teenager at the time. It was fun working with him, finding stones on the property and from a tumbledown wall a neighbor, George Edson, had allowed me to pick through. I knew little about walls but had the basics. One stone over two. We mostly found stones with rounded shapes, not flat stones.

And I didn’t know to use crushed stone, not round pebbles, to act as drainage and support for the wall. So those round stones sitting on round pebbles, over time, moved and the wall has slipped and fallen in places. But now it is mostly hidden by plants, and its ramshackle appearance doesn’t bother me. And I feel good when thinking about the work Josh and I did.

If building a stone wall is too much for you, how about placing a long, thin stone standing vertically as an accent in the garden? I have a few of those, and they look great all year round. Just stand up a 36- to 60-inch-long pillar of a stone in a hole 18 to 24 inches deep. Add some loaf-of-bread sized stones in the bottom, and dump in a bag of dry concrete mix. Fill in the rest with soil and pack it well.

I have three nice Japanese red maples that bring fond memories. Two came from my parents’ home in Connecticut, another from a friend. I dug two of them as foot-tall saplings, one bigger. One of these I planted in the early 1970s and it is now 10 feet tall and wide with a 6-inch-diameter trunk at the base. I see it and often think of the 60-foot-tall “mother plant” I climbed as a boy.

Other things are easier than stone projects. I have two nice blue ceramic bird baths. They contrast nicely with the flowers around them, even though no birds ever bathe there. But I love the water in them, and that my wife Cindy Heath floats cut flowers in them. (Yes, my longtime partner and I finally got married July 1 in a Zoom wedding attended by loved ones all over.)

I have a lovely high-temperature fire urn in the garden, a birthday present from Cindy this year. It makes me happy every time I see it. It has a drainage hole and the potter, Stephen Proctor of Brattleboro, Vermont, tells us that it can stay outside all year. Always a bit of a worrier, I will bring it inside before Christmas. It’s too nice to risk having it crack.

A new garden this year is just an oval 7 by 10 feet. I put in a Y-shaped path so it looks like a peace sign from the 1960s. One section is dedicated to milkweed plants for the monarch butterflies. The milkweed will, I suspect, eventually take over the entire garden. But for now? I love seeing the peace symbol —‌ it reminds me of my activist youth.

Then there is my 16- by 20-foot barn. I had a barn raising event in the late 1990s and had more than 30 friends show up. My late friend Bernice Johnson, then in her eighties, showed up with a little hammer in her hand. It makes me happy when I think of that day, and that we got the walls up and rafters on in one day. And now Cindy keeps it tidy inside —‌ something I never managed to do.

Speaking of Cindy, this year she built a gravel walkway down that 80-foot terrace I built for fruit trees in the ’90s. She did an amazing job, lining the path with old bricks I had salvaged from chimneys I removed. The path has a crushed stone base, landscape fabric and then a pea stone layer on top. And of course, Cindy has removed the weeds along the sides, and mulched the beds nicely. It makes me happy to walk along it.

I love the perennials I have gotten from friends and from gardeners I have interviewed. I remember every plant given to me, who gave it to me, and often when I got it. It’s part of what makes my garden so special to me. Now I tend to add little white plastic tags labeled with that information so it will be available even if I am not always around to provide that information.

I recently saw two Doric-style white wood columns free by the side of the road. I stopped. Garden art? Sure. I was in my old green truck, so I loaded them in, and now I have a new project. Not sure how I’ll use them, or where. But they’ll make me happy and remind me of traveling through Europe back when I was a young man. Gardens are good that way. Mine provide plenty of happy memories.

Featured Photo: Peastone walkway. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

47 ideas for family fun this summer

Pick flowers, play mini-golf — and more ideas for getting out of the house

After months of limiting your away-from-home excursions to the supermarket, there are an increasing number of places where you can go and have (safe, often masked) fun with the whole family. Here are 47 ideas for how to spend your summer days.

Indoor Activities

1. Learn about the history of telephones at the New Hampshire Telephone Museum (1 Depot St., Warner), open now, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum features nearly 1,000 telephones, switchboards and other telecommunication memorabilia, plus an interactive kids room. Admission costs $7 for adults, $6 for seniors age 60 and up and $3 for students in grades 1 through 12. Call 456-2234 or visit

2. Try your hand at felting at Wild Salamander Creative Arts Center (30 Ash St., Hollis). Upcoming in-person felting workshops include a felted jellyfish for kids in grades 4 and up and adults and a felted strawberry keychain for kids in grades 4 through 7 on Friday, July 17, and a felted unicorn for kids in grades 4 and up and adults on Friday, Aug. 7. The cost is $29. Register online at

3. Go bowling at a local alley, several of which have reopened across the state. Yankee Lanes (216 Maple St., Manchester, 625-9656,, for example, has unlimited bowling from 7 to 10 p.m. four nights a week for $10 per person (including shoe rentals). Other alleys like Merrimack Ten Pin (698 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 429-0989, and Leda Lanes (340 Amherst St., Nashua, 889-5459, are also now open.

4. Free Comic Book Day has been rescheduled and reworked as Free Comic Book Summer. From July 15 through Sept. 9, participating local comic book shops will put out five or six different free comics every week. The comics include superhero stories, television and move spin-offs, sci-fi adventures and more. Visit for the full list of this year’s free comics and to find participating comic book shops in your area.

5. Enjoy a game of laser tag at Block Party Social (51 Zapora Drive, Hooksett), formerly known as the Space Entertainment Center, in its multi-story LED-illuminated arena. Multiple types of games are available between two teams and each player receives a personalized score sheet. The cost starts at $18 per person. Visit or call 621-5150.

6. Take a cooking class with the Culinary Playground (16 Manning St., Derry), which is hosting all kinds of classes both in person and virtually. “Mini chefs” cooking classes for kids ages 3 to 6 are currently being offered virtually through Zoom, while cooking camps are held throughout the summer. Costs vary; visit, or call 339-1664 for class availability. LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst) is also offering a series of cooking classes for kids, the next of which is happening on Wednesday, July 15, at noon. The cost is $20 per child. Visit or call 672-9898.

7. You’ll find all kinds of STEM fun at SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St., Manchester), which plans to reopen in early August. The museum features more than 90 exhibits focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is home to the Lego Millyard Project, the largest permanent minifigure scale Lego installation in the world, depicting Manchester’s Amoskeag Millyard circa 1900. Call 669-0400 or visit

8. Let the kids climb! Go indoor rock climbing at Vertical Dreams (250 Commercial St., Manchester, 625-6919; 25 E. Otterson St., Nashua, 943-7571,, which reopens on Monday, July 6. A day pass is $15 for adults and $13 for kids under age 18, and a 10-visit pass is $125/$105. Rentals packages including shoes and a harness are $10, plus an additional $2 for a chalk bag rental. For younger kids, check out the indoor playground with slides and a climbing structure at Nuthin But Good Times (746 DW Highway in Merrimack;, 429-2200) which is open now at 25 to 30 percent capacity, according to their website. The cost is $9.50 for children ages 4 and above ($6 for 3 and under, $2.50 for “crawlers” and adults and free for infants).

9. Jump into a good time at Altitude Trampoline Park (270 Loudon Road, Concord; 360 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack), which reopened on June 19 to 50 percent capacity at both its Concord and Merrimack locations. Jump passes are available for purchase for 60, 90 or 120 minutes (buying them online ahead of time is encouraged). Specials are also available throughout the week, depending on the day. Both parks are open Sunday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday until 8 p.m. Visit or

10. You can go indoor skydiving, indoor surfing and more at SkyVenture (100 Adventure Way, Nashua), which is open now by reservation. Skydiving rates are $55 for a two-minute flight and $95 for a four-minute flight. Fifteen-minute surfing sessions are $45. Call 897-0002 or visit

11. Explore Manchester history,from the native people who fished at Amoskeag Falls 11,000 years ago to the city’s early farmers and lumbermen and the rise of industry, at the Millyard Museum(200 Bedford St., Manchester), open now, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission costs $8 for adults, $6 for seniors age 62 and up and college students, $4 for youth ages 12 through 18 and is free for kids under age 12. Call 622-7531 or visit

12. You’re Fired pottery studio (25 S. River Road, Bedford, 641-3473; 133 Loudon Road, No. 101, Concord, 226-3473; 264 N. Broadway, Salem, 894-5456; 4 Coliseum Ave., Nashua, 204-5559; has open studio hours on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. All-day studio fees are $8 for adults and $6 for kids age 12 and under, except on “Mini Mondays,” when kids get in for $3. Visit

13. Bring the family for some retro fun at Electric Avenue (24 Bridge St., Manchester), where you’ll find 24 classic arcade games, nine classic pinball machines and skee-ball. The barcade, which plans to reopen the second week of July, is family-friendly and open to gamers of all ages before 8 p.m. New hours are TBA. Call 518-5770 or visit

14. Bounce around at Cowabunga’s indoor inflatable playground (725 Huse Road, Manchester), which plans to reopen on July 31. All-day admission costs $12 for kids and is free for accompanying adults and babies. Call 935-9659 or visit

15. Catch a planetarium show at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Drive, Concord). Showtimes for three different shows are scheduled now through July 12, Wednesday through Sunday. Learn about the Wright brothers and other pioneers of flight in Take Flight! (11:30 a.m.) and the early days of space exploration in Dawn of the Space Age (1 p.m.), or get a look at the night sky in the center’s classical planetarium show Tonight’s Sky (2:30 p.m.). General admission costs $11.50 for adults, $8.50 for children ages 3 through 12, $10.50 for students age 13 through college and seniors, and is free for children age 2 and under. Planetarium show tickets cost an additional $5 per person. Call 271-7827 or visit

16. Have fun working together and solving puzzles at 102 Escape (123 Nashua Road, Unit 34, Londonderry). Escape room experiences are available by appointment Monday through Thursday and are open to kids age 7 and up. The cost is $25 per person. Call 260-6198 or visit

17. Catch a movie at a local theater. Chunky’s Cinema & Pub (707 Huse Road, Manchester, 206-3888; 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua, 880-8055; 150 Bridge St., Pelham, 635-7499) has reopened all of its locations as of June 29. All three theaters are showing The Jungle Book, Trolls World Tour and Despicable Me this weekend, while in Nashua and Manchester, you can see The Lorax. Visit for available showtimes.

18. Let the beanbags fly during a game of cornhole at Game Changer Sports Bar & Grill (4 Orchard View Drive, Londonderry), a new indoor cornhole facility with eight courts available for pickup and play. The courts are normally open during weekdays when tournaments are not being held. Visit or call 216-1396 for availability.

Outdoor Adventures

19. Head to Chuckster’s Family Fun Park (9 Bailey Road, Chichester, 798-3555; 53 Hackett Hill Road, Hooksett, 210-1415) for a round of mini-golf. The park, according to its website, has two of the “longest miniature golf holes on the planet,” or a pair of 201-foot-long holes, at both its Chichester and Hooksett parks. Not a single hole is duplicated at either park. In Chichester, miniature golf is one of more than a dozen attractions, while at the Hooksett park the focus is more solely on miniature golf, with two large 18-hole courses to choose from. No masks are required for players once on the course. Visit or call your local park for hours of operation, which are weather-dependent and subject to change.

20. Ride the go-carts at Mel’s Funway Park (454 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield), which is now open seven days a week for the season, according to its website. Rates are available for a single ride around the 1/5-mile track or for up to five rides. There is a height restriction of 58 inches per driver, but those under that height can ride with a driver over the age of 18. Mel’s is currently open Monday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visit or call 424-2292.

21. Spend a day later this summer at an amusement or theme park. Canobie Lake Park (85 N. Policy St., Salem, 893-3506, has announced its plan to reopen for the season on Thursday, July 16, at limited capacity. Visit the website or follow them on social media for updates. Story Land (850 Route 16, Glen, 383-4186,, another park to return later this summer, will reopen on July 17 to season pass holders and on July 22 to the public, according to its website. Those with season passes are able to have unlimited admission extended through the 2021 season, the park recently announced.

22. Learn to golf at the Amherst Country Club (72 Ponemah Road), which is offering lessons and camps this summer for kids of all ages and abilities. Visit or call 673-9908.

23. Take the kids out to the ballgame. The Nashua Silver Knights, part of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, will play 21 home games at Holman Stadium (67 Amherst St., Nashua) this season, which opens Thursday, July 2, and concludes on Wednesday, Aug. 19, followed by a best-of-three series to determine the season’s league champion. Visit

24. Pay a visit to America’s Stonehenge (105 Haverhill Road, Salem), a 4,000-year-old stone construction — likely the oldest man-made construction in the United States — built by an ancient people as an astronomical calendar to determine solar and lunar events of the year. Now through Labor Day, kids age 12 and under can participate in the Kid’s Gem Dig Open (included with admission) in which they can keep up to three gemstones they find using real archaeologist tools. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission rates are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors age 65 and up, $7.50 for kids ages 5 through 12, and free for kids age 4 and under. Call 893-8300 or visit

25. Create your own flower bouquet from more than 60 varieties of annual and perennial flowers at Petals in the Pines’ (126 Baptist Road, Canterbury) Pick-Your-Own Flower Field starting in mid-July. The 7.5-acre nature center also has wooded trails, 24 themed gardens and a monarch butterfly sanctuary to explore. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 783-0220 or visit

26. Take the kids fishing at a local body of water. In New Hampshire, kids under age 16 can fish for free and without a license all summer long. Visit for information about where to fish and what kinds of fish you can catch, plus tips for fishing with kids.

27. Take a walk through history at Canterbury Shaker Village (288 Shaker Road, Canterbury) and see the village’s 25 restored original Shaker buildings, four reconstructed Shaker buildings and 694 acres of forests, fields, gardens, nature trails and mill ponds. The buildings are closed for now, but visitors can walk the grounds for free, and beginning July 5 there will be free outdoor guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Call 783-9511 or visit

28. Go hiking at a state park trail, nearly all of which are open with social distancing guidelines. Visit to view a list of the parks that are open (playgrounds and indoor venues at each of the state parks remain closed until further notice). Some parks are requiring advanced day use reservations.

29. You may still be able to go swimming close to home this summer, depending on what town you live in. Manchester expects to open Crystal Lake and Dupont Splash Pad in mid-July and Hunt Pool some time after, and Merrimack has already opened its Wasserman Park Beach. Town and city swimming areas are typically only open to residents, so check with your town or city for updates.

30. Go camping at a local campground in the state. As of last week, select state park campgrounds are accepting reservations for July and August. Camping reservations are currently being accepted, for example, at Bear Brook State Park (61 Deerfield Road, Allenstown) and at Pawtuckaway State Park (7 Pawtuckaway Road, Nottingham), both of which are open at 100 percent capacity as of June 29. Visit or contact your local private campground regarding availability.

31. Visit the animals at Charmingfare Farm (774 High St., Candia), open now on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (must arrive before 1 p.m.). It features a large hands-on petting area with a variety of farm animals as well as wildlife exhibits. Admission costs $19 per person and must be reserved online in advance. Call 483-5623 or visit

32. Get your adrenaline pumping with a game of paintball at AG Adventure Park (158 Deering Center Road, Weare), open now by reservation. There’s the painless Paintball Lite for kids as young as age 7 and Low Impact Paintball for kids as young as age 9, and regular paintball is open to players age 12 and up. Rates vary. Equipment rental packages are available. Call 529-3524 or visit

33. You can view a movie from your car at the Milford Drive-In Theater (531 Elm St., Milford). Weekly movie schedules are posted on the website. Tickets cost $30 for a vehicle with one to six people and can be purchased online. Visit

34. Or you can sit outside and watch a movie in the park. Merrimack Parks & Recreation’s Movies in the Park Series will feature Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Friday, July 10, at 8:30 p.m.; Toy Story 4 on Friday, Aug. 7, at 8 p.m.; and Frozen 2 on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 7:30 p.m. All screenings take place at Abbie Griffin Park (6 Baboosic Lake Road, Merrimack) and are free and open to both Merrimack residents and non-residents. Visit or call 882-1046.

35. Practice your swing at one of the batting cages in the state. Concord Sports Center (2 Whitney Road, No. 1, Concord) is accepting reservations now for its batting cages. The cost is $20 per half-hour or $35 per hour with the pitching machine, or you can be your own batter’s pitcher. Visit or call 224-1655 to reserve your spot now.

36. Farms all over the Granite State are open now for pick-your-own strawberries, which typically last through about mid-July. Apple Hill Farm (580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862, and Sunnycrest Farm (59 High Range Road, Londonderry, 432-7753, are among some of the farms offering pick-your-own. Call or visit the website or social media pages for updates and availability.

Special Events

37. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Atlas Fireworks are presenting three special nights of fireworks on Thursday, July 2; Friday, July 3; and Saturday, July 4, with socially distanced seating available in the stands and on the field at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (1 Line Drive, Manchester). The gates open at 7 p.m., with fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m. Limited concessions will be available, or you can bring your own sealed food and non-alcoholic beverages in a cooler. The cost is $10 per person or $40 per group of four for stadium seating, or $13.33 per person or $80 per group of four for on-field picnic seating. Visit

38. See a classic car show. The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road, Londonderry) will host its annual car show on Saturday, July 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rain date is July 12), featuring raffles, prizes, food trucks and more. Vehicles of all makes and eras will be featured, with trophies given out for the People’s Choice Award and the Museum Award. Registration is $10 per vehicle per entry (plus occupants). General public admission is $5 for adults and free for children ages 12 and under (cash only). Visit or call 669-4820.

39. The Hampstead Cable Television Summer Concert Series presents a free kids concert by Steve Blunt & Friends on Tuesday, July 14, at 6 p.m. at Meetinghouse Park (20 Emerson Ave., Hampstead). Visit

40. Head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1122 Route 106, Loudon) for the rescheduled NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 race on Sunday, Aug. 2, at 3 p.m. The grandstands and suites at “The Magic Mile” will be open to fans, with social distancing requirements. Attendance in the stands will be limited to 35 percent capacity. Tickets are $10 for kids ages 12 and under and $50 for adults. Visit or call 783-4931.

41. A socially distanced version of the annual Great New England Barbecue & Food Truck Festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 8, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., both inside and out in the parking lot of the Hampshire Dome (34 Emerson Road, Milford). The event will feature a kids’ zone with face-painting, slime making, cookie decorating and bounce houses, plus craft and specialty food vendors, live music, and Jell-O and Twinkie eating contests. General admission tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the gate. Kids ages 12 and under receive free admittance.

42. The Londonderry Old Home Day, normally scheduled across four days in August, is being condensed into a one-day celebration of four activities on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Londonderry Town Common. According to assistant town manager Lisa Drabik, the day will kick off with a socially distanced parade at 10 a.m., followed by a road race overseen by Millennium Running, a first responders’ softball game on the field at Londonderry High School (295 Mammoth Road) and fireworks in the evening. Visit

43. Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, rescheduled from June, is happening on Thursday, Aug. 20; Friday, Aug. 21; and Saturday, Aug. 22, along Main Street in downtown Concord, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. In addition to a kids’ zone with bounce houses and mini-golf down by City Hall Plaza, there will be multiple games, crafts and activities on the Statehouse lawn, plus vendors, live entertainment and more. Visit

44. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St., Dover) will hold its annual New Hampshire Maker & Food Fest virtually this year, with a new date of Saturday, Aug. 29. Up to 150 Maker Fest kits will be available for people to reserve online for free on a first-come, first-served basis, to be picked up at the museum prior to Aug. 29. The kits will include at-home projects, hands-on activities and more, all provided by the museum and participating makers. All videos, tutorials, demonstrations and performances will be available online through about a week after the festival. Visit or call 742-2002.

Featured Photo: Cowabunga’s. Courtesy photo.

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

Apple Hill Farm
580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862,
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,
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,
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,
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,
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,
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,
What: Blueberries
Cost: $2.75 per pound
Picking hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to dusk

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

Lavoie’s Farm
172 Nartoff Road, Hollis, 882-0072,
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,
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,
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,
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,
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.

Just keep running

How to challenge yourself to get going, stay at it and get in a race — even now

Two years ago, I got my dad a shirt that says “I’m a streaker,” and he gets endless enjoyment out of allowing strangers to think he is in the habit of taking off his clothes and running naked in public. In reality, it’s a Runner’s World shirt created for crazy people like my dad who have (fully clothed) running streaks of days, months or years.

You don’t have to run every day, or far, or quickly, to reap the benefits of running. Find out how and why to get off the couch, why streaks are, in fact, awesome (should you choose to go that route), and why running a virtual race is a great way to alleviate the fear of the starting line.

Just do it

One of the best things about running is how easy it is to get started, no matter what your fitness level is, how much time or money you have — or how much you dread the thought of being seen by your neighbors as you struggle, red-faced and sweaty, around the block.

Millennium Running owner John Mortimer watched his mom become a runner, starting by walking one mile a day — and only at night.

“She would put her reflective vest on in the cover of darkness and walk the mile,” Mortimer said.

She then started adding jogging intervals, going from one mailbox to the next while jogging, then walking to the next, and so on. She worked her way up to three laps — three miles — and then ran her first 5K.

“You can take baby steps,” Mortimer said. “It’s literally just about trying to move a little bit each day.”

Christine Lewis, co-owner of Total Image Running with business partner Lisa Misiaszek, has similar stories; she’s been training runners for more than two decades. She remembers training a friend, Lisa Trisciani, who had lost 100 pounds and set a goal to run the Disney half marathon. But she had never run before and was afraid to take that first step because she thought people would judge her. Lewis worked with her on walk/jog intervals as well as strength, core and balance training.

“Within eight weeks Lisa ran her first 5K,” Lewis said. “We continued to train and she ran the Disney half and crushed it.”

Trisciani has since run several full marathons, relay events and half marathons.

“You’re never too young, too old or too out of shape to start running,” Lewis said.

Gear up

“The best part about running is you don’t need a gym membership or fancy, expensive equipment to begin,” Lewis said. “Just get yourself a good pair of running sneakers and step out your front door.”

She recommends getting fitted for running shoes at a specialty running store such as Runner’s Alley.

The Millenium Running retail store in Bedford can help you find the right shoes too, taking you through a full fit process that includes gait analysis.

Running too much in the wrong shoe can turn you off to the sport altogether, whether it’s because the shoes themselves are uncomfortable or because they cause aches and pains.

“I think runners or walkers often stop doing it because it starts to hurt,” Mortimer said.

Other gear might include reflective vests or headlamps for safety if you’re running in the dark.

But other than the right shoes, “There’s nothing overly critical that you need,” Mortimer said.

Start slow, but stick with it

Mortimer has three key suggestions to help people get in the right mindframe to start running. First, he says, is to find your motivation. Why do you want to start running? It could be to improve your heart health, to lose weight for a wedding or to change your lifestyle. Keeping that motivation in mind will help you commit to yourself mentally and emotionally.

Second, Mortimer says, is to be consistent; if you stop doing it after a week, you haven’t gained anything from the experience.

“But that doesn’t mean you have to run 10 miles every day,” he said.

Lewis agrees.

“The reason people get discouraged quickly is because they do too much too soon,” Lewis said. “Don’t plan to run the entire time. Start with very short jog/walk intervals, doing more walking than running at first. Do not be ashamed to walk. It’s all part of the process. Listen to your body and take a break when and if you need it.

Similarly, Mortimer’s third guideline is to be patient. You’re not going to see results overnight — you won’t lose five pounds overnight, and you won’t be able to go from running zero miles a day to running three overnight.

Lewis also recommends cross training, doing things like strength training and yoga to keep your body strong and limber. Mixing it up and balancing your body will help you stick with it, too, she said.

“It will help keep you injury-free and [avoid becoming] bored of the same running routine day in, day out,” she said.

Find support

There are all kinds of running clubs in New Hampshire, including the Millenium Running Club, the Runner’s Alley Club, and the Total Image Running Run Walk Brew Social Club. Becoming part of a club helps you meet other runners who will offer support and motivation.

“Our club is not just about running,” Lewis said. “It’s about motivating each other to work out then celebrate with socializing and a brew.”

Most clubs welcome all fitness levels and abilities, so even if you hesitate to call yourself a runner, well, you are.

“If you’re putting one foot in front of the other, you’re part of the running family,” Mortimer said.

Start streaking

Streaking runs in my family (yes, the terrible pun was unavoidable). My dad’s longest was 9,056 days; my uncle’s was 10,328 days (that’s more than 27 years of running every. single. day.). My cousin made it just past 1,000 days. It took an operation for prostate cancer to end my dad’s streak, and knee surgery to end my uncle’s.

I’m not a professional runner, but I have joined the streaking club (I’ll hit 1,000 days Aug. 16, barring injury or heat stroke), which I would say makes me qualified enough to tell you why running streaks are good for your mind, body and soul, whether you’ve never run before or you’ve run marathons.

1. They’re motivating. A streak will get you out the door when nothing else will. It was 96 degrees the other day, and the humidity brought the “feels like” temp to well over 100. If I didn’t have a streak to maintain, I absolutely would not have laced up my Sauconys and headed out for a run. I would have continued sitting on the deck in the shade at my parents’ cottage on the lake, justifying to myself that it was definitely too hot to run.

When I started this streak, I had no goal in mind. My thought was that I’d just run every day until I had a good enough reason not to and that hasn’t happened yet. Snowstorms, heat waves, being insanely busy none of those are real excuses. Dress warmly and watch for plows, dress lightly and drink plenty of fluids, bring running shoes everywhere so you can run after dropping one kid off at soccer practice but before picking up the other kid at football — “I have to run” means you figure it out. Without a streak, a million excuses can get in your way.

2. They’re better for your body than a Netflix streak. Again, I’m not a professional, and many runners and doctors might cringe at the whole concept of a running streak because rest days! but I personally think the pros outweigh the risks. (Still, talk to a doctor before starting any serious fitness endeavor or if you have any preexisting conditions or concerns.)

Every body is different, and so far mine is holding up just fine. In fact, I would argue that I’m healthier now than ever before. When I started running in my early 30s, I couldn’t even finish a mile without walking. I’m not a natural athlete, and I spent the first 30+ years of my life doing very little in the way of exercise. Now, I generally feel better, I’m stronger, and all my vitals are fantastic. If I weren’t streaking, I would choose the couch more often than not.

Still, if you’re sick, achy, or just not feeling it, there’s no need to overexert yourself. The running community generally sees one mile a day as the minimum you need to keep your streak intact. It’s unlikely you will die while running or jogging one mile if you don’t have any medical issues. But, you know, bring your phone just in case.

3. They keep you sane. Perhaps even more importantly than the physical benefits, my streak has provided a no-excuses outlet to clear my mind and alleviate stress. It’s built-in self care; my kids are almost always my priority, but because of this streak, I sometimes choose running over their wants and needs (I know, the audacity). If I didn’t “have” to run every day, I probably would put them — or work, or laundry, or lawn mowing — first 99 percent of the time. Running is my outlet. It’s where I can clear my head or think things through. I don’t even listen to music. I like the silence, the sound of rain, the quiet when the roads are covered in snow and no one else is crazy enough to be out. Not every run is amazing, and sometimes all I want is for it to be over. But I have never, ever regretted going for a run.

4. They make memories! Having to run means I sometimes have to carve out time in creative ways, and I’ve had some great experiences come out of that. I once ran laps around a parking garage at the Fort Lauderdale airport during a layover. During a trip out west last summer that was jam-packed with sightseeing and driving, I ran along the Grand Canyon, at Yellowstone (while stuck in not-moving traffic for more than two hours due to a herd of buffalo crossing the road), on a trail at the Grand Tetons, in a parking lot at Mesa Verde, in four states at once at Four Corners, and, less glamorously, on random roads when my family stopped for food on long days of driving. One of my favorite runs ever was with my brother on a snowy Christmas Day that was otherwise not very festive. I’ve also run races with my dad, my brother and my kids, because why not get some swag and have some family fun when you have to run anyway?

5. Anyone can do it. Your streak can be whatever you want it to be you make the rules. Run a little, run a lot, have an end goal in mind or just keep going until you can’t or don’t want to anymore. Some people do holiday streaks, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Some people start with 30 days. Just start and see what happens. That’s what I did and now I’m the proud owner of my very own “I’m a streaker” shirt.

Race your way

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running for years, races can provide motivation in the form of time goals, finishing goals and community support — and the swag doesn’t hurt either.

Of course, the racing landscape looks a little different right now. The cancellation of road races in the spring quickly led to a transition to virtual races. Many organizations that typically held 5Ks as fundraisers turned them into virtual runs, and companies like Millennium Running in Bedford and Total Image Running in Auburn, which organize runs throughout the state, did the same.

There are some benefits to virtual runs, including their flexibility — most races offer a range of days and times you can run, and you can typically run anywhere you want.

Virtual runs can minimize race jitters, too.

“The fear of the starting line, the fear of that first step, is sometimes mitigated by [running virtually],” said John Mortimer, owner of Millennium Running in Bedford.

Millennium reintroduced in-person runs several weeks ago with exclusive 5Ks, keeping them to 100 participants, with two races every Saturday. The runners start one at a time, every five or 10 seconds, to avoid crowds gathering at the starting line and bunching up on the course.

Participants are taking the changes in stride, Mortimer said.

“By and large I think our running community has been super positive,” he said.

Virtual runs

Here’s a list of upcoming virtual races that under normal circumstances would be held at various locations around southern New Hampshire this summer and fall. A few are offering the option of running virtually or in person. Many races benefit local organizations. Check event websites for up-to-date information.

• There’s still time to participate in the Total Image Running Virtual Race Series’ Christmas in July Virtual 5K, going on now through July 25. Prizes will be awarded to the first-place male and female finisher. Registration costs $30 and includes a print-at-home bib and a downloadable finishers certificate. The registration deadline is Saturday, July 25. Visit

Goffstown’s Berry Classic Road Race is going on now through July 26. Participants must run a continuous five miles, which they can do on the five-mile loop around the Piscataquog River in Goffstown or at another location of their choosing. Registration costs $20 and closes on July 26 at noon. Visit

• Swimming with a Mission presents Virtual Swim with a Mission. Participants can swim, paddle or kayak any body of water now through July 31. There are 1K, 5K and 10K options. Registration is free and closes on July 24. Visit

• The Colon Cancer Coalition presents Get Your Rear in Gear virtually. To participate, do a physical activity of your choosing between now and Saturday, Sept. 12, then join the virtual event on Facebook on Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. Registration is free. Visit

• The Fox Point Sunset 5 Mile Virtual Road Race is open now through Saturday, Sept. 12. Run, walk or bike a five-mile course anywhere. Registration costs $10. Visit

• The Total Image Running Virtual Race Series presents the Hula Hustle Virtual 5K & 10K from July 26 through Aug. 9. Register by July 24. The cost is $30 for the 5K and $35 for the 10K and includes a race T-shirt, a print-at-home bib and a downloadable finishers certificate. Visit

• The Cigna/Elliot Corporate Virtual Challenge & 5K will be held July 27 through Aug. 23 and is open to corporate teams and individuals. Participants are challenged to run or walk every day to train for the virtual 5K, which they can complete between Aug. 20 and Aug. 23. Registration costs $25 per person and includes a race bib and race mask. The registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 14, at 9 a.m. Visit

• Granite Ledges of Concord’s Race to the Ledges 5K Run/Walk will be held virtually from July 31 through Aug. 9. The deadline to register is Aug. 7. Registration costs $20 now through Aug. 5 and $25 on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7. Visit

• The Alton NH Old Home Week Virtual 5K will take place Aug. 8 through Aug. 16. Registration costs $15 and closes on Aug. 16 at noon. Visit

Lamprey Health Care’s Annual 5K Road Race will be held virtually from Aug. 8 through Aug. 16. Registration costs $25 and closes on Aug. 16. Visit

• You can do the Wine Run 4 Miler in person in Auburn, or you can do it virtually as part of the Total Image Running Virtual Race Series. The race takes place on Thursday, Aug. 13. Registration for the virtual race costs $35 and includes a race T-shirt or tank top, a print-at-home bib and a downloadable finishers certificate. Registration is limited to 300 participants, so register soon. Visit

• The Saunders at Rye Harbor 5K will take place virtually from Aug. 13 through Aug. 20. Participants can do a run or a competitive walk. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Aug. 19, at noon. Registration costs $30 and includes a race T-shirt. This race is a part of the Seacoast Road Race Series. Visit

• The Sabine Strong 3.3 will be held virtually on Sunday, Aug. 30. Registration costs $35 and closes on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at noon. Visit

• The Marcus Warner Memorial 5K Race will take place virtually on Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6. Registration costs $10 and closes on Sept. 5 at noon. Visit

• Veterans Count presents the Wolfeboro Pirates Cove 5K Fun Run & Walk from Saturday, Sept. 5, through Monday, Sept. 7. Registration costs $25 for runners and walkers age 13 and up and $15 for service members, veterans and children age 12 and under and includes a printable bib and finishers certificate. The registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 4, at noon. Register by Aug. 12 to receive a free long-sleeved race T-shirt. Visit

• Join the 12th annual Celebrate Pink 5K Run & Walk virtually between Monday, Sept. 7, and Sunday, Sept. 13. Registration costs $30 for adults and $20 for youth under age 14 and closes on Sept. 13, at noon. Register by Aug. 14 to receive a free race T-shirt. Visit

• The Hunger is the Pitts 5K will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17, in person in Auburn and virtually as part of the Total Image Running Virtual Race Series. Registration for the virtual race costs $30 and includes a race T-shirt or tank top, a print-at-home bib and a downloadable finishers certificate. The registration deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 16. Visit

• The 15th annual CHaD HERO will be held virtually from Oct. 4 to Oct. 18. Participants can run, walk, hike or bike, or they can complete their own “Virtual Quest” activity like hiking the Appalachian Trail or racing across the state. A virtual celebration with live music, special guests, raffle prizes and more will take place on Sunday, Oct. 18. Registration costs $15; register by Oct. 17. Visit

• You can walk or run the Great Island 5K in person in New Castle or virtually on Sunday, Oct. 11. Registration costs $25 and closes on Oct. 10 at noon. This race is part of the Seacoast Road Race Series. Visit

• The TangerFIT Virtual 5K takes place Oct. 11 through Oct. 18. Registration costs $25 for participants age 16 and up $15 for youth age 15 and under and closes on Friday, Oct. 2, at noon. Visit

• The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire presents its Howl-O-Ween 5K virtually from Thursday, Oct. 15, through Sunday, Oct. 18, with a finish line celebration on Facebook Live on Oct. 18 at 11 a.m. Registration costs $30 for participants age 13 and up, $20 for youth age 12 and under and an extra $5 to include your dog as an official participant. The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 16, at noon. Electronic bibs will be emailed to participants the week of the race. Register by Sept. 12 to receive a free race T-shirt. Visit

• The Pumpkin Regatta 10K takes place on Sunday, Oct. 18, in person in Goffstown and virtually as part of the Total Image Running Virtual Race Series. Registration for the virtual race costs $35 and includes a race T-shirt, a print-at-home bib, a training plan and a downloadable finishers certificate. The registration deadline is Saturday, Oct. 17. Visit

• The Seacoast Half Marathon is going virtual. Participants can do a 5K, quarter-marathon (6.55 miles) or half-marathon anywhere, any day between Oct. 31 and Nov. 8. Standard registration costs $15. Registration for the 5K or quarter-marathon that includes a long-sleeve race T-shirt costs $35, and registration for the half-marathon that includes a long-sleeve race T-shirt and finishers medal costs $40. Registration closes on Saturday, Oct. 31 at noon. Visit

• Veterans Count, an Easterseals program, presents Penmen for Patriots Virtual 5K from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30. Registration costs $30 and includes a race bib and long-sleeve T-shirt. The registration deadline is Monday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. Visit

Photo: Meghan Siegler proudly wears her “I’m a streaker” shirt on a (slow, walking) hike with her kids, Ben and Eisley, who have been very supportive of her streak despite constantly hearing things like “I’ll be back in time for the second inning” and “We can’t — I still have to run.”

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