The Weekly Dish 23/02/02

News from the local food scene

Greek eats and happenings: Join Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (68 N. State St., Concord) for its next boxed Greek dinner to go, a drive-thru takeout event on Sunday, Feb. 12, from noon to 1 p.m. Now through Wednesday, Feb. 8, orders are being accepted for boxed meals featuring dinners of beef stew with orzo, a Greek salad and a dinner roll for $20 per person. The event is drive-thru and takeout only — email or call 953-3051 to place your order. In preparation for the Big Game — on Sunday, Feb. 12 — the church will be hosting its second annual Souper Bowl Sunday of Caring competition on Sunday, Feb. 5, sponsored by the Mother Maria of Paris Outreach Ministries. Participants will get to taste soups made by local parishioners and vote on their favorite, with prizes awarded to the winner. Donations will be accepted to benefit local charities fighting hunger. Additionally, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is hoping to revive its annual Greek food festival,to take place on Saturday, Sept. 30 — the first meeting on preparations for the event is due to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m., according to the church newsletter. Visit

Tastes for a cause: Get your tickets now to Crafts, Drafts & Barrels, an annual tasting benefit to support Concord Hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute. Sponsored by Martignetti Companies of Northern New England, the event is due to return to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Drive, Concord) on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., and will feature beer, wine, spirit and mocktail samples from area breweries, vineyards and distilleries. Also included are a variety of small bites provided by local restaurants, as well as a silent auction and a chef’s tasting with Corey Fletcher, owner of Revival Kitchen & Bar. Tickets start at $75 general admission. Visit

A new restaurant family member: The Kitchen on River Road (1362 River Road, Manchester) is now part of the Chopscotch Hospitality Group family, the restaurant group that owns the Hanover Street Chophouse and The Crown Tavern, administrative assistant Mairin MacDonald confirmed. The deli-style spot offers fresh baked goods, butcher meats and specialty pantry items, along with beer, wine and oven-ready meals to go. Online ordering is also now available for pickup within 25 minutes — the menu includes sandwiches and paninis made to order until 4 p.m. each day, along with soups, salads and more. The Kitchen on River Road is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit, find them on Facebook and Instagram @thekitchenonriverroad or call 782-8325.

On The Job – Krystyl Jenkins

Certified paralegal, professional of HR and mediator

Krystyl Jenkins owns her own business, Paralegal Solutions, based in Derry, in which she provides services as a certified paralegal, certified professional of HR, trained mediator and online business manager to clients throughout New Hampshire.

Explain your job and what it entails.

I’m a jack of all trades. … I help individuals start up or expand their own business or nonprofit, and I assist them with translating legalese and navigating the legal process. While I’m not an attorney and cannot give legal advice, I can help them fill out the basic forms and understand the general legal process for most types of legal cases. For small businesses, I could be handling their social media, monthly newsletters or blog posts or assisting with HR matters as needed, which could include drafting or updating employee handbooks and training manuals and such. For attorneys, I generally handle document drafting, filing and other general paralegal tasks. As a mediator, I assist parties in coming to a resolution of the issue that brought them to me — or at least we try to come to a resolution.

How long have you had this job?

I’ve been a certified paralegal since 2008 and a certified professional of HR and mediator since 2020.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I kind of fell into it. When I was just a paralegal, I had been assisting friends and family in navigating the legal system and translating legalese for a while, and I realized I could do more than that. I set up Paralegal Solutions in 2018, but didn’t really do much with it until 2020 when I had a friend ask me to help them start a business. Then, someone else wanted to expand their business into another state, and after that I helped a client start a nonprofit and receive their IRS 501(c)(3) certification.

What kind of education or training did you need?

I started with a B.S. in equine science and then gained a B.S. in paralegal studies. Along the way, I gained a Professional of HR certification and completed mediator training. I have 15 years of experience as a certified paralegal and running offices.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

If I’m just working at home, I’m dressed pretty casual. If I’m meeting a client in person, I’ll aim for business casual.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

That nothing is ever locked into stone, and the road is never flat.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

Communication is key.

What was the first job you ever had?

My first job was probably babysitting. I remember taking the American Red Cross babysitting course and then babysitting neighborhood children. That expanded when I began doing a paper route in the neighborhood.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Never stop learning.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
in Death series by J.D. Robb
Favorite movie: There are way too many to choose from.
Favorite music: I’m pretty partial to Halestorm.
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite thing about NH: New Hampshire has a little bit of everything.

Featured photo: Krystyl Jenkins. Courtesy photo.

Planning a garden in the lawn

Start with an outline and some compost

This is a good time to make plans. If you are willing to spend just 15 minutes a day, every day, from spring to fall you can create an edible showcase for beauty: the splendid look of ripe red tomatoes, multi-colored Swiss chard or glossy green peppers. It’s not nearly as difficult as you think. And unlike maintaining a lawn, you get to eat the results of your labor. Here’s what you need to do:

To grow good vegetables you need sunshine, at least 6 hours a day and preferably more. For most people, the sunniest part of the yard is in the middle of the lawn. A well-maintained vegetable garden can be as gorgeous as a flower garden. And if you like flowers, you can plant some of those in your vegetable garden, too.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew — or weed. A nice lawn garden can be just 10 feet across and 12 feet long. Properly maintained, it will provide you with fresh veggies much of the summer.

Using string and stakes, define the borders of the garden and pry out the sod after cutting it into 1-foot squares with an edging tool or a spade. Use the sod to start a compost pile.

Start early enough in the season — say the first of May — so you can work just 15 or 20 minutes a day for a week or more to get all the grass out. That way you get in the habit of spending time in the garden, but don’t develop blisters or an aching back. Gardening should be fun, not hard work. Still, it can give you a workout without going to the gym.

Your lawn garden will have two raised beds separated by a walkway. Once you have removed the sod, you can just mound up the soil to form beds about 30 inches wide with a walkway up the middle and a 6-inch space between the lawn and the beds all the way around the garden. To do this, (after removing the sod) loosen the soil with a garden fork, shake out the soil and then rake the soil from the perimeter and the walkway onto the beds.

Then spread out five bags of composted cow manure on each bed (each bag is usually labeled 30 quarts), and work it into the loose soil with your garden fork or favorite hand tool.

Alternatively, you can build wood-sided beds using ordinary 6- or 8-inch-wide planks. For more years of service, 2-inch-thick lumber is even better. Gardener’s Supply ( sells a variety of brackets for building raised beds, and I suppose others do, too.

If you build wood-sided beds you will have to buy more filler than if using mounded beds. Most garden centers sell topsoil and compost by the tractor scoop, which is usually two thirds of a cubic yard of material. They’ll dump right into the back of your pickup truck, or even deliver (for a price). I recommend a mix of topsoil and compost, a 50-50 mix.

If you make wood-sided beds you can place them right on the lawn without removing the sod, which saves a lot of labor. Just scalp the grass with the lawnmower and put a thick layer of newspapers over the lawn, then fill the box. Long carrots might hit the bottom the first year, but most other plants won’t be bothered.

What to plant? Make a list of the veggies you like best and that taste best freshly picked. If you plant tomatoes, dedicate at least 24 inches of a row to each plant. And buy those wire cages for your tomatoes, so they won’t flop over and shade out your carrots or broccoli nearby.

I like to plant lettuce seedlings all around the tomatoes at the beginning of the season while the tomatoes are still small. By the time the plants get big, the lettuce will have been harvested and eaten. Run your rows north-south, and plant tomatoes (or any tall plants) on the north end of the garden so they will shade other plants less. Buy some bagged organic fertilizer and stir some in at planting time.

Oh, and about those weeds: The easiest way to prevent a problem is to mulch. Put down six sheets of newspaper and cover it with straw, mulch hay or last fall’s leaves. This will keep the soil dark, turning off the switch that weed seeds have to tell them when to germinate. Mulch also holds in the moisture during dry times. But when a few weeds do turn up — and they will — be sure to pull them before they get big and make more seeds. That’s preventive maintenance.

Gardening is said to be a middle-aged sport. After all, what parent of three toddlers has time to weed? But if you wish to reduce your food costs and feed your family well, a garden is great. And done this way, you can maintain it in 15 minutes a day. I promise. Just keep at it daily, and you’ll be surprised and delighted at how good your garden looks, and how much food you can grow — right in the middle of the lawn!

Featured photo: Adding composted manure enriches the soil. Courtesy photo.

Treasure Hunt 23/02/02

Good morning, Donna! My name is Katie. I live in Hooksett and I have always enjoyed your segment in the Hippo each week. I wanted to see if you could give me any insight on my Levi’s belt buckle.

Sincerely, Katie.

Dear Katie,

I did lots of research for you and never came up with your belt buckle.

I did come up with a couple reasons why I think you might have a knockoff (reproduction). First, the design in the leather doesn’t match any of the cowboy themes all others have. Second, the marking on the edge, “Levi,” was always followed by “Strauss.” If it’s not a reproduction it is an extremely rare piece. In your letter you stated you sent information to the company and never heard back. That makes me more confident in my findings.

No matter what, Katie, it’s a sweet buckle. Thanks for reading the Hippo and my column.

Kiddie Pool 23/02/02

Family fun for the weekend

Library excitement

• Ever wanted to be in an episode of Stranger Things? The Manchester City Library (405Pine St.) is offering something like that at its teen escape room on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 3 p.m. Teens in grades 6 to 12 are invited to hang out during the Teen Thursday, where the escape room will be happening in addition to usual activities including snacks and gaming sessions on the library’s Nintendo Switch. For more information, visit

• Join the Nashua Public Library (2 Court St.) for a special event called take your child to the library day, sponsored by children’s musician Steve Blunt and author and illustrator Marty Kelley on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Blunt and Kelley will perform a show with music, books and laughter all about going to the library. This event is free to attend. Visit

Soccer star

Kim Chafee, a children’s author, is slated to attend the storytime and crafts event at Bookery (844 Elm St. in Manchester; on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 11:30 a.m. She will read her new book Courage in Her Cleats: The Story of Soccer Star Abby Wambach and the event will include soccer-themed activities, according to the website. The event is free; register online.

Beary fun

• A special Girl Scouts build-a-bear workshop is opening at the New Hampshire Girl Scouts council office (1 Commerce Drive in Bedford) on Saturday, Feb. 4, with a special gala taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The location will have Girl Scouts branded merchandise for troop members to choose from. The gala will have raffles and giveaways while customers get the chance to explore the new location. For more information about this event, visit

Outdoor adventures

• The New Hampshire Audubon Massabesic Center (26 Audubon Way in Auburn;, 668-2045) is hosting a cold creatures and hot cocoa event on Saturday, Feb. 4, from noon to 1 p.m. Families can learn all about cold-blooded creatures like snakes, turtles, frogs, lizards and more, as well as meet some of them in person, all while sipping on delicious hot beverages. The Massabesic Center recommends this program for kids ages 5 to 13. It costs from $15 per family and registration can be completed at

• The NHScots second annual great kilt skate will be on Sunday, Feb. 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. at White Park (1 White St. in Concord). The organization will have Scottish tunes, hot chocolate, coffee and a few other wintery surprises. The group invites everyone to don a kilt, but dress warmly, and take to the ice with them in the free event. There is a warming house available for anyone who gets too cold. Visit for more information.

• Dreamer’s Ranch (125 N. Lowell Road, Windham) is hosting a Fire and Ice Winter Festival on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. Take a wagon ride from the ranch’s parking lot to the festival grounds, where there will be sledding, skating and other winter activities. Live music will be provided by local bands, and the ranch will have bonfires to help visitors keep warm. There will also be hot dogs and hamburgers from the grill. Tickets for the event cost $15 and can be purchased in advance at

Scales and tails

New England Reptile Expo returns to Manchester

By Mya Blanchard

On Sunday, Feb. 5, reptiles of all shapes and sizes will return to the DoubleTree by Hilton in Manchester from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the New England Reptile Expo.

“[It’s] the legacy of my husband,” said Meredith Lowder, the wife of the late Bruce Lowder, who founded the event. “About 30 years or so ago he started a snake show at the Greenburgh Nature Center in [Scarsdale, New York]. … At the same time he was expanding the show, he started to have a show in New Hampshire.”

Since the expo started in the Granite State around two decades ago, what began as a show with only about 15 vendor tables has since grown to become known as the largest in the area.

“We typically have approximately 200 tables, and some vendors have one table and some have as many as seven. … On these tables are reptiles and invertebrates. Pretty much anything you could imagine that is safe to sell in the state of New Hampshire,” Lowder said.

These animals include bearded dragons, turtles and iguanas, as well as various breeds of snakes, geckos and spiders, to name a few.

“In addition to animals … there are also supplies,” Lowder said. “If you need a tank, if you need a filter, if you need bedding, [or] if you need a warm rock for your new bearded dragon to bask [on] … everything you could possibly need is there.”

Slither and Swim, a New Haven, Connecticut-based retail store specializing in reptiles and tropical fish, has been attending since the beginning.

“We bring all the terrariums, the bedding, the lighting, the heating, the accessories [and] the decorations,” store owner Paul Nixon said.

Ball python breeder Fred Kick, owner of Kicks Balls, will also be there, selling a vast array of reptiles at the expo.

“[We’ll have] almost everything you could think of — bearded dragons, leopard geckos, ball pythons, boa constrictors … all kinds of tarantulas, a little bit of everything,” Kick said. “We’ll probably have maybe 250 different types of reptiles.”

Like Nixon, Kick has been participating in the expo since it began. He’s been in business with his brother since 1987.

“The most important part of what I do is just taking care of the animals. They have to depend on us [and] we’re all they have, so we have to do a good job with what we do,” he said. “Nothing’s better than seeing newborn babies that you helped create. It really is crazy to see them for the first time.”

Lowder said the expo attracts everyone from serious breeders and reptile enthusiasts to families. Three more shows are planned for later this year, on April 2, July 9 and Nov. 5.

“It’s a unique opportunity to see animals that you wouldn’t otherwise see,” she said. “I think anybody who would want to come would have a wonderful time.”

New England Reptile Expo
When: Sunday, Feb. 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown, 700 Elm St., Manchester
Cost: Tickets are $10 for attendees ages 13 and over, $5 for children ages 7 through 12 and free for children ages 6 and under

Featured photo: Green snake. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 23/02/02

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Last call for Piano Men:The Palace Theatre’s ode to the music of Billy Joel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Freddie Mercury, The All New Piano Men, wraps up its run this weekend with shows Friday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. The show is an original production of Carl Rajotte, artistic director at the Palace (80 Hanover St. in Manchester;, 668-5588), according to the website. Tickets start at $25.

Wilkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome: Also at the Palace in Manchester this weekend, the Palace Teen Apprentice Company production performed by student actors ages 12 through 18, will present Cabaret on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults. See

Disney’s next generation: The Riverbend Youth Company will present a tale of the kids of Disney villains in The Descendants: The Musical, based on the Disney Channel movies, at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts (56 Mont Vernon St. in Milford; on Friday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for children and seniors.

Get all shook up: Local artists will perform the songs of one Elvis Aaron Presley at “A Night of Elvis,” a variety show featuring songs, skits and more, at the Majestic Theatre (88 Page St. in Manchester; 669-7469, on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20.

New show — and a slate of concerts: The Two Villages Art Society (Bates Building, 846 Main St. in Contoocook; will present a new show — the work of The Secretive and Mysterious Order of the Crimson Sparrow — opening Thursday, Feb. 2, and running through Sunday, Feb. 19. Ty Meier, an artist and member of the Society’s board of directors, organized and curated the show and describes the 14 artists (which include painters, printmakers, illustrators and sculptors) as “a scrappy group of underground art ninjas,” according to a press release. The gallery is open Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

On Saturdays Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and Feb. 25, from 4 to 6 p.m. the gallery will also host concerts featuring light refreshments (donations will be accepted at the door), the release said. The schedule includes Ariel Strasser (a Boston-based Minnesotan singer, songwriter and piano player) on Feb. 11, The Honeybees (Mary Fagan and Chris O’Neill with original songs, 1930s era jazz, Western swing, folk-rock and Americana) on Feb. 18 and Hydro-Geo-Trio (featuring George Holt, Dave McLean, Dan Morrissey and Mitch Simon with blue grass and new-grass) on Feb. 25, the release said.

Small works and a silent auction: The New Hampshire Art Association’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery (136 State St. in Portsmouth; will hold its annual fundraiser silent auction scheduled to have started Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the gallery and online, according to a press release. The auction will run through Feb. 19. The gallery is also hosting a “Small Works” exhibit featuring works 8 inches by 8 inches or 8 inches by 10 inches, the release said.

Underground Russian art: Moscow-born Nickolay Manulov, 88, now a resident of New Hampshire, will have his works and pieces by his wife, Ludiya Kirillova, displayed at the Mariposa Museum (26 Main St. in Peterborough;, which is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is also having an artist reception for Manulov, known as “Kuk,” with a Q&A discussion on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. Admission to that event is $10. Manulov’s art, and that of his late wife, was illegal during the time of Stalin and wasn’t allowed to be exhibited in official venues even after Stalin’s death, according to a press release. Kuk emigrated during the Russian invasion of Crimea, bringing his and his wife’s work with him, the release said.

Dream the impossible dream: The Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St. in Portsmouth;, 433-4472) will present the musical Man of La Mancha, Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m. through Sunday, March 5. The show follows Don Quixote, a man who lives in a fantasy world of his own creation that baffles everyone he meets but changes the world for the better and inspires those around him, according to a press release. This show contains adult themes including violence. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased at

One-woman show: The Pontine Theatre will present guest artist Tannis Kowalchuk and her original one-woman show Decompositions at the Pontine’s 1845 Plains Schoolhouse Theatre (1 Plains Ave. in Portsmouth; on Friday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. A Feb. 5 show is sold out but an online show is available (it is accessible about a week after the performance, according to the website. Tickets cost $29. In the song-filled multimedia production Kowalchuk performs monologues and stories exploring the composting process as a metaphor for life, according to a press release.

Opening day for new show

Nashua playwright’s production comes to the Concord stage

At the Hatbox in Concord, the community theater troupe Lend Me a Theatre is preparing the first production of The World Was Yours, by Nashua playwright William Ivers. Matthew Parent, director of The World Was Yours, said he was extremely excited to bring this play to life.

“It’s a great story about the value of art and what people think of art and whose opinion about art is right or not,” Parent said. “It’s this debate, and you can extract that to be about anything, not just art.”

This isn’t the first of Ivers’ plays to be produced, but it is the first time Lend Me a Theatre has produced an original and independent text.

In the play, three artists compete for the same grant: aging art professor Adley Schwartz, his young student Joy and guerilla graffiti artist Z-Jones, according to a press release. Watching the action from the ether are Bob Ross, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol, the release said.

Parent, who is a new member to Lend Me a Theatre, said having an original play be his directorial debut is extremely exciting. He said it’s incredible that he is allowed a chance to put his own spin on the text, to work with the Ivers to realize his vision, and to work with actors to breathe life into characters that have never been portrayed before.

Even though this is the first performance of The World Was Yours, Parent said there is a very good chance that it won’t be the last. This show will have a reading done in New York City, and it has gathered interest from the Royal Court Theatre in London.

“It’s unusual for a community theater or nonprofessional theater to do new plays,” Parent said. “Usually they do shows that have been published and done before. In that respect, [The World Was Yours] is brave.”

The World Was Yours
What: Original play by New Hampshire playwright William Ivers produced by Lend Me a Theatre
Where: Hatbox Theatre, 270 Loudon Road in Concord
When: Friday, Feb. 3, through Sunday, Feb. 19, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $22 for adults, $19 for seniors and students
More info:

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Dive in

Hit the indoor pool for fun and exercise

Who says having fun in the water has to be a summer-only activity?

Even in the dead of winter, there are several local spots to enjoy a bit of water fun indoors. We look at where to go to get in the pool for exercise, improve your swimming skills or try some surfing or boogie boarding — yes, indoors. Dig out that swimsuit and make a plan for a day in the water.

Water wonderland

Find a summertime oasis at an indoor aquatic center

By Katelyn Sahagian

Surfing in the wintertime is no longer restricted to tropical vacations, thanks to SkyVenture NH’s aquatic attraction Surf’s Up. Laurie Greer, who co-owns the Nashua facility with her husband, Rob, said she wanted to bring year-round waves to the Granite State.

“We can do everything from knee high to a 6-foot standing barrel,” Greer said, adding that people love to come and watch the surfers as much as they surf themselves. “Kick your shoes off and bring your flip-flops. It’s … a tropical paradise.”

Surf’s Up uses a device called a SurfStream. The wave machine fills a small pool with about a foot of water, which is then propelled at a speed of about 14 miles per hour to create a variety of waves. The Greers had specialized surfboards made and gathered up boogie boards. They heated the water to 80 degrees to create their own summertime oasis.

indoor swimming pool with lanes
The Workout Club’s aquatic center in Salem. Courtesy photo.

While it seemed easy enough to get going for people who are experienced on surfboards, Greer saw that some newer surfers needed an extra hand. Now, SkyVenture offers help to the newer surfers from the staff of surf instructors.

“The program we have is called ‘surf assist,’” she said. “An instructor … will set [a visitor] up and the other will help them up on the wave. Once [the visitor is] stable, they’ll let go. They basically are your personal coach on the waves.”

Surf’s Up is the largest SurfStream in the world, measuring in at a length of 32 feet. The attraction is more than just a fun way to get out energy, Greer said — it’s also used by professional surfers and wake surfers to practice during the winter months. Pro wakesurfer Jake Caster got started using Surf’s Up as his training ground, while YouTuber and award-winning surfer Jamie “JOB” O’Brien has also used the facility.

Each session at Surf’s Up lasts 15 minutes, Greer said.

“Fifteen minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a lot,” she said. “In the ocean, you’d be lucky to get 10 seconds to catch a ride.”

While kids as young as 4 or 5 years old can go on Surf’s Up, sometimes indoor swimming fun can look a bit more like a traditional waterpark. Over at The Workout Club in Salem, there’s a kid-friendly water wonderland known as the SplashZone that’s available for use in addition to the facility’s regular lane swimming.

“We have wonderful aquatics that are broken into three segments,” said Laurie Moran, The Workout Club’s aquatics director. The segments are lane swimming, family swimming and the SplashZone, which has wade-in water activities and swim areas, water sprinklers, a mushroom-cap fountain and a 75-foot water slide. On the other side of the complex you’ll find a wade pool for toddlers and a family swimming pool for fun.

When parents and older siblings need a break from the pool fun, they can take time in the spa, a hot tub for visitors ages 16 and older. The water can get up to 104 degrees with jets to help massage sore muscles.

Moran said that the aquatics center is a place for everyone in the family to have a good time and get some energy out.

“This is a place where parents and kids can get exercise,” she said, jokingly adding, “Afterward, kids are really tuckered out, and when they’re tired they’re less work to take care of.”

Indoor water fun

This list has a selection of places that are free or offer day passes to use their facilities.

Dover public pool
9 Henry Law Ave., 516-6441,
The public pool is open daily, with different programs scheduled each day. A single day pass costs $5 for resident adults and $3 for resident children and seniors, and $7 for non-resident adults and $4 for non-resident children and seniors. There are discounted packages available for a multi-day pass. See the website for the full schedule.

Envy Sports Club
298 Queen City Ave., Manchester, 703-5303,
The Envy Splash Lounge is not only an indoor pool but also has a cinema, music, parties, food and drinks. Kids and parents can join Envy for a live DJ at the Kids Glow Party every Saturday night from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased online.

SkyVenture NH
100 Adventure Way, Nashua, 897-0002,
SkyVenture is open Wednesday through Friday, 2 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pricing for Surf’s Up starts at $45 for a 15-minute session, followed by $22.50 for each additional session. Private sessions are also available — book online through their website.

The Workout Club
16 Pelham Road, Salem, 894-4800,
The SplashZone is open daily from noon to 4 p.m. The water slide will only be operational during the weekends, when a lifeguard is on duty in that area. The cost is $20 for non-members ages 13 and up and $10 for non-members.

Making a splash

Get fit in the pool, from aquatics classes to swim lessons

By Mya Blanchard and Matt Ingersoll

Between frigid temperatures and the depths of snow, it can be hard to find ways to stay active in the dead of winter. Indoor swimming and water exercise programs are great year-round alternatives to what are traditionally warm-weather activities — and they’ve been steadily growing in popularity post-pandemic.

“There’s definitely been a good uptick in the amount of interest the last three years,” said Matthew Chabot, owner of Somerset Swim & Fitness in Nashua, which offers swimming lessons for kids and adults, in addition to aqua aerobics for its members six days a week. “To be honest, we’ve quadrupled the amount of lessons on a yearly basis that we’re doing now from what we were doing pre-Covid.”

The interest in indoor pools also grows this time of year at the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club in Milford, according to aquatics director Jasmine Bishop.

young boy having fun swimming in indoor pool with pool noodle
Photo courtesy of the YMCA of Greater Nashua.

“I think after Christmastime, it’s a real big turning point, and our pools start to get busier because people are thinking of activities that they can do with their kids, or they’re thinking of different ways to cross-train when they can’t be out on the roads running or biking,” Bishop said. “A lot of people will hop in [the pool] and do PT [physical therapy] if they are trying to recover from something. … Or even if it’s icy outside, they’ll get into the water and walk, and that adds resistance and they’re still getting their steps in.”

At Hampshire Hills, one lane of a five-lane lap pool is always open to members — according to the club’s website, it’s open seven days a week throughout each day and can be reserved for swimmers up to four days in advance. Bishop added that, for adults, the club’s aquatics programs are more fitness-oriented and include everything from strength and tone workouts to those that promote proper joint and muscle alignment.

“We have an arthritis class, we have a Water in Motion [class] … and a lot of other different options, and generally those run Monday through Friday,” she said. “We have our family pool and that’s where our aqua classes run. Then we have our hot tub, which is a nice addition after you’ve been in a class or [you’ve been] swimming laps. … We see all different types of fitness levels.”

In business in the Gate City for more than two decades, Somerset Swim & Fitness is known for focusing on one-on-one private lessons for swimmers, regardless of one’s membership status with the club. It’s also one of the only spots around with a heated saltwater pool, a safer and more natural alternative, Chabot said, to one filled with chlorine. In addition to lessons, the club does offer open swimming hours to members seven days a week at various times over several hours, and there are membership rates available for open swim in the pool only. Aqua aerobics classes, meanwhile, are available and great for building strength and improving flexibility.

“All of our instructors are WSI [Water Safety Instructor, through the American Red Cross] certified. A lot of them have competitive swimming backgrounds,” Chabot said.

Lessons at the club are offered daily, and swimmers are usually guided to enroll in at least one lesson per week. A majority of swimmers, Chabot said, are kids and teens up to 15 years old, although lessons are available to all ages.

“We focus on … more of the beginner to the intermediate [swimmer],” he said. “Getting that individual, whether it’s the parent [who] wants their child to be comfortable and have those water safety skills, or if it’s an older child or an adult, then we’re basically helping them get over any fear they may have or getting them comfortable so that they feel they can swim. … Between the swim director who runs the program, or the individual instructors, they’ll more or less observe in the first session to get an idea of where the person is at.”

Group swimming lessons for kids and teens are also available at Hampshire Hills, with the next eight-week session running from March 6 through April 29. For younger swimmers, Bishop said, the benefits of enrolling in lessons range from basic water safety to building or boosting confidence.

toddler wearing wet suit and goggles, sitting on steps to indoor swimming pool
NH Swim School co-owner Tyler Smirnioudis’s daughter, Sofia. Courtesy photo.

“It’s a huge life skill that kids should know,” she said, “and then from there, you can work on fitness or you can swim for fun. Whatever you want to do, there are so many avenues that it can take you through.”

The YMCA of Greater Nashua also offers group swimming lessons, in addition to private lessons and daily guest passes for people to access the facility’s swimming pools, according to chief community relations officer Elizabeth Covino. Lessons are offered all year long, with the next program session beginning Feb. 6. At Granite YMCA, meanwhile (which includes the YMCA of Downtown Manchester, the YMCA of Concord and the YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown), day passes to use the pools are also complimentary for first-time visitors, followed by up to five paid visits.

In the Concord area, Karen Jenovese and her stepdaughter, Tyler Smirnioudis, have operated the NH Swim School for more than a decade. Both with backgrounds in competitive swimming — Smirnioudis is also a lifeguard instructor and Jenovese a swimming coach — the two developed their own methods of teaching that allow kids to progress faster and at their own pace.

“A lot of other places rely on floatation devices when teaching kids how to swim … and that can make the process take a lot longer,” Smirnioudis said. “We don’t use any floatation in our swimming lessons and our class sizes are very small compared to other programs … so that really helps make a difference with our kids learning to swim.”

The school provides lessons for children and adults. When deciding which lesson to sign up for, one must consider a swimmer’s age and skill level.

Those age 6 months to 3 years old can start with parent-and-child classes. These lessons familiarize children with the water and teach them developmental skills, like swimming on their front and back, floating and going under the water. Next up is Level 1, which teaches children how to swim independently. The following levels build on these skills and teach core strokes. “Our goal is for all the kids to continue swimming until they get to our developmental swim team,” Smirnioudis said.

Where to find indoor swimming lessons and aquatics programs
Here are some local health clubs and other organizations offering either private or group swimming lessons for kids and adults, as well as some open swimming opportunities and fitness-oriented aquatics classes.

Where to find indoor swimming lessons and aquatics programs

Envy Sports Club
298 Queen City Ave., Manchester, 703-5303,
When: Classes for kids and adults run on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at various times throughout the day, depending on the class. Aquatics programs are also available.
Cost: $169 for members and $199 for non-members, either for eight weeks with one class per week or four weeks with two classes per week. Membership rates start at $39 per month to use the pool only.

Executive Health & Sports Center
1 Highlander Way, Manchester, 668-4753,
When: Classes are held Sundays through Saturdays at various times, depending on the class (no classes during school vacation weeks or holiday weekends). The next session for swimming lessons runs from March 4 through April 16, with registration opening Feb. 6 at 5 a.m. Group aquatics programs, meanwhile, are available Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m.
Cost: $69 for members, and $119 for non-members for swimming lessons

Hampshire Hills Athletic Club
50 Emerson Road, Milford, 673-7123,
When: Group lessons are held weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., and on Saturday mornings. The next eight-week session runs from March 6 through April 29, with registration due March 4 (private lessons are currently not available). One lane of a five-lane lap pool is also open to members — according to the club’s website, it’s open seven days a week throughout each day and can be reserved for swimmers up to four days in advance. Aquatics classes, meanwhile, are offered seven days a week at various times — see website for details.
Cost: Ranges from $96 to $136 for the eight-week swimming lesson program, depending on the swimmer’s membership status.

NH Swim School
96 N. State St., Concord, 724-3106,
When: Classes are offered weekly, Sunday through Saturday, depending on the class.
Registration opens Feb. 4 for the NH Swim School’s next session, which begins in March.
Cost: Ranges from $175 to $230

Peak Swim Center
45 Mountain Road, Brookline, 978-337-6717,
When: Coached swimming sessions are available seven days a week; see website to book a time.
Cost: $90 per 45-minute coached swimming session, or $100 per 60-minute session

SafeSplash Swim School
Hosted at the Holiday Inn, 2280 Brown Ave., Manchester, 945-1844,
When: Classes are offered on Sundays, at various times between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and on Wednesdays, at various times between 4 and 7 p.m.
Cost: Ranges from $88 to $308, depending on the type of class and the length of each session.

Somerset Swim & Fitness
2 Somerset Parkway, Nashua, 595-4160,
When: Private lessons are available seven days a week; call to schedule a time. In addition to lessons, the club does also offer open swimming hours to members seven days a week at various times over several hours, in addition to aqua aerobics classes. Membership rates are available for open swim in the pool only.
Cost: Membership rates vary; call for details

YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown
Granite YMCA, 116 Goffstown Back Road, Goffstown, 497-4663,
When: Swimming programs are held at various dates and times throughout the week — see program brochure for the full schedule. Open swimming hours vary and can be viewed online on a week-to-week basis, Monday through Saturday.
Cost: Varies, depending on the swimmer’s age and membership status. Day passes to use the pool are also complimentary for first-time visitors, followed by up to five paid visits ($10 for adults, $5 for adolescents and teens and $3 for younger kids)

YMCA of Concord
Granite YMCA, 15 N. State St., Concord, 228-9622,
When: Swimming programs are held at various dates and times throughout the week — see program brochure for the full schedule. Open swimming hours vary and can be viewed online on a week-to-week basis, Monday through Saturday.
Cost: Varies, depending on the swimmer’s age and membership status. Day passes to use the pool are also complimentary for first-time visitors, followed by up to five paid visits ($10 for adults, $5 for adolescents and teens and $3 for younger kids)

YMCA of Downtown Manchester
Granite YMCA, 30 Mechanic St., Manchester, 623-3558,
When: Swimming programs are held at various dates and times throughout the week — see program brochure for the full schedule. Open swimming hours vary and can be viewed online on a week-to-week basis, Monday through Saturday.
Cost: Varies, depending on the swimmer’s age and membership status. Day passes to use the pool are also complimentary for first-time visitors, followed by up to five paid visits ($10 for adults, $5 for adolescents and teens and $3 for younger kids)

YMCA of Greater Nashua
24 Stadium Drive, Nashua, 882-2011,
When: Swimming lessons are offered all year long; the next program session begins Feb. 6. Daily guest passes are also available for people to access the Y’s swimming pools. Indoor pools are located at the Nashua YMCA (24 Stadium Drive, Nashua) and the Westwood Park YMCA (90 Northwest Blvd., Nashua). Lanes are available for open swim on various days and times — the full schedule is regularly updated at
Cost: Daily passes are $15 per adult and $5 per child per day.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

This Week 23/02/02

Big Events February 2, 2023 and beyond

Thursday Feb. 2

Today is the last day to purchase tickets for the Snowball Gala hosted by the Educational Farm at Joppa Hill. The gala will have live music, live and silent auctions, a photo booth, a surf and turf dinner, and more. The gala is on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. at the Manchester Country Club (180 S. River Road, Bedford). Tickets cost $100 a person and can be purchased at

Friday, Feb. 3

Catch “Masters of the Telecaster” G.E. Smith and Jim Weider tonight at the Tupelo Music Hall (10 A St. in Derry; at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $40. Find more concerts this weekend in the concert listings on page 34.

Saturday, Feb. 4

The Queen City Rotary Club’s annual Comedy Bowl returns tonight at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral (650 Hanover St. in Manchester). A social hour starts at 6 p.m., a buffet dinner starts at 7 p.m. and the comedy starts at 8 p.m. with a lineup including Joe Yannetty, Jody Sloane, Jeff Koen and Rafi Gonzalez, according to The event also features a silent auction and a cash bar with proceeds from the event benefiting youth charities and agencies in Manchester, according to a press release. Tickets cost $50; call 391-1110 to purchase.

Saturday, Feb. 4

There will be a Valentine’s craft and vendor fair at the Eagles Wing Function Hall (10 Spruce St. in Nashua) today from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There will be more than 40 vendors and crafters selling handmade goods, valentine-themed sweets and treats, and more. For more information, visit

Sunday, Feb. 5

The Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum (18 Highlawn Road in Warner) is hosting a mid-winter social today starting at 2 p.m. The social will have dancing, a potluck dinner and a performance by the Black Thunder Singers. Reservations are not required for this event. Visit for more information.

Wednesday Feb. 8

The Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester) is doing a special screening for the 100th anniversary of the silent filmSafety Last tonight at 7 p.m. The film will have live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis. Safety Last is a comedy that follows famous silent film actor Harold Lloyd’s character as he tries to make his mark on the Big City and impress his sweetheart in the process. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at

Save the Date! Oscar Watch Party
Celebrate awards season with the Red River Theatres (11 S. Main St. in Concord) with a special Oscar watch party on Sunday, March 12, at 7 p.m. The theater invites attendees to sit back, unwind and watch one of the biggest award shows of the season. Comfortable clothing, including pajamas, is encouraged. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased online at redriv As part of its Oscar Party Weekend, Red River is also hosting an Oscar Party Trivia Night on Saturday, March 11, at 6 p.m. For this night, the dress code is Hollywood glamor and tickets ($90 per person or $760 for a table) for a red carpet experience, food (dinner is served at 7 p.m.) and a trivia game, according to the website. Trivia night will take place at the Grappone Conference Center (70 Constitution St. in Concord).

Featured photo. Jody Sloane.

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