Recreation

The end of summer, in the form of Labor Day weekend, is fast approaching. After a really strange summer, I’m not sure whether I am sorry or glad to see it go. For whatever reason, my husband and I developed a peculiar Labor Day tradition after our second child left for college. We started to go to Rockingham Park in Salem NH to watch the harness racing on Labor Day. I say peculiar because I am not a fan of horse racing, or even horses. I don’t know that my husband is either. It just provided closure to the summer. labor%20day.jpg

This year we will need to find something different to do. The end of this summer needs to be celebrated in some way in spite of heat waves, drought, possible hurricanes, the shaky economy and all of the other trials and tribulations which have made themselves felt. Because Labor Day weekend is SO close, I went for online suggestions. Some of the best came from Bostoncentral.com, a free families and kids activities newsletter. All of these destinations were reachable in a day from the Boston area, so they should be reachable from Nashua as well. I also tried to select only those which were free or very low cost, and I looked for the ones which would be open on Labor Day weekend. Here are the best of my results:

Beech Hill Farm and Ice Cream Barn, Hopkinton New Hampshire, Free (except for corn maze which costs $5 per person)

Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, Quadrangle in Springfield, MA, Free

Museum of Natural History at Amherst College Amherst MA – Free

Plum Island Newburyport MA – Parker River National Wildlife Refuge – $5.00 charge per car

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Holderness New Hampshire – slightly more expensive at $13.00 for adults and $9.00 for children 9-15

If your idea of a fun day trip for Labor Day involves the ocean in any way, here are some towns to visit where there is more to do than sit on the beach!

Marblehead MA
Gloucester MA
Portsmouth NH
Salem MA
If you have an interest in historical things and events, try this National Park which celebrates the events in Lexington and Concord at the beginning of the Revolutionary War!
Minute Man National Historical Park – Visitor Center Lincoln MA

I’m sure there are lots of other places I haven’t thought of or didn’t find which are just as close to home and just as interesting. Places where the price is also right! The last weekend of summer deserves to be observed in some special way. After all, it’s the start of a slippery slope that ends in six feet of snow! Whatever you do, have fun.

Now that warm weather is finally here (fingers crossed), bike riders are suddenly all over the place. I’ve been doing more driving than normal lately and I’ve been seeing what looked to me like less than safe riding behaviors.

Two mornings in a row, I have seen elementary school age children riding to school on their bikes, heavy-looking backpacks on their backs. Not too scary unless you add in the traffic, the fact that most people are going at least 10 miles over the speed limit, and the very soft shoulder of the road.

My first thought was, of course, “if that were my child…” Then there was the woman riding her bike down the white line dividing two lanes of heavy traffic. Both lanes were going in the same direction, across the bridge from Nashua into Hudson, but at 5:00pm, there are a lot of cars and not every driver is on his or her best behavior. I started wondering if that was where she was supposed to be riding, and I started thinking about bicycle safety. .imagesCAV4HVA6.jpg

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) has a bicycle/pedestrian information center which gives helpful hints for bicyclists. It also provides the bicycle “rules of the road” citing the New Hampshire RSA where each rule can be found. All of this information is in one downloadable bicycle safety brochure titled “Don’t be a road warrior”. The second page of this brochure “Don’t be a road hog” gives drivers good advice for sharing the road with bicyclists.   I discovered that the lady on the bridge riding down the center line was doing exactly the right thing. Bicyclists are advised that “You may occupy any part of a lane when your safety warrants it”. Drivers are warned that “Bicyclists may occupy any part of a traffic lane when their safety warrants it.”

The DOT bicycle/pedestrian information center also provides downloadable, printable bike maps for the different regions in NH. The map on one side contains the various bike routes in that region; the map on the other side provides useful information about the region. The difficulty of the terrain is included, as is the traffic and the services which will be found in that region. This site also includes links to a number of bicycle associations and organizations including bicycling for people with disabilities, recreational bicycling clubs, and New England regional bike coalitions.

Another good online source for safe bike riding information is kidshealth.org Lots of important information for kids, written for kids. Helmets, rules of the road, hand signals, and how to tell if your bike is the right size for you are among the topics discussed. The website lets kids listen to this information as well as read it.

Wear your helmet is the first rule of bicycle safety. A close second is keep your bike in good repair. Nashua Public Library has some books to help you choose and repair your bike:

Simple bicycle repair: fixing your bike made easy
Bike repair manual
Every woman’s guide to cycling
and for kids: Bicycles by Kristin Petrie.

SO…Put on your helmet and your bright orange shirt, check your brakes and your water bottle, and put that granola bar in your pocket. Away you go!

Check out the new craft display case near the elevator on the main floor of the library. Each month the work of a different local crafter will be exhibited. This month, be sure to look at the beautiful jewelry created by Nashua Public Library’s own Lindsey Jackson. Crafters who would like to display their work at the library should contact Bruce Marks at 589-4626 or bruce.marks@nashualibrary.org.
The library has many books for the avid crafter of any age. Here are some of my favorites:
Decorative sewing: embellish anything with applique, beading, cross-stitch, beading and more by Sarah Beaman.
Elegant wire jewelry: contemporary designs & creative techniques by Kathleen Ann Frey
Get creative with polymer clay by Emma Ralph
American Indian crafts kids can do! by Carol Gnojewski
Salt dough fun by Brigitte Casagranda
Summercrafts: fun and creative projects for the whole family by Marjorie Galen

Not being a New Hampshire native, I’m always trying to find out what there is to do or what is going on. New Hampshire offers TONS of stuff to do in every season, indoors and out. There are places, events, and activities to please everyone. One source available is www.visitnh.gov. This website offers information on when to visit (depending on your favorite season, mine is summer, don’t ask me how I survived this past winter!), where to stay and what to do. The site also provides planning resources where you can search for attractions by region and get directions. While this site is great for those visiting the state, those who live in New Hampshire can find the website just as helpful. The library also has great books on things to do in New Hampshire. Check out some of these titles:
Country roads of New Hampshire by Steve Sherman

Foghorn outdoors: New Hampshire hiking

The two blondes restaurant guide to southern New Hampshire, 2003,
updated and expanded edition
by Hillary Davis and Blandine Beaulieu
Discover southern New Hampshire: AMC guide to the best hiking, biking,
and paddling
by Jerry and Marcy Monkman
New Hampshire wildlife viewing guide by Judith K. Silverberg
New Hampshire: off the beaten path by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers and Stillman Rogers
For more titles search Subject Keyword: New Hampshire guidebooks. For information and guidebooks on surrounding states, you can also do a subject keyword search for Massachusetts guidebooks, Vermont guidebooks and Maine guidebooks.
Please leave comments about your favorite things to do in New Hampshire!