Father’s Day weekend, New England style

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My husband’s first Father’s Day was an all-weekend affair, but seriously, who doesn’t like celebrating all weekend. Starting on Saturday morning, we first hit the Portsmouth farmer’s market. Two breakfast wraps and a failed search for fresh strawberries led into a visit to Haven Park, across South Mill Pond from City Hall and pictured above. Evelyn is getting to the point where we can sit her down on the ground and know that something disgusting won’t make it into her mouth for at least a minute, so I was able to snap a few shots of dad and daughter before Evelyn snacked on a quarter-sized wood chip.

For Father’s Day proper, I wanted to do something special. Adam likes to eat delicious food, drink craft beer and get out of town every so often, so I suggested heading to Portland for the day. Adam remembered a spot he had tried while bar hopping on a bachelor party trip a few summer’s before called the East Ender. Known for good drinks and delicious, the menu looked like a smorgasbord of so-bad-for-you-it’s-good dishes, like lobster poutine, buttermilk fried chicken (a rarity in these northern parts) and smoked brisket hash. Sundays are for brunch, so we headed up late morning with our bellies growling.

east ender

The East Ender is located at the far end of the Old Port, near restaurants like Fore Street and next door to the famous Duck Fat. The buildings in this neighborhood are brick and the sidewalk is lined with brick. Just blocks from the water, the place has a very sea-worn feel.

The East Ender had a few tables out front and a few large parties in the ground floor dining room, so we opted for the quieter and less crowded upper floor where an occasional squeal from Evelyn would affect the fewest people. Our booth was roomy, comfortable and abutted a window overlooking the Ferry Terminal. Despite the bottomless mimosa calling our names, Adam started off with a bloody mary, which had a delicious smokey flavor and just the right kick. I tried the salty bulldog, a delicious glass of gin, grapefruit juice and a salted rim.

I went for the straight-up eggs benedict, which had a light and lemony hollandaise, just as I like it. Adam had the Montreal smoked brisket hash and after one bite had major order envy. The brisket’s flavor was so deliciously complex I had a hard time not stealing a big scoop for myself.

Not to be overlooked were the “snacks” we ordered while enjoying our drinks, including a strawberry-filled homemade donut, deviled eggs and a fresh greens salad topped with three house-made sausage meatballs. The deviled eggs were good but not amazing, the salad perfectly dressed and the meatballs were warm and juicy. The winner, no doubt about it, was the donut. Really there were three donuts, warm, not too greasy and oozing with a warm, slightly sweet strawberry filling.

east ender bar

Adam finished off his meal with a locally made stout, one of many delicious craft beers the East Ender had to offer. We headed home with that wonderful full-belly, slightly-drowsy post-brunch feeling.

The East Ender is a recommend for sure. With two bars, lots of great beers, delicious cocktails and both small bites and full meals, it is a great after work or late night destination.

New Project: Stay Work Play

Writing for Stay Work Play, the New Hampshire non-profit to encourage 20 and 30-somethings to make the state their home, is really a perfect fit for me. I’m one of those people who jumps at the chance to provide a lost tourist with directions or recommend a good lunch spot off the beaten path. Stay Work Play give me the opportunity to exercise that concierge part of my personality on a much larger stage.

Stay Work Play is about all three — living in New Hampshire working here and the fun stuff to do after work. I’ve got the “play” part down; that’s easy. But I’ve also got a few work and living related blog posts cooking as well. Please check out Stay Work Play and the many other great writers they have from around the state for them. This is my latest post, and yes, golf lessons went quite well yesterday, despite the heat.

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Back in the game

For most people I know, golf is little more than the game the characters play in the movie Caddyshack. I grew up in a family that played golf, and therefor were constantly attempting to instill an appreciation for the game. My dad played and my grandfather was a pro golf instructor. I watched plenty of tournaments and drove the cart for my dad a few times, but never really took much interest in the game until I moved home from college.

My first job after I moved back to New Hampshire after college, or really the job I took while looking for a “real” job, was as a bartender in a golfer hangout. I worked the Sunday afternoon shift, which in the warmer months meant golfers started trickling in from the links around noon and continued in at a steady stream until dusk. One of the most common questions these patrons would ask me is, “Do you play?” After a while, I got tired of saying no and figured I’d give it a shot. It had to be kind of fun if all these people were doing it, right?

Read more at stayworkplay.org.

McCain’s old jokes

If you’ve never seen John McCain speak in New Hampshire, you probably should. Not because I expect he’s going to present some new policy idea or take the president to task, but because you can’t really say you lived in New Hampshire until you have.

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Between his two presidential runs, Sen. McCain arguable campaigned more in New Hampshire than any other national politician. I covered him in 2007 when he had that crazy campaign collapse turned victory, thanks to the fact New Hampshire seems to really love the guy — or at least New Hampshire Republicans, as was pointed out to me on Sunday.

If you’re one of the many who has seen McCain speak to a small room, town-hall style, where he answers any question no matter how crazy, you’ve also heard McCain’s jokes. He doesn’t have many, but the ones he has are not bad the first time you hear them. But they go steadily downhill upon repeating. Here are a few, roughly transcribed:

When people ask me what I did after I lost the election, I tell them I slept like a baby — sleep for an hour, wake up and cry, go back to sleep for an hour…

I like to tell the story about the two guys in the prison chow line, where one says to the other, “I liked the food in here better when you were governor.”

and the sticker

I told that joke in Illinois, but it didn’t go over well.

McCain spoke on Sunday in Concord for an event honoring the late N.H. Sen. Warren Rudman and the opening of a policy center named in his honor. Here’s the story, for Associated Press.

And then you get hit by a tanker

bridge

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge is my neighborhood bridge. Most people call it just “the Sarah Long Bridge” or “the middle bridge,” but for me it’s how I get from Portsmouth to Kittery at least once a week.

It’s been nothing but drama as long as I can remember for that rusted out span. The lift mechanism  gets stuck or the guard rails are too rusty, causing the bridge to close for a few days, maybe a week. Whenever I hear there’s a problem with the bridge and to expect a closure, I think, “Well, this is it. It’s going to be closed for good now.” But she somehow seems to hang on.

Then she gets hit by a tanker. The bridge is now expected to remain closed for weeks.

The Portsmouth Herald did a great job covering this, dispatching multiple reporters. Here’s witness reaction and my favorite story on the traffic impact of closing the bridge. It also addresses the frequent question I get from people who do not live here: why three bridges? Well we’re down to two still standing and only one open, so perhaps insurance? Or that the next closest way to cross into Maine from New Hampshire is a 20 minute drive to the north? Or that you need more than one way to get across the river because of stuff like this?

It’s uncertain when the bridge will reopen, but what I can say for sure is that it will be a while before I get to cross your way again, old girl.

Best News All Day 3-19-13

 

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If you ask the people who deal with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission everyday — bartenders, restaurant managers, store owners — many will tell you it’s an agency that could use a total overhaul. If stories like this continue to emerge, a total overhaul may be forthcoming.

— I recently wrote here about budget talks and how residents are asking and voting for more spending. This isn’t everywhere, as we see in this story about Goffstown, but the House Finance Committee heard on the Seacoast to stop with the state budget cuts. My theory isn’t so crazy, even for New Hampshire, as this Washington Post story notes.

— Things at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard just went from bad to worse. At least we know this guy didn’t do it.

— Concord Monitor, this is nice work.

— Lebanon College gets a boost from the Cos.

— Sunshine Week is over, but it’s worth taking a look at the work the Nashua Telegraph did to celebrate. Here’s a piece about transparency in the NH Legislature.

— More bad news for Portsmouth’s most famous breakfast place. Also in Portsmouth, the City Council recently learned the middle school addition will cost another $3.3 million. Yikes.

Best News All Day 3-4-13

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge over the Pisctaqua River in Portsmouth, new Hampshire.

 

Have you driven over the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge recently? It’s the one that connects the Route 1-Bypass from Portsmouth to Kittery. You know, the one that keeps closing down and is in a constant state of repair because it’s a rusty heap. Yes. That one. As efforts to replace the bridge ramp up, it looks like New Hampshire is going to have a tough time convincing Maine to go halfsies on the multi-million dollar replacement project, seeing as New Hampshire is getting way more out of the deal, according to a new study. (photo by Jerry Monkman)

Also around the state this morning:

— Driving through Concord on I-93 is a traffic nightmare anytime of the day, but I’ve always kind of liked the view of the city from that highway. The backs of all those old, brick buildings makes you feel like you are sneaking up on the city, getting a glimpse of the real, working side of the capital. The Golden Dome may be where all the action is in Concord, but driving past on I-93, it merely shimmers in the background.

Apparently city leaders don’t see it like I see it and are looking at sprucing up the view of downtown’s backside.

— Immigration reform is never high on the issues list when New Hampshire residents are polled, but there are many people in this state affected by these policies. Nashua Telegraph covers an immigration reform rally in the city Saturday, which provides a rare glimpse at New Hampshire’s immigrant population and the problems they are facing.

— A new bill could require high school students to take four years of math (ugg.) But a recent study suggests reports that students are entering college woefully unprepared in math may be overblown.

— I wanted to post something about the upper Seacoast region…Dover, Rochester, Durham perhaps. But Fosters.com is making it very difficult. Fosters, if you are going to have a pop-up on your homepage, users should be able to “x” out of it so they can see your product, not take me to some weird page deep within your site. Just sayin’.

— Elizabeth Kulig was elected Manchester City Democrats Chairman over the weekend, beating out Mike Farley, city dem’s former secretary. This 21-year-old is the youngest person elected to the post. Also worth noting, Alderman Garth Corriveau addressed the committee.

There’s been some peculation about what Corriveau’s ambiguous video message to his peeps meant last week. My guess is Corriveau still hasn’t made up his mind, though he’s really thinking about it. What he has to decide is whether he thinks his chances of beating Mayor Ted Gatsas are good enough to give up a relatively safe seat on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Best News All Day — Snow Day Edition

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OK, so it’s only raining on the Seacoast. I still could use a snow day. Here’s a short BNAD.

— Lack of traffic continues to trouble Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. JetBlue is likely a promising development, but a Manchester source told me almost a year ago about these talks. Another story about this issue ran in the UL in the fall.

— James Pindell analysis on the Hagel confirmation. He notes Sen. Kelly Ayotte benefits from taking tough stances on Obama-backed votes because it earns her cred — and spots on the Sunday morning talk shows. (I also would suggest not being so wooden or sounding like a talking-points machine would help Ayotte too.)

After all the hub-bub about Hagel, his confirmation vote sure did end in a whimper. Pindell is the only NH reporter I could find this morning who wrote about it.

— Another story I can’t believe more people haven’t written about is Rep. Mark Warden doling out some unsolicited relationship advice during a House committee hearing on lowering assault penalties in some cases. Here’s the quote, via Ben Leubsdorf:

“Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships. It’s a love-hate relationship. It’s very, very common for people to stick around with somebody they love who also abuses him or her,” said Warden, a Republican who represents Deering, Goffstown and Weare, during a meeting of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, according to a video provided by Granite State Progress, a liberal advocacy group. According to the video, Warden added, “Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law? I’d say no. People are always free to leave.”

Perhaps NH’s news editors agree with Manchester Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, who said yesterday, “the Monitor was simply trying to gin up controversy by focusing on Warden’s comments.”

Best News All Day 2-26-13

whitepine

Good morning. Another snow storm is on it’s way tonight, so I’ve included a few stories you may have missed (and I definitely missed) from this weekend. Consider it a little extra reading for you while “working from home” tomorrow.

— White pine trees in New Hampshire are stressed out, according to UNH scientists.

— GREAT Nashua Telegraph web front page today. Plenty of good reads, including the piece on the Mont Vernon GOP gun raffle. It mentions recent controversy with these kinds of gun raffles and has a quote from Manchester GOP moderate Chris Stewart warning this may not be the path Republicans want to keep going down.

— NH Supreme Court rules the Nashua Telegraph did not defame a man when it erroneously reported he cooperated with police. Plaintiff argues, it’s defamation if you’re in prison.

— Comprehensive look from Union Leader business writer Dave Solomon breaking down the natural gas/Power New England/deregulation issue. Also, a little more background from New York Times.

— There are plenty of good stories about the local impact of sequestration. Here is the official White House fact sheet for NH.

— From Concord Monitor Sunday paper, great Ben Leubsdorf interview with interim LGC head and all around obscure government agency fixer, George Bald.

— NH DOT Commissioner Chris Clement to speak about NH’s state of transportation at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce breakfast tomorrow. In the press release: New Hampshire has approximately 17,000 miles of roads, turnpikes and interstate highways and 3,795 bridges. “These structures are essential to our state and their deteriorating condition is a threat to our economy.”

— And my personal favorite, Nashua residents push Board of Public Works to hold its meetings at a reasonable evening hour, not in the middle of the work day. Former Alderman Dan Richardson adds this complaint (from Maryalice Gill at the Telegraph):

“When you read the formal Board of Public Works meeting minutes for that particular meeting, you’ll find absolutely no hint of public participation via that letter. It was as if no letter even existed. Is that what the mayor considers satisfactory public participation? It sounds to me like an official’s attempt to wash the official record of any public dissent.”

 

Best News All Day 2-25-13

Breaking Bad Wallpapers Mobile-710591

Good morning. Today marks the first installment of my new series of (semi-) regular morning news round-up posts, Best News All Day.

Now, New Hampshire is a small state and there isn’t always a ton going on here. I would, however, like to use these posts to shed light on more interesting and less reported stories. So here we go…email me at gardnerstate@gmail.com is you have any feedback.

– The New Hampshire House is considering an idea that would even make Walter White‘s skin crawl (at least in seasons 1 and 2).

– Portsmouth has hired a new parking director. He has suggested some good ideas, like a shuttle and bike share. Hopefully he will find peace with the angry vegans.

– Rochester School Board has been trying some pretty innovative tactics to improve attendance and student performance, but is that change coming too quickly for some?

– For your daily politics fix, this NHGOP complaint filed with the AG is breaking. Perhaps the complaint should be amended to something like: “for filing a budget we don’t like.” I’m not sure, though, if that’s against the law.

– A Right-To-Know violation hearing got ugly in Marlborough. No offense to my former UL colleagues, but I think you buried the lead here. There was a request of all town records from 1960 to present? That seems like a lot of casual reading. Which then resulted in this? (From the UL story today:)

When releasing the records, Select Board Administrative Assistant Sandra LaPlante gave “all sealed non-public town records from 2002 and 2010 in the electronic records. LaPlante said she did not realize she had released the confidential information (until the petitioner) listed it as a right-to-know violation in the contempt of court motion last June.”

Good day and happy reading.