March 29, 2007

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Nashua Publisher's Note: Beach weather ó for dogs

The cover story of this weekís Hippo is all about spring, which is nothing if not timely. The snow on my motherís front lawn has melted enough to reveal long-buried dog toys and other canine souvenirs, too.

Speaking of changing climate: I grew up in Nashua being told that one of the great things about the city was how conveniently close it is to both oceans and mountains. Now, with global warming expected to cause sea levels to rise, thatís a fortunate combination for a whole new reason.

Though the calendar tells me when spring officially arrives, Iím one of those people who needs to go through a little seasonal ritual before I really feel the season is here.

It involves my wife and me packing the dogs in the car and heading out to Hampton Beach. Each year, we do this on a Saturday around St. Patrickís Day. This year we were a week late on account of snow, so we made the trip on Saturday, March 24.

Itís a great time of year for the dogs to explore the beach, which in the off-season functions as one big dog park ó few people are around, which allows them to take off and run after seagulls, meet other dogs, smell stinky seaweed, and remind themselves that seawater doesnít make for a refreshing drink.

Of course we bring plenty of unsalted water, and so they run and run and run until they canít run anymore. (And yes, we clean up those canine souvenirs, too.) A bonus this year was that the tide was out ó way out ó which gave the dogs a lot of ground to cover.

Then afterward, we all pile back into the car and head down to Brownís Seafood Restaurant in Seabrook, one of the few local eateries open year-round, where we chow down on fried clams served in a paper boat, the only way to enjoy them properly.

The final step in the ritual is me cleaning all the sand out of my car, which hasnít yet happened as of this writing. So I guess spring still isnít here, at least in my world.

But itíll happen eventually, if only because Motherís Day will soon follow, and you canít take mom out in a car full of sand that smells like wet dogs, can you?

One more change: Starting next week, weíll target our publisherís notes and other news content in Hippo to regional issues. That means you might see one of my business partners in this space from time to time.

This will allow us to improve what we do best, which is bring you the strongest and most complete arts and entertainment coverage anywhere in southern New Hampshire.

But even if itís not my face on this page, Iím still here making the donuts, so donít hesitate to share your thoughts with me at jrapsis@hippopress.com.