The 10 Best Free Events Happening in November

Where you can have fun on (less than) a dime this month



New Hampshire scenes like this will be on view in Melissa Anne Miller's show at McGowan Fine Art starting November 15.

1. Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, New Castle, November 2

In December 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War — with a treaty signed right here in Portsmouth. To commemorate the anniversary year, this free panel sees Harvard's Graham Allison and The Brookings Institution's Fiona Hill discuss the state of Russian, Japanese, and American relations today. (603) 772-1835; portsmouthpeacetreaty.org


2. Cadavre Exquis, Bethlehem, November 4-28

Surrealists likes Salvador Dali dreamt up a party game for their salons at which one reveler would begin a piece of art then pass it around the room for others to complete. Lynn Graznak and Trissa Tilson took that same approach for this show. Tilson's 2D talents merge with Graznak's 3D work to create what the show's venue, 42 Maple, calls "an exploration of combined art and madness." (603) 575-9077; 42maple.org


3. NH Open Doors, statewide, November 5-6

Like it or not, the holidays are nearly upon us. And while finding gifts for the good boys and girls (and in-laws) on your list may not be free, there's no admission fee for this statewide fair. Window shop at stores like the League of NH Craftsmen galleries, chat with artists at their studio open houses, and take your little ones to pet some cuddly creatures at the participating farms. And if you are ready to part with some cash, check out the 100+ vendors whose doors are open — and, in some cases, whose prices are marked down — for your shopping pleasure. (603) 224-3375; nhopendoors.com


4. (Watching) The Manchester City Marathon, Manchester, November 6

Actually participating in this Boston Marathon qualifier race costs a pretty penny and requires you to, you know, run for several hours. But spectating is blissfully cost- and exercise-free. Whip up a "Run Forrest Run" sign and camp out along the route to cheer on your sporty neighbors. After all, downtown Manchesterites don't have many better options — with 26.2 miles of race course criss-crossing the roads, you're not going anywhere anyway. (603) 367-8896; millenniumrunning.com/marathon


5. Election Day, statewide, November 8

The hottest free event this month is the 2016 election. Find your polling place and look over a sample ballot online, and, on November 8, get out and perform your civic duty. Then, after you've performed your civic duty, check your local bars and restaurants for results-watching parties like this one at the Shaskeen in Manchester so you don't have to celebrate (or mourn) alone.


6. French Canadian Music and Its Cross-Cultures, Nashua, November 13

With the election over, do some research into your future life in Canada with this free lecture. NH Council for the Arts award-winner and Quebecoise songwriter Lucie Therrien presents a history of the music of French Canada, from its arrival from France to its colonial-era interaction with Indian culture to its migration into New England. The presentation is one of 26 put on around the state this month by New Hampshire Humanities; check their full list for other free talks near you. (603) 883-0015; nashuahistoricalsociety.org


7. Melissa Anne Miller — "Clearing", Concord, November 15-December 23

You may have seen Melissa Anne Miller's dreamy New Hampshire scenes in the art collections at SNHU or the NH Historical Society, but now you can take in a full solo exhibition of her work. Many of her paintings come from the city views of her studio perched atop the Orr & Reno law offices in downtown Concord, making this show at neighboring McGowan Fine Art a fitting tribute to one of the capital city's favorite artists. (603) 225-2515; mcgowanfineart.com


8. Peterborough Holiday Stroll, Peterborough, November 19

Lots of towns will kick off their holiday celebrations in the weekend after Thanksgiving, but Peterborough gets a jump on them by starting the weekend before. The holiday stroll invites visitors to explore all the best that the city has to offer. Santa will be on hand for meet and greets at one stop along the stroll; his chief elf inhabits another. Don't miss cider and cookies at the hospitality center or the laundry list of bake sales and craft fairs available throughout town. (603) 924-4294


9. Thanksgiving, statewide, November 24

Whether you spent hundreds on a turkey feast or you'll be celebrating with a quirky tradition like gathering 'round the Chinese leftovers, spend some time on Thanksgiving to relax with loved ones and take stock of all the things you're thankful for. You can also spread the love by seeing if the community dinner in your town — like the Southern NH Rescue Mission's offering in Nashua or the noon meal at the United Church of Warner — needs volunteers or donations. (If you're wondering, the Pats' Thanksgiving weekend game isn't til Sunday this year. But, if you get the New England Sports Network, you can catch the Bruins-Senators matchup through your turkey coma at 7:30.)


10. Cold Turkey Plunge, Waterville Valley, November 26

Skip your own wallet and capitalize on the holiday goodwill of your friends and family to meet the fundraising minimum for this charity celebration. In the tradition of the classic polar bear plunge, the brave or crazy participants in this event will run into the wintry waters of Waterville Valley's Corcoran Pond to raise money for the disability services of Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports Programs. Costumes are welcome, Santa Claus will make an appearance, and, to top it off, the day will end with fireworks. (800) 468-2553; watervilleadaptive.com

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