Programs on Demand (POD)

ARA PODs (Programs on Demand)

You want it?  You’ll run it?  You’ve got it!

ARA Social walking pod on campus
Little Blue Job group photo
Bikers in a line on a forested trail

Carol Szot  (207) 384-5153 or Email:

Book Club members pick their books of choice and lead discussions of their recommendations. Book selections are posted well in advance. We're a wonderfully diverse group, and it's always a treat to share new and different tastes and reviews of the same material. 

When:  3rd Tuesday of the month (year-round), 1:00 p.m., with a few exceptions.


We meet at the Durham Police Station but might use Zoom in the winter if snow is predicted.

  Carol will send an invitation to each meeting one month prior to the event, one week before, and the morning of the discussion.

These are the current selections:

Dec. 19, 2023: A Fall of Marigolds, Susan Meissner, leading discussion--MaryEllen Siudut/Cszot



16-Jan 2024 Sandy Tolan The Lemon Tree Peg Higgins
20-Feb 2024 Christine Baker Kline A Piece of the World Deb Longo
12-Mar 2024 Alan Brennert Molokai Sharon Zumpfe
*date change due to ARA Tour
16-Apr 2024 Olivia Wolfgang-Smith Glassworks Drew Christie
21-May 2024 Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go Susan Wagner
18-Jun 2024 Timothy Egan Fever in the Heartland Bill DeVries
July No meeting this month
20-Aug 2024 Abraham Verghese The Covenant of Water Carol Chamberlain



Jan 17, 2023: O Pioneer, by Willa Cather (on Zoom), leading discussion—-Carol Chamberlain

Feb 21: Empire of Pain, by Patrick Radden Keefe (on Zoom), leading discussion—-Carol Szot

Mar 21: The Other Doctor Gilmer, by Benjamin Gilmer, leading discussion—-Robin Glasser

Apr 18: The Pioneers, by David McCullough, leading discussion—-Peggy Higgins

May 16: The Library Book, by Susan Orlean, leading discussion—-Pat Laska

Jun 20: The Painted Drum, by Louise Erdrich, leading discussion—-Drew Christie

Jul 18: Simple Passion, by Annie Ernaux, leading discussion—-Dorothy Healy

Aug 15: Lessons from the Edge, by Marie Yovanovitch, leading discussion—-Susan Wagner

Sep 12: Paradise Falls, by Keith O’Brien, leading discussion—-Nancy Walker

Oct 17: The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles, leading discussion—-Debbie Forster

Nov. 17: Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus, leading discussion--Robin Glasser

Dec. 19: A Fall of Marigolds, Susan Meissner, leading discussion--MaryEllen Siudut/Cszot


Established in 2013

Group photo of bicyclists

David Josko - 603-866-6113 or

We’re the Wheel Thing! With input from the group, we plan both rail-trail and road bike trips for up to 8-15 miles per trip. Routes and terrain are outlined early so riders know what to expect, and the pace is leisurely, for all levels of bikers. We use email for notification and description of upcoming rides, cancellations, and member communications. Weather permitting, we typically ride every two weeks.  Bike with us for great exercise and fun fellowship!

With input from the group, we will plan both rail trails and road bike trips for up to 8-15 miles per trip. We’ll communicate by email for notification of upcoming rides, cancellations, and member communications/feedback. Rides are typically scheduled every two weeks, weather permitting.

Each year, rides will begin in the spring when the snow clears from the trails and roads, and the weather warms, usually by early April. We ride through the summer until late fall, usually until the end of October. Days of the week and destinations will vary, based on the rides and member input. We often stop for a bite to eat at establishments that offer outdoor sitting for social distancing.

Members will be notified about rides at the start of each week or earlier. If weather is questionable, updates will be made by email, usually the day before the scheduled ride.

We follow the current ARA COVID policy. Riding is an individual decision. Please join our in-person rides only if you determine it is safe for you, weighing the risks and benefits, based on your health. All members are responsible for their own safety. Although masks are not required for riding when socially distanced, please bring masks for if or when we might stop for snack or food.

Established in 2013

A yellow tulip

Jan Phelps -

or text 603-315-3231

A photo tells a story. Join this small group to explore creative and technical aspects of digital photography. Each month, members decide on a theme and submit photos on it to a shared, easy-to-learn-and-navigate Google Photos album. Members then meet via Zoom to critique the work.

When and Where:  Monthly field trip generally on the first Tuesday of the month, depending on theme. Critique session is the fourth Tuesday of each month, 4:00-5:30 p.m. 

Location: Field trip location and dates/times will vary dependent on theme, weather and member input. Interested members will arrive with their cameras and whatever equipment required (e.g., tripods) for their photography. Field trip destinations and schedule will be communicated to members via our email distribution list. Members who are unable to come or choose otherwise may shoot photos in other locations or venues, along the theme. Shortly after the field trip, a shared, themed, google photo album will be distributed to each member, so that members may upload their photos for group viewing.

The fourth Tuesday meeting will take place via zoom (at least for the near future), for a critique of photographs. Zoom invites will be sent via email shortly before each meeting.

Information: Please email Janet Phelps for questions and to request membership. ARA membership is required. Once you are approved, you will be added to our email distribution list, where you will be informed about our current theme, and receive the current google album for submission of your photos or to view other members’ submissions.

George Whitehead - 603-742-5855 or

Who Am I…Really?  The Genealogy POD is for ARA members who want to research their genealogy, build a family tree, or expand an existing one. Every day there are new breakthroughs in finding our roots. Here, we share our knowledge, research methods, experiences, and the interesting lives of our ancestors, all while building our trees.

When and Where: Contact George for current information.


Paul Cully -

The Hiking POD runs hikes, generally of 2-4 miles in length, in various locations throughout the Seacoast area and through various terrains (woodlands, forests, and/or beaches). Many hikes are on mostly level terrain and are deemed doable by most people. Advance notice is provided of hikes that involve significant elevation gains (and therefore descents) in the Wednesday “Reminder” email. 

When and Where: Friday mornings – usually 10:00 AM starts – see schedule published below and on the calendar.

More information: A "Reminder and Directions" email is sent to Hiking POD members on every Wednesday before a scheduled Friday hike with details about the hike. For more info about the POD and/or an individual hike on the schedule, or to join the POD and receive the hike notices, contact Paul Cully at

DOGS: We follow the ARA Dog Policy (adopted April 2023) which states that for the health, safety, and enjoyment of all group participants, those wishing to bring dogs on ARA hikes and walks at venues permitting dogs must (1) keep them on a short leash at all times, (2) ensure they do not interfere with other participants, and (3) pick up and appropriately dispose of their dogs' waste.

ARA Hiking POD – 2024 Hike Schedule 

Updated March 12th, 2024 


Winter Hikes       Location                                                                       

January 19th         Wolfeboro X-C Ski Area, Wolfeboro, NH 

February 2nd         Lee Town Forest, Lee, NH  

February 16th       Burley Farms, Epping, NH   

March 1st             Great Bay Wildlife Management Refuge, Newington, NH  

March 15th           Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail, Newfields Loop, Newfields, NH   Spring Hikes 

March 29th            Stonehouse Pond, Barrington, NH 

April 5th                Cliff Walk, York, ME 

April 12th              UNH College Woods, Durham, NH 

April 19th              Goodwill Conservation Area, Barrington, NH  

April 26th              Sweet Trail – Newmarket, NH 

May 3rd                Mount Agamenticus, York, ME 

May 10th              Orris Falls Conservation Area, So. Berwick, ME 

May 17th              Foss Farm, Durham, NH 

May 31st              Andres Institute of Art, Brookline, NH 

Summer Hikes 

June 7th              Stratham Hill Park, Stratham, NH 

June 14th            Fundy Trail, Pawtuckaway State Park, Pawtuckaway, NH

July 19th             Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough, NH


Fall Hikes 

September 13th   Doe Farm, Durham, NH 

September 20th  Savage Wildlife Preserve, South Berwick, ME 

September 27th  Pulpit Rock, York, ME

October 4th        Odiorne Point, Rye, NH 

October 11th      Henderson-Swasey Town Forest, Exeter, NH

October 18th      Spruce Swamp WMA, Brentwood, NH  

October 25th      Lee Town Forest, Lee, NH 

November 1st    Laudholm Reserve, Wells ME 

November 8th    Pine Mountain – Evelyn & Albert Morse Preserve – Alton, NH 





Nancy Salka - 207-363-6846 or

The Lunch Bunch is a group of people who enjoy each other and enjoy finding new venues to do their eating! They always have good food, good conversation and a genuine positive outlook in their lives that they share together. They pick their future restaurants at each meeting. We are a great group of people having stupendous fun!  

When and Where: Third Wednesday of the month, 12:30 p.m. Contact Nancy to learn about the upcoming venue.

We follow the current ARA COVID policy.
If you plan to join us, we highly recommend that you be vaccinated.


Pickle Ball POD

First meeting of our new Pickle Ball POD

Malcolm Brown -

The ARA Pickleball POD is a group of audacious folks interested in playing the game of pickleball.  Weather permitting, we meet twice weekly for games using the courts in Dover. All levels are welcome! We use email for coordination on upcoming games, cancellations, and member communications.

More information:  For more info and/or to be added to the mailing list, please contact Malcolm Brown

The current ARA COVID policy is guided by the prevailing CDC Guidelines.  If you plan to join us, we highly recommend that you be vaccinated.


Established 2022

Penny and Mike Drooker - (preferred) or 603-397-5681

Walkers meet weekly throughout the year. We usually set out from the Durham Town parking lot at the corner of Madbury Road and Pettee Brook Lane, taking various routes around greater Durham, but we sometimes go farther afield to explore local natural areas. If you’re looking for exercise and good conversation, please join us! All you have to do is show up – no reservation required. However, do make sure your name is on our email list to receive updates as needed.

When:  Tuesdays (year-round, weather permitting), 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Where:  Meet at parking lot at the corner of Pettee Brook Lane and Madbury Road in Durham. (Two hours free for Durham residents;  $1 for non-residents.)  From time to time, we meet elsewhere. To stay informed, please join our 2023-24 contact list by sending your email address to Penny and Mike.

COVID (as of January 2024): We follow ARA COVID policy (guided by prevailing CDC Guidelines) and New Hampshire, Durham, and UNH requirements. We highly recommend that you be fully vaccinated before joining the group.

DOGS: We follow the ARA Dog Policy (adopted April 2023) which states that for the health, safety, and enjoyment of all group participants, those wishing to bring dogs on ARA hikes and walks at venues permitting dogs must (1) keep them on a short leash at all times, (2) ensure they do not interfere with other participants, and (3) pick up and appropriately dispose of their dogs' waste.

Established 2013.

Linda Benton -

Stagecraft is all about connecting and experiencing, so right now we are on hiatus. When/if we reactivate, we will notify ARA members via an “email blast.”

Ever watch a play and think “I can do that?” We choose plays and explore all the aspects of stagecraft. Channel your inner producer, director, actor, set or costume designer/decorator (or at least learn what they do!). Remember it takes all these skills to mount a production worthy of “curtain up.” Whatever your interest or skill set, stage craft offers the opportunity to participate in the creative process. No pressure, just lots of fun.

We sometimes read plays out-loud to others. Most of us have never done this before and have "aged out" of memorizing, but totally enjoy having a good time.

We also attend plays and gather afterwards to discuss them.

If you are interested in the group and/or have ideas of what we can do to connect during this uncertain time, Let us know!

When/if we reactivate, we will notify ARA members via an “email blast.”

Originally called Play Reading; began in 2014.

Earth from space picture.

Green Planet POD (pending ARA Board approval)

Our POD seeks to engage, educate, and take action within our community on behalf of our planet. We hope to identify opportunities where we help ARA members be stewards of our planet and actively champion the future of our planet.

When and Where: 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 1:00 - 2:30 pm, Durham Library, 49 Madbury Road. All are invited.

Leader: Jack Gale, 978 996 3064  or; call or email him with any questions.



Monitoring our environment.  Coming soon.





Disclaimer: ARA, its officers and content providers, shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising from or otherwise connected to your voluntary participation in any program, POD, activity or event.

ARA knows that our members have special interests. So, in addition to providing Spring and Fall terms of educational Programs, we introduced PODs (Programs on Demand) and began encouraging the formation of member-organized/led special interest groups of like-minded people who wanted to bicycle, or play pickleball, or kayak, or savor books or movies, or explore photography, or lunch together, or …

PODs can mimic the Program start and end dates, run year-round, or on any other schedule if the group prefers, as long as they don’t conflict with other Programs.  ARA will publicize your group to ARA members. Take a look!  Join in! Got a POD of your own or an idea for one? Contact Kathy Kowler with your questions ( - make sure to put ARA POD in the subject line).

How does your idea become a POD?

After deciding on a particular activity, the POD Leader develops an email notification soliciting new members for the proposed POD.  The email should include the information on the POD and request interested members to get in touch with the POD Leader.  The requests for an email notification should be directed toProgram Committee POD Liaison.

After initial interest is generated, the POD leader will schedule a start-up meeting following which the group will work autonomously from then on. The POD will set dates that work for the group and optimally do not conflict with ARA regularly scheduled programming- typically Tuesday all day and Friday afternoons are free.  POD Leaders communicate plans and changes among the POD members.

ARA may include a general description of PODs along with the printed program schedule. 

ARA may also include POD activity/schedule information on the ARA Website Calendar of Events.  To be included on the Website Calendar of Events, you must send information on the what, when and where to ARA Technology Services at using the POD name as the subject of the email.

For questions and further information on starting a POD for your special interest, email Kathy Kowler , the Program Director.