Destination: Portsmouth

Destination: Portsmouth

The historic, quaint city of Portsmouth, NH is located in a beautiful area on the seacoast, right on the border of southern Maine. Also known as “Port City,” it was settled in 1623, and is considered the 3rd oldest city in the United States.

Tourists find the beauty of Portsmouth to be its diverse offerings of activities. Memorial Day through Labor Day tends to be the heavier tourist season.

It’s the fall that truly wins over the hearts of the locals here, though. New England is known not only for its beautiful foliage, but also its fun festivals, and Portsmouth has plenty from which to choose. The “Annual NH Film Festival” runs in October at the Portsmouth Music Hall, which is a Victorian style venue built in 1878. The “NH Fall Festival” is held on the waterfront at Prescott Park and Strawbery Banke (spelled this way dating back to the Colonial days), and includes an annual chili competition with plenty of great food and activities. While you’re there visiting the Historical Strawbery Banke, you can join a tour of the 20+ buildings covering about 300 years of history.

We recommend that tourists start in Market Square and indulge in shopping and great dining while in Portsmouth. Locals like shopping at Attrezzi, which offers kitchen accessories from around the world, Ceres Street Wine Merchants, which is NH’s oldest and largest private wine shoppe, and Prelude, a purveyor of some of the finest personal care products world-wide.

Dining opportunities are endless, so if food is your passion, then “Portsmouth’s Restaurant Week” in early November is the perfect time to try out all the top restaurants. You could start your day off at The District, or maybe go for a lighter treat at Popovers on the Square. Catch some live music with your meal over at Ri Ra. Some of the best seafood in town can be found at Jumpin’ Jay’s, while Mombo offers local and eclectic cuisine. You can wrap up your day with a Pumpkin Pie ice cream at Kilwin’s or a fabulous German coffee at Kaffe Vonsolln.

If you enjoy photography, there are many picturesque scenes for you to get some beautiful shots—North Church is in the square, just a short distance from the Tugboats in Tugboat Alley, and there are lots of dog parks and walking paths.

You can see many of these places on the The Haunted Pub Tour or even the Historic Portsmouth “Legends and Ghost” walk. If you prefer your tour to be on wheels, you can partake in the Segway Tours over to Pierce Island. There are also tours by boat, where you can cruise around the Portsmouth Harbor listening to some American history while enjoying the scenery. You could also tour the area with Kayak Adventures, a great way to see the beautiful coastal foliage along the bay.

In the last few years, Portsmouth has been working to better cater to tourists, and has added some modern flare with a newly constructed area called “The Portwalk,” which features several restaurants and hotels. There are also restored Victorian Inns, including The Martin Hill Inn, The Portsmouth Hotel, and The Ale House Inn.

Of course, flying in and out of Portsmouth is made simple with the Portsmouth International Airport (PSM). Drive around Pease, stop in and try the Redhook Brewery, play a round of golf, and even take one of the new Seacoast Helicopter tours.

To learn more about Portsmouth, visit:

Note: This article is displaying as it appeared in Volume 17 of our PlaneSense: Informational Quarterly newsletter.
Photo courtesy of Greg Chag

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