Gather the family, pack a picnic and take the Star Island Steamship company Ferry from Portsmouth Harbor out to the Isles of Shoals. You'll cruise around historic Portsmouth Harbor and out past many quintessential New England lighthouses, and after a short trip you'll be at the Isles of Shoals. A small group of occupied islands off the shore of New Hampshire and Maine.
Get off at Star Island, and enjoy the day exploiring there! There is now a retreat facility owned by the Unitarian Universalist church there. But there are walking tours run every hour to show you around on the island. The ocean views, vegetation and wildlife are breathtaking and so incredibly wild and natural.
There are some small cottages there that are truly adorable and rustic. My favorite building was this church pictured here. It is a small UU chapel that was originally built with wood that washed ashore when a Spanish sailingship sunk off the rocky shores. There are no electric lights inside this church, instead for evening services they light the inside with candles solely, which are brought by the members.
There is also a mysterious cave on the island, and it can be a challenge to find it. Of a large group of people my son was the first to find it, and climb completely through it. The cave is said to be haunted by a mother and her small infant. Once some Natives attacked the island and she and the infant hid there, but the natives heard the baby crying and found them and killed them as well as the other island inhabitants. Now it is said that on a dark evening, you can hear the baby still crying. wwwoooooooo!! ;o)
Enjoy.. it is worth the trip.
Sure everyone knows those big beaches in New Hampshire - Hampton!! But go a little furher North on that Route 1A and you will find some much nicer, less crowed and more real "New England" beaches. Wallis Sands, Jenness State, North Beach, are all beautiful to name a few! There is usually ample parking. Which you get by purchasing a special $5 coin for the parking meters. You'll park for about $10 for a whole day, which is really good.
I should also add that the drive north on 1A is truly jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The Atlantic on your right with the rocky coast and Islands of Shoals visible every so often, and the gorgeous sea-side "cottages" on your left are also a fun to look at. (and we like to imagine which one is "ours") he he he
Check the website below for lots more details..
The Star Island Steamship Company takes a very scenic route out to the Isles of Shoals. But if you dont feel like making a whole day of it, you can take a much shorter trip and see wonderful things.
The Captain will make sure you see your fill of real New England Lighthouses, like this one here that my son is enjoying.
We'll definately revisit this great neighborhood of Portsmouth.
The museum is a collection of homes from the 1600's and 1700's, but the creators of the exhibits decided to show us a bit of the later times as well. We saw some 1940's as well as some 1950's. They put it together well for the tourist...or school children to learn about life here over the course of time. IT'S AN ACTUAL TOWN WHICH HAS EXISTED HERE ALL THESE YEARS. THEY DID NOT MOVE BUILDINGS IN TO CREATE A MUSEUM...SUCH AS STURBRIDGE VILLAGE IN MASS.OR THE SKANSEN VILLAGES OF POLAND. IT'S THE REAL THING.
There is a museum store where you buy your admission tickets.
At the start of the tour there is a1600's house standing proudly with its chimneys and windows all in tact. . and it sits shoulder to shoulder with a 1700's house that was later used as a 2 family home. All of it has survived the bad times as well as the good times.
I INCLUDED A PIC OF the corner of Puddle Lane. The street takes its name from the neighborhood term. The inlet which used to run up into the center of this neighborhood eventually silted in and then the town filled it. Just before it was filled, the neighborhood took on the nickname of Puddle Dock. There were many of these inlets throughout the Portsmouth area.
Another old house in one of the enclosed pics hasn't been restored yet. Instructional to see many of the homes which are saved but not totally restored yet.
The folks who were restoring another house were surprised to uncover a fireplace on the OUTSIDE WALL!! Evidentally there was an addition to the house, and a fireplace added....then covered up. Now when the incorrect addition was removed.....oila! the hidden fireplace. I sort of hope they don't finish this wall and remove the fireplace. It makes an interesting story of how houses evolve over time.
WANTED TO GIVE YOU A CUTE STORY ABOUT ONE OF THE BLDG. MUSEUMS AT STRAWBERRY BANKE.....
Bertha was a busy body...as they used to say... and so her husband built a 2nd floor bay on the front of the house so she could keep her eye on everyone who came up and down the lane....noting the time they came home at night....and with WHOM !! :-)
Bertha and her husband ran a "mom and pop" store on the first floor, and when Frank died, Bertha kept the store running for years later. Through the war years and the food stamps, Bertha was there with Fels Naptha soap, Campbell's soup, penny candies and all the "necessities" you might need on a daily basis.
The curators decided to leave the building in its altered condition rather than restoring it to its circa 1700's, and there was not much to be done to bring the store and Bertha's kitchen back to "show" condition. There were only 7 years between the time Bertha ran the shop and the time Strawbery Banke emerged as a museum. Everyone loved her kitchen. War years stove and jade green bowls - the entire kitchen and store are a snapshot of the war years. Truly it is a treat.
Along the coast of New Hampshire, about 50 miles north of Boston, is Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A long history of maritime trade and Naval history can be told through the architecture of this 40 building museum known as Strawbery Banke. Seems the early settlers came up the Piscataqua River and decided this place with its banks filled with wild strawberries would be a perfect place to settle. And so they did. Portsmouth became a major port over the years. John Paul Jones lived in Portsmouth while his ships the Ranger (1777) and America (1781) were outfitted at the Langdon yards. Later on the Portsmouth Naval yards created the first submarines here. Many immigrants have come to Portsmouth and Strawbery Banke. When the area fell into decline the neighborhood was known as Puddle Dock. Strangely enough, the Urban Renewal Program is what inspired the current day museum neighborhood. All the homes are in their original position...never moved. Quite different from Sturbridge Village where old homes were brought together from all over New England to create the village. Yes, Strawbery Banke is worth the visit. Hope you'll enjoy all the wonderful homes in various stages of restoration.
It's a little tricky to get into Strawbery Banke when you come off the Interstate Rte 95. They have small green signs that mark the way....but it's easy to miss them. We were lost a couple of times going in and coming out. The whole area is on a peninsula so I couldn't get my bearings with water all around me. It's worth the trouble to find the way, tho. Don't give up. :-)
Visit the cooper's shop. Barrells for all purposes. Shipping trade used a lot of them. Unfortunately the building was closed when we were there, but I understand that the costumed guide who works there in the summer months is a wonderful source of information and does a real super job of portraying a cooper of the 1700's.
The restored homes at Strawbery Banke are done equisitely well. These wonderful old 1700's buildings are my most favorite style and era. The curators here have done a wonderful job of restoring from the original and yet sprinkling in some of the more recent uses of the old homes of the neighborhood. It's such an educational gem to learn about not only the architecture, but the foods, the trends, the trades, the society....as we have progressed over the past 200+ years.
Driving in the neighborhood can be educational around Strawbery Banke. Here we see a house encased in plastic to protect it from the weather until such time as it can be restored. Such care is take to preserve and protect. I'm wishing there were more of this in my own neighborhood
See a previous tip for other highlights of Strawberry Banke.
On Route 101 between Wilton and Peterborough is Miller State Park, which straddles the towns of Temple and Peterborough, on a small mountain known as Pack Monadnock (elev. 2290 ft). There are 4 ways up the mountain: The Wapack Trail, the Marion Davis Trail, the Raymond Trail and the auto road. You must pay to park in Miller State Park or to drive up the auto road. The Wapack and the Davis trails both start at the parking lot. So I prefer the trail less traveled, which is the Raymond Trail. The Raymond trailhead is not inside the park, but on East Mountain Road, the next road west of the Park entrance. The trailhead is probably a half mile or so up the road, on the right. It's well marked with a big sign, and parking is free.
The great part about this hike is you get up to the summit of Pack Monadnock fairly quickly. The trail is only 1.6 miles to the top, and should take about 45 minutes. You can take in the view at the lookout tower or take advantage of the picnic tables on the rocky peak.
You can continue your hike to a second peak, known as North Pack. From Pack Monadnock, follow the signs for the Wapack Trail North (watch out - the South trail will take you back to the park entrance). The trail from Pack to North Pack is 2.3 miles and should take about an hour or so. Not very many people bother to travel this leg of the trail, but it's a great hike with lovely panoramic views at the peak.
Bring plenty of snacks and drinks with you. This is easy hiking, but still a good workout. Round-trip is about 4 hours.
Odiorne Point State Park is on the NH seacoast, just north of Rye on route 1A. I have never seen the place crowded or with the parking lot near capacity. It's a wonderful place for a picnic, to fly a kite, wade in the tidepools, check out the wildlife, and learn some NH history.
See this web site for more information:
I just think it's so interesting to see the workmanship in buildings wherever I go. This is a close-up of the stained glass in the Warren church.....beautiful, isn't it? All of the glass was beautiful, but I only took a pic of this one in the front of the church... wonder how long it took the craftsman to make this?
A river with plenty of snow cover.. this is my idea of a perfect day on vacation (if you're not in Rome, that is!).....wandering around looking for beautiful photo ops. We were on Route 118, having just driven through part of the White Mountain National Forest.......
5541 feet high, the AMC considers this only a shoulder of Mt Washington and thus doesn't include it in its list of New England peaks above 4000 feet - climb all and you can become a member of their Four Thousand Foot Club! Since the peak is only a shoulder, a non-presidential name is given - Clay, a senator from Kentucky through whose support John Quincy Adams became the first son to follow his father's footsteps as President. Some of the range's best views can be had from atop here - gained via a short sidetrail off the Gulfside/Appalachian trail.
This is the last Presidential peak in the range. At 5367 feet, slopes drop away over 4000 feet to the north and the east. In the pass between Mt Madison and Mt Adams - the Presidential neighbor to the west - lies Star Lake, near which is the AMC's Madison Hut - room for 50 guests, originally built in 1888 and rebuilt after a 1940 fire. The Hut is 6 miles from Mt Washington and 6.8 miles from the Lakes of the Clouds Hut - both via the Gulfside/Appalachian Trail.
Looking for a short hike and don't want to hit one of the four to five thousand foot mountains in Franconia, hike the 4.4 mile (7Km) Welch-Dickey Loop Trail near Waterville Valley.
Head up state road 49 from I-93 (take the Campton exit) toward Waterville Valley. From state road 49, take a left onto Upper Mad River and then a right on Orris Road. The parking area for the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail is on Orris Road and the Park Services charges $3 USD for parking.
The loop takes in both Welch Mountain (2605') and Dickey Mountain (2734'). To shorten the hike even more you can skip the loop and just ascend one of the mountains. If this is the case, I would recommend Welch Mountain as the view is better.
We took a day trip that included Bath, New Hampshire; Woodstock, Plymouth, and Weston, Vermont, and a stop at Dartmouth College at Hanover, New Hampshire on our return to Bretton Woods.
Bath has a covered bridge and what claims to be the oldest general store in the nation. The bridge has to be one of New Hampshire's longest. The general store was a common stop for bus tours. It's interesting inside but crowded when the busses hit. Watch your step around the senior citizens.
Woodstock Vermont is one of the postcard villages of New England. Lots of shops and restaurants but lovely architecture featuring classic New England design. We had lunch at the local deli.
Just outside of Woodstock is Queechie Gorge which is worth a quick stop for a walk across the bridge.
West of Woodstock is the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Home Site at Plymouth Notch, Vermont. Watch the roadmap carefully - it's not well marked but the trip is well worth it. The beautifully preserved village features classic New England design in the homes, church and country store. The grounds are well kept and as its removed from nearby towns so you sense the whole area is lost in time. Wonderful views in the fall. An informative and attractive information center tells the story of the President and the role this community played in his presidency. My wife got to play the pump organ in the old church. We were here a few years earlier when Eddie Baurer was doing a photo shoot for their upcoming fall catalog. Worth the stop especially if you enjoy presidential history.
We made a quick stop at the Vermont Country Store at Weston, Vermont. The trip from Plymouth Notch to Weston afforded some wonderful views along the long river/lake road.
We ended our travels with dinner near the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. We ate at Canoe which was a great restaurant just a block or two from campus in the main shopping district. It was a wait to get in and the prices were high enough but the food was great and the atmosphere and decor was worth it.
I recommend driving only SHORT PORTIONS of these roads, and marveling at the rest of the route on the map.
There are at least four old turnpike routes which are two centuries old. All run remarkably straight from SE to NW, and all now have discontinuous portions. These were carriage routes. Following closely on a detailed map, you will see sections named "Old Turnpike Rd," "Hooksett Turnpike Rd" or some such. Other sections are unpaved, or no more than trails now.
2nd NH Turnpike runs from Nashua to Claremont straight as an arrow through a dozen towns. Parts of it are also called the Boston Post Road.
Londonderry Turnpike runs not only from Hopkinton to Londonderry, but well beyond into Massachusetts. Rte 28 comprises its southern portion, but west of the river it is all obscure roads.
Chester Turnpike runs NW to Concord, which was a toll road, and SE along what is now 121 to MA.
Winchendon MA to Keene along Rte 12 and on beyond to the Connecticut River was a major route at one point. Funny how things change.
100 Portsmouth Blvd, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801, United States
Good for: Business
Stayed last psring and this summer and every time the service, accomodation and staff were amazing....more
21 Front Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, 03102, United States
Good for: Couples