Byrne & Carlson: Handmade Gourmet Chocolates
We first discovered this shop several years ago while exploring the town. We would have walked right by this store if the sign hadn't intrigued my wife. The shop is located in a simple brick townhouse so it is easy to miss but the bright crimson sign above does draw attention.
From the moment you step inside this shop inside; it was chocolate heaven. Display cases showcased handcrafted chocolates, dipped fruits, fruit jellies, truffles,marzipan, praline, nut clusters and bars. The shelves held unique chocolate bars with Venezuelan chocolate accented with Chipolte pepper, assorted flowers and fruits and nuts. Beautiful gift boxes were arranged on tables along with chocolate covered coffee beans.
The owners pride themselves on their handcrafted small batch chocolates made from the finest cocoa beans from all over the world. Chocolates can be purchased in boxes or by the piece. Any chocolate lover would be wowed by this shop.
My wife adores chocolate covered caramels with sea salt and they had a nice selection of both milk and dark in the display case. They have malted milk balls here that are amazing and I always pick up a bag when we are in Portsmouth. The fruit jellies are so very good and not something I would have tried on my own without my wife prompting me to try them. They come in an assorted box and are very delicious.
These caramels are the best my wife has enjoyed. She usually purchases some seat salted caramels from a store called Chocopologie in Norwalk Ct but has now found here favorite here in this shop. Fortunately we are in Portsmouth many times throughout the year so I can indulge my wife is some of this chocolate.
Our most recent trip here was the weekend before Mother's Day 2015; we wanted to pick up some sweet treats for both our Moms. We purchased two boxes of assorted chocolates, salted caramels, some jellied fruits and some bags of malt balls.
What to buy: My wife loves their milk chocolate covered caramels with sea salt; a favorite of hers as well as their fruit jellies. I'm a big fan of their malted milk balls and chocolate bars. But anyone who loves chocolate will find something delicious here.
Sheafe Books: Wonderful Bookstore
In today's world of Amazon and Barnes and Noble; it is nice to see that there is still an independent bookstore surviving. Sheafe Books to me is a treasure of new and used books. The owner Ken Kozick, is friendly, helpful and knows what his customers want in a book.
I love the inviting feel of the shop. I could peruse books all day; they have some qaulity books. My wife loves the place since she refuses to read anything but "real" books and forgoes the popularity of devices such as Nooks and Kindles. The smell and feel of a book is heaven to her and I can appreciate that fully.
Our last visitto Portsmouth in January 2015; we stopped in to explore the book selection. I found an interesting book about Polar Exploration. The book was old but in excellent condition with a detailed fold out map in the front cover. This was just what I wanted and it was a bargain at only $16.
I can't wait to return again to see what book catches my eye.
Alex & Ani: A few more bracelets to add to my collection
Alex & Ani are artisanal pieces of merchandise (jewelry and other items) that use the concept of sustainability. They have stores around the US and many of their jewelry can be found in large department stores as well as their own stores.
The Alex & Ani store here in Portsmouth is quite nice but not as large as the one in Newport. I love their pieces with simple design and concept. The bangles, which are their most popular items are very affordable ranging from $28-$38 to the more expensive ranging up to about $200.
My darling has purchased all my Alex & Ani bracelets and whenever he comes across a store he will pick one or two up for me. During our recent visit to Portsmouth the day after Christmas 2014 we were walking along Congress Street when we came upon the store. It didn't take much convincing on my part to take a peek at the store. There were a few bracelets my darling wanted to get me (he did give me a nice set for Christmas), that he quickly showed me the ones he liked and purchased them.
They carry a wide selection of other items from jewelry (earrings, necklaces, rings) to handbags and a small selection of clothing.
What to buy: During this visit my darling purchased the Love Wrap bracelet and the OM. Both items were in the gold version (although I prefer the silver ones better) and were reasonable. The Love wrap was $48 and the Om was $38 as well as the cleaning cloth for $6. Items have a one year warranty and they will email you the receipt, this way you are on their mailing list. Nice bonus was that my darling received a 10% military discount.
- Arts and Culture
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Attrezzi: Housewares and more........
Atrezzi is a store we like to visit when we are in Portsmouth. The store has a nice variety of kitchen accesories such as dishes, serving pieces, wines, condiments, table linens and decorative items. There is always something new and fun to see especially their kitchen aprons and cocktail napkins.
The store has frequent wine tasting and cooking demonstraions that they hold on the second level of the shop. We have been to several of these events and they are quite fun.
Our last visit was during Thanksgiving weekend 2014. The shop was decorated nicely for the holidays and full of holiday themed items and gifts. My wife and I found several items with a nautical theme for our beach house. We found some nice stone coasters, napkins, small plates, napkin rings and glasses. The coasters were $25 a pices. The napkin pack was $15, the plates were $35, Napkin rings were $10 a piece and the glasses were $30 a set of two.
Salt Cellar: A World of Salt
The Salt Celler is a shop located in the Commercial Alley; they also have a location in Boston as well. We orginally discovered this place after we came to investigate after our favorite book store that was once in this space had closed.
Just like the name states it's a salt shop in the cellar of a building. I'm not talking about the table salt you sprinkle on you food but some good quality salt products. They sell more than 40 finishing salts for eating and cooking as well as solid Himalayan salt blocks for cooking and serving, soaking salts and scrubs for the body. Until I met my wife I had no clue there were different types of salts for different things. I knew I was in trouble when she started wandering around in this shop.
There are many shelves that hold jars of salt along with their description, origin and what you can use them for or with when cooking. Little sample spoons are in jars for tasting the salt before purchase as well as a much needed water cooler to wash away the salt taste in your mouth. We went around the room, sampling different varieties of salt:Fleur de Sel, Alaea Hawaiian, Chipotle, Vanilla Bean and more.
My wife and I always stop here when in Portsmouth to restock our salt collection at home nad see if there are any new varieties. The salt is pachanges in nice glass jars with labels decribing the salt and what it should be used for. The salts have two sizes; small and a medium sized jar. Prices can vary depending on size and type of salt. The truffle slats are the more expensive of the slats but so worth it for the flavor.
Some of our favorite salts are: Hawaiian Black Lava Salt, Murray River, Ghost Pepper, Fleur de Sel, Wild Porcini, Black Truffle, Vanilla Bean Salt, Himalayan Rose Salt, Lime Salt and Hawaiian Red. They make any dish amazing and are great gifts. My wife also enjoys their body products such as their Mango Body Butter.
Our most recent trip here was during Thanksgiving weekend 2014. We stocked up on some of our favorite salts as well as some Mango body butter for my wife. We also did a little Christmas shopping and purchsed two of their boxed sets of salts. The box set is a variety of six salts you can choose; packed in a decorative wooden box topped with a ribbon. Depending on what salts you pick will determine the price. Both of our boxes were $54 a box due to our selecting the Truffle salts which was a $5 upcharge.
We love this shop and enjoy coming here. They also have an online shop but we prefer coming in person and sampling the wares ourselves. This is a must stop for anyone who loves to cook or for a gift for that person who loves to cook.
What to buy: I want it all!
Tulips American Handcrafts: Fantastic local craft work
What an amazing shop. I was spoilt for choice with the quality and range of work created within New Hampshire. All craft work is locally made and the shop supports its local artisans and community. The only thing that stopped me buying loads of stuff was the amount of space that I had in my luggage. I bought a lovely piece of sustainable art from local artist Nina Fox Herilhy.
Open 7 days a week - Monday to Saturday 10:00am to 05:30pm; Sundays noon to 05:00pm
Definitely a shop that I would revisit.
Various outlet stores: Kittery outlets
Just over 3 miles from Portsmouth is the Maine Kittery Outlets & Kittery Trading Post. There are a huge variety of stores spread over a large area where you can buy men's wear, women's wear, children's wear, household items, sports clothing, outdoor gear, shoes etc etc etc.
Some of the big name brands there include Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Barbour, Levi's, Tommy Hilfiger, the list goes on.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Byrne & Carlson Chocolatier: Chocolate Heaven
I came across this shop by accident on my way back from Strawbery Banke. I would equate the shop to an Aladdin's Cave packed full of chocolate.if you let your imagination wander and conjure up what a chocolate shop would look like in your dreams then it would bear a very close resemblance to this one! I found my eyes being drawn to chocolate after chocolate after chocolate and the hardest part was choosing what I wanted. The gentleman in the shop was very patient and helped me make my selection by boxing up individual chocolates of my choice.
In a town full of small independent shops, this has to be amongst the best!
What to buy: Handmade chocolates.
What to pay: You can spend as little or as much as you wish.
- Luxury Travel
Serendipity: Quirky little shop
Serendipity is a store we first stopped in during our pub crawl for Cinco de Mayo 2012. My wife and Lydia were intrigued by the window display and had to check it out for themselves. The shop sells women's shoes, clothing, accessories, jewelry and swimwear. The ladies had a good time perusing the merchandise especially the jewelry. I killed some time making friends with the shop owner’s small black poodle who happens to be quite friendly. During this little shopping excursion my wife found a nice necklace for herself that was a steal at $14.
Our most recent visit to Portsmouth in June 2012, we stopped in to check out the merchandise. My wife found a pair of earrings that matched her necklace that she had purchased here in May. They were nice quality and only $14.
Treehouse Toys: Toy Shopping
My wife loves coming to the shop to check out their toys. The shop has a nice selection of toys, games, books and stuffed animals for children of all ages. In particular I like their Leggos and Thomas the Tank Engine toys the best. My wife prefers their stuffed animals and books for her nephew.
Lovell Designs Inc.: Interesting Handmade Pieces
Lovell Designs Inc. is one of the many interesting shops along Market Square. We were window shopping when some of the unique compass design pieces in the window caught my eye. We decided to go inside and see the workmanship up close. We found that the shop specializes in handmade and unique pieces of earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and other accessories in silver, gold and pewter.
We perused the merchandise before coming across the collection with the compass design. There was a variety of pieces in white with light blue as well as a deep navy hue. A white pair of cufflinks edged in silver caught my eye. I am a professed collector of cufflinks and am always looking for something unique or original. I didn't even have the chance to convey my thought of the cufflinks when my wife snatched them up to purchase them. She knew from my expression that I wanted them. So off she went to the register with my cufflinks. I was quite surprised that such a nice quality piece was only $48.
The woman at the register was very nice and friendly. After a brief conversation she even helped us find a rare bookstore in the area we wanted to locate.
What to buy: The cufflinks were $48 which was a good price in my opinion for hand craftsmanship and unique design.
What to pay: Affordable for any budget
New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet: Got Booze?
Looking for some discount wine and liquor without the tax; then stop here. My wife and I always make this a stop when we are heading home from Portsmouth. The prices are better than at home and without the tax.
They ahave a large selection of wine, champagne, hard liquor and mixers. The store is well organized with wines by region and variety so it is easy to find what you are looking for.
Our last stop here was May 2012. We found one of our favorite New Zealand wines for $10.99 a bottle which was $3 cheaper than our local store.
Macro Polo: Interesting Items....
MAcro Polo is one of those ecclectic shops that sell everything from rubber doggy poop to stuffed animals. The store is a mish mosh of gag gifts, toys, political humor, mad lib books, magnets and so much more. Liz and I had a fun time looking through the kooky merchandise.
What to buy: Liz bought a pigy bank that read: I'm saving up to quite my job...every peny saved shaves a minute off the clock. She keeps it on her desk as a joke.
Gulliver's Travel Books & Maps(CLOSED): Everything for the traveler, except the tickets
This store has since CLOSED
Gulliver's was "the" store for a travel junkie like myself. The store wass located downstairs from another book shop and wass loaded to the gills with all things travel. They had a large selction of guides, maps, tavel essays, journals, luggage tags, travel gear and other travel themed items. I was in heaven wandering the aisles and looking at all the destinations in front of me.
What to buy: Maps, books, travel guides, etc....
Our last visit here I purchased a pop up map and the latest DK book for an upcoming trip we have in May.
Cool Jewels: Dresses and Jewelry
We wandered into Cool Jewels because Liz liked a dress in the window. The shop was full of jewlry, accesories and women's clothing. After closer inspection and trying the dress on, Liz decided to pass on the dress. It was just one of those cases of somthing looking better on a hanger than up close.
The prices here weren't too bad with a sundress priced at $67.