New Hampshire, a state tucked up in the north east overpowered by Maine and outshined by the beauty and charm of Massachusetts. Packed with nature and full of quaint towns, this state has a uniqueness all it’s own. I recommend a visit to New Hampshire with Portsmouth being a Must Stop.
Portsmouth, originally called Port City is one of the nations oldest cities. The waterfront very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and is still in use today. This city breathes history with it’s buildings, landmarks, parks, bridges and more. Most noteworthy, downtown is walkable and a foot tour is appropriate making Portsmouth, a Must Stop.
The cobblestone streets winding through historic downtown make an easy self-guided tour with an old colonial vibe. Start at the Piscataqua River, this body of water divides New Hampshire from Maine. And not far along the water, a short distance up, is the Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden also known as the William Whipple House. William was one of two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence that lived in the mansion. Built in 1763, it is now a National Historic Landmark and open to the public from June-October. Keep walking and there are little boutique shops, bars, restaurants, gift shops all leading to Market Square. You’ll find more of the same but these one of a kind locations to eat, shop and be entertained have a 1600’s backdrop and it’s really cool.
Stroll along the outer part of town by the water. It leads to Prescott Park, a free public park donated by the Prescott sisters Josie and Mary. What’s so special about this park is the flower gardens and overall landscaping. Complete with brick paths and foundations it’s great for a nice walk or picnic. Continue on this tour and you’ll run into Strawbery Banke. It is the city’s oldest neighborhood with buildings, boats, and goods from the 17th-19th centuries. This outdoor museum is a true flashback to the days of old.
The surprise highlight of this self-guided tour, The Black Heritage Trail. There are 24 spots downtown marked with tidbits about the contributions of blacks in Portsmouth’s history. The most notable and moving is the African Burying Ground Memorial. The land was originally a grave site and later built over as the city began to expand. Now it is a memorial to honor those before us.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a fascinating city. It is steeped in lots of history, good, bad and indifferent. But it’s unique preservation of the old is intriguing and delightful in a world of modern technology and advancement. Visit New Hampshire… Portsmouth, a Must Stop.