Sunday, July 19, 2009

A weekend in Portsmouth

Just back from a weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. When we arrived on Friday it was not great weather. We went out for a stroll around the town and had to take an umbrella because it was raining on and off. We spent ages looking for this Irish pub whose leaflet/flyer we had seen in the hotel, which turned out to be a bit off the beaten track and had all the atmosphere of a morgue. Not a great start.

There was a cracking thunderstorm during Friday night and on Saturday we woke to thick fog. However by the time we got our lazy arses out of bed, and finished our "complimentary breakfast as long as you don't take anything from the dishes on the right hand side of the table", the sun had broken through and it turned out to be a nice day.

We spent the morning and early afternoon looking around Portsmouth, pottering in the many quaint shops, watching the boats sail by on the river and making frequent stops for coffee. I was particularly pleased to find a Celtic gift shop which sold that great Irish souvenier, the Crunchie bar! So I had to buy a few bars to nibble on later.

We then drove to Ogunquit, which is a seaside town up the coast of Maine. What a nice town. We took a walk along the coastal path called Marginal Way. The weather was perfect. We had fun watching a couple realize that they had sat on a distant rock watching the sea for too long, and their efforts to get back to the mainland without getting too wet!

On Sunday we took a stroll around the Strawbery Banke museum, which is somewhat like Sturbridge Village (to those of you from Massachusetts) or St Fagans (to those of you from Wales). To everyone else you will have to use your imagination. We then took a tour around the Red Hook Brewery, and tasted a few samplers.

Our biggest mistake was the decision to drive back via the coast road rather than taking the interstate back home. Why didn't we realize that everybody would be at the various beach towns on a hot, sunny, Sunday and that they'd all be heading home at around 5pm?! We were stuck in traffic for miles. The only good thing was that it gave us a chance to see some of the other coastal towns, there were some good ones, and some appalling ones, Hampton Beach being in the latter category....

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