I woke up early this morning to the sound of thunder and rain. Didn't sound like a good day to walk around Portsmouth. Later we both got up and had breakfast at the hotel. The rain had stopped but it was still gray and the forecast called for rain off and on all day, with some thunderstorms. Since the rain had stopped, we decided to take a chance.
We arrived in Portsmouth at around 10:30 and found a parking deck for the car. We weren't sure where we were going, but began walking around. Shortly we found a sign for the Portsmouth Historical Society Visitor's Information store. We walked there and were greeted by a woman who was eager to help us plan the day. She had us watch an 8 minute video about the city, then provided a map with a route to walk to see most of the sights. I asked her about one additional site, and she showed me where it was and how it would fit into the walk. It would be our first stop.
We thanked the woman and headed for The Portsmouth Public Library. We arrived in about 5 minutes and went inside the 10 year old building. It was a beautiful large building, well laid out over two stories. The place was quite busy with folks of all ages doing many different activities. We spoke to one of the workers for a few minutes, picked up a few flyers for my buds in Spotswood, and moved on.
We walked a route which took us past numerous buildings of various ages. Some were from the 1700s some from the 1800s and 1900s, and some contemporary buildings, most made in the style of the older buildings around it. It was wonderful to see the downtown character preserved so well.
Our route took us down to the waterfront right around lunchtime. We had many choices of restaurants, and made our choice. After lunch we continued our walk to a new bridge spanning the river between New Hampshire and Maine. We walked the bridge, spent about 10 minutes in Maine, then walked back.
Continuing on, we walked through some large waterfront parks, some with large gardens, one with a rather large stage. It was set up to do performances outside with the audience on blankets or some chairs further back. Today they were in the middle of a run of Seussical The Musical. Looked impressive.
The weather turned out to surprise us. It quickly became bright sunshine with temperatures in the 80s. A beautiful day for walking.
Our next stop was a "museum" called Strawberry Banke (yes, that's how they spell it). It is a collection of about 30 buildings built anywhere from the 1600s to mid 1900s. Most of these buildings are still on their original site. A few were brought in from other parts of the city. Many houses were open with actors playing the parts of people from that era. You could talk with these people who would respond in character. Lot of fun, but we arrived late and only were able to see about 5 or 6 of the buildings.
After that (it was now about 5:15) we decided we were beat. We were headed back to our car when I noticed a flyer posted for a walking tour of "The Underbelly of the City". This was a tour of the secrets and scandals of the city. Definitely an adult only tour. We decided to take the tour. It began at 6:00 and ran for an hour. We walked to about 5 to 7 locations and heard stories about famous people (example is an early governor) and a story or two that he probably would not want to be remembered for. At the beginning of the tour, our guide assured us that all of the stories he was going to tell us (some involved murder, others involved the red light district) were completely factual. We had a good time and were glad we decided to go.
By now, it was 7:00. We had walked between 5 and 6 miles and we were beat. We got back to the car, but I wanted to make one more stop.
We drove to Wentworth by the Sea. This is one of the Historic Hotels of America that Cheryl and I are trying to visit. We decided that we can check off a hotel as having seen it if we at least have one meal there. We were in no shape to have dinner there, so we walked around the lobby a bit, took some pictures and went back to our hotel for the end of the day.