An Afternoon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

On my Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee!!), I shared and have been sharing A LOT of my trip to Maine and Canada with my Papa and dog Rosie. HOWEVER, along our way to Maine, we stopped in the gorgeous town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire to spend the night. I had been to Portsmouth as a kid and have since always wanted to go back. We actually booked our hotel there (the Hampton Inn downtown!) just a week beforehand and it was a GREAT decision, too.

So, flashback to summer 2009 and I am ten years old with my cousins Jack, Laura, and Chris and my brother Will along with my Great Aunts Margaret and Alice and my Mom. We are on the way up to Maine for the summer and decided to do a week of New England sightseeing beforehand, which my Great Aunt Margaret had planned for us kids to join her on. Before Portsmouth, we had stopped in Lexington, Massachusetts and Concord, New Hampshire to see ALL the historic sights there via the Revolutionary War. We had climbed trees and explored the parks. Upon arrival in Portsmouth, we had explored the town with ALLL of us kids running up and down the historic town’s streets. And, the next day, we went to the iconic Wentworth By The Sea hotel for breakfast and all of us got all dressed up in our Sunday’s best attire for the occasion on a Wednesday morning. I remember at that time complaining because many of the other kids having breakfast at the Wentworth By The Sea hotel had had t-shirts and pajamas on, but looking back, my Aunt Margaret LOVED that hotel and dressing up which made it much more special. I have SOOOO many memories from that day and our entire week of sightseeing. After Portsmouth, we went to Bath, Maine and Owls Head Lighthouse in Maine. SO, needless to say, going back to Portsmouth, New Hampshire *even* to walk around for a few hours was bittersweet!

When Papa and Rosie and I arrived at our downtown Hampton Inn hotel for the night, I was more than pleased to see that we were just a block away from the main downtown Portsmouth area. Papa isn’t nearly as much into the downtown city sightseeing that I am (even though Portsmouth is a town and NOT a city haha!), so I went downtown on my own while he walked Rosie. Compared to my time there 2009, ALL my then-ten year old self remembered was walking around the gorgeous town in my teal GAP hoodie thinking that I was the coolest kid on the block, and then, *of course* breakfast at the Wentworth By The Sea. I really enjoyed downtown Portsmouth. The whole entire town is very European-inspired, since it is a port city along the East Coast. There’s a sign close to the Hampton Inn about Lafayette’s visit to the town during his days in history. One of my FAVORITE sights to see in Portsmouth was its Music Hall which happened to be PINK!!!! I mean, my blog’s name IS The Pink Chickadee, so my excitement was REAL strong. At the same time, Portsmouth is VERY diverse and a multicultural hub. I saw a ton of people who spoke different languages, which was super neat and restaurants of all kinds, ranging from Indian cuisines to Mexican cuisines to tiny Italian pizza places to your typical New England seafood joints (which is what Papa and I opted for as we cannot find as good of a bowl of clam chowder close to home!). All in all, I was VERY impressed with this small yet mighty town.

Portsmouth Music Hall

A fun fact about Portsmouth, New Hampshire is that it’s the last exit on I-95 before you enter the state of Maine, since it connects via a bridge to the town of Kittery, Maine. I could see Kittery when looking out over the Portsmouth waterfront while enjoying my cup of ice cream before dinner. At the same time, I really admired how much of the town’s history and original architecture is still present and flourishing to this day. Along with preserving its rich history, Portsmouth is also a very welcoming and progressive city. Several of the town’s many many many small businesses (whether it be restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlors, or stores) had signs embracing love and acceptance of everyone, such as Black Lives Matter, Love is Love, All Are Welcome, and much more. Even the town’s North Church of Portsmouth, located in the main downtown area, is notorious for being affirming of ALL people and had an LGBTQ+ pride flag to show its love for all. Portsmouth truly embraces both the old and new and it’s truly a beautiful thing.

One of the most unique things about the New England coast is the fact that the coastlines are super rugged and hilly. A fun fact about the state of Maine is that it has more miles of coastline than the whole state of California! Maine’s coastline is super rugged and gorgeous and (guess what?!) there’s SOOOO much of it, too. Portsmouth’s coastline is similar to Maine’s, too, with its VERY close proximity to the state and connection to being a twin town with Kittery, Maine. That all being said, Portsmouth is a hilly town, given its similar-to-Maine rugged coastline. Personally, I really enjoyed the town’s hilly terrain, as I got a GREAT workout in after being in the car for 10+ hours earlier that day!!

After having gone to Portsmouth for the second time since a big family trip years before, I can see why my Aunt Margaret loved this sweet little town so much. Its New England charm, stunning coastline, and gorgeous buildings make it ALL worthwhile of a visit for anyone, whether it be for an afternoon, evening on the town, or a weekend getaway. I definitely want to live out my true Aunt Margaret someday and enjoy a meal at the Wentworth By The Sea like I did with her at the age of 10 AND *of course* get all dressed up. Til next time, Portsmouth!

XOXO – Katie <3

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