The New Hampshire coast is only 18 miles long, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in charm, history and heart. It’s as if it knows that it cannot possibly compete with neighboring Maine’s approximately 3500 miles of tidal coastline, nor Massachusetts’ claim to that whole Mayflower thing. New Hampshire has to make the most of its 18 miles, and I, for one, keep going back for more.
Portsmouth was having a festival this weekend … Market Square Day. Streets were closed to cars, hundreds of vendors set up shop, musicians moved in, and the weather cooperated beautifully.
New Castle, the next town south, is the only New Hampshire town composed entirely of islands. It dates back to the 1600s and has many beautiful old homes in a picture-perfect setting on the ocean. I LOVE this town.
Fort Constitution, in New Castle, is one of seven forts built to protect Portsmouth Harbor. This is the view from the fort.
The jewel in the crown of the New Hampshire seacoast is Wentworth-by-the-Sea. Built in 1874, it one of a handful of the state’s surviving Gilded Age grand hotels, and the last located on the seacoast. This photo was taken years ago, when Terry and I would drive by and marvel at the fading beauty of the place; today it has been totally renovated by the Marriotts and it is once again a destination. It will last another hundred years.
The 18 miles of seacoast are full of surprises … Odiorne State Park has abandoned military bunkers and cannon emplacements which date from WW II, plus the views of the Isles of Shoals are beautiful. In June the beach roses are in bloom, sailing is in full swing, and wildlife is abundant. Houses along the coastal route range from cottages to full-blown mansions.
You can treat yourself to ice cream at the Ice House, sun yourself at Wallis Sands beach, and take pictures of the swans in the salt marsh (although who is really the object of interest here?). On a sunny almost-summer day, the New Hampshire seacoast is irresistible.
It was, for me, a perfect June day.