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How to Live Like a Local in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I feel lucky to call Portsmouth my hometown.

These days, I live in Brooklyn, and often find myself reminiscing about days spent walking the beach, eating lobster rolls and strolling through colonial neighborhoods. It’s funny how “home” doesn’t seem all that special until you move away.

When most people think of New Hampshire, visions of mountains, lakes and lush foliage typically come to mind. Yes, we have all that, but many forget we’ve also got a bit of coastline as well– the hub of which is idyllic Portsmouth. Sure, it might only be 13 miles of shoreline, but we make the most of it. And what’s more, it’s surprisingly under the radar as far as travel destinations go– always appealing to me. Here’s a few of my Portsmouth must-dos.

Just Wander

From stunning brick buildings to tucked away little alleys, this town is just enchanting. So put down your smartphone and take a stroll, stopping in at whatever restaurants, bars and shops draw you in. I especially love Portsmouth Brewery for a bite and some beer.

The Seacoast Rep

I love the performing arts, and while growing up, I spent lots of time at this theater. If you have the time, squeeze in a show. They do a phenomenal job, and there’s nothing quite like live theater.

Strawbery Banke

One of the most notable characteristics of Portsmouth is its array of colonial homes. In fact, there’s a whole section of town dedicated to preserving this piece of American history. Strawbery Banke is a living museum, the oldest neighborhood settled by the europeans. Everything is absolutely authentic. You can walk through the ‘hood and really get a feel for what life in Portsmouth was like nearly 400 years ago… with the added convenience of indoor plumbing and electricity.

New Castle Island

When my family first moved from southern New Hampshire to the seacoast, we settled here. It’s really the perfect place for hanging out on a tucked-away beach, gazing out at the harbor and lighthouse. I mean, sometimes I just have to pinch myself. Places like this do really exist!

Where is your hometown? Do you miss it? Do you still live there? Would you recommend it as a travel destination? Share in the comments!


This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. I’ve always enjoyed your travel shows! Had no idea you’re from my town. I moved here 20 years ago and I appreciate it every day! Bring the kids to my gym and play zone! Rumble Tumble. 95 Brewery Lane. Portsmouth NH ????

  2. I’ve never been to Portsmouth, but as a student of American diplomatic history, I remember it primarily as the location where President Theodore Roosevelt negotiated the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.

  3. I love your travel shows, you made the entire world accessible and personable. What a gift. Miss those shows!

  4. My hometown is Putnam, CT, a mill town (textiles) in the northeastern corner, nicknamed the “quiet corner.” Putnam is now a very popular town for antiques and has quite a few cafes and bistros, and the train still stops there I think on weekends for people from big cities to visit for the day. I moved to AZ in 1981 but still go back to CT every few years to visit friends and family. There are so many community activities and festivals now, wish we had them when I was growing up, maybe I wouldn’t have moved away. I too miss your travel shows but glad you are now spokesperson for AARP and enjoy your blog.

    1. Your an idiot and a rude one at that. Shame on you!!!! If you can’t find something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  5. We love you and have always loved your show… You seem so down to earth, maybe that’s why we ALL love you. Keep smiling and traveling.

  6. My wife and I really wish you were still filming new episodes for the Travel Channel. We loved your show! Your human warmth brightened our living room regularly 🙂. We wish you good luck!

  7. I grew up in coastal Southeastern New England in a town called Swansea. I miss digging clams and catching blue crabs in my backyard. Literally. I do not consider it to be a great travel destination but it’s very accessible to places like Newport, Little Compton, and Cape Cod. Club Casino in Portsmouth, NH was only about a 90-minute drive. Took in a few great shows there!

  8. My native city is Annapolis MD. I lived there for the first eight years of my life. Because my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins remained there, we returned frequently for weekends, summers vacations, and Christmas holidays. No matter how far away we moved, I always made an effort to return at least two or three times each year. I miss Annapolis most keenly in the summer (blue crab season). I highly recommend Annapolis as a travel destination. It has so much history, charm, scenic beauty, activities on the water, delicious fresh seafood, the Naval Academy, and the Sailing Capital of the World!

  9. Love all your show even the recent River cruise online and that shopping network your on. Glad to know your a fellow New Englander it’s a beautiful place to live. And I have been to Portsmouth, NH.

  10. My husband and I loved all your travel shows.
    Glad you are enjoying traveling with your kids. They are precious. Safe travels.

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portsmouth New Hampshire - Samantha Brown
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