Field Notes – A day exploring the New Hampshire seacoast

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In early October we were in New Hampshire for business and had an opportunity to spend the day exploring the New Hampshire seacoast.  The state’s seacoast area stretches 18 miles from the charming city of Portsmouth to just below the hamlet of Hampton Beach.  We were treated to amazing views of the rocky coastline all along U.S. route 1A also known as Ocean Boulevard.

We started our day at Portsmouth in the quaint historic district with a visit to Portsmouth Book & Bar.  Located in the historically significant Custom House, this establishment combines an old-fashioned browsing book shop with a bar that serves small plates, adult beverages, and coffees.  This is a great place to ease in to the historical colonial vibe of the town, and after getting our dose of caffeine, we were ready to explore the numerous shops along the cobblestoned streets.

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We wanted to see the shoreline with hopes for a seafood lunch, so we headed south out of Portsmouth on U.S. route 1A.  This road winds around the edge of Odiorne Point State Park which hosts the Seacoast Science Center.  Families with kids should definitely stop at the science center to take in the many interactive exhibits.  After the state park, the road meets the sea and continues to hug the coastline all the way to the state line with Massachusetts.  There are numerous spots to pull off right after the state park, and we were amazed by the multitudes of rock cairns in this area.

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After scrambling around the cairns for a bit, we were still looking for lunch so we kept heading south.  Again, though, we were diverted by the pull of the ocean waves at beautiful Wallis Sands State Beach.  This crescent-shaped beach is bordered by a rock wall and sports a walking path with numerous benches for gazing at the sea and listening to the crashing waves.

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By now we were really hungry and headed to the small beach village of Hampton Beach.  This seaside town is a classic example of old-time oceanfront resort village combined with carnival and arcade attractions.  There’s an ocean front promenade with lots of features for the kids including playground equipment.  And while it was evident that there are numerous restaurants to choose from, because we were there in the off season (early October), many of the dining options were unfortunately closed.  Fast approaching the hangry state, we drove a bit inland and found our way to The Old Salt Restaurant at Lamie’s Inn.  And the wait was definitely worth it !   We warmed up with some fortified hot cider and filled up with great clam chowdah and lobstah !!!

All in all, we really enjoyed our day exploring the New Hampshire Seacoast and would love to return during the season and when we have more time to soak in the sea air and coastal vibes.  Let us know if you have any recommendations on this area in the comments below.

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