My latest adventure is in the most perfectly quaint New England town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Portsmouth is nestled right in the heart of New England. Everything in it from the restored homes to the cobblestone sidewalks and riverside brick adorned restaurants screams cute and quaint. With a population of just over 21,000, you can pop into any one their shops and restaurants and roam without crowds or long waits. Granted, I live in Toronto so my borameter for “crowded” is probably not the average but rest assured, one can experience Portsmouth with complete ease.
Off the bat, the first thing that caught my eye in this city are the rows and rows of historic homes. Nearly every house and every building in this place has a story to tell. A famous general that used to live there or an influential government figure. For such a small town, its background is certainly impressive and history buffs are sure to get a kick out of it. Several of the homes have been converted into restaurants or store fronts. Please be warned, you will want to enter every single one of them!
Several historic homes have been preserved and turned into museums supported entirely by the community. One of my favorite visits was to the William Whipple home. Mr. Whipple was a government official and a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. The physical house has been largely preserved from its historic state and the garden out back is beautifully well maintained and will put you in an immediate state of relaxation. Other must-see’s include John Paul Jones’
Of course, one can’t talk about Portsmouth and not mention the gorgeous water front views. The city was built along the Piscataqua River which runs up to Maine and is a site to see. With rows of back to back restaurants along the water, grab yourself a seat and a delicious meal or, enjoy a harbor front cruise (don’t worry, adult beverages are served on board!).
What city is complete without amazing restaurants? My measurement of a great city includes amazing food at the top of that list and Portsmouth has covered all bases in this category. This town is all about local, local, local and no one does it better than Flatbread Company. Their flatbread pizza is literally the BEST I’ve ever had and to skip out on this restaurant would be a sin. The menu changes almost daily to incorporate the latest in season, local ingredients. Homemade dough (d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s) is smothered in fresh, organic ingredients and then popped into a wood-burning oven. Every single bite is a slice of heaven (pun intended!). My personal favorite flatbread is their roasted fig with a balsamic reduction. Hey Flatbread Company, if you’re reading this, mind bringing that one back sometime soon?! I would be eternally grateful. In the meantime if this tickles your fancy, give my copycat version a try (includes roasted blue cheese YASSS)…Fig and Caramelized Onion Flatbread
For something light, pop on over to The Kitchen for an incredible salad, sandwich or soup. Again, nothing but fresh, local ingredients and flavor to the max. Make sure to also visit their new digs, Blind Pig Provisions which serves up Southern inspired comfort food on one of the cutest patios of all time. Oh, and did I mention that the patio faces the water?
If you’re a lover of all things coffee and tea, then White Heron is your next stop. On a hot summer day, I highly recommend picking up one of their iced Chai lattes. With bursts of cardamom and cinnamon, it’s sure to please!
One cannot forget about the most important meal of the day, BRUNCH. Rest assured, Portsmouth has got you covered with The Friendly Toast! With old-school Americana vibes, booths and 50’s style cafeteria tables this place is trendy and family-friendly. Their menu covers all bases with standard American breakfast items but also unique twists on the traditional. I HIGHLY recommend you try the breakfast tacos below…
If you’re looking for a low-key, enjoyable experience without a ton of fuss, Portsmouth, New Hampshire should absolutely be your next trip. It’s a completely unexpected gem that will not disappoint. This town has so much to offer and has some of the kindest people I’ve ever met! Until next time, Portsmouth…