New Hampshire Off The Beaten Path Tips by Pawtuxet Top 5 Page for this destination
New Hampshire Off The Beaten Path: 62 reviews and 72 photos
The beauty of these little independent shops is their creativity. Things you don't see anywhere else emerge from the shelves and beg to go home with you.
I've heard wonderful things about the DEERFIELD FAIR. A friend who has horses and a big farm in RI says they never miss the annual Deerfield fair. We drove around the fair grounds and were amazed at the size of it and the number of permenant buildings used to house show horses, country goods, foods, and crafts. Next one is scheduled for September and I'd really like to go. It isn't far from where my son is now living in Manchester, so maybe we'll hop up there for a quick overnight. That's the joy of living in New ENgland.... much like Europe... you can hop over to any number of events or attractions...historic sites....innumerable nature choices...all within easy reach.
Take Rte 43 down from Rte. 4 (Antique Alley)
watch for GREEN signs
Along the coast of New Hampshire, about 50 miles north of Boston, is Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A long history of maritime trade and Naval history can be told through the architecture of this 40 building museum known as Strawbery Banke. Seems the early settlers came up the Piscataqua River and decided this place with its banks filled with wild strawberries would be a perfect place to settle. And so they did. Portsmouth became a major port over the years. John Paul Jones lived in Portsmouth while his ships the Ranger (1777) and America (1781) were outfitted at the Langdon yards. Later on the Portsmouth Naval yards created the first submarines here. Many immigrants have come to Portsmouth and Strawbery Banke. When the area fell into decline the neighborhood was known as Puddle Dock. Strangely enough, the Urban Renewal Program is what inspired the current day museum neighborhood. All the homes are in their original position...never moved. Quite different from Sturbridge Village where old homes were brought together from all over New England to create the village. Yes, Strawbery Banke is worth the visit. Hope you'll enjoy all the wonderful homes in various stages of restoration.
It's a little tricky to get into Strawbery Banke when you come off the Interstate Rte 95. They have small green signs that mark the way....but it's easy to miss them. We were lost a couple of times going in and coming out. The whole area is on a peninsula so I couldn't get my bearings with water all around me. It's worth the trouble to find the way, tho. Don't give up. :-)
Visit the cooper's shop. Barrells for all purposes. Shipping trade used a lot of them. Unfortunately the building was closed when we were there, but I understand that the costumed guide who works there in the summer months is a wonderful source of information and does a real super job of portraying a cooper of the 1700's.
The restored homes at Strawbery Banke are done equisitely well. These wonderful old 1700's buildings are my most favorite style and era. The curators here have done a wonderful job of restoring from the original and yet sprinkling in some of the more recent uses of the old homes of the neighborhood. It's such an educational gem to learn about not only the architecture, but the foods, the trends, the trades, the society....as we have progressed over the past 200+ years.
Driving in the neighborhood can be educational around Strawbery Banke. Here we see a house encased in plastic to protect it from the weather until such time as it can be restored. Such care is take to preserve and protect. I'm wishing there were more of this in my own neighborhood
See a previous tip for other highlights of Strawberry Banke.
The "Mom and Pop" store
WANTED TO GIVE YOU A CUTE STORY ABOUT ONE OF THE BLDG. MUSEUMS AT STRAWBERRY BANKE.....
Bertha was a busy body...as they used to say... and so her husband built a 2nd floor bay on the front of the house so she could keep her eye on everyone who came up and down the lane....noting the time they came home at night....and with WHOM !! :-)
Bertha and her husband ran a "mom and pop" store on the first floor, and when Frank died, Bertha kept the store running for years later. Through the war years and the food stamps, Bertha was there with Fels Naptha soap, Campbell's soup, penny candies and all the "necessities" you might need on a daily basis.
The curators decided to leave the building in its altered condition rather than restoring it to its circa 1700's, and there was not much to be done to bring the store and Bertha's kitchen back to "show" condition. There were only 7 years between the time Bertha ran the shop and the time Strawbery Banke emerged as a museum. Everyone loved her kitchen. War years stove and jade green bowls - the entire kitchen and store are a snapshot of the war years. Truly it is a treat.
The Museum Store
We'll definately revisit this great neighborhood of Portsmouth.
The museum is a collection of homes from the 1600's and 1700's, but the creators of the exhibits decided to show us a bit of the later times as well. We saw some 1940's as well as some 1950's. They put it together well for the tourist...or school children to learn about life here over the course of time. IT'S AN ACTUAL TOWN WHICH HAS EXISTED HERE ALL THESE YEARS. THEY DID NOT MOVE BUILDINGS IN TO CREATE A MUSEUM...SUCH AS STURBRIDGE VILLAGE IN MASS.OR THE SKANSEN VILLAGES OF POLAND. IT'S THE REAL THING.
There is a museum store where you buy your admission tickets.
At the start of the tour there is a1600's house standing proudly with its chimneys and windows all in tact. . and it sits shoulder to shoulder with a 1700's house that was later used as a 2 family home. All of it has survived the bad times as well as the good times.
I INCLUDED A PIC OF the corner of Puddle Lane. The street takes its name from the neighborhood term. The inlet which used to run up into the center of this neighborhood eventually silted in and then the town filled it. Just before it was filled, the neighborhood took on the nickname of Puddle Dock. There were many of these inlets throughout the Portsmouth area.
Another old house in one of the enclosed pics hasn't been restored yet. Instructional to see many of the homes which are saved but not totally restored yet.
The folks who were restoring another house were surprised to uncover a fireplace on the OUTSIDE WALL!! Evidentally there was an addition to the house, and a fireplace added....then covered up. Now when the incorrect addition was removed.....oila! the hidden fireplace. I sort of hope they don't finish this wall and remove the fireplace. It makes an interesting story of how houses evolve over time.
Phone: (603) 433-1100
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