Perhaps it is a bit of nostalgia, but I am visiting my family this week in New Hampshire and, while also hosting a Californian friend from out of town (it was her first visit to the area), I have realized what a unique place the New England seacoast really is.
Today, I took my friends on a tour of the Seacoast (as it’s known around these parts) and was ecstatic to revisit my hometown through ‘foreign’ eyes (as it were). The history of Strawberry Banke. The beauty of slushed snow. The colors of sea glass along a Maine beach. I know I’m waxing poetic (here comes that nostalgia again!), but this really is a special place. As such, I’m posting some highlights of the region (a ‘best of’ list of sorts; locals, feel free to comment to add more!) – and note that because of the *luxury* of the changing of the seasons, there’s never a bad time to visit. (As my friend heard a local say recently: ‘How could one live without seasons?’ and this question made me wonder how much I have lost by moving to a place where ‘spring’ means an uptick in average temps from 65 to 70 degrees.) Even March can be beautiful for those of us from dry, hot, desert climates (ahem, Californians). The rain, the gray, the scattered snow banks…. Ahhhh: the New England seacoast, and particularly that of Maine and New Hampshire, is certainly a different kind of beautiful (kinda like Tina Fey?).
The Green Monkey: for upscale eats, drinks, and a good crowd
Christy’s Pizza in Hampton Beach: for the best ‘cardboard pizza’ in the U.S.
The Friendly Toast: for quirky American breakfast food with an equally festive atmosphere
Cava Tapas and Wine Bar: for intimate fine dining
Ceres Street Bakery : for delectable sandwiches, soups, and breads (all made/baked on the premises!)
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier: for ‘lobstah’ rolls to die for
FOR THE HOT/SWEET STUFF
Breaking New Grounds: a true local’s cafe (an added bonus: the heavenly desserts)
FOR GOOD TIMES
The Music Hall : for music, independent film, and great visiting writer series (Joyce Carol Oates was a recent visitor)
Strawberry Banke : for an historical walking tour of a colonial-era neighborhood
Prescott Park Arts Festival : for outdoor music, theatre, and dance (summer only)
River Run Bookstore: a well-curated independent bookstore (the way bookstores used to/should be)
Phillips Exeter Academy: my alma mater and a beautiful prep school campus worth visiting (check out the Walt Whitman and Thomas Hardy letters in the library)