Portsmouth, New Hampshire

This last weekend, certain States in the USA were lucky enough to have a 3 day weekend.  Monday was Presidents Day – so a public Holiday or Maine and New Hampshire at the very least.

Presidents Day this year was met with some reluctance…with the state of the US Presidency and many rejecting Mr Trump as their president, folks seemed to take the day off but not really embracing the roots of the day.

For us, we opted to get out and about and explore a little.  Something we did a lot of in England but not so much since being back in the US.   So, after 50 inches of snow over the last week, Monday – the sun came out and we were ready to roll.

We headed to New Hampshire.  A State South and West of Maine.   When we first moved to the USA, NH is where we initially settled and even now, we consider it as our US ‘home’. For us, Portsmouth NH is just one hour drive from our current hometown in Maine so an easy straight run down the highway.   NH, the Granite State, is a funny state in that it has just 17 miles of coastline as its sandwiched between Maine and Massachusetts.  But those 17 miles are beautiful to explore and very scenic.  This general area of NH is generally known as the Seacoast.

Portsmouth is a major town in the Seacoast area.  Established in 1623, Portsmouth claims to be the nation’s third-oldest city and there is certainly history a plenty here with many of the old houses clearly marked as places of historical interest together with many museums such as Strawberry Banke and Moffatt Ladd House and Gardens.

For this trip, we wanted to be outdoors so we headed to a couple of coastal areas to stroll with the dog and take in the sea air.

First stop was Newcastle Beach/ Great Island Common.  Newcastle being a tiny coastal town connected to Portsmouth.  They have a small Beach/ park (32 acres)which is usually full during the summer months.  This weekend though, just a few families were strolling through and taking in the view.

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Cute artist/ frame to take photos with

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Kids being ‘painted’

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Newcastle Park

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Views from the park

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Dog enjoying his walk

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Happy dog

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View of Beach

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Views out into the ocean

Its only a small park so then we headed up to Odiorne State Park – just a few more miles down the coast.  A pretty drive along the coast and we always love looking at the palatial hpuses along the way!  This is another lovely coastal park and explored a number of trails.  Snow was pretty deep in places but we pushed our way through and had a snowball fight in the process.    This State Park is also connected to the Seacoast Science Center.  We haven’t visited there in years but in the past, its been a great place to take the kids.  Likely still aimed at 3-10 year olds with hands on activities such as shellfish touch tanks etc.

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Trails at Odiorne State Park

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Trails at Odiorne State Park

After a few hours of walking, the kids were ready for food.  We headed back into downtown Portsmouth to check out the huge array of restaurants in town – from casual to fine dining, there is something for everyone and some are highly rated.

We opted for the Friendly Toast.  Its been in the town for many years and its a place we used to frequent when we lived nearby.  We thought it would be fun for the kids as it has a great Breakfast (all day) and lunch menu together with fun quirky decor that makes the place really casual and relaxed.

Between us, we selected items from both the Breakfast and lunch ments – yum!

After lunch, we opted to hit the town and browse the shops.  A great range of shops downtown ranging from high end to affordable fashions, jewelry and locally made products.  Also it has 2 great toy stores for the kids to browse in!

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Section of Downtown Portsmouth

All in all – a great day to get out, shake off that New England Winter cabin fever and relax!

 

 

Cornwall – Carnewas

This is a follow up post to the Watergate post yesterday.   We rounded out our day after the stroll along Watergate Bay at another National Trust spot further North along the coast (just a few miles).   This was Carnewas.   This is home to the famed Bedruthan Steps.  Sadly we didn’t go this far as the crew was tired but for a short distance, the rewards were plentiful.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

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Idyllic setting

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Views from the coastal path

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View south down the coastline

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Playing with camera filters allows for  moodier shot

Ringstead Bay, Dorset

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Ringstead Bay

Spring is finally here in earnest.  We headed to the coast for the day this weekend so get a teaser of warmth and summertime to come along the Jurassic Coast.

We have been to Ringstead Bay once before,  late last summer.  A first time for me and I liked it so much, we thought it would be good to go back and also take some visiting family.  Knowing the weather wouldn’t support sunbathing and swimming, we knew that the walks and views were in themselves enough to take us back.

We parked up at the National Trust Car Park which is easy to find and at this time of year, not busy at all.  To our disappointment when we arrived, the fog was heavy…not expecting that at all but it did clear after an hour to allow us some splendid views.

During our visit, we got to watch some para gliders practice take offs.  Back last summer, I recall seeing the same at this spot so I would assume its fairly frequent.  Fun for the kids to watch and adds to the beauty of the location.  We took the paths down towards the ocean.  One path leads to the an amazing, tiny chapel overlooking the ocean.  Back in the summer, this chapel also served tea and home made cakes.  There was no-one there this time but something to bear in mind if you head up that way.  My guess is, in season, they serve afternoon tea most weekends, so be sure to have a few pounds in your pocket…its worth it!

We headed down to the beach and just let the kids be kids and dog be dog…paddling and swimming (dog only).

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fog lifting over the beach

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post paddle stroll

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foggy view from the top

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a dog and the ocean….happy dog

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splendid views from every angle

The hike back up to the car park is steep in places but we strolled back up at the end of the afternoon, sun kissed and rosy cheeked from our day out by the sea.