Summer in the City: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
In this old maritime capital visitors may tour six houses built between 1716-1807 on the Portsmouth Historic Trail that reflect early New England life. Earlier Colonial homes dating from 1695 have been preserved outdoors, on ten waterfront acres in the Strawbery Banke Museum. Inside these furnished New Hampshire houses, interpreters are familiar with all aspects of 17th-century life.
Modern-day Portsmouth offers summer visitors sun, sand, and the sounds of music. In late June the annual Portsmouth Jazz Festival attracts players and fans to the New Hampshire waterfront. The Prescott Park Arts Festival, set amidst flowers and fountains, runs all summer.
Boats still haul fish into Portsmouth Harbor, and the ales and lagers concocted in the Portsmouth Brewery and served in its pub are the perfect complement to the catch of the day. Of course, that "catch" may be a great bargain; clothing purchases are taxfree, as is all shopping in the state.
Take a sunset harbor cruise or travel on a whale-watching expedition from Barker Wharf in search of pirouetting humpbacks and dolphins. Ninety-nine out of 100 times, sea-goers return having sighted the magnificent mammals. Four miles outside Portsmouth, the Great Bay estuary nurtures the region's aquatic bird species.
Just south of the city, Hampton State Beach, with its long, sandy beaches and pulsing boardwalk, draws strollers, swimmers, and sun worshipers. There's a public dock for fishing, and morning workout sessions are held at the Sea Shell Stage. All summer the Hampton Playhouse presents Broadway shows.
It's Special Here: Lake Winnipesaukee
Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest of New Hampshire's thousand freshwater lakes. Within its 300 miles of shoreline are 274 islands, mostly forestland. From the Weirs Beach landing, 230-foot M/S Mt. Washington departs twice a day to take groups on a 50-mile, 3-hour cruise of the area while swimmers, boaters, and water-skiers pursue other activites.
In Wolfeboro, New Hampshire guides lead visitors up to the early-1900's Castle in the Clouds, which affords one of New England's most spectacular views. From here, the intrepid set out for a walk in the woods or go horseback riding.
Simple Pleasures: White Mountains of New Hampshire
New Hampshire's White Mountain region contains 768,000-acre White Mountain National Forest, several ski areas including Bretton Woods, and Waterville Valley, as well as mist-wrapped and majestic 6,288-foot-Mount Washington, tallest peak in the Northeast.
Coal-fed Mt. Washington Cog Railway chugs uphill at the start of a three-hour roundtrip excursion. Travelers may also reach the summit via a winding auto road that ascends beyond the tree line. On top there's a museum, gift shop, restaurantand, on a clear day, a hundred-mile view in any direction.
Inside the White Mountain National Forest are 1,300 miles of trails that traverse rugged, spectacular scenery. More than 400 wildlife species, including loons, white-tailed deer, and moose share the pristine environment. Visitors to the New Hampshire area can also swim, canoe, golf, play tennis, and bicycle tour. Drivers will encounter picturesque covered bridges, perfect places to pause and steal a kiss.