Best of the New Hampshire Seacoast | 2015 Editors’ Choice Awards
Heading to the New Hampshire Seacoast? We’ve got the perfect roundup of what to see, do, and eat while you’re there, plus where to stay when it’s time for bed. Read on to see our picks for the best of the NH coast for 2015! BEST ATTRACTIONS ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE SEACOAST Best Summer Concerts […]
Best Harbor Tour |
Portsmouth Harbor Cruises, Portsmouth
Photo Credit : Kindra Clineff
Heading to the New Hampshire Seacoast? We’ve got the perfect roundup of what to see, do, and eat while you’re there, plus where to stay when it’s time for bed. Read on to see our picks for the best of the NH coast for 2015!
BEST ATTRACTIONS ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE SEACOAST
Best Summer Concerts
Prescott Park, Portsmouth
Music meets water at Portsmouth’s waterfront on the Piscataqua River, and outdoor concerts fill the night air with the sweet sounds of Taj Mahal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and an impressive roster of summer headliners.
105 Marcy St. 603-436-2848; prescottpark.org
Best Coastal State Park
Odiorne Point State Park & Seacoast Science Center, Rye
Rocky coasts, remnants of old World War II bunkers, and a kid-centric science center with a dangling humpback whale skeleton populate this gem of a park, with 330 trail-crossed acres on the ocean. Picnics are practically mandatory, and tidepool explorations a must.
570 Ocean Blvd. 603-227-8722; nhstateparks.org
Best Harbor Tour
Portsmouth Harbor Cruises, Portsmouth
Small, intimate cruises aboard M/V Heritage condense 400 years of harbor history into an hour and a quarter. Leaving from the downtown, cruising past lighthouses, historic forts, and mansions, to the edge of the Atlantic and back, here’s history the way we all want to learn it, flavored with humor and scenery. Sunset cruises and monthly wine tastings, plus longer cruises to the Isles of Shoals, nine lore-ridden islands six miles off the coast, are also on tap.
64 Ceres St. 603-436-8084; portsmouthharbor.com
Best Coastal Botanical Garden
Fuller Gardens, North Hampton
If variety is the spice of life, it also makes for an eye-catching botanical garden at this turnof-turnof- the-last-century summer estate in a neighborhood of mansions just off scenic Route 1A, which hugs the Atlantic. Former Massachusetts governor Alvan T. Fuller liked his formal English perennials and masses of roses, but he was fond of Japanese gardens, too. There’s also plenty of inspiration for sculpted hedges, and a gift shop that sells take-away summer memories. May to October.
10 Willow Ave. 603-964-5414; fullergardens.orgBEST LODGING ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE SEACOAST
Best Historic Mansion
The Hotel Portsmouth, Portsmouth
Formerly the Sise Inn, this 32-room 1881 mansion was rehabbed by the former owners of Portsmouth’s Ale House Inn and newly reopened in April 2014. Dulcet tones of taupe and gray, the clean lines of modern furniture, and a luxuriously stress-free B&B vibe, all just a few blocks from Market Square and the breezy waterfront, would surely have caught the eye of its original owner, ship merchant John Sise. Rates: from $199 (deluxe queen in season).
40 Court St. 603-433-1200; thehotelportsmouth.com
Best Really Old World Charm
Three Chimneys Inn, Durham
A profusion of armoires, oriental rugs, carved fireplaces, and ornate canopy beds … This 1649 homestead is the oldest in Durham, and just a five-minute walk to the University of New Hampshire campus. With 23 ornately pretty rooms divvied up between the main inn and the 1795 carriage house, expect massive beams, wide-board pine floors, and an onsite tavern that occupies two floors, with a massive chimney running through. On a cold night, ask for the intimate nook downstairs in front of the ancient fireplace. Rates: from $149 midweek,
17 Newmarket Road. 603-868-7800; threechimneysinn.com
Best Garden Lover’s B&B
Martin Hill Inn, Portsmouth
A 19th-century antiques-draped B&B with hidden gardens tucked in the back, this warm retreat will test your knowledge of perennials and provide inspiration for your own backyard. The mixed neighborhood of historic residences and convenience stores is a short walk from town—and the inn’s creative breakfast, from banana-nut waffles to gluten-free options (request in advance), will stoke you up for the easy stroll. Rates: from $180.
404 Islington St. 603-436-2287; martinhillinn.comBEST DINING ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE SEACOAST
Best Farm-to-Table Elegance
Black Trumpet Bistro, Portsmouth
Brick-warm ambience, artful cuisine, and a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence make this cozy Mediterranean bistro/wine bar on pretty Ceres Street an inviting nook where you can nibble on foraged mushrooms, local seafood, and assorted paellas that flirt with Moroccan, Turkish, and Spanish influences. Medium dishes: from $10. Entrées: from $18.
29 Ceres St. 603-431-0887; blacktrumpetbistro.com
Best Grand-Resort Lunch Spot
Salt Kitchen & Bar, New Castle
Glittering like an ocean liner, the legendary Wentworth by the Sea resort has dominated this bluff overlooking the water since 1874. Far more modern is its take on cuisine at SALT, an elegant study in deep-sea and powdery blues that’s surprisingly affordable. Dine under the rotunda or out on the deck, or cluster at the sleek bar, but do indulge in “hand-spun” pasta,
or a rustica pizza that oozes mozzarella, pesto, and grilled chicken. Flatbreads: from $13. Pasta (half portion): from $13.
588 Wentworth Road. 603-422-7322; wentworth.com
Best Clam Shack
Markey’s Lobster Pool , Seabrook
Owner Tom Markey presides over the deep-fryers and steamers, cooking up fresh lobsters, clams, scallops, shrimp, and haddock since 1971. Bring your fiercest appetite and dine on a deck over the tidal Blackwater River, where you’ll spot locals digging for clams. You don’t have to abstain in winter: open Friday to Sunday in the off-season. Boxed fried clams: from
$11.50. Seafood plate: $22.50.
420 Route 286. 603-474-2851; markeyslobsterpool.com