Portsmouth, steeped in history and character, prospered as a seafaring community in the 1800s. Stately homes that once belonged to ship captains still stand proudly in town, phantoms of prowess and wealth.
In Old Harbor, shops and restaurants have replaced a once thriving mercantile industry. And, throughout the town, Georgian and Federal-style homes pose in restored glory for public consumption. Tourists are charmed by their beauty and background.
From children's museums to harbor cruises, there's no end to the pleasures here. Historic buildings include Governor John Langdon House, home of John Paul Jones, and Wentworth-Gardner House, among many others.
The Children's Museum of Portsmouth offers an exciting environment for youngsters to learn with a hands-on invitation to explore. The Seacoast Science Center presents marine exhibits and a touch tank. And the 10-acre Strawberry Banke Museum displays 45 buildings, circa 1695-1955, in the historic waterfront district that are being preserved for posterity.
Portsmouth is proud of its aquatic connections. Hints of the water world are everywhere. Parks are outfitted with boat launches and fishing piers, and decorated with mastheads and model ships. And The USS Albacore, a prototype of the modern submarine, stands ready for inspection at Albacore Park and Memory Garden.
It's easy to be active here. There are countless avenues for sports and fitness. The Urban Forestry Center has an excellent network of trails through Portsmouth's city forest, featuring beautiful gardens and landscaping. There's also a fitness course onsite.
Portsmouth Rent & Ride offers bike and kayak tours for one person or for a group. And Northwind Charters has a snazzy 42-foot boat that runs on fun, sailing off the coast to fish for cod, haddock and shark. It's also used for scuba diving adventures.
There are both indoor and outdoor swimming facilities, golf courses, bowling alleys and trails for biking and cross-country skiing. After all is said and done, Portsmouth is a vivacious New England city that charms and entertains its guests in style.
Portsmouth is located in the southeastern section of New Hampshire, about 50 miles from Manchester on SR-4.