Portsmouth at 400

June 01, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Portsmouth, New Hampshire is celebrating its quadricentennial this year. The city's big birthday parade takes place this Saturday, and though I won't be there to see it in person I'll be joining the festivities in spirit.

New England is graced with abundant natural beauty, but it's also a region with a unique personality. While so much of the country AMONG THE BLOOMSAMONG THE BLOOMSBeautiful coleus frame the perimeter of the formal garden at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. became homogenized over the latter part of the twentieth century, New England retained its distinctive character.

There is a lot of history, much of which has been preserved. 

Even if you consider yourself an outdoor/landscape photographer first and foremost, I challenge you to visit a place like Portsmouth and not find yourself drawn to shooting cityscapes, or architecture, or maybe even dabbling in street photography.

There's an abundance of subject matter and you needn't cover a lot of ground to find it. 

Winding streets and cobblestone sidewalks. 18th century-era brick buildings (including the oldest brick structure in New England). The oldest surviving wood frame home in New Hampshire (circa 1664). A landmark white steeple rising above a historic church. A river. A working harbor. Tugboats. Huge oceangoing vessels coming and going. Fishing boats. Tidal pools. Bridges. A beautiful waterfront park. A living history museum located in the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire, known as Puddle Dock. 

Drive (not very far) outside of the historic downtown and you'll see one of the last remaining Grand Hotels in New Hampshire. You'll find the ocean, too. Yes, the Atlantic! Many people don't realize New Hampshire has a seacoast. It's not even 20-miles long, but quality is more important than quantity. 

You'll see some lighthouses and a fort which dates back to 1631. Seaside Odiorne Point State Park contains the remains of World War II-era fortifications built to protect Portsmouth Harbor, and provides expansive views of both the Gulf of Maine and the mouth of the Piscataqua River. 

Your camera will get a workout, and this is a place you will remember.

I promise.

Happy Birthday, Portsmouth!

Historic PortsmouthHISTORICRed brick buildings, the North Church, the Moran Tugs, and a sightseeing vessel: signature sights in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Daybreak: Tall Ships at Portsmouth HarborTALL SHIPSPastel colors just before sunrise create a nice backdrop for schooners Mystic and Lynx as they visit Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Moored at the commercial fishing pier on Peirce Island, the tall ships were the centerpiece of the annual Sail Portsmouth weekend. Mystic is a three-masted square topsail schooner (main mast, 110 feet), and Lynx is a replica of a privateer from the War of 1812. Old Fashioned ChristmasOld Fashioned ChristmasEarly on the Sunday morning before Christmas, quiet streets are a little brighter than usual as holiday lights illuminate them. Especially when dressed for Christmas, the town has a lovely feeling of yesteryear. (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
In Local News

Grand Teton National Park wildflower update: after a harsh and lengthy winter this makes no sense, but the blooms are defying logic and have arrived early. Arrowleaf Balsamroot come first, so that's most of what you'll find at the moment. They're plentiful near Dornan's and the visitor's center in the south end of the park, but spotty the further north you travel. I'm guessing maybe another week before Antelope Flats is dotted with yellow, though there are many consecutive days of rain and cool temperatures in the forecast for Jackson Hole so that might slow things down a bit. 

The road to Signal Mountain is open now. So is Mormon Row. As is always the case this time of year, Two Ocean Road and nearby forest service roads in the north end of the park are closed to give the grizzlies space.

Speaking of grizzlies, the governor of Wyoming has petitioned the Department of the Interior to delist them from federal protection. Not that I'm a fan of the Feds (it was Federal policy at one point to exterminate gray wolves, after all) but in this case Washington is the lesser of two evils. Wyoming, Montana and Idaho are openly hostile to grizzlies and wolves. Giving those states jurisdiction over such species will not end well for the animals. 



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