The seasonal outdoor ice skating rink known at Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Duck Pond at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth is open all winter for anyone who loves the feel and sound of blades on ice. The pond is 12,500 square feet of professionally maintained ice. A seasonal pavilion houses ticketing, skate rentals and concessions. The White Apron Cafe in the museum serves food and beverages. Public skating, pond hockey for children and adults, skating lessons for all ages, skate rentals and sharpening services are available. 603-433-1100
Candy, Old-Fashioned Style, and LOTS of It
Do you adore candy, especially old-fashioned penny candy? Do you yearn for mile-high and ludicrously candy-enhanced ice cream shakes? How about a fantasy land rich with “harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” visuals? All of these pleasures await at Lickee’s & Chewy’s Candies & Creamery, located in the historic Cocheco Mills at 53 Washington Street in downtown Dover. The over-the-top store is the creation of Chris Guerrette, lover of candy and fantasy and excess. Shipping and curbside pickup available.
Little Harbor Loop Trail Wanders Shoreline & Gardens
A really easy and pleasant 1.5-mile Little Harbor Trail now wanders through the the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion grounds, at 375 Little Harbor Road in Portsmouth and Portsmouth Conservation Land. The trail is flat and fine for little ones or elderly people. Views of the Piscataqua River just south of Portsmouth and tidal pools and gardens are delightful. There is free parking & trail access at the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion at 375 Little Harbor Road. Trail map.
Fabric Artistry Like You’re Never Seen
People interested in unique ((intended, here, to truly mean one-of-a-kind) fabric art will be charmed by Nancy Morgan Art, a working studio and gallery at 238 State Street in Portsmouth. Using very basic machine sewing gear and techniques, Nancy Morgan, artist and gallery owner, creates images, including many showing Portsmouth town and seaside views, with cloth, embroidery and quilting techniques, and finely detailed stitchery. She is happy to show and demonstrate her techniques, and her books, “Shades of Tulle” and “The Fabric of Bow Street,” offer insights. The gallery is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Portsmouth Harbor Trail Walking Tours
Portsmouth is a delightful riverside city today, with a low-profile downtown, lots of dining and shopping, and a gorgeous park on the Piscataqua River. Its history reaches to Colonial times, when it served as a deep-water port for fishing and shipping timber from inland to the sea. This history is on display through three walking tours of the Portsmouth Harbor Trail. Guided tours are offered from June through October (call 603-610-5518). Three walks take you through or past Market Square, the heart of downtown; Prescott Park on the river; Strawbery Banke, a living history museum encompassing 400 years of the town's story; tug boats at the docks; views of the river; and several historic churches and mansions.
A New Hampshire Country Store, from Aged Cheese to Pewter Gifts
Calef’s Country Store, at routes 9 and 125 in the Seacoast town of Barrington, has been dispensing welcome, hospitality, and good food since the horse-and-buggy days. Stop in for a deli sandwich during your explorations of the area, and, if you can, pick up some great food gifts to charm the people you left back home. These include Caleb’s Snappy Old Cheese, maple foods, jams, jellies, butter, pickles, relishes, olives, chutney, salsa and pretzel dips, soup mixes, and more. Caleb’s also carries beautiful artwork by the New Hampshire Pewter Company. Open daily.
Meet Our Fabulous Wetlands
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge at 4 Arboretum Drive in Newingtonis a beautiful estuary and woodlands protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The refuge is open every day to the public for hiking, bird watching, photography, and other outdoor activities. Visitors will find two trails, parking lot, restroom, and an interpretive kiosk. Interpretive programs are regularly offered at the refuge. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing on these same trails are popular activities during the winter. Learn more here:
Fruit Wines, Apple Brandy, and Vodka to Taste Year-Round
Flag Hill Vineyard and Winery at 297 North River Road in Lee has ground in 20 years from a family-operated vineyard to an established winery in this picturesque seacoast region. The winery produces more than 15 varieties of red and white wines. Flag Hill produces distilled spirits such as General John Stark Vodka and Josiah Bartlett Apple Brandy. A tasting room and gift store, offering events, tours, sales, is in a post-and-beam building that once served as a barn. Open year round, Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. except for major holidays. 603-659-2949.
Stop to Shop
The Seacoast region has wonderful shopping for beautiful and unusual items. The Fox Run Mall in Newington is a place to start for national names, followed by a trip to Boardwalk Strip at Hampton Beach. The cream of the shopping experience has to be Portsmouth's Market Street, crammed with art, toys, home decorations, clothing, hardware, jewelry, flowers, and more. Voted one of New England's Best Shopping Streets by Travel and Leisure Magazine.