A big NYT article about my hometown, and one of my favorite places, Portsmouth, NH. And, unlike most mentions of Portsmouth in the national press, it’s not about the presidential primary, and so it gets to write about Portsmouth at its summertime best rather than in the bleak midwinter.
It’s a good article that hits many of the highlights. It mentions the downtown grease-shrine, Gilley’s (where I ate an awful lot of hot dogs and hamburgers as a kid), though not the downtown sub-shrine, Moe’s Sandwich Shop.
Unforgivably, the reporter, faced with the problem that “Although it’s not difficult to find a good place to eat in Portsmouth (it has more than 100 restaurants), it may be difficult to select just one, with choices ranging from fish joints to French bistros,” opts to leave town entirely. Instead visitors should try The Dolphin Striker, Cafe Mirabelle, The Library Restaurant (where my brother had his wedding reception), or The Oar House. Stop in for a microbrew at the excellent and atmospheric Portsmouth Brewery (smoke-free without legislation!) A new development since I moved away is the arrival of a good sushi place, Sakura, downtown in a space that used to be my grandfather’s auto-parts store.
A less-welcome change is that you now need an appointment to physically visit the Portsmouth Bookshop, with one of the best collections of old and rare maps I know of in the U.S., and a very fine used book collection as well. But they’ve retained their (lovely) physical store in the Buckminster mansion despite shifting much of their business to the web– so, with an appointment, you can still go see the selection. When I was a kid Portsmouth had really surprisingly good used bookstores; but of my two favorites, The Book Guild closed entirely last year and the Portsmouth Bookshop has shifted to this mostly-online model.
One other item the article didn’t mention that might be important to anyone planning a trip:the Blues Festival is August 28 this year.