As summer reaches its peak, becoming overwhelmed is all too easy. Anyone who regularly looks at a calendar cannot help but be amazed that July has zoomed past, and August is already upon us. While yesterday might have felt like May, suddenly all those plans for hikes through the mountains, trips to the beach, and evenings by the lake seem to have evaporated in the heat of running the kids to camp, attempting to keep the office cool, and the realization that schools will too soon be back in session. But August is precisely the time to truly soak in the summertime, with the wildness of early summer giving way to the relaxation of these hazy days. There’s a reason people vacation in this month, and a similar reason to why Portsmouth remains a vacation destination – and all of those reasons are just as true for each and every local. By taking the time to enjoy all our town has to offer, August vacations need not stray so far from home, and the gems of our area can be appreciated fully by both visitors and natives alike.
In just ninety minutes, you can be whisked back across time and through centuries of Portsmouth’s greatest years and achievements. No time machine required – simply a visit with the Portsmouth Historical Society and their History & Homes Tour. Every Tuesday throughout the month of August, Portsmouth’s keepers of history will not only tantalize with tales of city fires and U.S Presidents on this walking tour, but will also example and explore some of New England’s finest architectural treasures in both majestic local homes and commercial landmarks.
Escape the mainland for another world with a trip to Celia Thaxter’s island home and garden. With a spot this beautiful, it’s no wonder that the author was continuously inspired, and for a summer day trip there can be no vista more stunning than this extensive 19th century garden overlooking an oceanside cliff of Appledore Island. Maintained true to Thaxter’s original specifications, the garden alone is worth a visit, while the ticket includes experiences of the homestead, boating to and from the island, and a gourmet lunch provided on site – with our busy 21st century days, visits like these allow for a moment to unplug and reconnect with a slower, perhaps more authentic bit of life.
This August, residents and tourists alike will have rare access to Portsmouth’s Market Square – completely shut down to traffic, and open to exploration. With Pro Portsmouth’s Summer in the Street events every Saturday night, the square will become a true plaza, open to all and brimming with vibrant free music and live performances. Though beautiful at any time of year, summer finds Market Square to be its most beautiful, and these nights offer a brilliant opportunity to fully enjoy the heart of our downtown.
August 10th, Portsmouth is host to a prize of American history when the Oliver Hazard Perry sails into harbor and docks for the day. The first fully-rigged, ocean-going ship of its scale built in the United States in over a hundred years, watching the parade of the ship coming in will be one of the sights of the summer, followed by a full day of deck tours, day sails, food, and music. A masterpiece of craftsmanship and traditional skills, the Oliver Hazard Perry is a true New England beauty, and one that does New Hampshire proud on both sea and shore.
These days it might seem impossible to beat the soaring temperatures throughout the coast, but pristine blue skies, rolling ocean breezes, and those sweeping New Hampshire forests keep Portsmouth uniquely wonderful on even the hottest of afternoons. The beginnings of summer may have rushed past, but for this last gorgeous month, take the time you deserve to relish the moments and memories that will make the best of summer in Portsmouth last all year long.