a few weeks ago, we headed to portsmouth, nh in search of relaxation and beer! we found both of those things, as well as a fantastic stationery shop, cupcakes, and more. (what else do i need?!) here are some highlights ::
smuttynose brewery :: very cool spot, laid back, the tour included lots of fun facts (including the story of the two older gentlemen on the IPA label), and lots of samples. as a thank you for stopping by, you receive a coupon for a free pint at the portsmouth brewery — nice way to keep things going! brewery tours are only offered a few days a week, so plan accordingly.
throwback brewery :: according to the folks at smuttynose, a former employee started this small brewery that makes their beer using almost entirely local ingredients. their beers are hand bottled and not filtered.
redhook brewery :: the biggest brewery in portsmouth. redhook originated in washington state, and in 1996, the east coast outpost was built in portsmouth. tours are offered every day of the week.
portsmouth brewery :: great spot to stop for lunch. they make their own beers, and carry smuttynose and other craft beers, too. we tried the spicy nut brittle off the snacks menu as an appetizer — different than anything i’ve ever had and definitely worth a try! there are several veg entree options, which i always appreciate!
the library :: while the library only has one veg entree, what really drew us in was the ambiance and the history. the restaurant is located in the rockingham house which was originally built in 1785. the dining room is extremely ornate and full of bookshelves and books. according to their website, the dining room ceiling was built by pullman car woodworkers in 1889, the paneling is hand carved spanish mahogany, the lighting fixtures are all original, and all the mirrors in the dining room were imported from france. several noteworthy historical figures have eaten and/or stayed in the building, including george washington, theodore roosevelt and john f. kennedy. at the end of the meal, your bill is presented in a book!
gus + ruby’s letterpress :: great stationery shop, named for the owners’ dogs. bins of single cards to pour through (several of which made me laugh out loud), boxed cards, candles and lots more!
finally, we stayed at the ale house inn, a destination that had been bookmarked in my safari browser for two years. finally made it! prior to the ratification of prohibition in 1917, the building that houses the inn was a warehouse for the portsmouth brewing company. according to their website, “thousands of kegs once rested here as they underwent fermentation”. when booking your room you can request that beer, champagne, cupcakes, etc. be waiting for you upon arrival. they also offer the use of beach cruisers which provide a convenient way to check out the town outside of the main shopping district. here are a few pictures ::
real room keys ::
cupcakes upon arrival (made at popovers on the square) ::on the bedside table, reading about reading, and music, and food ::
common area (you can’t see them in this photo, but there’s a stock of unlimited bags of chips in this room) ::
i would definitely recommend a trip to portsmouth. there’s lots to see and do (and eat and drink!), but not so much that you’re running around trying to squeeze it all in. spend a weekend here — you’ll enjoy it.