Portsmouth, once one of the country’s busiest ports, is located on the 13 miles of New Hampshire coastline in the southeast corner of the state. The city borders the Piscataqua River, a tidal estuary that separates Maine from New Hampshire. Portsmouth is easily accessible by many modes of transportation. Major highways, the Amtrak Downeaster, and planes and buses from the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease are all options.
The English created a settlement here in 1630, and the town was officially named Portsmouth when it was incorporated in 1653. It became the colonial capital in 1679 and was a haven for exiles from puritanical Massachusetts. Much of Portsmouth’s growth in the 18th century can be attributed to slave labor. The city did not impose tariffs on slaves, and they were often smuggled from Portsmouth to other colonies.
The Naval Shipyard was founded in 1800, and over time, it became the area’s largest employer. By the 1950s, many of the city’s neighborhoods had become so neglected rundown they were deemed slums and were threatened by federal clearance. Citizens mobilized and began to preserve historic buildings, an effort that continues to the present day.
Strawbery Banke Museum in the South End historic district now comprises more than 40 restored buildings from the 17th-19th centuries, and nearby Prescott Park features lovely gardens and river views. The city is a popular tourist destination noted for its fine restaurants, casual outdoor cafes, charming boutiques, galleries and jazz clubs.
In 2008, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Portsmouth one of the “Dozen Distinctive Destinations”, and Prevention Magazine named it one of the top 100 walking cities in the country. Portsmouth appeared on Forbes list of “America’s Prettiest Towns” in 2009.
Things to Do in Portsmouth
On average, January is the coldest month with temperatures ranging from 15 degrees Fahrenheit to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. July is the warmest month with temperatures ranging from 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings to 83 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Monthly precipitation is usually 3 to 4 inches.
Chance of a Thunderstorm82°/59°