Tag Archives: New Hampshire

August 5: Strawbery Banke and LL Bean

Which was an interesting juxtaposition…

Anyway. I started my morning by navigating the c/o/w/p/a/t/h/s/narrow, winding, one-way streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, trying to find Strawbery Banke. I did, after less travail than I expected, and actually arrived before they opened (I tend to get up with the sun and go to bed with the sun when I’m camping).

Strawbery Banke is another living history site, but this one’s different. Instead of concentrating on one era the way Williamsburg and Mystic Seaport did, it covers almost all of the almost four hundred years Portsmouth (whose original name was Strawbery Banke) has been a community, concentrating on the old neighborhood of Puddle Dock, on which the modern Strawbery Banke now sits. So, from the mid-1600s to the 1950s.

Each building, from the oldest one, built in the early 1700s, to one that had most recently been remodeled just after WWII, represented a different time period and a different level of wealth and social class. And there were gardens! No one (ahem, Beth!) told me there would be gardens! Everything from a Victorian greenhouse and bedding garden to another adorable Colonial dooryard garden to an herb garden. There were stores and craftspeople, too. I got to try my hand at a loom, which was fun, and wander into a WWII-era grocery store, complete with ration points as well as the price marked on each item.

Victorian bedding garden with a greenhouse in the background.
Victorian bedding garden with a greenhouse in the background.
The parlor of the Victorian house that went with the garden. A future governor of Maine lived here.
The parlor of the Victorian house that went with the garden. A future governor of Maine lived here.
Elderberries. Wine, anyone?
Elderberries. Wine, anyone?
This wallpaper looks like it was inspired by a kaliedoscope.
This wallpaper looks like it was inspired by a kaliedoscope.
I covet this bed. Also, I really want some quilt fabric that looks like that bed curtain fabric (sorry, Loralee [g]).
I covet this bed. Also, I really want some quilt fabric that looks like that bed curtain fabric (sorry, Loralee [g]).
Another gorgeous cottage garden. I want a garden like that so badly...
Another gorgeous cottage garden. I want a garden like that so badly…
Mrs. Shapiro, a Jewish lady from 19190, talking with some visitors.
Mrs. Shapiro, a Jewish lady from 1910, talking with some visitors.
A shipping jar from 1700-1750. The rope netting is to help minimize breakage.
A shipping jar from 1700-1750. The rope netting is to help minimize breakage.
Food for sale in the WWII era grocery store. Note that Campbell's soup hasn't changed a bit, that Aunt Jemima is seriously politically incorrect, and the ration point numbers next to the prices. Also, my mother had some spice containers that could have been about that vintage.
Food for sale in the WWII era grocery store. Note that Campbell’s soup hasn’t changed a bit, that Aunt Jemima is seriously politically incorrect, and the ration point numbers next to the prices. Also, my mother had some spice containers that could have been about that vintage.
The WWII era Victory Garden, complete with chickens in the coop.
The WWII era Victory Garden, complete with chickens in the coop.
One of the houses was set up so that you could see what it looked like before and during restoration, which was quite amazing.
One of the houses was set up so that you could see what it looked like before and during restoration, which was quite amazing.

I spent a good chunk of the day there, and had a wonderful time.

Then I drove on north on I-95, because it was getting late and I wanted to get to my stop for the night – plus I’ve been to this part of Maine before, and I want to spend most of my time that I’ll be on the coast northeast of Acadia since I’ve never been to that part of the state before.

My destination for the night was Freeport, which is basically a factory outlet town surrounding the original LL Bean store. Not that I’m a huge fan of factory outlets, but LL Bean has a free overnight parking area for RVers (which I count as, since I don’t pitch a tent or anything). It was nice and shady and cool(!), and I ended up parked across from someone from the Tri-Cities (southeastern Washington) of all places, which was kind of hilarious.

So that’s where I am tonight. Tomorrow I’m going to Augusta, the state capitol, to visit the Maine State Museum, and then it’s on to Acadia National Park and Down East to Canada (yes, that’s the local turn of phrase, and no, that doesn’t sound right to me, either).

Starting to worry about Canada, for some reason, not sure why. It’s not like I haven’t crossed the border before. But I’ll never have spent that much time there before, either. And Quebec’s got me just a tad freaked out because of the language thing, too. Oh, well. ‘S good for me. Builds character.

August 4: Another state, another campground, and an entire flock of wild turkeys

Well, and a listee who is also my copy editor and a friend.

Anyway, I got a late start this morning, since I only had about an hour’s drive and only had to be there by noon. It wasn’t a bad drive at all, although there was a slowdown just before I crossed over from Massachusetts into New Hampshire. It didn’t last long, though.

I stopped at a welcome center just after I crossed the border to ask about campgrounds. The gentleman behind the counter was very helpful and told me about a state park about half an hour from Portsmouth, which is where I want to go tomorrow. After crossing over into New Hampshire, though, I started seeing the weirdest freeway signs I’ve ever seen.

The sign reads NH State Liquor Store and Lottery Tickets, exit one mile.  Is this bizarre or what?
The sign reads NH State Liquor Store and Lottery Tickets, exit one mile. Is this bizarre or what?

My copy editor lives in Dover, New Hampshire, just before you cross into Maine. She had asked me to meet her in the parking lot of a local ice rink, because a) convenient, and b) free parking. I got there a little early, and sat and read for a bit until she came up to Merlin’s window.

Dover, New Hampshire's city hall.
Dover, New Hampshire’s city hall.
Dover has mounted police officers!
Dover has mounted police officers!

We went out to lunch at a nice little café, where I ate veggie quiche and salad, with a piece of the excellent blueberry pie for dessert. New England blueberries are better than blueberries from just about anywhere else, including home (we have better blackberries, though [g]). Beth also insisted, once she found out I’d never heard of such a thing before, that I take a whoopie pie with me for later. Whoopie pies look like Oreos on steroids (about four inches around and an inch thick), except that the cookie part is more like cake, and apparently they are a New England thing. Although our waitress at the café appeared to be surprised that I’d never heard of them before.

Beth and I had a nice long lunch with lots of conversation, and I enjoyed myself very much. She’s my last person to visit until I get to Ontario. Afterwards, I headed just a bit west to the state park, the name of which starts with a P and is centered on a swimming lake. The campground is huge, and heavily wooded, and the site I was assigned to has this long driveway, down a slope between trees. I thought I could turn around at the bottom, but I couldn’t, so I ended up backing up all the way to get out of it this afternoon when I couldn’t find my bug dope and had to go buy some at the park’s little store. I know it’s in the van somewhere, but it’s nowhere to be found, and there are mosquitoes here.

Anyway, when I came back, I backed down into the site, so at least I won’t have to back up again first thing in the morning. It was easier backing down the hill into the site than backing up out of it, too.

I got here about the middle of the afternoon and just read and kicked back in the pretty woods, until about an hour later, the lady in the site next to me exclaimed, “Turkeys!” I was like what? until I looked up, and lo and behold there was a whole flock of wild turkeys strolling through our campsites. I literally could have reached out and touched some of them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them so close up before. I grabbed my camera and took a bunch of photos, which was fun.

Turkeys!  In my campsite!
Turkeys! In my campsite!

And probably the best bird photo I will ever take [g].
And probably the best bird photo I will ever take [g].
Tonight there seems to be a party going on a ways off, including music. I hope they obey the quiet hours that are supposed to begin at ten pm (they did, about fifteen minutes after i wrote this).

Other than that, this is just about the perfect campsite. Oh, and I ate about half of the whoopie pie for dessert with supper. It’s tasty.

Tomorrow I’m doing more living history at a place called Strawbery Banke (yes, that’s the correct spelling) in Portsmouth, which is one of the oldest towns on the eastern seaboard (why is it the west coast, but the eastern seaboard? just curious). Then across the border into Maine! I keep saying that, but this time I mean it [g].