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Portsmouth NH in the winter

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Jan 23rd, 2012, 06:45 PM
  #1
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Portsmouth NH in the winter

What's it like in the Portsmouth area at this time of the year?. Is the weather more moderate than inland and mountain areas nearby? Any suggestions of things to see and do? I've been in the area but only during summer when I'm happy to just sit near the water there or in southern Maine. I don't mind driving to snowy areas for a day but I'd like to be able to walk around eat shop, etc in relative comfort other days..If a huge storm is projected , I'd probably cancel my trip

I'd also welcome suggestions for interesting restaurants in the area. I'm not a big seafood fan, but if you have any other ideas

Also are there any special events in the region worth going to over President's Day?
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Jan 23rd, 2012, 07:26 PM
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If there's a huge storm, snowfall could be greater in one place and another nearly missed, depending on the path of the storm.

It's generally much windier along the coast.

Portsmouth is chock full of amazing dining (many dining rooms with beautiful waterside views) and wonderful shopping, along with beautiful architecture. You can cover then entire city easily on foot. It would be far preferable to Southern Maine, since Portsmouth is a year-round destination, whereas the southern coastal towns are very seasonal, particularly regarding dining and shopping.

Unless you are driving during snow, the roads and sidewalks are cleared very quickly.
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Jan 23rd, 2012, 07:38 PM
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Thanks djkbooks. The walkability of Portsmouth is a big plus for me. Of course I would be watching the weather. I don't mind the cold weather, but I really want to be able to walk without snowshoes! Boots are a given.
The problem I'm having is seeing if there's actually something to do and see. In the summer and fall, I'd go back to Strawbery Banke. I doubt it but are there any historic houses to tour or museums open in the winter? Any Winter festivals? Dartmouth's festival is a little far away and I'd miss the dates anyway
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Jan 24th, 2012, 02:52 AM
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Will you have a car?

We've done it on a sunny post-snow day, exploring the town and the back roads to York, Maine, and south to Rye.

You can shop downtown or in the Kittery outlets. Visit the Atheneum on the main square. Apparently the locals eat out a lot because just about all the restaurants in town seemed to be open and busy. Portsmouth also has a fine brewing history and present, so if you like beer, you are set.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 04:10 AM
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The Hippo Press is a free weekly newspaper that does a good job covering events in southern NH. You can check their website ahead of time.
Someday I would like to take a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen. The store is a fun visit. Also a tasting of artisan breads at When Pigs Fly in Kittery.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 04:39 AM
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Strawbery Banke is closed until May 1st.
Kittery, Maine outlet shopping is good.
As already mentioned there are numerous restaurants

http://www.portsmouthnh.com/index.cfm has a good list of what to do in Portsmouth.

I don't know where you're traveling from, but an accurate forecast for this area is no more than 3-5 days out. After that, it's too changeable.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 06:04 AM
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This time of year in Portsmouth, you'll want to

-experience wandering the downtown area (lots of shops).

-hit some good eateries (there are several good coffee shops like Me and Ollie's or Popovers or Breaking New Grounds, plus lots of good restaurants such as Friendly Toast for breakfast/lunch, Gilley's for lunch wagon style chili dogs and such, Black Trumpet for general finer dining, Pesce Blue for Italian seafood, and Flatbread Company for organic flatbread pizza).

The only in-town tourist attraction likely to be open is the USS Albacore, a decommissioned submarine you can tour. Unfortunately, Strawbery Banke and the various historic houses (John Paul Jones House, Moffatt-Ladd House, Wentworth-Gardner House, Warner House) are only open from late spring to early fall -- they're all well worth seeing, too.

Agreed that Kittery's outlet area is a good option, though you'll need a car to reach it from downtown Portsmouth.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Yes, I will have a car so being confined to downtown is not a problem. I do like the in-town shops and restaurants and beer . The Kittery outlets don't do it for me. I guess I'm just having trouble figuring out how to fill my time for a few days. I'm usually in New England in Summer and occasionally Fall when more sites are open and outdoor time is such a pleasure. The USS Albacore is something I wouldn't have thought of . I've toured the Nautilus in Groton CT so I can compare.
Thanks for all the ideas so far, and keep adding if you have other thoughts
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Jan 24th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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I don't know where you are coming from, but NE is so small that you can base in Portsmouth and drive up to the Kankamagus Highway in the White Mountains for spectacular winter scenery or go to Cape Ann in Massachusetts or up to the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Check their websites for cultural events.

One February, we took a Canadian friend to Portsmouth from Boston, walked around downtown and quaint and charming New Castle, then went to Marblehead and walked around in the early (i.e., about 4:15) twilight, before eating lobsters and going back to Boston. An easy day!
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Jan 24th, 2012, 01:42 PM
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Re hours for the USS Albacore, copied from their website:

WINTER HOURS

"The park is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday through Monday from Columbus Day to Memorial Day. The Winter Shutdown for Park maintenance for 2012 will run from January 22 through February 17."

If you're here during the Albacore's winter shutdown and you're looking for attractions, you could drive to Portland, ME for something to do. The Art Museum at least will be open (and it's very good), plus Portland has an excellent dining scene of its own. Or consider a jaunt to the also-excellent Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH.
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