Exploring the Charms of Portsmouth, New Hampshire: A Coastal Delight!

Vacation is over and I’m happy to say that our trip to Maine is one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. Better than our recent excursion to Hawaii, hands down! The east coast has everything I’m passionate about – the ocean, hills, historic homes, quaint towns, and plenty of nature. We took two side trips to New Hampshire while visiting Kennebunkport, and the first round of eye candy I’m going to share is our jaunt to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

historic home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire


What a charming surprise this seaside town possesses. I was expecting the city to be a little on the grungy side, why – I don’t know. But what I found was streets filled with history and old houses lovingly restored, or in the process of being restored. Like the mustard house above and the pink house below, there was simply no shortage of residential beauty.

pink house in portsmouth


But before I share some of the other amazing homes, let me show you some of the city itself. I hate to even call it a city because Portsmouth, New Hampshire has a small town vibe to it. Maybe I’m just too used to the hustle and bustle of Chicago so everything seems more laid back.

It’s easy to imagine people from 200 years ago walking the streets or riding their horses and popping into local taverns.

Market Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire


We immediately found Market Square, which is the main shopping district in Portsmouth. I was fascinated by the brick sidewalks (it doesn’t take much to entertain me) and was happy they hadn’t been covered in cement. You’ll find one interesting boutique after another, with a few restaurants squeezed in here and there.

brick sidewalk on Market street in Portsmouth


In addition to boutiques, there are plenty of historic buildings to admire.

historic brick building in New Hampshire


historic brick building in New Hampshire


I couldn’t pass the Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff without snapping a photo. We didn’t go inside because there was so much else to see. I can’t imagine what’s in there – or wait, maybe I can!

museum of dumb guy stuff


Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff


Walking down the streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, you’ll find little gated gardens like this one.

gated garden in the city


And interesting garages and sheds like this.

red garage and garden shed


There are plenty of public garden spaces too, like this one by the waterfront.

Portsmouth public garden


Portsmouth public garden


Across the street from this public garden with amazing flower beds is this charming blue house. I noticed that a lot of the houses fly the flag or have patriotic bunting on the porch or at the windows.

blue historic house in new hampshire - portsmouth


We only spent a few hours in the charming town of Portsmouth, but we could have easily spent a couple of days. It was fun just to walk around and take in the sights.

Puddle Duck Restaurant


Not all the architecture is historic. You’ll find a few modern structures in the downtown area.

modern building in historic portsmouth


Here’s a few of the historic homes I photographed. I took hundreds of pictures on this trip, but easily could’ve taken thousands.

grand white house


There were a lot of houses that featured five windows on the second floor, and four on the first floor – with a center hallway.

white portsmouth house


yellow historic colonial era home


blue house and white picket fence


yellow historic colonial era home


old wooden colonial era house in new hampshire


This old wooden house was added onto. These five-over-four window homes also have a center chimney.

old wooden colonial era house in new hampshire


Some houses are a little newer, but I really like the Colonial era homes and thinking about what life was like when these houses were all newly constructed. This is a photo of Hotel Portsmouth, which looks like a great place to stay.

gray victorian style home


I highly recommend visiting Portsmouth, New Hampshire if you’ve never been there. We also took a drive over to Castle Island which is so very pretty. I was so in awe of this idyllic place that hosts the town of New Castle, with beautiful homes and gardens and am mad at myself for not getting photos. But you can see a few over at Mapped by Megan.


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  1. Thank you for sharing some of your lovely vacation memories with us.
    I enjoyed seeing all the different homes and sites you shared.

  2. I love older homes and quaint small towns. I think this may be a healthier lifestyle. Though this could be because I’m getting older, not sure. Love the big yellow house made me smile.

  3. Sooo fun to feel included in your vacation! The homes are lovely. I’m a sky watcher also so looking at the skies in your photos is always fun to me. You have some amazing sky shots, especially the one with the beautiful grey-blue home with black shutters! We have dear friends who spend 5 summer months in their Hiram, ME home. Every year we contemplate going up for a visit with them. I’m more inspired than ever!

  4. Looks like you had a great time visiting this wonderful place with all these old homes and history. Thanks for sharing and can’t wait for more. I love places like this.

  5. Really interesting. I loved the gated garden and would love to know more about that dark weathered timber house with the patriotic bunting below the windows. So much history.

  6. I loved seeing all of your pictures of old homes. I am fascinated by old homes and other structures, love the old brick sidewalks too! It looks beautiful there.
    I keep telling my family that I want to go (back) to Maine soon. My husband and I took a cross country trip back in 1995 and drove all the way from CA to Florida, then up to Maine. We stayed in Kennebunkport as well. I absolutely loved it! I remember that everyone in town was saying what a heat wave they were having, I think it was about 85 degrees! We thought that was pretty funny. I highly recommend the show “Maine Cabin Masters”. It really gives you an idea what life is like there.
    P.S. I also wanted to let you know that I recently relocated to the Midwest from CA. I am a native Californian, but I feel like I was meant to be here. I love it! Thanks for all of your great posts, I always look forward to them.

  7. How charming! Like you, I love old colonial era homes. We will be in Bar Harbor in September and I hope to visit some other quaint towns in Maine and New Hampshire when we head to Mt. Washington.

  8. Hi Jennifer,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip to the area where I live!
    Did you see the area of Strawberry Banke? I believe you had one picture of it. (The Puddle Dock sign). Castle Island is gorgeous. I try to go there every summer.
    I love our Colonial history, and how we can easily get to the ocean or the mountains. You can see a lot of New England in a short vacation.