Settled in 1623 as Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth became a prosperous port before the Revolutionary War, and, like similarly wealthy Newport, Rhode Island, it harbored many Tory sympathizers throughout the campaign. Filled with grand residential architecture spanning the 18th through early 20th centuries, this city of 23,000 has many historic homes, including the collection of 40-plus buildings that make up the Strawbery Banke Museum. With hip eateries, quirky shops, swank cocktail bars, respected theaters, and jumping live-music venues, this sheltered harbor city is a hot destination. Downtown, especially around elegant Market Square, buzzes with conviviality.
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Things You Can't Miss
Founded in 1623, Portsmouth has a rich fishing history and is still a bustling port. Cast off for half-day, full-day or night excursions.
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Imagine life in the 17th- or 18th-century homes, taverns, shops and gardens while guides in period dress demonstrate traditional crafts and tools.
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A landmark Victorian theater built in 1878 is now a showcase for entertainment from around the world. Check the calendar before you go.
Breakfast is serious business in this city, and everyone has a favorite spot. For 20 years I grabbed mine made to order at the Golden Egg.
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