Portsmouth, NH, is a small city with big spirit on a working riverfront
Near the mouth of the Piscataqua River across from Kittery, Maine, Portmouth, NH, is a human-scale city with lots of cultural zest and many things to see and do for people interested in the soul of New England. Prescott Park has stunning lawns and flower gardens, and it overlooks the river, where fishing boats, tugs, and barges hustle up and down the strong current all day. Two outdoor stages host summer and theater in the summer.
A pedestrian mall and other downtown streets lead past lots of sidewalk music in the warm seasons as visitors explore lots of restaurants, bars, and small shops with unusual merchandise. Strawbery Banke is a 300-year-old neighborhood where people can visit restored houses from every period of European and American settlement here.
The Banke, Prescott Park, and historic Music Hall theater hosts lots of live entertainment and seasonal celebrations, especially in summer and at Christmas. Boat tours will show visitors the bustle of the harbor and carry people out to the nearby Isles of Shoals, an islands cluster with a deep history of grand hotels, literary guests, and even an unsolved 19th century murder.
Newburyport, MA, is a step away from a glorious barrier beach and nature preserve
The physical heart of Newburyport, in the Cape Ann region north of Boston, is a brick town square surrounded on all sides by art galleries and fun restaurants. The Square also is the centerpiece of lots of seasonal and holiday celebrations attended by enthusiastic local people, Newburyport, at the mouth of the Merrimack River as it enters the Atlantic, is the gateway to the gorgeous barrier beaches of Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, a short drive directly from the center of town. On the drive to Plum Island, visitors pass the Joppa Flats Education Center, where experts hold programs for all ages that describe the lives of the plants and animals of the barrier beach.