We had read a lot of positive reviews about New Hampshire and more specifically the Nashua area, so were curious to spend some time here. New Hampshire has been lauded as a more affordable place to live, with lower taxes and an entrepreneur-friendly environment, as well as a plethora of educational opportunities for people of all ages. What we found was that the people of New Hampshire were some of the friendliest we have encountered thus far during our travels through the northeastern United States.
With another hot, sunny day on the books, we headed into Nashua to run a few errands and have some lunch. After picking up a few things, we walked along Main Street looking for a place to enjoy lunch outside. There weren’t a lot of places open for lunch, but we found the Odd Fellows Brewing Company. Matt had a brown ale and I had a key lime sour, and both were tasty beers. 🍻 I wanted crab cakes, but they were out, so I had a their cod sandwich, and Matt had their fish and chips. Both were good, but it was a LOT of food.
Afterward, we walked along the Nashua River, soaking in the sunshine and the views. There isn’t a large greenway though, so we drove over to Mine Falls Park to take a stroll. This 325-acre park is great for boating, fishing, walking, biking and skiing, with a decent network of trails and waterways. We saw the historic gatehouse, built in 1886 to expand the previously smaller guard gates, which demonstrated more utilitarian rather than decorative architecture. The pollen was very thick in New Hampshire, as was demonstrated by the marbled effect on the water in one of the pictures below, but it did not deter people from taking advantage of a statewide free fishing day.
We had hoped to loop back around the Mill Pond, but the bridge is closed until July 2022. Between the bridge closure, pollen impacting Matt and us both still recovering from Covid, we turned around and called it a day. There is so much more we could discover in Nashua, but we are trying to pace ourselves and not overdo it.
New Hampshire Coast
One really convenient feature of New Hampshire is that it’s small, so you can easily drive across the state for a day trip. There are 18 miles of shoreline bordering the Atlantic Ocean, and we headed east in search of lunch, sand, sun, and ocean breezes.
First, we stopped for lunch at Tuna Striker Pub located off of the Seabrook Harbor. This place turned out to be a fabulous pick. We had an outside table, the service was excellent and the food was even better. We had a cup of lobster bisque, a cup of clam chowder, crab cakes, olive tapenade and a big salad. It was a wonderful way to start our day on the coast.
Next, we stopped at the Hampton Beach State Park, strolled along the shoreline, watched people bare their skin in hopes of turning bronze, but mostly turning pink or red instead. We saw a beautiful New Hampshire Marine Memorial and a family of ducks buoying on the waves. It was fun to simply observe and walk off our lunch while enjoying the breeze and the dance between the sun and clouds overhead.
With plenty of daylight left, we went to Odiorne Point State Park, which is just south of Portsmouth. From Hampton Beach the drive was relaxing as we saw a variety of houses along the coast, everything from small shanties to grandiose mansions. When we arrived at the park, I found a myriad of paths to explore. We saw a bunch of groundhogs hanging out in the park’s gardens on our way toward the Seacoast Science Center. Then we saw this large cement structure, which turned out to be Battery Seaman Gun #1, built in 1942.
As we looked at this relic from the past covered in graffiti, a man came over from the trail asking us if we knew what it was. He then shared that he and his friends used to bike over there when they were children and run through the amass of subterranean tunnels and rooms inside. His name is Chris, and he talked at length about how some of the lowest rooms were flooded, others still had furniture and papers in them, and the powder rooms had some substance hanging down from the walls, possibly used to prevent a spark from blowing the whole place to kingdom come.
He said that when the state took over the land, they closed off the access points to the rooms and tunnels by welding the doors shut, but that did not deter curious explorers. Eventually, the state put large blocks of rock in front of the doors. This battery was part of Fort Dearborn, built during World War II, and you can check out more of the fort’s history here. We thanked Chris for sharing the significance of this place both for him personally and historically.
Finally, we headed into Portsmouth, in search of dinner. After wandering the streets of this wonderful little city, we went to the Portsmouth Brewery. The beers were excellent and the food was decent. Had we not still been trying to be cautious and eat outside due to our recent Covid infection, we would have opted for one of the many great restaurants in the area that only had inside seating. This town is definitely worth visiting, between the views, the great food scene, and several islands nearby with historical sites to see.
Palmer-Bartell Forest and Culture Bread
There were several trails and the Potanipo Lake nearby us in Brookline. First, we went to the Palmer-Bartell Forest. We tried to use this route, but the trailhead listed appeared to be on someone’s private property! Instead, start at Bartell Trailhead, and then connect to the route from AllTrails.
As we hiked toward the Powerline trail, I heard a squeak coming from the side of the trail. I stopped, trying to locate where the sound was coming from. Matt pulled back a few leaves and a dead branch, and lo and behold, it turns out we accidentally freed a wood frog from the jaws of a garter snake. The snake was NOT happy with us. Whoops! 😳🐍 However, the wood frog’s cries worked and it got to live a little longer.
On the Powerline trail there were several flooded sections, where I observed several different frog species before we went up Hutchington Hill before circling back to the Brookline Rail Trail, which is also used by cyclists in summer and snowmobiles in winter. There are several bodies of water along this stretch, and I discovered new flora growing nearby. The only major challenge was the fact that there was SO much pollen in the air. My pant legs were coated in it by the time we got back to the truck. It was definitely wreaking havoc on Matt’s sinuses and coating everything in a fine yellow layer. I’m looking forward to the end of the massive dumps of pollen so we can finally wash the trailer. 😂
Afterward, we went north to the town of Milford and ordered sandwiches from Culture Bread. I got their BCGC, a grilled broccoli, cheddar and cream cheese sandwich, and Matt picked out their B-Real, a pulled pork sandwich. Both were incredible! 👍 The staff was super friendly and I wish we had time to go back again.
The Big Oops
Even closer to us was the Potanipo Hill and Sculpture Park that features local artist’s works. Earlier that day it rained, but the afternoon was sunny and beautiful, so we headed over there to check out the outdoor art display. We had gone a 1/2 mile and were looking at a sculpture called Bones of the Earth when I heard Matt yell. He had slipped on a rock and was on the ground gripping his leg. He yelled, “I broke my foot,” so I hurried over to try and help.
Unfortunately, I’m too short to help support his weight, so he had to peg leg on his heel to get back to the truck. Off we went to the St. Joseph Urgent Care in Milford. They were so nice and got him in quickly for X-rays and an examination. The X-rays did not show any broken bones, so they simply gave him crutches and sent him on his way.
That being said, he could not put any weight on it, so that meant our plans were going to change pretty drastically. No! Not right before Maine! Maine was the leg of our trip we had been anticipating for months, and many of the things we had planned to do were now out the window. 😩 However, it’s a good thing this happened late in our travels, because had it occurred early on, we may have been stuck for a while! Thankfully, I was comfortable enough with driving the truck, towing, departure and arrival tasks to take over.
Field and Stream RV Park
The park we stayed in is called Field and Stream RV Park. Their web site states that it’s “Peaceful, Quiet, and Restful,” and I completely agree. It’s a small park with a number of full-time residents, and has several amenities. You are given a QR code to enter the campground, so hang onto that piece of paper and keep it in your vehicle. We saw one person try to use a picture of the QR code on her phone, but the scanner would NOT accept it, just FYI.
Their campsites are fairly level, the laundry facilities were some of the nicest we have encountered, there is propane on premise for refills, and there is a small fishing pond and play area for outdoor entertainment. We got to know some of our neighbors, Lynne and Hank, who moved from Massachusetts to Greenville, South Carolina a few year ago, so we gabbed for a while about their experience living there compared to the northeast. Our conversation was instigated by Matt’s crutches…Hank has been dealing with a foot injury for years now, so those two commiserated on this painful similarity.
If you are spending time in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, I highly recommend this park. It was an easy jaunt to the Atlantic and to Boston due to its central location, and provided the respite one looks for when trying to get away from it all.
Our adventure will be interesting from here on out. Matt plans to see an orthopedic specialist once we get to Portland for a second opinion and we will simply have to play things by ear for a while. Wish us luck! 😬🍀