Our mothers always told us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and now as adults, we must admit we agree (we’re mentally preparing for the “I told you so” coming our way). It would be hard to take advantage of all that Portsmouth has to offer – from biking to hiking, boating to shopping – on an empty stomach. Fortunately, there are several great breakfast spots within walking distance of the Ale House Inn. In the name of research, we’ve tested them all out and give the four listed below the AHI seal of approval.
Colby’s – 105 Daniel Street
This quaint spot has all the breakfast fixings, from waffles to eggs to french toast, and has a truly local feel. Its footprint may be small, but the pancakes (including traditional, granola, and chocolate chip varieties) are the size of a dinner plate. Waitstaff is friendly and keeps the coffee refills coming. Come early, come hungry.
Friendly Toast – 113 Congress Street
Enjoy breakfast all day at this funky eatery in the center of town. Using locally sourced ingredients, Friendly Toast offers a diverse menu of breakfast entrées and sides, including vegan options. The restaurant recently underwent an extensive renovation and is now welcoming guests back for an eclectic dining experience.
Ceres Bakery – 51 Penhallow St
Known as much for the lunch specials and fresh baked goods as it is for breakfast, Ceres has been serving up homemade food to the Portsmouth crowd for over 30 years. There are too many tasty items on the menu to pick a favorite, but just remember to hit the ATM on your way over – Ceres is cash only.
Popovers on the Square – 8 Congress Street, Market Square
Named after the golden brown New England staple, this centrally-located café has something for every one. They’ve found creative ways to incorporate their namesake baked good into every day part, with delicious results. Enjoy a popover smothered with maple butter in the morning, alongside a fresh Caesar salad for the lunch, and as a bowl for clam chowder in the evening.
Sometimes the only way to get through the winter – thanks, Mother Nature, for that extra foot of snow! – is to start dreaming of the warmer temperatures and greener ground that come with spring. Portsmouth is unique in that not only is it the Granite State’s only seaside city, but spring in this historic and hip destination beckons travelers to stroll the quaint streets and explore beyond city limits. Check out our top 5 reasons for planning a visit to Portsmouth this spring, and book your stay here at the centrally-located Ale House Inn today.
Maple Sugar Shacks
Just one week after the spring solstice officially starts the season, maple sugar producers statewide will welcome visitors to their sugar shacks as part of Maple Weekend. Held the weekend of March 28-29, you can learn more about this centuries-old craft while sampling and purchasing maple-themed delights like candies, syrup, coffee, and doughnuts. While you’ve undoubtedly tasted maple syrup before, there’s nothing like getting it pure from the source. Click here for a complete list of participating sugar shacks and events.
Whether you’ve got a green thumb or just admire the work of those who do, the elegant Fuller Gardens in nearby North Hampton are the perfect spot to catch the first blooms of the season. As one of the last remaining working formal estate gardens, this seaside gem plays host to over two thousand roses, eye-catching annuals, English perennial borders, a Japanese garden and koi pond, and a tropical conservatory all within the century-old sculpted hedges.
Biking on the East Coast Greenway
Want to kick things up a notch? Portsmouth offers myriad on- and off-road opportunities for cyclists of all levels. The city serves as the endpoint of New Hampshire’s section of the East Coast Greenway, an ambitious and long-term project to connect 25 major cities along the eastern seaboard between Calais, Maine and Key West, Florida. The New Hampshire route hugs the coast for the entire 16-mile trek, offering unparalleled views of the Atlantic year round. Use our complimentary Trek bicycles, rent from one of the local bike shops, or bring your own for a more active adventure on the seacoast.
Aerial Seacoast Tour
If you’re looking to take your spring stay to the next level, an aerial tour with Seacoast Helicopters may be just the thing for you. Witness spring bursting forth over the rugged coastline just like the birds do. Perched up high in their air conditioned touring helicopters, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the historic downtown, beaches, lighthouses, and the Isle of Shoals.
Portsmouth Restaurant Week
All that adventure works up an appetite. Portsmouth/Seacoast Restaurant Week, kicking off on April 9, is the perfect opportunity to visit a local favorite or try something new. With 50+ local restaurants offering up special meals and deals over a delicious 10 days, there’s something to suit every palette. Participating restaurants will offer three course prix fixe menus at $16.95 for lunch and $29.95 for dinner. Bon appetit!
We like to be true to our Portsmouth boutique hotel’s unique name! That’s why we chill two complimentary bottles of locally brewed Smuttynose beer to greet you upon check in.
Sip this popular New Hampshire beer in the guest lounge or in the privacy of your room. We’ll also chill a full six-pack for you on request. Just ask about the available options when you call to book. The top 5 coolest things about Smuttynose?
1. The company is named for Smuttynose Island, the third largest of the nine islands that form the Isles of Shoals, a small, rugged archipelago that lies seven miles off the craggy New Hampshire coast.
2. Siblings, Peter & Janet Egelston, along with partners Cora Lee Drew and Mark Metzger, started the Northampton Brewery in 1987, now the oldest brewpub in New England.
3. Smuttynose’s pub at Towle Farm is slated to open in early 2015!
4. There’s a rad seal in the Smutty Nose logo
5. The Lark Hotels marketing department has a soft spot for Smutty Nose’s Robust Porter
New England’s colonial history is part of its charm and understated elegance. It’s why we love to walk along its picturesque seaport roads, stay in its re-imagined historic buildings, and enjoy it’s time-worn traditions when we visit.
When you visit our Portsmouth boutique hotel, there’s a particularly unique way to connect with local history: The Strawbery Banke Museum.
Imagined as a place where guests can reach into the past through vibrant living experiences, Strawbery Banke re-creates the day-to-day life of multiple eras of Portsmouth’s history. Visitors can experience for themselves just how people lived over nearly four centuries in this ever-changing community.
The 10-acre site features preserved historic homes and shops, period gardens, and is populated with costumed actors who recreate a time capsule of authentic hustle and bustle.
In the summer and fall months, the museum is host to a number of unique festivals—including the upcoming New Hampshire Fall Festival on October 11th. Named the best of New Hampshire’s fall festivals, this harvest celebration includes local crafts, live animal demonstrations, workshops on fiber arts, food preservation and demonstrations on historic trades and industries.
And coming up in late October, you can visit the Banke for a spooky peek into days gone by with the museum’s famous halloween celebration. You’ll be able to trick or treat throughout the historic community while rubbing elbows with long-dead sea captains and infamous pirates. And if you’re inspired to get your costume on, you can even opt to march in the New Orleans style costume parade through the village’s ghostly lanes.
While there’s so much contemporary creativity to enjoy in New England—and Portsmouth in particular—we love how places like Strawberry Banke invite visitors to connect to the history that gives our region it’s quintessential character. Taking a historic detour is a great way to add something utterly unique and eye-opening to your next trip!
Did you know that beer the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage? It’s also benefitting from a deliciously creative renaissance amidst the local-micro-foodie revolution we’re all so busy enjoying.
Right here in Portsmouth, NH, we’re happily riding our own little wave of yeasty goodness.
(And considering we’re writing this from the Ale House Inn, let’s just say we’re pretty excited about that.)
So here’s what’s up on the beer front in Portsmouth:
First: Earth Eagle Brewings. Their website makes us thirsty. But what’s so cool about Earth Eagle is their flair for the uncommon—and the historic. Have you ever heard of Gruit? (Say “groot.”) Gruit is actually an old-fashioned way of making beer that was used before all those aromatic hops came on the scene. Getting flavors from local seasonal herbs, gruit couldn’t be a more direct reflection of the place and season in which it’s brewed. Earth Eagle’s brews are unusual, tasty, creative, and oh-so-deliciously unexpected. In other words: a must try.
Next: Smutty Nose. Distributed pretty much all over the world, chances are you’ve heard of it—but have you been to the brewery for a tour? With a wide range of seasonal brews, new batches and short releases, there’s always something new to discover. Tours run every day after about 11 am, with free tours on Friday at 3 pm and Saturday at 11 am.
And then: Red Hook. Another well-known classic, it’s another must-stop on your next NH brewery tour. Best part, take a tour for only $1 and get to try 3-4 samples of beer and receive a complimentary tasting glass.
You can read all about these great breweries as well as other fun activities on our “Things to Do” page. One of the best times for a weekend getaway in New England is our colorful, crisp autumn season, complete with all of the yummy seasonal brews on offer—so don’t wait!
Looking for unique gifts this holiday season? The Portsmouth Holiday Arts Tour this weekend (Nov 22-24) won’t disappoint.
Thirteen of the seacoast’s most talented artists open their studio doors to the public to reveal crafts and goodies for everyone on your list. Leave our Portsmouth boutique inn and follow this map to all locations!
From Asian brush paintings, to books created from nautilus shells, to textile collages and brilliantly colored felted scarves, you can’t go wrong on the “original” front with these great gift options.
Don’t miss these three days of socializing and early holiday shopping, Then plan a meal out one of Portsmouth’s great restaurant options. Just let us know if you need any personal insights to match your culinary style.