Road Scholar : Home
Exploring Historic New England Coastal Towns

Program Number: 14011RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/20/2014 - 7/25/2014; 8/10/2014 - 8/15/2014; 9/21/2014 - 9/26/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Price starting at: $1,149.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Stay in the heart of the town and discover Portsmouth’s remarkable architecture, art, literature and maritime heritage. Step into a time capsule and experience New Hampshire in its earlier days at the Stawbery Banke Museum, a living outdoor history site. Learn about Portsmouth’s evolution and maritime heritage, its relation to surrounding waterfront neighborhoods and its reliance on the sea. Stroll Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine, the image of New England’s coastal beauty, and visit the Ogunquit Museum of Art, one of the finest small art museums in the country. Let the quaint sea-lined villages of New England wind you through history.




Highlights

• “Meet” naturalist, gardener, artist, writer and poet Celia Thaxter — grande dame of the Isles of Shoals — in a living-history presentation.
• Enjoy a private, docent-narrated exploration of the home of Revolutionary War hero and former New Hampshire governor John Langdon, a contemporary and friend of George Washington.
• Savor a full traditional Downeast lobster “suppah” at a waterfront restaurant.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles, uneven surfaces, cobblestones, brick sidewalks; stairs in historic homes.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Portsmouth

Settled in 1623, this seacoast city is one of the nation's oldest. A nexus of shipbuilding for several centuries, Portsmouth today remains a working seaport, active in fishing and lobstering, as well as the conservation of its marine ecosystem. From historic districts to quaint restaurants, Portsmouth is a diverse community with coastal ambiance.



Accommodations
Inn located in the heart of downtown Portsmouth.
Meals and Lodgings
   Sise Inn
  Portsmouth, New Hampshire 5 nights
 Sise Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: An historic (1881) inn within easy walking distance of all attractions in the charming waterfront city of Portsmouth. Beautifully appointed with period antiques, large comfortable front parlor, sunny breakfast room. Ample off-street parking.
  Contact info: 40 Court Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801 USA
phone: 603-433-1200
web: siseinn.com
  Room amenities: Uniquely decorated in period antiques. Free WiFi access.
  Facility amenities: Self-serve continental breakfast daily includes fresh fruit, cereals, muffins, bagels, pastries, juices, coffee and tea. Coffee, tea and cookies available all day. Free Internet access in all rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Rates vary depending on season Call Inn for availability and rates.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Rates vary depending on season Call Inn for availability and rates.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 PM at Inn. You will be staying at Sise Inn that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 AM check-out at Inn. You will be staying at Sise Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free, safe and convenient parking in private lot adjacent to Inn. Participants have easy access to their vehicles throughout the program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  Nearest highway: I-95
  Nearest airport:  Manchester, New Hampshire
  From End of Program
  Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Manchester, NH

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Flightline
phone: 800-245-2525
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$77 per van for up to 3 people + driver's gratuity
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

60 miles

 

Boston North Station

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Portsmouth Taxi
phone: 603-431-6811

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $30
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

25 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

15 miles

   

Amtrak Downeaster offers excellent train service from Boston's North Station to Durham, NH (approximately 30 minutes from Inn by taxi). Service is reduced on weekends. Travel time is approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes. Make sure to ask about discounted tickets if you are over 62 years.

 

Boston Logan Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Public Transportation
C & J (Bus)
phone: 800-258-7111

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$24 (+ approx. $18 taxi fare from bus terminal to inn)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

90 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

Approximately 15 minute taxi ride from bus terminal to Inn.

   

C & J offers service practically around the clock, and has pick-up at Terminals A, B, C, and E -- all outside of baggage claim. The website www.ridecj.com is excellent and has complete ticketing, schedule, fare information. In Portsmouth, C & J terminates at Pease International Tradeport. Tell the bus driver upon boarding that you need a taxi to the Sise Inn and he will call ahead for you.

 
Driving Directions
  From Manchester, NH. Follow Rt. 101 east to I-95 North (toll road). Then see directions “from all points south” below.
  From Portland, ME, and all points north. Take I-95 south to Exit 7 (Market Street Ext., Portsmouth). At the end of the ramp, turn. Go through two sets of traffic lights to the blinking light; turn right onto Russell Street. Turn right at the stop sign onto Deer Street. At the next traffic light, turn left onto Maplewood Ave. Go through 3 sets of lights (Hanover, Congress/Islington, State), then left onto Court St. The Sise Inn will be on your right; the parking lot is behind the Inn, just before you reach the Inn.
  From all points south. Take I-95 north to Exit 7 (Market Street Ext., Portsmouth). At the end of the ramp, take a right. Go through the first set of lights to the blinking light; take a right onto Russell Street. Take a right at the stop sign onto Deer Street. At the next traffic light, turn left onto Maplewood Ave. Go through 3 sets of lights (Hanover, Congress/Islington, State), then left onto Court St. The Sise Inn will be on your right; the parking lot is behind the Inn, just before you reach the Inn.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Welcome
(Sunday, July 20)
   
 Arrive To: Independent arrival at Inn for check-in after 3:00 p.m. Pick up your "Welcome" packet and meet your group leader and fellow travelers at a very casual reception in the Sise Room (ground floor of the Inn) from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
 Dinner: After you get acquainted with your fellow Road Scholar, we'll take a short walk to the restaurant where we'll enjoy dinner together.
 Evening: After dinner, return to the Sise Inn for an orientation to the activities and events that await your discovery this week.
   
Accommodations: Sise Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Welcome to Portsmouth/Walking Excursion/Strawbery Banke Museum
(Monday, July 21)

Note: Quite a bit of walking today -- nothing strenuous, but you will be on a guided walking excursion on city sidewalks, plus some uneven terrain at Strawbery Banke.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a delicious and healthy self-serve, full Continental breakfast at your leisure in the Inn's historic and elegant dining room. Coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, fresh juices, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, bagels, and English muffins await you.
 Morning: Portsmouth, which has been called "a hidden gem" by the New York Times, is a city whose history, culture, scenic beauty, architecture and vibrant arts scene enchant all who visit here. Start the morning, with a presentation on the key events, people and history of the city. Then, take a guided walking excursion (a little more than an hour) to see "in person" some of the sights that you've just learned about.
 Lunch: After a stimulating morning, relax at a local casual restaurant. So much to talk about with new friends.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a full afternoon at Strawbery Banke Museum, a 10-acre compound that has 46 buildings dating from 1695 to 1820, as well as exhibits, craftspeople, and period gardens. Ten furnished homes represent 300 years of history in one continuously occupied neighborhood. And by the way, the name of the museum is not misspelled! The first English settlers here named the area for the wild strawberries that were abundant along the shores of the river on which Portsmouth sits.
 Dinner: Dinner together at one of Portsmouth's local restaurants. The city is well known for its many and varied dining experiences.
   
Accommodations: Sise Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: An Oceanfront Walk/An Oceanfront Art Museum/A Harbor Cruise -- Exploring Ogunquit
(Tuesday, July 22)

Note: You'll have the opportunity to take a one-mile walk along a spectacular paved oceanfront path.



   
 Breakfast: Delicious and healthy self-serve full Continental breakfast on your own in the Inn's historic and elegant dining room. Coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, fresh juices, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, bagels, and English muffins.
 Morning: Enjoy the early morning sea air as your travel up the coast from Portsmouth to the charming oceanfront town of Ogunquit, Maine. (Don't forget your cameras today!) There, enjoy a private, docent-led visit at a small art museum whose spectacularly beautiful location rivals the glory of the art it showcases. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA) was hailed as "the most beautiful little museum in the world" by a former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. OMAA prides itself on its distinguished permanent collection which includes works of Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, Walt Kuhn, and Thomas Hart Benton, among others. Outside, enjoy walking in the museum's sculpture gardens and, of course, the jaw-dropping view of the ocean and beyond, to the horizon. Next, climb aboard a lobster boat and go to sea with a Maine lobsterman! Your shipboard excursion combines the scenic beauty of Ogunquit's shoreline with a first-hand lobstering experience, including seeing traps being hauled. Your guide will give a detailed explanation of the lobster fishery and the numerous scenic spots along the way. You will come away with a deeper understanding of lobsters and their habitat.
 Lunch: Lunch today at Barnacle Billy's, smack dab on the water overlooking Perkins Cove.
 Afternoon: After a lunch, time to take a walk. But this isn't an ordinary walk. This is The Marginal Way, a one-mile paved oceanfront path. Be humbled by magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean as you stroll past shrubs of pink and white sea roses, bayberry and bittersweet. Although the bends and inclines along the way are gentle, most walkers choose to relax and "sit a spell" on one of the 30 memorial benches along the path. Start or end your walk at Perkins Cove, one of the most charming (and photographed) seaside harbors in the country. Finally, sit back and enjoy a leisurely, scenic drive along the coast on your way back to Portsmouth. Weather permitting, you'll stop at Nubble Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses on the coast - keep your cameras handy. Once you return to Portsmouth, you'll be able to enjoy some free time this afternoon exploring this town that you now know better than many residents.
 Dinner: After a full day enjoy a casual dinner together at a local restaurant in Portsmouth with your fellow Road Scholars.
   
Accommodations: Sise Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Presentation by Local Actor/"Meeting" Celia Thaxter
(Wednesday, July 23)
   
 Breakfast: Delicious and healthy self-serve full Continental breakfast on your own in the Inn's historic and elegant dining room. Coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, fresh juices, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, bagels, and English muffins.
 Morning: This morning, enjoy a presentation about the Isles of Shoals, a group of nine islands located six miles off the New Hampshire coastline. Learn about some of the hardy people who lived on these islands for more than 400 years, and hear tales of ghosts and pirates, shipwrecks and grand hotels that make up the lore and legend of the Shoals. The presentation includes archival photos from the 1870s that chronicle the transformation of this rocky archipelago from barren fishing outposts to an island resort and marine science center. Through a performance by a local actor, you also "meet" Celia Thaxter, the grande dame of the Isles of Shoals. The daughter of a lighthouse keeper, Thaxter grew up on Appledore Island and became an accomplished gardener, artist, writer and poet. An ardent naturalist, Celia wrote "An Island Garden," an inspired account of her famous garden on Appledore. Celia's salon was frequented by the leading writers, artists and musicians of her day and her garden drew international attention through the paintings of Childe Hassam, her long time friend and fellow artist. "Celia" regales you with the stories of her childhood and what it was like to grow up on her beloved Shoals at the end of the 19th century.
 Lunch: Lunch together with your fellow travelers at an historic downtown eatery.
 Afternoon: Now that you know your way around Portsmouth and the route up the road to the Maine coast, you probably have a list of a lot of places you'd like to visit and things you'd like to do on your own. Enjoy a full afternoon to explore and discover at your leisure. You will be given ample information about local attractions and sites. Your group leader will be happy to answer your questions and point you in the "right" direction. Enjoy!
 Dinner: The beauty of your free afternoon is that it extends into the evening. No need to rush back to Portsmouth for dinner with the group. Tonight, enjoy a relaxed dinner at a restaurant, cafe, pub or seafood shack of your choosing, whenever you'd like. Again, you'll be given lots of information about local eateries to help you decide. Bon Appetit!
   
Accommodations: Sise Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: The Hamilton House, South Berwick, Maine, and the Portsmouth Athenaeum
(Thursday, July 24)

Note: You'll be walking over some uneven, grassy terrain today.



   
 Breakfast: Delicious and healthy self-serve full Continental breakfast on your own in the Inn's historic and elegant dining room. Coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, fresh juices, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, bagels, and English muffins.
 Morning: This morning, visit one of the most interesting historic homes in the region -- Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine. Shipping merchant Jonathan Hamilton built this striking Georgian mansion c. 1785 on a bluff overlooking the Salmon Falls River inland from Portsmouth. Learn how the neighboring waterfront towns of South Berwick and Portsmouth depended on each other for their economic livelihoods in the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy the elaborate perennial garden, a private talk about the house, Mr. Hamilton or the gardens, and a private tour of the home.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch together after this morning's exploration.
 Afternoon: This is your last afternoon in downtown Portsmouth and so we'll customize this time to take advantage of a special exhibit, event or activity that best rounds out your experience on the New England seacoast. Portsmouth's cultural and artistic scene is so rich during the summer and early fall that we've learned from experience that it's best to keep a bit time open to take advantage of the special activities that the city's organizations, galleries and "boosters" host annually. You might visit the Portsmouth Athenaeum or the Discovery Center; there might be an author event at the city's fabulous locally owned independent bookstore; a special exhibit at one of the many art galleries in town might be in place. Whatever the event or activity, it will be one more facet to your exploration of New England seacoast towns this week.
 Dinner: Enjoy a final dinner together this evening at a Portsmouth restaurant with your group of new friends and fellow travelers.
   
Accommodations: Sise Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Governor John Langdon House/Departure
(Friday, July 25)
   
 Depart From: The Sise Inn has graciously extended check-out this morning until 11:00 am, although prompt departures are greatly appreciated.
 Breakfast: Your last morning to enjoy a casual breakfast in the Inn's lovely dining room.
 Morning: Take a final stroll through downtown Portsmouth to the gracious home of Revolutionary War hero and a former governor of New Hampshire. Local guide will provides you with a behind-the-scenes look at Governor John Langdon, a contemporary and friend of George Washington, and his life and times.Then, take a private docent-led visit of this beautiful home, located just a few blocks from your home this week, the Sise Inn.
 Lunch: Those who would like a brown-bag lunch to take with them will be able to do so upon returning to the Inn after the morning's visit to the Langdon House.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Portsmouth, New Hampshire Albacore Park
Year-round guided tours of the most advanced U.S. Navy submarine built before the atomic submarines. Built in Portsmouth, the USS Albacore served as the prototype for today's modern submarine fleet. Adults, $5.00.
  Chamber of Commerce
The chamber maintains a complete of area attractions.Visitors may find tourism information on attractions, accommodations, dining, shopping and services in the chamerb's online Guide to the Seacoast pages. The chamber maintains an information kiosk at Market Square (the hub of downtown Portsmouth). The chamber distributes state, regional, and local maps, publishes a calendar of events, and provides a visitor "mailbox" for tourists needing assistance after business hours. Telephone:603-436-3988. For additional information, visit www.portsmouthchamber.org
  Kayaking
Portsmouth Kayak Adventures offers lessons, tours, excursions, rentals, and "all things kayak." 603-559-1000. For additional information, visit www.portsmouthkayak.com
  Ogunquit Playhouse
The Ogunquit Playhouse has been bringing Broadway to the Beach to entertain and delight audiences for 73 years. With a history of legendary professional theatre showcasing the biggest shows and brightest stars of Broadway, the Playhouse has earned its title of "America's Foremost Summer Theatre." The Playhouse, one of Southern Maine's most important cultural landmarks, celebrated its 73rd season in 2005. The Playhouse opens in June and runs through late September, usually producing five musicals each season. The theater is less than 30 minutes from the Inn. Telephone: 207-646-5511. For additional information, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org
  Prescott Park Arts Festival
Outdoor summer theater featuring plays, concerts, dance, festivals and special events. For additional information, visit www.artfest.org
  Sailing
Enjoy a three-hour day sail ($50/pp) or sunset dinner sail ($100/pp) aboard a catamaran. Limited to 6 passengers per trip. Boat sails from Portsmouth Harbor.Telephone for reservations: 603-205-0630.
  Seacoast Repertory Theater
A 19-year old not-for-profit award winning professional theatre and school for the performing arts. We are dedicated to being a nurturing environment for seasoned and developing artists. SRT is devoted to unifying our community through the shared experience of theatre and preserving our future through education.The Seacoast Repertory Theatre was chosen by Boston Magazine's Travel as the premier entertainment venue on the Seacoast, and won the Spotlight on the Arts Award for Best Year Round Theatre on the Seacoast in 1998,1999 and 2000. Constructed in 1892, the Bow Street Theatre building originally was designed for beer and grain storage. It was built with walls up to two feet thick for insulation from winter cold and summer heat. In 1979, a glass enclosure for the lobby area was added when the facility was renovated as a theatre. For additional information, visit www.seacoastrep.org
  The Music Hall
Historic 800-seat theater is a nonprofit performing arts venue presenting music, theater, dance and film year-round. Telephone: 603-436-2400. For additional information, visit www.themusichall.org
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Among the Isles of Shoals


Author: Celia Thaxter


Description: Celia Thaxter (1835 – 1894), at age four, moved nine miles offshore Portsmouth to the Isles of Shoals when her father became the lighthouse keeper. She led a remarkable life on the isolated and barren islands, eventually becoming hostess of a salon that was the gathering place for the literary and artistic greats of New England. Already a popular poet when she began to publish these essays in the Atlantic Monthly in 1869, they were an immediate sensation. Horace Greeley said of her work: “The best prose writing I have seen for a long time.” Participants in this program will enjoy a presentation about Celia by an acclaimed Portsmouth actress.



An Island Garden


Author: Celia Thaxter


Description: Celia Thaxter is best known for this classic account of creating and loving her island garden. One of her closest friends, the American Impressionist Childe Hassam, did the exquisite watercolor illustrations for this book. An Island Garden was reprinted in a slip-cased edition by Houghton Mifflin in 1994; that edition is still available, but the paperback edition seems to go in and out of print.



The Weight of Water


Author: Anita Shreve


Description: This riveting work of fiction is based on fact. In 1873, two women on the Isles of Shoals, just off the New Hampshire coast, were brutally murdered. Shreve’s novel takes place more than a century later when the main character goes to the Isles for an extended stay and becomes immersed in the details of the murders. Shreve weaves the past and present together in a compelling page-turner, filled with accurate and vivid images of life on a windswept, lonely island. Widely available in paperback.



Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God


Author: Joe Coomer


Description: A young widow escapes her grief by moving aboard an old wooden boat in Portsmouth Harbor with an aging blue-haired octogenarian, a homeless teenage girl and the ugliest dog in literature. A genuine bond develops between the three disparate generations as their paths cross and converge. Set in a wonderfully accurate portrait of Portsmouth and its harbor, Coomer aptly portrays a rich Portsmouth past and present. (If you liked Beachcombing, I also highly recommend Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer. It takes place on an island off the coast of Maine.)





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