Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Bites Along New Hampshire's Seacoast

The state of New Hampshire is 190 miles in total length but really shrinks as you get near the coast and only claims 18 miles of Atlantic Ocean.  We always like spending time here because the beach is beautiful, the food is great, and the neighboring towns of Portsmouth and Newburyport (click for a link to a previous blog) are charming coastal New England towns.  Plus, you are not far from the Maine border and their pretty towns of York and Kittery. 

Once again Covid-19 dictated what we were, and were not, going to do.    Portsmouth has a number of great restaurants, many of which sport plaques and framed accolades from food magazines and the James Beard Foundation.  This year we focused our eating on seafood joints and not fancy dining since the state restricted restaurants to curbside and outdoor dining and we decided seared scallops and beurre blanc would not taste as good in a cardboard container as on a plate.  So we dug out our Lobster Shacks book and set out to check off a few more boxes at places where outdoor dining is best.  Just down the road were Ray’s SeafoodRestaurant and Petey’s Summertime Seafood and Bar

Driving along coastal Route 1A, Ray’s bright blue two-story building stands out, but they are most famous for their 12-foot tall wooden lobster chainsaw sculpture.  Ray’s owner owns two lobster boats so there is a constant supply of fresh lobster.  Steamed whole lobsters and lobster rolls are popular items but there are also a half dozen other lobster dishes like lobster baked stuffed mushrooms, baked stuffed lobster meat with a Ritz cracker topping, and lobster pasta.  We opted for lobster rolls and clam chowder.  Lobster rolls come either hot (sautéed in butter) or cold (with a bit of mayo) and were very good. 

Just down the road you can’t miss Petey’s with its brightly colored buoys and other lobstering paraphernalia hanging on the sides.  They claim to have more lobster buoys than any other lobster shack in New England.  There is a full bar and outside dining on the second story which boasts a great view of the marsh in back and the beach across the street.  Petey too is a lobsterman and splits his time between running the restaurant and lobstering.  The menu is simple with lobster and deep-fried items.  Petey’s is famous for their chowders (clam, haddock, and seafood) and have won several local awards, so of course we had to try.  Most lobster rolls come on a split top bun characteristic of New England but this one came on a hamburger bun. 

For years, we have been hearing about Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine.  On the main drag (coastal Route 1) is Bob’s roadside stand that has been serving up fried clams and other coastal favorites since 1956.  Bob’s fried clams were the best Betsy claims to ever eaten.  Dipped in condensed milk before frying helps keep them sweet and juicy but costs more.

The New Hampshire seacoast may be small but it definitely is beautiful.  The beaches are beautiful and wide.  Unfortunately, they were all closed when we were there due to Covid-19 restrictions but the drive along coastal Route 1A is beautiful and has stately mansions that grace the coast and boast fabulous views.  One morning when my eyes popped open at 4:30, I decided to venture to the harbor at Rye Beach for the sunrise.  It was the perfect morning with broken clouds to magically light up the sky.  It started red with the first glow and then progressed to orange and bright yellow.   On my way home, I spotted a beautiful barn with an American flag standing proud among the cows and sheep that couldn’t understand why they were being photographed at such an early hour.

There is something we love about coastal New England and the simple charm that appears to be everywhere.  Between the beautiful Federal style homes, Atlantic beaches, seafood, and fresh cool air there is a lot to love about this area.


3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for all the info you share. My "to do list" map is pinned with a lot of "recommended by RV-A-GOGO" spots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Hope you enjoy and safe travels.

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