Many people are not aware New Hampshire has a seacoast. I mean, let’s face it – on a map some people would be as challenged to point out New Hampshire as they would the Sudan. It’s kind of like me and Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska… it always takes me a little orientation to figure out which is which. If you are not from New England, chances are even that you know which state is New Hampshire. New England is not well known except for, don’t you know, New Englanders.
If you head up US Route 1 (or its associated Routes 1A or 1B) out of Massachusetts, you follow the New Hampshire seacoast for about 15-20 miles until you find yourself in Maine. You’ll travel through towns including Seabrook, Hampton Falls, Hampton, North Hampton, Rye, New Castle, and Portsmouth – quintessential New England towns, mostly settled by refugees in the early 1600’s.
These are towns with charm – capital C. While originally supported by fishing, agriculture and later shipbuilding, today the NH seacoast is largely supported by the summer influx of visitors. Many businesses are closed during the non-summer months, but I would argue the seacoast may be most admired during that non-summer season. But these are also bedroom towns for Boston and Portsmouth.
Housing along the seacoast is as varied as skin tones at a DMV office. You can rent or own a tiny cottage, a palatial estate, and everything in between – budget allowing.
Clam and lobster shacks along the coast are as common as Dunkin’ Donuts – or if you are from the south, as common as a Waffle House. We are doing our part in trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in this regard, and have identified a few of our favorites. So far, at the top of that list is Petey’s – in Rye.
And there is a huge amount of history on the coast, from early days settlement, the Revolutionary War, and the development of coastal batteries to protect Portsmouth during World War II.
But let’s get back to the seacoast. I would argue that New Hampshire has arguably one of the most beautiful seacoasts. And if you were to drive it from one end to the other, it would only take you about an hour. But like any beautiful place, it is an area that changes from season to season, month to month, tide to tide, and moment to moment. Therefore, you can visit the seacoast a hundred times and it will look a hundred different ways.
There are the beaches, the marshes, and the ocean.
The beaches are great, and arguably nicer off-season than in-season!
While the ocean can be dramatic, I think the tidal salt marshes can be every bit as interesting and beautiful – and were once harvested for their hay.
But the main event will always be the ocean, which can be as quiet as a millpond – or as angry as a beast.
Nature along the New Hampshire seacoast is special – hope you can take the time and make the trip to enjoy!!