Quaint getaway in a seafaring New Hampshire town.
On New Hampshire's small sliver of Atlantic coastline, Portsmouth is lined with brick paths, manicured trees, and 18th-century colonial buildings. It's avoided much of the tourist trappings of towns of similar heritage, so families can learn about colonial and the seafaring life at a more leisurely pace, any time of year—though summer brings seafood fresh from the dock.
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier
This massive red-roofed building remains open daily throughout out the year (with truncated hours from Mother's Day to Columbus Day) and specializes in creek-front lobster feasts. A local legend, Chauncey Spinney started selling boiled lobster and lobster rolls from his simple pier-side stand back in 1948, and his family now oversees the operation, which has expanded the menu beyond crustaceans, or "bugs," to include homemade chowder, chili, chicken, and even cheesecake by the slice. During the warm seasons, the colorful picnic tables on the wooden, open-air deck are highly contested, and an enclosed area shelters diners from the elements during the cooler months.
Wentworth by the Sea, A Marriott Hotel & Spa
Only three miles away from Portsmouth, this meticulously restored grand hotel first opened in 1874, on an Atlantic Ocean island called New Castle, just an hour north of Boston.
Strawberry Banke Museum
The living-museum aims to make history real: costumed docents explain what life was like in Portsmouth from the late 17th to the mid-20th centuries, and on certain summer days, kids can participate in "Archaeology Camp," daylong archaeological digs on the grounds.
Black Trumpet Bistro
Black Trumpet Bistro, in a 19th-century ship's chandlery on the town harbor, posts an international menu that changes every six weeks to capitalize on fresh ingredients.
"Lexie's is a little burger place with a great philosophy and an admirable commitment to cooking from scratch. Their burgers aren't the typically obscene American flesh bombs--you can have one with french fries, fried pickles, and beer and still stand up afterward. They also have a killer collection of culinary books that I like to browse through while waiting." --Evan Mallet, Black Trumpet Bistro (Dinner for two $25.)