|Portsmouth is the third oldest city in the USA and is prominent in New Hampshire's seacoast region. Settled in 1623, Portsmouth is a historic seaport and home of the first Naval Shipyard. It sits at the mouth of the Piscataquis River on the eastern edge of the Rochester-Portsmouth metropolitan area. The region, often called "The Seacoast," is home to 125,000 and includes the cities of Rochester, Dover, Hampton, and Kittery, Maine. |
Portsmouth ranks as the 16th safest region in the United States according to Morgan Quitno 's 2003 report. Tourism drives much of New Hampshire's economy, but Portsmouth maintains some of its economic heritage through the redevelopment of Pease International Tradeport .
Portland International Airport (PDX) is located 9 miles from downtown Portland on the Columbia River. Most major airlines serve Portland from nearly all major airports in the United States. Daily non-stop air service is also available from Vancouver, BC, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Frankfurt, Germany. Daily direct service is also available to Mexico City, Mexico; and Singapore.
A taxi from the airport to downtown will cost you around $30. The MAX light rail will only set you back $1.80 and will take you from one end of the Portland to the other. Plus it goes right downtown. All light rail connects with the city wide bus system. You be the one to decide: TriMet or taxi.
If you're renting a car, the best way to get to downtown Portland from the airport is to take I-205 south to I-84 west, then follow the signs to the City Center at I-84's interchange with I-5. This will take you over the Morrison Bridge into downtown.
Amtrak provides service to Portland from all along the west coast. The Amtrak Cascades service runs two trains per day between Portland and Eugene, Oregon to the south. Additionally, there are three Cascades trains between Portland and Seattle to the north. These trains are more reliable schedule-wise than the long distance trains.
For long distance service, Portland is served daily by the Coast Starlight, running the length of the West Coast (Seattle-Portland-San Francisco Bay Area-Los Angeles). The Starlight has earned the nickname the "Starlate", since it is usually delayed for hours running north from California. The Empire Builder (Portland-Spokane-Glacier Nat'l Park-Minneapolis/St Paul-Milwaukee-Chicago) also provides daily service eastward, and tends not to be as delayed as the Starlight.
Portland's Union Station (800 NW Sixth Av) is located north of downtown, about a 15-minute walk from Pioneer Square. It is adjacent to the Greyhound bus station. The bus mall ends at Union Station, so local TriMet Buses run by Union Station very frequently.
From Washington to the north and California as well as most of the rest of Oregon to the south, the easiest way to get to Portland is on Interstate 5. I-5 runs directly through downtown Portland with a number of exits.
From Boise and other points east, Interstate 84 leads along the Columbia into Portland. From the Oregon Coast Highway and other points along the Pacific coast to the west, the easiest approach is U.S. 26. It cuts east towards Portland between Cannon Beach and Seaside.
Greyhound provides bus service along the West coast as well as from points inland.
No useful boat lines exist, although you can cruise up and down the river.
• American Independence Museum 1 Governors Lane, Exeter. 603-772-2622
• The Strawbery Banke Museum I-95, exit 7. 603-433-1100
• Children's Museum of Portsmouth 280 Marcy St. 603-463-3853
• Kittery Historical and Naval Museum Route 1, North of Kittery Traffic Circle. 207-439-1323
• Port of Portsmouth Maritime Museum and Albacore Park 600 Market St. 603-436-3680
• Red Hook Ale Brewery 35 Corporate Drive. 603-430-8600
• Portsmouth Brewery 56 Market St. 603-431-1115
• Smuttynose Brewery 255 Heritage Ave. 603-436-4026
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Cars work best for navigating the New Hampshire seacoast region. Highways are well maintained and convenient, though the summer months see a major influx of tourists and congestion on I-95 occurs frequently. The cities in the region experience moderate traffic, except for the beaches during prime-times like early afternoon, which get very crowded.
Portsmouth and surrounding areas are serviced by a free COAST trolley during the summer and fall. The trolleys are convenient and make many stops in the area.
The city of Portsmouth is small and the major historical points of interest are easily visited on foot. Try the Portsmouth Harbor Trail . Bicycles are also a very effective means to see the area, see the Seacoast Area Bicycle Routes .
• Water Country Water Park Route 1. 603-427-1111
• Seacoast Science Center 570 Ocean Blvd, Rye. 603-436-8043
• Sandy Point Discovery Center Depot Rd. Exit 3B off I-95, 5 mi. on rte. 33. 603-778-0015
• Prescott Park Arts Festival The arts festival offers nightly performances throughout the summer in Prescott Park on the banks of the Piscataquis river. 603-436-2848.
• June: Chowderfest New Hampshire's largest chowder festival.
• June: Sand Sculpting Competition Hampton Beach holds a professional sand sculpture competition in mid-June.
• August: Portsmouth Blues Fest Blues music festival.
• September: Rochester Fair Rochester, NH annual fair event, since 1874.