We headed toward the seacoast for a little shopping yesterday morning. For now we’ll have to stick to shopping since it’s so close to Christmas, but later when we get settled, we’ll get serious about traveling and really learning about the history of each town. As you probably already know, the eastern part of the United States is rich in history.
The seacoast is about one and half hours from where we are camping. It was very foggy so we couldn’t make out much on the way, but we were very pleased when we arrived in Exeter to see that it was a beautiful little town.
On the way into town we ran into another gorgeous academy. This is just a tiny portion of their campus.
Church bells were ringing in the background when I took this picture. Peaceful and beautiful.
I’ve already fallen in love with the architecture in the east. Each of the small towns here are full of beautiful buildings. We’ve also noticed that when they do need to build a more modern structure that they try very hard to make it fit in with the older, historical, architecture.
Below is the roundabout at the end of the main street. The building in the background is Exeter Town Hall. There’s a stunning statue of Lady Justice at the top holding a sword and scales. The scales represent truth and fairness and the double-edged sword represents the power of reason and justice that may be wielded either for or against any party. She’s also blindfolded, representing objectivity.
An old couple on their way to lunch stopped on the street to say hello to the dogs and chat. They’ve lived in Exeter for 40 years. They were the sweetest couple. They told us we had just missed the big Christmas parade the night before. Another thing I’ll have to remember is to look up the events calendar in each town.
As they walked away the sweet woman kept saying, “The dogs are gawgess, the dogs are just gawgess!” I’m also fascinated with all of the accents back here. New York, Main, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Massachusetts…there’s a mix of a lot of different accents in New Hampshire.
Another beautiful church in the background. I could also probably spend several days just touring these towns photographing people’s homes. This one is very pretty and represents the typical look of many of the homes in Exeter. But there are also stunning, absolutely huge, historical homes in Exeter and all over the New England states. Maybe a home photographing tour will have to go on my agenda for spring. Some of them are unbelievable.
More proof that people on the eastern side of the US are masters at decorating window boxes and decorative pots.
We didn’t eat in Exeter but did get coffee and cocoa. Below is me and the dogs waiting for Tony to return with my almond milk hot cocoa. One very pleasing thing I’ve noticed since we’ve been in NH is that they are very “allergen aware”. Every town we’ve visited I’ve been able to get cocoa made with almond milk. In our hometown of Spokane, a city of 500,000 people, there were only two places I had found that would make me cocoa with almond milk…and I had to keep an eagle eye on them to make sure they were actually using it. I also always dreaded ordering gluten free and dairy free from places like that and restaurants because I could just feel the eye rolling. The west is supposed to be so health conscious but now that I’ve experienced something different, I can see that many of the western US cities are quite far behind in food options and attitude.
Also, so far every restaurant where we’ve viewed the menu or tried the food either has a gluten-free menu or at least gluten-free options such as bread and pasta. As we walked along the shops in Exeter we came across a little cafe that made gluten-free sweet or savory crepes. I tried to talk Tony into one but he was still full from breakfast (still trying to get used to the three-hour time change). The crepe cafe is definitely going on my list of places to remember and revisit!
Notice Romeo is wearing a jacket? That’s to keep him from having a complete nervous breakdown in the car. It’s a Thundershirt and they really do work. If you have a nervous nellie dog, it’s worth a try.
We didn’t spend too much time in Exeter as Portsmouth was really the destination we were focused on. Tony also had to pick up a rental car for work at the Manchester airport later in the day (a nerve-wracking story I’ll tell you about another time), so we couldn’t dilly dally too much. So with hot cocoa in hand we hopped in the car and made our way to Portsmouth.
Portsmouth was much bigger than I had expected and full of really nice and interesting shops. This church is right in the middle of the shopping district.
We had to drive around for quite some time to find a parking spot. We wanted to leave the dogs inside the truck and do some real looking around but didn’t want them to be too far from sight. While we were circling the shopping area looking for a spot we were probably two blocks off the main path and ran into this.
Mountains of sand they were taking out of a huge ship. We weren’t sure why they were taking sand out of a ship, but the sand looked just like the sand that was flowing out of a sanding truck on icy roads the day before. Honey colored and beautiful. Real sand, not the black dirty stuff that causes air pollution in the spring and summer that we’re used to in the West.
We didn’t find anyone to ask so unless one of my readers can fill us in, it will remain a mystery.
All of the light poles (which are styled to look like quaint lanterns) were adorned with wreaths and almost all of the shops were decorated for Christmas. I can’t wait to visit many of the NH towns in the evenings over the next couple of weeks. I bet they look beautiful all lit up with lights and Christmas decorations!
It was a very busy shopping day for the town so I couldn’t get many really good shots of inside some of the shops. But here is a little taste of one of my favorites. It smelled fabulous!
Another beautiful store front. This one was a women’s hat shop.
We tried to see as much as possible within our limited time frame and only scratched the surface. Portsmouth will definitely be on my list for a “female” shopping day where I can meander (like us shopping gals like to do) and take my time looking through the whole town. Then I will get to the bottom of the ship sand mystery! Ha!