With good reason, Portsmouth is arguably the most popular town on New Hampshire’s Seacoast. Located at the mouth of the swift and beautiful Piscataqua (pronounced, Piss-cat-a-qua) River, with one of the fastest tidal currents in the United States, Portsmouth is a true working port city. Our beloved tugboats guide ships from around the globe right into downtown! There, you can see it all happening from the “docks” sipping your favorite beverage and dining at award-winning local restaurants.
Three bridges connect our city-center to Kittery, Maine: an easy walk, bikeride or (of course) drive across the river. Our City’s history is rich, having played a key role in our Nation’s independence and remaining at the fore-front of national politics ever since.
Why Moms Love Portsmouth NH
There are too many reasons to list here! Both Valerie and Becky have lived all around this great country of ours, as well as abroad, and Portsmouth is the town they both decided their families could truly call home.
Pics, clockwise from top left: Market Square at Halloween by Josephine Anes, View from the River House by Chris Kjellander, Market Street by Brittany Explores and North Church at Christmas by Eva Marino
A wonderful community in which to raise kids, there is so much to see and do. Portsmouth combines the best of small-town nostalgia: complete with parades, fireworks and neighbors who watch out for one another and still stop to talk on the street. Yet, it has all the culture and amenities one would expect from a larger, metropolitan area.
Playgrounds, Parks & Attractions
Portsmouth is a town made up of neighborhoods – each with their own gathering spots. These playgrounds are where families gather to play, converse, plan playdates and watch their children grow up together — there are so many all over Portsmouth!
In addition to playgrounds, Portsmouth offers many parks and attractions for every age group. Prescott Park (pictured left) is our largest, situated on the Piscataqua River. It is home to wonderful flower gardens as well as the Prescott Park Arts Festival, complete with musicals, movies and a concert series with world-class talent along the banks of the river. It’s a magical place to spend a summer evening!
If you’re looking to learn the rich history of Portsmouth (it was settled in 1623, after all), Becky and Valerie suggest the Discover Portsmouth Center, Strawbery Banke Museum, USS Albacore Museum, and the Black Heritage Trail.
For fun around town, check out Market Square/Downtown to shop, eat and walk around. There are festivals like Children’s Day, Market Square Day and First Night put on by Pro Portsmouth that are fun for all.
For music and arts, The Music Hall features incredible acts, movies and musicals all year round.
Childcare & Schools
There are several preschools in Portsmouth from which to choose and also a variety of childcare centers!
Portsmouth’s school system is consistently ranked one of the best in the state. There are three local elementary schools, New Franklin, Little Harbour and Dondero that are beloved in the community. All three Portsmouth elementary schools, plus students from New Castle and Newington, feed into Portsmouth Middle School (grades 6-8), whose amazing renovation was completed just a few years ago.
Upon reaching Portsmouth High School, the “Home of the Clippers,” Portsmouth students are joined by those from Greenland, and Rye. This influx of new students, at both the middle and high school levels, offers all students the opportunity to meet new peers and make new friendships.
Shops & Restaurants
This is a challenging category only because we have too many to list, but some of Becky and Valerie’s favorites are:
- Flatbread Company: great pizza and salads (gluten-free & vegan friendly)
- Cornerstone Artisnal Pizza and Beer: easy parking, cocktails, pizza and more
- Lexi’s Joint: burgers and milkshakes
- Portsmouth Brewery: excellent food, great beer
- Street: pizza, ethnic “street” food and great cocktails, easy parking
- The River House: awesome outdoor seating downtown, great food and kids’ meals
Fun night out with friends:
- Street’s b.Bar: Great cocktails, nice vibe, same menu as Street, easy parking
- Moxy: small plates, full bar
- 5 Thai Bistro: Good Thai food downtown
- Surf: Beautiful views of the Piscataqua, awesome seafood
- Cafe Mediterraneo: Italian food close to the Music Hall
- Martingale Wharf: Best deck in Portsmouth to sit outside and watch the tugboats
- Gas Light Co.: Enjoy the 3rd floor nightclub or live music out on the Deck.
For a romantic dinner for two:
- The Black Trumpet: Award-winning, intimate bistro
- Cava (pictured above): Wine and tapas bar with quaint patio in a beautiful brick alley.
Coffee! We know behind every successful parent there is a substantial amount of coffee.
Overall, Portsmouth is filled with activity, with endless opportunities to connect with other families and build community.
Portsmouth NH 03801
Becky and her family relocated to Portsmouth 9 years ago from out-of-state when her children were in 1st and 4th grade. After their first day of school in their new town, they went to their neighborhood playground. There they began forming new relationships that have lasted until today.
In her spare time, Becky enjoys getting to know new people. She also loves working on home projects in her 1800’s house, as well as spending time gardening, hiking, biking and kayaking with her husband, Don, their two children Carson and Eva – and walking their two rescue dogs. Becky is grateful for all Portsmouth has offered their family, especially the kids!
Valerie has worked as a Realtor throughout the Seacoast, inland NH and Maine for 25 years affording her with a wealth of experience and knowledge. She is proud of her service as a US Navy Veteran.
She lives in Portsmouth with her husband Gary, two dogs and two Maine Coon cats. She has 2 children, Kristy (and son-in-law Matt) and Katy (and son-in-law Adam) who grew up in Portsmouth, were very active during their time in the Portsmouth school system and are now both successful business-women. Valerie is also the proud grandmother of 2-year old Brooklyn.
Gardening and pickling are some her passions. She has 4 gardens and loves to share her harvest with clients and neighbors. Valerie loves outdoor sports and her (very) early mornings at the gym. Boating, fishing, hiking, cooking and treasure hunting are some of her other favorite pastimes.