Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor


Southern New Hampshire Life - Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

First Night Portsmouth

The First Night tradition began in Boston in 1976 and has since spread throughout the country. In New Hampshire, Wolfeboro in the Lakes Region and Portsmouth on the Seacoast are the state’s two official First Night celebrations.  First Night Portsmouth is organized by Pro Portsmouth, a local nonprofit group.

First Night includes activities for both children and adults.  Events start around 1PM with ice sculpting by the North Church.  Indoor programs for younger participants begin at 4PM with puppet shows, magicians, storytelling, and face painting in several downtown venues.  At 5PM, the Pontine Theatre will present “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”  Portsmouth 1212

Musicians will be in various locations throughout the area.  Local singers will be featured at the Middle Street Baptist Hall starting at 5PM.  T. J. Wheeler & Company will be at North Church from 8:15PM.   At South Church there will be a chili cook-off and gospel and folk music.  The Randy Armstrong Trio at Temple Israel will feature world fusion jazz.

The Seacoast Repertory Theater will host comedian Mike Michon and psychic/illusionist Roderick Russell.  The NH Theater Company is offering “The Play’s the Thing” – with theater games, comedy Improv, and other entertaining pastimes.

Outdoor activities will be centered around Market Square, with a street dance on Pleasant Street beginning at 5PM, fireworks at South Mill Pond at 7:30PM, and of course, the Countdown to Midnight in the Square.

The First Night Portsmouth’s website has full details about the events and locations.  You will need a First Night Portsmouth 2013 Button to gain entry to the indoor activities; they may be purchased online by clicking here, or at the Portsmouth Hannaford’s, People’s United Bank branches in the NH Seacoast area and in Dover, Durham, and Rochester, and at the Flower Kiosk on Main Street.Portsmouth Xmas Tree

Most downtown streets will be open to traffic; but Pleasant Street from State Street to the Square, Church Street (next to the North Church) and Parrot Avenue (from Richards to Junkins) will be closed.  The parking garage at Hanover Street will offer reduced rate parking starting at 4PM.  There will be a free shuttle for all First Nighters, which will transport celebrants between the various event locations.

First Night Portsmouth will be an afternoon and evening of fun-filled activities for all ages.  Don’t miss it!

Unique Shopping Opportunities: C’est Cheese in North Hampton

C’est Cheese in North Hampton is a great resource for imported and domestic cheeses. They carry all the popular favorites as well as artisan cheeses from some of the world’s most renowned cheese makers. The varieties are endless: soft-ripened, rind-washed, made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, cow’s milk, etc.

In addition to myriad dairy-based cheeses, C’est Cheese also features fine wines and imported cheese accompaniments, such as olives, mustards, meats, breads, crackers, and marinated vegetables. They encourage in-store tastings, and are also happy to put together a gift basket to suit your needs and tastes.

The shop’s website details their wide range of products and services. C’est Cheese, located at 61 Lafayette Road in North Hampton, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays the year round.

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is a month-long celebration of the December holiday season.  The leading sponsors, the Strawbery Banke Museum and the Music Hall, have planned holiday-themed caroling, strolling, musical productions, and other activities for almost every day in December. The Boston Globe called this celebration of the season “One of the top ten holiday things not to miss in New England.”

Traditional holiday decorations enliven the downtown area, and historically-themed presentations at the Music Hall make this a very festive time in New Hampshire’s old port city.

Strawbery Banke’s Candlelight Stroll – every Saturday and Sunday through December 16th – features musicians, carolers, and presenters interpreting how holidays were celebrated in years past; it is a major highlight of Vintage Christmas.

There is an admission charge for most activities.  For full details, visit Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth’s website.

Greater Portsmouth Restaurant Week

Restaurants in and around Portsmouth are collaborating on a Fall Restaurant Week Portsmouth and the Seacoast which will be held from November 8th through the 17th.  Some of the best eating places in the greater Portsmouth area will be offering 3-course prix fixe lunch menus for $ 16.95 and dinners for $ 29.95 (per person; not including drinks and taxes).  The types of eateries joining in this event include a wide variety of eating places, from casual dining to elegant upscale establishments.

Popular Portsmouth eateries such as the Black Trumpet Bistro, Green Monkey, Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café, the Portsmouth Gas Light Co., and Radici are being joined by select restaurants in surrounding towns to make this a special happening.  Restaurants from Exeter to New Castle and from Hampton to York, ME are participating.  The list includes the Three Chimneys Inn in Durham, Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle, Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter, the 401 Tavern in Hampton, the Stage Neck Inn in York, and the Black Birch in Kittery.

For more information on Restaurant Week Portsmouth and a list of all the participating eateries, check out the Restaurant Week Portsmouth page on the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce website.