Tour: Portsmouth Area

By: Emily McMaster, GSA Communications Director

GSAs were given the opportunity to participate in a tour of Portsmouth, hosted by the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth.  Despite some cold temperatures and some liquid sunshine, we embodied our “It’s Always Sunny in NH” mantra and had a splendid day of exploration and education!

We began our morning at the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park.  I had last visited Odiorne Point when I was 6 on a school fieldtrip!  It was such a treat to return as an adult, and to see everything that the Seacoast Science Center has to offer.  Our tour guide showed us around the entire museum and all the exhibits.  We even had a beautiful but foggy view of the ocean from inside. 

The exhibits range from a focus on the Gulf of Maine to NH Beaches, to Restoring the Reefs, to Whales and Seals and more.  We learned about the whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling that the museum was able to obtain and the process of cleaning it up.  We also learned about some of the work that they do to help animals, such as seals, when they are injured. The museum will remain open year-round, only closed Mondays and Tuesdays.  It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance.

Next, we headed to downtown Portsmouth.  Our next stop was a tour of the Warner House.  We had two tour guides who showed us most of the rooms in the house and gave us an overview of the history of the family and the architecture.  The ornate fireplaces, furniture, and artwork were all fascinating to see and learn about.  We learned that the building was originally empty when the house became a museum in 1932.  Over the years, descendants of the house donated some items back and the museum acquired period-appropriate items.  The Warner House is open seasonally and will open again in May for tours.

Our final stop of the day was a tour of Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club.  This building used to be the YMCA in Portsmouth in the 1900’s.  The owners were able to preserve an original sign of the YMCA and the original windows with the symbol.  The building was previously a clothing store and a sake restaurant, but the upper floors remained untouched since the 1950’s.  After years of renovations, they recently turned it into the beautiful venue that it is today.  There is seating for up to 600, and the venue serves dinner as well.  Tickets can be purchased on their website.  A great place to recommend to guests, and I know I’d like to attend a show myself!  We were treated to a delicious lunch by the chamber, looking out the vast windows onto the streets of Portsmouth.

Our GSAs always enjoy a visit to the Seacoast, and this visit did not disappoint!  GSAs will be able to provide some stellar recommendations of activities in Portsmouth.