In 1623 Portsmouth attracted English settlers drawn by the commercial potential of the region’s fish, timber and deep-water Piscataqua River. From the strawberry-strewn waterfront banks came the community’s original name, Strawbery Banke. The name was changed in 1653 to Portsmouth.

During our tour of the city we will hear of the time when Portsmouth was the capitol of the state of New Hampshire; why we have so many brick buildings; who were the Sons of Liberty, and what role did they play in our early history? There are eleven Athenaeums in the United States – learn how ours came to be and the story behind this historic building.

You will learn of the early uses of the historic buildings we pass, including the warehouses that stored materials that made us a maritime great, and beautiful homes built by beer barons, privateers, and Royale Governors.

At the waterfront see the tug boats that have plied the treacherous Piscataqua River for over 150 years and still guide traffic along the river, one of the fastest flowing navigable rivers in North America.

If there is no service being held at St. John’s Episcopal Church we will stop to see the many historic artifacts that are housed within, such as a Vinegar Bible, an original Book of Common Prayer, pipe organs, stained glass windows of note, and hear interesting stories of people that worshipped within these walls (hint: President Washington worshipped here as well as the Patriot, Daniel Webster.)

As we begin our return to Market Square, let us stop and admire the Warner House, home to a Royale Governor, Benning Wentworth. The family owned this magnificent mansion for over two hundred years but at one time, it was slated to be turned into a gasoline station. Fortunately our fore bearers were farsighted enough to not let that happen!

End your tour by sitting at one of our great coffee houses, enjoy some of the best brews in town and plan tomorrow’s adventure:  perhaps Strawbery Banke Museum, Prescott Park or one of the ten historic homes, each with its own character and elegance.

Come back soon and often!