We figured we’d take some time between Christmas and New Year’s to visit our favorite seacoast spot – and maybe find the elusive artwork we need to finish off the kitchen renovation.
The art remains elusive. So what did we learn on this trip?
Flights into Manchester are still affordable but now it’s the ground transportation that kills you. Okay so we booked this trip a week ahead of time. But $92/day for the only two rental cars left?
Cabs are $90 to Portsmouth. We opted for the $76 Flight Line van to the Sheraton.
Try renting a car from the local office. The rep on the Budget 800 line refused to let us pick up a car in town and drop it off at the airport, but the local Portsmouth agent gave us a break (for a $50 one-way fee, but whatever). $49.95 bucks a day for a Ford Focus. Not a competitive rental market.
Oh yeah, when flying out of National on a holiday weekend give yourself plenty of time to find parking. The daily lots closed before our very eyes – we watched the guy park the pickup truck in front of the gate. We were cutting things close and ended up in the $28/day hourly lot. I don’t want to talk about it.
The Sheraton Harborside in Portsmouth has WiFi access all over the place. Bring your 802.11 card.
The Friendly Toast on Congress St. is a great place for breakfast.
The famed Portsmouth bridges are still there, of course. And yeah, the Memorial Bridge could still use a good paint job.
Portland, Maine has an arts district in a sketchy part of town, but you’ll find an equal number of galleries in the touristy waterfront area. The Hay has some quality exhibits.
The Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s is not the best day to find galleries open.
The Wright Gallery takes up two floors of a seaside house in Porpoise Cove, about a half hour South of Portland. This is a great collection in a lovely setting, and well worth the side trip. Just make sure to write down the directions or have your cellphone handy.
We didn’t find exactly what we had in mind this weekend, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the new arrivals via the website.
Porpoise Cove is blessed with wonderful sunsets.
We began and ended our trip at the Portsmouth Brewery, which still has the same decor as when we first discovered it five years ago. Same great shirts (I picked up a gray T this time). The beer is still top-notch. Try the Blitzen Ale when it’s in season.