Enjoying the Seacoast area is as easy as walking out your hotel door. Whether it’s a casual nature walk outside or something a little more active, you’ll find entertaining activities no matter what time of year you make your visit. The following article offers some background on the history of the region and suggestions for what to do when you arrive.
Reputed to have the second strongest current in North America, the tidal Piscataqua River defines a richly beautiful region of coastal waterways in Eastern New Hampshire and Southern Maine. The history of the Piscataqua region is, in many ways, the history of our nation. The first residents of this area were Native Americans. Tribes such as the Piscataqua of the Central Abenaki lived here for some 12,000 years prior to European settlement. Like so many others who would go on to settle in this spot, they relied on the Piscataqua River to survive, fishing in its coves and cultivating plants on its banks.
The natural harbor at the mouth of the Piscataqua attracted seafarers, fishermen and traders, who crossed the Atlantic from France, England, and Portugal in search of economic opportunity. In 1623, English explorers sailing up the river chose a cove as a safe place to harbor their vessels. Impressed by the wild strawberries that grew along the shoreline, they called their new home Strawbery Banke. This was the founding of one of America’s earliest cities. In 1653 Strawbery Banke changed its name to Portsmouth. Since that time, Portsmouth has been a bustling maritime hub for pioneers and colonists, sea captains and merchants, privateers and financiers, diplomats, soldiers and, of course, sailors. All have been attracted to the beauty and power of the river, the harbor, the shoals and inlets, and the charming waterfront towns and cities that have given rise to New Hampshire’s vital history and culture.
Today, the area remains an unspoiled treasure trove of natural, historical and cultural resources. Whether you’re designing trips for the nature lover, the history buff, the shopper or the sports enthusiast, there’s something for everything on the Seacoast. Need some ideas? Try kayaking in the inner harbors, strolling through seaside gardens and parks, poring over historic sites, whale watching, biking, hiking, fishing, antiquing, shopping and dining in the dozens of first-class restaurants throughout the region. In towns such as Exeter, New Castle, Portsmouth, and Dover, tour groups will experience the deep satisfaction of connecting with authentic New England culture and beauty.