Monday, September 17, 2007

Mostly Portsmouth, NH

As so often seems to happen when I upload photographs, I've done them in reverse order. So first is a fabulous tile that was on the wall behind DH at The Black Cow, harborside tavern in Newburyport, MA.
Prior to that we meandered through Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There's an area called Strawberry Banke that is apparently one of the oldest settled areas in the United States, and the buildings have been restored, researched and partially museum-i-fied. Rather than go for formal history lessons, I took photos at the AAS (All American Selections) flower garden and the Point of Graves Cemetary.

This view is across Portsmouth Harbor towards Badger Island and Kittery Maine.

The AAS garden is apparently tended by the University of New Hampshire and the locally known location is Prescott Park. All of these gorgeous plants were grown from SEED. So it's a SEED testing location! Clearly, starting seeds during mud season would give one a head start when the weather actually warms up.

It took us a few minutes to realize that the "nice" bridge we'd been admiring was a levitating draw bridge. It went up and down every half hour, in spite of the disruption of traffic on state highway 1.

It was low tide. Some of the revealed marsh and sea grasses were pretty interesting.
Our luck held as we found ourselves at a great picnic area known as Four Tree Island. The NH Seacoast page elaborates:

OK, it’s not an island any more, but it used to be. Today this is the most comfortable, well-equipped public picnicking spot in the city. The winds can be cool or chilly, but the view can’t be understated. A great family spot.

Technically this is a better place for a picnic than a long
walk. But Four Tree Island rates as a local treasure since it is just off the beaten path, yet in the thick of the city.
There was barely a soul there when we jogged across the manmade causeway recently on a brisk day. Yet Four Tree has
the city’s best facilities for outdoor cooking and picnicking. In fact, it is among the only public spots with picnic tables, and the site of a rare and clean public restroom.
The guano-streaked whale’s tale sculpture (with a human
face) on the point stands dramatically facing the city. The Cabot Lyford
sculpture reads, "For those who wailed here to find a new life." This is great
spot to capture photos of the harbor and the historic Memorial Bridge just
offshore from the gardens and outdoor stage at Prescott Park.

Legend says this island once held one of the city’s many houses of ill repute. Sailors could
easily reach the island from ships just across the Piscataqua. A ferryman, the
story goes, would charge 50 cents for a ride over, but charged $5 for the ride
The island was among the acreage donated to the city by the Prescott sisters, Josie and
Mary, who wanted to see the "blighted" part of the city cleaned up in the 20th century. That led
to the creation of Prescott Park and the end of the houses of ill repute. Four Tree Island was part of the land in their bequest and was dedicated in 1976. The sisters left a half million dollars to see
the area beautified and made accessible to all

The "Smallest Seacoast in America is apparently proud of it's prominence in the whaling and whale watching trade. I wouldn't have thought of the sculpture as being a whale tail. The woman has an infant tucked under her left arm.
I'd have needed a different lens or the ability to walk on the water to get a different angle. The statue is signed by Cabot Lyford.
DH sat on a bench while I took the Prescott Park and Point of Graves photographs.

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