The Portsmouth, NH Country Kickin’ Booze Cruise

About a month ago while in New Hampshire my brother Patrick, who lives in the South, got super-excited to hear that there was going to be a “Country-Kickin’ Booze Cruise” down in Portsmouth (an 1.5 hour drive away from our usual lake haunt) and we should all clearly go (“we” being me, bro, sis, and our cousin Judit- remember her?).  I had a bit of trepidation- country?– but it turned out there was less of an emphasis on the country part and more one on “booze cruise” so it all worked out.  It didn’t stop us from dressing up though-

A shot before we got on the boat, where we took one look at the line and realized we were a. about 15 years younger than the next youngest person and b. the only people who dressed up.  Luckily four’s a crowd, so we set a decent trend when you include the fourth cowgirl-

Now that the stage is set and the anchor cast away, we set out through the harbor towards the sea.  Portsmouth is the main town on the mere 13 miles of coastline New Hampshire gets on the Atlantic and so it has a different feel than the rest of the state, but is nonetheless rather pretty-

Definitely very New England!  Lovely town, but in fact my only complaint about the place is it’s the only place I’ve ever been where all the pretty waterside bars refused us booze cruisers water post-cruise: alcohol I could understand, but water? That was a new one to me!

Anyway, progressing along the harbor the boat finally reached the open sea, and the lighthouses-

Is there anything more lovely than a classic-looking lighthouse perched at the end of a bay after sunset with rolling water and gulls flying around?  I don’t know either!

The crazy thing about the sunset by the way wasn’t just the fact that the colors became incredible but the mist- it had rained earlier that day so the temperature difference gave an unworldly feel to the view.  This became more and more obvious out at sea where the occasional little rocky island had another old lighthouse perched on it looming mysteriously out of the water-

Just amazing, particularly in the fading light.  I couldn’t tear my eyes away from this particular gem, complete with an old keeper’s house-Can you imagine what it would be like to live out on that rocky little island in the middle of a winter storm?!

Anyway, once the view disappeared into the darkness we spent more and more time making friends with others on the boat who were jealous of our cowboy hats.  The change of flavor on the coast is obvious in the locals as well- there was an emphasis on lobstah both in accent and in what people did for a living, as Portsmouth is one of those few seaside New England towns not yet overrun by yuppies.  It makes all the difference too- while people in Massachusetts may have a reputation for being unfriendly I don’t think I’ve ever met a true New Hampshirite or Mainer who was.  Made for some great conversation.

So to wrap up, apologies to my brother for hesitating when he first got super-excited about the cruise as it turned out to be great fun.  Plus how could you say no to those amazing views?

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