Eating, Drinking & Shopping Around Portsmouth

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Last weekend’s trip to Portsmouth was a blast. I had never been to the city, but heard it was quite the foodie spot. And it did not disappoint. For a quaint New England town, it is packed with restaurants and bars. Here are a few of my favorites from our weekend of eating, drinking and shopping.

Portsmouth Brewery: This was our first stop of the weekend. We arrived late on Friday evening, tired and starving and were lucky to snag a tiny two-top in a corner of the bar. Our waiter was great and miraculously offered us a free ย appetizer to start (which we took as an omen of good things to come for the weekend). Their beers were great and flavorful, and the scene was friendly and lively.

Book & Bar: I had read that Portsmouth is known for its used book shops–which I think is pretty awesome–and I was excited to browse one or two while we were there. Book & Bar (just like it sounds) is a book store and bar, serving up nice lunch food, coffee and cookies, and yes, beer. We poked around the book selection, which unfortunately was a bit less than stellar, and then enjoyed good paninis outside on their patio. All in all, it’s a really cool spot.

Gus & Ruby Letterpress: This stationery and gift shop is one of my favorite things I discovered this weekend. It was the kind of shop that I could spend hours in, reading their witty greeting cards, appreciating the beautiful letterpress cards and calendars and getting inspired by quirky craft ideas. Colorful, cute and artsy–I hope to make it back there sometime.

Helene M: My cousin suggested this boutique, and it definitely lived up to the recommendation. The racks were filled with labels like DVF, Tory Birch and White + Warren, and the fall selection of sweaters, sweaters and more sweaters was pretty much just what I was looking for.

Library Steakhouse: This New England steak and fish house is located in a former hotel estate, called the Rockingham House, which hosted people like Teddy Roosevelt and JFK back in the day. Today, the restaurant feels like you’ve stepped back in time and into the grand library of a stately manor house. Bookshelves line nearly any open space and are filled to the brim with classics (including Harry Potter–a classic in my book). Oh, and the food was delicious.

During our quick weekend, we also popped into a few other spots like Colby’s for brunch, a beer at the Press Room and a few other boutiques here and there. Who knew this little city was packed with so many great spots to explore?

The Ale House Inn in Portsmouth

This weekend, we went to Portsmouth, NH for a little weekend getaway. We stayed at the Ale House Inn, a former brewery warehouse (Portsmouth is quite the beer-loving city as we learned), which has been turned into a small urban inn. To say the Ale House Inn is charming would be an understatement. It meshes maritime decor (think anchors and rope knots) with sleek mid-century modern furniture in the guest rooms and what I’m assuming are antique store finds in the lounge area.

We checked in late, but were welcomed with local beer and a Portsmouth map waiting for us in our room. Each of the eight or so rooms also comes with an iPad pre-loaded with dining recommendations, links to local attractions and maps, justย in case we needed any help navigating around town. The inn is located on the water, right in the down town area, which as it turns out is a small maze of streets lined with way more bars, restaurants and boutiques that I expected — but more on that later!

Hitting the Mountains: Hiking in Park City

Just got back to Boston after an amazing week in Utah. This early September weather feels like summer here, but in Park City, the leaves are already starting to change and the air gets nice and crisp once the sun goes down. Park City is such an outdoorsy, sport-loving city, so I tried to soak in as much of that attitude as I can while I was here. We were able to hike a few trails this week, which was awesome. These pics are from the Canyons — a really pretty trail, complete with incredible views, mountain bikers zooming by, a chair lift overhead carrying hikers, bikers, and even bike racks this time of year and gorgeous aspen trees (these look like birch trees, but are actually aspens and–fun fact–are all connected underground with a massive root system).

When in Utah, Drink the Whiskey

I’m not much of a whiskey drinker. Okay, let me rephrase: I hate whiskey. But since Park City is home to the adorable and infinitely cool High West Distillery, I decided to give it a try. The charming building at the bottom of Park City’s old town was a horse stable turned private home turned distillery/bar/high-end eaterie. While my whiskey-loving friends tried many of the menu’s more daring or sophisticated options (like a classic whiskey smash and a whiskey-tequila medley), I went for their signature summer drink: a whiskey lemonade with mint leaves. And (surprisingly) I loved it!

High West Whiskey Lemonade

We ended up eating dinner at the distillery and feasted on arugula salad, short ribs, mac-and-cheese, pulled pork and the most decadent grilled donut dessert imaginable. On top of the amazing food, I have to give a shout-out to the fabulous design of the dining room — somewhat of a hipster’s heaven, it had mid-century modern metal chairs, wooden slab tables, and mason jar lighting.

High West Distillery Dining

On our second go at the distillery, I opted for one of their vodka concoctions (they distill their own vodka and peach vodka as well) and it was amazing too — but more on that later!

Park City Adventures

Park City is possibly the most perfect mountain town. It’s beau-ti-ful with massive mountains, lush trees and a charming downtown area, and there always seems to be something going on. When I come out here, I stay with one of best friend’s Caitlin, PR extraordinaire for the Canyons Resort.

Park City Utah Hike

She always knows the best things to do with visitors (when we came in the winter once, she took us dog sledding through the middle-of-no-where mountains — it’s up there with the coolest things I’ve ever done). So of course, Caitlin has taken us to/recommended amazing things this week. We started the trip with a wine-and-cheese picnic an outdoor soul-funk concert at the foot of one of the ski lifts at the Canyons.

Canyons Outdoor Concert

The next day, we had what Caitlin and her boyfriend dubbed “a very Park City Sunday,” with a morning hike at the Canyons and then a stop at the Park Silly Sunday market, which has everything from blood marys to homemade candles to antler chandeliers. And yesterday, for the ultimate in small-town charm, we caught the very end of the local farmer’s market: