New Hampshire is a coastal state. Some people don’t know this. People from Quebec sure do. On good surfing weekends cars come flocking down from the province above us.
New Hampshire has 18 miles of Atlantic ocean coast. While this may be the least amount of coast for a coastal state, it has a coast, and New Hampshire is very proud of that coast and its history. Part of New Hampshire also includes a few islands of the Isles of Shoals.
These tiny rocky islands about 6 miles off the coast have a lot of history for their size. Including murder, pirates and lots and lots of fires. If you have ever read Anita Shreve’s The Weight of Water, these are the islands mentioned in the book.
Thanks to the magic of LivingSocial, I was able to bring my friend Laura out for a belated birthday gift of a Historical 3 hour cruise of Portsmouth Harbor and the Isles of Shoals with the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company. I’ve never seen Gilligan’s Island, but even I know the part of the song that has to do with a Three hour cruise.
The boat has three levels, including some that are partly indoors. The lower decks had some more permanent seating arrangements. The top deck had plastic chairs that people arranged into seating rows. We sat on the top deck… where I turned into a lobster despite sunscreen.
The views were worth it. Although I could have used somewhat moody skies for my pictures.
The ship took us past Portsmouth, NH which has recently lost an old historic bridge. It’s so strange to see it missing. But the new bridge should be in place by next summer.
We went by the naval shipyard, including a submarine that was being decommissioned.
I found out that one of my favorite landmarks on the Maine coast of the river was a long ago decommissioned Naval Prison (abandoned since the 1970s).
As we exited the river we passed several old forts, coast guard houses and light houses. Then we headed out to sea crowded with of sailboats, lobster traps and seagulls. Laura had lived in Florida previously and she commented on the differences between boats you would see in New England versus Florida. Apparently, Florida is big on speedboats.
Once we got to the isles, the tour guide started giving us information on their history and current state. Laura and I were amazed that so many buildings had the fate of burning to the ground. I suppose there wasn’t any fire departments out on the island.
The boat stopped briefly on Star Island, site of a summer colony that hosts regular conferences and personal retreats.
Overall we found the cruise to be nice and relaxing. I wished I had picked a day that was better for photography, but that might have also meant rough seas. See some of my other pictures from that day in the gallery below.