On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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Today: The Paparazzi Club goes to Portsmouth.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]As nine of us sat down for dinner at Portsmouth’s Black Trumpet, cameras were drawn from pockets and handbags and given prominent spots at the table.  “Is this a paparazzi club?” our waiter asked.  Sort of, if you consider artfully arranged plates of food, cute antique shops, and rustic bridges to be celebrities.  (Side note: If we were to form a paparazzi club, can our theme song could be modeled after that of The Babysitters Club?  Please.)

A day that had all the makings of a CSI episode (namely, traveling across state lines with people I met on the internet, complete with a dying iPhone battery) proved to be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday in New England.

Though I like New Hampshire far more than I like Rhode Island (which isn’t saying much, sorry), it has never held much allure for me.  I loved our family trips to the White Mountains to ski, and once even summit-ed one of those mountains (and stayed awake all night, convinced I’d encounter a mountain lion or serial killer… or both).  These days, New Hampshire seems like a good way to get to Maine.  Or, in an emergency, to the border.  I am pleased to report there is much more to New Hampshire than a lack of helmet laws, a now-defunct Man in the Mountain, and a penchant for living free (or, you know, dying).

From bustling sidewalks to charming seaside vistas, Portsmouth was the perfect day trip from Boston, made only more perfect by the company (Elina, Jen, Michelle, Bridget, Meghan, Bianca, Megan, Daisy, and Emily).  Emily, Megan, Bridget and Daisy all have ties to the area– they had great suggestions for places to eat, grab coffee, shop and explore.

We started the day with lunch at the Cataqua Public House and a tour of the Red Hook Brewery.  We ordered samplers of Red Hook’s brews (never fear, I only had a few sips of each… I was driving, after all) and appetizers to share.  The fried artichoke hearts and sweet potato fries were especially good.

After plenty of snacking and lots of catching up, we made our way over to the brewery’s store, where the tour would begin.  Having toured the Dogfish Head not too long ago, I sort of knew where beer comes from, but looked forward to touring Red Hook.  Our guide was quite a character (in the best possible way), but rather than actually tour the facility, we went up to a single room overlooking the the brewery floor.  It was a bit stuffy up there, so I ducked out early to get some fresh air (I make a point to not faint whenever possible).

We were soon on our way to downtown Portland, where we enjoyed tea, treats and people watching at Breaking New Grounds.  We stopped into Stonewall Kitchen and several other shops and took in the view from a waterfront park.  Elina and I ducked into Three Graces Gallery and fell in love with Denise Duong’s whimsical paintings.

By the time 5:30 rolled around, we were all eager to sit down for dinner.  We had the back wall of The Black Trumpet to ourselves, and settled in at copper topped tables with glasses on sangria in one hand, and cameras in the other.  While most of the girls ordered from the Restaurant Week menu, I chose a salad and one of the “medium dishes,” a squash ring potato latke with sage quark and candied crabapples.  While the menu was quite varied, there were few vegetarian options.  Both the salad and latke we good, but nothing extraordinary.  The ambiance, sangria, and delightful company more than made up for that, though.

We are so lucky in Boston to have such a warm, welcoming community of bloggers.  To be able to venture outside of the city with this group of ladies was a real gift.  By the time I pulled into my driveway in Southie, I had a full stomach, a much evolved appreciation for the Granite State and a smile on my face.

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What’s your favorite day trip?