Beyond Somerville: A Trip to Strawbery Banke

I recently had a friend visiting who has a career in fashion so when I heard about the special Thread exhibit at the Strawbery Banke Museum, I knew it would be the perfect day trip. The museum, located in Portsmouth, N.H., is a great warm weather day activity, as you spend a lot of time walking in between the houses in which the exhibits are housed. We were lucky enough to have sunny skies and 80-degree temperatures for our trip!

Strawbery Banke tells the story of those who settled in this Portsmouth neighborhood over the last four centuries through the homes they lived in, the clothes they wore and the food they ate, among other things. And the fashion exhibit, which runs until October 31, ties into this beautifully. It pairs one old piece of clothing with a modern piece that riffs on the old piece, allowing visitors to see connections in clothing from the 1600s through today.

It will take you about one-and-a-half to two hours to walk through the entire museum property, including lovely gardens, a pottery shop and a grand mansion. Guides are placed around the houses to provide you with a bit of history before you explore the rooms, some of which are restored to look like a certain period, while others have been left for you to see original walls, wallpaper and construction materials. I really enjoyed visiting the little grocery store at the museum and seeing all of the old food labels, some of which look quite similar to what is on the shelves today!

Beyond the museum, Portsmouth is a great little historic city on the water worth an afternoon of exploring. Several cute clothing shops, paper stores and cafes dot the narrow streets. If the smell of the sea air has you craving seafood, head down to the waterfront where you can eat a lobster roll right on the water. We had a nice lunch on the deck at the River House restaurant (lobster salad and a salmon teriyaki wrap). Flatbread Pizza (don’t miss the salad) and The Friendly Toast (the bread is thick and fresh) are two other favorites in town (both also have branches locally, Davis Square for Flatbread and Kendall Square for The Friendly Toast). And local ice cream shop Annabelle’s is well worth a stop on a warm summer day!


Strawbery Banke Museum
14 Hancock St. Portsmouth NH
May 1-October 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

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