Three-State Weekend

Three-State Weekend

September 14, 2010


There’s nothing like stepping away from the computer, forgetting about work, and just enjoying where you came from. While I’m obsessed with New England for many (many!) reasons, I especially love how easy it is to get from one amazing town/city/state to another. I mean, how can you not love being able to travel to 3 states in one day? In one hour, actually. Because summer is rapidly coming to an end (seriously, brrr) and there’s SO much I didn’t get to do this summer that I wanted to do, I decided this past weekend needed to be spent out and about.

And that included heading back to all my old stomping grounds.


First stop? Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I went to college at UNH, but haven’t been back in the area much since graduating. Chris had never been and I wanted to show him where I went to school… And the beautiful area that is Portsmouth.

We were driving by the Albacore and Chris wanted to stop. OK. I’ve driven by this about 50 million times and have NEVER stopped. I didn’t even really know what the heck it was.


It turns out the USS Albacore is “the first Navy-designed vessel with a true underwater hull of cylindrical shape that has become the standard for today’s submarines worldwide.” You could actually walk on and check out the inside, but we just wandered around the submarine. It was pretty cool.


Then we headed into downtown Portsmouth.


You know, I think when I was in college, I was too young to appreciate the amazing town that was so close to my campus. Sure, I went there for dinner and to hang out at some of the bars. But either a lot has changed in the 5 years since I was in school, or I’ve changed a lot. It’s probably a bit of a combination of the two, but mostly me changing.

But for the first time, I could actually see myself living in a place like Portsmouth. Once upon a time, I would have died laughing at the mere thought of living in NH (aside from college). But Portsmouth is totally my type of town. I guess I really am getting older.

There are so many kitchen and specialty food stores. Plus, who could argue about being so close to a Stonewall Kitchen? It’s like a little piece of heaven.


I completely fell in love with LeRoux Kitchen.


They had an entire olive oil tasting section! I sipped on the blood orange olive oil and am now seriously kicking myself for not buying some. It was out of this world!! This is reason enough for me to head back to Portsmouth immediately.


And, I mean, check out the window. ALL the Le Creuset you can dream of. I could get lost in this for hours.


Everything about downtown Portsmouth was just so quaint and pretty.


We stopped for lunch at a little cafe called Popovers.

And sat outside.


And that’s when I decided I could be happy sitting here every day.


I wish I ordered one of the popover salads, but instead I got the feta, tomato, and cucumber panini. It definitely didn’t disappoint, but when I saw someone with a giant popover, I felt a pang of jealousy.


Chris enjoyed his Italian panini, too.


We did some more wandering.

And then stopped at the Juicery along the way.


I loved this place! I ordered the Life Blood juice, which was carrot, beet, lemon, and ginger. It was awesome and definitely had a prominent ginger taste. Also, it’s supposed to be good for your liver (and overall health) and it was the prettiest color EVER. I want to drink one every day.


It was at this point, too, where I heard someone calling my name, “Susie?! Are you serious?!” I had a minor freak-out figuring it was someone from college who I wouldn’t recognize. But it was my friend Kerry who I worked with in Boston for a couple years. She was in Portsmouth for a wedding and it was crazy to see her, considering we’ve been trying to plan a lunch date for ages now.

Next stop? Red Hook Brewery, duh.


I spent a lot of time at Red Hook when I was in college, but for some reason I had never done a tour. Totally silly of me since the tours are $1 and conclude with a whole lot of beer drinking.

The facilities and machinery were absolutely beautiful.




I loved the bottling plant and wished it had been running when we were there.


Our tour guide was a total riot and made sure we got to taste plenty of the sample beers.


Red Hook has rebranded their bottles since I was in college. They also happen to have the same birthday year as me (1982), so the year I turned 21, they had tons of special promotions going on for everyone who shared their birth year.


My favorites were the Black Hook and the Long Hammer. The Late Harvest was pretty awesome, too.


I was obsessed with this sign.


In case you can’t read it:

“Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is the freshness of the deep springs of life… Youth means the predominance of courage over timidity, of adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals…. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear, and despair– these bow the heart and turn the spirit back to dust… Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement at the stars and the starlike things, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing child-like appetite for what-next, and the joy of the game of living… You are as young as your faith and as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” -Samuel Ullman

Which helped me feel not quite as old as I went back to my freshman and sophomore year dorms on UNH’s campus.


Freshman year I lived in Fairchild… I was scared out of my mind because it wasn’t a “freshman dorm” and I thought I wouldn’t make any friends.

But I lived in the basement (the Pit), which was made up of all freshman. Here’s my teeny-tiny room.


And two doors down was Kyle, who I met on the first day of college and immediately knew we would be friends for a long, long time. I was right.


Sophomore year, I just moved one building down to Hetzel Hall. Strangely, I can’t remember my room, though I think I was on the third floor.


I had a majority of my classes (English) in Hamilton Smith, so I had to pay a visit.


Oh hey, Romantic Literature classroom. I even remembered where I sat!


We toured around the rest of campus.



And stopped at Breaking New Grounds for some iced coffee. (This is horrible, but I kept calling it “Breaking New Dawn” by accident. I guess Twilight-mania got the best of me?!)


Their Coconut Cream tasted just as good as I remembered it.


I had to make a stop at my old place of employment! It’s changed a lot too… When I was there, Hayden Sports was in a separate building and The Outback was here. Now they’re combined, along with Amy’s Frame Shop.


And look who I found inside… Amy! She is a super talented framer and I already have lots of reasons to head back to UNH soon… including the fact that I have a bunch of things to hang on the wall that are lacking frames.


If you need any UNH apparel, fun gifty things, or custom framing, this is the best place to go! Obviously I Have tons of good memories from working here, too.

It was kind of funny to see a photo of myself still hanging in the store!


We were going to head to my parents’ after UNH, but Chris decided we should pay another visit to Ogunquit, Maine. I never argue about a trip to Barnacle Billy’s, so I was totally game.

We stopped for a few photos with the setting sun.



And then went to our fave.


Rum punches were consumed. Chris got lobster.


And I had a lobster roll.


I just can’t resist.


And then we went to my parents’ house. We spent the night there and woke up on Sunday morning to what else? The smell of bacon. That’s a regular Sunday morning occurrence on Sunday mornings at my house.

My dad had made chorizo scrambled egg breakfast tacos and they were out of this world.


We hung out for the day and got some totally amazing shots of my dad’s garden.






Check out the fly!


Here’s the basil my mom later picked and made an awesome pesto out of. She gave us some to take home and I can’t wait to dig into it (probably with a spoon!).


Sunday afternoon, we snacked on my mom’s salmon cakes.


And for dinner, My parents made, what else? Lobster rolls!

My dad also made corn with butter, sage, and parmesan.


AND he made Chris Kimball’s french fries and corn with butter, sage, and parmesan.



It was the perfect end to the perfect weekend. I wish I could do this every weekend.

Serious props if you stuck through this whole post and photos 🙂 What can I say? I’m a little camera-obsessed! And with so much awesome food and scenery this weekend, it was hard to stop!

What do you consider your “old stomping grounds”? Do you go back often?


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50 Responses to "Three-State Weekend"

  1. Erica says:

    WOW- your new camera is amazingggg. The pictures are just beautiful. What a fun weekend filled with delicious eats. The feta, tomato, and cucumber panini looks delicious and your parents both look like amazing chefs! I think I told you this before but I have a friend who used to work at Barnacle Billy’s! I’ve moved a bundle of times…I have a few too many old stomping grounds at this point 😉 Andover, Penn State, where I lived in CA, NC, Maryland & Virginia

  2. Simply Life says:

    what a fun weekend in New England! I love going to NH!

  3. Joanne says:

    Awww super fun weekend! It makes me miss boston all the more. I think good old beantown is what I consider my old stomping grounds. Whenever I’m there I feel instantly happy. Which isn’t true for NYC even though I grew up here. Weird.

  4. Michelle says:

    Um, how awesome is your new camera? The photos are amazing and you look so pretty in them! I’ve actually never been to Portsmouth, which is a shame because it seems like such a great destination. And I adore that you stopped at Barnacle Billy’s…I did end up buying a shirt there! My old stomping grounds are definitely Amherst and Northampton since I went to school out there…

  5. Christina says:

    I love this post! The pictures, the places you visited in Portsmouth, the food! I’ve always wanted to take a day trip up there but wasn’t sure where to go – thanks for the great recommendations!

  6. Kelly says:

    I just went to Portsmouth for the first time over Labor Day weekend – it was so gorgeous and adorable! I definitely want to go back. I acutally consider Boston one of my old stomping grounds (I live in NYC now) because I went to college there and worked for a bit. I go back fairly often and love it – always brings back great memories!

  7. Ashley says:

    OK, I want to book a long weeked stay in New England now! Thanks for this little tour of your old stomping grounds.

    Your dad must be an amazing cook! I love the look of those breakfast tacos!

  8. I read the whole post and I want to recreate your weekend exactly (minus the trip to the parents house, hehe). We stopped by Porsmouth on our way to Maine last trip and I loved it. I want to go back!!
    Also, I’ve been obsessed with lobster rolls too – 2 in 1 weekend sounds like heaven to me. 🙂

  9. emily says:

    gorg photos! i love love love your outfit!

    i just found a potential job opportunity in new england about an hour away from boston! super excited about possibly moving to the east coast!

    so fun to go back and visit your old college! it feels like a such a long time for me even though it hasn’t been that long, but it sure brings back memories. 🙂

  10. Emily says:

    Love this! I grew up right outside of Portsmouth and agree that it is an GREAT little town. Did you try the popovers at Popovers!? They are out of control. Also, your dad is a ridiculous cook!

  11. sweetersalt says:

    I love Portsmouth! I live in Portland, and it basically just feels like a mini version. We have a Le Roux Kitchen here too – so tempting every time I go in! We had the same tour guide at Red Hook when we went last year, he is a riot, but I’m pretty sure he says the exact same spiel for every tour!

    Glad you had fun in the Granite State and Maine!


  12. Lauren says:

    What a fun and delicious-food-filled weekend! I’ve been wanting to go to Portsmouth for a while now, and this post has finally convinced me that I need to go soon :).

  13. brandi says:

    Love this – it’s beautiful there! I visit family at home pretty often, so I get to go back home a few times a year. It’s always fun 🙂

    PS – where did you get that top? So cute.

  14. looks like you had a blast. i love being able to go visit my old university and reminisce!

  15. Lizzy says:

    Wow, I’m totally jealous of your amazing weekend!! Look at all that lobster. I totally agree with you about how cool it is to be able to drive through 3 states in a little over an hour. When I drove to Portland a couple weeks ago, I got to Maine in 1 hour from Boston. Love it!

  16. Chris says:

    Such a good time. So when are we going back?

  17. Daisy says:

    My old stomping grounds are the same as yours!!! I visit ports often but my last college friend to reside there just moved away…I am sure gonna miss it! There are so many great restaurants & bars.

    Loveeeee the UNH campus shots. I haven’t been back to campus since 08 (I graduted in 06!) I lived in Hetzel my sophomore year too! I was on the third floor and the first floor (changed rooms after the first semester!) How fun. Also – your Dad is an amazing cook. I LOVE all the photos…just another thing we have in common.

  18. sues, you’re making me home sick! all that brick! all the churches! the second it snows up there, i’m begging for you ladies to take some photos!

  19. MichellePC says:

    I love Red Hook Brewery! And my old stomping grounds are in CT, which I try to visit at least once every few months. It’s always so nice to go back, visit my favorite places, and see what’s changed.

  20. Megan says:

    I’m going to Maine in December, and someone recommended that I go to LeRoux in Portland. I hope it’s like the Portsmouth one. That looks like a shop I could spend hours in!

  21. kimz says:

    Mmmmm, lobster rolls. You know, FYI, my cousin lives in Maine and is surrounded by lobster and seafood and he SWEARS by the lobster roll at Kelly’s right here in MA.

    Oh man, my old stomping grounds are all the way out in Madison, Wisconsin and sadly, I haven’t been there in a decade! 10 YEARS! I’m hoping to get a trip to Chicago in this fall and sneak up to Madison. Fingers crossed!

  22. Becca says:

    What a fantastic trip! I have visited New England as a teenager, but never as an adult. It’s so cool to see the “Old” English influences – from the food to the architecture. Definitely added to the dream trip list!

  23. Nicole says:

    I am now a little sad that I didn’t plan a vacation to New England, now. There’s always next year, right? Love the pictures of all of the delicious looking food. The food at your mom and dad’s looks fantastic! Lucky you! I sadly haven’t been back to my school since graduating, but again, you make me want to go back and look around 🙂

  24. A great trip can be so invigorating. Looks like you hopped all around too. The lobster rolls look fantastic!

  25. Juliana says:

    What a fun weekend…enjoyed very much all the pictures..thank you! 🙂

  26. Erin says:

    I loved going to Portsmouth, NH this summer for the first time. Red Hook was fun (we had the same tour guide) and I took a little stroll over the bridge to Maine for a lobster roll myself. Perfect day! Looks like you had a great time!

  27. Jeri says:

    Great post, love your camera… amazing pics! Yum!!

  28. Not bad for “old stomping grounds”!!! Mine are in Cleveland – not quite as beautiful/hip :).

  29. Kerry says:

    So good to see you and so random! We MUST DO LUNCH SOON! I just read your post and it’s funny, Curt and I had breakfast at Popovers that morning, and smoothies from the Juicery right after! Great minds think alike! Talk and see you soon!

  30. jealous of your lobster roll!!! even though i live in l.a. and i grew up in nj/nyc, my heart is in new england – it’s where i went to college, vacationed, and went to camp!

  31. Great pics! We went to the Red Hook brewery a few weeks ago. It was a lot of fun.

  32. DianaHayes says:

    Nice trip. My son is attending my old alma mater, and I love going back to visiting, but I found out I like it better when college isn’t in session and we don’t have to battle the kids moving into college scene.

    Lovely visit, thanks for sharing.

  33. Shannon says:

    wow, what an amazing weekend!! what good cooks your parents are, too 🙂

  34. looks like so much fun! i actually went to barnacle billy’s a long time ago and still remember how good it was!

  35. cookiepie says:

    Wow – great pics, looks like such a fun trip! Great food all around, too 🙂 I’m with you – I can never resist a good lobster roll!!

  36. Pam says:

    It looks like you had a great time! I would have loved the olive oil tasting and my husband would have loved the Red Hook tasting. The lobster roll looks amazing. Excellent photos!

  37. Mary says:

    The chamber of commerce should hire you to do their PR. It is a lovely city/town and your photos of it are spectacular. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings…Mary

  38. Sues says:

    @Brandi- Thank you 🙂 I got it at Urban Outfitters in the spring!

  39. Sues says:

    @Kimz- Wow, good to know!! I’ve actually never been to Kelly’s, but I might have to change that 🙂

  40. Sharlene says:

    What a wonderful weekend trip! My boyfriend and I LOVE taking little weekend trips to explore new areas and just get out of our town. I don’t think I really have old stomping grounds.. I kinda just tiptoe in new places all the time!

  41. 3 states in 1 weekend is pretty impressive. But I’m more impressed with those mouth-watering lobster rolls! 😉

  42. betsy says:

    Great post with beautiful photos. I didnt have a lobster roll all summer and I am kicking myself now!

    I was in Portland at LeRoux Kitchen a few weekends ago, love that store.

  43. joan says:

    Great photos and such a fun weekend! I love Portsmouth. Went there a couple of years ago when I came for a visit to Boston.

  44. Sharon says:

    Great job on this post, Sues…You & Chris took beautiful shots with the new camera. I can’t wait to see more!

  45. Maria says:

    Forgive me if this has already been asked, but what camera did you use for these pictures? The photos are beyond beautiful and crisp. I’m due for a new digital camera and I am interested to know what you’re using. Thanks!!!

  46. Susan says:

    What a great weekend! I loved all the photos and your dad must be a great cook. Lobster rolls twice in one weekend? Not fair!

  47. That looks seriously like the best weekend ever! I want to go on that exact same tour, except I’d have to pretend I went to UNH 🙂

  48. Bridget says:

    Oh this post makes me so happy 🙂 I obviously love Portsmouth (I’ve already told Brian I want to retire there hahaha). I’ve gotten some oils from Le Roux…delish. I wish Popovers was there when we were in school…so good! I dont think I did the actual RedHook tour til after I graduated either…I actually love their food too! I miss the Outback!! I loved that store…and I realy miss the Licker Store…do you remember that? The ice cream place. Ok I could go on and on obviously, but I’ll stop…I can;t wait for Homecoming!

  49. Katie says:

    Looks like so much fun! I went to LeRoux Kitchen a few months ago, it was great…I was drawn there for all the Le Creuset stuff, I wish I could have it all!

  50. Amanda L. says:

    My husband and I went to LeRoux Kitchen in Portland, ME and the olive oil station was my favorite!! That store was great!

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