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October 18, 2012

New Hampshire – Monday, October 15

Since I had made up a couple of the miles we needed to walk today, we only had about 5 1/2 to go, plus one more donation, to finish up the state of New Hampshire. First I called the Seacoast Family Food Pantry to make sure they were open, and to see if there was anything in particular that was needed. They told me cereal and oatmeal and canned fruit would be great, plus healthy snacks. So I went shopping, and got a bunch of that stuff plus a couple other items. (The total for the food pantry was $56.08 and I used my remaining 50 cents in the parking meter in Portland!) Then I headed for downtown Portsmouth. I am not typically a big city sort of person, but I had read that it’s a historical city that in some ways is unchanged from the time it was built nearly 300 years ago. It’s right across the river from Maine. I’m so glad I came to town – Portsmouth charmed me from about the first step I took! The historical part of town (which is nearly all of it) was big, and full of solid 3-story brick buildings, many connected to each other, with 2 or 4 chimneys sprouting off each roof. There were lots of people out and about, and it’s a vibrant town full of fun little shops, cafes, galleries etc. One can only imagine the life and times this town has seen. One of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence came home from Philadelphia and planted a horse chestnut tree in 1776 and it’s still there! Lots of the sidewalks were brick and it was an easy town to walk around. Later I learned that this town came into existence with more of a commercial background (fishing) instead of the more typical religious background. Tula and I covered a couple miles walking all over downtown, then drove on a short ways and parked by a little neighborhood fish shop so we could get out and walk through one of the old neighborhoods. Again, it was fascinating to see homes that were built in the mid-1700s on a maze of narrow streets and the homes came nearly right up to the street. I like how many of them have little plaques saying when they were built and the name of the original owner. I also came upon a really old cemetery and some of the people buried there died in the 1600s – before America was even a country. Amazing.

Then we headed to the Seacoast Family Food Pantry. The 2 ladies there, Diane and Margie, were so supportive and excited about what I’m doing – they were appreciative for the food donation, and had some questions. I think if there had been room in the van for an extra person and a dog or 2, I’d have had some company! (I enjoyed meeting both of you – your reactions to my journey brightened an already bright day 🙂 Then I was off to the post office to mail the military care package that I had packed yesterday.

I enjoyed a quick drive through New Castle and was going to walk a little more, but the streets were so narrow and the houses came up within inches of them, that there was no room for walking! But I found a pretty trail at the other end of the little island – near a giant summer resort place that made me think of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. A little farther south, back on the beautiful wide beach from yesterday I wrapped up the New Hampshire walking. It was time to say goodbye to New Hampshire and Hello to Rhode Island…after yet another drive through Massachusetts. It was getting dark by the time I made it into Rhode Island – drove into the state at the town of Woonsocket…just because I liked the name! No time for walking tonight – the Rhode Island adventures will begin tomorrow.

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