When we went up to the seacoast in May last year, the old truss bridge that for 88 years had spanned the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery, Maine had been torn down and a new one was under construction. Yesterday we saw that the new one was not only up and running but there was people walking across -- something I never saw with the old bridge. I don't know if there was no pedestrian walkway before or not, but the new bridge seemed to encourage people on foot or bicycle to cross the river and enjoy the gorgeous views of Portsmouth Harbor.
Like the old bridge, the new bridge is dedicated to the sailors and soldiers of New Hampshire who participated in WWI. They saved some slabs of granit from the old bridge and put them in a small Veterans Park just before the entrance of the bridge.
It was a beautiful day and we couldn't resist the call to cross and take in the views up the harbor towards the Piscataqua River bridge, which carries Interstate 95 into Maine. The mighty Piscataqua River is a tidal estuary that empties out into the Atlantic east of Portsmouth.
Oddly, on the other side of the bridge in Kittery, we found tied up to a little dock the Niña and the Pinta, or "the most authentic replicas" thereof (according to a sailor manning the parking lot) of Columbus' sailing ships that "discovered America." We didn't go on board.
The Memorial Bridge is still a working truss bridge, or lift bridge, and we had to wait before walking back while the counterweights dropped and the center span of bridge lifted to allow a sailboat with a tall mast to pass. It lifted again after we'd crossed back and watched from Prescott Park.
Anyway, it was a lovely, if too brief, visit to Portsmouth. We'll have to go back soon.
The sun was toasty, but the stiff breeze off the water cut right through. It takes a long time for the ocean to warm up, and it was not quite June yet - summer still officially 3 weeks away. Still, we'd taken the no. 9 bus from Copley Square out to City Point on a sunny Saturday and we were going to stay and enjoy the scenery.
The scenery is always magnificent -- windsurfers on Pleasure Bay, the blue harbor sparkling off Castle Island and dotted with white sails and ships, jets coming in low (and loud) to land just across the harbor at Logan airport (a magnificent view from the planes as well, as I remember well).
The bus ride out and back are ever fascinating, at least to us as we're complete tourists in Southie even though it's just another neighborhood of Boston. We took the no. 10 bus back, which like the no. 9 bus returns to Copley Square but by a different, slightly longer route, allowing us to gawk at locally famous (or infamous) sights and at the presence of big box stores just outside our usual tight city confines.
While out on Castle Island, we ate delicious hot dogs and french fries at Sullivan's take-out stand (est. 1951), a time-honored tradition though I'd never been before as there are usually long lines. But there was no wait as the summer hordes hadn't yet arrived. Then we walked around Fort Independence and back along the Harborwalk, skipping the causeway that seals a ring around Pleasant Bay because it was too chilly and we hadn't dressed warmly enough. We passed the old yacht clubs and then the Curley Community Center, formerly known as the L Street Bathhouse, built by then-mayer James Michael Curley in 1931 as a place for the city's working people to enjoy hot showers and recreation during hard times.
Finally, before heading back home, we stopped in at the Local 149 gastropub, one of the area's newer establishments catering to the young professional clientele moving in (and pricing out the old Irish working class). We'd been at the Local once before and loved it - great beer and excellent food. This time we each had a pint of good local craft beer and split an excellent pepperoni pizza (they had a limited menu as we were too late for brunch and too early for dinner). Then off to find the bus.