Strawbery Banke Fairy Houses

It’s an annual event for locals and visitors whether you have children, grandchildren or not. It seems everyone and their neighbor attends and/or participates in the world’s largest tour of fairy houses in Portsmouth NH each September.

This year, over 200 houses were made by individuals and a variety of organizations…. schools, artists, florists, garden clubs, families, children, businesses, and more. We had a map in hand to identify and guide us but eventually it was the grandchildren who set the pace on this HOT afternoon. We just had to keep up with two little ones as they ‘flew’ through all the displays.

Strawbery Banke Fairy Houses

Mother Nature provided the makings of each house with stumps and sticks, leaves and pine cones, shells and sand, rocks and pebbles, grass and moss, gourds and seed pods, bark, and fantastic imaginations. Some houses were dainty and and some were taller than the children who were admiring them. Peeking in the windows was half the fun.

Strawbery Banke Fairy House 2017

Rules were QUIET VOICES to not disturb the fairies and NO TOUCHING the houses, the latter rule we heard repeated by adults over and over as we toured… of course, to these two as well. The temptation was too great!

Here and there along the tour, we met lovely life-size fairies to the delight of little ones and parents alike. What a photo op!

Strawberry Banke Fairy Houses 2017

Other entertainment included ice skating performances on this sizzling afternoon and a gigantic bubble blowing machine that sent our grandchildren scurrying afar in the heat and haze to catch them.  I stood in the shade and watched….

Chasing bubbles! Strawbery Banke Fairy Houses 2017

Naturally we indulged in cotton candy and checked out wings, lace, and taffeta or tulle for the 14th annual event in 2018.

The Portsmouth Garden Club won the first prize blue ribbon for their “Scary Fairy Scream House” that was too adorable to scare us at all. Kudos to the club for this creative and clever creation!

Scary Fairy Scream House

First Blizzard of 2014

Portsmouth NHA blizzard is on the way for New Hampshire tonight. I always check the live webcam in Portsmouth NH to see updated conditions in the area. It’s a beautiful sight right now with traffic and street lights. Click on the photo to enlarge it and get the full appreciation of a snowy city with motorists hurrying home for the night.

The camera snaps a photo every couple of minutes on Market Square. This scene was captured at 4:30 p.m., just minutes ago.

We are snug and warm and staying home overnight. Tomorrow we are supposed to be keeping our daughter’s pooch as she and her family are scheduled to fly to Michigan to visit her in-laws. Somehow I don’t think that will happen…

Happy Bridge Day!

Visible from the bridge, the sign, “Happy Bridge Day!” sums up the party atmosphere at the opening of the new $81.4 million Memorial Bridge linking Portsmouth NH with Kittery ME. Sister cities in two states were reunited yesterday and it felt good.

It was a time for the two communities to celebrate the teamwork it took to secure the federal grant for the nineteen-month bridge building project.  Following dignitary speeches and the ribbon cutting by 95-year old  Eileen Foley who cut the 1923 Memorial Bridge ribbon when she was just 5-years old, hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclers from each state passed each other as they made the trek across the bridge over the Piscataqua River.

The WalkMassive chains and concrete counterweights balance the weight of 64 cables that lift the center span of the bridge. As the span is raised the counterweights descend.

Designed by Ted Zoli, structural engineer with HNTB Corportation, is very well-known in the world of bridges for combining structural integrity with bold and elegant designs. The Memorial Bridge is the first non-gusset truss bridge in the world, the first to incorporate cold bending of steel and the first to have the machine rooms beneath the bridge. In designing the bridge, he honored the past by reflecting the look of the original 1923 bridge designed by John Alexander Low Waddell.

Steve DelGrosso, project manager of Archer Western Contractors, his crew, subcontractors, and DOT workers were big a part of the celebration, many of whom worked 140-hours a week for the past month to complete the project by the August 8 Bridge Opening Ceremony.

News crews were on display….

… along with numerous dogs, some vocal,

… perhaps just singing to the nearby brass band.

Brass BandSome of the strongest advocates for the connection to Maine were the cyclists, plenty of whom were on hand to show their appreciation and to entertain the crowds.

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Maine and New Hampshire residents were temporarily divided again during a bridge opening for…

… the lobster boat, Amy Michele, that traveled beneath the bridge on her way to the Atlantic. The lift went off without a hitch to hearty applause from onlookers.

IMG_5491After visiting Maine, we turned and walked the short distance back to the historic city of Portsmouth. What a day!

From Kittery ME to Portsmouth NH