Hiking and Downtown Portsmouth, NH

Yesterday was a fun day from beginning to end. We woke up early, fueled up on coffee (mine was a BREWED cannoli flavor from a local place), and headed up to our hike in Portsmouth, NH, with my fitness buddy and fellow hiking enthusiast. Actually, it’s because of her that I started hiking, and she might be reading this since I finally remembered to send her the link to the blog! So, hi Fitness Buddy! Our hike was at a place called the Urban Forestry Center, which is a few streets off downtown Portsmouth. It has a little marsh, several buildings (and clean, heated bathrooms, hallelujah) and little areas that demonstrate landscaping, composting, etc, for anyone interested in learning about that. It was before noon, cloudy and gray, and really cold. The “map” provided in the little mailbox near the offices wasn’t so much a trail map as a drawing of the whole place, and the little numbered markers on another map we found near the Arboretum weren’t well explained, either.

We still managed to make it a good hike, though, an hour or two of walking around in the woods and just chatting and catching up. Dan took the lead and led us all over the woods, stopping to examine the little streams and a waterfall. We saw the small graveyard that contained the family whose property the center was built on (and the road it is on is named for them, Elwyn, I think), and ran into several friendly dogs and other hikers while walking.

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It was literally “urban” because if you walked to the edge, you hit a busy road and ended up behind a church and a McDonalds. We decided there should be a hot chocolate cart walking around for bitterly cold mornings like that one! My friend and I got in several yoga posing shots on the little bridges, while Dan opted to slink away because he doesn’t like being photographed.

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By the end of the hike, we were completely ready to drive the few miles to the Portsmouth Brewery and have our lunch! It was actually the last day of the city’s “Restaurant Week,” so we opted for a three course fixed menu that came with a three-beer sampler of the brewers’ choice!

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I had the butternut squash soup (vegetarian and no cream! They’re very conscious of vegetarians and vegans in Portsmouth. They also love walking and yoga. I’d LOVE to live there someday), the seafood skewer, and the coconut-pecan pie for dessert. The soup was so thick and awesome, the skewer was shrimp and scallops with a spicy drizzle (and came with a spicy fruit salad and jasmine rice), and the pie…oh the pie…I can’t talk about how amazing that was. The beers went dark to light, and our favorite was definitely the oatmeal stout. The waitress brought us another sample of an even darker beer with a higher alcohol content, which was awesome, too, but we opted to order full pints of the oatmeal. Dan got a pastrami sandwich, fries, and a pickle, and an IPA. His mood change was amazing when his food came out. He was chatty, happy, and totally different. I told him I was going to start keeping an emergency sandwich in my purse at all times.

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After lunch, which filled us to the brim, we crossed the bridge into Maine and did some outlet shopping in Kittery. My friend got a great deal on new running shoes, and I picked up a dress and some basics from Old Navy. We were all pooped when we got back home, and Dan and I didn’t eat anything for several hours after we got back. I ended up making us a light dinner smoothie because he said he was thirsty. This is my recipe (which I think came in a little under 200 per serving):

Berry-Pear-Banana Smoothie
(makes 2 servings)

1/2 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/2 cup mixed berry antioxidant blend
1/2 Bosc pear
1 banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
5 ice cubes

Blend until smooth!

It was a little seedy, but I’ll keep working on the original recipes until they’re perfect!

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This morning, I made Dan his bagel, egg, and turkey bacon breakfast sandwich with his fancy Cotswolds cheese, per his request. I opted to have some Coconut Flour Pancakes, with half a bosc pear layered between and on top of them, and a drizzle of sugar-free syrup on top. Filling and delicious!

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If the sun ever comes out, I might try and convince Dan to go for a walk around the lake nearby so we can say we exercised today. It’s so cloudy and gray again, though, what is up with this weather?! I guess my closing thoughts for this post are: GET UP TO PORTSMOUTH if you’re able! It is a haven of healthy, fresh seafood, vegetarian and vegan-friendly establishments, scenic walks, quaint shops, and happy people. Not to mention LOCAL CRAFT BEER! Oh, and by the way? That three course lunch was only $16.95! Still dreaming of the pie. Next weekend, I’ve got a 3-mile walk for charity with my Fitness Buddy, and the following weekend is our first Sox game of the season! This is the time of year when everything kicks into overdrive, but I love it! Happy Sunday!

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