Here is North Church, here is its steeple,
Portsmouth in summer has lots of people. Especially on a Saturday night.
Date Night in our favorite small city.
We lucked into the last two seats at the bar at Jumpin’ Jays Fish Cafe. John, keeping it local, ordered a Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale. Savoring summer and fresh seafood ahead, I ordered a glass of Portuguese vinho verde. Light, faintly effervescent and delicious! (I forget the name – I’d better go back.)
Then we shared a couple of appetizers for our meal.
Steamed PEI Mussels (House Specialty)
With a ginger saffron cream, lemongrass, scallions, jalapeños, tomatoes, garlic, shallots & fines herbs. 12-
Crispy Fried Oysters
Oysters tossed in Panko, lightly seasoned & fried. Served over dressed greens with a tomato wasabi remoulade. 10-
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Jumpin’ Jays is justifiably popular with foodie locals. Rates as a Taste of the Seacoast Top Ten this month, and most months.
A walk back along Market Street, pausing with scores of other city saunterers at Pleasant Street for some free outdoor music – Summer in the Street – courtesy of Pro Portsmouth. Children danced and ran around in front of a small band playing Texas swing type music. Nice!
For dessert, a pint of beer each standing up near the bar at the pleasantly yet not unbearably crowded Ri Ra Irish Pub, where “football” was on the telly. “More soccer?!” said John, exasperatedly, but then got into a cheery conversation about it with the bartender. Apparently teams like Manchester United and the Celtic Football Club are playing in the States right now, and attracting lots of fans.
There is almost too many kinds of delicious beer on tap at Ri Ra, but it’s the roasty red ale Smithwick’s for me when I’m in an Irish beer mood and it’s available.
Then we walked a downtown loop past shops and restaurants, with the great steeple of North Church illuminated and popping into view here and there, and more music coming from the Deck behind the Portsmouth Gaslight and a few surreptitious street performers. A walk by the river back to our car, at a garage near the bridge, then a drive the long way home, past the ocean on quiet Route 1A.
Windows open, it began to rain lightly. We saw the full moon behind ragged clouds. We noticed that the tide was up. And I had an amazing revelation.
“I know the moon makes the tides, but it wasn’t until just this moment in my long and reasonably well-educated life that I really just understood that the moon location tells you the tide, and vice versa.”
“You just figured that out?”
“So, when we go to watch the full moon rise over the water, the tide is ALWAYS going to be also rising. And when the moon is overhead, the tide is high. Well, maybe with some lag time.”
“You are seriously just realizing this? You have a degree in Geography.”
“I know I ‘knew’ it, officially, in words on paper, but I never really knew it. Till now.”
Moon in sky, we cruised over the low bridge that separates Rye Harbor from the great, green Awcomin Marsh and we could smell and hear and see and feel the flood of briny ocean coming in. Magical, really.