I could have named this post “boats and blooms” because that’s about all I have to offer: this has been a working summer and I am running out of steam so no controversies, critiques or deep dives today. Just boats and flowers. We were up in York Harbor for the weekend and as usual, I bypassed the beach for Portsmouth. I just can’t stay away from that city: it was always the perfect place for me when I was growing up and I moved to Salem because it reminded me of Portsmouth but was a bit closer to Boston. Now it has become my anti- or ideal Salem: without witch kitsch and with smooth brick sidewalks. This year, Portsmouth is particularly festive because it is celebrating its 400th anniversary, and there were tall ships in the harbor, along with the usual display of exuberant gardens, shops, and architecture.
Back home, my father’s plentiful display of bee balm was kind of picked-over by all the hummingbirds it attracts, but still deserves honorable mention. And I never miss the gardens at Stonewall Kitchen’s flagship store in York.
And now for the boats! Something absolutely wonderful happened as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning: a windy storm came in and blew away all of the humidity that we’ve been living with for the past month. I know it’s nothing compared to the extreme conditions that other parts of the country are experiencing, but wow, Sunday felt like a whole new world. We decided to celebrate by going out on a sunset cruise of Portsmouth Harbor on the Piscataqua, a reproduction of a nineteenth-century gundalow, a coasting barge with a distinctive lanteen sail: it always looks medieval to me in the harbor! We sailed past the visiting NAO Trinidad, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (which is in Kittery, Maine), Fort Constitution in NH, Fort McClary in Maine and out to Wood Island, with a companion privateer, the Mystic, for the last leg.