thoughts from New England

Portsmouth, NH and baby portability July 27, 2006

Filed under: baby,beer,eat & drink,fatherhood,food,vacation — tim @ 1:51 am

portsmouth brewery

So on Sunday night we headed up to Augusta, Maine as I had some work to do up there. Since H was still on maternity leave, we made it into a mini-vacation. On the way home we decided to stop off in Portsmouth, NH for a rest stop which turned into a scenic tour of historic downtown Portsmouth. Portsmouth is colonial in the truest New England sense — the houses are close together on cobblestone streets with the feeling that you’ll run into an olde timey sea captain around any given corner — which is my kind of city. It reminded me a lot of Salem, MA but without the kitchy witchcraft stuff.

We parked in one of the many huge downtown parking garages and headed down the main street towards the square. The streets are narrow with high buildings and Lil Pumpkin rode w/H in the Bjorn, which I need to plug as the greatest baby carrier a man could ask for, but that’s another entry. We had the Portsmouth Brewery in our sights as I’ve heard much about their crafty brews and wanted to taste for myself. They are also responsible for the oft-hailed (but personally under-sampled) Smuttynose Brewing Company, so needless to say I was excited. There was not much of a wait for the patio so we decided to take in the salty evening air on their enclosed patio.

What a great idea! The ambiance was perfect, and Pumpkin was able to sit comfortably in the Bjorn during our stay. I tried the Altbier first — a great choice for a hot summer’s day. H had the Cream Ale and enjoyed it as well. We both chose some decent pub fare (burger for me, salad & chowder for H) and relaxed in the evening. Since I wasn’t driving back, I enjoyed a Saison with my meal. Not as good as Harpoon‘s 100 Barrel Series Saison, but delicious nonetheless. It was a great ending to a great day. I picked up a pair of pint glasses to add to my collection — a Portsmouth and a Smutty!
One thing that I realized on this trip is just how much time babies add to your travel time. They need to be fed, burped, coddled, and changed. They will not always sleep when you want them to, and often times they will just freak out for no reason. We had fed her pretty well before leaving Portsmouth but she still had a meltdown between there and Hooksett (about a 45 minute drive). We pulled off at Target in Hooksett and performed some quick diaper changing (in my favorite spot — on the hood of the car!) and even though she bopped her head on the car door while I was holding her, she ended up okay. She’s become quite the squrimer in recent days — we bought her a handy-wrap swaddling blanket so she’d stay in it — not bloody likely. The EZ Swaddler works better than a blanket, but she still manages to pull a Houdini and get her feet and arms out of the blanket.

The other thing I realized on this trip is how much crap babies need — diapers, pumps, bottle equipment, clothes, swings, you name it. We decided to take the “travel swing” — what an oxymoron. That thing is so awkward, so cumbersome, it’s only worth travelling from your living room to the other side of the living room. It can’t easily fold up into a good shape to fit into a car unless you have a Gigandor SUV…oh wait, there’s our problem. Our car isn’t big enough to hold more crap.

It was a good thing we had this little getaway because we are now able to assess this and see how we can further streamline our travel before our upcoming trip to California!


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