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One of my favorite childhood books was Ox-Cart Man written by Donald Hall and beautifully illustrated by Barbara Cooney.  The story is so, so satisfying: The journey made by a farmer to Portsmouth NH to sell the goods he and his family made and grew the year before.  I love to read this story to my kids almost as much as I loved hearing it when I was little.  I always think of it when we travel back to visit family in Portsmouth.

A few of the places I try not to miss when we visit Portsmouth:

Byrne and Carlson– Handmade chocolate that is as beautiful as it is delicious.  I love their candied flower chocolate bars and I cannot believe the chipotle bar survived the ride home without me eating it in secret so I wouldn’t have to share.

Gus and Ruby Letterpress -How I love letterpress!  This new shop carries gifts as well as letterpress goods.  We found some stripey straws and twine for Josie’s upcoming birthday.

Warren’s Lobster House – This is technically in Kittery, ME but is only a hop over the bridge.  The decor alone is worth the trip (diorama of knots and hooked rug lobster sign for example).  The seafood is large and fresh and the clam chowder is the best!

Strawberry Banke Museum– Portsmouth just like the Ox-Cart Man days.