An Insider’s Guide to Coastal New Hampshire and Southern Maine

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Last week, we shared our Insider’s Guide to Boston on Seacoast Lately, and today we have Maggie Sutherland sharing her favorite things about living along the New England coast.

How did you start Seacoast Lately? What is the inspiration behind the blog?

Seacoast Lately officially launched in May 2015. I worked in New York City in the fashion industry doing social media and blogging and fell in love with the world of blogging. This past summer, New England was calling me home and I wanted to start something of my own…Seacoast Lately was born!

I’m always inspired by the beautiful New Hampshire and Maine coasts and the creative, enthusiastic people who make these small seaside towns buzz.

Have you always loved the seacoast? Did you grow up by the coast?

Yes! I was born and raised on the seacoast and the ocean has always had a special place in my heart. It wasn’t until I moved away that I truly realized how blessed I was to call this little east coast paradise home. It is such a special place.

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Do you have a favorite place in coastal Maine or New Hampshire to visit?

I have lots of favorites! Around the seacoast, I love walking along Jenness Beach in Rye, and spending time in downtown Portsmouth and Kittery Foreside. During the summer, I find it exciting to stroll the bustling streets of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit and downtown Kennebunkport.

What is the best indoor activity?

I am a big fan of tours! I really enjoy the Smuttynose Brewery Tour in Hampton, New Hampshire and taking frequent trips to the Stonewall Kitchen headquarters in York, Maine (they have free samples). If you’re into theatre, film, or music, The Music Hall always has something wonderful going on!

Favorite way to stay active?

In the summer, paddle boarding through the back channels, surfing at Long Sands Beach in York, and biking into town are my favorites!

In the winter it’s so fun to snowshoe along the water at Odiorne State Park in Rye and skating at Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke in downtown Portsmouth!

Do you have a favorite season? If so, why? If not, why are they all great? :)

There’s something extra special about summer on the seacoast – the businesses, visitors, and locals are all bustling and everyone appreciates the ocean and beautiful weather.

It’s also hard to beat fall in New England so, in my opinion, that’s a close second. Apple picking, hiking, foliage…I love it all!

Winter and spring here are wonderful, too! I especially love the holiday season in Portsmouth and I am a big skier – Sunday River is my all-time favorite.

If you were playing tourist in your own region, what are three things you would do? 

Great question!

First, I think the Heritage Boat Cruise is a must! It gives a unique perspective of the seacoast and depending on the cruise you choose, you can learn a lot about the area or just enjoy a beautiful sunset on the water.

Secondly, whenever I go somewhere, I love to walk with no direction, get the lay of the land and just explore the area. Downtown Portsmouth and Kittery Foreside are both fabulous for wandering and popping into shops and historic side streets. Kennebunkport and Portland, Maine are perfect for this, too!

And thirdly, get outside! Every season has different outdoor activities to offer, which is one of the many reasons I’m in love with New England. There is access to every water sport you can imagine. Summer Sessions and Liquid Dreams offer surf lessons while Portsmouth Kayak and Portsmouth Paddle Co. give tours in the back channels. Hiking and skiing are just a short drive away and Putnam’s Ski & Snowboard Shop and the Kittery Trading Post will have you outfitted from head to toe and ready for any winter sport!

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What’s the best sweet treat in the seacoast area? What do you get? 

I think you’ve asked the right person! Here are my all time favorites: every flavor from Rococo Artisan Ice Cream in Kennebunkport, Cowgirl Cookies from Beach Pea, and chocolate macarons from La Maison Navarre. And everyone goes absolutely crazy for the crullers at Lil’s…a must!

Favorite place for a drink?

Nothing beats watching the sun set over the Piscataqua while sipping a coconut margarita at Poco’s. On a cold, cozy night, I love going to The Wallingford in Kittery or SALT Kitchen & Bar in New Castle.

Best coffee shop? How do you take your coffee?

I’m an iced latte gal year-round. After carefully assessing the seacoast coffee scene, Lil’s and La Maison Navarre have both won my heart for best latte!

What’s a cool tour to go on?

I’m kind of a history nerd and I love touring the historic homes. My favorite is the Moffatt-Ladd House.

Is there an up-and-coming area that we should keep our eye on?

Yes! The West End of Portsmouth – it’s pretty happening! My favorite places in that neck of the woods include White Heron Tea, Making Faces, Weekender House, Papa Wolf Supply Co., and STREET!

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What is your favorite beach?

I like Ogunquit Beach because it makes me feel like I’m on vacation!  And it’s gorgeous.

Favorite lighthouse? Where is the best view?

I love the Portsmouth Harbor Light in New Castle. On weekends in the summer, you can take in a history lesson and even go up to the top to take in stunning views of the New Hampshire and Maine coast.

My favorite views in the seacoast are from The Marginal Way in Ogunquit – the cliffs dropping down to the crashing waves are breathtaking.

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Do you like seafood? What is your favorite?

LOVE IT! Hands down, Row 34 in Portsmouth for the best seafood. For a more family-friendly, ‘just got off the beach’ kind of place, The Ice House in Rye is fried seafood perfection. I love both!

Best ice cream?

Rococo Artisan Ice Cream in Kennebunkport…amazing. They serve up the most inventive flavors and the quality is top notch.

What is your favorite part about living where you do? Is it the people, the access to the coastline, or something different all together?

All of the above! The people really make this area such an amazing place to live. Here we are chock full of genuinely nice, creative, happy people here that really care about the community and appreciate living where we do. Access to the coast is incredible. Sometimes, I feel almost too lucky…

You also can’t beat the location – only an hour from Portland and Boston and so close to the mountains and beach. It’s really an east coast paradise!

Do you have a favorite local business or entrepreneur that we should know about? What are they doing that’s so cool?

There are so many, it’s crazy! I never knew just how much was going on here until I started Seacoast Lately – I am truly blown away. I try to meet a with a local business or entrepreneur each week and write about them on the blog. I find it fascinating all the businesses that are headquartered here, too, like Quiet Home Paints, Grain Surfboards, Stonewall Kitchen, Cole Haan, L.L. Bean…just to name a few!

Tell us a bit more about Seacoast Lately, the blog. What type of posts can people expect to see? What are your favorite kinds of posts to write?

I love talking with entrepreneurs and local businesses owners around the seacoast. The passion for what they do is inspiring. There is usually at least one of these local features per week. I really enjoy working with other bloggers (like The Boston Day Book!) and getting an insider’s perspective on where they live.

One of my favorite things to do is to take day trips and weekend getaways throughout New England – you can find some travel guides on the blog, too!

Thanks, Maggie! We’re ready for a trip up the coast, now! Hop on over to Seacoast Lately and check out all the cool things happening in Maine and New Hampshire. For more awesome places to visit, check out our post on a day trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a weekend getaway to Kennebunkport, and further up the coast, a trip to Camden, Maine.

Image credit: Maggie Sutherland

2 comments

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  1. Maggie says:

    Thank you so much, Natalie and Laura!!! It is a true honor to be featured by such wonderful people and a fabulous blog;).