Strawberry Banke

Among the many things that I learned this weekend, and it turned out to be a real learnin’ time, I found out that Portsmouth was originally called Strawberry Banke. The reason was that when the settlers arrived in 1630, there were masses of wild strawberries all over.  Then they decided that a shipping and business hub needed to have a more ‘professional’ name and so changed it to Portsmouth. I actually like the name Strawberry Banke better. 

Anyhoo, back in the 1950s when urban renewal was  in, all of the old buildings in the Puddle Dock area were going to be torn down for new construction. This was the oldest neighborhood in Portsmouth. A group of people bought the 10 acres of the property and have been working on restoring all of the old buildings and created the outdoor museum complex of Strawberry Banke.

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There are 36 buildings and they left all the buildings were they stood except for several homes that were moved from another site to be saved from demolition, like the Governor Goodwin mansion.

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Can you believe a developer was going to tear this down?   😯  Unbelievable. It was saved and brought to Strawberry Banke.  They restored it to period pieces of the late 1700s, I believe.

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Including an old kitchen.  Pretty spacious, too!

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They also recreated his wife’s garden based upon her writing, including a greehouse with period plants.

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Of course, I had to find the resident kitteh! His name was George? and he was very friendly.

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Each of the houses was different in terms of what year it was brought back to look like.  Some buildings were left as is to show building construction. Some were done in older periods.

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Some were relatively newer.

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There was the general store, which was stocked as it would be in the 1940s.

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Several of the places had period characters that would describe life in the time period they were in, including the grocer who told us about the rationing and how hard it was to get certain foods like butter and milk.  

The nice thing about Strawberry Banke is that your admission ticket is good for 2 days. So, we saw some on Saturday and then went back Sunday morning.  It was neat because we were there right when it opened on Sunday and got pretty much private talks, which was neat!

Demonstrations also were done like blacksmithing, gardening, weaving and cooking.

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We went to a weaving cottage and saw all the old machinery.

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We were the only ones there, so the guide let us take a chance on the small looms.

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That was fun, but I don’t see me wanting to buy a loom. 😀

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BTW, the flags were to designate which buildings were open for visitors that day.  Some buildings are still being restored. Definitely a very good place to visit. Admission was $17.50, although we saved $3 with a coupon.  It’s nice having the option of going both days.

Bye Portsmouth!  We enjoyed our weekend!

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22 thoughts on “Strawberry Banke

  1. debby

    How nice that you had such a nice time on your getaway! This reminds me a little of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont that I visited when I was there. I think either the old buildings were there, or they were moved there, but it just looks similar to me.

    Now that I have internet, I am going to go back and read your previous entry and look at the pictures!!
    debby´s last blog post ..AIM: The Organized Approach

  2. Helen

    What a great find. If I ever get up there I’m going to go see this place! It sort of reminds me of Old Sturbridge Village – you’d enjoy that too if you haven’t been there.

    Those blue skies tell me you had some good weather too. Can’t ask for more than that!
    Helen´s last blog post ..Change Your Story

  3. Kate

    Thanks for sharing your visit. It seems like a really interesting place to visit. I love the view of the store showing all the products that would have been on the shelves at the time. It’s a nice glimpse into the lives of folks at the time.

  4. Ali @ Peaches and Football

    I love the name of Strawberry Banke! We have a little place in Green Bay called Heritage Hill and it’s the exact same thing. They have all the old buildings and they have people that walk around in costume and explain different processes. It’s big during this time of year because there are lots of school field trips there. We were looking at having our wedding there because there would have been tons of fun photo ops – but ultimately wanted a place where people didn’t have to eat off of Styrofoam plates using plastic forks. 🙂
    Ali @ Peaches and Football´s last blog post ..Ongoing Projects

  5. L

    Loved seeing these pics of Portsmouth. My DIL worked for a summer at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mummford, NY. She wore period clothing and gave demonstrations. It was fun to have a tour of the GCVM while she worked there. So interesting to learn about our past from organizations that provide a local slice of life way back when. Thanks for sharing your weekend, Lori.

    https://www.gcv.org/

  6. Linda E.

    Now I would love to go there. So beautiful and quaint, just how I wished we could live, to a point.

  7. Biz

    I’ve never been that far Northeast before – love all the pics – and I can’t believe they wanted to tear down that building – crazy!

  8. Fran

    Oh man, how much I love this! I’m glad they didn’t destroy it, they do that way too often these days and replace it with ugly modern buildings. I think we have an outdoor museum here too where everything is brought back to how it was. I have never been there, and I realize now why: no dogs allowed and I prefer to do things where Bella can come.

    Thanks for sharing, I loved it.

    1. Lori Post author

      Modern will be historical at some point. Hard to fathom, which is why we need to be careful what gets torn down just because it seems outdated.

  9. Jeannie/Qlts2Slo

    Sure is fun to live vicariously thru other’s trips! Michigan’s similar historical outdoor attraction is Greenfield Village. I haven’t been in many, many years, but this made me want to go again.

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