The skies seemed threatening as I drove down to Somerville from Amesbury early in the afternoon on Sunday. Clear sky from earlier in the day had been replaced by haze and a lot of humidity. I drove down the streets of Somerville and after a little detour due to a closed bridge I found Jen's apartment building. As always when going to a new place I approached with trepidation, but it was clear which apartment was hers and which doorbell I had to ring. She came down the stairs and invited me upstairs while she finished getting ready. The apartment was nice, very spacious and also clean and neat. She ran around grabbing some things before we walked out towards the car. I told her I had narrowed down the afternoon to two places: Rockport or Portsmouth. She had been to each place once so I made the decision to go to the one I was more familiar with, Portsmouth. I found my way back to the highway and we headed northward.
The car ride passed quickly mostly due to the constant and interesting conversation we had going on. It was never one sided and we each took turns telling stories about whatever the current subject happened to be. Once we were in Seabrook I got off of 95 and drove back roads to Hampton Beach. I skipped the strip and turned left on to 1A up the coast. After being in the car for almost an hour we pulled over along the North Hampton wall to check out the surfers. There were dozens of them out there riding the smallest waves I have ever seen. It was entertaining to watch, but seemed like a waste of time for them and not like to much fun. We jumped back in the car and continued up the coast. Jen was really impressed by the big houses and was truly in awe at some of th mansions along the way. I made sure to point out the site of the first TransAtlantic cable, as any good tour guide would do.
Finally we made it to Odiorne Point State Park and parked in the free parking on the south side. I switched to my flip flops since I wasn't driving anymore and we headed out to the beach. Jen introduced me to the new beach activity of looking for wishing stones, which are stones with bands that go all the way around. Needless to say I was terrible at finding these so-called wishing stones. She helped confirm that most of my alleged stones were in fact not official. Eventually I did find a few and kept them stored away in my pocket. We slowly made our way around the shore and stopped along the way to enjoy the scenery. Instead of walking along the rocky beach ahead we turned inland and walked through the forest. It seemed like a good idea until we were attacked by hundreds of mosquitoes. We trudged on despite the constant biting and made our way to the bunkers. It was eerie looking into the darkness and while the flash of my camera helped to light the rooms, it was still a bit creepy. The chilly air drifting out of them only added to the surreal scene under the giant concrete structure. We left the bunkers and made it to the north end of the park, where a stone jetty juts out into the middle of the harbor.
The sun was still shining down as we began the walk out towards the end of the jetty. A bunch of people were out fishing, but as we walked by they packed there gear up for the day. The air had a stickiness to it, that you can only find at the beach on a mid summer afternoon. After some tricky footwork towards the end of the jetty, we finally made it to the end. The sun was beginning its descent towards the horizon and cast a beautiful reflection on the small harbor of sail boats. We stopped and just admired the beauty of the spot and thought about how lucky we were that the forecasted rain never arrived. I put my arms around her as we both gazed towards the slowly setting sun. It felt good to be sharing such a wonderful moment with her. After a few minutes, Jen wanted to make her wishes. So we turned towards the sea while she carefully came up with the wording for her wish. When she was ready she lobbed the rock gently into the ocean and made her wish before it hit the water. I found a snail and decided it was somewhat of a wishing snail since it had a band all the way around its shell. I tossed it into the water and made a wish of my own.
We made it off of the jetty and walked back along the seashore, because neither of us wanted to deal with the mosquitoes again. It was a longer walk, but as always seems to be the case there was a lot to talk about. We stopped along the way and just looked out to sea together. The afternoon just kept getting better and better. She kept spotting pieces of sea glass, while we were walking around. I could barely see it in her hand and she was picking it out from among hundreds of tiny rocks. We made it back to the Science Center where I saw a ground hog running around. Of course I quickly pulled out my camera and snuck up to him and grabbed a few snapshots. After he had run away we made our way back to the car. It had been such a beautiful walk, but we were beginning to get hungry.
There was one more place I wanted to stop before dinner so instead of taking the quick route, I drove out onto good ol' Route 1B and we stopped at a park overlooking Portsmouth Harbor. The view was unbelievable and I was able to show her how the lighthouse we saw from Odiorne was actually an island. It was a quick stop, but definitely an important part of any tour along Seacoast NH. By this point I was extremely hungry and drove to Margarita's as fast as I could. It had been over a year since I had eaten there and it did not disappoint. We both sipped Corona's and enjoy the amazing hot salsa and chips. Our main course arrived and for the first time all afternoon we stopped talking and enjoyed our meals. After dinner we considered ice cream at Ben and Jerry's but were still full from dinner, so we passed on that idea. The drive back down the coast was peaceful and different since now it was a little bit darker and the lights of Hampton are kind of beautiful at night. To complete the experience we did make one trip around the Hampton Beach strip, it certainly didn't disappoint. We ended our jaunt along the seacoast with a quick trip down to the end of the Salisbury Reservation before going back inland to the highway.
As soon as we turned on to the highway the rain began coming down. The rain immediately changed the topic to the weather and we ended up talking about thunderstorms and I confessed to Jen that I was afraid of lightning. It reminded me of a small clip of a rainstorm at the end of Christmas Song, so I put the CD in and played it through until the ended. Next I put on the thunderstorm version of Two Step from Giants Stadium and we listened to it for the rest of the ride. At around 9:30 we pulled up outside her house in Somerville. It had been over seven hours since we left on this wonderful adventure and I didn't want it to end. She thanked me for a wonderful time and asked if I wanted to come upstairs briefly since I had been driving for such a long time. It was the perfect ending to a fun, long and fantastic date.