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HomeI-95 AttractionsStrawbery Banke - Portsmouth, NH

Strawbery Banke – Portsmouth, NH

A captivating journey back in time

Strawbery Banke is an outdoor history museum located in the South End historic district of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire to be settled by Europeans, and the earliest neighborhood remaining in the present-day city of Portsmouth. It features dozens of restored buildings built between the 17th and 19th centuries in the Colonial, Georgian, and Federal style architectures. The buildings once clustered around a waterway known as Puddle Dock, which was filled in around 1900. Today the former waterway appears as a large open space.

This open-air museum is a captivating journey back in time, offering visitors a glimpse into the lives of early American settlers and the evolution of this charming coastal community.

Strawbery Banke History

The neighborhood’s history goes back to 1630, when Captain Walter Neale chose the area to build a settlement, naming it after the wild strawberries growing along the Piscataqua River. Strawbery Banke existed as a neighborhood for a little over three centuries from 1630 to the late 1950s. The neighborhood’s buildings were saved from 1950s urban renewal by the efforts of a large group of historic preservationists. Strawbery Banke opened as a museum in 1965.

Strawbery Banke | I-95 Exit Guide
A view of Jefferson Street within the Strawbery Banke historic district, Portsmouth

Preserving the Past

What sets Strawbery Banke apart is its commitment to preserving the architectural and cultural heritage of the past. Visitors can wander through a collection of over 30 meticulously restored buildings, each offering a window into a different era. From Colonial-style homes to Georgian mansions, the architecture reflects the changing tastes and lifestyles of the people who called Strawbery Banke home.

The museum’s dedication to authenticity is evident in the period gardens that surround the historic structures. These meticulously maintained gardens showcase the plants and flowers that would have graced the landscape centuries ago, adding a touch of natural beauty to the historical ambiance.

Immersive Experiences

Strawbery Banke goes beyond static displays by providing immersive experiences that transport visitors to bygone eras. Costumed interpreters, portraying characters from different time periods, engage visitors in lively conversations and demonstrations, offering a deeper understanding of daily life in early America. Whether it’s a blacksmith crafting tools or a colonial housewife sharing culinary secrets, these interpreters breathe life into history.

Strawbery Banke | I-95 Exit Guide
Photo Credit: New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism

One of the highlights is the Shapiro House, a time capsule from the 20th century. Preserved in its mid-century splendor, this house allows visitors to step into the post-World War II era, complete with authentic furnishings and décor. It’s a unique opportunity to witness the evolution of lifestyles and design over the decades.

Community Engagement

Beyond its role as a historical site, Strawbery Banke plays an active role in the local community. The museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from traditional craft fairs to historical reenactments. These events not only entertain but also educate, fostering a sense of connection between the past and the present.

The annual Vintage & Vine event, for example, combines the region’s rich maritime history with its culinary delights. Visitors can savor local flavors, explore historic gardens, and even participate in traditional dances, creating an experience that stimulates all the senses.

Strawbery Banke | I-95 Exit Guide
Ice Skating at Strawbery Banke | I-95 Exit Guide

Planning Your Visit

If you’re planning a visit to Strawbery Banke, be sure to allocate enough time to fully immerse yourself in its rich tapestry of history. Guided tours are available, providing in-depth insights into the stories behind each building and the people who once walked these historic streets.

The museum is open seasonally, allowing visitors to enjoy the changing seasons as they explore the outdoor exhibits. From the blooming flowers of spring to the vibrant hues of autumn, each season adds a unique charm to the Strawbery Banke experience.

The Details

Strawbery Banke
14 Hancock Street
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801
Telephone: (603) 433-1100

Hours of Operation
Weekdays: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Weekends and holidays: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Daily: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Weekdays: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Weekends and holidays: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Adults (18-64): $23.00
Senior (65+)/Student: $21.00
Child (ages 5-17): $10.00
Child (under 5): Free
Family (2 Adults & Children): $56.00

From I-95 north and south: Take I-95 north or south to exit 7 (Market Street). Continue east on Market Street to Bow Street. Take a left onto Bow Street, then right onto Chapel Street, then left onto State Street, an right onto Marcy Street, then right onto Hancock Street. Strawbery Banke is on your right.

Strawbery Banke is so much more than a museum; it’s a journey through time. It’s a place where history comes to life, and visitors can connect with the past in a meaningful and engaging way. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and educational outing, Strawbery Banke is a must-visit destination that promises to leave a lasting impression.

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  1. Strawberry Banke is really nice in the spring and summer when everything is in bloom. Fall is a special time here too! Winter… not so much.


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