Rye Beach New Hampshire is only a couple miles from the historic seaport of
Portsmouth. It’s a
little off the beaten path and quieter than the more bustling Hampton
Beach and North Beach.
Rye Beach vacations were once the rage among the wealthy and powerful of Boston
and New York during
the Victorian era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was called
the Gold Coast of New Hampshire. During its heyday, grand Rye Beach hotels and
lavish summer “cottages’ were built. Elegant ladies and gentlemen would promenade
along the boardwalk on their way to ballrooms and summer concerts in the bandstand.
Rye Beach New Hampshire
Most of the grand hotels and ballrooms are gone, but the stately homes on the quiet tree-lined streets remain. Some of these are actually Rye Beach hotels and bed and breakfast inns that serve the visitors on Rye Beach vacations today. Other Rye Beach hotels include beautiful cottages, charming little cabins, rental houses, and even motels – all lining the beaches and overlooking the ocean.
Today, Rye Beach New Hampshire is one of the hidden gems on the state’s eighteen-mile long coastline that’s sandwiched between Maine and Massachusetts. It’s maintained its air of elegance and exclusivity with limited public parking and many spots reserved only for local residents. But there is golfing just a block from the sandy beach, and enough state park and public area to make this a worthwhile place to visit.
Rye Beach vacations will reveal a rich history of Colonial times as well. One of the state parks, Odiorne, is within the town limits. This is the site of the first settlement in the state, founded and incorporated in 1622. Also here is the prestigious Seacoast Science Center, offering an aquarium along with other exhibits, and has lovely grounds for strolling and picnicking. There is also fishing here, hiking trails, and paved bicycle paths. Boat rentals are possible, and there is a playground for the youngsters. Within walking distance is Wallis Sands Beach State Park, with dining venues, food stands, and hot showers. You can also walk to Jenness Beach. The coast road has extensive bicycle trails that can take along the entire stretch of coastline.
Next to the Rye Beach New Hampshire library is Historic Association Museum, which has a photographic collection that chronicles the area’s history. The first completely submerged telegraph cable was laid here to connect Europe and North America. And, you can explore several historic lighthouses and forts along the coast, including forts from both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Rye Beach vacations will be rewarding if you stay only here. But remember that you are only fifty miles from Portland in Maine, and fifty miles from Boston in Massachusetts. Nearby Portsmouth boasts wonderful attractions, including one of the best preserved Colonial historic districts in the country and several fine museums. You can tour USS Albacore submarine, and explore the American Independence Museum in nearby Exeter. You can also go whale watching and take scenic cruises to the lovely Isles of Shoals that are visible from the mainland. Look for wonderful seafood restaurants up and down the coast. One of the best in Rye Beach is the lovely Carriage House.
Top image: Sultry/sulky/silly (flickr)