Sunday, October 20, 2013

New England Vacation: Hampton Beach, New Hampshire (Part 4 of 4)

After our fun in Bar Harbor with our friends we parted ways. They had to go back to work but we still had a couple of nights before our flight home so we spent a day in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. New Hampshire has 18 miles of coastline, the shortest coastline of any coastal U.S. state. Hampton Beach is one of the safest beaches to swim in terms of water quality and hosts a number of events ever summer including The USAV Beach Volleyball Tournament and the Annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Competition.

Because we went Columbus Day weekend--the very end of the season--the beach was about the only thing open. It was a great way to unwind and gave us a chance to just hang out and relax before heading home.

We made castles in the soft, white sand, read in the sun, watched people surf, listened to the crashing waves, and took walks along the beach.

Small round boulders covered one end of the beach forming tide pools so we walked down and explored the area.

The kids and the seagulls poked around the tide pools looking for crabs. The crabs they found at Hampton Beach were much larger than the ones they found in Bar Harbor.

The crab in the picture below looks pretty beat up but he quickly crawled under a rock the second Nick set him down.

The crab in the picture below was not so lucky. It is the crab being eaten by the seagull in the picture above. That seagull picked it out from under a rock and had it pulled apart within minutes.

We walked back down along the beach and saw colorful varieties of kelp, some weird egg-looking things, and even a lobster trap.

I wanted to sample as much seafood as I could before heading back home to the desert. We spent our last few New England meals sitting in Breaker's Restaurant and Bar at the Ashworth sipping on cold pints of Sam Adams Octoberfest and feasting on rich lobster bisque, creamy New England clam chowder, crispy Sam Adams batter dipped fish and chips, and tender scallops wrapped in thick bacon and drizzled with sweet New England maple syrup.

By the time the sun set on our vacation we felt relaxed, content, and ready to be home. We had so much fun in New England that we're already talking about where we'd like to go for our next big trip (maybe Old England? . . .). Hopefully we won't wait until our twentieth anniversary to make the journey!

Back at home we wanted to share a piece of New England with my family. We had them over for "chowdah" and shared our memories.

Previously: Portland, Maine (part 1); Bar Harbor, Maine (part 2); Acadia National Park (part 3).

New England Clam Chowder with Herbs (adapted from Bon Appetit)
makes about 6 servings

6 thick slices of bacon cut in half
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 medium yellow potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 6.5-ounce cans of clams in juice, chopped and reserve the juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon until crisp in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Pour out all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the saucepan. Add the onions to the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the carrots are crisp-tender. 

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, stirring to combine. Continue to stir until the milk thickens and begins to boil. Add the potatoes, clams, clam juice, thyme, and rosemary. Allow the mixture to return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the soup simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and remove from heat.

Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with parsley and crumbled bacon. Serve with oyster crackers.


  1. Yum!!! Everything sounded so good. I definitely am going to have to go to New England and try out all that delicious seafood, especially the lobster rolls!

    1. You haven't lived until you've had a lobster roll.

    2. I can attest to that. The lobster rolls were pretty darned tasty!