Traveling Out of Kennebunk (finally!)
It is so crazy to think about how time is like a malleable river in some ways when you travel to a new location but also settle in at the same time. At first, you feel like you have been swept along a great current where your surroundings constantly change day-in and day-out. That was me when I first arrived in Portland, Maine at the airport on a cold night at the stroke of midnight. However, it has been almost a month since then which is amazing! Now, instead of the great current pushing me along like a stone tumbling on the bottom of a river, I feel like I am slowing down as I get set in my routine of life. During the week, I have my regular 9–5 where I am working along with the gym. However, on the weekends, I am free to spread my wings and explore where I want to which is freedom.
The USS Albacore, Relic and Lesson
Getting bored of doing things in just Kennebunk, I decided to venture out and explore nearby towns that I thought were cool. I was surprised to know that Maine is very close to New Hampshire! Upon researching other places, I discovered the town of Portsmouth which was approximately 45 minutes away. This town in New Hampshire was first settled in 1636 due to the deep waters of the nearby Elizabeth River and the abundance of hardwood forests. However, I wanted to first start off with visiting a nearby site which was called the USS Albacore Museum.
The USS Albacore, located on the outskirts of Portsmouth, was an experimental research submarine which pioneered the American version of the teardrop hull of modern submarines. Built with emphasis on underwater speed and maneuverability, it had a crew of 50 sailors that were squished quite literally like sardines in a tin can. You can go through the entire interior of the submarine itself and explore the galley, crew quarters, engine room, and command center. The periscopes on the USS Albacore did not work, however, inside the tour store there was one that you could turn to look at the road.
I find it very hard to believe that 50 men could be holed up inside a submarine like that with cramped living conditions. While spacing has become better with the advancement of submarine designs, it still must be psychologically and physically taxing to go on deployment in submarines for a period of time. I tried visualizing myself squeezing into one of those bunks and just shuddered at the potential for back pain.
Lovely Town of Portsmouth
Sometimes, what you need to do in an adventure is to simply go and walk among a town without any plan. My usual approach to being a tourist is to simply drum up the nearby list of attractions and visit those throughout the day. This time, I ventured out to Portsmouth with no plan whatsoever. I walked among crowds unseen as another tourist and ventured according to my whims. The result was very interesting and entertaining. Portsmouth as a town reminded me a lot of European cities such as Dublin in Ireland with cobblestone streets and tight spaces between buildings. According to my co-workers. Portsmouth did have European settlers back in the day when it was first being built.
One of the more unique stores that I found was called Deadwick’s Ethereal Emporium. This store was an enchanting location devoted to the mysteries of the arcane and witchcraft. It was amazing to find this store when I turned around the corner for no reason. Unfortunately, I could not take any pictures as it “drove the spirits away” according to the witches in the store. However, there was everything from magic crystals to even an altar where you could burn paper for good luck.
As I wandered among the multitudes of people in Portsmouth, I visited a lot of the stores in the area that ranged from antique collections to art galleries. It reminded me of downtown Santa Barbara in a way since a lot of the bougie stores were also similar to what I saw in Portsmouth. There is also a very artistic spirit in the city as there were murals and paintings in seemingly random alleys that I walked through. The town was afire with people popping in and out of stores buying what they wanted. It matches the current political attitude with tourism with the borders of the United States officially open for international tourists to come visit once again.