New England: Boston, Portsmouth, & Holiday Inn Review

As we approached the end of summer, Joann and Leslie planned a getaway for the four of us to Portsmouth, NH last weekend. Just a 2 night stay to relax, eat some [sea]food, and see some “old timey stuff.” And if I could score some hotel points for our lodging, well then that would just make a perfect trip.

On the way up, we stopped in Boston to have dinner with our friend Joy. We got there at 7:00 pm after a bit of Connecticut traffic and met up with Joy at Rino’s Place in East Boston. This is a famous little Italian restaurant that has been featured on Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives. Joy, Joann, and I ate there last year and it was amazing – definitely lived up to the hype. Unfortunately for us, they had basically no availability until after 9:00 pm; we were not waiting that long to eat.

We drove back into North End and decided to eat in Little Italy. There were dozens of semi-open air places and we went into Lucca, mostly because it had some pretty strong air conditioning on a warm night. It was a standard  Italian setting, with an extensive wine list and a loud atmosphere. Dinner was good for the price but there was nothing out of this world. I had a nice sized sirloin cooked perfectly accompanied by creamy garlic and gorgonzola risotto. Apparently there were supposed to be shaved black truffles on top but I could not find any and was a bit disappointed.

After dinner, we grabbed some coffee, meandered around, and then decided to drop Joy back off at her car. Boston to Portsmouth is only about 55 miles so Dom was confident we would make the hotel in an hour. The Holiday Inn Portsmouth is conveniently located about 2 minutes off I-95; you can even see it about a half mile before you’re supposed to exit. Check-in was slow thanks to a family that got in just before us and a woman that decided to come down and complain, cutting right in front of us. Once at the front desk, the clerk was efficient but cold. He didn’t ask for the Friends & Family voucher (that I had with me just in case) so there was no trouble there. I couldn’t really care less as it was about 11:00 pm and I was tired of traveling all day.

We were assigned a standard room on the 5th (top) floor with 2 Double beds. While I thought being higher up was better, I was sorely mistaken. The roar of the hotel’s monstrous air conditioning unit was deafening at times through the night. The sound of it turning back on after being idle was enough to wake some of us. This room also had the smallest bathroom in the history of my hotel stays. You could wash your face, use the toilet, and shower all from the same position! Other than that, the room was satisfactory and at the Friends & Family rate we paid during a VERY busy weekend (an air show with 70,000 in attendance), I had no major complaints. Holiday Inn even gives you free Wi-Fi which is a nice plus in the day and age where high end hotels will charge you as much as $25 a day.

2 Double Beds
Smallest bathroom ever
Free Wi-Fi… Woo!

The 2 days we had in Portsmouth were fun and extremely relaxing. There is much history to see in Portsmouth and everyone there is genuinely friendly. It’s a quaint little town with a small ‘town square’ that, at the very least, is great for people watching both day and night. Oh and the food ain’t bad at all (The Green Monkey, Portsmouth Brewery) . To say the seafood is ‘fresh’ is an understatement.

Overall, this was a great trip and I could see myself heading to New England at least once a year!