Sometimes it takes an unexpected jolt to get you out of your comfort zone, or in our case a vibration every time we hit the brake pedal. As soon as we crossed the New Hampshire border we could no longer ignore the fact that the Mazda5 needed the attention of a mechanic. This on its own wouldn’t have been too big of a deal, but combined with the fact that we being hounded by thunderstorms every time we tried to make camp was increasing our stress levels by the hour. After being chased to the most inexpensive hotel in Portsmouth, NH by lighting and driving rain we gave up our day for lost and watched the Red Sox lose to Toronto. Our spirits were low the next morning as we pulled into the garage where we were entusting our home on wheels based soley on two mostly positive Google reviews.
Back in our previous life we would have sent Five String off to the garage while the rest of us hung out awaiting his return. However, we are on this adventure as a family and it seemed only fitting to experience even car repairs together. So after leaving the garage with only our day packs we headed off to explore Portsmouth. At first we were nervous about filling the early morning hours until the rest of the city opened for business. Of course, with three young kids in tow frequent potty and snack breaks eat up the hours easily. By 10 A.M. we had caught an inbound trolley, checked out the local natural food store, and enjoyed a tasty picnic on the city benches. Just in time for us to navigate our way to the local living history museum, Strawbery Banke.
Strawbery Banke is a restored historical village showcasing life in Portsmouth from the American Revolution to World War II. Most of the buildings were constructed in the 1700’s and the museum features several costumed volunteers who take on the roll of real Portsmouth inhabitants from various time periods. The museum was a huge hit with all the Fives and offered something for all age groups.
We were able to try out period dress, learn to weave on a loom, discover old-fashioned lawn games and explore recreated period gardens. We especially loved the interactive discovery center for children. It gave the kids a space for free play and some needed down time. At the end of the day as we caught the bus back to the mechanic and were told that the Mazda5 was clear for take off, we really felt like we successfully navigated a challenge and best of all, we did it together.