Shawn’s birthday

Click for photos from May 22, 2010

Shawn wanted to spend his 40th birthday visiting New Hampshire sites he’s always wanted to see.

NH Renaissance Faire in Kingston
This was a nice start to the day—smaller than King Richard’s Faire, yet still very much flavorful of an entertaining ren fair. The privateer gunpowder demonstration was a favorite for Shawn, followed by an archery demonstration by “Robin de Hood” who was highly skilled. And the pulled pork sandwich we had for lunch, slathered with BBQ sauce, was primo.

USS Albacore in Portsmouth
An amazing visit inside this dry-docked submarine. The universe provided us with an Albacore reunion on that day, and we got to talking to one of the veterans while touring the sub. He was a modest, humble man, but when asked about his service he was eager to share stories, much like my Dad. His name is Joe Denali and he was the first Quartermaster when the sub was commissioned in 1953. He served two years navigating as well as steering, and when I asked how hard it was to steer a submarine he told me it was like driving a car—the sub had power steering. We loved listening to his stories, especially his description of diving the sub at a 45 degree angle with everyone on deck hanging on for dear life. He also enjoyed telling us about his grandchildren. We thanked him for his service and he seemed pleased to have people interested in his life.

Fort Constitution in New Castle

Shawn has always been interested in this fort for this historic significance:
“It was on the eve of the revolution the fort played its most dramatic role in history. On December 13, 1774, Paul Revere rode from Boston with a message that the fort at Rhode Island had been dismantled and troops were coming to take over Fort William and Mary (as it was then known). The following day the drums beat to collect the Sons of Liberty, and 400 men from Portsmouth, Rye and New Castle raided the fort and removed 98 barrels of gun powder. The next night a small party led by John Sullivan carried off sixteen pieces of small cannon and military stores. This raid took place months before the incidents at Concord and Lexington, and was an important event in the chain of events leading to the revolution.” (From

Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park
Blue lobster! Lionfish! Skates! Seahorses! Starfish! This hands-on science center is a hoot for all ages!

Then it was back to Portsmouth for Shawn’s favorite dinner at the Friendly Toast, followed by a downtown stroll, before stopping at Popovers on the Square and indulging in a chai latte for the birthday boy and hot cocoa for me. And after a great day it was time to head home.


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