Home is where the heart is

10 Reasons I love Hampton Beach

Lisa Martineau
July 13. 2017 5:29AM
Life's a Beach (UL Photo Contest entry)

Unlike my mother who grew up in the Virgin Islands and practically had the ocean in her DNA. My father was adamant about one thing when I got my license to drive. The two-lane Route 101 (before there was a divider) was just too treacherous to drive on. I couldn't believe a single person made it all the way to Hampton Beach alive with all of the fatalities my father claimed were taking place along that Route.

Turns out my father just wasn't a beach guy, and yes there were a lot of fatalities on that road back then, but it's totally different now. Looking back, it was clear. Hampton Beach was strictly forbidden. Thankfully, I was allowed to go with my neighbors on a few occasions. We brought a cooler for drinks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and soggy chips. Ahhh, the smell of the ocean. It was nice to step where the sand tickled your toes, where you could look for sand dollars and starfish and grab an ice cream cone - pistachio, please - before hitting the highway from hell.

1. I love Blinks Frydoe. Along the Hampton Beach "strip" there are a number of shops, fast food stops and restaurants, but Blinks Frydoe is a must - for a snack or even for dessert. Blinks is one of the first places to open in late winter or early spring, and as the anticipation builds, spring fever sets in. The only cure? Some tasty goodness that only Blinks can provide! 

Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Competition (Lisa Martineau/NewHampshire.com)

2. I love the annual Sand Sculpting Competition. The Sand Sculpting Competition draws some elite sculptors from around the world. It draws thousands of people to the beach during mid-June, and the sculptors are always challenged - but the public gets to pick which one they think is best - so no one feels left out. Get up close with these sculptures and you will wonder how its possible that they are still standing after a few days. Hampton Beach keeps them up for a couple of weeks after the competition is over and the awards are given out. 

3. I love the Blue Ocean Society Touch Tank. On the other side of the information building, there is a nonprofit called the Blue Ocean Society, whose mission is to protect marine life in the Gulf of Maine through research, education and inspiring action. The touch tanks at the Blue Ocean Society offers several touch tanks that exhibit local marine invertebrates and algae, and a touch tank where you can learn about different species and how to safely handle them.

4. I love the arcades. The sound will draw you in. Beep, honk, the sound of sirens, bells going off. You have entered the world of arcades that used to run along Ocean Boulevard. Today, there are just two: Fun-o-Rama and the Playland Arcade. This is where your kids will undoubtedly look around at all of the crazy lights, the "rides" and they'll be off in a flash, making an attempt at foosball or trying their hand at pinball. Even if you don't have kids, the arcades will create memories that will make you feel like a kid again.

Psychic Readings by Stella (Lisa Martineau/NewHampshire.com)

5. I love "Stella," the fortune teller. When we were teenagers I was like most of my friends - a believer - in all things paranormal. That is until the legend Stella Davis, the fortune teller at Hampton Beach, told my friend to be careful on the way home or she might meet her untimely death. Worse than that, there was a fatality on the way home, but my friend remained alive. We never her doubted again. Stella has been on Hampton Beach since 1970, but her children and grandchildren are involved today, sharing the gift that has been passed down to them. So you've probably passed by this spot a hundred times. Stop by and see what your future might hold.

6. I love Tripoli's Bakery. Tripoli's offers the most authentic Italian Pizza north of Boston. If you like pizza made the old style way, with a thin, crisp crust, square pan pizza, this where you want to head on your way in or out of Hampton Beach. Tripoli's simple tomato cheese pizza maintains the true old world style and flavor because it is produced the old fashion way. Fresh mixed dough and tomato sauce are constantly being prepared throughout the day. And we haven't dug into the pastries yet! It's nearly impossible to leave without some freshly baked bread or some cannolis, made fresh while you wait. They are to die for. But if cannolis don't make your mouth water, there are also bismarks, squares, whoopie pies, cream horns and other beautiful pastries for dessert after a long day on the beach. 

7. I love the costume parade during Children's Week in August. The parade travels from the state park to the Seashell stage during Children's Week. At the Seashell stage there are prizes waiting for all of the kids. Most of the costumes have an ocean theme, such as a lobster trap inside of a wagon, a group of jelly fish made with purple umbrellas, lifeguards, crabs and other seaside creative costumes. There are also plenty of princesses, fairies, super heroes and more.

Fireworks on Wednesdays at Hampton Beach (Niko Noel/HBVD)

8I love Wednesday Fireworks. Every Wednesday during the summer, Hampton Beach hosts fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean which can be watched from the sands of Hampton Beach. Bring a blanket to sit on. The fantastic display lights the skies over the water, creating an impressive display. This has become a tradition for families - those who are on vacation and those who just drive up for a night with kids in tow - who want to create some lasting memories.

9. I love Monday Night Movies. Hampton Beach didn't do this but the trend is a fun reminder of the rare evening we piled into the station wagon and hit the drive-in. Near the beginning of July, you'll notice a gigantic screen going up on the sand. It must be Monday evening. Bring the kids and watch a recently released movie on the beach. If you're staying for a week, this activity is one that they will not forget. Neither will we.

 (Lisa Martineau/NewHampshire.com)

10. I love the surf - (and not because I'm a surfer) On a stormy summer day, the waves sometimes splash over the wall in North Beach. Every time this happens - usually around the full moon - anyone walking on the sidewalk gets drenched with chilly water. We urge you to use caution whenever the water splashes over the wall, but on a hot summer day, it's hard to resist the feeling of the salt water on your skin - and the goosebumps!

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