Where I went: I drove 18 miles up the coast along Route 1A from Blue Ocean Music Hall (4 Ocean Front North) in Salisbury, to Odiorne Point State Park (570 Ocean Boulevard, Rye) in Rye.
What it is: Route 1A is the beachside road connecting the 18 miles of shoreline along the New Hampshire border, and down into Salisbury, Massachusetts.
What I did: I have spent the last year driving up and down 1A, and I had always admired its beauty but had never had the time to slow down and really appreciate it, so with this adventure I really wanted to focus on taking my time and appreciate the journey rather than the destination. Initially I planned to start north and make my way south, but decided against it because I knew that heading north along Hampton Beach brought me closer to the water down along the section where it splits into two one-way roads on opposite sides on the boardwalk. I arrived at the start of my journey, Blue Ocean Music Hall, rolled the window down, turned up the heat and began making my way north along the ocean.
Cruising up through Salisbury, I really took the time to look around and take in the sights that I had passed by without noticing prior to this adventure. Beachside shops and shacks and restaurants closed for the season, the surprising number of birds of prey circling overhead, eventually I found myself at the bridge separating Seabrook and Hampton. The first time I was able to see the water. From there I found Hampton Beach, where I pulled into a parking spot and got a coffee and breakfast sandwich from Jumpin’ Jack’s.
I have always favored the offseason at the beach — there are always fewer crowds, and parking is free and easier to find. I drank my coffee on the walkway along the beach where I watched a group of riders on horseback make their way along the shoreline, and I took the time to relax and watch the waves roll into the sandy beach.
From Hampton Beach, I made my way along the twisting and winding road where I was able to take the time and truly appreciate one of the most underappreciated stretches of road in the state. With bikers and joggers cruising along the rocky outcropping and mega-mansions overlooking the Isles of Shoals and the Atlantic Ocean, it was nice to take the time to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the Seacoast that I had so many times overlooked. I was pleased to see cars pulling off the road into temporary parking spots to take the time and enjoy the view.
By the time I had hit Wallis Sands, I turned back one last time to take in the best view of the entire drive before carrying on my way back home.
Who else would enjoy it: Far too often people are caught up in getting where they’re going; sometimes it is nice to slow down and appreciate the journey that it takes to get there, for passengers to put down the phones and look out the window, to take the time to have a cup of coffee and look out over the ocean. I had always found 1A to be one of the more underappreciated roads in New Hampshire. I am glad that I took the time to really slow down and enjoy it, and I urge you to do the same. Just watch out for bikers.