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The “Isles of Shoals“, 10 miles out to sea from Portsmouth, N.H., was a place I had wanted to visit for the last few years. On Sunday, July 24, 2016, I finally got the chance and it was a Goldilocks day for such a tour, perfect weather, sea as calm as it can get. The 3.75 hour tour, on the M/V “Thomas Laighton” (named after a former lighthouse keeper and hotel operator on the ‘Shoals’) operated by the “Isles of Shoals Steamship Company“, was also just right for us for this first trip. The 7 hour trip might have been just a tad too long. Two years ago, in July 2014, we had done a river/harbor cruise on the “Thomas Laighton” and thoroughly enjoyed it. So we at least knew what to expect from the boat — and it, as it had been the last time, was an excellent experience. Perfect speed. Slow enough that you can see and enjoy the sights when you are in the river and fast enough so that you don’t get ‘impatient’. Extremely well narrated by two experienced guides who definitely seem to know their stuff and enjoy what they do.
The islands are picturesque. Acadian to an extent as you would expect — albeit without the trees. Picture postcard. Very friendly and the prices at the hotel, i.e, the “Oceanic Hotel“, for snacks, ice cream etc. are EXTREMELY reasonable. Yes, we would have liked to have spent a tad more time on the Island but 4 hours might have been stretching it.
Loved it. I plan to go back. Already talking about trying to go and stay at the hotel for a day or two. To be fair it is not cheap — but island cruises, in New England, tend to be on the expensive side.
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