FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Masters Christmas for Couples

by Barbara Rogers

Dec 5, 2023

© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is a colorful, festive time filled with holiday spirit, a perfect choice for a couples’ getaway to shop without the whole family in tow. It’s worth traveling to this historic seacoast city to be part of the weeks full of twinkling lights, decorated shops and streets, holiday music, theater and merriment, all of which led Portsmouth to be called the Christmas Capital of North America.


Two centers of activity will lure you, one of them a step back into Christmas in this historic port’s early days, in the open-air museum of Strawberry Banke. An entire neighborhood of carefully restored homes spanning from the 1600s to the 1940s is decorated in greens and dried flowers from the museum’s heirloom gardens. Hear Christmas traditions of the past, shared by costumed interpreters, and absorb the holiday atmosphere amid hundreds of candle lanterns, with strolling musicians, a bonfire and cups of hot cider.


It’s only a few steps from this Colonial Portsmouth to today’s busy Market Street. Lined with independent shops and local businesses, Market Street comes alive with Christmas. Shop fronts are decorated and windows filled with gift ideas. Find quality gifts for the kids at G. Willikers and for food lovers at Attrezzi Fine Kitchen Accessories. Tulips American Handcrafts shows locally made works, and The Wear House is an upscale consignment clothing shop.


Around the corner on Daniels Street, find the independent RiverRun Book Store and Scallops Mineral & Shell, full of polished stones and crystals. Across the street, take a break for coffee and German pastries at Kaffee Vonsolln. Or follow Daniels Street through Market Square for lunch or a croissant at chic La Maison Navarre for a Parisian note.


A short walk from busy Market Street and its holiday-decked shops and boutiques, a convenient place to stay for a pre-Christmas getaway is AC Hotel Portsmouth, an upscale but moderately priced downtown hotel. Its sleek contemporary (and sublimely comfortable) rooms overlook the city. For an unforgettable view, ask for a room overlooking the Piscataqua River as it widens to become Portsmouth Harbor.


Enjoy that same view over dinner at Rooftop at the Envio, a chic restaurant and bar at the top of the building. For an especially romantic evening, reserve a table in one of the cozy Fire+Ice Igloos. These clear geodesic domes enclose comfortable seating for pre-dinner drinks or dinner, with a full view of the night sky and harbor, with lights outlining the dramatic silhouettes of Portsmouth’s bridges.


Just as memorable is the menu, whether you choose to dine inside the glass-walled dining room or in an igloo. The highlight is the grand Maine lobster roll, an astonishing plate full of tender lobster chunks, busting with fresh-from-the-sea flavor in a delicate lemon mayo. Hiding under the mound of lobster is a toasted brioche, but this is a lobster roll too big to pick up and eat out of hand. You won’t have room for the mound of perfect fries beside it.


Korean barbecued short rib is fork-tender and bursting with flavor, and the herb-seared northern salmon is another hearty entrée choice. And if you’re staying at AC Hotel on this frosty New England night, your room is a short, warm, indoor walk away.


Insta Feed
Jul 8, 2024

Velaa Private Island’s Kids’ Week to Feature an Astronaut on Property

Take your family travel to Velaa Private Island this summer! As part of an annual tradition, Aug. 5 to 11, Velaa Private Island hosts Kids Week, an educational celebration of summer break, completely free of charge to guests 4–12 years of age.

Travel to Madrid with the Family and Find Activities to Keep Everyone Happy!

If life were a city, it’d be Madrid. Sometimes it can be quite the challenge to find a destination just right for the whole family. Different tastes and ages make agreeing on where to go seem impossible. Unless, of course, the destination you have in mind is Madrid. With all of its new immersive museums, musicals, soccer stadiums and monuments like Royal Palace, anyone who suggests coming to the capital is sure to get a unanimous yes!

Jul 8, 2024

Margaritaville at Sea’s “Islander” Makes Maiden Voyage

Family travelers will delight in Margaritaville at Sea’s Islander, which set sail on her inaugural voyage in June 2024, departing from Port Tampa Bay to Cozumel, Mexico, on a four-night journey. The ship boasts 12 decks accommodating 2,650 passengers. The ship will now continue to sail four- and five-night cruises to Key West and Mexico, before venturing to Belize, Jamaica and Grand Cayman on six- and seven-night itineraries in 2026.

Jul 4, 2024

Peak Pursuits Adventures Awaits from East West Hospitality

East West Hospitality offers family travelers exciting experiences in California and Colorado with its new Peak Pursuits program. With help from East West Hospitality’s expert Guest Experience team, guests may customize the curated itineraries to best fit their needs.

Sunflower Accessibility Program Featured at O’Hare and Midway Airports

Travelers with invisible disabilities passing through O’Hare and Midway International Airports can now discreetly signal they need assistance thanks to a new Chicago Department of Aviation partnership that helps create more accessible and inclusive spaces.

Jul 2, 2024

Holland America Line, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Invited Fans to Name Rescue Moose

Holland America Line and Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center teamed up to offer family travelers a chance to name a rescue moose. Suggestions were accepted on a designated post on the cruise line’s Facebook and Instagram pages through June 23. Holland America Line gives cruise-goers the chance to view Alaska’s wildlife responsibly from its ships and on shore excursions. AWCC rescues injured and orphaned animals, offering them spacious enclosures and quality care.