Getaway to Hampton Beach

The beach is perfect for a romantic getaway

Author Courtney Hoppe at the Shooting Gallery.

’Tis the season to head to the beach! Well, it will be beach weather when this piece goes to print but when I researched it two months prior, it was only in the high 50s on the coast and painfully windy. This didn’t stop me from thinking it would be warm, however, and dressing completely inappropriately. My only saving grace is that I had the bright idea to book a room at the Ashworth by the Sea and extend my evening out into a full-blown romantic getaway. I had thrown a few additional layers into my overnight bag just in case it got chilly after sunset and proceeded to pile every single one of them on after checking in.

After a prosecco toast on our beachfront balcony, my boyfriend and I made our way down to the boardwalk. Neither of us thought it was necessary to bring swimsuits to the beach in April but upon discovering that the Ashworth has an indoor pool, we decided to check out the options in the numerous tourist traps that line the strip. To be honest, most of the shops on Hampton Beach have that dirty second-hand feel but one stood out: the Beach Bum. More towards the north end, the Beach Bum is a small well-organized store with higher-quality-yet-not-overpriced goods, overseen by the accommodating Ron. I scored a bikini with music instruments on it, in homage to my musically talented boyfriend, for only $20. Keep in mind that this was technically during the off-season so I’m sure you’d be hard-pressed to find a swimsuit that cheap anywhere on the strip during the summer. Same with the Chips-esque aviators my boyfriend picked out for $10.

Shopping bags in hand, we made our way into the Sea Ketch, a Hampton institution with multiple outdoor levels overlooking the beach — with heat lamps. We were seated at the most perfect corner table, which offered us a full view of the action below, and had a delicious meal of baked haddock, strip steak, broiled scallops and stuffed shrimp. Having passed signs for hand-cut fries on our walk, we both wisely ordered vegetables instead of starch then proceeded to graze our way along the boardwalk after dinner.

Mesmerized by the flashing games, we couldn’t help stopping in the Playland Arcade to waste some laundry quarters. As a side note, I think you can tell a lot about a person from how they approach a Shooting Gallery. My boyfriend blew through his round in no time while I mulled over which animatronic targets I wanted to see come alive. P.S. I think my way is better.

As the sun was setting, we positioned ourselves on the sand with a blanket, a bottle of wine (shh, don’t tell) and dessert from the famed Blink’s Fry Doe. Let me tell you, nothing says romance like getting powdered sugar all over your face. The two tissue paper napkins Blink’s gave us just weren’t cutting it but I thankfully had some tissues stashed in my handbag. We withstood the cold as long as we could then made our way back to the Ashworth for a swimsuit fashion show and a dip in the heated pool.

I’ll be romping around Weare soon! If you have any suggestions of where I should go and what I should do, let me know by commenting on the wall of my Facebook page or via my website.

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