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Always wondered what that beautiful yellow mansion was on the corner of Middle and State Streets in downtown Portsmouth? Always wanted to come into the gardens, peek inside the house but haven’t put that on your calendar yet? Now’s your chance. On Sunday July 9 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Portsmouth Historical Society, which runs Discover Portsmouth, and which saved the John Paul Jones House in 1917, is hosting a free 270th birthday party (born July 6, 1747) for the “Father of the U.S. Navy,” who spoke the immortal words, “I have not yet begun to fight!”

Start by grabbing a lawn chair and making your way to 43 Middle Street at 1 p.m. The staff and volunteers will take it from there. The event includes patriotic festivities, live music provided by perennial favorite Great Bay Sailor, cake (of course!), and family fun. Admission and house tours are free to the public. In addition to the several galleries devoted to John Paul Jones, the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty signed in Portsmouth in 1905, Portsmouth’s maritime history, and local paintings and decorative arts, a special exhibition, titled The Odd & the Elegant, which includes amazing objects ‘discovered’ in storage, treasures that rarely see the light of day, is again being featured.


Probably America, 1920s. Wire mesh, tinted glass, string. Portsmouth Historical Society; Gift of Mabel Vaughan. Photo by Ralph Morang.

Of somewhat dubious utility, these small goggles feature small areas of tinted glass that may have offered some protection against wind and other hazards at the low rates of speed characteristic of their era.


Additionally, guide and self-guided Port City bike tours are now being offered, starting at the John Paul Jones Carriage House, 43 Middle Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Guided tours (2-6 riders) range from 7 to 25 miles, 90 minutes to 3 1/2 hours, and each offer amazing scenery, history, and local insights. Private custom tours for your family, friends, or corporate group are also available. Tours include your guide, custom fit 21-speed bike, helmet, water, and snack. To reserve call 603-969-1866 or visit