By Robyn Larson McCarthy
We can thank Chaucer for the discovery of what is now one of my favorite dog-friendly lunch spots in New Hampshire. As we were about to drive over the Piscataqua River into Maine several winters ago, the ill-timed fox terrier announced he needed a walk, and now. Detouring quickly into the historic seaport city of Portsmouth just before the bridge, we found ourselves almost immediately thrust onto the picturesque Market Square.
The faint aroma of fresh-baked popovers wafted towards us before being cast to the single-digit winds. While I stayed in the car with Chaucer and The Boy, a slumbering infant at the time, the two girlfriends I was with dashed into Popovers on the Square "just to check it out."
They returned laden with more than just fresh-brewed coffee and the restaurant's namesake pastry. Hot homemade soup and Cuban pulled-pork ciabatta sandwiches provided us a delicious, warming, and filling car picnic. Just what we needed to continue with our leisurely coastal drive. (Chaucer enjoyed a few tidbits of the pork, too.)
Passing Portsmouth en route to Downeast Maine for the Fourth of July weekend, I found myself craving one of Popovers' Cuban sandwiches. Alas, the dogs are home with the house sitters and we had packed a picnic... so, no excuse for stopping.
During warm months, restaurants and cafés in and around Market Square fill their sidewalks with tables for customers' al fresco enjoyment, and Popovers is no exception. Chaucer and his cohorts always meet new doggy friends there.
Afterwards, walk off your lunch with a stroll down State Street to the Canine Cupboard. (You'll pass numerous other interesting shops on the way.) Doggy visitors to this boutique, now in its 10th year of business, are always welcome to sniff the "barkery" display case or pose for the patron's photo gallery.
Several summers ago, a teenage friend visiting from Washington State bought me a baseball cap there, embroidered with a fox terrier. On one side is a very small zippered pocket--for a dog biscuit presumably? I'm not sure if that would repel or attract the black flies, so I've never stored one there.
Still, every time I wear the cap, I think of fun visits paid to dog-friendly Portsmouth with out-of-town friends--and look forward to another day trip there.