Discover Portsmouth is now offering historic Portsmouth walking tours seven days a week. The 90-minute guided tours leave daily at 10:30 a.m. from Discover Portsmouth and run from early May through late October.
“People of every age are looking for experiences,” says Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf, walking tour manager. “We now have whisper-quiet headphones. It’s like a radio channel. The trained guide has the transmitter and speaks into a microphone while the visitors listen through their headsets. Between the traffic and the construction, it can get pretty noisy out there, so now the guide doesn’t have to shout.”
The new system was purchased thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor to the Portsmouth Historical Society that operates both Discover Portsmouth and the John Paul Jones House Museum next door. The nonprofit society currently has a dozen headset receivers and hopes to raise funds to expand that number as tours increase in popularity.
Lurie-Meyerkopf says the new amplification system is ideal for people with limited hearing. And even if people wander from the group or lag a bit behind, the range is such that everyone can hear the guide clearly. Guides like the system because they can talk while moving as well as when stopped, and have more time to deliver lively facts about our 400-year old city.
The number of Discover Portsmouth tours more than doubled to 1,200 walkers in the 2018 season over previous seasons. Tours are $12 for historical society members, or $15 for non-members and online reservations are suggested.
This year, special Preservation Tours will be conducted by historian Richard M. Candee, author of Building Portsmouth, in addition to the daily tour as well as the unique Portsmouth Women’s Tour.
Professor Candee’s 75-minute Historic Preservation Tours depart from Discover Portsmouth on select Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. The 2019 schedule features eight of Portsmouth’s famous neighborhoods, exploring the unique architectural landscape and the stories embedded in the bricks and mortar. See www.portsmouthhistory.org for a full schedule. The fee for this special guided series is $15 for Portsmouth Historical Society members and $25 for non-members.