Catching Pokemon in Portsmouth

Chris was calling the restaurant for reservations. “Would you like a regular table?” the hostess asked. We were confused. Were there other kinds of tables besides regular ones? “Yes,” Chris said, and booked us a dinner for two at Shio in Portsmouth.

We had heard the food was good at Shio. What we weren’t expecting was a proper Japanese restaurant with an American-style seating area (those are the “regular” tables) and many Japanese-style booths, where patrons can take off their shoes and relax on floor cushions while enjoying their handcrafted sushi.

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Not Pokemon, but cute nonetheless. Some of the decorations from Shio, a sushi restaurant on the outskirts of Portsmouth with great fare and cool ambiance.

Shio was the first of several surprises in Portsmouth. We had driven in a flurry from Hanover on a work night to get some decent seafood and catch a show at Portsmouth’s The Music Hall. Nick Cave’s new documentary, One More Time with Feeling, was playing around the world for one night only, and Portsmouth was our nearest art theater. I love Nick Cave and Chris loves me, so we made the trip and planned to spend one whirlwind night by the sea before getting back to Hanover in time for work the next morning.

After our dinner at Shio, we dropped by the Music Hall to catch the show. We were reminded – by the cashiers, by the ushers, and by the bartenders – to check out the bathrooms. The bathrooms? Oh yes, the bathrooms. The Music Hall has a gorgeous mainstage and plays great shows, but you simply must check out the bathrooms. They will transport you to a fairytale-like forest where wolves and fairies are equally likely to be hiding in the shadows.

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The renovations at Portsmouth’s Music Hall include a “new-age-forest” feel throughout the first floor, including the palatial bathrooms.

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Another shot of the Music Hall’s new main floor. Saxophones, anyone?

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A mural painted on the walls of the original theater, uncovered when renovations began.

Thankfully, we did not encounter wolves. But in the morning, we met the fairies. Chris and I had twenty minutes to spare before hitting the road again, and we thought that Portsmouth’s harbor walk would give us a grand opportunity to catch a few seaside Pokemon. We had been playing the new augmented reality game in Hanover and had caught plenty of land-based Pokemon like Caterpies (a caterpillar) and Eevee (a cute, dog-like creature that inhabits local coffee shops). Our collection of water-based Pokemon was sadly sparse, and a brisk walk in Portsmouth’s Prescott Park quickly corrected it. We caught a Magikarp (a goldfish), a Psyduck (a duck), and a Dratini (which is essentially a baby Loch Ness monster). While wandering around to catch these virtual critters, we stumbled upon a fairy garden, lovingly nestled in one of the park’s flower beds. I took a few (okay, 50) photos of this loving local piece of street art, and I hope you enjoy them below. I don’t know who the fairy garden belongs to, if anyone, but if you find yourself traveling through Portsmouth, be sure to look down at your feet. Someone may have left you a fairy.

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A fairy garden in Prescott Park is hidden so well among the flowers that we almost missed the enchantment!

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Talk & tea in Portsmouth’s fairy garden.

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