On Saturday, October 13, with apple-crisp New England fall weather setting the stage for an afternoon of food, fun, and local history, downtown Hampton took on a festive spirit as the Old Salt, 401 Tavern, and the Galley Hatch restaurants hosted the Hampton Historical Society’s Old Hampton Tavern Walk.
Over 150 attendees, each taking the persona of an early Hampton citizen, visited the three locations to learn how they had “sinned” and to plead their cases before a “magistrate” who pronounced judgment and awarded prizes. They enjoyed colonial foods prepared by the restaurant chefs, rum punch from Sea Hagg Rum Distillery of North Hampton, mead from Sap House Meadery of Center Ossipee, and pumpkin ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company of Portsmouth. Silas the Double Agent and Olive the Tavern Wench from Portsmouth Underbelly Tours were on hand to wickedly entertain in the Old Salt’s Goody Cole Room.
The Tavern Walk was also the launch of “A Meet and Suitable Person: Tavernkeeping in Old Hampton, New Hampshire, 1638-1783″ by local author Cheryl Lassiter, the book that prompted the Historical Society to put on the event. Historical presenters, attired in period costumes provided by Tracy Theatre Originals and Candace Stellmach, portrayed real-life characters from the book as they talked about life in Hampton during the 17th and 18th centuries.
“The Tavern Walk was truly a reflection of Cheryl’s book. Part history, part adventure, and altogether a delight!” said Betty Moore, the event’s coordinator and Executive Director of the Hampton Historical Society. “We’d never done an event of this size out in the community before, and we weren’t sure what to expect. We poured our hearts into making this a fun, historical event for the town, and the response from the community was incredible. It exceeded all our expectations. We thank the restaurants for their hospitality, generosity, and enthusiasm. Along with our amazing volunteers, they helped make the Old Hampton Tavern Walk a huge success.” ©2012 Cheryl Lassiter