Tag Archives: Harborside Hotel

Free Holiday Parking In Portsmouth, NH: December 14, 2012 to January 2, 2012.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> We Did 2012 Thanksgiving Brunch At The Sheraton, Portsmouth, NH.
>>Nov. 16, 2012.


Deanna had seen this on Facebook and happened to mention it when we were in Portsmouth for Thanksgiving.

Given that parking, understandably, is a big revenue source, I was curious and decided to check. I am glad I did.

It appears that providing free holiday parking is now becoming a holiday tradition in Portsmouth. Bravo. But, it is carefully controlled.
If you just do a quick Google the entry you most likely get is for the ‘2011’, and the dates are slightly different. I nearly fell for that.

I ended up finding the actual meeting minutes, from Nov. 15, 2012, when it was approved. Contrary to what some had imagined it is not from Thanksgiving onwards. That would have been ultra generous and a huge drain on funds.

Extract from the actual town meeting that approved the free parking. Click if you want to access the original, as a PDF.

Extract from the actual town meeting that approved the free parking. Click if you want to access the original, as a PDF.


One of the many fine colonial houses in Portsmouth. This was opposite the Sheraton. Deanna took a picture. Click to ENLARGE. You can see the moon.

One of the many fine colonial houses in Portsmouth. This was opposite the Sheraton. Deanna took a picture. Click to ENLARGE. You can see the moon.


Christmas window basket in Portsmouth that tickled Deanna. On the road to the side of the Sheraton. Click to ENLARGE.

Christmas window basket in Portsmouth that tickled Deanna. On the road to the side of the Sheraton. Click to ENLARGE.


It is indeed a welcoming city, my 2nd favorite in NH. I used to live a similar distance away from the REAL Portsmouth, once a famed naval port. The real Portsmouth is bigger, the newer one is cuter. Click to ENLARGE. The real one has a big cricket ground too.

It is indeed a welcoming city, my 2nd favorite in NH. I used to live a similar distance away from the REAL Portsmouth, once a famed naval port. The real Portsmouth is bigger, the newer one is cuter. Click to ENLARGE. The real one has a big cricket ground too.

We Did 2012 Thanksgiving Brunch At The Sheraton Harborside Hotel, Portsmouth, NH.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> Thanksgiving: Portsmouth, NH, Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel
>>— Nov. 16, 2012.


This was at least the 5th time we have been to the Portsmouth Sheraton for a holiday buffet; Thanksgiving 2010 the previous.
So will we be going again next year or the year after?
Not sure, but I wouldn’t totally rule it out
— and I think that that is a fair summary of our experience yesterday.

The folks were GREAT, though the ‘Director of Operations’, who was delightful,
Mr. Steve Merrill, really should wear a tie.


Click on any of the pictures to ENLARGE them.

One of the unmitigated highlights Stan Bednarz. Dazzling and very kid friendly. He, rather than (the rather insipid) dessert table (compared to 2010), did much to add sorely needed ‘glitter’ to the proceedings. Bravo Stan, you made the day. Thank You.


The tightly packed buffet and the uninspiredly laid out appetizers.

The carving station with the tieless but nevertheless apparently tireless Steve Merrill, with bonhomie a plenty.

The centerpieces were colorful and festive. I met the young lady who did them. She was everywhere. Seemed to be doing a great job. Credit to the Sheraton.

The foyer. The piano, with the superlative Stan is directly behind her with the buffet beyond that. Carving station is at the top left.


To keep this as succinct as possible, lets start with what they did NOT have:

Pecan pie. 

A dress code.

Appropriate space for the buffet.

Necessary, functional serving utensils for the appetizers.

Detectable flavor in the Prime Rib.

Adequate lighting to highlight the wood.

Moisture in the stuffed chicken breasts.

Apple pie with the crust intact.

Horseradish with any kind of kick.

Stuffing better than what I can make from a packet.

Ice to keep the crab claws cold.

Firmness to the New England corn pudding.


What they DID have:

Enthusiastic, motivated staff.

Absolutely divine wild mushroom Ravioli with spinach & a Gorgonzola cream. WOW!

A fresh baby spinach and bosc pear salad that could convince you that you could live just on salad.

Excellent piano accompaniment by Stan Bednarz.

Above average baked haddock.

Decent smoked salmon.

A mouthwatering butternut squash.

Par for the course cheese cake.

Great panoramic views of the river and bridges.

6 PCs with Internet access in a common room next to the dining room.


Well the above should be fairly self explanatory.

Not counting the (rather overpriced) $9 for a glass of Mimosa, the one Sprite, one coffee and the 9% NH ‘meals and rentals’ tax, it costs us $100 for the 4 of us. That is not too bad.

Not sure why they crammed the buffet and the carving station into the foyer of the hotel this year. I went and checked the room in which the food was served in 2010. It was empty; a few stacked chairs and boxes of breakfast cereal. Not sure what prompted them to make the change. I was not impressed. It lacked adequate lighting, inspired layout and utensils to properly get at the appetizers.

For what was supposed to be a semi-formal Harvest Buffet at a fairly posh hotel the attire of the diners was shocking.

Yes, I know that people think that it is cool to wear jeans to restaurants, but in my opinion it doesn’t really work when you are in you are past 65 or less than 5′ 4′ in stature. To be fair I can even put up with faded, grubby blue jeans. It is the T-shirts that irk me, especially one sported by a guy that extolled the supposed virtues of a diner in Maine! That was beyond the pale. All I can say is that the guy was obviously from Maine, and he probably thought that he was dressing up. [It is OK. My wife is from Maine (born and bred) and as such I do have the right to stand my ground when it comes to the amount of Red Neckery I will tolerate from across the border.] That the ‘manager’ didn’t wear a tie set the tone. [I used to work as a manager for ITT in the days we owned Sheraton. This kind of dress would never have been tolerated.]

Lets be fair, for $40 less we could have gone to the ‘Great Buffet II‘ down the road and had as much food — though it would have, overall, been a tad inferior in quality. But, if I have to dine with riff-raff wearing merchandizing T-shirts, sweats and grubby blue jeans I might as well go to a Chinese buffet. Sorry.

So, that is about it.

Anura & Deanna Guruge 10 year anniversary

It was ten years since we met. This picture also allows me to see how I looked compared to Thanksgiving at the same place in 2010 when I had a cracked rib and severe bronchitis. Steve M. very kindly took this picture. Thanks Steve.

Thanksgiving: Portsmouth, NH, Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
by Anura Guruge


Read the review of our experience.


Click image to access the menu as a PDF.


As we have done a few times before we are going to the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, NH for our Thanksgiving meal.

The Portsmouth Sheraton buffet is a family favorite — though, as a rule, Deanna is not that enamored with buffets, hygiene and overindulgence being her gripes. [Of late I have come to appreciate her concerns, though when push-comes-to-shove I am still partial to a good buffet, though I will readily confess that seeing grossly obese folks at the Chinese buffets do serve as a good object lesson in ‘indulgence in moderation.]

We have been to this buffet for Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day and Easter — over the years. So it is familiar territory for the kids.

Thanksgiving 2010 at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel, Harbor’s Edge dining room. Click to ENLARGE.

Deanna, after our recent uplifting experience, wanted to go to Mame’s in Meredith for Thanksgiving. She called them and found that they were not doing a buffet. Despite her aversion to buffets she knows that she is invariably outvoted 3-1 on the buffet issue. So she told me to find one. Since this will be our 10th anniversary, I tried ‘Mount Washington’. They claimed that they have been fully booked for 8 weeks. Bully for them. I wasn’t heartbroken.

So, after flirting with a couple of places in Jackon, NH (and we had spent Thanksgiving there in 2004), I was back to the Sheraton in Portsmouth.

You would never guess it from this picture but I was deathly ill that day, in 2010! They were trying to kill me again at Dartmouth Hitchcock (Concord). I had begged for antibiotics. They said I was fine. I had coughed so hard the night before, I cracked a rib. But, I am kind of used to cracked ribs and broken bones. And no I was not on any pain killers other than my usual aspirin. The next day they had me get a Cat-Scan (for $3,900) and put me at once on antibiotics. That is Dartmouth Hitchcock, at least in how they treat me. Click to ENLARGE.

The food is OK. They do have some variety. Their dessert table makes up for all sins. It is, or at least it was in 2010, divine.

This says it all about their desserts. Skip the meal. Just eat the desserts. There is a saying as such isn’t there: “Life is uncertain. Eat the dessert first.” This is also from 2010. Click to ENLARGE.

Of course, I will share with you our experience post Turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving. Cheers.