Wentworth by the Sea’s 150th Anniversary

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WENTWORTH BY THE SEA’S 150TH ANNIVERSARY

The Legend Lives On
Est. 1874 | New Castle, New Hampshire

Celebrate 150 Years With Us

Opened in 1874, Wentworth by the Sea is so much more than just a building; it’s a living testament to New Hampshire’s captivating past. If these walls could talk, they’d whisper tales of the Portsmouth politician and ale tycoon who added sprawling wings and other wonders, of the month-long peace talks that eventually ended the Russo-Japanese War, and of elaborate programming and recreation led by Olympic swimmers, markswomen, golf champions, and tennis pros.

So as Wentworth by the Sea commemorates its 150th anniversary in June, we invite you to join us for a series of festivities that celebrate not just our hotel, but the rich tapestry of local history woven into its very fabric.
A creative dessert.
FRIDAY, JUNE 14 | 6-8 p.m.

150th Anniversary Reception

Gilded Era Dishes With Fresh Modern Twists

Executive Chef Lee Michael has raided the hotel archives and combed through its old turn-of-twentieth-century menus to bring you this marquee reception inspired by flavors of the past. Think Gilded-Era New England staples – like pickled vegetables, lamb, and salted cod – with fresh, approachable twists served across multiple stations in one of our historic ballrooms, along with a cash bar and drink specials. Live music (jazz guitar and standup bass) will also be provided by the David Newsam Duo.

Want to really get in the spirit? Period dress is welcome (and encouraged), whether that’s Victorian frills and frocks or Edwardian coats, vests, and walking canes.

*If you’re also looking to shape a stay around the reception, you can conveniently book both in our booking engine. Just click “Book a Stay” above, select your stay dates and accommodations, and then add on the reception under the “Upgrades & Enhancements” step. Please note: Rooms may sell out; the earlier your book, the better.

For those not reserving a hotel room (or if you’ve already reserved one), the event is also available for individual purchase through “Purchase Tickets.”

Historic photo for kids at swimming at Wentworth by the Sea

150th Programming

Starting June 1, we’re celebrating our history with these fun – and free – on-site events. Available to hotel guests only; some require advanced sign up.

Croquet on the Grand Lawn
Mondays & Thursdays | 10 a.m.
  • Learn the art and etiquette of this jaunty backyard pastime that involves navigating balls through an intricate web of wickets. Limited to 12 guests; requires advanced sign-up – call 603-422-7322 prior to arrival or inquire at check-in.
“Menus Through the Years” Cooking Lesson
Tuesdays | 1 p.m.
  • Sample flavors from the past as Chef de Cuisine Zach Hoefer recreates dishes from our hotel’s Gilded-Era menus. Limited to 20 guests; requires advanced sign-up – call 603-422-7322 prior to arrival or inquire at check-in.
Hotel History Tours
Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays | 10 a.m.
  • Explore some of the most interesting alluring period details that still remain throughout the property. No advanced sign-up required; simply show up at front desk join a tour.
High Tea in the Lobby
Fridays | 3-4 p.m.
  • Indulge in tiers of delicate finger sandwiches, sweets and scones, and artisan teas in a setting steeped in elegance and charm. No advanced sign-up required; just join us in the lobby.

Special Salt Kitchen & Bar Drink & Dinner Menus

Classic Cocktails, Whisky Flight & Gnocchi Dinner Special

For the duration of June, Salt invites you to journey through time with a pan-seared gnocchi dish special and a specialty cocktail menu, serving up tipples popular in times past, like Gin Rickeys, Sazeracs, Mint Juleps, and more. A scotch whisky flight will also be available, featuring three rare and aged options: Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Macallen 18, and Laguvilin 16.

Secure Your Table For June
EXLUSIVE ANNIVERSARY RESORT CREDIT

$150 for 150 Offer

A special anniversary year calls for a special anniversary offer. When you book a stay at our historic Grand Dame of a hotel during select dates (June 1 and on), you’ll receive a $150 resort credit to be used toward property indulgences, like dining at Salt Kitchen & Bar, retail, treatments at the Opal Spa (advanced reservations recommended), room service, and more. So, go ahead, lavish yourself – just like our the Gilded-Era guests did.

A Walk Through Wentworth’s Eras

New Hampshire’s oldest seaside resort has lived many lives and seen many scenes since it first opened in June of 1874 as an 82-room property then named “Wentworth House.”

The boat Truth sits on Wentworth by the Sea's veranda.

5 Places to Glimpse Wentworth by the Sea History

While this historic hotel on the New Hampshire Seacoast is far from dusty thanks to a multitude of modern updates, alluring period details still remain throughout the property – if you know where to look.

Explore the Lore
A historic photo of Wentworth by the Sea.
Wonders of the Wentworth

A round-up of little-known highlights about our historic hotel:

For a brief period under Frank Jones’s ownership, the hotel was painted “the color of money:” Nile green with a yellow stripe.
A 56-year-old Annie Oakley – one of Wentworth’s most famous employees – gave rifle shooting lessons during Harry Priest’s ownership (circa 1916).
During WWII, the hotel closed for two seasons (’43 & ’44) when military officials took over dormitories, garages, stables, and the golf course.
In 1960, Wentworth was raided by New Castle police on charges of illegal gambling in “The Ship.” No charges were ever filed, but they confiscated around $50 as evidence.
After the 1982 auction, most of the hotel’s most prized artifacts were lost to the world. However, the lobby’s towering grandfather clock and the front desk bell were returned.

My Wentworth Memory: From Longtime Locals, Employees & Guests

“While I was attending

culinary school, I got my first job as a line cook at Wentworth during my summer breaks, probably starting around 2005. I quickly learned that the hotel was a culinary mecca – like a training facility. During my time there, I worked under some amazing chefs, who taught me how to run a kitchen and run it well.

One day in 2007, the whole culinary team was told to get their chef coats and hats on because the local newspaper was there to take a picture of us all standing on the steps under the porte cochère. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because we just won hotel of the year!’ someone told me. This is a big honor for a small kitchen. We had worked very hard at choreographing things just right so that we were able to churn out a high volume of high-quality food each and every day. I remember thinking ‘Oh, wow, we really did it.’ It was such a rewarding and validating feeling. There’s already such a great sense of pride that comes with working at Wentworth (no matter what department you work in), but that day, it was palpable.”

–Emily Hill (pictured far left in a photo from 2008), part of Wentworth’s culinary team for 16 years.

“Wentworth by the Sea is

more than a hotel. Having played a key role in 1905, hosting the diplomats attending the peace conference to end the Russo-Japanese War, it became a symbol of the hospitality of citizen diplomacy and the idea that every citizen can make a difference, even in international affairs. At the time, this was the bloodiest war in world history. There was a real possibility that the negotiations would fail. But local people, including the Wentworth hosts, convinced the diplomats to work through to a successful conclusion: the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, signed at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on September 5.

That is why on September 5 each year, Wentworth joins the bellringing to celebrate Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day. And that is also why the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum returns to the Grand Ballroom – the room, where in 1905, the Japanese and Russians celebrated their accomplishment the night before the treaty was signed – to host events and prominent speakers.” 

–Charles B. Doleac (pictured sixth from right in front row with Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee), Portsmouth attorney who founded the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum and the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire

“When I was about 5 or 6

years old, my family started a weekly summer tradition where my parents, my two brothers, and I would pile into the car after dinner and drive through New Castle. That always meant seeing Wentworth by the Sea, which is where my parents had their wedding reception in 1948. It was such a grand sight…I always had a feeling that I might someday work there.

While that was my earliest memory of the hotel, it’s far from the only one I have now. In the last 18 years that I have worked as the concierge, I’ve assisted hundreds of guests, many of who have become dear friends. I also have memories of wearing the Easter Bunny and Frosty the Snowman costumes during special holiday events that still give me a good chuckle. I’ve also earned the informal title of the “Golf Goddess” because I book all the guests’ tee times over at the Wentworth Country Club. And I’ve met – and become a regular contact – for many celebrities who have stayed here time and again. Between our guests and my wonderful colleagues, there really is no place like Wentworth by the Sea.”

–Mary Carey Foley, Wentworth’s longtime concierge and a Portsmouth native with deep roots in the community (both her mother and grandmother served as mayors of Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

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Featured historic photos were culled from the archives of Wentworth by the Sea and the Portsmouth Atheneum, a non-profit membership library, gallery, and archive, located in the heart of historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire.