October 13, 2013

Free Hugs & Gold Lions in Portsmouth, N. H.



Hugs for students at the Paul Mitchell School of Beauty


Hug for Jeremy, the Lion Man


(also read Winter Destination: Portsmouth, New Hampshire )

As many of you know, my husband Monte follows the Upper Room Online Devotional, and also interacts chat-room style with others who do likewise.

On September 25, 2013, the Upper Room devotion, written by Nola Passmore (Queensland, Australia), was titled: The Ministry of Hospitality. It was based on the Scripture 3 John 1-12. She wrote that Hospitality is sometimes undervalued, but it has been an important ministry from the first days of the church.

Monte and I experienced many brief—and some not so brief—-hospitality encounters while we journeyed our way through New England in September 2013. At the time that Nola’s devotion was published we’d just experienced two unique hospitality encounters. Monte shared them on the devotional site in his comments.

He wrote (While strolling through the downtown area of Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Carolyn and I…(experienced) …Two hospitality events:

  • a group of (black-clad) students from a beauty school* and their teacher were celebrating National Free Hug Day on a downtown street corner (it was in front of the Athenaeum). They had signs and yelled offers of hugs to anyone who passed by. How hospitable! We gladly took hugs and had a great interaction. Many other passersby took a hug or two and passed by. And yet many looked at these kind folks like they were some kind of protesters. But thankfully they offered hugs undeterred.


  • as a child Carolyn liked to climb on the four brass lions in front of the (former) Rockingham Hotel. We stopped so that I could photograph her on the same lions at what is now (a) …condo complex. She told a man in his thirties standing there that she had loved climbing on the lions. He said he did, too, (and he jumped onto a lion while) Carolyn took his picture. Then I took their picture. Carolyn told him about her blog and her novel work (and asked him to sign her “reverse guest” book. Then he asked us if we would like to get a unique view of the city. He took us into the condo complex (it turned out that he lived there) and up to the roof for unique views and photo opportunities of Portsmouth, views that the average tourist doesn’t get.



On the roof...

On the roof…

Thanks for being hospitable to strangers. Monte.

I too thank the students and Jeremy for making our experience in my home town, the place where I spent my childhood, uniquely memorable.

We all need hugs.


And never as a child, or a return visitor, had I had the opportunity to see the city from the top of the Rockingham Hotel.

The Rockingham Hotel

The Rockingham Hotel

Both Monte and I ask you to try being hospitable to three people every day. You will usually recognize your success through the smiles you receive, or even the hugs that are offered.

It will not only improve their lives, it will enrich your life.

*The Paul Mitchell School (of Beauty) owned and directed by Mark Sullivan, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Lions Still Guard Majestic Buildings

Destination: Portsmouth, New Hampshire


  1. Ahhh..the gift of hospitality. We all need to practice it. I enjoy meeting people and getting to know them. Carolyn, what a wonderful adventure! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by merry — October 13, 2013 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  2. […] Free Hugs & Gold Lions in Portsmouth, N. H. […]

    Pingback by National Hugging Day: To Hug or Not to Hug | Carolyn's Online Magazine — January 19, 2015 @ 9:12 am | Reply

  3. […] Free Hugs & Gold Lions in Portsmouth, N. H. […]

    Pingback by Winter Destination: Portsmouth, New Hampshire | Carolyn's Online Magazine — January 20, 2015 @ 1:30 am | Reply

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