Meet Our Guides

Randall AbsherRandall Absher retired to Portsmouth after a career in federal service. He became interested in the local history almost immediately and pursued informal research. He eventually became a docent for Discover Portsmouth and joined the ranks of the tour guide group to help visitors enjoy the culture and history of Portsmouth as much as he does. He has insight into the craft beer scene as he works at a local brewery and drinks a lot of beer.

Mark AnkarbergMark Ankarberg has been volunteering with Discover Portsmouth since its inception. Mark had a long career as an educator in Nashua, NH and lived and taught in the Middle East. Upon retirement, Mark moved to Portsmouth to pursue and share his love of the Seacoast and Portsmouth history. There is nothing that makes Mark happier than making connections with our visitors. He loves providing walking tours with his pal, Fred Lewis. Together they put on a terrific rendition of YMCA! You’ll have to come on one of their tours to find out what we mean!

Richard CandeeRichard M. Candee, Professor Emeritus of American and New England Studies at Boston University, where he directed the Preservation Studies Program for nearly 30 years. He has published nearly a hundred articles, essays, and reviews as well as four books specifically about Portsmouth. He has been Chairman of the Warner House Association, President of the Portsmouth Athenaeum and President of the Portsmouth Historical Society. Richard leads Historic Preservation Tours on select Saturdays.

Alan CohenAlan Cohen has been a ‘Portsmouthfile’ for 35 years. It is a wonderful place to live. He and his wife, Ellen, volunteer at several venues around town. Being a walking tour guide is a wonderful opportunity to continue to learn about Portsmouth, past and present, and the people, places and activities that make it special. His goal is to add facts and anecdotes to each tour that he has uncovered in continual research.’There is nothing more fun than sharing the history and vibrancy of Portsmouth with visitors, both local to the Seacoast and from great distances away. Alan is a retired State Rep and a veteran of both high-tech and the staffing industry.

Joe DistefanoJoe Distefano is a retired engineer, city planner, and computer mapper. After living in Nashua, New Hampshire for 45 years, he retired and moved to the seacoast where he discovered Portsmouth’s storied and historical past. He became a docent at the Discover Portsmouth Center to help visitors explore and learn about Portsmouth and some of its little known but important participation in America’s pre-revolutionary and revolutionary history. He enjoys meeting people from near and far and is anxious to help them enjoy their time in Portsmouth and the seacoast.

Lauren GianinoLauren Gianino is a native New Englander who has lived in the Seacoast region since 1982. From her first visit as a child to a historical museum she was intrigued by the people and events that shaped our nation’s history. She loves to connect with visitors from all over the world to tell Portsmouth’s most fascinating stories with enthusiasm and a bit of humor. As a retired educator she finds guiding to be a natural fit for her “second career”. When not guiding tours for Discover Portsmouth and the Moffatt-Ladd House, she is a docent at the John Paul Jones House. Lauren is a Music Hall volunteer and enjoys the lively arts scene in the city. She loves spending time outdoors, and of course, traveling to other historic sites and being a tourist!

Linda HarvilleLinda Harville is a native of Portsmouth. As a young adult she met her husband and traveled extensively around the world as a military spouse. After twenty-seven moves she and her husband returned when he retired. During stints at West Point and Annapolis, Linda was a tour guide and Visitors Center volunteer and developed an interest in the history of each place. Naturally, her return to Portsmouth only furthered that interest in history and when a chance to become a guide for Discover Portsmouth presented itself she grabbed at the opportunity. She hasn’t looked back, reading as much as she can about the history of Portsmouth, building on her childhood memories and noting the many changes that have taken place in the area, and just getting out and seeing as much as possible so that she can give our visitors as enjoyable a tour as possible.

Linda KingLinda King, an inveterate ‘culture vulture,’ enjoys sharing her love of Portsmouth with Discover Portsmouth’s visitors and locals alike. Her tours are sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor. As Charlie Chaplin said, “a day without laughter is a day wasted.” Retired after a career in public policy and advocacy focused on alcohol and other drug issues, she lives smack dab in the middle of downtown Portsmouth and is often spotted walking about with her loyal companion, Rupert the Wonder Dog.

Fred LewisFred Lewis has been a Portsmouth resident since 1976 and a walking tour guide for the past four seasons. His love of colonial history, especially Portsmouth colonial history spurred his involvement in the program. When he is not guiding, he enjoys reading historical books and articles as well as attending workshops and other tours of Portsmouth. A desire to share this enthusiasm with others, especially visitors to Portsmouth, is a motivation for his continuing involvement in the Discover Portsmouth
Walking Tour program.

E SanbornElizabeth Sanborn — When this​ retired ​s​ales ​executive​’s ​curiosity ​about​ Portsmouth ​l​andmark homes got the best of her​, Elizabeth decided to​ volunteer for ​us​ as both a walking tour guide ​and a gallery docent. A student of Portsmouth history, she finds that walking tours – and especially questions from patrons – inspire her to research​ ​the community​. As a docent, she has met fascinating people from near and far. All in all – a perfect way to enjoy retirement​!

Jeff ThomsonJeff Thomson is a life-long resident of the Seacoast and a former high school teacher of United States History and American Government. Prior to teaching, he had a thirty year career as an Economist with the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition to leading his ‘History and Homes’ tour, and volunteering at the Discover Portsmouth Center, Jeff also serves as a docent at the Wentworth/Lear Houses and The Warner House.

2018 Portsmouth Walking Tours