Along my travels of the New Hampshire coastline I stopped at Odiorne Point State Park and the New Hampshire Seacoast Science Center in Rye New Hampshire. http://www.seacoastsciencenter.org
The park used to be the summer playground for families living in Portsmouth New Hampshire, just a few miles away. I am sure before the automobile was invented it seemed much further to travel there from the city than it does today. Wealthy families typically tried to get out of cities in the summer time and go to the countryside, the lake or the ocean where the air felt cooler and certainly was cleaner. The park is on a point of land overlooking the entrance to the Portsmouth Harbor and offshore barrier islands, called the Isles of Shoals. During World War 2 the US government took over the land to use for a military site in defense of the shipping channels along the coastline as well as the harbor. Lookouts and guns were mounted around the point to be able to shoot at any enemy ship which approached.
After the war the family who owned Odiorne Point decided not to return and the land became a state park. It includes a fresh water marsh and a salt water marsh as well as picnic areas and beaches and the main house has now become the Seacoast Science Center.