action:article | category:NEWHAMPSHIRE | adString:NEWHAMPSHIRE | zoneID:2

Home » NewHampshire.com

May 03. 2011 10:49AM

Magnificent Main Streets

We've highlighted some of the most "Magnificent" Main Streets and "Divine" Downtowns. Make some of these New Hampshire towns day-trip destinations. We'll tell you why you should.

Main Street - Littleton, New Hampshire (photo courtesy of Littleton Main Street, Inc.)

Littleton, NH

What You'll Find:

An historic Inn. A 100-year old Opera House. Quaint shops, pubs, a sculpture of Pollyanna, and the longest candy counter in the world! Littleton's Main Street is one of the last "classic" Main Streets in New England. Parallel to Main Street, you'll find a working grist mill and the rolling rapids of the Ammonoosuc River.

Why You Should Go:

To dip your toes in the cold waters of the Ammonoosuc, pick up some pancake mix made at the Littleton Grist Mill, explore the walking trails of Littleton and drive along one of the official "scenic byways" of New Hampshire. Hold some old coins in your hand at the Littleton Coin Company, pick up some fresh fruit at the Farmer's Market during the summer, and stop in the Village Bookstore while you are there.

How to Get There:

Take Route 93N to Exit 41. Take a right on Cottage Street, cross the Veterans Memorial Bridge and turn left at the light onto Main Street. Parking can be found on Main Street and on surrounding streets.

Milford, NH

What You'll Find:

Veterans Memorial Park with its WWII Memorial, Emerson Park, Railroad Pond Park, walking paths along the Souhegan River, a wrought iron swinging bridge, stone arch bridges, locally-owned shops, restaurants and pubs. A short drive will take you to the Milford Drive-In, one of the last remaining drive-ins in the state.

Why You Should Go:

Because it is unique; the downtown area is in the shape of an oval centered around a gazebo, instead of a square or circle. Milford is an award-winning Main Street community, where you can sit on a park bench admiring the views of the Souhegan River and the adjacent mills. Bring a fishing pole, a picnic or some walking shoes for a stroll along surrounding walking trails. A short ride will lead you to some of southern New Hampshire's best antique co-ops and shops.

How to Get There:

101W to Route 122/Amherst, turn right on Baboosic Lake Road, bear left at Amherst Street, turn left at Mont Vernon Street, turn right at Union Square.

Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester - photo courtesy of Lisa Martineau

What You'll Find:

A 10,000+ seat arena. Many restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and one-of-a-kind shops. Elm Street (which is considered the Main Street of Manchester) is actually a dead end in both directions. It is said to be the longest dead end street in the country. All within walking distance: the SEE Science Center, the Currier Museum of Art, and the Millyard Museum. Just a short drive from Elm Street: the Amoskeag Fishways, and the Puritan's Ice Cream Take-out Window.

Why You Should Go:

To see a hockey game, concert, arena football or baseball game. To visit the largest city in the state. To take in the theatre at the nearby Palace Theater on Hanover Street. To wander through the textile buildings along Canal and Commercial Streets, including the world's largest cotton textile mill, the Amoskeag Mills. To have a drink at Margaritas, a sub at Joe Kelly's, and some Hungarian pastries at Lala's. To stroll through Arms Park along the Merrimack River, where fireworks light up the summer sky.

How to Get There:

Take Route 293N to Exit 5. Take a right on Granite Street. Cross the River and continue to Elm Street (you'll see the Radisson Hotel on your left and the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of you). There are a few parking garages in the vicinity and plenty of on-street parking on and around Elm Street.

Hanover, NH

What You'll Find:

An Ivy-League College, the historic Hanover Inn, the Hood Museum of Art, the Hopkins Center, a variety of restaurants: Mexican, Indian, Thai, American, Italian, and more. A winebar, galleries, independent bookstores, specialty shops and bountiful boutiques.

Why You Should Go:

Hanover is one of the oldest college towns in the nation. It's has a small-town feel but you'll find a bustling little downtown. Follow the college kids for the best places to eat, drink and shop (be merry)! Immerse yourself in the history and the culture of the Ivy League. It's old-school versus modern mecca. With small towns surrounding it, Hanover is the happening place to be in the Upper Valley.

How to Get There:

Take Route 89N to Exit 18, then take Route 120N about 5 miles to Hanover.

Eagle Square - Concord, NH (photo courtesy of Main Street Concord)

Concord, NH

What You'll Find:

The New Hampshire State House. The New Hampshire Historical Society. A League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Gallery. The Capitol Center for the Arts. A number of restaurants, delis, coffee shops, pubs and a variety of unique shops. A fountain, arch and clock tower are located in Eagle Square. The Granite State Candy Shoppe, a downtown staple for generations, has been in business since 1927.

Why You Should Go:

Concord is the state capital. The downtown area mixes the old with the new, featuring many modern shops in brick and granite buildings. Have lunch at Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, located just off Main Street in historic Bicentennial Square. The building was originally the site of the town police station and jailhouse. Today the original 16 jail cells are now dining "cells" making for an unusual atmosphere to dine on burritos and fajitas. Nearby, you'll find White Park, which has a splendid playground, ball field and pond with a fountain. The park is located around the corner from the Franklin Pierce Law Center. A short ride will take you to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, a planetarium and museum for kids of all ages. You'll find numerous hiking trails outside of the downtown area, specifically along the banks of the Contoocook and Merrimack Rivers.

How to Get There:

I-93N to Exit 13 to Main Street/Route 3.

Nashua, NH

What You'll Find:

Interesting art galleries and antiques shops, plentiful restaurants and pubs, urban bistros, and sidewalk cafes. Just a short drive away, you can take in a baseball game at Holman Stadium, where the Nashua Pride regularly draws crowds. Or, stroll along the banks of the Nashua River's Riverwalk.

Why You Should Go:

Because it is known as the "Great American Downtown." Go for the Sunday Brunch at Michael Timothy's, the chocolate fountain at Swan Chocolates, the summertime Farmer's Market, and the self-guided tour of ArtWalk Nashua.

How to Get There:

I-93S to Everett Turnpike (Route 3), take the Route 130/Broad Street Exit 6. Take a slight left to take Route 130E Ramp. Turn left on Broad Street. Turn Right on Amherst Street/NH101A. Turn Right on Main Street.

Plymouth, NH - photo by Raymond Ducharme

Plymouth, NH

What You'll Find:

An active college town with a mountainous backdrop. A scenic journey along the Pemigewasset River into town. A cultural diversion at the Silver Center for the Performing Arts. A historic town hall. A 5.66-mile Heritage Trail. A Boy Scout statue. A bell (located in the town hall) that was forged in 1849 at a foundry once owned by Paul Revere's son.

Why You Should Go:

To see the place that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne, and because it's over the hills and through the woods, tucked nicely between the Lakes Region and the White Mountains. It's a college town, so there are many amenities such as quaint cafes, pubs, gift shops and a hot dog depot that offers thirty different toppings. A short drive from town will take you to the uber-popular Common Man Inn — a happening place to stop for an overnight or a bite. Another short drive will take you to the scenic Smith-Millennium Covered Bridge, which spans the Baker River.

How to Get There:

Take Route 93N to Exit 24. Turn left onto Route 25/3 for about 5 miles to Main Street.

Keene, NH

What You'll Find:

The Horatio Colony Museum, 200 flavors of ice cream at the Piazza Ice Cream Parlor, several buildings on the Register of Historic Places, Wyman Tavern, Elliot Mansion, and the fully renovated Colonial Theatre, the jewel of Main Street. Within walking distance: a two-arch stone bridge on nearby Court Street, and the Ashuelot River Park, a beautifully landscaped hidden oasis located off West Street.

Why You Should Go:

Because this is the heart of the Monadnock Region. Sit for awhile and enjoy the beauty of the Ashuelot River and riverside park. Do some shopping at the Colony Mill Marketplace on West Street, where you'll find the best restaurants and some wonderful antique shops to wander through.

How to Get There:

Take Route 101 into Keene. Take a right onto Main Street.


FOLLOW US
Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required
More viewing options

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
  

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Arts and Entertainment
Family, Community and Culture
Outdoors, Sports and Recreation