Discover Concord, New Hampshire through the eyes of a local
When I first started my adventure of home exchanges, my friends thought it was the coolest thing ever. But after a reflective pause, they invariably would ask “But who’s going to want to come to Concord, New Hampshire?”
I guess you never really appreciate your own backyard until you go away, AKA, The Wizard of Oz message. But in my case, I found it easy to pitch my home town and so I was taken back by their comments. I would respond always with, “You’d be surprised what a great location this really is, and how easy it is to … sell Concord.”
Perhaps my experience owning a retail store and having to “sell stuff” helped me when I began writing enthusiastically about my home exchange details. I did find it easy to “promote” my home. So please bear with me as I flaunt my fair city.
About Concord, NH
Concord, New Hampshire is the small capital city of the State of New Hampshire with a population under 45,000. New Hampshire is in northern New England, way up in the northeast corner of the United States, near Canada. (We think it’s a plus to be near Canada!) I usually say, “North of Boston” and people instantly know where I mean. Concord is smack dab in the middle of the state with easy access to our neighbors – Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The entire state is just over 1 million people and might otherwise go unnoticed except for the fact that the U.S. presidential primary puts us on the map. Because of that, Concord is the hub of state business and other political activity. Our main street is adorned with the beautiful State House along with other historical buildings. The State House is the oldest capitol building in the United States where the legislature meets in its original chambers. We also have the second largest legislature in the world – little fun facts. You may tour the buildings and get an idea of the early beginnings of America.
The good weather brings on festivals of all kinds and The Farmers’ Market runs Saturdays, May through October. All are within walking distance of my home.
Where to Eat in Concord, NH
More about the local restaurants: Margaritas (the most unique atmosphere in my opinion) serves Mexican food in Concord’s old police station. That’s right, have an enchilada in an 1890’s prison cell, bars and all. They say it’s haunted. (A fun place for adults and the staff is great with kids.) The rival to this, I would have to say, is O’s Steak and Seafood’s divine macaroni and cheese, and … lobster. Did I say being less than an hour from the seacoast provides us with the best lobster in the world?
The Merrimack River splits the city and if you venture to the other side, you can find the “big box” stores and chain restaurants. So there really is something for everyone.
What to do in Concord, NH
Speaking of the “mighty” Merrimack, the river provides wonderful local recreation. There are many places where you can walk along river trails and there are kayak rentals at several locations. Or, find a secluded beach and picnic on a hot summer day.
Concord has a variety of museums: The Pierce Manse, The Mary Baker Eddy House, and The New Hampshire Historical Society, all within walking distance of my home. The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and the NH Audubon are within the city, a short drive. And that’s just Concord.
Within an hour’s drive, you have mountains to climb, rivers to explore, and lakes to lounge in, and many other wonderful outdoor activities and sites to see. New Hampshire has a small but beautiful coast. The historic Portsmouth seaport is a gem not to be missed, with its one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, not to mention its many fine examples of early American architecture and famous Strawberry Banke Museum compound.
For a full day’s adventure, you may also want to visit quaint villages in Vermont, the White Mountain National Forest with the most majestic peaks in the northeast, or head over to Maine’s famous seacoast for what they do best: the lobster roll.
And if all this clean living gets boring, there is the hustle and bustle of the historic city of Boston. While the drive to Boston without traffic is only an hour and 15 minutes, you may hit traffic. Instead, I recommend hopping on our Concord Trailways Bus as the best way to get in and out of Boston. The bus runs hourly to and from Boston and Logan Airport. Service begins at 3:45 am for airport folks, running almost every hour, with the last bus of the day leaving Boston at 10:30 pm. It’s only $25 for a day’s round trip ticket. Parking is free at the bus station in Concord and someone else gets to drive in Boston -perfect. (Let’s just say Boston drivers have a reputation.) Considering the price of parking in Boston and hassle, the bus service is a convenient deal. Bus service is also direct from the airport. You literally walk out from baggage claim and get on the bus to Concord. People who have done home exchanges with me thought the service was ideal. Buses also run from Concord to New York City.
Well a good Yankee can’t go very long without talking about the weather, a subject that is ongoing here in New England. So, what is the weather like in Concord? I would say it hits both extremes compared to the rest of the United States, and the rest of the world for that matter. It is often very cold in the winter with temperatures averaging below freezing. A great excuse for a snuggle and hot chocolate after snowshoeing or skiing. In the summer, we are experiencing more 90 degree days than ever before. Last summer, my exchange family made it through almost a week of mid-90s, and that’s with humidity. Not to fear, that’s what our mountains are for – escaping to cooler, more manageable temperatures. Spring is glorious and a welcomed return to life which ignites the maple sugaring season. And autumn? Have you not heard? Northern New England boasts the most spectacular foliage as our sugar maples explode with red and orange vibrancy. Late September into the first half of October is guaranteed a colorful show anywhere in New England. Autumn, we call it fall, is our most cherished season.
While I love traveling and exploring new places, I do enjoy returning to my home in Concord. I have recently struggled with deciding when I want to travel because I might miss something – like my spring flowers, my deck in the summer heat, picking fresh basil, or harvesting my vegetables in fall. Well, shoveling heavy wet snow – not so much.
So, now you know a little bit about Concord, New Hampshire. Concord really is a delightful destination. The city is accessible, walkable, and safe, with a very livable downtown. Can you say “lobstah”?
Looking to visit Concord, NH? Contact Deborah to organize a home exchange…