Explore the Natural Beauty and History of The Merrimack Valley Region
The Merrimack Valley region is rich with history and culture. It was explored and subsequently settled more than four hundred years ago! The Merrimack River remains one of New England’s largest waterways as it wends between both southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The state capitol, Concord, can be visited here as well as other bustling cities. The combination of stunning water views, lush forests, quaint towns and exciting nightlife make this region a must-see destination when exploring New Hampshire.
Stonehenge? In New Hampshire?
The Merrimack Valley region is home to one of America’s most puzzling man-made structures. Known as “America’s Stonehenge” this collection of free-standing rocks, small caves and chambers is likely to be more than 4,000 years old. It is still unknown who built the structures and why they built them. How mysterious! The site is open daily from 9-5. Here is a link for information and admission prices: Stonehenge NH
Skydiving, Roller coasters, Famous Poets and More!
There are so many fantastic places to see in the Merrimack Valley that it would be impossible to list them all. One notable place in particular is SkyVenture in Nashua. It features an indoor, vertical wind tunnel that simulates the effects of skydiving! This same facility has also engineered an indoor, 32 foot continuous wave that allows visitors to surf inside! That’s certainly not something one sees everyday.
For a more relaxing, retrospective day, head to Manchester to stroll through the Currier Museum of Art. It showcases a variety of American and European Art from a range of historical time periods. Their collection includes works by Matisse, Monet, O’Keefe, Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright and more!
The Merrimack Valley region is also home to one of New England’s largest amusement parks. Located in Salem, NH, Canobie Lake Park has been twirling, whirling and enticing visitors since 1902. Recently, it added “Untamed,” a rollercoaster that features a 72-foot vertical lift and a vertical drop at a 97-degree angle! This ride is perfect for adrenaline enthusiasts!
New Hampshire is home to many breweries across the state. One of the largest is the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack. Visitors are taken on a comprehensive tour of the facility and are also treated to a tasting at the tour’s conclusion. Make sure you visit the famous Clydesdales in the Clydesdales Hamlet. The sheer size and height of these beautiful horses momentarily takes one’s breath away.
Who doesn’t find space exploration exciting? For visitors both young and old, the McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center in Concord features fantastic interactive exhibits that are designed to explore the fascinating worlds of astronomy and aviation as well as Earth and space sciences. They have a remarkable planetarium theater and an innovative observatory as well!
New Hampshire has a rich and compelling history. One of the best ways to become acquainted with this state’s proudest moments is to take a tour of the New Hampshire State House. This Greek-revival architecture and gleaming gold dome top welcome visitors to step inside its beautiful doors. While on the tour, know that questions are always encouraged, and if noted ahead of time, Senators and other representatives are often eager to chat with tour groups.
The Merrimack Valley region has been heralded as The Valley of the Poets by local artists and writers. One of America’s finest poets, Robert Frost, lived in a quaint New England farmhouse right in Derry. The Robert Frost Farm is a preserved farmstead that is a modern-day time capsule of Frost’s young life from 1900-1911. The site features tours, room displays, poetry readings and wilderness trails.
Do you want to step back in time? In Canterbury you can visit a Shaker village that has kept the same way of life for over 200 years. Heralded as one of the most intact, and authentically preserved Shaker establishments in the country, the Canterbury Village insists that it provides a “place for learning, reflection and renewal of the human spirit.” Visitors are led around the grounds and can also partake in a traditional Shaker lunch!
If you are planning on staying in New Hampshire for more than one day or an extended period, here is a link with useful information regarding hotels and other accommodations: Lodging and Accommodations
Where are the good places to eat?
Fortunately, you will never run out of good options in Merrimack Valley. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. To make things a bit easier, we’ve narrowed down a few options in three of the region’s more populated cities. In Concord, check out the restaurant Beefside. Don’t let the huge, grinning cow on the sign fool you; they are absolutely serious about their beef. Beefside has delicious barbeque options, roast beef sandwiches and apparently some of the best onion rings in the state.
If barbeque is not tempting your stomach, why not give El Colima in Nashua a try? El Colima is a quaint, “Ma and Pop” style Mexican restaurant that strives to make hearty, authentic Mexican cuisine. Locals insist that the Avocado Firecrackers are simply irresistible.
One other suggestion would be the Republic Café in Manchester. This modern Mediterranean late-night bistro strives for a more casual European atmosphere. They feature a menu full of small mezze plates, antipasti and larger plates for sharing. This is also a great choice for those who like more variety in vegetarian options.
Are there any good places to shop?
For those who enjoy hunting for a special antique, great bargain or unique treasure, the Merrimack Valley region hosts two long-standing flea markets. The Hollis Flea Market and the Derry Flea Market both feature countless vendors peddling wares and other knick-knacks to prospective buyers. You never know what you are going to find! Be mindful of the fact that on weekends the flea markets can tend to be busier than normal so either plan in advance or anticipate traffic.
If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to check out Granite State Candy Shoppe in Concord. This delightful shop has been in business since 1927. It sells endless amounts of homemade, old fashioned candy as well as rich and delicious ice cream.
For more New Hampshire shopping and information, please follow this link: Shopping/Outdoor Businesses
I want to see a good show. Where should I go?
The Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry is a stunning, renovated brick building that features a range of thrilling performances throughout the year. Everything from Broadway musicals, children’s theater, plays, dance, concerts and fine art shows are showcased here.
- America’s Stonehenge
- Currier Museum of Art
- Canobie Lake Park
- Anheuser-Busch Brewery
- McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center
- New Hampshire State House
- Robert Frost Farm
- Canterbury Village
- El Colima
- The Republic Café
- Hollis Flea Market
- Derry Flea Market
- The Granite State Candy Shoppe
- Adam’s Memorial Opera House
- America’s Stonehenge Salem
- Amoskeag Fishways Manchester
- Anheuser-Busch Merrimack
- Audubon Society of New Hampshire Concord
- Beech Hill Farm Hopkinton
- Canobie Lake Park Salem
- Canterbury Shaker Village Canterbury
- Carriage Shack Farm Londonderry
- Charmingfare Farm Candia
- Christa McAuliffe Planetarium Concord
- Highland GamesHopkinton
- Hudson Speedway Hudson
- Liquid Planet Water Park Candia
- Massabesic Audubon Center Auburn
- Museum of NH History Concord
- Robert Frost Farm Derry
- Scouting Museum Manchester
- Searles Castle Windham
- Stonyfield Farm Londonderry
- Sugar Hill Speedway Weare