Hillsborough comprises four villages, the most prominent of which lies along the Contoocook River and grew up around a thriving woolen and hosiery industry in the mid-1800s. The town is home to five stone arch bridges, made without mortar. Turn north from downtown up School Street and continue 3 miles past Fox State Forest to reach one of the state's best-preserved historic districts, Hillsborough Center, where 18th-century houses surround a green. Continue north 6 miles through the similarly quaint village of East Washington and another 6 miles to reach the Colonial town center of Washington. One of the highest villages in New Hampshire, this picturesque arrangement of white clapboard buildings made the cover of National Geographic several years back. You can loop back to Hillsborough proper via Route 31 south.

The nation's 14th president, Franklin Pierce, was born in Hillsborough and lived here until he married. He is also one of the least-appreciated presidents ever to serve.

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