yk's Day Trip Report to Manchester, NH

Jul 12th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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yk's Day Trip Report to Manchester, NH

Yesterday, DH & I took a day trip to Manchester, New Hampshire. I know Manchester is not on most people's destination list, and it rarely gets mentioned here except that its airport is a great option for people who want to tour Northern New England without going through Boston Logan.

Originally, we were going to spend a weekend in NH, with Sat touring the Monadnock region, and Sunday for Manchester area. However, with threats of heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted for Saturday, we decided to take a rain check (no pun intended) on the Monadnock region.

We couldn't cancel our Manchester plan on Sunday because I had pre-purchased tickets for touring the Zimmerman House.

We left home around 8:30am and arrived at Bedford Village Inn in Bedford an hour later for breakfast. The Inn was recommended by djkbooks in another thread. It is a beautiful Inn in a pretty setting; the *ideal* place for a New England wedding! The Inn has 2 dining options: the more formal dining room (with a nice view of the gardens), and the cheaper Tavern (still nice inside, just no view). I believe they share the same kitchen.


We picked the Tavern, where they serve breakfast on Sundays from 8-10am. When we went in, it was kind of spooky, as there was nobody there. No diners, no staff. We actually waited around for 5 minutes before I was able to flag down someone inside the kitchen. After that initial odd event, everything was great. I had the New England Scramble (farm eggs, local bacon & sausages, Vt cheddar cheese), DH had the Greek Scramble. Both came with toasts and homemade jams. We were given 3 kinds: strawberry, blueberry, and peach. Overall, it was a lovely breakfast.

Next, we drove into Manchester to the former site of the Amoskeag Mills. WOW! I had no idea about Manchester's history until now. The Amoskeag company was the largest textile manufacturer in the WORLD during the 1800s and early 1900s. An enormous complex of mills, warehouses, housing lined the Eastern bank of the Merrimack River.

Compared to the mills in Lowell (which I found impressive), the Amoskeag is at least several times larger in size. At the peak of the company, it employed 15,000 people, a good majority of the Manchester population.

Anyway, the buildings in the mill complex are now mostly offices. We visited the SEE Science Center located in one of the mill buildings. http://www.see-sciencecenter.org/ The Science Center is sort of a primitive version of a Science Museum, mostly catered to children. However, since the place was almost empty, DH & I got to "play" with many of the hands-on machines/experiments.

But the main reason to visit the Science Center, was to see its Millyard Lego Project. http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...H/IMG_5874.jpg

This is the largest permanent installation of LEGO project in the world. It is made up of 3 million LEGO blocks, depicting the entire Amoskeag complex at its height. Apart from factory buildings, the Amoskeag Co also contributed to building playgrounds and other recreational sites for its factory workers.


To be continued...
yk is online now  
Jul 12th, 2010, 11:59 AM
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I think they've done a wonderful job with the old mill buildings. I didn't realize until recently when we were driving on 293 that the architecture of newish Hilton Garden Inn by the ball park echoes the mills.

Looking forward to the rest of your report!
dfrostnh is online now  
Jul 12th, 2010, 01:12 PM
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In the same building as the SEE Science Center, is the Millyard Museum exhibition the 11,000+ years of history in the Manchester area. Unfortunately, it is not open on Sundays. http://www.manchesterhistoric.org/mill.htm

Our next stop was the Currier Museum of Art. We arrived just around 12 noon, which means we have 90 minutes to spare before our 1:30pm guided tour of the Zimmerman House.


It's a nice little museum. The permanent collection is heavy on European and American art. We enjoyed all 3 of their temporary exhibitions as well.

We ate lunch at the museum's Winter Garden Cafe. http://www.currier.org/visit/cafe.aspx It is a nice, airy, bright, and welcoming atmosphere. The menu is simple: mostly salads, wraps, and paninis. Everything is made fresh to order. DH had a roast beef panini, and I had a curry chicken wrap, and we shared a turtle cheesecake for dessert. The food was very good for a museum cafe, and the prices are very reasonable.

Finally, the main goal and highlight of our trip: tour of the Zimmerman House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. http://www.currier.org/collections/zimmerman.aspx

I admit that I did not know about this house until I was flipping through my Fodors guidebook of ME/VT/NH. While we aren't fanatics of FLW, we enjoy architecture and we like FLW's designs.

What's special about the Zimmerman House (1950) is that only the Zimmermans have lived there. They had no children, so they decided to donate their house to the Art Museum upon their deaths. As a result, everything in the house is original to the house. This is often NOT the case at other FLW's houses, where descendants sell off furniture, or new owners redecorated.

Photos are not allowed inside the house on our tour (the museum does offer a special Photographers' tour on which you can take photos); all I can tell you is that it is lovely. There is harmony and nature all over the house, and DH & I just wish we could move right in. The house also reminds me of Kentuck Knob, not surprising as that was built just a few years after the Zimmerman House was completed. Here is a photo of the back side of the house: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...H/IMG_5881.jpg

I highly anyone who is interested in architecture and/or FLW to go visit the Zimmerman House. You should reserve your tickets in advance if you plan to visit on the weekends. Each tour has space for 13 people only.

On the same street as the Zimmerman House, just 3 houses down, is another FLW house. These are the only 2 FLW houses in NH. After the Zimmerman got their new house, one of their friends loved it so much that he then commissioned FLW to build one for him down the street. But this one is quite different in style - it's one of FLW's "concrete block" houses, rather than prairie-style house the Zimmerman is. Our tour bus drove past the concrete block house so that we could see its exterior. It is a private home, but it's currently up for sale for $1.8M, in case you're interested

After we returned to the Art Museum, we spent some more time in the upstairs galleries, before we headed home around 4:30pm.

While Manchester doesn't have too much to offer to tourists, I'm glad we made this trip: good food, wonderful art & architecture, interesting history always make a great combo.

Thanks for reading!
yk is online now  
Jul 14th, 2010, 03:40 PM
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I guess no one else is interested in reading about Manchester?
yk is online now  
Jul 18th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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Oh, I've read it! I live in Nashua so I took a few notes about places to visit.
rizzo0904 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 07:50 AM
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Thanks yk for your trip report! Perhaps I'll swing by Manchester some future trip to the Boston area.

Don't be discouraged that seemingly few people read; people I think are mostly interested in reading trip reports on destinations that they've lived in, visited or imminently want to go to. I think (possibly deluding myself) sometimes the trip reports to places off most travellers' radars such as Manchester NH are so scarce, that when someone DOES decide to go there in a few years' time and does a search, your trip report will still be around and an important resource. I've written some that very few people have read to places-off-most-people's-brains like Moncton, NB, Sherbrooke,QC or Trois-Rivieres, QC (despite the absence of trip reports, I think all three towns have character & interesting offerings for visitors, that's why I wanted to share here). I too felt discouraged, but then one person whose daughter got a position at UdeSherbrooke found my Sherbrooke trip report some two years after the visit, and thanked me since it was the only one around! I'm sure my London, New Orleans or San Francisco trip reports would not appear using the "search the forums" option now, as there are many of those around.

Thanks again, Daniel
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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I enjoy all your reports, yk! Your trips always include off-beat and interesting spots instead of the obvious tourist sights.

In fact, since you are so good a trip planning, would you like to plan my trip to Turkey in September? \/
lcuy is offline  
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