While we were visiting, there were several special events going on, including indie films and openings at Red River Theatres, author talks at Gibson’s Bookstore, concerts at the Capital Center for the Arts, jazz at the Concord Community Music School, live entertainment at the Barley House, and an indoor farmer’s market. Special events are held throughout the winter; we’re thinking of returning for the annual Ice Bar in nearby Bedford. Billed as “The Largest Ice Bar in the Country,” the five-day festival will also feature ice carvings, light shows, live entertainment, and food.
We had two more places to visit, before we left: Susan N. McLane Audubon Center and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, both just outside of historic downtown. The Audubon Center, the oldest in the state, is a great place for a winter walk, with miles of hiking trails through forests and wetlands. We liked the Great Turkey Pond Trail, a 1.2-mile hike to a pretty woodland pond. The trails would be good for snowshoeing.
We spent our last afternoon at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, checking out refurbished and replica rockets and jets, a model of the space shuttle, and a host of interactive exhibits. The center also has a state-of-the-art planetarium and an observatory with high-powered telescopes.
We’re glad we stayed; New Hampshire’s capital city is so much more than its State House dome. And, it’s only getting better. The city, with its Downtown Complete Streets Project, has plans to redevelop a 12-block stretch of Main Street with underground utilities, traffic configuration, and new streetscape.
“Concord is already a great destination,” said Poinier. “And in two years, once the Complete Streets project has been implemented, we’ll have one of the most accessible, walkable, and livable downtowns.”
We’ll be back to check it out.
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.