After a total makeover of its historic Main Street and four awards later, including the National Transportation Infrastructure Award and the 2017 Preservation Achievement Award, Concord, NH, seems to have hit the destination trifecta – new eateries, cultural venues and shops. Do it all on foot and go on a shopping spree because in case you forgot there is no sales tax in New Hampshire. Just 1 hour north of Boston, this once sleepy capital city is quickly waking up. That is a big deal in a state more known for mountains and hiking than its urban environment.
The food scene is getting more vibrant by the day, the newly opened Revival Kitchen by Chef Corey Fletcher features a fresh take on New England classic dishes using locally-sourced meats, produce, and dairy. On Main Street 100% of the restaurants are locally owned and they range from Greek, Italian and Indian cuisine to Middle Eastern and vegan. The Little Creperie serves a variety of crepes and waffles with tasty toppings; Good Basket serves up Asian fare, including homemade kimchi and hand rolled sushi; the Smokeshow Barbeque has delicious ribs, brisket and turkey with different sides.
It wouldn’t be a renaissance without craft beers. Just recently it opened two microbreweries: Lithermans opened last spring and Concord Craft Brewing. At Lithermans they brew and serve more than a dozen beers and the tasting room offers guests a chance to explore new beers and buy their local brews to enjoy at home. Concord Craft Brewing opened in early 2017 and features their own beers brewed in a historic brick building just off Main Street.
But the revitalized Main Street is not made only of eateries. Like the restaurants all the shops on Main Street are 100% locally owned and there are plenty of choices. The city breathes art and culture and the Arts Fest held in May only came to reinforce Concord’s reputation when it comes to art.
Pompanoosuc Mills offers special wood and stylish home furnishings.
There are a variety of art-inspired stores like the flagship League of NH Craftsmen, Capital Craftsmen store. Since 1932, the League of NH Craftsmen has led the way in setting the standard and promoting fine crafts throughout the United States and the world.
But there is a weekly craft market, plus shops like Romance Jewelers, art galleries and shops with rare finds. Besides that there are Broadway shows at the Capital Center for the Arts, independent films at the Red River Theatres and concerts at the City Auditorium. And a new performing arts center is coming next year to the former Concord Theater.
For an overnight The Centennial Inn is a delight with its re-imagined Victorian style, contemporary décor and boutique furniture pieces. Feel like a presidential candidate, without ever needing to run for office, after all, this is Concord, New Hampshire.
Whatever activity you choose in Concord, you’ll find a restaurant to suit your taste. Cheers is a family tradition, while the newer O's has a sophisticated feel. The Barley House near Eagle Square attracts the political types from the State House across Main Street.
For breakfast head to Tucker’s with fresh takes on traditional dishes and gluten free food. If diet is off the table, the chocolates, candies and ice creams from the Granite State Candy Shoppe are a must-try. Chocolate bars, hard and chewy chocolates, homemade fudge, maple sugar candies, peanut butter cup sundae, you name it, they have it all and there is no way you will get it wrong.
Concord is a New England City built on politics, but new with lots of art, culture, history and things to do. It is 1 hour from Boston, and 30 minutes from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. It has the hotels, dining, and right feel to be a destination – and while it lacks the crowds of other places, it has all makings of a real destination.