Bright, beautiful fall colors peaking out in New Hampshire’s Merrimack Valley

Colorful trees along river

Well what a difference a few days can make.  Stunning fall scenery is peaking out around New Hampshire. We found some awesome autumn color this week in our travels around the Merrimack Valley Region.  And that’s not all!

Bridge in park

Walking path along river

We started our route in the heart of Nashua, at Mine Falls Park.  It’s considered one of the most instantly recognizable and vital parts of the city.  Bordered on the north by the Nashua River and the Mill pond and canal system on the south, it’s a phenomenal spot for recreation.  The park boasts about 325 acres.  There’s walking and biking trails, forests, wetlands, wildlife viewing and fall is a great time to see the beauty of the changing leaves.

Stained Glass Work

Mixed Media Collages

The city of Nashua has a thriving artist community so from Mine Falls Park – we made our way over to the Picker Collaborative Artists located in a restored mill building on Pine Street.   There’s a wonderful array of artists that have their studios here and the public is invited to come in and see them at work. Why not make some time this weekend to see these artists and many, many more n person.  The city is hosting its 13th Annual ArtWalk Weekend.  There are about 130 artists participating in this year’s event.  They are located in various spots around Nashua.  There will also be live music, food and entertainment too.  The event is designed to bring people around to see the many sculptures and murals located throughout the city, and to also celebrate the volume and diversity of art you’ll find in this community.  While exploring downtown, check out the more than 40 scarecrows that are decorating the Main Street area.   All of them designed by local businesses and organization.  You can even vote for your favorite.

Exterior or Robert Frost Farm

Kitchen of Robert Frost Farm

From Nashua, we drove to Derry and what a beautiful drive!  Such a colorful route, the colors are really popping!  We came to town to explore the Robert Frost Farm Historic Site. As you may know, Frost was one of the country’s most acclaimed poets, and he lived at this home on Route 28 with his family from 1900 – 1911.  Many of his poems are attributed to his memories from his years living in this area.  It’s pretty cool to walk through and know that he penned some of his works while writing near the stove.  Walking trails and paths at Robert Frost Farm

When you look at the farm, you can see it’s a simple white clapboard farmhouse that was very typical of New England in the 1880’s.  It’s a beautiful property to walk around and visitors are welcome to tour the grounds and explore the nature trails.  There are special events and programs offered throughout the season too, so be sure to check their calendar of events.

Goat at Millcreek Dairy

Packages of goat milk soap

Kris sitting with the baby goats

The colorful show of fall colors continued on our way from Derry to Chester, where our next stop was Millcreek Dairy.  We had heard about this goat farm and decided to stop in and see it for ourselves.  The farm started with just a few goat, but has grown its operation significantly the past few years, and now they have about 87.  They use the milk to produce raw milk, cheese, yogurt and even soap.  The owners are incredibly welcoming.  When we stopped by we pet the animals, and even got to hang out a bit with the baby goats. Let me tell you, this experience is not just for kids!

View of city of Manchester with river in foreground

From Millcreek Dairy, we made our way into Manchester.  We wanted our first stop to be in a place where you could get a great view of New Hampshire’s largest city.  So we stopped and walked down behind the Amoskeag Fishways for a great vantage point.

Chalkboard with various menu items and where they are sourced

Socca dish

While in Manchester, we wanted to make a stop on Elm Street for a bite to eat.  Manchester is fast becoming a sought after spot for culinary experiences as there are so many unique, independently owned restaurants offering farm to table.  We decided to stop at Republic.  Their menu features locally sourced fare and they cater to just about every diet.  We tried a vegetarian dish called Socca.  Not only did it smell delicious, it was, in a word: amazing!

Alley with cats painted on bricks

Paintings of cats on brick walls

Downtown Manchester is a great walkable city, so we left Republic to explore and that’s when we came upon Cat Alley.  As the name suggest, it’s an alley, with cats.  Lots of them, painted on the brick wall to create an urban art gallery featuring felines!  How cool.  From here, we continued on our walk en route to the SEE Science Center.

Manchester Mill buildings built out of Legos

Another view of Manchester Millyard Lego project

The SEE Science Center is located in Manchester’s Millyard.  And it’s home to the LEGO Millyard Project.  The project represents Manchester’s Amoskeag Millyard as it might have looked around the 1900’s.  It is really an incredible sight.  The attention to detail is unbelievable.  It’s built with 3 million bricks! This is the largest permanent LEGO minifigure installation in the world.

Interactive exhibits at SEE Science Center

In addition to the LEGO installation, the science center has many other cool exhibits.  They are hands-on and interactive and allow visitors to explore things such as forces, light, sound, electricity and machines.  There’s also traveling exhibits to explore, currently you can check out Water’s Extreme Journey!

Biking along Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail

After SEE Science Center, we wanted to squeeze in an activity so we headed out to the Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail to jump on the bike for a bit.  This trail is about 25 miles long and starts at Massabesic Lake and goes out to Newfields.  You can walk along the trail or ride.  And there’s a lot of nice scenery including ponds, bridges, and forests to enjoy along the way.

Massabesic Lake sitting on bench

Since the trail starts right at Lake Massabesic,we figured this was a good spot to wrap up our day.  Massabesic is actually the greater Manchester area’s water supply.  But it’s also a great recreation spot with trails for walking and biking, nature trails and fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing.  When the leaves turn here, it’ll be great place to see the foliage too! We did see some great color, some parts of our route the colors seemed to be near peak.   Driving directions of our trip are below. And a reminder to keep up with @LiveFreeWithKris on Facebook and Instagram for updates throughout the fall season.  Until next time Live Free With Kris!

Driving Directions

Starting at the Lincoln Park entrance to Mine Falls Park in Nashua.  Take Greenlay Street to Broad Street, turn right.  Follow Broad Street to Broad Street Parkway, turn right.  Follow this road to Pine Street. From here, take Temple Street to East Hollis Street.  Then take NH-111 E and N Lowell Road to Berry Road in Derry.  Turn right onto Berry Road, then right onto Londonderry Turnpike/Rockingham Road (Route 28) to Robert Frost Farm Historic Site. Leaving Robert Frost Farm, head northwest on NH-28 N/Londonderry Turnpike. Follow this road and continue straight onto NH-28 Bypass N/Londonderry Turnpike.  At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto NH 102 E/Chester Road, continue until NH-121 N, then take that left, Millcreek Dairy will be on the left.  From here head into Manchester, head northwest on NH-121 N toward Candia Road, continue straight onto Hooksett Road, turn left to merge onto NH-101 W toward Manchester.  Continue on NH-101 W, merge onto I-93 S/NH-101 W.  Take the NH-101 W/I-293 N exit. Stay on I-293 N, follow signs for Manchester/Concord.  Take exit 6 for Amoskeag St toward Goffstown Road, continue on Amoskeag Street to Fletcher Street.  From here, turn right onto Amoskeag Street, take the ramp (right hand turn) onto Canal Street.  Turn left onto Spring Street, then left onto Elm Street, Republic will be on the right.  From Republic, you can walk to Cat Alley.  Head south on Elm Street toward Spring Street, turn right onto Cat Alley/Dean Ave.  To SEE Science Center, (driving), from Republic, turn right on Spring Street, left onto Canal Street, right onto Pleasant Street, then turn right at the 1st cross street onto Bedford Street.  From here, head north on Bedford Street, turn left onto Spring Street, left onto Commercial Street, right onto Granite Street, then turn left to get on I-293 South.  Continue on this road and follow signs for I-293 S/NH-101 E.  Merge onto I-93/NH-101 E. Keep right at fork to continue on NH-101 E, follow signs for Portsmouth/Seacoast.  Take exit 1 for NH 28 Bypass, turn right onto NH-28 Bypass.  At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto NH-121 S/Manchester Road. Turn right onto Kimballs Point.

 

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