Voted the Best Place to Live in America twice by Money magazine, Nashua gains from its proximity to Boston, the New Hampshire and Maine coastlines, and the White Mountains. But make no mistake. Nashua has much to offer visitors on its own. With its thriving downtown, range of restaurants, abundant entertainment options, parks and open spaces, and rich history in both industry and sports, New Hampshire’s second largest city offers big-city amenities in a laid-back, small-town atmosphere.
Nashua has a number of options for family-friendly chain hotels. The Hampton Inn Nashua (407 Amherst St.; 603-883-5333, www.hamptoninn.hilton.com, $129-179) is close to downtown and offers free breakfast, an indoor saltwater pool, whirlpool spa, and fitness center. The Extended Stay America (2000 Southwood Drive, 603-577-9900, www.extendedstayamerica.com, $87-$102) offers a slightly less expensive option with free high-speed Internet access and complimentary use of a nearby fitness facility. If you’re in the mood for something a little more upscale, consider the nearby The Stonehedge Inn and Spa (160 Pawtucket Boulevard, Tyngsboro, Mass., 888-461-3201, www.stonhedgeinnandspa.com, $265-$330), which features luxurious rooms in a bucolic setting with a full service spa and a restaurant featuring an award-winning wine cellar.
Start your day at Riverwalk Coffee Roasters (35 Railroad Square, 603-578-0200, www.riverwalkroasters.com, sandwiches $5-$8), which serves up tasty rosemary ham and egg sandwiches and fresh roasted coffees. They also have open mike nights on Thursdays. Tacos Colima (101 Factory St., 603-889-8226, www.tacoscolima.com, combination plates from $6.75-$10.75) is a bit of a hidden jewel tucked away among downtown’s historic mill buildings offering authentic Mexican dishes, fresh-made guacamole, and magnificent margaritas. MT’s Local Kitchen and Wine Bar (212 Main St., 603-595-9334, www.mts
local.com, entrees $9-$29) recently altered its concept to a more casual atmosphere featuring comfort food staples with local ingredients like baked New England oysters wrapped in prosciutto, tomatoes, and spinach hollandaise and a local grilled pork chop with New Hampshire raw-honey barbecue sauce. Martha’s Exchange Restaurant and Brewing Company (185 Main St., 603-883-8781, www.marthas-exchange.com, sandwiches $8.50-$10) offers al fresco dining on Main Street with award-winning home-brewed beer in their onsite microbrewery. They also make an excellent crab cake salad.
DURING THE DAY
Nashua may be a city, but it’s a haven from the congestion and chaos of a metropolis like Boston. Outdoor recreation is easy to find with plenty of bike paths and parks throughout the city. Nashua River Rail Trail (www.gonashua.com/Arts
.aspx) is a 17-mile bike path that follows the Nashua River into downtown from Ayer, Mass. Part of the trail requires riding along Route 111 and other side streets to Mine Falls Park, Lincoln Park, and the downtown Heritage Rail Trail. There are several places to access the trail, but Mine Falls Park on Whipple Street and Lincoln Park off Coliseum Avenue offer parking. If you need wheels, Goodales Bike Shop (14B Broad St., 603-882-2111, www.goodalesbikeshop.com, rentals $35/24 hours) has been serving the Nashua area for nearly 100 years. Need someplace to let the kids stretch their legs? Greeley Park (100 Concord St., 603-589-3370) has ballfields, horseshoe pits, tennis courts, and a band shell that hosts performances throughout the summer. Nashua not only has a Great American Downtown, but it also has a rich history with the Great American Pastime. Holman Stadium (67 Amherst St., 603-718-8883, www.nashuasilverknights
.com) was home to the United States’ first racially integrated baseball team of the 20th century. In the late 1940s, Holman hosted the Nashua Dodgers, a farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1946, the Nashua club featured Roy Campanella, who would become a three time-MVP and hall of famer, and Don Newcombe, one of only two players in Major League history to win rookie of the year, MVP, and Cy Young awards. Today, Holman is home to the Silver Knights, the defending champions of the Future Collegiate Baseball League of New England. The Florence H. Speare Memorial Museum
(5 Abbot St., 603-883-0015, www.nashua
.html, donations accepted) has exhibits with costumes, furnishings, and other accessories chronicling Nashua’s past. The museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10-4 from March to Thanksgiving. Tours by appointment are also available.
The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St., 603-821-7535, www.thepeddlers
daughter.com) is a lively Irish bar and restaurant that offers live music on Fridays and Saturdays and trivia on Tuesdays. Fody’s Great American Tavern (9 Clinton St., 603-577-9015, www.fodys
tavern.com) has entertainment that includes four nights of live music, karaoke, trivia, and a DJ. There are also regular comedy shows. If you’re up for enjoying southern New Hampshire’s tastiest summertime treats, head to Hayward’s Ice Cream (7 Daniel Webster Highway, 603-888-4663, www.haywardsicecream.com). For more than 70 years this roadside relic has been serving up innovative flavors of homemade ice cream such as Chocolate Tsunami and Cookie Dough Brownie.