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Historian Rick Holmes walks us through the Robert Frost Farm in Derry. Photo by Austin Sorette.




 Walk through history

A few of the Granite State’s self-guided walking tours 
 
Concord
Concord on Foot: A Walking Tour of Downtown. Call the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce  at 224-2508.
 
Derry
Historic District Walking Tours, The Robert Frost Farm tour. Call the Derry Museum of History at 434-6042.
 
Manchester
Historic Trail Map of Manchester. Call the Manchester Historic Association at 622-7531.
 
Meredith
Meredith Sculpture Walk, Meredith Village: Historic Walking Tour. Call the Greater Meredith Program at 279-9015. The Meredith Sculpture walk offers guided tours every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
 
Peterborough
Explore Our Town. Contact the Peterborough Historical society  at 924-3235 or visit peterborough.toursphere.com.
 
Portsmouth
Black Heritage Trail Self-guided Tour. Call Discover Portsmouth at 431-2768.
 
For more walking tours in the state, see visitnh.gov.




Back in the day...
Take a walk through time into some of New Hampshire’s historic downtowns

10/23/14



Embark on one of the many walking tours around New Hampshire — like the downtown tour in Concord or the Robert Frost Farm tour in Derry — and you’ll see a whole new side of the Granite State.

“You’d be amazed how little people know what they have in their very own backyard,” said Tim Sink, the president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. “They don’t know how historically significant [the buildings in] Concord are.”
The Concord Chamber hosts a self-guided walking tour around the city’s downtown area called “Concord on Foot.” There are pamphlets for sale that document the history of a number of buildings that residents casually pass by on a daily basis.
Though the mileage of the tour is probably a little less than a mile, the tour itself could take anywhere from half an hour to two hours, depending on the walker. Participants are allowed to enter freely into many of the historic buildings, such as the State House and the churches.
The age of the buildings spans almost 200 years. According to the tour guide, the earliest building is the First Baptist Church on 20 North State Street, which was built in 1825. The most recent structure built is the Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church on Park Street which, though having been originally built in 1859, was restored in 1987 after the church suffered major damage from an arson three years earlier.
Sink said one particular highlight on the tour is the Eagle Hotel, located at 110 North Main St., which has been closed since 1961.
“It was a downtown landmark for over 100 years,” he said. “Important gatherings took place with people from all parts of the country. Some of its guests included Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Franklin Pierce, Eleanor Roosevelt, Richard Nixon … now its just a really cool building that people walk past everyday.”
Several places downtown have changed occupancy dramatically. According to the guide, the Riverbend Community Mental Health Administration Building, at 3 North State St., used to be where the Concord Daily Monitor had its headquarters before moving in 1990. The Tio Juan’s Margaritas Mexican Restaurant at 1 Bicentennial Square used to house the old police station before 1975; the restaurant still uses the jail cells as booths for its customers.
Sink said the Chamber is in the process of updating the walking tour and creating a wider perimeter of historical spots for visitors to learn about.
“Tourism is the second largest industry in New Hampshire,” he said. “This tour promotes Concord as a visitor destination by promoting historical and cultural tourism.”
Another popular Granite State tour is at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry.
The farm is located in a rural part of town, with a trail that runs along the edge of a wide open pasture. Though there still are a few trees scattered around the land, town historian Rick Holmes said the pasture used to be filled with about 100 fruit trees.
“You’re seeing the descendants of trees that Robert Frost wrote about,” said Holmes. “These are some of the apple trees he wrote about after apple picking.”
The trail, according to Holmes, continues into the woods in the back of the pasture and breaks into three separate trails. One of the trails circles around Frost’s property; another takes visitors up a “good-sized hill,” which is a good short hike; and the third runs almost half a mile over to Island Pond Road.
Holmes said that while the inside of the house might be closed for the season, the property is open year-round for people to admire the leaves changing color or for people to trek through the snow on the same paths that inspired Frost a century ago. Frost only lived there for about 10 years, but the nature that surrounded the farm served as inspiration well into his lifetime of some of his most well-known poems, including “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
“Robert Frost lived in probably 66 different homes … but this is the place he stayed the longest,” said Holmes. “He saw his children be born and grew up here for the most part, and if you believe Robert Frost, he said ‘All my poems were Derry poems.’” 
 
As seen in the October 23, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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