The Nashua Historical Society's collection of local history details the city's beginning as part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and its evolution as a mill town in the 1800s. The Society also maintains a collection of Native American artifacts and a library. The Abbot-Spaulding House, which is owned by the Society, is a restored Federal-style home built in 1804 for Daniel Abbot, owner of the first cotton mill in Nashua. Among the home's many fine period pieces are glass, china, and portraits, including one of President Franklin Pierce. Nashua's North End, a residential neighborhood which includes the Nashville Historic District, features many handsome homes from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, many of them in the Victorian style. Downtown Nashua's buildings of historic and architectural interest include the Hunt Memorial Building, built in the Gothic style.
Canobie Lake Park in nearby Salem combines an amusement park with a pool, small bird and animal zoo, train rides, and riverboat cruises. In nearby Merrimack is the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which offers tours as well as performances by the brewery's 12 Clydesdale horses.
Arts and Culture
The Nashua Symphony Orchestra, a professional symphony comprised of professional musicians from southern New Hampshire and the Boston, Massachusetts area, is New Hampshire's oldest professional orchestra. The orchestra and the Nashua Symphony Choral Society, a volunteer chorus with 125 members, perform year-round (sometimes together) at the Edmund M. O'Keefe Auditorium. The Nashua Chamber Orchestra performs both classical favorites and avant garde works written for small orchestral ensembles. The 16 players of the Nashua Flute Choir use piccolos and a variety of flutes to produce their music. Dance is presented by the Granite State Ballet Company, which performs classical ballet and contemporary works throughout Northern New England. The city's Actorsingers stage two musicals each year and one children's production.
Ten miles away, in Milford, the American Stage Festival offers Broadway dramas, musicals, comedies, and a children's series. The group also offers some Nashua performances. Nashua Theatre Guild produces comedic and dramatic plays throughout the year, with some summer performances at Greeley Park. The Granite Statesmen, an all-male a capella singing chorus, preserve the All-American art of Barbershop harmony.
The Nashua Public Library offers a variety of activities for young and old, including lectures, a free outdoor film series, a weekly noon-time concert series, art shows, and exhibits. The Rivier College Art Gallery presents five exhibits annually, and offers films, lectures, and workshops. An ongoing series on multicultural events, including ethnic cooking classes and dance classes, is presented at the Chandler Memorial Library.
Arts and Culture Information: Nashua Center for the Arts, 14 Court Street, Nashua, NH 03060; telephone (603)883-1506
Festivals and Holidays
Downtown Nashua's Spring Awakening is an annual event; springtime also brings the annual art show at Greeley Park and the Taste of Nashua, in which downtown restaurants offer samples of their favorite dishes to a background of live jazz. The Summerfest Program annually sponsors a Downtown Block Party and Pancake Breakfast, a Sidewalk Art Show, and jazz and ballet concerts. A Fourth of July field day and fireworks are held at Holman Stadium. Twist The Night Away in September provides residents with a trip back in time. Antique cars line the street and people dressed in poodle skirts and leather jackets be-bop to fifties and sixties music on three stages.
Held in Downtown Nashua along the river, October's free River Harvest Festival celebrates Nashua's heritage. Highlights include live ethnic entertainment, boating exhibits and seasonal foods. Downtown is the site of November's Winter Holiday Stroll, a Victorian-style, candlelight stroll followed by a tree-lighting ceremony, musical, theatrical and dance performances, and ice sculptures. Many shops stay open and offer creative displays or goodies.
Sports for the Spectator
Nashua's Holman Stadium is home to the National Pride baseball team, a member of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Rivier College, a member of the NCAA Division III, fields teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, cross country, and softball.
Sports for the Participant
A federal fish hatchery is located in Nashua, whose two rivers supply some excellent fishing. Among the city's parks are the popular Mine Falls Park, located between the Nashua River and a three-mile long canal. Seven points provide access to hiking, walking, snow shoeing, and fishing. Three public swimming pools are open June through August. The Parks and Recreation Department sponsors several recreational sports leagues, including baseball, softball, lacrosse, and basketball. Golf is played at a dozen public and private courses in the region.
White-water rafting enthusiasts can enjoy weekend trips on the nearby Contoocook River. Silver Lake State Park, seven miles from Nashua, offers camping and hiking. Bicycling in the city and surrounding hillside is a popular pastime. Proximity to the White Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean guarantees fine downhill skiing, swimming, and water sports.
Shopping and Dining
Nashua lives up to its reputation as the retailing center of southern New Hampshire, offering tax-free shopping at a number of ultra-modern malls, as well as traditional downtown shopping. Pheasant Lane Mall, with one million square feet of space, is the largest shopping center in New England, boasting two stories and 150 stores. It is anchored by Filene's, JCPenney, Macy's, Target, and Sears. Royal Ridge Mall caters to the shopper in search of collectibles. Downtown Nashua features several blocks of small specialty shops, including one of the outlets of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. The League, founded in 1932 to encourage practitioners of the dying home industries, features art works by local artisans. Items include blown glass, leather bags, ceramics, jewelry, woven pieces, wood carvings, furniture, prints, and homemade jams. A weekly farmer's market operates downtown in the summer.
Both casual and elegant dining experiences are available in Nashua and at nearby country inns. Menus offer a variety of ethnic dishes and New England traditional cuisine, such as chowders and fish stews, seafood, baked beans, and Indian pudding. Asian, Brazilian, and Italian cuisines are among the city's ethnic offerings.
Visitor Information: New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Department, 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, PO Box 1856, Concord, NH 03302-1856; telephone (603)271-2665
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