Category Archives: Antiques

Antiques Week is here!

Every year early August brings a truly great series of events to Manchester, NH.  The whole collection is referred to as “Antiques Week” and, for almost two full weeks, Manchester, NH is the site of some of the greatest auctions, shows, fairs and exhibits of Americana in the country.  Beginning with a three-day auction of impressive items from world acclaimed collections and ending with a multi-day “flea market” at the Deerfield Fairgrounds, there is something for everyone who enjoys Americana.

Ron Bourgeault of Northeast Auctions kicks off the festivities with his superb auction at the Center of New Hampshire.  He is renowned for his ability to put together amazing collections of items and his auctions are always well attended.  For three days, collectors and dealers from around the country bid on one-of-a-kind items from America’s past.  While there are lots of items that you and I might be interested in, there are always “high-end” items that only a few can afford to bid on.  Some items end up selling for tens of thousands of dollars and reflect the highest points of American craftsmanship and artistry.

Between August 7 and August 15, the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen will hold their 77th annual fair at the Mount Sunapee Resort.  Here 350 juried members of the League display the efforts of their labor and provide demonstrations of their respective crafts for the public.  With all the different mediums in which they work and the different perspectives that they bring to their crafts, it is a truly amazing event.  More than enough treasures for everyone!

All week long there are dozens of other smaller events that offer the opportunity to discover your own special “finds”.  At the Furniture World Building, at 1300 South Porter Street, there are three days of events planned for mid-week visitors.  On August 9, there is the Manchester Pickers Market Antiques Show with 80 real pickers and dealers offering their finds to the public.  On August 11 and 12, the Mid-week in Manchester Antiques Show featuring over 100 dealers and their collections of Americana.

Mixed in with all of these events are the quaint little craft fairs in every small town in the area where local artists and dealers display their own wares for sale.  Here is where it is all about the hunt as you travel from town to town looking for just the right item to add to your own collection and have the thrill of the find when you are successful.

Whatever your interest in antiques might be there is something in Manchester for you to enjoy during this time.  Whether you’re a collector or a “picker”, a dealer or a buyer or someone who simply enjoys watching a true craftsperson at work, you will be able to find something that suits your style somewhere near the Ash Street Inn.

 

Top 10 Cities to Live In

I know I talk a lot about Manchester, NH being a great place live in and visit.  Some folks might just shrug that off and attribute it to the fact that lots of people think they live in a great place.  If they didn’t think it was that great they would probably move to another place that was better!  But Manchester has received a bunch of accolades from several sources so I thought I’d pass them along to prove that I’m, at least somewhat, impartial.  And I’m not a native of New Hampshire either.  My wife and I are both from Massachusetts, what they call Flatlanders up here, so that’s not just being idyllic about home-sweet-home.

Portfolio.com, which is the online presence of the now-defunct magazine, recently named Manchester, NH the 10th best mid-size place to live and start a business.  They found that Manchester has a healthy economy, moderate cost of living, light traffic, robust housing stock and top-notch educational system!  As innkeepers here at the Ash Street Inn, we are more interested in what might drive visitors to Manchester than what might make them want to live here but it turns out that they overlap quite well.  A good economy, light traffic and great schools in the area mean that we get lots of guests who are looking for a chance to relax and enjoy themselves and want to spend that time in a vibrant community with other folks who are doing the same things.  Works for us all.

One award however does not a trend make.  It would be much more meaningful if there was some independent corroboration.  So here we go.

In May of 2010, Forbes Magazine named Manchester, NH to their Top 10 list of livable places based on the last five years of economic growth, cost of living, current unemployment rates and crime rates.

In 2009, CNNMoney.com named Manchester, NH 13th on their list of the best places to live and start a business in the United States.

Also in 2009, Kiplinger’s named Manchester, NH the second most tax friendly city in the US, second only to Anchorage, AK.

Last, but not least, also in 2009, Forbes magazine put Manchester, NH #1 on it’s list “America’s 100 Cheapest Places to Live”.

It’s great to see that, for the criteria that were the basis for these surveys, Manchester, NH is doing well and has been for some time.  Of course, if you were to change the criteria, Manchester’s ranking might well be different but to find a thriving, active, fun community that can change with the times and isn’t just about the hype of the current fads, these criteria work just fine.

If you ever have the opportunity, you should spend a few days in Manchester, NH and see for yourself what a great place it is.

 

Great Irish pubs

This week I want to talk a little about “pubbing” in the Manchester, NH.  I’ve talked about some of the dining but we also have our fair share of Irish pubs.  The Irish have always played an important part in Manchester’s history and the tradition continues.

First, we have the Wild Rover at 21 Kosciuszko Street.  Since it opened in 1990, it has been billed as the only Irish pub on a Polish street in a French city.  It has won awards for serving the best pint of Guinness in the city and was voted the “Best of the Best Pub” by the Hippo magazine’s voter’s awards in 2010.  (More about the Hippo coming soon!)  With it’s 100 year old oak floors and brick walls, it is as comfortable and cozy as a pub can be.  The food is great from Bangers and Mash to the Irish Mixed Grill to the Lobster Mac & Cheese, there’s always something for everybody.  Lots of live entertainment every night and Thursday is Irish sing-along every week.  Less than half a mile from the Ash Street Inn, a lot of guests go there just to relax and have bit of pub food.

Second we move down on to Elm Street for The Shaskeen at 909 Elm Street.  Since 2005, the Shaskeen has been providing Manchester with Irish music 7 days a week.  Fits well since the pub is named after a famous, traditional Irish folk dance called the Shaskeen reel.  There is always something new to hear and lots of old favorites to remember.  The food is great here too!  From the Beer-battered Fish and Chips to the Guinness Beef Stew, the food will warm you up as the draughts cool you down.  The Shaskeen is part of a family of pubs owned by music loving folks of Irish descent who make the music as important as the food, drink and atmosphere.  The Shaskeen is less than ¾ of a mile from the Inn.

The Ash Street Inn is lucky to have two great Irish pubs within walking distance.  Many of our business travelers find them to be a great change from the usual fare they have available to them when they are on the road.  We’re glad they’re here – just another reason to stay at the Inn!