Category Archives: Recreation

Five Fun Ideas for A Winter Getaway to Manchester NH

Five Fun Ideas for A Winter Getaway to Manchester NH   by Margit Eder-Wezwick

The days are getting longer and it’s time for some weekend fun, maybe even with a group of friends?

Come to the “big” city (The Queen City of Manchester NH , that is) and explore how you can have a unique weekend experience:

1. Ski right here in town

Did you know that Manchester has its very own Ski Area and Tubing Park? The McIntyre Ski Area

Birds eye view of McIntyre Ski Area
photo courtesy of McIntyre Ski Area

is right in town, with chair lifts, lessons for skiing and snowboarding, snow cannons and night lighting! Given the elevation of the hill it’s not much of a challenge for the experienced skier, but is perfect for a beginner to get a taste and only a 5 min drive from our B&B.

2. Participate at an instructor led DIY “AR Workshop”

Going to a painting class with a group of friends is so yesterday. Instead, try one of the creative workshops at AR Workshop downtown, where you can participate at a hands-on class to create
custom home décor, wooden signs, framed signs and more, all from raw materials.

Blue Hammers and paint brushes with AR Workshop logo
Photo courtesy of AR Workshop

This is a lot of fun to do either alone, or together with a group of friends. The workshop is within a 10 – 15 min walk from The Ash Street inn

3. “Escape” the Room

A different kind of weekend escape: Bring your partner, your best friend(s), or people you love to hang out with and get locked into a room with them. You will have 60 min to solve puzzles and follow clues and think outside (inside?) the box, in order to escape. This is a great team play and there are various room themes to choose from. And because this is so much fun, Manchester has not one, but two places who offer to “lock you up”! Check out Granite State Escape or Lok’d

4. Get Creative

Metallic sculpture of Mark di Suvero's geometric sculpture Origins
Photo Courtesy of Rwez

Interested in painting or felting, or glass fusing or other artsy creativity but don’t know where to begin? The Currier Museum of Art  is offering a variety of 3 hour workshops on Saturdays on various dates and materials are included. All you need to do is sign up and maybe bring a friend or two? The Currier Museum is only a 3 min walk from the Ash Street Inn!

5. Enjoy a scavenger hunt

Gather with a few friends and learn about Manchester’s history and culture by doing a scavenger hunt in the city. All places are in walking distance and you will look throughout downtown. It’s a lot fun and you can do the hunt at your own pace. Downtown is 0.5 miles from our B&B and the hunt can be booked online at Scavengerhunt.com

Additional ideas for your weekend in Manchester might include a visit to the “Speak Easy” on Elm Street (Shhhh!! ask your innkeeper

Table showing board games and brews from Boards and Brews
Photo courtesy of Boards and Brews

about details) and maybe also a game night or afternoon at the Board Games Café downtown

(they have over 1600 board games to choose from!!)

Try to stay warm out there and of course if you are staying overnight, stay at The Ash Street Inn and ask us  for some suggestions about our many great restaurants in town.

To AirBNB or not AirBNB, That is the Question.

Bumble Bee showing the buzzThe buzz in the Bed and Breakfast world lately seems to be whether or not one should consider using a short term rental service for your stay while traveling. While each traveler stay is different,  it’s all a matter of individual preference. I wouldhowever like to suggest some reasons why staying at a “Real BNB” is the better choice.

Although every Bed and Breakfast is unique, a RealBNB is usually a family owned and operated small business. It is not a part time job and the Innkeepers are professionals who know the hospitality business and put the customer first. Many Innkeeepers also have years of experience in the corporate world and understand the needs and wants of the business traveler, because after all we’ve “been there, done that”.Laptop at workspace with Ash Street Inn coffee mug and scones We  know what life as a road warrior consists of and how to address those concerns whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure. Innkeepers also know the local area and provide concierge services to let you enjoy sites off the beaten path,

RealBNBs are also insured, regulated and have fire safety codes that are above and beyond typical residential requirements. Many have mandatory fire safety equipment installed such as sprinklers or Fire Department connected smoke alarms. You can sleep restfully knowing that these systems are in place in case there was an emergency. Real BNBs also contribute to the local economy by paying local and state taxes.

And speaking of sleeping. A real Bed and Breakfast  is truly that.

Ash Street Inn coffee mug and plate of cookiesWhen you arrive, you may be greeted by fresh baked goods, you and are always provided with a comfortable room and bed , In many cases (ours included) the Bed and Breakfast  is in a historic building. (circa 1885 more on that in a future post) But in addition to the comfortable bed, upon awakening, you are treated to a wonderful, hot breakfast which is often prepared by a trained culinary professional.  

Let’s look at these two points individually. When you check into a RealBNB you will not find a sleeper couch nor Air mattress. Room 205 showing antique poster bed and stained glass windowYou will find a well appointed bedroom and comfortable bed and most, such as The Ash Street Inn, also have private en suite bathrooms. We also offer Queen sizes beds with triple sheeting and plush pillows. Many also have common areas outside the bedroom where you can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and perhaps an outside sitting area too. Many of our guests sit on  our wrap around porch and often enjoy an adult beverage outside after a busy day of work, after visiting family or site seeing.

Then there is breakfast

Pancakes, maple syrup and fruit saladA RealBNB will of course have coffee, tea and juice available but also different hot and cold  options as well. Some may offer one main entree while others such as The Ash Street Inn offer cooked to order items ranging from pancakes to omelettes to weekend specials.  Most also offer dietary options such as Gluten Free or Vegan. I can speak from experience that my vegan banana walnut pancakes have made for some very happy guests! And BTW, we can also have vegan or gluten free snacks waiting if you tell us ahead of time.

With these reasons in mind, if you enjoy comfort, delicious breakfasts and taking the path less traveled. Consider a RealBNB, and as ShakespeareCartoon image of Shakespeare singing wrote in The Two Gentlemen from Verona enjoy “One Feast, One House, One Mutual Happiness.” or to paraphrase “One Breakfast, One Bedroom, and One Happy Time”

Hiking Manchester

I know I keep talking about the CITY of Manchester, NH and all there is to do here but, before you start picturing all the concrete and blacktop, I thought I’d talk a bit about all the walking and hiking you can take in without driving all the way to the White Mountains.

From the Ash Street Inn you can get to some pretty fun spots pretty quickly.  The list of parks within the city limits is pretty extensive and can be found at the Manchester parks and recreation website.  As you can see from this listing, some of the parks are quite small – mostly historical monuments and such.  But several are quite large and allow for lots of recreational activities year-round.

Derryfield Park is just about a mile east of the Inn.  It is situated on a broad hill overlooking Manchester, to the west, with great views of the skyline and the mountains beyond.  The park covers almost 77 acres primarily around the Oak Hill Reservoir, with some of the area developed for recreation and some left in it’s natural state.  At the northern end of the park it connects with the McIntyre Ski Area which is a small, local ski area that is a favorite for tubers!   A great park for lounging around on a Sunday afternoon with a good book – and a pillow!

Livingston Park/Dorrs Pond is about a mile north of the Inn.  The park is situated around Dorr’s Pond and offers a wide of recreational activities from fishing and hiking to soccer and tennis.  It covers over 130 acres, including the pond, and is a favorite nearby getaway for our guests.  For a day of fishing, a few quick sets of tennis or a three mile run, it is close and convenient and still in the city.

The Massabesic Audubon Center may be the best of all.  Just six (6) miles from the Inn, the sanctuary surrounds Massabesic Lake which is the primary water supply for the city of Manchester.  The Lake has a surface area of 2,500 acres and the protected watershed area covers another 8.000 acres.  Here you can fish and boat, hike, go bird-watching and just commune with nature all day long.  There are guided activities through the Audubon Center as well as marked trails if you want to head off on your own.  Whatever you choose, it’s a remarkable place to be for a few hours and just a few minutes from downtown Manchester.

These are a few of the large parks and well worth the time to visit.  But you don’t even need to go out of your way to enjoy some great little parks that dot the city.  From the Inn to the restaurant area Elm Street, you can pass through three parks complete with well mown grass, trees and flowers, traditional park benches and all the little things that make parks fun like children, puppies {on leashes, of course) and squirrels.  All during a 15 minute on your way to dinner.  Which we’ll get back to next time.

 

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!

 

Manchester, NH – the “center of the universe”?

You might say we’re biased but, yes, we do see it as just that.  From the Ash Street Inn Bed and Breakfast, so many places are so close and easy to get to.  You can visit any of the New England states on less than one-half tank of gas.  Mystic, CT; Newport, RI; Portland, ME; Montpelier, VT and Provincetown, MA are all less than 175 miles away.  And with the easy access to all the interstate highways, you can get there quickly.  Or, if you prefer, there are lots of choices for “the road less travelled” that might get you there more slowly – or might not get you there at all.  It’s so easy to get sidetracked along the way that some guests never get where they were originally going at all – and don’t mind a bit.

Closer to home, there are still lots of choices when looking for great things to do in and around Manchester, NH.  Within 45 minutes in any direction, you can experience the wide range of choices that New England has to offer.  Head south and you can be in downtown Boston, MA with all that it has to offer – from the arts to sports to history.  Head east and you can experience all 13 miles of New Hampshire’s scenic coastline from the sandy beaches of Hampton Beach along the rock-strewn cliffs to Portsmouth.  Head west and you will be in the Monadnock range where picturesque little towns like Peterborough and Dublin home of Yankee Magazine, can be real “finds”.  Head north and you will discover Lake Winnipesaukee and Franconia Notch in the White Mountains, home to our beloved Mount Washington.

And, without even leaving Manchester, there are so many exciting things to do.  There is hiking, fishing and mountain biking around Massabesic Lake and the Audubon Center.  In season, you can ski and “tube” at McIntyre Ski Area. Minor league hockey and baseball are always great fun.  We have several venues for concerts and performances by artists from the world over.  The Currier Museum of Art and several other galleries and museums can make even a rainy day a great time.  With all the great restaurants and clubs in the city, everyone can find something that suits their style and have a remarkable day doing just about anything at all.

In future posts, we’ll talk in more detail about all the things to do in Manchester, NH and you’ll see why we like to think of it as the “center of the universe”!