In mud season, head for city sidewalks. April is tough for travelers in New England, the month many small innkeepers traditionally save for their own vacations. It's a bit early to get out the kayaks, and the trails we like to hike or ski are sogged in mud. So we chose more urban pleasures, heading mid-state to Concord, a city we frequently go through but rarely go to.Saturday MorningAfter breakfasting on scrambled eggs with goat cheese, bacon, grilled Portabella mushroom, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers with hash browns and chive crème fraiche at The Centennial, we walked down Pleasant Street, zigzagging to the left on Rumford Street and to the right on School Street, left again on Green Street and past the N.H. Historical Society building, where works by Daniel Chester French surmount the facade. We continued toward North Main Street to pay our respects to Daniel Webster, whose statue stands on the Statehouse lawn, but since we weren't armed, we felt under-dressed for a visit inside. Instead we headed across the street to the Historical Society's Museum of New Hampshire History to immerse ourselves in some more enlightened eras of our state's past and ponder the origins of the "Mystery Stone" found on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. LunchBy that time we were hungry enough to bypass some interesting shops on our way to Bread & Chocolate on South Main Street, where we savored sandwiches built on fresh-from-the-oven croissants and shared a rich, buttery slice of Linzer torte.Saturday AfternoonFortified for some serious browsing, we stopped in Gibson's Bookstore next door before heading back along North Main Street's stately brick mercantile blocks. We stopped at the League of N.H. Craftsmen gallery to admire handwoven and silk-screened scarves, pottery and blown-glass objets d'art. It was impossible to pass up a look inside Granite State Candy Shoppe on Granite Street and we left with chocolate Easter bunnies for the kids and a bon-bon or two for ourselves. Choosing a different route home, we ambled along Centre Street to admire the varied architecture of this residential neighborhood, turning left on Merrimack Street to Pleasant.DinnerAlthough Concord has several new restaurants, we couldn't resist returning to our old favorite, Angelina's, for an Italian feast. We began with Agnolotti Crema Rosa, delicate pasta stuffed with shrimp, scallops and lobster in a creamy tomato Alfredo sauce, and followed it with Chicken Saltimbocca and Veal Cassanova, stuffed with spinach, sausage and Romano cheese and finished in Marsalla and mushrooms.SundayAfter a stop to see what was new and enticing at the LL Bean Outlet - we think they send all the goodies here first, then send the leftovers to the other outlets - we toured outer space at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. The exhibits and hands-on displays appeal to all ages, and we tried our skills at landing an aircraft in the flight simulator before settling into the comfy plush seats of the planetarium to watch "The Dawn of the Space Age."Since we were in that part of town, we continued north on Rte. 132, following Hoyt Road into Canterbury, where apple blossoms in the town's many orchards turn the hillsides pink in April.
This article appears in the April 2011 issue of New Hampshire Magazine