New Hampshire's largest city, Manchester was a major textile-mill town in the 1800s, like its namesake in England. The Amoskeag mills were once the world's leading cloth producers. The mills closed in 1936, but the handsome redbrick buildings along the river are again humming with the sounds of production by several smaller manufacturers and high-tech industries, including Velcro and Bendos.

Be sure to see the Currier Gallery of Art, which displays American and European art, as well as a collection of furniture made by hand in New Hampshire. The gallery owns Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House, one of the smaller, less-expensive Usonian homes he designed. Tours are available.

Many Quebecois migrated to Manchester to work in the mills, and they gave the city a French-Canadian flavor. Their culture is the focus of the Franco-American Center, which maintains archives about the immigrants' history.

The Manchester Historic Association Millyard Museum focuses in on Manchester's industrial past and present with other exhibits about local history, as well as Native-American artifacts, period costumes, firefighting equipment, furniture and a library. At Camp Carpenter, the Lawrence T. Lee Scouting Museum and Library has artifacts and memorabilia related to the Boy Scouts, including a flag carried to the moon by astronaut Alan Shepard, who grew up in nearby Derry. At Rindge, 50 mi/80 km southwest of Manchester, you can visit the Cathedral in the Pines—a memorial for a soldier lost in World War II. His parents built the breathtaking outdoor cathedral on the site the man had selected for his future home. Don't miss The Women's Memorial Bell Tower with four bas reliefs designed by Norman Rockwell and sculpted by his son, Peter.

Manchester also has the new Verizon Wireless Arena (also known by its former name, the Civic Arena), which features live entertainment and sporting events year-round and is home to the Manchester Monarchs hockey team. Manchester's new minor-league baseball team, the Fisher Cats, plays through the season at Stadium. 15 mi/25 km south of Concord.

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