Spotlight on Travel – Mike Cohen

MANCHESTER, NH- Recognized as New Hampshire’s commercial and industrial leader, as well as its largest city and the home of nearly 10 percent of its population, Manchester (www.yourmanchesternh.com) is only 58 miles from Boston.

My family and I recently experienced our second visit to Manchester. Six years ago we stayed here on the way back home from Cape Cod and Rhode Island. This time it was upon our return from Southern Maine.

The city first gained national fame in the 1800s as the home of the massive textile mill of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. Today it is home to a melting pot of high tech companies, banks, business services enterprises, retailers, manufacturers and health care professionals. Commerce is just one part of Manchester’s appeal. The city is also the focal point of the state’s cultural community and home to many of the region’s eight colleges and universities. Cultural institutions such as the Currier Gallery of Art and Palace Theatre join with the new Verizon Wireless Arena and outdoor concert venues to attract world-class performers and exhibits to the city.

Performances, exhibits, classes, workshops and lectures are offered to the general public at many of the area’s institutions of higher education. Other city attractions include the Manchester Historic Association, Franco-American Centre, and the SEE Science Center.

On my previous stop in Manchester I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Highlander Inn (www.highlanderinn.com). So it was automatic that I would book a stay there again. The Highlander features 33 beautifully landscaped acres. This full-service facility includes the elegant 66-room Highlander Inn, with Basil’s Restaurant and Lounge, the 22-room New England country-style Bed & Breakfast, and the Conference Center, which accommodates up to 200 guests for corporate and social events.

Highlighted by a two-story fieldstone fireplace, the main reception area of the Highlander reflects the elegant, relaxed atmosphere that it has been fostering since its beginnings as a boarding house in the 1800s. The Jacuzzi and full parlour suites are perfectly suited for a family. Decorated in traditional English Country, the hotel and guest rooms elegantly combine a relaxing country atmosphere with all the modern amenities of a corporate hotel. The rooms are sound proof; and what I like about them most is the fact when you book a suite, there are two doors to the washroom. Therefore if a child is sleeping on the hide-a-bed, they will not have to travel through your room and wake you in the morning.

If you are here during the summer months keep in mind that the Inn does not have pool. They did at one time, but officials there felt it was being underutilized. We arrived on a scorching hot summer day, did some research and discovered that the Livingston Park Public Pool was only about 15 minutes away via Highway 93. What a beautiful facility! It has a nice water slide, changing rooms and concessions. The lifeguards take a break every hour and clear the pool. Call first at 503-624-6565 since some hours are reserved for residents only. You can call the Highlander toll-free: 1-800-548-9248.

Basils Restaurant is on-site, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and breakfast and dinner Saturday and Sunday. Widely acclaimed for its specialties prepared by award-winning chefs, Basil’s offers traditional elegance combined with the warmth of home. There’s also a full room service menu. We took advantage of the free continental breakfast, the highlight being making your own waffles from scratch.

Manchester Airport is a 30 second drive from the Inn and served by major airlines..

The Mall of New Hampshire (http://www.simon.com/mall/) makes shopping easy and convenient and it is one simple exit way from the Highlander. Favorite department stores such as Macy’s, JC Penney, Sears, and Best Buy serve as anchors. The mall also offers 125 specialty stores, four full-service restaurants, and a 550-seat Food Court

Mike Cohen’s email address is info@mikecohen.ca.
Log on to his travel advice column at www.sandboxworld.com/travel

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