MANCHESTER- 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 often make a point of stopping in Manchester, either on the way to or back home from a destination elsewhere in New Hampshire or somewhere in Maine or Massachusetts. We usually head right to the Mall of New Hampshire, which has 125 specialty stores, four full-service restaurants and a 550-seat Food Court. Macy’s, JC Penney, Sears, and Best Buy serve as the anchors and a Ruby Tuesday Restaurant pleases our taste buds.

On our previous trips to Manchester we always stayed at a place called the Highlander Inn. Well, when I called recently to book a room the line kept ringing. When I could not find the website I knew something was wrong, so I googled the hotel name and sure enough it had closed. This was not due to bad business. The nearby airport needed the land.

While the Highlander may have closed, a brand new La Quinta Inn and Suites recently opened at 21 Front Street in the former Clarion Hotel.. Located in the historic Millyard district, this hotel and conference center (that part known as the Falls Center) overlooks the beautiful Amoskeag Falls. There is a convenience store in the lobby, free high-speed wireless Internet access throughout the hotel, a fitness center, business center, seasonal outdoor pool, meeting facilities, an airport shuttle and pets are welcome, Guest rooms are furnished with La Quinta’s signature pillow top mattresses, microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker, iron, ironing board, hair dryer, as well a 32 inch flat panel HDTV with over 35 HD channels from which to choose. Breakfast is free, including waffles, hot and cold cereals, bread and muffins, fresh fruit, coffee, juice, pastries, bagels and milk.

This four floor facility has 109 rooms, including three suites. It is located off of Exit #6 of the I-293. You can call 603-669-5400 or go to www.lq.com. Rooms can start as low as $79 a night.

Manchester first gained national fame in the 1800s as the home of the massive textile mill of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. Nearly five million yards of cloth were shipped weekly from the mill, which employed thousands of workers and covered more than eight million square feet. The mill thrived until the 1920s, before competition from southern mills and obsolete technology took their toll. In 1935, Amoskeag went bankrupt. Despite losing its major employer, Manchester rebuilt itself as a commercial and industrial center by diversifying industries.

Today Manchester 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.

Mike Cohen’s e-mail address is: info@mikecohen.ca. Log on to his travel files at www.sandboxworld.com/travel and follow him on Twitter @mikecohen.ca.