I tried to get some photos of the areas around the convention hotel and our hotel (only about a 4 block walk). The area of Manchester is where the woolen mill was - I think one of our drivers called it the largest one in North America in it's heyday.
Between the Merrimack river and the canal (which I think is now Canal St?) is a long, long loosely linked set of brick buildings, all former mills and dormitories that are in various stages of retrofit with new businesses and homes. Charming buildings, beautiful to look at and not austere at all.
The photo at right is of the TV station. Pretty grandiose for TV, eh?
We were graced this particular evening with a wonderful view of the Moon.
I think this was Wednesday or Thursday night? We were on our way to the Commercial Street Fishery
(amazing food. Amazing). Jodi and I decided that this would be a darn impressive date restaurant. If you want to share with someone a great love of good food, this is the place to go.
This particular mill holds not only the restaurant, but many, many other shops and services, housing and workspaces.
The main entrance looks like this:
It probably didn't look like this inside back when young women were being brought down from Quebec to work in the mills. We had a particularly lively shuttle driver tell us about the history of the area before child labour laws, of how young (11, 12 year old) girls were brought to work here in the factories. It was his assertion that most of the area in fact has a French heritage, though we never thought to look in the phone book at all the French names as he had suggested.
Apparently, back while the mills were running, there was a huge immigrant population concentrated along this part of the river with ethnic markets and stores. The evidence of that is all now gone.
The view from the restaurant was really lovely as the sun went down, and my camera cooperated with me to take a picture of our point of view as we saw it from our table.
I also took a picture of my dessert in this restaurant (I know, I'm such a tourist), but the photo didn't work out. Too bad.
In amongst all this wonderful architecture, the roads are atrocious. Check out this pothole! Yes, those are my feet next to it at the bottom. Yes, it really was about 5" deep in the deepest bit there. All the roads in the area we were in were pockmarked and pitted like this except for the main ones, and the bridge reconstruction that had been going on last year when we were there was still going on. The sidewalks (where they exist) are not a lot better. In the main downtown, on the main street, the sidewalks are all brick and paving. Just a few blocks in any direction from there would reveal that this is a city population that does not really walk anywhere (signposts and trees planted in the dead centre of crumbling 2.5' wide sidewalks).
One of the things that we kept noticing, too, is how few of the motorcyclists bother with helmets. Apparently it's not a requirement by law in this state, and many, many riders were taking advantage of the gorgeous weather we had to feel the wind in their hair. Considering the size and frequency of the potholes, I'd wear a helmet.