Wednesday, September 15, 2010

5 Things to Do and See in Loudon, New Hampshire

Home of New Hampshire Motor Speedway

A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in raceday excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...

The McAuliffe-Shepherd Discovery Center
From Loudon to Concord, it is about a fifteen minute drive. If you’re in the area, try visiting the McAuliffe-Shepherd Discovery Center. There’s plenty of fun for all ages, especially if you love learning about space and science.

If you’re visiting in the afternoon, be sure to check out the observatory. With it’s 14 inch telescope, you’re sure to see things beyond your imagination! The dome observatory even houses a 100mm solar telescope for viewing the sun- without harming your eyes. While you’re there, check out some of the center’s planetarium shows. Everyone is sure to find something to excite their interest.

The center is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Visit their website for more information and directions.
The Richard Petty Driving Experience
Imagine driving around New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a stock car modeled after a real NASCAR race car. Picture yourself in the driver’s seat, seeing the track from the driver’s point of view. You can do it, for a price. The Richard Petty Driving experience offers three different driving experiences at 23 different race tracks!

If driving isn’t for you, then be sure to ask about their ride-alongs which are available at many of the different tracks. Just remember this is definitely not a race weekend activity! For more information on driving experiences or ride-alongs, visit their website.
Historical Journeys
Are you a history buff? Just want to learn a little more about the history of the country? You may want to consider taking a trip through America’s history in New Hampshire. There’s a wealth of historical places to visit in New Hampshire. Trace the Footsteps of Lincoln around the state or take the Franco-American Heritage tour through Manchester.

There are plenty of historical museums scattered throughout the state. Some of them are complete with actors in early American costume and others simply lead you on a journey through our nation’s past. A great place to start would be VisitNH.gov. Their website contains some great tips and pre-planned itineraries if you don’t have much time to plan.
White Mountain National Forest
If you’re more the outdoors or camping type, you will definitely want to visit the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There are plenty of attractions, games, and even amusement parks for everyone! They’re located close enough to each other that you can visit a few in a day or spread it out, if you aren’t in a hurry, over a few days.

The actual forest itself is located about a two and a half hour drive from Loudon. While you’re there, you can also visit Mount Washington, the highest point in the state, standing at 6,288 feet above sea level. There’s something for everyone- hiking and walking trails, shopping, parks, golf, and even some performing arts. Visit their website for more information on planning your trip.
Bizarre: Roadside Attractions
Every state and many towns have them. You’ve seen them. You probably wondered “what the #*%^@?” while driving past them. yeah, I’m talking about roadside attractions.

If you didn’t know, Concord just so happens to be home to a real rocket. Ok, so a replica. But you have always wanted to see a 92 foot rocket replica right? Ok, so maybe not. Maybe the world’s longest candy counter is more your thing?

You may have to really look to find it, but somewhere along US Highway 4 is a Trojan Horse, no pun intended. However, if you’ve been following these long enough, then you know that these are usually off the beaten path. If you’re up for a little treasure hunting, then roadside attractions might be for you. Check out RoadsideAmerica.com for a list of all reported roadside attractions throughout New Hampshire.

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