Keene (New Hampshire)
Keene is a city in southern New Hampshire.
Keene is the county seat of Cheshire County and has been a local center of commerce and culture for a long time. This is reflected in the profusion of pretty buildings in town, only a few of which are pictured in this article.
Keene is most easily accessible by taking I-91 in Vermont to Exit 3 and getting on VT-9 in Brattleboro. Then head into the traffic circle until VT-9 continues and follow it over a small bridge into New Hampshire (VT-9 becomes NH-9). Follow NH-9 about 15 miles to Keene. From the east, Keene is accessible via NH-101. NH-9 also connects Keene to Concord to the northeast.
- Dillant-Hopkins Airport, 80 Airport Rd, ☎ +1 603 357-9835. Small regional airport has two runways of 6,200 and 4,000 feet.
- Pumpkin Fest, Main St. Every October since 1991, when a grand total of 600 lit jack-o-lanterns were assembled on the main square, Keene has celebrated the joy of the pumpkin in a way that no other town in the region or the world has been able to match. Rain or shine, the yearly tally now routinely tops 20,000 and hit a world record 28,000 in 2006. This is a sight to see, and the all-day street fair is a delight for young and old. Not to be missed.
There is a costume parade every year at noon,and it runs for nearly an hour, so be sure to clear out of the main downtown area if you're not planning on staying there.
After 9PM, the college students begin to emerge and the festival gets less family-friendly. If you're looking to go when it's nice and quiet, getting everything done before noon is the way to go.
The food area behind the local Colonial Theater is home to "starving artist" college street musicians and vendors selling beautiful crafts.
- The Colonial Theatre, 95 Main St, ☎ +1 603 352 2033. open daily. The Colonial Theatre is an 888-seat non-profit historic theatre operating continuously since 1924 and featuring the finest in live events and niche film. There is something happening every day at The Colonial Theatre, whether it's an arthouse film, touring music/Broadway/dance/comedy, community events or the new Backstage Series (featuring alternative performers in a club-like setting).
Highland Hill & firetower, Greater Goose Pond and Drummer Hill, Beech Hill Preserve, Beaver Brook Falls, Horatio Colony Trust
Keene offers a variety of recreational areas.
Wheelock Park, Central Square, Robin Hood Park, Otter Brook Dam Recreation Area
Keene, as well as New Hampshire as a whole, is a great place to shop due to the lack of a state sales tax. Keene has a wide array of shops and stores selling almostall things. Below are just a few examples of where to shop when in Keene:
- Colony Mill Marketplace, West St (on the southern edge of downtown Keene). Once a mill making fine wool products, is now an enclosed shopping mall as well as various office spaces on the upper floors. During the last several years, the stores at the Mill have dwindled, and it is no longer a must-shop in Keene, but for the exceptional Toadstool Bookshop on the second floor.
- The Center At Keene (Gilbo Street and Emerald Streets on the southern edge of downtown Keene). An open shopping center complex, with some interior hallways leading to the other side, housed in an old train station. Home to 24 businesses ranging from shops, businesses, a gym, and various eateries.
- Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Main St. Offers mostly New Hampshire-made specialty goods.
- Cheshire Music, Main St. Sells instruments of all types as well as amps for guitars.
- Creative Encounters, Main St. Sells various things such as funny bumper stickers and toys for kids but mainly is known for its "Extraodinary Framing" and was voted "the best frame shop in the Monadnock region." Also is home to an extensive collection of beads that you can select to be made into various jewlery.
- Ted's Shoe & Sport, Main St. Known as "Keene's #1 Shoe Store."
- Your Wireless Connection (The Center At Keene on the Gilbo Avenue side). Keene's Friendliest T-Mobile store Home of the Cell Phone Guys.
- Turn It Up!, 89½ Main St. Great local record store with a good selection of vinyl, used CDs, cassettes. Local artists too. You can listen before you buy. Very good prices. Spend some time with it.
Keene also features several major chains of mid-scale restaurants, each of which have their own bars. On Winchester St. are Pizzaria Uno, 99 Restaurant, and Applebees. Located off Winchester Street, at the Monadnock Marketplace, are Chilis, Longhorn Steakhouse, and the Olive Garden.
- Brewbakers, 97 Main St. (Main St. just past the Colonial Theater), ☎ +1 603 355-4844. 7AM-9PM M-Th, 7a-10p F-Sa, 8a-8p Su. Wonderful little cafe where all the college and high school students hang out. Very busy during dinnertime and on the weekends; you'll be hard-pressed to find a table. Decks of cards, sketchbooks, and newspapers available, outlets and wifi easy to access. Delicious food. $2-$7.
- Lindy's Diner, 19 Gilbo Ave. (Main St. at Gilbo Ave), ☎ +1 603 283-5024. 6AM-8PM M-Th and Su, 6a-9a, F-Sa. Delicious breakfast, pretty good lunch and dinner. It looks like an old trailer and has a great "small-town" feel with wonderfully friendly waitresses. You might have to wait in line for 15-20 minutes in the morning after 8AM because it is a very popular breakfast spot. $3-$8.
- Colony Mill, West St. Houses the Elm City Brewery, which is a micro-brew known for its wide selection of beers made on site. Different brews are featured daily, so check out the daily specials board for that day's choices. The Brewery also has a large menu of pub fare and main courses, at reasonable prices. It has several TVs, and an outdoor seating section during the summer.
Main Street area
The Main Street (Downtown) area of Keene hosts several bars and nightclubs.
- Railroad Tavern (on Railroad Square). The most popular area bar. This bar/nightclub features a dancefloor and DJs on Thursdays through Saturdays, several pool tables, as well as three bars located throughout its large venue. Although it primarily draws a younger (college-aged) crowd, people of all ages do frequent this location. The owners and bartenders draw a straight crowd.
- Kilkenny's (near the Railroad). Primarily a beer bar, Kilkenny's has several pool tables. Although it is one of the smaller bars, its drinks are fairly inexpensive, making it a common starting point for people making the rounds of the Keene bar scene or doing a crawl. However, Kilkenny's does tend to draw more locals, and has a more conservative feel.
- Margarita's, Main Street (next to the Colonial Theater). A large Mexican restaurant. While it does serve a full range of drinks, it is mainly known for its creative, though expensive, margaritas. It has an extensive Mexican-themed menu, and outdoor seating. In addition to a restaurant section, it has a lounge area that also features a pool table.
- E.F. Lane Hotel. Also has a bar/lounge known for its cocktails. The atmosphere at the E.F. Lane tends to be quieter and more intimate than some of the other downtown venues.
- Lab and Lager, Main Street. One of the newer bars in Keene. The Lap has a small outdoor seating section, and some pool tables indoors. It draws a college-aged crowd, though it is generally considered a cheap knock-off of the Railroad. Generally hosts an older, more mature crowd (30-40).
- McCues, Main Street (beside Athens Pizza). This location is mostly a pool hall, with numerous pool tables and several TVs. It also serves a wide range of beers, and is popular for those looking to play a few games, or as a starting point for a crawl. The beers here are also fairly inexpensive, making a good place to start a night out. This is the go-to bar for college students, being within walking distance of the college, and hosts a younger crowd.
- 21 Roxbury, Roxbury St (just off Main Street). It is a martini bar with up-scale martinis and other cocktails. Its small, intimate location draws a more up-scale crowd, and is a good place for a date or a more quiet conversation.
- E.F. Lane Hotel, 30 Main St, ☎ +1 603 357-7070, fax: +1 603 357-7075.
- Best Western Sovereign Hotel-Keene, 401 Winchester St, ☎ +1 603 357-3038, toll-free: +1-800-780-7234, fax: +1 603 357-4776.
- Holiday Inn Express Keene, 175 Key Rd, ☎ +1 603 352-7616. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. $89.99-$199.99.
- Goose Pond Guest House, East Surry Rd, ☎ +1 603 357-4787, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Colony House Bed and Breakfast, 104 West Street, Keene NH 03431, ☎ +1 603 352-0215.
- Emmanuel Baptist Church of Keene, First Baptist Church of Keene, Sturtevant Chapel, Hope Chapel, Keene Assembly of God, St. Bernard's Catholic Church, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church.
- Mount Monadnock is 12 miles to the east on NH-124 in Jaffrey. There is a small parking lot where NH-124 crests over the mountain. Just before Jaffrey Center, there is a sign pointing to the entrance to Monadnock State Park. The trails from both locations lead to the summit. Mount Monadnock is the highest mountain in southern NH and perhaps the most accessible for novice hikers, as well as being the most climbed mountain in the entire world. No special equipment is needed to climb the mountain and it can usually be done in about four hours round trip for a healthy person.
- Brattleboro, Vermont is about a 40-minute drive to via the Franklin Pierce Highway (State Route 9 West) and US Route 5 South and has even more beautiful buildings for you to look at.
|Routes through Keene|
|Brattleboro ← becomes ←||W E||→ Hillsborough → Concord|
|Lebanon ← Marlow ←||N S||→ Swanzey → Greenfield|
|Windsor ← Claremont ←||N S||→ Swanzey → Leominster|
|END ←||W E||→ Peterborough → Milford|