As one of New Hampshire's great connector roads, U.S. Route 4 stretches across the heart of the state, from Portsmouth to the Vermont border. It snakes past all kinds of villages, antique shops, and historic markers. It connects rural areas with the busier Seacoast, Concord, and Upper Valley destinations.
NHPR hit the road this past summer for a Route 4 reporting series inspired by the people, places, and businesses that dot New Hampshire's First Turnpike. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley is our guide for an hour-long special broadcast. This airs Sunday at 11 a.m., or listen below, divided into three segments.
Antique Alley is possibly the most famous stretch of Route 4, from Chichester to the Lee traffic circle. In the 1980s, it was the spot for bargain hunters looking for Americana, be it artwork or handicrafts. It's said the buzz has died down some. NHPR's Todd Bookman caught up with a handful of dealers who say there's still bargains to be had. You just need to know here to look.
Generations of travelers have gone to the colorful Cottages at Harvey Lake to relax, despite it being just a stone's throw from one of the busiest roads in the state. NHPR reporters Sarah Gibson and Annie Ropeik spent a night there to see what draws people to the cottages ... and what brings them back.
Once the country's oldest and largest mica mine, Ruggles Mine became a tourist attraction in the 1960s. Motorists streamed up and down Route 4 to check it out and dig a little themselves for gems and minerals.
It closed in 2016, but plenty of people still hold out hope it will be preserved in some form or fashion. NHPR's Daniella Allee shares some local stories about this iconic roadside attraction.
EXPLORE the map below for stories in the Route 4 series.
Click here for a full screen version of the map.