Route 4 Series

Credit Sara Plourde for NHPR

U.S. Route 4 stretches across the heart of New Hampshire — from the Seacoast to the Vermont border, snaking past all kinds of villages, antique shops, roundabouts and historical markers in between. 

This summer, NHPR is reporting stories about - and inspired by - the state's first turnpike. 

Do you have questions or story ideas to help us report this series? Click here to submit them!

To see other stories we've reported along Route 4 over the years, click here. 

Explore our series story map:

 Click here for a full screen version of the map.

Sean Hurley

Traveling from Concord to Lebanon along Route 4, you’re likely to see people walking or biking on the Northern Rail Trail. While Potter Place Station has been preserved, that 50 plus mile stone dust path is really all that remains of the once thriving Northern Railroad.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

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. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

This summer, NHPR has brough you stories from along Route 4 in New Hampshire. 

The roadway stretches across the state, covering many regions from the Seacoast to the Vermont border. That's a lot of road to manage.

Bill Lambert is a statewide administrator and traffic engineer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. He sat down with NHPR's Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley to answer some listener questions about traffic and road safety along Route 4.

Wikimedia Creative Commons

Ruggles Mine once drew visitors from all over the world, but it’s been  closed and for sale since 2016. NHPR’s Daniela Allee has more now on what the mine off Route 4 in Grafton once was, as its future remains unknown. 

Courtesy of Camp Yavneh

NHPR is exploring Route 4 this summer: its sights and sounds and can’t miss stops, along with some of the curious places that exist just off the historic highway.

That includes a little known camp that has welcomed Jewish kids and families for 75 years. Camp Yavneh offers all of the must-have summer activities: swimming, s’mores, arts and crafts, and games.

But it also provides kosher meals, an on-site rabbi to lead prayers, and a rich Shabbat celebration to welcome in the day of rest on Friday evenings. 

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Drive a bit off Route 4 in Northwood, and you’ll reach a 200-year old farmhouse with a big maple tree in the front yard. The woman who lives there, Joann Weeks Bailey, is 91 years old.

As part of the Explore Route 4 series, NHPR’s Sarah Gibson met the town historian at her 1819 home to capture some of her reflections on Northwood and how it has changed.


Alli Fam / NHPR

Every year in Salisbury, for a short time, people in town experience what things would be like without the cars on Route 4.

 

The highway NHPR has been exploring all summer runs right through Salisbury, a town of 1,425 located between Andover and Boscawen.

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Along Route 4 in Canaan, there are a couple of options to grab a bite to eat: the gas station, a pizza place, a Chinese restaurant. But there wasn't a coffee shop. That is, until earlier this year when two cafes opened not far from one another. As part of the summer series, Exploring Route 4, NHPR's Daniela Allee gives us a peek into what it's like when a town of 4,000 has a bit of a coffee shop boom.

Grafton Historical Society

Historic buildings and sites are scattered all along Route 4 in New Hampshire. Some are well preserved and others look like they need some love.

Grafton native Andrew Cushing works for the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, an advocacy nonprofit. He's also the president for Mascoma Valley Preservation.

As part of NHPR's summer series on Route 4, Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley sat down with Cushing to talk about some of the historic sites he cares about along the highway.

Now On Tap in Epsom: 'Rhute Fo-ah'

Jul 25, 2019
Peter Biello / NHPR

If you drive along Route 4 in Epsom, you may notice a varnished wooden sign with a pine tree logo beckoning you to Blasty Bough Brewing Company. Turn past that sign and travel a mile or so down the road, and you’ll find a rustic red barn with a porch and greenhouse, surrounded by trees, fields and plants.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

 

If you drive Route 4 through Northwood, you pass a cluster of colorful cabins by a small lake: the Cottages at Harvey Lake. Generations of travelers have gone there to relax, despite it being just a stone’s throw from one of the busiest roads in the state.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Antique Alley, perhaps the most famous stretch of Route 4, is located roughly between Chichester and the Lee traffic circle.

The miles-long shopping destination is dotted with both higher-end and more eclectic antique dealers. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was the spot for bargain hunters looking for a piece of traditional Americana, everything from solid furniture to tools to handicrafts.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Each year in Enfield, people gather for a unique Fourth of July celebration. It involves singing and pies.

The pies are sold as a benefit for the Shaker Museum, which is on Route 4a, just down the road from the Shaker Farm Bed and Breakfast.


Dan Tuohy for NHPR

This summer, NHPR is taking a closer look at U.S. Route 4 in New Hampshire. We’re answering listener questions and reporting on the highway that stretches through the heart of the state, from the Vermont border to the Seacoast.

So, naturally, this is a great opportunity for a road trip.

We're driving the entire length of Route 4 that covers New Hampshire, beginning at the Vermont border in Lebanon. And we’re taking Rick's Mustang convertible, more fitting for the open road than the NHPR Subaru.

Library of Congress, Historical American Buildings Survey

U.S. Route 4 stretches across the heart of New Hampshire — from the Seacoast to the Vermont border, snaking past all kinds of villages, antique shops, roundabouts and historical markers in between. If you live in New Hampshire, you’ve probably been on it.