Two things happen in New Hampshire once Mud Season (spring) arrives: The
dreaded black fly appears to torment early-season anglers, and
motorhomers start showing up to haggle with the many antique dealers
along Route 4 from Concord to Portsmouth.
Once a sleepy 46-mile-long, two-lane road from the state capital to the
seacoast, Route 4 has become a haven for antique hounds; more than 500
dealers can be visited along the route. Driving south from the pricey
shops of downtown Concord, you pass through small towns the likes of
Epsom, Northwood and Durham; the 10-mile-long stretch of highway on
either side of Northwood would qualify as antique alley’s epicenter.
Many of the quaint shops along the way are located in farmhouses, barns
or small out buildings, and most have adequate room to park all size
One of the side benefits to an early-season excursion is the
presence of sugar shacks along the way. This is where the locals
transform sap from the sugar maple trees into maple syrup, candy and
sugar. There are also plenty of good local restaurants en route, serving
typical New England cuisine; in Portsmouth, look for lobster shanties
selling that king of American seafood, the two-clawed, cold-water
crustacean. That and a hot toddy are the ideal New England way to end a
delightful afternoon traveling antique alley.