Political mecca. Cultural hub. Outdoorsman’s paradise. Historic gem. Culinary mishmash. These are a few of the descriptions locals might use if asked to define Concord, New Hampshire.
In addition to being one of the most beautiful New England resort towns for a family vacation or weekend getaway, Concord also is a destination for conferences and events. About 70 miles from Boston, Concord finds itself in an ideal location to host meetings and retreats, large and small.
Concord has about 42,000 residents. Like most its size, the city has the typical big-name hotels. But where Concord really shines as a meeting destination is in its ability to give conferences its own quirky brand of Yankee history and culture.
Tim Sink, president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, is a New Hampshire native who has lived in Concord since 1987. He has seen Concord grow and evolve.
“The amount of cultural fixtures that we have in Concord is uniquely disproportionate to the population,” he said. “We’ve really started to become somewhat of a cultural center for the state.”
Being a cultural center manifests itself in many ways. Take for example downtown’s Red River Theater, a modern “art house” theater that opened its doors in 2007. Contrast it to its neighbor down the street, the Capitol Center of the Arts, a vaudeville-era theater that has thrived for decades. Both can serve as conference venues.
Concord’s love for the arts complements a rich political history. New Hampshire earned the nickname “First in the Nation” because it is the first state that votes in the presidential primaries. Nearly every major presidential candidate in history has spent time campaigning in Concord for this reason.
In addition to the cultural notes and historic undertones, Concord benefits from the untouched nature characteristic of rural New England locales. A few miles outside of the city center is wide-open country, where every star can be seen and only crickets heard.
Hub for Everything
In Concord, there’s no better place to start planning a conference or meeting than the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, where the staff have a pulse on special events in the city and personal relationships with every venue and vendor. The staff assist with everything from catering to transportation and offer free walking tours of historic downtown Concord for groups of any size.
Greeting the Great Outdoors
One of Concord’s allures is its natural beauty. What better way to make the most of it than to meet at the Susan N. McClane Audubon Center? Located within the Concord township limits, yet set far from traffic, streetlights or other distractions, the wildlife sanctuary can become a retreat space with its miles of walking trails and live wildlife exhibits. Fresh mountain air and tree-dappled sunlight can flow into conference rooms.
When Bigger is Better
For larger groups that want to experience the small-town charm of Concord, the Grappone Conference Center ranks high as a potential venue. The elegant space, adjacent to the Concord Courtyard by Marriott, can accommodate up to 800 guests in its Granite Ballroom. The Grappone has around a dozen other room options, tailored for groups as small as 20.