Roadside Attractions: New Hampshire
Fill up the gas tank, hit the road, and keep an eye out for curiosities that have been pleasing passersby for decades.
“Wait, did you see that? Pull over.” If this sounds familiar, you may be one of those people who whizzes by a two-story concrete gorilla, only to pull to a screeching U-turn 50 yards up the road. You may have even posed for a snapshot next to a blue-and-yellow termite the size of a school bus. If you’ve never heard of Queen Connie of Concrete or the Big Blue Bug, it’s time to engage a subculture that celebrates New England’s outsized oddities. There are at least 10 destinations well worth the ride.
Redstone Missile, Warren
That’s a real (deactivated) intermediate range ballistic missile in the center of Warren (pop. 904) just west of the White Mountains. It’s a Redstone, the kind used to launch the first manned U.S. space flight, piloted by New Hampshire native Alan Shepard in 1961. Ted Asselin, a local man, trucked in this missile in 1970 while in Alabama with the army, hoping to inspire local children with an interest in science. “The welcoming committee in Warren had a false start. When informed that the Redstone was approaching Wentworth [a nearby town], they jumped into vehicles, and racing south, they soon discovered that the Redstone sighting was a local septic pumper,” wrote Asselin in a brochure that answers the question, “Why Here in Warren?”
Detour: Warren is less than 10 miles from hiking trails on Mt. Moosilauke, a 4,802-foot-tall peak in the White Mountain National Forest (Plymouth Office, Holderness, 603-536-1315; www.fs.fed.us/ra/forests/white-mountain)