One of the largest New Hampshire cities, Rochester nevertheless preserves a small-town feel with its old-fashioned New England hospitality and cultural events such as the Rochester Fair. Visitors looking for fun can explore a variety of public facilities, along with cultural sites and natural areas that showcase Rochester’s scenic charms.
Rochester Common on S. Main Street preserves an expanse of greenery in the center of town with a walking loop, playground and sports field. It also hosts summer performances during the Concert on the Common series.
The Gonic Trails system contains three routes through the forest along the Isinglass River. Contained within the Mount Isinglass Recreational Area, the trails measure between 1 and 3.5 miles. Pickering Ponds preserves an undeveloped slice of New England wilderness, with 2 miles of hiking trails along the Cocheco River./span>
Arts and Culture
The Rochester Opera House, which opened in 1908, has undergone an extensive renovation that began in 1996 to address the effects of long-term neglect to the historic structure. Today, the Rochester Opera House hosts a full schedule of cultural events, with several concert series that feature regional, national and international artists.
The Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, the city's premier visual arts organization, has a permanent collection of more than 150 pieces and hosts bimonthly traveling exhibitions. The museum has no central location, but maintains galleries and exhibition spaces in various venues around Rochester, including Rochester City Hall, the Goodwin Library and Somersworth Public Library.
Sports and Recreation Facilities
For a city of just 30,000 residents, Rochester has an impressive assortment of public sports and recreation facilities. The Rochester Country Club maintains a public, 18-hole golf course that non-members can enjoy for a small fee.
The Rochester Arena on Lowell Street contains an indoor rink for roller skating in the warm months and ice skating from September through March. Squamanagonic Recreation Area on Hansonville Road has an 18-hole disc golf course, and Hanson Pines, a public park on Yeagley Way, has basketball courts, a playground, a skate park and a swimming pool.
Rochester Historical Sites
The Rochester Historical Society maintains a museum on Hanson Street, two blocks from the Rochester Opera House. Visitors to the museum can view informative displays on regional history or pursue private research through consultation of the society’s archives.
The Rochester Public Library, three blocks south, occupies a 1905 Georgian Revival structure built with money awarded from Andrew Carnegie. The library contains a second-floor museum that celebrates its own history, as well as the Carnegie Gallery, which hosts traveling exhibitions under the stewardship of the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts.