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Tours & Activities

Manchester’s Revitalized Millyard Tour

“Adaptability was the key,” says John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association, whose museum is one of several housed in Mill No. 3. “Unlike the dinosaurs, they managed to change as the circumstances did.”

Transformation change doesn’t have to be something scary! Come on a walking tour of Manchester’s revitalized millyard where transformation has resulted in helping the city of Manchester thrive. Hear about how in the face of a new era, the city decided to transform in the face of change rather than fight to keep the existing infrastructure to continue as it was. This walking tour is a great example about how to think about our communities and adapting to change as we face projected climate impacts. In addition, the reuse of existing buildings with an average level of energy performance consistently offers immediate climate-change impact reductions compared to more energy-efficient new construction.

Tour led by John Clayton

John Clayton is the executive director of the Manchester Historic Association and Millyard Museum. He previously spent 25 years as a reporter and columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and he is the author of seven books about Manchester and New Hampshire. Clayton’s “In the City” column was a fixture on the front page of the Union Leader for more than 20 years and won numerous awards, including best local column from the New England Associated Press News Executives and “Best Local Author” from the readers of “New Hampshire” magazine.

Clayton received an Emmy Award for his work with New Hampshire Public Television where he was the long-time host of “New Hampshire Crossroads” and he was recently honored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council as one of its “40 over 40” cultural icons.

 Walking Tour of Downtown Manchester

Join InTown Manchester for a fun walking tour of the downtown. Sara Beaudry, Executive Director, will lead this tour as we learn about Manchester’s revitalization and vibrant social and cultural capacity.

Sara Beaudry is Intown Manchester’s Executive Director. Sara manages our awesome maintenance team, communications, public outreach, and press relations while keeping it light and fun. She also oversees Intown’s events and seasonal programs. Sara lives in Manchester with her husband, daughter, and two border collies. Her hobbies include shopping for antiques and watching Duck Dynasty and documentaries about sharks. Contact: 

Bike Tour in Manchester Along the Rail Trail

Join us for a short bike trip from the hotel to Manchester’s beautiful Hands Across the Merrimack Bridge and Piscataquog Rail Trail.  The Piscataquog Trail runs for 2 miles between the east bank of the Merrimack River and Pinard Street at Electric Street. On the east end, the trail begins near the New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball stadium along an abandoned right-of-way of the old Boston and Maine Railroad. The trail crosses the river on the Hands Across the Merrimack pedestrian bridge and follows the Piscataquog River on the west side of Manchester. This tour will be co-led by Bruce Thomas, P.E., Design Engineer for the Manchester Department of Public Works and Derek Shooster, Associate Planner, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Chair of Bike Manchester.

Please bring a bike helmet. Space in the bike tour is limited by the number of loaner bikes available.  Bring your own bike to be guaranteed a spot.  Sign-ups for the tours will happen at the conference registration desk on Tuesday morning.

Derek Shooster is an Associate Planner with SNHPC. His work encompasses a wide range of programs at the commission, including transportation planning, land use planning, and economic development. Derek received his B.A. in Sociology from Northeastern University in 2012, followed soon after by a Master of City Planning from Boston University in 2015. He has a broad interest in characteristics that affect our built environment, including business growth, natural resources, social welfare, historic preservation, smart growth, progressive design, and age‐friendliness. Derek has also been very active in promoting safer bicycle and pedestrian facilities across the region, so much so that he was recently named the new Chair of Bike Manchester, the local bike advocacy organization. Derek’s interest in planning grew from a combination of 20 years playing SimCity and from living in vastly different communities around the world—including Boca Raton, FL; Boston, MA; Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas; Los Angeles, CA; Kezar Falls, ME; and Thessaloniki, Greece. These experiences and others have armed Derek with many valuable skills to affect positive change across the 520 square miles that make up the SNHPC region. Don’t be surprised if you bump into Derek winning at bar trivia or cycling down Elm Street.


Bruce Thomas has been a Professional Engineer with the Manchester Public Works Department for over thirty years.  He has a Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maine and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from New Hampshire College (now Southern N.H. University). Bruce has worked on countless roadway, sewer, drainage and Bridge projects during is time with the City.  He is currently administering three rail trail projects for the City.  These are the South Manchester Rail Trail and the Downtown Rail Connector Project that will connect the downtown area of the City to the area around the airport.  The third project is the Rockingham Trail that will extend the Rockingham Trail from Lake Shore Road (near Lake Massabesic) to Mammoth Road.  Bruce also created the City of Manchester’s Bicycle Master Plan. In his spare time, Bruce is an avid bicycler and enjoys biking in the Greater Manchester area.



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