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Visit a Pub by the River a Short Drive From Boston (Just Not the Charles)

It's easy for people in the Boston area to overlook Nashua, since it's across the border in New Hampshire, but The Peddler's Daughter is one of many reasons to check out its underappreciated downtown

The food, drink and scene at The Peddler's Daughter in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The Greater Boston area has no shortage of traditional Irish pubs, but very few of them have water views like so many of their fellow drinking spots in Ireland.

A quick drive from downtown Boston — if you luck out with traffic — will actually bring you to such a place, however, and the Nashua location of The Peddler’s Daughter brings to mind some of the great pubs in the local area with cozy digs, friendly vibe, tasty comfort food and pints of ale and stout — and with the addition of some very nice vistas from its windows and outdoor deck.

For those who live in or around Boston, it can be easy to overlook Nashua, in part because it resides in another state, which may give it the illusion of being far away, and also because some think the city only consists of the endless strip of chains on the Daniel Webster Highway in South Nashua, just off Route 3 by the Massachusetts border. But in reality, New Hampshire’s second-biggest city (and the second biggest city in northern New England) is only a half hour from the northwest suburbs of Boston and a bit further from its downtown.

A few minutes north of the glut of shopping centers and strip malls near the border, Nashua is absolutely loaded with independent restaurants, bars and shops, and it has a funky and eclectic vibe that so many former mill towns in the region have.

Right in the heart of the city center lies the Nashua River, a winding waterway that starts out in north-central Massachusetts, and The Peddler’s Daughter is perched directly above it as the river flows toward its end at the Merrimack River a short distance to the east.

PHOTOS: Riverside Dining and Drinking in a Vibrant City Just Over the NH Border

From the outside, The Peddler’s Daughter looks rather small. It’s in a squat, standalone structure and wedged in between the river and a set of railroad tracks, but it is deceptively spacious inside. A large bar dominates the space, with seating for dining both to the left and right of the bar, though the bar itself is so comfortable and attractive that many patrons decide to eat there rather at one of the tables.

As you might expect from an Irish pub, there are nooks and crannies inside and the memorabilia on the walls and old-school lights help give an authentic feel to the place, while the tables along the right side and in the back afford gorgeous views of the Nashua River. For those who want to look at the river while getting some fresh air and soaking up the sun, a long and narrow outdoor area just to the right of the building includes several tables along a riverside walkway. (Some seating can also be found by the entrance in front of the pub.)

Upon first glance, the menu at The Peddler’s Daughter holds few surprises. It is filled with a mix of Irish and Irish-American options along with American classics and pub grub, but the owners hail from Ireland and have been in the business for a long time, so the food is the real deal here, especially when it comes to the Irish dishes.

A few favorites include fish and chips that rival those found anywhere in the Greater Boston area — the batter is crunchy without being greasy and the fish is flaky and fresh — a thick-cut corned beef sandwich with just enough fat to add some extra flavor; a traditional cottage pie with beef (unlike a traditional shepherd’s pie, which is typically made with lamb) and a good mix of peas, corn, carrots and mashed potatoes, all smothered in a veal and beef gravy; a hearty bangers and mash dish served with house baked beans; fried pickles that are also not overly greasy and have a satisfying crunch to them; Irish nachos, an increasingly popular item at pubs that makes use of house-made kettle chips rather than tortilla chips; a variety of smash burgers including a hangover burger with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar cheese and tomato; and grilled fish tacos with blackened haddock and an extra kick from jalapenos.

Brunch at The Peddler’s Daughter includes Irish eggs Benedict with corned beef, “disco” fries with Guinness, BBQ pulled pork and eggs and corned beef hash cakes with hollandaise sauce and poached eggs.

No Irish pub would be complete without Guinness stout and Jameson whiskey and, while The Peddler’s Daughter naturally offers both, the bar has a lot more to choose from. The beer list at the pub includes Smithwick's, a red ale that’s a favorite in Ireland, and Harp, a sweet-tasting and easy-to-drink Irish lager that is very difficult to find in New England for some reason.

A number of local and regional craft beers are also available, including from such brewers as 603, Stoneface, Great North, Lone Pine, Smuttynose, Wormtown, Berkshire Brewing Company, Zero Gravity and Fiddlehead.

For wine lovers, a few reds and whites are offered (mostly from California), and those looking for cocktails can choose from “Peddler’s Punch,” Jameson green tea with Sprite, sangria, Irish coffee and a number of other mixed drinks. And yes, those looking to sip some spirits — or down shots — can choose from an array of Irish whiskeys, scotches, bourbons and the like.

It seems strange that there aren’t more options for riverside dining in the area, but Nashua has a good one in The Peddler’s Daughter, and because the city literally sits on the Massachusetts border, it really isn’t as far away as you might think if you live in the Greater Boston area.

For those who love Irish pubs and dining/drinking by the water, this warm and inviting spot is a bit of a no-brainer, and a good introduction to the rather underappreciated downtown Nashua, which continues to get more and more interesting each year.

[Ed note: Another Peddler’s Daughter location, the original one, can be found in Haverhill, Massachusetts.]

The Peddler's Daughter, 48 Main Street, Nashua, NH, 03064.

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