Find natural beauty and plenty of attractions and activities
With majestic Mount Washington hovering in the distance, North Conway feels like a town whose natural beauty stands under protected watch. This tight-knit community is among the most alluring four-season towns in all of New England, opening its doors for thousands of tourists who flock here for its renowned skiing and riding, foliage, and tax-free outlet shopping. Now that the snow has melted and the lifts have stopped spinning, North Conway is a spring haven, beckoning all to visit its unique blend of attractions and activities.
Nestled in the center of the quaint village, Eastern Slope Inn Resort (2760 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-6321, www.easternslopeinn.com, spring rates $99-$299), which has been in operation since 1937, beckons as a romantic option, with some rooms featuring gas fireplaces and spa tubs. Swing by the New England Ski Museum just past the lobby for a free, brief tour of the area’s rich winter sports history. Families should check out the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort (2251 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-5411, www.redjacketresorts.com, spring rates, $139-$249), which boasts Kahuna Laguna, a 40,000-square-foot indoor water park. For those seeking a quieter escape, consider The Kearsage Inn (42 Seavey St., 603-356-8700, www.kearsargeinn
.com, spring rates, $59-$259), a classic, homey stay just a block from the main strip.
For a quick breakfast, swing by The Local Grocer (3358 Mountain Highway, 603-356-6068, www.nhlocalgrocer.com/menu, breakfast $3.95-$6.95) for organic breakfast sandwiches and burritos made with local ingredients. For a more hearty start, Peach’s Restaurant (2506 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-5860, www.peachesnorth
conway.com, $4.95-$8.95) dishes up a variety of crepes, omelets, and pancakes, serving breakfast until 2:30 p.m. If you wander in for lunch at the Chef’s Market (2724 Main St., 603-356-4747, www.chefsmar
ketnorthconway.com, sandwiches $4.95-$8) try the tuna salad sandwich topped with honey mustard, and you won’t be sorry. If you find yourself a bit peckish amid a visit to the Settler’s Green Outlet Village (Route 16, 888-667-9636, www.settlersgreen.com), grab a quick bite at Brandli’s (2 Common Court, 603-356-7878, www.brandlispizza.com, full pizzas from $12.95-$18.50), a tasty respite from a day of bargain-hunting. Dinner at Delaney’s Hole in the Wall (2966 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-7776, www.delaneys.com, dinner entrees, $10-$18.99), a family-friendly sports bar, features sushi, local craft brews on draft, and arguably the best buffalo wings in all of New England. Fine dining at The 1785 Inn (3582 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-9025, www.the1785inn.com, entrees $17.85-$27.85) is served in the romantic glow of old-time New England. And while barbecue in New England tends to be somewhat of a running joke, one aficionado acquaintance of mine raves about Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Company (3378 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-6381, entrees $10.99-$21.99). I can at least attest to the quality of the hand-crafted ales, a selection that cannot be compared with any other list in the Mount Washington Valley.
DURING THE DAY
Outdoor activities abound in North Conway, where within moments of the village, you’ll find Echo Lake State Park (60 Echo Lake Road, 603-356-2672, www.northconwaynh.com/echo_lake_state_park.html, $4 day use for adults, $2 children ages 6-11), featuring a serene lake, and the imposing White Horse Ledge, open to hiking. Or, for a quick view of the area, a short drive up the auto road to the summit will do the trick. Families looking for a trek that even youngsters can handle should head to nearby Diana’s Bath (3405 West Side Road, www.northconwaynh.com/di
ana’s-baths.html, $3 parking fee), a manageable route that leads to one of the finest waterfalls in the area. Back in the village, swing by the Mount Washington Weather Discovery Center (2779 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-2137, www.mountwashington.org/ed
ucation/center, free, donations welcome) for an interactive exploration of the fierce weather atop the Northeast’s highest peak, or browse the unique shops along White Mountain Highway including Simply Primitive (2710 Main St., 603-356-8423, www.simplyprimi
tivegifts.com), a rustic nod to simpler times. If you’re still feeling active, the Mount Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park (1 Skimobile Road, 603-356-5543, www.cranmore.com, unlimited rides $29 over 48 inches, $24 under 48 inches through June 23, after which prices increase to $39 and $29, respectively) offers rides and an obstacle course that you traverse via zip lines, rope bridges, and ladders. North Conway Scenic Railroad (38 Norcross Circle, 603-356-5252, www.con
wayscenic.com, $10.50-$24.50) is a classic and a wonderful way to experience the natural surroundings of the area.
Those with a sweet tooth will be in heaven at White Mountain Cupcakery (2757 White Mountain Highway, 603-733-5310, www.wmcupcak
ery.com), which will tantalize with dozens of baked options, or stop by Zeb's General Store (2675 White Mountain Highway, 603-356-9294, www.zebs
.com) for some penny candy and other old-time treats. The general store, named after a Martha’s Vineyard sailor, is all about New England, featuring a variety of items from each of the six states. Swing by the relatively new Two Black Dogs Country Pub (Reporter Court Alley, 603-356-3663, twoblackdogspub.com) for an evening pint, offering one of the more diverse tap menus in the town.
Eric Wilbur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.