Recently Rolan, a couple of our friends, and I took an overnight trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. While the area seems to have plenty to offer skiers, we traveled there to enjoy gentle but breathtakingly beautiful hiking and stylish lodge living. I hope to return back soon, when all the snow has melted, to take advantage of the many attractions available in the warmer months, including scenic train rides and a road you can take to the top of the highest peak in the northeastern U.S.
Having driven up after work on Friday, we woke up early (read: 8 AM) on Saturday morning to visit our top destination, the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. The Gorge’s walls of granite reach heights of up to 90 feet and encase gushing streams of water that transform into frozen waterfalls in the winter.
Having seen pictures of the Gorge in wintertime on Pinterest, I had assumed it would be open when we got there. However, when we arrived, we were confronted by an announcement that the Gorge had closed for the season and that its boardwalks had been dismantled.
Dispirited and believing Pinterest had deceived us, we were almost going to give up and find a nearby mountain to climb, when my friend asked a local for directions. This friendly snowshoer simply remarked, “Just follow the footprints!”
And follow the footprints we did. Through a covered bridge, over fast and rocky rivers, and among sunlit forests, until we reached the Flume.
Cliché as it may be, the pictures simply don’t do the experience justice. They cannot represent the majesty of the monumental sheets of ice, the crisp purity of the cool air, or the giddy excitement we all shared when we first spotted our destination.
After a morning of basking in the beauty of the Flume, approaching it from different angles to make up for the patch of dismantled boardwalk, and exploring icy caves nearby, we left Franconia Notch, very hungry, for the Omni Mount Washington Resort, a luxurious, historical hotel set against a mountainous backdrop.
What is wonderful about the Omni Mount Washington is that, no matter where you are, there is a breathtaking view to be enjoyed. We gazed out over the mountains eating lunch at Stickney’s Restaurant, swimming in the steamy outdoor pool, warming our hands by the fire pits, and sipping on hot chocolate (spiked, in some cases) at the Rosebrook Bar. While savoring our cocoa, we got to watch the mountains rapidly change from peach to lavender to blue as the sun set.
On our way back to Boston, we stopped at Nestlenook Farm in Jackson, NH, an adorable, twinkling resort pulled from a Victorian fairytale, complete with a frozen river for ice skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a warming hut with a fire for roasting marshmallows.
We didn’t linger long, as I am very allergic to horses (a fact I unfortunately rediscovered on one of the horse-drawn sleigh rides last year), but we were there long enough to drink up some more hot cocoa and to make a stellar batch of s’mores!
Do you have any favorite things to do in the White Mountains, or any suggestions for places I should visit in New England after everything thaws? Let me know in the comments!