Family Attractions, Outdoor Adventures, Tax Free Shopping and Special Events.
MT. WASHINGTON VALLEYNew Hampshire
FIVE FOr FAMILIES
Five Fun-Filled Fantastic Days for Families.In and Around the Mt Washington Valley
The Mt. Washington Valley has been hosting families for eons. I can think of no cooler place to hang with the kids than here thats why so many families live here. Whether you want to wander the woods or run the water slides, ice skate or skate ski, ride a horse or a raft, see a moose or a clown, the Valley can give you a unique adventure every day of your visit. So lets get started.
MT. WASHINGTON VALLEYNew Hampshire
Anything is Possible
Above: The Valley offers views from every field Karen Stancik PhotographyBottom: Ripley Falls is an easy family hike Karen Stancik Photography
Cover: Family hiking, courtesy of Omni Mt Washington Resort
DAY ONE FOrEST AND TrAILSBefore there were shopping centers and waterslides in the Valley there was the White Mountain National Forestand guess what, its still here! It was the reason families came fifty years ago and it will always be THE main attraction. The nearly 800,000-acre forest offers an activity for every age and ability and ITS FREE and its never closed. (Ok, Im stretchin it its almost free - you need a parking pass. They are available at every trailhead for $3. But dont rely on your debit card, it is self-serve, youll need three bucks. And yes, during Hurricane Irene they actually did close the forest. Locked the gates, told everyone to get out and everyone did. Overnight hikers that week found homes away from home with valley residents.)
There are easy one-hour hikes to great views and refreshing waterfalls in case you need to carry an itty-bitty person on your shoulders or this outdoorsy thing is new to your family. Start with Mt. Willard and Ripley Falls and by the end of the week you may just be experiencing your first high adventure to an AMC hut. My favorite full day hike is Edmunds Path to Mt. Eisenhower, one of the least difficult treks to a New Hampshire 4000 footer. Get prepared if you are up for this type of hike by visiting the Ranger Station earlier in the week to check conditions, discuss your ability, and determine the necessary gear.
Left: Mountain Biking, courtesy of Great Glen TrailsAbove: The AMC Hut from the peak of Mt. Lafayette Karen Stancik Photography
Dont mess with Mother Nature!Around the Valley on all sides you will find mountains and molehills ready for biking, hiking, horseback riding and carriage rides. In winter strap on the snowshoes or XC skis and leave from your back door. Most inns and hotels can offer trail access without even getting into the car. Even the ski areas are located in the WMNF, so get on the trails and into the trees to begin a new adventure. You are guaranteed a different experience on every visit, be it a 140-foot waterfall, a 100-mile view, the biggest bull moose or tiniest bear cub. Yes, you may encounter a moose or bear on the trail wont see that at Mousetown! Youll know if there is one ahead by the resonance of clicking cameras and the OMGs echoing off the trees.
Top:Many Valley golf courses offer family programs Karen Stancik PhotographyMiddle: Snowboarder, courtesy of Cranmore Resort Bottom: Dog Sled Rides, courtesy of Muddy Paws
Rolling dog sleds without the snow and chill, courtesy of Muddy Paws
DAY TWO ATTrAcTIONS, rIDES AND SLIDESFrom Mother Nature to Manmade Adventure today its time to boggle and joggle on rides and slides while you gobble carbohydrates! I mean really, you are on vacation arent you? The Valley is home to two theme parks geared to youngsters. Story Land and Santas Village are where you can sail a pirate ship, whirl on an antique Austrian or North Pole carousel. Whether you want to spin, dive, climb, soar, reel, or munch both Parks offer a full day of entertainment and activity. When the sun is out in mid summer Santas Village and Story Lands water rides and parks are the coolest spot to be.
If your kids have grown into those double digit ages, a trip to one of the mountain resorts is the plan -Attitash, Cranmore, Wildcat Mountain and Bretton Woods Resorts offer water slides, mountain coasters, summer tubing, bungee trampolines, mountain biking, horseback riding and climbing centers. Im saving the best for last the aerial adventures offered at the resorts are for Day Five!
If you are feelin the need for speed to satisfy a competitive nature in your household, visit the White Lake Speedway go-kart.
Above: Mountain coaster in winter and summer, courtesy of Cranmore ResortRight: Photo Courtesy of Story Land, Where Fantasy Lives
DAY THrEE WATEr IN THE WILDTime to get back to nature. We have more water here than you can shake a stick at! For a northern neighborhood, we spend a lot of time in the water. So come and join us. Just how much water do we have?
WellYou can swim in, fish in, tube on, kayak or canoe the Ellis, the Saco, the Swift, the Bearcamp, the Androscoggin or the Wildcat Rivers.
You can hike to, sun at or drive by Lowers Fall, Emerald Pool, Rocky Gorge, Glen Ellis Falls, Brickett Falls, Kendron Flume, Arethusa Falls, Dianas Baths, Nancy Cascades, Jackson Falls, Ripley Falls, Thompson Falls, Winniweta Falls, Champney Falls, Sabbaday Falls, and Crystal, Flume and Silver Cascades.
You can boat on, swim in and flat water kayak on Conway Lake, White Lake, Echo Lake, Crystal Lake, Silver Lake, Ossipee Lake, and Lake Chocorua You can even hike up to the Lake of the Clouds on Mt Washington or drive down to the big momma, Lake Winnipesaukee. You gettin my drift?
Top: Kayaking is a great day for all ages and skill levels Karen Stancik PhotographyBottom: Canoeing and picnicking on the Saco Karen Stancik Photography
Top: Skiing, courtesy of Cranmore ResortBottom: Conway Scenic Railroad on Frankenstein Trestle Karen Stancik Photography
For a restful scenic experience and an entertaining historical tour, there are two train excursions in the Valley. The Conway Scenic Railroad will take you from Conway to Crawford Notch across Frankenstein Trestle and the Cog Railway offers a lift to the top of Mt. Washington via the steepest railroad tracks in America.
Now, occasionally even our mountain paradise gets a bit of liquid sunshine so weve got your indoor adventure covered at Kahuna Laguna Water Park and the Ham Ice Arena.
And I have not even mentioned the swimming holes behind the Eastern Slope Inn, Husseys Field off River Road, by the covered bridge in Conway, Sawyer Rock, oh, and dont forget Westons Beachol fashioned swimming holes. Some are even equipped with rope swings. So pack a picnic and head out into the sunshine.
If the color of the water you live for is white, visit the valley in spring or travel a bit further north for a day or weekend of the best white water rafting and kayaking in the northeast. Many rafting excursion services offer great family packages that include overstays.
Ask your hosts or stop by the Chamber info booth for the locations of the best water spots and the businesses that help you get outfitted properly to enjoy them. Be it a picnic lunch, floating cooler, kayak, tube or canoe rental, just get out there and enjoy the fun. Enough said on that.
Right: Rafting, courtesy of raftnh.com Top: Rafting, courtesy of raftnh.com Bottom: Fun family rafting, courtesy of North Woods Rafting Karen Stancik Photography
DAY FOur NEW ExpLOrATIONS AND ExpErIENcESHow about explorations of the informative kind? They need not be boring or tedious. An activity or area you never even realized you had an interest in may be the highlight of your visit. Or better yet, the highlight for your children. Here are a few of my favorites
Top: The Remick Farm offers family programs year round Karen Stancik Photography Bottom: Residents of The Remick Farm await your arrival Karen Stancik Photography
Top: The Valleys Chocolate Tour is an annual favorite Karen Stancik Photography Bottom: Arts Jubilee outdoor concerts offer great music and fireworks Karen Stancik Photography
If yours is an urban family in a neighborhood of metro stations and corner cafes or a suburban life is what you call home, be sure to visit the Remick Farm. It is actually called the Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm, but I dropped the doctor and museum parts so the kids would go. It is 100% authentic. The kids can explore acres of farmland and barns with chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, sheep, cows, oxen, and horses. Seasonal activities include
maple sugaring, cider making and ice harvesting. The crops raised are used in their historic cooking programs. But the coolest part for me was the trip through Drs. Remicks homes, the two country doctors who
lived on and had their practices at the Farm. The original doctors medical office and the medicine room are eye opening for sure. I especially liked the bone retriever. No, it is not my yellow lab, but tongs used for getting bones out of ones throat!
Especially fun is a day trip to the Mt Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center. Sounds like a place you may not be able to get Dad out of, huh? But everyone will like it it is totally hands-on fun for the kids. Here the kids can explore the science of weather and climate through interactive exhibits like the air cannon, the flow tank and the wind room! They can meet and interact with the weather observers living and working in the weather station atop Mt Washington via a twice a day
The Fryeburg Fair in October is food and fun and friendly farm critters Karen Sta