Category Archives: What’s Your Adventure

Still Skiing in Mt. Washington Valley

By Kathy Bennett
for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

While the ground is brown south of here, the snow base is still deep and white at the ski areas in and around North Conway. The end of March usually sees some ski areas call it quits – due to a lack of skiers, not a lack of snow.

But there is still plenty of skiing left here into April.

Yesterday I skied the popular Ellis River Trail Loop at Jackson Ski Touring. As you can see from the photos, the snow is still deep. The rivers and streams were flowing but the trail was groomed with coverage edge to edge.  JSTF former Executive Director Thom Perkins confirmed that their mid-November open date is among their earliest and manager Deb Deschenes said it was a great season right up until the end, which takes place on March 31.

Those wishing to continue xc skiing can continue fun on skinny skis at Bear Notch Ski Touring. They have not published a closing date yet, but the Garlands usually keep the groomers going as long as they can. Last year on Easter Sunday I enjoyed skiing there, taking advantage of their higher elevations and shaded trails which keep their snow longer than most.

Sunday brought me to Wildcat. The fog and forecast of rain scared off most folks, which left the deep, soft-turning snow for those of us who were more intrepid. The warm air was a treat and I skied without googles. The fog was not an impediment as visibility was reasonable and the fog was off and on skiing down through the elevations. What was consistent was the snow quality, with only a few areas showing more variable/spring conditions. They will easily make it to Easter, when they have fun events scheduled on April 21.

Cranmore ends daily operations today but will reopen April 6-7.  Wildcat has not published an estimated close date on their website. Bretton Woods has posted an April 15 close date. 

Check here for the most recent listing of closings and end of season events.

Closing dates are subject to change so visit each resort website for the latest and greatest. But don’t put those skis away just yet!

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Skiing and Lunch and Fat Biking, Oh My

By Isaac Rader
for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

If you can come back from a day proud of just how much you ache, then it’s been a good day.

If any other sentence so sums up our outing at Great Glen, I can’t think of it. It started after a morning of skiing at Wildcat, as we decided to go relax with lunch at the Glen House Hotel at Mt. Washington. It proved to be wonderfully relaxing as we sat, nursing flatbreads and a beer in plain view of the Presidential Range.

It is the kind of restaurant where we could comfortably sit for hours. That is until we decided to go fat biking! Exploring Great Glen’s miles and miles of trails on bikes specially made for the snow was… difficult. Very, very difficult. But it was incredibly fun to do something so unique and get out into nature to appreciate the jaw-dropping vistas all around us.

If you miss spring, summer, or fall biking, then we recommend trying fat biking. It hurt – a lot – but it was an ache we could be proud of, for we had accomplished a lot. For more information contact Great Glen Trails.

Ghost Hunters Weekend Coming to Bernerhof Inn

Are you a fan of paranormal activity and would like to be part of the fun and mystery of a ghost hunting adventure? Central Maine Ghost Hunters and the Bernerhof Inn of Bartlett, NH are coming together to offer an exclusive Ghost Hunters Weekend, March 29-30, 2019. A complete lodging package including breakfast, dinner, lodging and ghost hunting activities is offered for just $749 per couple.

The event takes place at the Bernerhof Inn, the distinctive historic inn located on Route 16 in Bartlett, NH, just minutes from Attitash Mountain in the heart of Mount Washington Valley and close to North Conway activities and outlet shopping.

Guests at the Ghost Hunters Weekend have their choice of rooms at the historic inn. Shown here, the Jackson Village Room.
The crew from Central Maine Ghost Hunters. Photo credit: Central Maine Ghost Hunters

Guests will enjoy a pre-investigation orientation meet and greet and discussion on understanding paranormal investigating. Innkeeper Nick Panno explained, “Guests will be invited to learn how to use the equipment you’ve seen on TV, including K-II EMF detectors, spirit boxes, voice recorders, dowsing rods and more. After the meet and greet,  you’ll get to use these pieces of equipment in a group investigation. This is going to be an amazing experience! We are so excited to work with Central Maine Ghost Hunters to bring this exclusive event to the Bernerhof!”

But the ghost hunting is just part of the experience at this luxurious bed and breakfast. Guests will be welcomed Friday night with a three-course meal prepared by the Inn’s executive chef. Saturday night’s dinner will be served family-style before kicking off an evening of ghost hunting festivities. Each day will begin with a scratch-cooked breakfast in the Inn’s cozy dining room.

When booking, guests can select among the Inn’s 12 unique rooms, many with in-room Jacuzzi tubs, electric and gas fireplaces, flat screen TVs and free wifi. The rooms feature many fine traditional antiques and European styled touches, with a dose of modern elegance and many state-of-the-art amenities.

Ski season is still in full swing in Mount Washington Valley so guests can ghost hunt at night and ski all day at the many ski areas minutes from the Inn. Ask about how to access discount ski tickets when making your reservation.

Due to limited availability, reservations for this special package are only available by calling innkeeper Nick Panno directly at 603-383-4200. Room choice is on a first-come-first-served basis. The Bernerhof Inn was recently rated as the #1 Inn in Bartlett, NH by TripAdvisor.com and is well known for its high level of customer service and personal attention. For more information, visit them online at www.bernerhofinn.com.

Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm’s 16th Annual Ice Harvest & Winter Carnival

Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm’s 16th Annual Ice Harvest & Winter Carnival was held this past weekend in Tamworth. As a family who’s attended the past two years, we were aware of what to expect and what the challenges would be with young kids, especially parking. We made sure to get there early enough to enjoy the whole day so arrived close to 11:30am. The day ahead hardly seemed like it would be long enough for my two, who couldn’t get enough and were sure to be among the last to leave.

It was a great day spent with family and friend, a day filled with fun for everyone. We started with the kids games and scavenger hunt, a visit to the ice house, followed by the interest of harvesting ice ourselves. My 3-year old was very intrigued and determined to push the block of ice her 7-year old brother cut. After watching the huge blocks of ice being hauled by the oxen we were ready for s’mores and some sweet treats as we sat outside of the sugar shack by the fire.

Before we left for the event I asked my kids what they were most excited to see and do. My 3-year old said, “I want to see the pig.” Hmm. Not sure that would happen if I reminded her of everything else we’d see but she seemed satisfied. When we arrived we were happily surprised to find out that this year’s ice sculpture was a pig. After tons of fun and two sleepy kids, I asked them what their favorite activity was. My son took a second and thought, “all of it.” My daughter looked at me with confidence and said, “the pig.” Of course!

What a great day. Thank you to the staff at Remick Museum & Farm.

 

Ice climbers love North Conway NH and the White Mountains

By Isaac Rader
for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

We hung out and watched a group of ice climbers learn safety techniques at Cathedral Ledge. Led by an outfit from Maine this group learned safety procedures, how to use ice axes, finding the best handholds, and proper climbing stance.

And, if you didn’t know already, the White Mountains are a mecca for ice climbers and renowned for climbing in general!

Ice climbing isn’t scary, and there are lots of opportunities all around us. If you want to try this unique sport, don’t hesitate! Find an instructor and enjoy it while you can. So check out one of our local outfitters at IME, EMS and Northeast Mountaineering. >>

A December to Remember

Snowvember came upon Mt. Washington Valley this year, with last month being one of the snowiest Novembers  in memory! The good news is that the snowpack is still in great shape, and low temperatures have given ski areas many ample opportunities for snowmaking. The skiing this month has made it a December to Remember with all local areas now open – from Black Mountain to Bretton Woods, from King Pine to Great Glen- to everything in between. This sets us up nicely for the upcoming Christmas Vacation Week!

Some Tips for Holiday Skiing

Business has been brisk at Valley ski areas, as news has spread about the amazing conditions and open terrain after several sizeable snowfalls fell through the White Mountains. This is reason to believe the holiday period will also be popular. A few tips to get the most out of your trip to the North Conway area:

  • Book your trip ahead of time and ask your hotel about discount lift tickets. Popular dates will sell out – especially New Year’s weekend. Cranmore Mountain Lodge and Colonial Motel are two nice values. Research lodging at http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org
  • Beat the crowds – Christmas Day is usually a quiet day on the slopes, so some ski areas close all together, or offer discounted rates. Bretton Woods is open 10am – 4pm on the 25th with $45 lift tickets. That is less than half of the usual holiday rate, as their full day holiday lift tickets are $99 this year. Read about it at http://www.brettonwoods.com

    Wildcat Mountain
    My friend Marina makes her way with the wintery splendor of Mount Washington in the background. Shot 12/16/18.
  • Buy online in advance – Want to avoid paying full retail? Purchase your lift tickets online in advance. The further in advance and the more days you purchase, the better the savings. Attitash and Wildcat ski areas share a lift ticket, so your multi-day ticket purchased online lets you bounce between the areas from day to day. Buy online at www.attitash.com
  • Tune your skis before you go – With increased holiday skier traffic, the conditions can get skied off later in the day. Freshly edged skis will keep you carving up a storm until the last run. The Valley features many ski shops to do a tune, as do most mountains. Find out where to find your closest option for an edge and wax here.
  • Celebrate On the Slopes – Want to know another secret? New Year’s Day is historically a much less busy day than the rest of the holiday week. New Year’s Eve revelers sleep in or pack it up early to head home. Don’t be that person. Greet 2019 by breathing in the brilliantly freezing air from atop a ski lift and know that great things are ahead for the New Year.

So how are conditions you may ask? Season to date, starting in early November,  I have skied Wildcat, Cranmore, Great Glen, Jackson Ski Touring and Bretton Woods (ah, the benefits of living close to the mountains). Conditions have ranged from powder to packed powder, to today’s machine groomed/variable conditions at Wildcat. Cross Country fans will want to pay close attention to the grooming report and hit the most recently tracked trails as some refreezing has taken place. Overall, I would rate this December among the best for early season turns and tracks, truly one to remember!

Tunnel at Wildcat Mountain
Who doesn’t love tunnels? This one connects the cross over from the Bobcat Triple to the Wild Kitten beginner area at Wildcat. Shot 12/16/18.

 

 

Great Day at Great Glen Trails

By Kathy Bennett

One of the best things about skiing in Mt. Washington Valley is the sheer number of options you have within a very reasonable driving distance. A snowy November continues here so there were several choices for alpine and Nordic skiing options this weekend. I was undecided on my direction when I left my house Saturday morning, so I tossed both downhill and cross country gear in the trunk and decided to wait for inspiration to guide my car.

The inspiration came at the intersection of Route 302 and 16 by Dairy Queen. A bright new billboard beckoned me to Great Glen, home to the new Glen House hotel. It had been about 2 years since I skied there last so it was time for a return visit.

Great Glen TrailsAmazing views great skiers from the base lodge

Driving past Wildcat, which has been open for weeks and looked to be in fine form, I felt a twinge of regret for not choosing downhill. But too much turkey and stuffing made the cardio blast of XC the right choice for me.

Great Glen Trails
Mt. Adams looms large

Any regret quickly dissipated as I arrived. The day was crystal clear and Mount Washington and Mount Adams gave a silent white welcome to those arriving to ski. I was in good company, as a large holiday craft fair was going on, and a competition of some sort brought many young folks to the Notch. All in all, it didn’t feel like November, either by snow conditions, head count or energy level.

I changed out my gear in the convenient and well appointed locker room – changing rooms, bath rooms and space to change made it comfortable to get ready for the day. I asked what was open and groomed and was delighted to hear the answer … “Everything.” How often can you expect this in November?

Inside the Great Angel Cabin

I headed out under the bridge and around the new Glen House. Its huge wall of windows point to the Presidential Range. I made a mental note to return to try out their restaurant, which is gaining a great reputation for both its views and its cuisine.  I skied several loops, across fields, uphill and down, until I came to the Great Angel Cabin. A picnic table outside and Adirondack chairs inside beckon to weary skiers. I stripped off my jacket and relaxed for a bit – the ski uphill definitely got my heart rate up!  After my break, I enjoyed the long turny downhill back towards the lodge, across fields, streams and another view of that lovely new hotel.

Thanksgiving Weekend was a skiers’ dream. What areas were not open are planning on doing so in the next few weeks. Given the natural snowfall, cold temperatures, and the arrival of another foot of snow Tuesday, they should have no problem doing so.

 

 

Thanksgiving Can Wait

By Kathy Bennett

The weekend before Thanksgiving is the time many spend to look up recipes, make shopping lists and gather the goods necessary for the turkey day to come. But snow came early this year to Mt. Washington Valley, so all the Thanksgiving duties got pushed aside as I spent both weekend days checking out the amazing early season skiing in and around North Conway, New Hampshire.

Bretton Woods opened for the season on Friday, Nov. 16 and conditions sweetened up overnight as light snowfall continued. The first thing visitors will notice is the new Gondola base being installed right in front of the base lodge. When complete, it will be the only 8 person gondola in the state.

The gondola base – coming soon with 8 person cabins.

With 7 trails open with 2 lifts operating, Bretton Woods had top to bottom runs ready for action. Skiing in mid-November usually consists of “the white ribbon of death” – a narrow swath of man-made snow down the center of the trail with no white stuff in the trees. Not so this year.  Snowy views greeted skiers as one looked off to Mount Washington and closer, Mount Deception. An all natural snow trail – Granny’s Grit – offered a foot of ungroomed freshies which challenged my first-day-of-the-season legs. Watch out for the water bars and point your tips downhill!

Fun, friends and snow at Bretton Woods on November 17.

I had prepared for the ski season by purchasing new boots at the annual Eastern Slope Ski Club ski swap the previous weekend, and followed up by having custom footbeds installed at the Ski Liquidators. What a difference. Do yourself a favor this ski season – invest in this personalized fitting and watch your skiing improve. I know I did.

Day two of the season saw me searching the basement for my skinny skis and cross country ski boots. With man-made snowmaking, pre-Thanksgiving alpine skiing is not unusual. But cross-country skiing? Now that’s a rare treat. Mt Washington Valley now has three cross-country skiing areas open – Great Glen, Bretton Woods and Jackson Ski Touring. Jackson’s Prospect Farm parking lot was completely full when I arrived at 10:30am on Sunday, so I was not alone in reveling in the early season splendor.  My legs burned, but I made it up to the Orchard Trail, then enjoyed the long downhill before banging a hard right onto Quail. Remind me to work on cardio strength before my next day out. I made it back to my car out of breath and excited to have traveled 3 miles under my own ski power.

Jackson Ski Touring’s Wildcat Valley Trail with tracked and skate grooming November 17

While I didn’t ski it personally, Cranmore reported their November 17th opening to be the earliest in their history. Hannes Schneider would be proud.

Thanksgiving week is predicted to be cold, a treat for snowmakers and skiers alike. Look for more areas to open with more terrain for the long holiday weekend.  

I’m glad I skipped the Thanksgiving prep this weekend – I just hope I remember to pick up the turkey on Wednesday.

Golfing with Donald Ross in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

By Kathy Bennett

One of golf’s most renowned course architects was Donald Ross. Players seek out his courses around the country. But lucky golfers coming to the Mt. Washington Valley don’t have to go far – our region boasts 3 courses designed by the legendary Scotsman. Whether you’re traveling here for a weekend or a week (or a lifetime!) you’ll be able to play a piece of golf history right here in the New Hampshire!

What makes a Donald Ross Course special? According to Andy Ross, it’s the course’s playability. “Donald Ross, one of the giants of the golden age architecture era, became the most prolific architect of all time with over 400 golf course designs to his name. Ross was the first “professional” golf course architect in America as he was able to build a successful and efficient business during the golden age era. He has more top 100 courses than any other architect and has had over 100 major championships and USGA events hosted at his courses, far and away the most of any architect. Ross’ transcendent skill was his ability to create playability at his courses for the beginner while still challenging the best players ability to score.”
With credentials like that, golfers of all abilities should make the trip to Mt. Washington Valley and plan a fall golf trip today!
The 18-hole Mount Washington Course was designed by legendary Scottish Architect Donald Ross and was completed in 1915. Its backdrop features New Hampshire’s spectacular Presidential Mountain Range. This Par 72, 7,004-yard-course has hosted four New Hampshire Opens and the prestigious New England Open Championship in September 2010.

Reopened on August 1, 2008, the Mount Washington Course has been restored to Donald Ross’ original plans by noted golf course architect Brian Silva, including bunkers crafted in a classic flair and infinite varieties of recovery shots in the closely cropped areas around the putting greens. The par 5 eleventh hole and the par 3 fifth hole feature stunning views of Omni Mount Washington Hotel and surrounding mountains.

For more information on this course.

Hungry for more golf? Mt. Washington Valley has dozens of courses to choose from. Read all about them here.

 

All Hail, Hale’s Location!

By Kathy Bennett

In real estate, the credo is “Location! Location! Location!” When it comes to golf in Mt. Washington Valley the same can be said about a great round. Hale’s Location Golf Course is both a magnificent course and an upscale real estate development offering high-end homes that come with golf memberships and stunning views.

This 9-hole course is known for being long and narrow at times, with trees that often-times seem to have a magnetic pull into the woods for golfers who dare to slice their drive. Maybe it’s a magnetic power or maybe it’s the irresistible draw of White Horse Ledge, under which Hale’s and its White Mountain Hotel clubhouse exist.

The long first hole sets the pace for the game, but golfers should rest easy knowing that shorter and more forgiving holes follow immediately on the 2nd and 3rd. The 3rd takes you over a small bridge where you then see bright flowers and a small pond and water hazard between the back and forward tee boxes. It’s a short par three but don’t let the water distract your ball into its depths.

Due to its location next to the forest and cliffs North Conway is famous for, you should keep your eyes open for wildlife. One notable round I had years ago, my ball went missing off the 2nd tee.  Walking up towards the green, I saw the problem … a pair of young foxes were playing and one had my ball in its mouth, running off course. I dropped a new ball and didn’t take a penalty stroke, hoping this would count as a unavoidable hazard!

Hale’s often offers many great golf deals, some which combine brunch or other meals with a round of golf.  Their website lists online specials.  I’ve previously enjoyed specials such as “wine and nine” and “dine and nine” so why not combine great views on the course with stunning views of Cranmore from the dining room of the White Mountain Hotel.

And about the homes that surround this course. Play a round and dream of what life could be like living in the White Mountains. Known for its lower than average real estate taxes, many golf lovers have come to own these majestic homes, and there are currently several listings for sale. Contact one of Mt. Washington Valley’s many realtors and ask for the latest listings.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course Offers Free Ladies’ Clinics in June

On a brilliant spring afternoon, I descended the storied 9th fairway of the Eagle Mountain Golf Course in Jackson, NH towards its driving range along with 30+ fellow female duffers. Our destination? The first of several free Sunday afternoon ladies’ golf clinics with PGA Pros Julie Rivers and Bob McGraw.

No matter where you like to golf, it’s a great idea to start out your golf season by taking a lesson. Bad habits follow you through the off season. Start the year out right with a lesson. These Sunday sessions break down your game into key components that make it easy and fun to improve.

The group ranged from never-evers to more experienced golfers looking to brush up their skills. Skillfully, Julie and Bob managed to keep the large group engaged and the instruction appropriate despite the wide range of experience.

Sunday’s lesson started with the chip shot. Dividing the larger group into 6 groups, the pros took us through the stroke, much like a putting stroke but with a wedge.

Then we moved on to pitching. Starting with a partial swing, to a half swing, to a full swing, we each worked on our form and learned how far the ball went with each.

Then the fun part – driving. We each took out our 1 club and practiced our long drives with varying degrees of success but with great enthusiasm.

This post isn’t meant to try to recreate the content of the lessons – I will leave that work to the pros – but it is meant to stress the value of taking lessons and the camaraderie of a sunny afternoon with a group of strangers soon to become friends.

After the lesson, the Eagle Mountain House offered a $10 cocktail and appetizer special on the veranda. On this sunny spring afternoon, it was a wonderful wrap up to a great learning session with two of the Valley’s best known pros.

McGraw shared the following free and inexpensive golf clinics and greens fees coming up in the coming months. It’s a great way to improve your game while enjoying one of the Valley’s most beautiful locations for golf.

Upcoming:

Bob McGraw will be offering a Free Clinic for women the next two Sundays from 1 to 2 pm.

During the month of June, the Eagle Mountain Golf Course will be offering a discounted green fee of $15 for women.

In July they offer free clinics for families on the first three Sundays from 1 to 2 pm.

Reduced green fees of $10 for juniors and $15 for adults  in the month of July will be offered when families play together.

Saturday Clinics: Every Saturday from 10:30 til 11:30, Bob offers clinics covering the short game or the full swing. The fee is $20 and limited to 6 students. Call the pro shop at 383 -9090 to sign up. For more info >

 

 

 

Fishing on Silver Lake with Fish Nerds Guide Service

Getting out on the water is a great way to spend an afternoon. The folks at Fish Nerds Guide Service have been enjoying some super fun spring fishing on Silver Lake where the water is warming and the fish are hungry. This week they had a mixed bag of big yellow perch and big smallmouth bass. And, the lake trout are amazing. They can accommodate up to six people fishing at a time so grab some of your fishing pals and give them a call!

Don’t fish? That’s cool! You can book a cruise with Fish Nerds, too. Thier brand new, state-of-the-art pontoon boat can take up to ten passengers! They can drive around, pull into a cove and swim or, if you are feeling adventurous, can give you a tube ride.

For more information contact Fish Nerds Guide Service!