Camping in North Conway, NH

Setting up camp

By Hayley Kaufman, Globe Staff  |  September 4, 2010
WHO: “G’’ editor Hayley Kaufman; her husband, Chris; and their three kids

WHAT: Tent camping

WHERE: North Conway, N.H.

I thought all kids loved tents. Any kind of tent: circus, camping, even those beach things that shield you from the sun. Turns out a rented nylon tent is not every child’s dream retreat: My 3-year-old daughter, Rachel, stamped her foot in dismay the first night we camped this summer, on the banks of the Saco River.

“Mama, I want to go back to the hotel!’’ Rachel whined. A few days earlier, we’d made the pilgrimage to North Conway, N.H., and Storyland. We’d stayed in a passable roadside motel; then we moved down the road to the Saco River Camping area, a none-too-remote site tucked just behind the L.L. Bean Outlet.

For all you camping purists out there (the ones who have notches on your bedposts denoting how many AMC huts you’ve slogged to), a family campground isn’t a bad thing. When your toddler is in diapers and your 6-year-old refuses to wear shoes, camping in a place with a washing machine and showers isn’t a moral shortcoming. It’s pragmatic.

Surprisingly, the tent took a little selling. Rachel (pictured) was suspect. But after tramping down to the camp’s shallow Saco River access, cooking dinner on the camp stove, and roasting marshmallows over an open fire, she actually asked to go to sleep in the tent. A full day outside does that to kids, even little divas.

Some private camps aren’t so family friendly (case in point: our neighbors recently took their toddler to one in Plymouth that was more “Jersey Shore’’ than Disney Channel), so hunt around online for info. The Saco River Camping area was full of families — some tent camping, many in RVs. The playground, while not exactly state of the art, was a hit, as was the giant chessboard near the camp offices. And if you get to the point where you can’t take the outdoors anymore, there’s a make-your-own-sundae parlor (and outlet shopping) two minutes away. Your days will be so full the whole family will go to sleep early, even in a tent.

Hayley Kaufman can be reached at


Win a Rally Course Ride at the New England Forest Rally

Newq England Forest Rally- Mt. Washington
Travis & Derek relax after securing a podium finish at the 2008 New England Forest Rally

Through a partnership with the New England Forest Rally, the Mt. Washington Auto Road has developed a contest to promote the New England Forest Rally to visitors to Mt. Washington. With the many automobile enthusiasts that visit the Mt. Washington Auto Road each summer, it is a perfect match for the event, which continues to grow year after year.

The grand prize winner will receive two (2) tickets to visit the Team O’Neil Rally School and Car Control Center in Dalton, NH for a “Rally Ride Experience!” The second place winner will receive two (2) Tickets to the New England Forest Rally VIP Bus, Saturday July 17, 2010.
To enter the contest, send an email to, include “Rally Ride” in the subject. Body of the email must include name and email address.

The New England Forest Rally, which will take place on July 16 & 17, is hosted at Sunday River Resort in Newry, ME, with additional spectator areas including the Mexico Recreation Park in Mexico, ME and sites across Northern New Hampshire. This year the New England Forest Rally will be the Final Round of the Rally America National Championship Series and will again host X Games legend Travis Pastrana, the 2009 New England Forest Rally winner and other superstars, including Ken Block, and Dave Mirra. For complete event information, visit

For more information about the contest or the Mt. Washington Auto Road, visit or call 603.466.3988.

First opened in 1861 as the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is the country’s oldest manmade attraction. Located on Rt. 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, just north of the Mount Washington Valley and minutes south of Gorham, the Auto Road has a long and winding history, much like its 7.6 mile trip up to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast. For more information, visit or call 603-466-3988.

Cycling Contest- White Mountains NH

Are you an cyclist? Then you will love the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Cycling Contest!

Beautiful, quiet back roads, scenic vistas and quaint villages, what better way to enjoy all this than on your bicycle. The winner of this contest will get

  • A half zip pullover from Hoss
  • Mesh  base layer from Pace sportswear
  • Marty Basch’s book, the White Mountain Ride Guide, 2nd edition
  • Water bottle and other goodies from Downeast Bicycle Specialists

Simply go to our contest page and enter to win!

Functional Art in Mt. Washington Valley

Functional art and chairs in North Conway NHThe Art-A-Ron-Dack program, running from June 21st through Labor Day 2010, will showcase 32 cedar Adirondack chairs that have each been painted or decorated with the original artwork of local artists. This exciting summertime promotion presented by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce with support from R&R Woodworkers, Lindsey’s Paint & Wallpaper, Mosston Media and Glass Graphics, is back for its second year with a diverse line-up of artists and remarkable show of artistry.

To kick-off this summertime celebration, the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a Summer Kick-Off reception on this first day of summer, June 21, 2010 at the Eastern Slope Inn Resort in North Conway from 5 to 7 p.m. The 32 Art-A-Ron-Dack chairs will be on display on the Eastern Slope Inn Resort veranda during the opening reception, where the public is invited to meet the artist, view the chairs and place bids on their favorites before they make their way into participating sponsor businesses throughout Mt. Washington Valley, where they may be bid on for purchase by the public.

Reception attendees can enjoy tastings from Vintner’s Cellar Winery, beer from Tuckerman Brewery, Joe’s Dogs of North Conway, brownies from Flatbread Company and goodies from Rafferty’s Restaurant and Pub as they saunter around this unique North Country-Style art show. Each of the 32 Art-A-Ron-Dack chairs will be judged during the opening reception by a team of accomplished artists including Mt Washington Valley’s own Grant Hacking, renowned for his depictions of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Sarah Eastman from the MWV Arts Association and Linda Pinkham from MWV Theater Company. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winning chairs, after being displayed at their respective sponsor’s business all summer long, will be brought to the 3rd Annual Fields of the Saco Dinner on August 28, 2010 where they will be auctioned off live.

How to Bid on an Art-A-Ron-Dack Chair

Opening bid is $150. Bids may be made in increments of $25. You may place bids 3 ways:

On location: go into the business where the chair is displayed and ask for

a bid form


(be sure to include your name, the name of the artist, chair location, bid amount

and your phone number)

Phone: Call Mary Seavey at 603-356-5701 ext. 305

Incomplete bids will not be considered; must be 18 years or older to bid

(If bidding via email or phone, it is considered a reserve bid and someone will be bidding on your behalf.)

Profits received from the sale of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place chairs auctioned at the Fields of the Saco dinner will be donated to the MWV Green Team, with the profits from the sale of chairs sponsored by North Conway Village businesses being donated to the North Conway Village Association Events and Marketing Committee. Remaining funds generated from all other chairs will be used for general marketing by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in the promotion of area tourism.

For more information about the Art-A-Ron-Dack program or to view the chairs and place your bids visit or call the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce at 800.367.3364.

Balloon Festival- North Conway NH Fun!

Colorful shapes dominated the local skyline this past weekend as balloonists from all over New England descended on North Conway in the immensely successful first annual Balloon Festival!

Things kicked off Friday at Schouler Park as an amicable group of airmen met up at 4 on Friday to discus their game plan and designate take off and landing zones.  Balloons would be available to the public at Schouler park, the rugby field by the golf course, the fields by the Junior High in Conway, or Hussey Field on the West Side Road depending on time and weather conditions. There was banter, much discussion of wind direction, and then it was every crewman to a balloon.  By 5:30 Schouler Park was dotted with colorful balloons.

Despite looming clouds, spirits were high and an enthusiastic group had already  turned out to see the balloons.  By 6:30 the sun was shining brightly down on the festival; demand for tethered rides in the park was so high that tickets completely sold out for the evening.  Everyone on hand — even those not intending to ride — seemed to think that it was a wonderful event and loved the atmosphere generated by it.  The night ended on a high note with a warm Couple’s Reception at Rafferty’s Pub where a very surprised Pam and Tom MaCrae received a prize package containing everything from a balloon ride the next day to romantic dinners at some of the Valley’s best restaurants.

Saturday broke bright and early with balloon rides launching down in Conway and floating above town for the morning. On the ground, enthusiasts were encouraged to visit the Mount Washington Observatory’s Weather Discovery Center for a special program on the powerful forces that make balloon flight possible.

During the afternoon, the Kennett High School Brass Quartet gave a bright, up-tempo performance in front of the Conway Scenic Railroad station.  Beth Kennett and Sean Psaleadakies (baritone sax), Wyatt Berrier and Sarah Cheek (trombone) and Natasha Jost (trumpet) played delightful renditions of everything from “Sugar Blues” to “Amazing Grace.” M&D Productions continued the outdoor entertainment with an energetic performance of  “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

As the afternoon unfolded, balloonists were on hand at the Met to socialize with the public and share stories about the weekend’s adventures.  They hailed from all over New England: Woodbury, Connecticut; Auburn, Massachusetts; Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Bedford, New Hampshire. Two balloons actually scaled Mount Cranmore and touched down in the Cold River Vodka potato fields in Fryeburg.  Balloonist Joe Doolittle even described how they use “pi-balls” to test the winds and determine the best ballooning conditions.  Pi-balls are, of course, the origin of our expression “sending up a test balloon.”

The night ended on a whimsical note with four balloons turning on full-flame in the quiet semi-darkness of Schouler Park, creating a dazzling light show that I, for one will not soon forget.  The night sky was awash with brilliant color. It was a pleasure for all visitors to be a part of this event — readers should plan to check their horizons for next summer’s Festival.

This Festival is the brainchild of Paul Ronty (The Red Jacket) and Howard Stanton (The Met) who took the idea to the North Conway Village Association.  Sheila Duane and Jenn Goodson (Eastern Slope Inn), Linda and John Rafferty (Rafferty’s Restaurant and Pub), and Mary Seavey and Janice Crawford (Chamber of Commerce) all contributed immensely to the success of the Festival.

Vacation in NH’s White Mountains

Spring has been so beautiful, and summer promises more of the same, so it’s time to start thinking about vacation! But what can you do to please everyone? The White Mountains of New Hampshire promise some really great activities. With tall mountains, covered bridges, beautiful streams and some really great waterfalls, there is something for everyone to love in the White Mountains.

If you have a favorite hotel, check for vacation packages. The Royalty Inn offers packages for Six Gun City, Story Land, Santa’s Village, Moose Tours, and so much more. The Red Jacket offers a Surfs up package with water fun for the whole family!

Activities like Hiking and Mountain Biking are popular during the summer months, Moose tours are another favorite activity for Visitors. Many of the Tour companies boast a 90% sighting ratio, which means you are practically guaranteed to see a moose on the outing. Even if you miss seeing a moose you will still see tons of beautiful scenery and a lot of other wildlife.So pick your favorite activities and your favorite spots and get ready for some savings when you purchase a package deal.


Roxanne at the Royalty Inn

Royalty Inn
130 Main St
Gorham, NH 03581
603-466-5802 (fax)
Planning a vacation to the Orlando-Disney area?
Check us out at

Save Money with Spring Saver Packages


Explore golf, cycling and easy adventure vacation special packages for affordable family getaways to Mt Washington Valley, NH

Spring ushers in a new set of fun family activities that won’t break the bank. The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce and area lodging properties have created a host of outdoor adventure packages guaranteed to awaken the senses from hibernation this spring!

Visit the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce website to learn more!

Shades of Ireland Tour

The ‘Shades of Ireland’ tour, presented by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce and Collette Vacations, is a 10 day comprehensive tour of Ireland guided by Gary Sullivan, longtime Mt. Washington Valley resident and owner of the White Mountain Hotel. Gary, who has personally guided more than 10 trips to Ireland, will unveil its charms by providing stops in Dublin and Limerick, a visit to the medieval city of Kilkenny, the Cliffs of Moher, an overnight Castle stay and more.

For $2,499 per person, this trip includes 8 nights lodging, round trip airfare from Logan International Airport including air taxes and fees, 13 meals including 8 breakfasts and 5 dinners, hotel transfers and round trip transportation directly from North Conway, NH. This exclusive tour offers guests the best of Ireland, without the hassle and all at an unbeatable price.

NH White Mountain Spring Skiing- The Best!

There’s a special place in the heart of every skier for spring skiing. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced skier, there is something so special about spring skiing. The birds are beginning to populate the trees, the days are warm enough that you are warm without being bundled so heavily that you can’t move.  Even though there is rain in the sky today, the spring skiing isn’t over with. Great Glen Trails is reporting the possibility of snow for tomorrow’s forecast, and they are planning on staying open until March 28th. As of yesterday Sunday River still had 121 trails open and 10 lifts.

Another spring favorite is hiking through Tuckerman’s Ravine. Many hotels will offer specials on rooms for people who are Hucking up Tuckerman’s. The Royalty Inn offers a great package for only $59/night/couple. The view over the last few days has been amazing and it will only be getting better over the next couple weeks.

Roxanne at the Royalty Inn

Royalty Inn
130 Main St
Gorham, NH 03581
603-466-5802 (fax)
Planning a vacation to the Orlando-Disney area?
Check us out at

6 Ways to Celebrate Spring in Mt. Washington Valley

As old man winter leaves us for another year, come celebrate spring with creative competitions, sweet maple syrup and even sweeter savings

North Conway, NH – Spring in Mt. Washington Valley, NH ushers in warmer weather with fun and adventurous competitions, t-shirt skiing and plenty of sweet maple treats! Whether you are looking to come out of your winter hibernation or soak up the warmer rays of spring with outdoor adventures, here are a few tips to help bring in a new season of fun.

1. Pond Skimming

Each year, brave New Englanders and visitors alike compete in a spring ritual called pond skimming. As they daringly skim across water elements on skis, snowboards and other devices spectators stand by with cheers and jeers. Come out to try your luck or just to watch at these pond skimming events: King Pine Pond Skimming, Black Mountain Annual Spring Splash pond skimming, Attitash 3rd Annual Pond Skim, Cranmore Mountain Resort’s  Mountain Dew Spring Splash, Shawnee Peak’s 25th Annual Spring Fling Beach Party and Wildcat Mountain Spring Wet Ditch Skim Contest.

2. Spring Savings in MWV

Spring break is right around the corner, and those looking to get away without spending a lot of green can find it in Mt. Washington Valley. With family friendly and romantic getaways, adventurous stay and play packages and last minute deals on lodging, your spring break may be more affordable than you think!

Those looking to refresh their wardrobe and or home decor this spring can enjoy tax-free shopping at the over 200 retail stores, outlets, boutiques, shops and galleries Mt. Washington Valley has to offer.

3. Put a spring in your step…

Put an extra spring in your step by enjoying a day at the spa, or visit one of Mt Washington Valley’s health and wellness businesses. Get ready for bathing suit weather this year by joining a health club like 121 Fit and Cranmore Family Fitness Center or get out and take a warmer weather hike in the White Mountain National Forest.

4. Get Ready to Garden!

Although there is typically snow (or at least spots of snow) on the ground in Mt. Washington Valley during March, it doesn’t mean you can’t get ready to garden. Stop by one of the Valley’s many home and garden centers, and pick up some seeds to get a jump on the growing season.

Plan ahead for the Northern New England Home & Garden Show this May! This expo, boasting more that 250 exhibitors, offers demonstrations and the popular ‘Meet the Chefs’ series, and is the ideal way to get a jump start on spring gardening and home improvement projects.

5. Spring means longer, brighter days to play in Mt Washington Valley

Daylight savings time springs us ahead so everyone can enjoy an extra hour of daylight to play in Mt. Washington Valley! In an area known for its outdoor activities, this is a perfect time to come out of your winter hibernation and enjoy the great outdoors and beautiful mountains of the White Mountain National Forest. Here are a few recreation activities to get you started.

6. Animal Sightings

As the days get warmer, lighter and longer animals come out of their winter slumbers and are more easily visible. The native black bear, moose and deer are easily spotted in the spring in addition to a multitude of birds and other wild animals. *Please use caution on roadways and in the woods as there are higher likelihoods of encountering wild animals.

Spring is no time to stay indoors! With fun competitions, sweet treats and brighter, warmer days, spring is the ideal time to plan North Country adventures. For help planning your spring break family vacation to the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Western Maine, call the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364), or visit, where you will find updated information on area attractions, lodging, dining, events and great tips for spring adventures.

After Hours at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort

An impressive turnout, the March Mt. Washington Valley Chamber After Hours, hosted by Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, Spa & Water Park in North Conway on March 16th, welcomed over 160 Chamber members and non-members. A tremendous thank you was extended to Rod Bartlett and the entire Red Jacket Mountain View Resort staff for hosting such an elegant event. The non-profit partner for the March After House was the American Red Cross.

Event attendees were treated to the Red Jacket’s spectacular cuisine with chef attended appetizer stations including tuna tenderloin, pan seared haddock fish cakes and gourmet salads and finger foods. Intricate hand carved ice sculptures took center stage as guests anted up to the bar for complementary drink offerings before taking a tour the resort amenities including their new 40,000 square foot indoor water park, full service spa and conference areas.

The Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, located on 40 acres in the heart of Mt. Washington Valley, features 150 recently renovated rooms and casual family restaurants and fine dining with sweeping views of the Moat Mountain Range and Mount Washington. Guests of the resort can enjoy the indoor Kahuna Laguna water park all year, with its 4 full-sized slides, wave pool, smaller kid park, snack bar and 150-gallon tipping bucket. For more information about Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, Spa & Water Park call 603-356-5411 or visit

During the After Hours business networking event, Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Janice Crawford, highlighted the Chamber’s ½ year ½ price membership offer, which provides a great marketing opportunity for those businesses who have not yet joined the MWVCC. In addition to the ½ price membership, the Chamber is offering current members a new web enhancement package where members can add video and photo slide shows to their member listings. These images and footage will then be uploaded to the Chamber’s YouTube and Flickr accounts which are automatically fed to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, leveraging and promoting members content around the Internet. The third piece to the web enhancement package is the ability for members to sell their product, service or gift certificates on which the Chamber will promote on its website and elsewhere. Those interested about learning more about the web enhancement package or becoming a member of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce contact Melody Nester, Membership Services, at 603-356-5701 ext. 6 or email

Other Chamber announcements included the upcoming chamber events including the 12th Annual Business Expo on May 24th at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, the MWVCC Golf Tournament on June 4th at Indian Mound Golf Club and the Art-A-Ron-Dack program to kick-off in late June. To learn more about these events contact MWVCC Events Manager, Mary Seavey at 603-356-5701 ext. 305 or

The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, Spa & Water Park for hosting such as successful After Hours event, as well as all those who provided prizes for the raffle. A thank you also to the year –long Chambers After Hours sponsors; Mt. Washington Radio (WMWV), Lakes Region Coca Cola and Jammin’ DJ Wedding Entertainment.

For more information about the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, call 603-356-5701 or visit

Anything is Possible!

%d bloggers like this: