Well, our last vacation of the summer is in the books, and I woke up to a dreary, drizzly morning in the 60’s yesterday, just in time for my return to work. To think that just a few days ago we were sweltering up to the top of Loon Mountain in a ski gondola under sunny skies amid 90 degree heat!
I spent a lot of my childhood summers in New Hampshire, so taking Georgia to the White Mountains this past week was a fun trip down memory lane. A lot has changed since the 1980’s though! For one thing, there’s basically wireless everywhere, and even as recently as 2007 when Mark lived in Lincoln doing summer stock with Papermill Playhouse, you had to visit an internet cafe to go online, or walk into the center of town to make a cell phone call. Even the rest stops along 93 north looked like Disney Land when compared to the log-cabin-style facilities of my memory!
And, of course, there’s no more Old Man of the Mountain.
But there is so much to do in the Whites! We stayed at The Village of Loon, and we brought along this blow-up toddler bed which Georgia was NOT having unless I held her hand until she fell asleep, which is exactly what I did every night.
The first day, we hiked in Franconia Notch, which was so overrun with people I thought maybe we’d accidentally gone to the Cape. But we made it pretty far in before Georgia started to get tired, and there weren’t as many hikers further up the trail. Lots and lots of dogs, though, including one in a stroller (?!) and several people swimming down the flume as if it was some kind of damn water park. Made me think of this article about how people no longer know how to behave in nature.
After that hike, we got lunch at Black Mtn. Burger Co., then visited Chutters, “home of the world’s longest candy counter,” which has everything old and new you could possibly imagine. After a frenzied five minutes inside with Georgia, we hastily selected some gummy butterflies for her and sour watermelon slices for me and beat it.
The next day we went to StoryLand!
I knew it was geared toward kids of all ages, but I just wasn’t sure how Georgia would respond. Let me just tell you, at two years old she was utterly enthralled. We visited all the fairy tale houses — the three little bears, the old woman in the shoe, humpty dumpty (at which point she recited the whole rhyme out loud), schoolhouse, grandfather tree — and she got really, really excited by the talking characters. When we got to the farm animals, she would not stop calling out to them, and broke into song with “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “Old MacDonald” as we walked away! Next up came the teacups ride (oof) and the pumpkin coach to Cinderella’s Castle, after which we finally broke for food and then rode the train back to the park entrance. She napped on our drive back through the White Mountain National Forest on the Kancamagus Highway. We honestly saw about half the rides and attractions at StoryLand, but we’ll have to leave the rest for another visit!
The next day, we took the gondola up Loon Mountain (a favorite ski spot of mine) and explored caves at the summit, had a picnic lunch, even climbed atop the fire tower to see 360-degree views of the Presidential Range, including Mt. Washington. We did have one minor incident in which Georgia threw her binky down a ravine and I climbed over the railing and scaled a few boulders to retrieve it…only to have her throw it back over the edge a second time. And, in case I needed any more reason to ditch the pacifier for good, I actually went and got it a second time, and she clapped for me and yelled “yay, mama!” while I scrambled back up.
We spent all our down time in the resort’s pools, helping Georgia to overcome her new-found fear of the water (and it worked!) We also had a great dinner at The Common Man our last night in town, followed by the biggest kiddie size ice cream cone I’ve ever seen at Ice Cream Delights. They have some solid old-school flavors like butter crunch, black raspberry and maple walnut. Highly recommend. My other two favorite places to eat up in this area are Polly’s Pancake Parlor and the Woodstock Inn & Brewery. Looking for more to do up in the White Mountains? Next time, we want to add Santa’s Village, the Cannon Tramway, Whale’s Tale Water Park, Clark’s Trading Post, The Polar Caves, The Lost River and the Mount Washington Cog Railway to our itinerary. And, of course, there are countless opportunities for outlet shopping on your way to or from the mountains in Tilton, North Conway and Merrimack! There’s plenty to keep you busy for a week or more, and that’s exactly how long I hope to stay next time.
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Back with new recipes real soon!