One of my bucket list items for the past few years is to hike Mount Washington, and on my 28th birthday we made it happen!
Mount Washington is the tallest mountain on the Presidential Range in New Hampshire, boasting a summit of 6,288.2 ft. Katy and I started dating in New Hampshire at a camp called Brookwoods-Deer Run. So, naturally, the White Mountains hold a dear place in our hearts.
We also had the opportunity to celebrate our good friend, Frances, just before we hopped across the pond. She’s one of the most delightful people you could meet. Frances and Katy have known each other for some 15+ years. Mount Washington just so happens to be in her family’s backyard – not joking.
Mount Washington is located approximately 3.6 hours from Boston Logan Airport and 3 hours from Manchester-Boston (MHT) airports. The drive is a very pleasant one at that, especially if you are driving from Manchester Airport and traversing through Franconia Gap.
We spent about a week in the town of Lancaster, just 30 minutes away from the start of the approach trail. Lancaster is your quintessential small town in New England and provides an excellent base for a host of activities, especially if you love the outdoors. Katy and I have hiked a number of different trails in the surrounding area – perhaps one day we will have enough time to do a presidential traverse.
Easily the best accommodation in the area is the Mount Washington Hotel. With breathtaking views of Mount Washington, a golf course, and nearby access to trails and streams; this historical site will set you up for a wonderful holiday in the White Mountains with either your friends or family.
Mount Washington Hotel is the site where the US Government, along with most of the world powers, made the decision at the Bretton Woods Conference to use the dollar as the world currency in 1944. You’ll find plenty of information about the conference inside the hotel, and I believe you can even request a tour from one of the employees.
There are also cabins near the hotel that you can book, which are perfect for a family or large group. We spent part of our week in one of these cabins and it was fantastic. https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/bretton-woods-mount-washington
Some of these activities we had the chance to enjoy, while others we did not on this trip, but either we have done them in the past or are aware of their popularity.
At the foothills of Mount Washington and adjacent to the Mount Washington Hotel, you’ll find a well-groomed golf course, that is also very forgiving, which is great if you play like me. Frances mom, Valerie, kindly asked me to join her for a round of golf on the course. Most golfers tend to walk the course, but there are certainly carts available if you would like to leisurely play a round or two.
Prospect Mountain Fire Tower
This spot makes for a great picnic outing, as well as a 360-degree view of the area. Prospect Mountain is a state park, and is the original summer homestead of John Wingate Weeks (1860-1926), author of the Weeks Act, which enabled the government to purchase land from landowners and ensure that it will permanently remain as national forest land.
Brenton Woods Ski Resort
Historically, one of the highest ranked groomed ski resorts on the east-coast, Brenton Woods has 64 acres of skiing and snowboarding on 62 trails and 35 glades and three terrain parks. https://www.brettonwoods.com
This might be my favorite small town cinema. The Railto opened its doors to the public in 1932. The current owner is incredibly hospitable and will occasionally do an intro / welcome before a showing. Also worth checking out is their summer movie club lineup. Last time we were there tickets were free for matinee showings on specific films. http://www.lancasterrialto.com
Polish Princess bakery
If you only eat out one time while you are in the area, this is the place. The Polish Princess offers an eclectics assortment of baked goods, lunch items, and desserts. They also have gluten free options. https://goo.gl/maps/fK7Sxd7t1AL2
The Ammonoosuc River runs right next to the Mount Washington Hotel and offers some excellent fly fishing spots. You can rent gear at the Mount Washington hotel, or you can obtain a guide on your own. Fly fishing licenses can be purchased ahead of time online, or you can purchase them directly at the hotel.
So you want to make it to the top of Mount Washington and see the observatory without making the arduous climb? You’re in luck, the Cog Railway is a fun way to make it to the top. https://www.thecog.com