White Mountain Springtime Adventures
Spring Vacations in the White Mountains
The school books are closed for the April vacation week and for families hitting the road for a day or the entire week, there’s plenty of activities to enjoy in the early spring weather. “April vacation is a wonderful time in the White Mountains,” said Jayne O’Connor, president of White Mountains Attractions, the official information source for the region. “Although most of our Attractions are getting ready for the summer season, families can enjoy some easy hikes, beautiful waterfalls and even fishing and canoeing.” Ask us about NH springtime in the White Mountains or share comments. To feature your business, contact us.
White Mountain Spring Vacations
While the White Mountains are living up to their name with the higher peaks still covered in snow, the lower levels offer short spring hikes appropriate for families with younger children. The recreation trail at Franconia Notch is a nice walk on a paved surface and leads into the Basin, where the swirling water fed by the snow melt is fascinating for youngsters to watch.
This time of year, the Kancamagus Highway, connecting the 35 miles between Lincoln and Conway, is a spectacular drive. “You really can spend an entire day exploring The Kanc,” O’Connor said. “The spring scenery is fabulous and there are several opportunities to stop and stretch your legs.”
About five miles east of downtown Lincoln, the three-mile Lincoln Woods trail is one of the easiest trails in the White Mountain National Forest, following an old railroad bed into the Pemigewasset Wilderness, one of the largest roadless areas in the eastern U.S. It follows the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. Also along The Kanc are the Sabbaday Falls and Rocky Gorge, which can be dramatic this time of year as the melting snow feeds the waterfalls.
For the families waiting for the train rides to start in the mountains, the Conway Scenic Railroad offers weekend excursions from its pretty Victorian-era train station in North Conway starting April 18 through mid-May, with twice daily rides that last between 55 minutes and an hour and 45 minutes. The train schedule increases as the season progresses. After the train ride, a short walk up Main Street in North Conway Village is the Mount Washington Observatory’s Weather Discovery Center, featuring an air cannon and wind room and even an opportunity to talk with weather observers up on “The Rock Pile.” The Weather Discovery Center is open on weekends only through May 17, then daily. Admission is free.
The end of April brings to a close the maple sugaring season, but in downtown North Woodstock, Jim Fadden of Fadden’s General Store, has put together a fascinating display of syrup production with a full-sized evaporator, watched over by photos of the generations of his family who have made maple syrup. For a chance to try fresh syrup with a view, fans of Polly’s Pancake Parlor are thrilled that the restaurant on Sugar Hill is open weekends from April 18-May 2, then daily. “The April vacation is also a fun time to explore some of our small towns, before the bustle of summer,” O’Connor said.
Littleton’s Main Street offers a self-guided walking tour, with information plaques pointing out the history of the town’s buildings. Children love going into Chutter’s General Store, which has the world’s longest candy counter. Behind Littleton’s Main Street is a covered bridge that crosses the Ammonoosuc River and a short walking path along the river’s edge.
Cheese lovers and those who simply love to find a place that reminds them of another time will want to take a drive to the Brick Store in Bath, on Route 302, about 15 miles of west of Littleton or Harman’s Cheese and Country Store in Sugar Hill along Route 117 with its well-aged cheddar and free samples. The Bath Brick Store, which has an inviting porch, dates back to the 1790s and offers some distinctive specialties, including meats and cheeses from its own smokehouse. Just behind the store is the Bath covered bridge, which spans the Ammonoosuc River.
New England Living