Valentine’s Day in Mt. Washington Valley


Photo c/o The Local Grocer

Regardless of your “Love Language” type, you’ll find plenty of ways to say and show someone that you love them in the Mt. Washington Valley. And now more than ever, is it a perfect time to bask in the meaning of Valentine’s Day.

Whether you’re focusing on self-care this February and getting back to some self-love basics; or sharing in the love with a friend, partner or family member, spending Valentine’s Day Mt. Washington Valley is the perfect gift to get and give.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW!
If you’re a couple who always visits the Mt. Washington Valley to ski, snowmobile, hike or shop, then why not try the OPPOSITE of that! If all you’ve ever experienced are the slopes of the valley, why not book a snowmobile tour in Mt. Washington Valley for you and your partner? Our friends at Northern Extremes and Northeast Snowmobile have put together some amazing tours that cover over 250+ miles of trails through Maine and New Hampshire.

Conversely, if all you’ve ever done when visiting the Mt. Washington Valley is snowmobile, why not take a lesson at a local slope? February has been dubbed the “Learn to Ski” month and local mountains have programs, lessons and rates that make it super easy to take your first run.

REALLY GET IN THE SPIRIT
Why not give in to the ooeey-gooey romantic aspect of the holiday and book a romance package at any of the Mt. Washington Valley inns?

You’ll be inundated with chocolates, roses, fine dining, couple’s spa treatments, couple’s snowshoeing tours, truffle and champagne tastings, and more – similar to the one that Snowvillage Inn in Snowville, NH is offering!

The concierge at each of the Mt. Washington Valley inns is so helpful and ready with creative ways to help you and your partner celebrate the holiday. Bask in all the romantic details and experience Valentine’s Day in the Mt. Washington Valley.

SHARE THE LOVE FOR THE MOUNTAINS
Whether you have a partner or not, Valentine’s Day can be for celebrating the things that YOU love – even if it isn’t another person. Do you have an affinity for the mountains of Maine and New Hampshire?

Everyone who lives in the valley does, and the Mt. Washington Valley is home to some of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable outdoor guides. As a Valentine’s Day present to yourself, book yourself a guided trip in the Mt. Washington Valley. Take on new terrain you’ve been wanting to try, hike an alternate route up Mount Washington, take an intro to ice climbing course, learn how to read a compass – the courses and guiding trips available to you are endless. And when you book them with a guide, you’ll be privy to Mt. Washington Valley insider tips and entertaining stories, all from a local’s perspective. Visit our friends at Redline Guiding, the AMC, International Mountain Climbing School, and REI.

TREAT YO’ SELF!
That M.Miller winter coat you’ve been eyeing at Spruce Hurricane; or the pair of Frye Boots you keep circling back to at Assets Jean Co.; or finally decking your bathroom out with artisan skin care products and scents from Fields of Ambrosia? Whatever your indulgence may be, the boutiques and stores of the Mt. Washington Valley have it. And go ahead, you have our full permission to splurge on yourself.

Our friends at White Mountain Independents, a pool of 25+ independently owned stores that make up our main streets in Conway, North Conway, Jackson, and beyond, all have a curated inventory of one-of-a-kind treasures.

Settlers’ Green is also a shopping destination not to be missed with 60+ outlet stores, restaurants and even a foot soaking spa!

WHAT GREATER LOVE IS THERE, THAN FOOD?
Create your own foodie tour in the Mt. Washington Valley!

The restaurants in the Mt. Washington Valley work tirelessly to create an epic food scene in the White Mountains, and you’ll find everything from fine dining to truly creative culinary experiences, to pub food that’s locked and loaded; all paired with cocktails that will blow you away and award-winning craft brews.

First, decide on the type of foodie experience you’re looking to have? Fine Dining? Casual? Just drinks? What about a drink and dessert pairing?

If you’re going for Fine Dining, then buckle up! The Fine Dining restaurants in the Mt. Washington Valley are in a league of their own. Book a table at the Oxford House Inn, just over the border in Maine. They offer a formal dining room with views of the White Mountains, as well as a more casual speak-easy in its basement. Both dining rooms offer a menu thought-up by Culinary Institute of the Arts graduate, chef AND owner, Jonathan Spak.

White Mountain Cider Co. is another fine dining restaurant for the books. The White Mountain Cider Co. is owned by Culinary Institute of America graduate Teresa Stearns. The year-round charming New England property includes an award-winning restaurant, gourmet market, deli serving breakfast and lunch, and cider mill.

Take a drive to Jackson and the historic Eagle Mountain House for 3 course pre-fixed dinner menu for the weekend of Valentine’s Day 2/12, 2/13, 2/14.  $55 per couple, reservations required. 800-966-5779

Recommended by Bon Appetit, Gourmet, NY Times, New Hampshire Magazine, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and more, Wild Rose at Stonehurst Manor creates a dining experience to be remembered. Enjoy the atmosphere of its classic “Library Lounge” with deep wood fixtures, a roaring fireplace, stained glass, and shelves filled with books. The Wild Rose at Stonehurst Manor also boasts an extensive martini menu and knows how to shake – or stir – a great cocktail.

It would be impossible to name each of our favorite fine dining locales in the valley. But trust us when we say, they are all worthy of a reservation. Take in all of our fine dining partners, here!

If you’re looking for Something a bit more casual, may we suggest a tasting tour? Start in Conway at Tuckerman Brewing Co. for homemade craft beer that has been brewing strong for twenty-five years! Be sure to dress warm and enjoy its flagship Pale Ale in its outdoor beer garden.

Make your way north to Cathedral Ledge Distillery, and enjoy a tasting flight of its organically distilled vodka’s and gin. Revel in the craftsmanship of the post and beam barn and the views behind it of Cathedral Ledge.

Right next door lives The Local Grocer, a perfect stop to refuel. Either make a meal out of it and enjoy a lunch menu created from home-grown ingredients from its farm just a few miles down the road. Enjoy sandwiches, smoothies, salads and more; or indulge in its homemade dark chocolate creations to set the Valentine’s Day mood.

Without having to go very far, next on your tasting list is Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery. Living right next door to The Local Grocer, this valley staple has been brewing for decades and it shows in its fleet of beer on tap. A fun environment and incredibly creative menu, you’ll want to spend some time here!

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share one of the best kept (not-so) secrets of the Mt. Washington Valley; Cold River Vodka. Vodka distilled from Maine potatoes grown right in Fryeburg, Maine, the fleet of vodka and gin featured from this distillery is undeniable. While it doesn’t have a tasting room in the valley, many restaurants feature its vodka and gin on their shelves.

TAKE IN A SHOW!
Celebrate love with M&D Playhouse and a virtual, one night only performance on Saturday, February 13 at 7:30 pm of Standing on Ceremony, The Gay Marriage Plays. This is a witty, warm, occasionally wacky production offering unique takes on the moments before, during, and after “I do.” Two little words, and suddenly your whole world changes. 

Order take-out from any of the valley’s amazing restaurants, and cuddle up on the couch for this charming production!

This collection of short plays, performed by a fabulous cast, is a vow to the universal challenges of relationships, the blessings of equality, and the often-hilarious power of love.”

This is a fundraiser for M&D Playhouse and White Mountains Pride. Please support these wonderful organizations with the purchase of a ticket for each member of your household who’ll enjoy along with you. Just $19.99 Includes all fees for streaming access of this entertaining production. Cheers to love! For info and to purchase tickets, click here!

Winning Ways at the Wentworth Golf Club

By Kathy Bennett

Wentworth is a winning course in so many ways. Here are six reasons why you should put the Wentworth on your “must golf” courses for the season:

  1. It’s the only golf course in New England with its own covered bridge – As you move from the fourth hole to the fifth, golfers get to enjoy the unusual experience of driving their cart through this unique covered bridge. Bridging the Wildcat River, it also shuttles cross country skiers in winter.
  2. The front nine and the back nine play like two different courses. While both are challenging, the front nine winds along the river and offers scenic niceties (like the covered bridge – see above). It’s also broken into three distinct areas of play which makes for an interesting layout. The back nine are longer, straighter, narrower, hilly and seemingly more difficult (at least to this duffer). If you are only playing nine holes and have a choice, consider your mood and energy level. Both are imminently playable but offer very different playing experiences.
    Wentworth Golf Club
  3. People are dying to play here. Speaking of the back 9, the Wentworth features an unusual backdrop in the form of a small cemetery. The 17th tee box borders the cemetery on its southwest corner.
  4. Water, water everywhere. The course is home to the Wildcat River. Also known as the Wildcat Brook, it is home to one of New England’s best fly fishing. Don’t bring your rod to the course – but pack it in your car for a few casts after a round down the road a ways (Timmy’s Bridge just south of the course is known for its trout). The back nine also features several small ponds as water hazards just to keep things interesting.
  5. A golf course that attracts skiers? The Wentworth Golf Club converts its club house into a ski lodge every winter as it shares space with Jackson Ski Touring Foundation. JSTF is the largest cross country ski area in the east. Look for the tell-tale ski prints hanging on the walls. The Wentworth course is just part of their extensive trail network come winter. 
  6. Two Snack Shacks – Golfers have two opportunities to snag a snack while golfing. Start your round and pick up a cold beer to go at the clubhouse when you check in. Then on the 18th hole, keep an eye out for Madeline’s, offering sandwiches, drinks and snacks. A great way to start and end a round!

The Wentworth Golf Club offers memberships and daily rounds at its lovely location in scenic Jackson, NH. Visit them online at https://www.wentworthgolf.com/

North Conway Country Club – Get Ready to Swing!

By Kathy Bennett

If, like a lot of people, you have been itching to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, a round of golf at North Conway Country Club might be just what the doctor ordered.

Golf courses were reopened earlier this month for members and residents of New Hampshire. While there are modifications required currently, Golf Pro Kevin Walker ensured that the guest experience remained top notch.

You will notice some differences for check in. Walk up to a new outside window to check in with the pro shop. Tee times are spaced out a little more – 12 minutes apart to ensure social distancing. If you are renting a cart, plan on driving solo – another adaption to encourage space between players.  On the date we played last week, the pro shop was readying to open for modified retail operations as of May 22. Their well appointed shop offers apparel, gloves, clubs, balls, tees and anything else the golfer wants or needs. Rumor has it they also offer repairs for the occasional snapped club (or so I’ve heard).

If you haven’t played NCCC, you will notice two things immediately from the first tee. One is the working train tracks immediately in front of the club house. Conway Scenic Railroad runs popular old-fashioned train rides from the adjacent Schouler Park train station. Our tee time was delayed a minute or two as they re-positioned some train cars on the tracks out front. The sight of the antique engine was worth the wait!

The second thing you’ll notice is the spectacular views of Cathedral Ledge. As you hit the ball off the elevated first tee, you can’t take your eyes off it! Maybe that’s why I can’t hit the ball. That’s my excuse anyway! However you swing it, you’l drink in the views as you watch your ball sail down to the first fairway and beyond.

Cathedral Ledge North Conway

Speaking of fairways, the greens – and the entire course– was in spectacular shape especially for early season. Walker and his team had spent the weeks leading up to opening focusing on course maintenance and their hard work and dedication to quality shows. The course has been at the center of North Conway Village since it was founded as a 9 hole course in 1900, then known as Kearsarge Golf Links. In 1935, it was modified and a 2nd set of tees were added. Then come 1975, an additional 9 holes were added.  Fun fact – the back nine were designed by local Architect William Levy, former owner of The Yield House, long a popular employer and retail establishment in North Conway!

It makes sense that with their “downtown” village location that NCCC this year is partnering with another North Conway icon, the Eastern Slope Inn Resort. Look for special rates for guests at Eastern Slope Inn Resort once that property – and all NH lodging businesses – get the green light to reopen!

NCCC is ultimately a playable course, good enough for professional events and players but forgiving enough for anyone to play and have a delightful round. My friend and I played the far forward tees to keep up with the pace of play and to avoid feeling too intimidated by the longer distanced holes.

More fun facts about NCCC. They easily claim the best driving range in Mt. Washington Valley, including areas to practice pitching and putting as well as driving. The driving range was planning to reopen soon the day we visited. NCCC also is a best kept locals secret for drinks and dining with a view at the Ledgeview Grille. Like all restaurants currently, service is limited to outdoor dining. If you’re going to eat outdoors, this is the place to go!

While some attractions and activities are not yet opened in Mt. Washington Valley, golf is definitely the sport du jour. The course was hopping – albeit socially distanced – on a beautiful mid-week day last week when we played. NH residents and members are welcome to come swing into spring and enjoy all that NCCC has to offer right now!

Click here for more information on Golf in the White Mountains and Mt. Washington Valley.

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!

Valley Pride Day 2018

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the 18th Annual  Valley Pride day! We live in a beautiful place, and it’s a shame when it’s defaced with litter so we especially appreciate the many volunteers who helped clean up our roadways and make the Valley even more beautiful. They absolutely deserved the party afterward. Kudos to the organizers for keeping this fantastic event going for 18 years. The Valley thanks you!

Eastern Slope branch of the New England Ski Museum opens in North Conway Village

It was an exciting day for ski enthusiasts who attended the Ribbon Cutting of the new New England Ski Museum, located in the former North Conway Community Center building in North Conway Village. Over 200 people attended the event.

The museum is filled with nostalgia, old equipment, maps and interactive displays and even a library.  It is sure to engage all visitors from young to old. Admission is free and the museum is open 7 days a week. Don’t miss an opportunity to pay this gem a visit.

Last Blast for February Skiing

By Kathy Bennett

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With February coming to a close in the Valley, I decided to cram every possible type of skiing activity into my weekend. With Mount Washington Valley offering so many options for downhill and cross country skiing, plus numerous activities off the slopes, it’s easy to do!

Saturday we got up early and drove past the Eagle Mountain House on Carter Notch Road to access Jackson’s Prospect Farm xc trails. Despite the warm temps of late, there was still snow in the woods and on the trails. Groomers have got their work cut out for them, but a light dusting of snow overnight had sweetened up the snow surfaces nicely.

We skied out Boggy Brook Trail and took a leisurely approach to the day, stopping to chat with our fellow February ski lovers enjoying a pleasant day outside in the increasing winter daylight. The ski back to our car passed by Camp Gout, rumored to be owned by the Ballentine Family as a retreat where one can lay about on a warm summer day (but not in winter – the camp is closed up tight despite the colorful plastic flowers in the window boxes).

Saturday afternoon we had the privilege of being among the first to enter the new North Conway branch of the New England Ski Museum which opened this weekend.  History buffs and skiers alike can find informative displays, historic ski equipment, Olympic memorabilia and more here.  It is worth the time to stop by your next visit to North Conway.

We woke up Sunday to snowfall and quickly threw our alpine gear in the car to grab first tracks at Attitash. Their groomers too have had their proverbial work cut out for them, but with snow falling at the rate of an inch or so an hour, conditions improved by the minute. Nothing pretties up the resort more than covering up those snowbanks and trees with the white stuff! We are expecting up to a half foot of snow before this one wraps up Sunday night.

The weather has been variable the last few weeks but another storm of the white variety is in the forecast for next weekend, the first of March, if the weather prognosticators get it right.  March is known as the snowiest month here in the North Country – cross your fingers that that adage holds true this year!

A Pleasant Day at Shawnee Peak

The pitter patter of rain on my roof last night did not discourage me. Real skiers know that a little rain does not hurt snow surfaces, and I was glad to see that this supposition was true when I arrived Sunday morning at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, ME this morning.
Weather has been oscillating between deep freeze and above average for the last few weeks. Fortunately ski areas, including Shawnee, have buried their slopes with man-made snow during the arctic periods. This has resulted in a deep snow pack and great conditions despite some of the weather challenges of late.
It was below freezing when we arrived at 9am but in the 40s by lunch time.  This time of year, warmer temps don’t produce mashed potatoes. Rather there was a creamy sugary snow surface that made for great turns all day.
The rain made for some interesting visuals on the lake below Shawnee. A perfect mirror reflection of the trees along its banks made the lake a beautiful focal point for those skiing down the slopes. The photos didn’t do it justice.
Shawnee had its terrain park open and ski school and race training was going full-bore. The Hyannis Yacht Club was the group visiting for the day. All in, a fun sunny day despite the above average temps.
Shawnee was a mere 17 miles from our home in Conway. It is a fun alternative to the North Conway scene for skiers visiting Mt. Washington Valley.  If you are looking to stay overnight, they even rent yurts!

JACKSON XC IN THE BC

We are super excited to announce our partnership with the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (Jackson XC) in Jackson Village, NH — having the largest trail network in the East.

What’s this all about? Well, it’s front country meets backcountry with Redline Guiding officially becoming the backcountry arm of Jackson XC. Not just Nordic, either, but we also offer Alpine Touring (AT) and these services will also be supported. Skiing will take place within the Jackson XC backcountry network (including the backside of Wildcat Mountain) and on White Mountain National Forest lands beyond those boundaries, even covering some of the state’s historic Civilian Conservatiom Corp (CCC) trails and more.
And this happened because while they do have an amazing staff at Jackson XC, they didn’t have a backcountry program with dedicated guides and instructors knowledgeable about the unique backcountry requirements and best practices. Well, now they do. For details, please contact Jackson XC. To learn more about our ski programs, please check out our backcountry ski adventures and backcountry ski instruction.

Not Yet a Nordic Skier?

Not ready for the backcountry yet? Brand new to Nordic altogether? Do you first need front country lessons, gear, and basic how-to Nordic ski experience? While we are the backcountry arm of Jackson XC, they are the front country arm for us! We suggest giving them a call. If you offer promo code “REDLINEFC” when booking, you can save 10% off your day passes for one day or a lesson with one of their instructors.