and I were kicking around a few things in February of 2013 when
it came to March. All of them revolved around the possibility
that some changes to our work schedules over two weeks were going
to provide three days off in a row around the 10th of the month.
some thoughts were exchanged we quickly agreed on heading up to
New Hampshire for a long weekend. The funny part was that instead
of the old stomping grounds we had been visiting in New Hampshire
over the past decade -- in and around Lincoln -- we began considering
the North Conway and Jackson area for this trip. We had been there
together once, and thought it might be fun and a bit different
for the weekend. And in the end… we were both glad we did.
one – Saturday, March 9, 2013
taking care of cleaning up from a snow storm on Friday -- about
two hours spent in the driveway last night -- the car could not
be reaching the road early enough for me this morning.
always say I’m done with snow pretty quickly in the winter season.
Not because I don’t like snow. I do. I like it a lot -- with a
cup of hot chocolate in my hand, a fire roaring in the fireplace
with the dogs asleep nearby, as I gaze out the window at the beautiful
scenery. (I love snow.)
always say I’m done with snow pretty quickly in the winter season
because the stuff likes to fall in the middle of work weeks --
and when it snows overnight, it needs to be dealt with so I can
get the car out of the driveway and to the employee parking lot
-- and there are about five people with a driver’s license from
a New England state that actually know how to drive in the snow…
but everyone with a driver’s license from a New England state
seems to think they can drive in the snow… and they all seem to
think that jamming on the brakes frequently and/or speeding up
for no reason isn’t part of the problem. Sure… I love
waking up an hour (or two or three) earlier than usual to head
outside and shovel snow, then face people that hit the brakes
to slow down as they reach the bottom of a hill. That’s lovely.
(I hate snow.)
got reservations at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson for two
nights. We’ve got ideas about things to do over three days. And
most importantly… we’ve got the Muddy Moose plugged into Mi Luv
U as the destination, along with Terry and Bob in the car… and
we’re heading off.
more than three hours for us to cover the ground crossing into
and through Massachusetts and then up into New Hampshire. The
drive itself is a bit crazy… it’s not highway driving, so there
are slower speed limits in some sections, and not many chances
for passing those cars traveling below the speed limits. And yet…
a great drive. There really isn’t much traffic on this
morning, so even keeping to the speed limits there isn’t a sense
of being forced along faster or slower than you would like to
be driving. And the views are impressive. (Plus, it’s always a
bonus to start seeing the warning signs for moose, which just
confirm the idea you’ve entered a different place.)
making the turn onto the stretch of route 16 that serves as a
Main Street for North Conway (while also connecting to places
like Intervale, Jackson, and eventually to Mount Washington),
and we decide that with the clock around 12:30 we’ll head directly
for lunch and double-back to the stores later.
arrive at The
Muddy Moose and sit down at a table. Looking
over the menu, Terry and I decide to order a couple of things
and split them, along with a single bowl of their New England
Clam Chowder. Our sandwiches are the Wild Turkey Wrap (featuring
Boursin cheese and cranberry) and the Southwest Chicken Wrap (southwest
seasonings and black bean salsa with rice). The chowder is really
good, and we both enjoyed each of the sandwiches.
get out and begin backtracking a bit… heading into North Conway
and the retail section.
makes a true score (that still has her smiling weeks later) on
a few items from L.L. Bean.
quick drive away we stop at Four
Your Paws Only… which I probably don’t have
to tell you is a pet store. It is fantastic. As you may know…
we’ve got two St. Bernards (Molly and Gus), and they have plenty
of items in their inventory for this breed. It’s not just for
Molly and Gus though… they have plenty of coverage for all breeds,
from the standard to the rare. It’s a great place, and we leave
with a couple of items to hang on our walls, along with treats
to bring back home. (Because you always need to bring back gifts…
now closing in on mid-afternoon, so we decide to get checked in
at Eagle Mountain House since we plan on being back this way for
dinner later anyway. Of course… as you know, the best of plans…
is best accessed by crossing the Honeymoon Bridge… a covered bridge
that connects route 16 to the town of Jackson. Once across that
bridge you begin to see some of the shops, and we couldn’t resist
first was Flossie’s
General Store. To say it’s immediately after
the bridge is an understatement… since when you park at Flossie’s,
the walk to their front door might be longer than the walk to
the bridge itself. It was nice enough as a store, with a few unique
items. Though honestly… if it wasn’t Local
Friends weekend, with a
focus on gift shops, I’m not certain we would
have purchased anything.
next was RavenWood
Curio and this place is unique, interesting,
and I am certain vastly different than anything you may have seen
before. Outside the store itself are several fascinating items,
and the fun only increases once inside. From small novelties and
knickknacks to large pieces and artwork, RavenWood had a little
bit of something for everyone… in a way where none of it would
be something you knew you wanted until you saw it here.
a short drive later… we are now in our room at Eagle
Mountain. The resort is a fabulous place,
located pretty much off the beaten path (so to speak) while convenient
to everything. The room itself has old-school charm, from the
furniture and decorations to the design and structure. The elevator
we used was one of those true classics, with double doors that
needed to be opened and closed manually. Looking out the window,
Terry spots something that looks like a ferret… could have perhaps
been an otter or beaver… crossing the road.
would highly recommend Eagle Mountain to anyone looking for a
place to stay in the region. We wished we had eaten there… and
have heard good things about the food in the lounge and restaurant…
and do plan to return. The staff was AMAZING… from the moment
we made our reservations, to the people at the front desk during
our stay. Great people, a building with wonderful character, and
a fabulous experience.
we’ve managed to see all of this, check in to our room, and it
still isn’t 4pm. We make a decision about what to do for the next
hour or so before dinner, and the plan sounds wonderful, except…
will tell you first that there is a disagreement over who forgot
the bag. Now… in my defense… this was the bag Terry packed and
had used for not only toothbrushes and such, but also to hide
a few birthday presents she had for me. And, it was never placed
with the bags containing our clothes, laptop, camera and such
that I was charged with getting to the car. And, it was
found on the ironing board next to Terry’s dresser when we got
back home. So use your own decision-making process and consider
the evidence as you will… but we decided that we forgot it.
we’re going to need to stop for a couple of things, which is actually
pretty good. While I wasn’t expecting snow during the weekend,
I was definitely not thinking of 60-degrees and sunny when I selected
shirts and such. So I could use a couple of things for the amazing
weather we’re going to enjoy over the three days.
a quick stop to take care of those few items, we set Mi Luv U
up for Diana’s Baths.
Hampshire is one of those fantastic states that seem to have some
sort of natural wonder branching off of every road. I kid you
say you head out to visit Canon Mountain in Franconia. This was
the home to the Old Man in the Mountain, and remains a terrific
nature-based tourist attraction to this day. So there you are,
on route 93, heading out toward Profile Lake… and Franconia Notch
is nearby as well, and on the side of the road you see a sign
for The Basin.
Basin isn’t a hidden treasure… people know of it… but the reality
is that between Canon and Loon and all sorts of other reasons
to be in the area, you probably never thought about it or knew
much of it on your first visit.
types of treasures… and plenty of signs to beware of a roaming
moose or two… are all over the place in New Hampshire. And it’s
Baths are a little more than a half-mile hike from its parking
lot… which is pretty accessible from route 16 (following River
Road to West Side Road). Terry and I hiked along the path… covered
in packed snow… and enjoyed it a lot. Great walk… beautiful spot.
in the car, we’ve now zeroed in on dinner, and we’re heading to
Moat Mountain. I’ll warn you up front… we waited 45-minutes for
our table… and by the time we were seated, the wait for those
just arriving was over 90-minutes.
was so worth it.
Mountain Smoke House and Brewing Co. is… like
everything in the area… right along the White Mountain Highway.
and I ordered a Czech Pilsner to split… and it was fantastic.
(Next time we likely will try a generous sampler that features
their beers and looked like a great deal.)
decided to order a few things from the menu and split them as
well, and only made one mistake… the spicy chipotle honey glazed
chicken wings (without bones). Neither of us really enjoyed them.
Mountain Pot Stickers… words cannot convey the brilliance of these
dumplings. Just incredible. They were cooked to perfection and
the Thai sweet chili sauce was delicious. We could have ordered
a half-dozen Czech Pilsners and several plates of these pot stickers
and been blissfully happy for days. Awesome.
Horn Nachos… we got ours made with the KC BBQ Sauce, and they
were fantastic. (They normally come with the mustard-habanero-based
Austin BBQ Sauce… which probably would have been good as well.
Though we are ok with it, we just were more tempted by the tomato-based
sauce than the habanero-mustard-based sauce on this evening.)
then… as if we hadn’t had enough… dessert.
ordered the peanut butter chocolate cake, and that was delicious.
(Still, even she enjoyed mine a bit more…)
had the butter crunch pecan pie.
I… dear lord, I’m at a loss. Butter crunch ice cream served with
a fantastic slice of pecan pie and the combination is jaw-droppingly
day ended as perfectly as you could ever hope thanks to this meal.
Back to the hotel… a bit of television and a solid night of sleep.
two – Sunday, March 10, 2013
got a strange day mapped out ahead of us.
my parents and a good friend of ours (Todd and his wife, Jen),
we’ve got some recommendations for the entire trip… and we’re
looking at Yesterday’s for breakfast and Flatbread for dinner.
covered most of our entire list of must-do items yesterday. So
we’re setting things up around the thought of just aimlessly wandering
the main strip of North Conway. Terry and I are also both interested
in seeing Oz the Great and Powerful, which was released
we’ve decided to start with Yesterday’s, and then try to locate
where the movie is playing and get some show times. From there
we’d piece together when to catch the movie while setting out
for a Sunday afternoon of wandering around some stores.
Restaurant is in the center of Jackson. My mother had recommended
it as a nice place for breakfast, and she was right. Terry and
I both got assorted specialty plates, the service was friendly
and good, and we both enjoyed the stop.
pulled in to a visitor’s center on the way to North Conway so
we could take some shots of Mount Washington. Terry noted that
she’d like to get out to the mountain if we could, and I filed
the idea away for later.
decide to catch the mid-afternoon showing of the movie, and have
just enough time to sneak back to L.L. Bean before the show. (The
store is pretty much directly across the street from the Mountain
Valley Mall Cinema.)
the film… back to Four Your Paws Only to pick up some treats for
a friend of ours. And then we drive a bit up the road.
Bavarian Chocolate Haus – One of the musts
we hadn’t done on day one, this place has great owners and delicious
chocolates… we were treated to chocolate covered macaroons that
were being finished and bagged when we arrived. A tremendous stop.
Birch Books – Perfect example of what Local
Friends for Local Business is all about… nice store, with friendly
people working that afternoon. We didn’t leave with our arms filled
with books, but we enjoyed stepping in and looking around.
Penguin Gallery – Another great find filled
with special and unusual treasures. I found myself absolutely
dazzled by much of the store… and not just the items, but also
the way they were displayed.
General Store – Fun country store with a nice
combination of unqiue treats and New Hampshire gifts.
and Jen had been providing bulls-eyes for us all weekend -- Diana’s
Baths... Moat Mountain… Bavarian Chocolate Haus (which we had
been to before, but they made a point of telling us to stop) --
so as we arrived at the Flatbread
Pizza Company we were expecting nothing short
of phenomenal. And… this restaurant located at the Eastern Slope
took a Jay’s Heart pizza (tomato sauce and mozzarella) and added
pepperoni and sausage to it. Flatbread does two things a bit differently:
(1) They operate from an organic menu base. It isn’t 100% organic
in the end… it is fresh and delicious. (2) Their wood stoves are
right in the dining area. It makes for a nice show, while also
allowing you to watch your pizza arrive at the table within seconds
of its removal from the oven.
also serves Moat Hoffman Weiss beer… so we tried that. Good… very
good… but we preferred the Czech Pilsner from the night before.
and I made our way slowly back to Eagle Mountain. We stopped along
the way to take some pictures of Jackson Falls… located along
Carter Notch Road.
the hotel, we decided to take up residence in their fantastic
lobby area. Eagle Mountain has a sitting room… perhaps more of
a library… with a few tables set up. We took some of our chocolates
from the Bavarian Chocolate Haus, some cards, and settled in for
a few relaxing games of what we call Dirty Hand and Foot. (It’s
our version of Hand and Foot Canasta. We each won a game.)
three – Monday, March 11, 2013
and I are up, moving, and heading along the mother road of the
weekend -- route 16 -- to Mount Washington. We haven’t really
decided to do anything once there -- it’s still too early in the
year… the driving road isn’t open for cars, the train isn’t running,
and so on -- but figure we both want to get closer, take a few
pictures, and see what’s going on.
less than 30-minutes… and more like 15… we arrive at a visitor’s
center near the start of the Mount Washington Auto Road. We look
around a bit, enjoy the view, and start mapping out our return
agree on eating lunch back in the Jackson and North Conway area,
which will mean looking around a bit more before we get into the
the weekend we had spotted this really cool carving of some black
bears climbing a tree. Our quest to see what the price for such
an item was about to begin. Unfortunately… we were unsuccessful,
since the stores were now out of the weekend, and we were beginning
to find many places closed. However… we did figure out something
and Jen had also mentioned the White
Mountain Cider Co. to us. He had recommended
the doughnuts, and pointed us in the direction of their store
and deli, while adding that he really enjoyed their sandwiches.
we’ve been spending the majority of the weekend in Jackson and
North Conway, while traversing along route 16. Sure, there have
been side roads… but that works as an explanation of it. The store
for the White Mountain Cider Co. is located on route 302, roughly
a mile away from where routes 302 and 16 meet. (Heading up from
North Conway, you could go right and stay on route 16 past Story
Land and heading for Jackson. Or, you could break to the left
onto route 302 and wind up in Bartlett for some doughnuts.)
and Jen had a perfect weekend… the cider doughnuts were very good.
it’s time for lunch.
of the funny things about the area is that you begin to learn
about places like Bartlett, Glen and Intervale… all without ever
realizing you aren’t in North Conway or Jackson. Honestly… blink
and you’ll miss them. The area is so small that even on-line you’ll
find places with multiple towns or cities noted, which all reflect
the same place. And… even so… you’ll never get lost since it’s
all right on route 16 or route 302.
Mom had mentioned the Scarecrow
Pub & Grill to us. Todd had nodded that
he knew of it as well. And in that amazing concept of North Conway
– Jackson – Glen – Intervale – all in the same place… we had driven
by it a couple of times.
we pulled in they were just opening up for the day. Our waitress
later told Terry she was expecting a slow day, and was surprised
to see us at a table.
were both hungry, so we ordered the buffalo chicken fingers and
stuffed mushrooms. (The mushrooms had a cheese and ham stuffing.)
Both of them were really good.
dinners were also good. (Terry ordered Bill’s Mixed Grill (featuring
steak tips, chicken teriyaki and Italian sausage). I went with
a basic chicken parmesan.)
we only ate this food, the Scarecrow would have been counted as
a success. Once again… friendly people and terrific service… and
the food was really good, and served right away. But there was
Hot, perfectly cooked, and quite possibly the best French fries
we have ever eaten. I’m not kidding. I mean… yes… it could have
been one of those moments when the stars were aligned, and the
oil was at the right temperature, and the cook pulled the basket
out when things were at exactly the point where we love our fries.
And with not many people around, they came directly from the oil
to our table without a delay. So sure… some of it could be circumstance.
But the “crow” fries are listed as fresh, cut daily, with “skins
& all”… and there is credit to be given. GREAT job.
start a nearly 4-hour trek home after lunch… stopping along the
way for ice cream sundaes. We greet Molly and Gus… only to lose
their attention to treats from Four Your Paws Only, which they
take and then settle in to enjoy.
weekend… just a wonderful series of great times. Thank you New
Hampshire… thank you Jackson and North Conway… we will be back.