Whether you’re skiing Tuckerman Ravine in the spring, ice climbing or touring in the winter or looking for a great weekend of hiking some of New England’s toughest and most epic trails, the Mt. Washington Valley has a lot to offer. Here’s where to eat, drink and stay when you find yourself in the valley after a long day in the mountains.
Plan to spend a weekend at Mt. Washington and you’ll discover big mountain terrain right next to villages supported by local farms, packed with mountain town culture and new places to eat, drink and stay. For more about all of the adventures you can have and where to play, see “High Season on Mt. Washington.”
In North Conway, try the malty Headwall Alt at Tuckerman Brewing Company, where from June through August, you can catch live music outdoors in the brewery’s field on select weekends, with food trucks and lawn games. For another North Conway classic, check out Moat Mountain Brewing Company for locally sourced pub fare like the Long Horn Nachos, which feature house-smoked local brisket. If you’re looking for the locals’ late-night scene, head to The Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub in Glen.
Table + Tonic, which opened in North Conway in June 2018, offers “Garden to Glass” craft cocktails and farm-fresh food. Owners Heather Chase and Russ Van Deursen source many of the herbs and berries that go into their house-brewed liqueurs, bitters and syrups on their farm in neighboring Intervale, called Mountain Flower Farm. They also own the health food store in town, The Local Grocer. For more upscale farm-to-table dining head to Thompson House Eatery in Jackson, home to the outdoor Jackson Farmers’ Market on Tuesday evenings. Since winter 2017 chef-owner Jeffrey Fournier and his wife and co-owner Kate have used locally-sourced ingredients to shape their creative menu, which features dishes like the southern-style shrimp and grits with pickled green strawberries, North Country kale, cheddar and parmesan and Abita Turbodog beer.
For breakfast, check out the homey Stairway Café on Main Street and order the elk sausage with your eggs while you peruse their collection of vintage White Mountain guidebooks. Other well-loved diners include the Sunrise Shack in Glen, and in North Conway, Priscilla’s, Peach’s
Restaurant and the Old Village Bakery. At 27 North, which just opened in North Conway in December 2018, try one of the house-infused Bloody Marys while you tackle “The Sinner,” an egg scramble with homemade corned beef hash, chunks of bleu cheese and bacon or take on the Garden of Eatin: eggs hollandaise with Portobello mushrooms, broccoli, feta and scallions. You can even get Lobster Benedict, topped with asparagus and cheekily named “The Saco.”
For coffee that will kick you in the pants and free wifi, head to Frontside Grind in North Conway. Glen Beverage Co. is the place to pick up craft beer for your post-Tucks parking lot reward, with more than 300 brews in stock.
There’s so much to do, you may want to make a weekend out of it and find a place to stay. If you’re skiing Tuckerman Ravine, you can skip the early morning 2.4-mile approach via the Tuckerman Ravine Trail by reserving a spot in one of the eight lean-tos at the Hermit Lake Shelters ($15 per person per night, outdoors.org) operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Come spring, it’s a great place to meet fellow skiers, learn about conditions and swap stories and beers. Be sure to catch the alpenglow on the headwall at sunrise from the deck of the caretaker’s cabin, affectionately known as “HoJo’s.” In Pinkham Notch, the AMC’s Joe Dodge Lodge has shared and private rooms for $83 to $95 per person per night.
At White Mountains Hostel in downtown North Conway, bunk down for as little as $22 per night in a room likely shared with other climbers and skiers. In the summer, take a walk to the Saco River and check out the rope swing.
In Gorham, 20 minutes from Pinkham Notch Visitors’ Center, stay in a yurt (open Memorial Day through October) or the main lodge at HubNorth ($90-$360 per night), which opened in 2017 and is located on a 20-mile network of mountain bike trails—ranging from advanced singletrack to rail trail, developed and maintained by the Coos Cycling Club at Moose Brook State Park. Grab an apres-ski beer at SAaLT Pub.
The new Glen House ($99-$400 per night) opened in September 2018 across from Great Glen Trails, at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road. The big main lodge features views of Mount Washington, exposed wooden beams and a big fireplace.
For a true great camp experience, especially if you plan to ski the cog or any of the routes on the West side of Mt. Washington, stay at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort at Bretton Woods ($190-$500). Since 1902, the grand hotel has hosted presidents, poets and celebrities and earned a reputation for fine dining, its spa, beautiful architecture and stunning views. It sits at the base of Mt. Washington, just minutes from the Cog Railroad in the summer and the trailhead for the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail, a challenging but stunning ascent to the AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut.
Featured Photo Caption: Early risers await the sunrise on Cathedral Ledge in North Conway, NH. Photo courtesy Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.