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To Plan A Trip

June 2024
1min read

The Mount Washington Cog Railway, which you reach from Route 302 west of the mountain, operates from early May through October. The trains usually run hourly, and the roundtrip, which costs $39, takes three hours, including a twenty-minute stop at the summit (you may stay longer if you like). For information call 1-800-922-8825. The auto road, on Route 16 on the east side of the mountain, is open from mid-May to late October. The toll is $15 per vehicle and driver plus $6 for each adult passenger and $4 per child. A guided tour by van is $20 for adults, $10 for children. For information, call 603-466-3988. If you’d like to hike, get a copy of the AMC White Mountain Guide , with complete trail information and maps, available in bookstores or from the Appalachian Mountain Club. (617-523-0636).

If Mount Washington is the White Mountains’ foremost attraction, it is foremost among many. Others include three that were likewise popular in the nineteenth century: Lost River, which tumbles among and mostly beneath huge rocks and is followed by winding wooden walkways (603-745-8031); the Flume, a natural high-walled gorge as narrow as twelve feet wide (603-823-5563); and of course the Old Man of the Mountain, in Franconia Notch, whose likeness glowers past you above the admonition “Live Free or Die” on the state’s license plates.

As for local hotels, there are plenty, but almost all the truly grand old ones burned down long ago. A lone survivor is the Mount Washington, a sprawling 197-room wooden building with a nine-hundred-foot veranda not far from the cog-railway base station. It was the site of the Bretton Woods International Monetary Conference, which put the world’s financial house in order after World War II; today it looks a little frayed but still offers all the amenities (1-800-258-0330). Fifty miles north in Dixville Notch, high up in a sort of private alpine setting at the very top of the White Mountains, sits the Balsams Grand Resort (1-800-255-0600), a true luxury hotel that opened in 1866 and has been modernized and expanded enough since that little about it seems ancient at all. It is the place that votes first in the nation.

For The Official New Hampshire Guidebook , a free, nearly two-hundred-page book detailing attractions, activities, accommodations, and events throughout the state, call the state’s Office of Travel & Tourism Development (603-271-2343).

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