WHITE MTNS./GREAT N. WOODS REGIONS
Attitash Bear Peak Alpine Slide and Waterslides
U.S. Rt. 302, Bartlett • (603) 374-2368, (800) 223-7669
There is a mountain of fun here beginning with the Alpine Slide, a .75-mile descent on a self-controlled sled. If you can still breathe, move on to the waterslides, which now include Buddy Bear's Playpool for kids ages 2 to 7. You can also take the chairlift to the White Mountain Observation Tower for a 360-degree view of northern New England. The summit elevation is 2,350 feet, and you'll climb an additional six stories if you make it to the top of the tower. After your climb, refuel at the base lodge cafeteria.
Hours: Attitash Bear Peak is open from on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 26 to June 10; daily June 16 to Sept. 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and weekend Sept. 8 to Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Prices: A single ride is $10, double, $16. An individual all-day pass is $24, two-day pass is $29. Horesback rides are $40.
Cannon Aerial Tramway
I 93 • Parkway Exit 2, Franconia Notch • (603) 823-8800
This is another great way to enjoy the glory of the White Mountains. When it opened in 1938, the aerial tramway was the first in the United States. The current 80-passenger tram was installed in 1980 and travels all the way up to the 4,200-foot summit of Cannon Mountain. Once there, you can spend the day at the top enjoying the walking trails, observation deck and souvenir shop. The tramway runs daily from the middle of May through October with departures every 15 minutes.
Hours: Daily from mid-May through October, departures every 15 minutes.
Prices: Adults $10, children 6-12 $6, children under 6 are free.
Clark's Trading Post
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U.S. Rt. 3, Lincoln • (603) 745-8913
Clark's Trading Post is another New Hampshire attraction with a long history. When it opened in the 1920s, it featured trained dogs as part of the entertainment. Today the performing animals are North American Black Bears. You might see the bears play "Bears-ketball" by dunking a ball through a hoop or weigh themselves after a milk and honey treat. Bear demonstrations begin when the park opens in spring, but the full shows don't usually begin until July 1. Once begun, the bear shows continue throughout the season. Take time to enjoy the relaxing ride along the Pemigewasset River on the White Mountain Central Railway. The more active members of your group might want to try the bumper boats. And if you like to step back in time, be sure to see the mysterious Tuttle House, where pool balls run uphill, Avery's Garage and the 1884 Fire Station. Get your picture taken at Kilburn's Photo Parlor and sample ice cream at the nearby old-fashioned ice cream store.
Hours: Bear shows are weekends only from May 26-June 17 and Sept. 8-Oct. 14. Shows are daily from June 23 to Sept. 3, noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Circus is Saturday to Thursday, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Gift shop is open daily from May 19 to Oct. 14
Prices: $9 age 6 and up; $8 seniors; $3 ages 3-5; under three is free.
Conway Scenic Railroad
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N.H. Rt. 16 at Norcross Cir., North Conway • (603) 356-5251, (800) 232-5251
The Conway Scenic Railroad is a must-see for train buffs and nature lovers. You have a choice of two trains and three great trips. The Valley Train stays in the Mount Washington Valley for the 55-minute round-trip to Conway or the 105-minute round-trip to Bartlett. Both Valley Trains run two or three times a day, and each offers at least one train a day with dining service. The trains have traditional coach bench seating in most cars as well as limited first-class seats in the refurbished turn-of-the-century Pullman car. The first-class car includes individual wicker chairs — a reminder of bygone days of elegant train travel. In addition to the Valley Train, there's the Notch Train, which travels through Crawford Notch. The 5½-hour trip is a nonstop explosion of breathtaking beauty. No one questions the claim that the Notch Train travels through the finest natural scenery in the Northeast. And take it from an Insider, you'd rather have someone else doing the driving while you're trying to absorb the awe-inspiring sights. The Notch Train has regular coach seating as well as first-class accommodations, although the first-class seats are more like first-class airline seats than the restored Pullman Parlor Car of the Valley Trains. Both trains offer live narration complete with the history of the area. Snack bars are on all trains in addition to the dining car on the designated Valley Trains. Both trains have air conditioning in first class. Prices vary depending on the train, class of service and age of passenger.
Season: Valley train, weekends mid-April to mid-May, Nov. to mid-Dec. and daily from mid-May to late October. Notch Train: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday June 19 to Sept. 8, daily from Sept. 11 to Oct. 12.
Prices: Adults from $9.50, children 4-12 from $7, under 4 free in coach Valley Train.
Rt. 3, Franconia Notch • (603) 745-8391
View the free 15-minute introductory film at the visitors center and then follow the 2-mile walking trail through this natural gorge. The walk is moderately easy. The trail is mostly packed gravel with sections of boardwalk across the gorge. Sixty well-graded steps are interspersed along the path. You can take a shuttle bus for the first .5 miles of the walk to avoid the steepest downhill section. You'll find plenty of spots to rest along the way. The gorge extends 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The granite walls are 12 to 20 feet apart and rise up from 70 to 90 feet. You'll see rare mountain flowers, waterfalls and mountain vistas as you travel through this Ice Age wonder on the moderate walk. Season: April 28 to Nov. 4 (weather permitting). May, June, Sept. and Oct. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Prices: Adults $8, ages 6 to 12 $5, under 6 free with adult.
Hartmann Model Railway and Toy Museum
Town Hall Rd. at N.H. Rt. 16 and U.S. Rt. 302, Intervale • (603) 356-9922
If you're a model train buff, you're sure to love the collection assembled by Roger and Nelly Hartmann. The collection includes American favorites such as Lionel and American Flyers as well as models from Germany and Switzerland. Each of the 15 operating layouts is exquisitely detailed. One features fire brigade engines, while another depicts the train that ran through Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, in the 1950s. If you've traveled up Mount Washington on the Cog Railroad or taken a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad, you might be particularly vulnerable to the goodies in the Brass Caboose Hobby Shop. You'll find books and magazines about trains as well as an extensive selection of trains and accessories.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, year-round.
Prices: Adults $6, seniors $5, children $4
N.H. Rt. 16, Glen • (603) 383-9776
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Travel through time and visit 300 years of history beginning in 1634. This exhibition hall showcases all of New Hampshire's history under one roof. You will "sail" from England across the Atlantic Ocean, meet early settlers and hear a speech that was written by George Washington. You can visit the Amoskeag Mills on the Merrimack River and get a hint of autumn beauty on the simulated train ride through a reproduced Crawford Notch. Heritage-New Hampshire opened on July 1, 1976. (It is owned and operated by the Morrell family who also own and manage Story Land next door; see our next entry.) More than 80,000 people visit Heritage-New Hampshire every year. Outside a 16-foot-high by 120-foot-long mural depicts New Hampshire history through 1930. Inside are life-size re-creations of many of the mural subjects. A change from past years, visitors now travel through time with their own trail map (as opposed to group tours). Much of the exhibit is interactive, so you can talk with and question historical characters. You can also take part in events such as tapping a maple tree and delivering a land grant to a settler. Besides being a great place to learn more about our wonderful state, Heritage-New Hampshire is known to Insiders as one of the best rainy-day destinations. All the exhibits are indoors and completely wheelchair-accessible. Take note: No snack bar or restaurant is on the premises, but North Conway Village is just 10 minutes away.
Hours: May 26, 27 and 28. Daily operation begins June 15 through Columbus Day.
Prices: Adults $10, children 4-12 $4.50, under 4 free.
Main Street, Lincoln • (603) 745-2135
This 15 mile, 1 hour 20 minute round trip train ride brings guests along the picturesque Pemmigawasset River in restored vintage coaches.
Hours: Weekend departures from Memorial Day to mid-June at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Daily departures from late June to Labor Day at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.. Labor Day through fall foliage season, 11 a.m. and p.m.
Prices: Adults $8.50, children 3-11 $6.50, children under 3 free. Lunch $6.95.
N.H. Rt. 112, Kinsman Notch, North Woodstock • (603) 745-8031
Lost River Gorge is another New Hampshire glacial gift. The area's glacier activity formed this natural wonder thousands of years ago. A self-guided tour and walkway help you through the granite crevasses, caverns and waterfalls. The tour lasts about an hour, and the Lost River comes in and out of view along the way. A great place for botanists, the Lost River Gorge has more than 300 varieties of flowers, ferns and shrubs. It's a good idea to wear appropriate shoes and have a jacket handy for shady spots and cloudy days. There is a gift shop and snack bar and free parking.
Hours: May 12 to Oct. 21. May, June, Sept. and Oct., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., July and Aug. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weather permitting. Prices: Adults $8.50, children 6-12 $5, under six free.
Gorham Information Center, Main St., Gorham • (603) 466-3103
Take a two-hour tour through prime moose-sighting country in northern New Hampshire. The success rate for spotting a moose is 97 percent. They aren't hard to see since a typical adult moose weighs about 1,000 pounds and is about 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Moose like salt and are therefore attracted to moist, roadside areas in spring and summer. The salt in these areas was used to melt ice and snow on roads during the winter. The 24-passenger air-conditioned bus departs once a day from the information booth in Gorham, across from the Berlin City Bank. The bus leaves every evening (exact time depends on sunset) from late May until mid-October. The ride begins with a 30-minute video on the logging and papermaking history of the Berlin area. Reservations are a good idea. The cost of the tour is $10 for adults and $6 for children younger than 13.
Mount Washington Auto Road
N.H. Rt. 16, Pinkham Notch, Gorham • (603) 466-3988
You don't have to spend much time in New Hampshire to notice the many cars with bumper stickers proclaiming "This car climbed Mount Washington." First opened in 1861, this 8-mile road to the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington is a favorite of residents and visitors alike. You can drive your own car or relax (and save automobile wear and tear) with a guided tour in a modern van. If you choose to drive yourself, pick up a free audio cassette with information and stories about the history, geography, climate and wildlife of the area. If you plan on driving your own car, make sure the cooling system and brakes are in good shape. Allow between 35 and 45 minutes for each leg of the trip as the maximum speed (in both directions) is 20 miles per hour. If you take the guided tour it's 30 minutes each way. The original transportation to the summit on this road was horse-drawn carriages. Then, like today, one could choose between riding in a special carriage behind a professional team or trying one's luck with your own team and wagon. Once on top, take your time and enjoy the views. You are now in the 52-acre Mount Washington State Park. The visitors center includes a post office, snack bar and gift shop. Hours: Mid-May to late October, weather permitting.
Prices: $16 per car plus $6 per adult ($4 children 5-12). Guided tour is $22, seniors $20 and children 5-12 $10. Children under 5-free.
Mount Washington Cog Railway
U.S. Rt. 302, Bretton Woods • (603) 278-5404, (800) 922-8825
Go back in time on the world's first mountain-climbing railway. You'll travel 6,288 feet to the top of the highest summit in the Northeast on a coal-fired steam train. The three-hour round-trip ride begins at Marshfield Base Station and travels 2.75 miles up Mount Washington. It's sometimes called "The Railway to the Moon." The grade gets as extreme as 37 percent on the Jacob's Ladder trestle, making it one of the steepest tracks in the world. The train makes the trip rain or shine from early May to late October. Old Peppersass was the first train to reach the summit on July 3, 1869. The inspiration for the story of "The Little Engine that Could," this original locomotive is on display at the Marshfield Base Station. A museum, gift shop and restaurant are also in the base station. This is one of the most popular attractions in New England so it's smart to make reservations at least a week in advance. This is especially true if you plan on being here after July 4.
Season: Late April through October.
Prices: $44 roundtrip, special children's fares available, senior discount.
Old Man of the Mountain
Franconia Notch Pkwy. (U.S. Rt. 3), Franconia Notch
This granite "profile" is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the state. The Old Man's head measures 40 feet from chin to forehead and is made up of five ledges. Remember, this is no man-made monument like Mount Rushmore. Nature carved this profile thousands of years ago. The natural sculpture is 1,200 feet above Echo Lake. After your visit, you may notice that the New Hampshire highway signs all are marked by this distinctive face.You will see signs for viewing areas as you drive along the parkway.
I 93 Exit 26, Route 25, Plymouth • (800) 273-1886 • (603) 536-1888
Nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Polar Caves are a spectacular place to experience Mother Nature's handiwork. The caves offer spectacular views and a glacially formed network of caves. These caves, unlike the typical caves most people think of, were not formed by water but by glaciers over 50,000 years ago. Hours: The caves are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from May 5 through Oct. 21 (weather permitting). Prices: Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for children 6 to 12 and free for children under 6. Group rates are available.
The Remick Museum & Farm
58 Cleveland Hill Road, P.O. Box 250
Tamworth, New Hamshire 03886
The Remick Museum offers customized educational programs and workshops for any size group. It will tailor programs to the specific needs of your school group, club or organization.
Activities available include:
Historic Cooking & Preserving • Flax Processing • Candle Making • Historic Lighting • Butter Making • Corn Crafts • Cheese Making • Wool Carding & Spinning • School Days - books, copybook making, writing equipment, etc. • Historic Toys & Games • Web of Life Program • Ox Cart Man Program • Laundry Landscape Program • Food Pyramid Program • Soap Making
For more information or to schedule a program, call or email the museum.
U.S. Rt. 2, Jefferson • (603) 586-4445
Experience Christmas from Father's Day to Columbus Day at Santa's Village. Rides for kids of all ages include the Yule Log Flume and the Skyway Sleigh. The admission price includes all the rides you want as well as entry to shows such as "Elfis" and "Jingle Jamboree," where everyone sings Christmas carols. And, of course, the village has several gift shops and dining choices to keep everyone happy.
Hours: Open Saturday and Sunday May 26-June 10 and Sept. 8-Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. Open daily June 16-Sept. 3 at 9:30 a.m. Open at Christmastime Nov. 23, 24, Dec. 1, 8, 15 noon to 8 p.m.
Prices: $17, under four free. Seniors and groups of 35 are $15 per person.
Six Gun City
U.S. Rt. 2, Jefferson • (603) 586-4592
You might not think "Wild West" when you think New Hampshire, but you will after a visit to Six Gun City. Have a look at the different wagons the pioneers used to travel West, including an authentic Concord Coach from 1846. Then mosey on over to the ranch and take a look at the miniature burros. Watch out for bank robbers and don't be surprised if the kids are deputized. Thoroughly modern kids will enjoy the water slides and minigolf. The price of admission includes unlimited rides.
Hours: May 26-June 10 weekends only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; June 16-Sept. 3 daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Prices: $15.45, under 4 free, over 65 $10.95.
N.H. Rt. 16, Glen • (603) 383-4186
Forget about action figures. Fairy tales have come to life here for more than 40 years! You and your kids will meet Cinderella, Heidi's grandfather and the old woman who lives in a shoe. There are stories from all over — even outer space. Seventeen rides, a snack bar and a picnic area are on the premises. The admission price includes unlimited rides and parking. As you plan your vacation, it's good to know that Story Land is next door to Heritage-New Hampshire.
Hours: May 26, 27, 28, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. Daily operation begins June 15 and runs through Labor Day. Sept. 8 to Oct. 8, weekends only.
Prices: $18. Ages 1-3 are free with adult.
Whale's Tale Water Park
Exit 33 off I-93, U.S. Rt. 3, Lincoln • (603) 745-8810
For the water lovers in your group, Whale's Tale Water Park has a 17,500 square foot pool with eight different waves. Slides, pools, rivers and a special pool for the very young provide fun for everyone. Lifeguards are always on duty. Free tubes are part of the package, and you can rent life vests for a reasonable fee.
Hours: Open early June through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. Call ahead.
Prices: $20 all day includes tubes. Under 3 and over 65 are free.
Weather Discovery Center
PO Box 2310, North Conway, NH 03860
We welcome group tours to the Weather Discovery Center. We do ask that groups of 10 or more contact us in advance (at least one week is requested) to make arrangements and to schedule your visit. With sufficient notice, we can depart from our standard tour to provide a visit and associated activities which can focus on special topics of particular interest to you and your group regarding weather and Mount Washington. Typical time for a visit to the Weather Discovery Center is up to one hour, though special activities can add to the normal time. Minimum recommended age would be about 5. Maximum group size would be about 30 at one time, though smaller group sizes allow more specialized attention from our staff.
For extra significance, a visit to the Weather Discovery Center can be joined with with a visit by your group to the summit of Mount Washington, the Observatory's summit weather station, and our Mount Washington Museum (from late May to mid-October, weather permitting).
Admission to the Weather Discovery Center is $2 per adult (age 13 and older), $1 per child (age 6-12) with children under 6 free.