NH offers unique seasons and activity options
Visitors to Mt. Washington Valley often pray for a rainy day. That way they can do guilt-free shopping and not be thinking that they should be out climbing a mountain. Actually the shopping is so good here that most people don’t mind taking off a half day or even a full day from their athletic adventures to scour the many stores located within the area.
Why’s the shopping so great? It’s tax free–yippee–that’s an excellent incentive to load up on necessities as well as fashion frivolities. From name-brand outlets to boutiques of charm, there’s plenty for everyone in and around the valley. Some of the best malls and discount stores are located in North Conway. Check out Settlers Green, Red Barn Shopping Center and White Mountain Outlet Stores. At Settlers Green Outlet Village, you’ll find Stonewall Kitchen, makers of specialty food items. It’s a wonderful place to stock up on Christmas gifts.
For a more quaint shopping experience, go to Jackson Village. You’ll find a plethora of gift items at Flossie’s General Store & Gift Emporium, J-Town Deli & General Store and White Mountain Puzzles, to name a few. There’s also quite a bit of art for sale. Jackson has a history of featuring artists and their artwork. By the mid-1800s, artists discovered Jackson and began arriving there to capture the natural beauty of the area. Visitors followed because isn’t it true that artists always establish the coolest colonies, areas that then become highly desirable to others? First farmers took in the artists, then boarding houses were established and then hotels were built.
The Christmas Farm Inn & Spa embodies the farming and lodging history of the area. (First it was a farm, then cottages were added and then eventually the hotel was constructed.) Believed to have been built in 1778 in a traditional Cape Cod salt box style, the main section of the front portion of the main building is the most historic part of the inn. Are you wondering about the origin of the name? At one point, a father gifted the farm to his daughter on Christmas Day. She named the property Christmas Farm. She wanted to make it into a working farm; that didn’t work out, so it was eventually sold and renamed the Christmas Farm Inn.
Back in Conway, there’s more shopping and dining to enjoy. Get lost for a while at The Local Bookie, a used bookstore that houses over 50,000 titles. Love those independent booksellers! Pick up a hiking book there and/or inform yourself about the region nearby at the Saco Ranger Station National Forest Information center. You’ll definitely want to be armed with some good maps before you set out into the White Mountain National Forest. If you want to play it safe and stay in the comfort of your car, pick up the Kancamagus Highway in Conway and embark upon a three-hour drive through the forest; it’s considered to be one of the most scenic in the United States. Just imagine it in the fall.
For more sightseeing within this beautiful New England state, book a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad. It runs most of the year. These historic trains take you into the heart of this bucolic countryside and these rugged mountains on a variety of excursions. And if you don’t have time for a train ride, at least try to stop by their lovely train station in North Conway Village. It has been a landmark since it opened during the latter part of the nineteenth century. It graciously welcomed visitors to the area then as it does today.
The mountain air–whether you’re recreating indoors (shopping!) or out–makes you very hungry. Fortunately many different types of restaurants, eateries and brew pubs have opened within the Mt. Washington Valley as the tourism grew. Whether it be Indian, Mexican, Italian, Thai or good ‘ole American–there’s a cuisine for every taste and budget. There are also lots of great delis where you can grab sandwiches to take on your outside adventure. Doesn’t everything taste better in the great outdoors? That’s especially the case in New Hampshire.