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Let’s forget for a moment that it’s been the coldest winter in recent memory. Let’s also ignore the weatherman, who has that awful “s” word again in the forecast for next week. Instead, let’s concentrate on today … sunny, blue skies, and above freezing!! It was a day just made to enjoy, and after all the below-zero weather we’ve had to endure as recently as, well, yesterday, I’m guessing most of New Hampshire ventured out somewhere today. It has been a long time coming.

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Our chosen destination on this late winter day was North Conway. An hour north from where I live, it lies in the Mount Washington Valley and is prime ski territory. In fact, it has been called “the birthplace of American skiing” and the large number of ski areas and condos here might back up that claim. The out-of-state license plates in town far outnumbered the locals. We had lunch, went next door to the vintage five-and-ten store, and then crossed the street and visited what I consider the most fascinating part of this town … the train station.

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In 1872 the Portsmouth, Great Falls & Conway Railroad extended their service to North Conway. The beautiful Second Empire depot was built here in 1874 to meet the demand, and it continued into the next century. In 1932 “snow trains” began carrying skiers north, a sport that grew with the development of ski lifts.

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With the rise of the automobile, the train declined. The railroad, then part of Boston & Maine, abandoned passenger service to the area in 1961, and freight service in 1972. From there, though, the Conway Scenic Railroad was born and continues today, and the station is listed on the National Register.

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Interestingly enough, my horoscope this morning read “You need to spend more time with people today — so open your door, head out somewhere public or just trek on down to the train station and mingle.”  Train station, I thought? What train station?

I could have spent much more time here, but the breeze was cold and we had other things to do. So we hopped in the car, turned up the heater, and ventured a little further north into the village of Jackson, where there are some lovely covered bridges, and then through Intervale – over the bumpy frost-heave-y roads with the sun in our eyes and a renewed thirst for exploration. Always paying attention to road names in New England, my favorite today was “Yellow Brick Road.”

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“Have you ever been down the West Side Road?” my friend asked. I didn’t think so, so we found it. It winds along through the valley, along the Saco River and past Echo Lake State Park, both of which were under a thick cover of snow. We came across a “bear crossing” sign, enormous old farms, and a beautiful inn called “The Farm by the River.” Honestly, if I was looking for a place to stay in New Hampshire, this would be high on my list.

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We were taken at first by the beauty of the house and outbuildings, then we noticed that there were horses and sleighs in the driveway – so we made a quick left with the car. This is a beautiful old (1786) home that rambles on back toward the barn and stables, with fields all around and the mountains in the distance. At first I thought they were hitching up the horses, but apparently they had just finished a ride and were putting things away. Even so, we lingered for awhile and took photos; no one seemed to mind.

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We wound up our little day-trip by heading down a favorite backroad toward home. This road meanders past Pea Porridge Pond, our favorite blueberry-picking spot, the beautiful white church in Eaton, a ski area where Wolfeboro grade-schoolers come to learn the sport, and the patriotically named town of Freedom. Not bad for a warm (it’s all relative!), sloppy, muddy, icy, blindingly blazingly beautiful March day in New Hampshire.

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Conway Scenic Railroad:

The Farm by the River:


<div style=’text-align:center;font-size:11px;font-family:arial;font-weight:normal;margin:10px;padding:0;line-height:normal’><a href=’; style=’border:none’><img src=’; style=’width:102px;height:20px;border:none;margin:0;padding:0′><br>Center Conway on Dwellable</a></div>



10 responses to “Day-tripping

  1. P, You had me with the initial pix of the covered bridge. I’ve heard so much over the years of North Conway, but have never been there. Someday!
    We woke to 14″ of heavy white stuff today (in CO). Hope to hit the slopes on Monday! Thanks …..the photos are great (as usual). D&A

  2. Reblogged this on Writing Out Loud and commented:
    Great pictures, New England travel ideas

  3. Paige, I really enjoyed seeing your photos of home, since I’m vacationing in warm sunny Florida right now. When we left there was about 4′ of that white stuff in the yard in Madison, just south of Conway. You’ll need to make the trip again next July for Friends of Madison Library historic Barn Tour.

    • Susan, I fully intend to be part of the Barn Tour in July … and I’m bringing a friend! I love the Madison area and am intrigued by the history; I’ve taken drives over that way just because. Can’t wait to see e.e. cummings barn! Oh, and I’m jealous that you’re in Florida – you know there is another storm here for Wednesday, right? Smart move!

  4. Guess What? In the Mountain Ear, Larry, the restaurant owner in Jackson, where we stopped and took photos of the barn, was quoted about comfort food. Additionally the sugar shack we drove by was also featured. I will save it for you. The post sums up the winter season ending and the beginning of Mud Season here in NH.

  5. Too bad you weren’t able to take a ride on that beautiful sleigh! I love the picture of the train station reflected in the water, and the final pic of the church steeple at an angle. Heck, I love all the pictures as usual, but those were my particular favorites this time. I guess we need to stop complaining about all the rain we’ve had….at least it’s in the 40s and 50s lately around here. Not nearly as pretty as where you are, though.

  6. Thank you for taking me on a trip thru’ such beautiful countryside and those lovely buildings so different from anything to be seen here! Even the ‘white stuff’ seems oh so romantic . . . of course the coldest it usually gets here is -2 C 🙂 !

  7. WOW ! You have captured simple beauty !

  8. vintagefrenchchic

    Great shots! I love all the color you have captured in these photos–especially given your monochromatic background. : )

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