Start your day on a trail in Evan’s Notch - home to a portion of the 800,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, and end your day in the water at the locally known swimming hole of Weston’s Beach! In between grab a beer, enjoy a meal, and take in the calmer pace of this small town, located right outside North Conway, NH.
You can still enjoy the perks of a North Conway, NH vacation - you’re only minutes from tax-free and outlet shopping, and a mere twelve miles from family attractions such as Conway Scenic Railroad or Cranmore Mountain Resort - when you stay in Fryeburg, Maine.
Dare we say Fryeburg, Maine is one of Mt. Washington Valley’s best kept secrets? Each town in this region that encompasses over twenty villages brings its own flavor to all who visit it, but we love Fryeburg for its cozy and quintessential New England vibe. Marked with brick buildings and historic farm-houses, Fryeburg feels like you’re staying in a warm, and welcoming neighborhood, because you literally are!
So, check-in, and check-out Fryeburg. Maine. Let its trails, restaurants, brewery, farm, beach, and its people greet you on your vacation in Mt. Washington Valley! Here’s a sample of our favorite way to spend a day in Fryeburg, Maine!
Choose your own adventure in Fryeburg, Maine. Start by planning a hike in Evan’s Notch, or enjoy a leisurely lunch at 302 West Smokehouse and Tavern!
If you decide on lunch at 302 West first, you must take a seat on its deck if offered the choice. This amazing view pairs well with the homemade barbecue cooked up by its chefs who are serving up some of the best pulled pork, slow-cooked ribs, and brisket in New England, all made with its homemade barbecue sauce.
302 West is also part of a band of restaurants that make up The Valley Originals. It’s a group of locally owned and operated restaurants that have joined together to share their thoughts and ideas on what the true experience of local eatery should be like. Each restaurant is independently owned, and is unique in its ambiance, recipes, and service. Food is prepared fresh daily, often from local products, and the owner is on the premises to respond to your dining needs and wishes. When you support a Valley Original restaurant, you also help to support local organizations, charities, and activities, as The Valley Originals has donated over $300,000.00 to the Mt. Washington Valley as part of its mission to support each restaurant’s community.
If a hike in Evans Notch is your first choice, you made a good one! Evans Notch holds a trove of natural treasures. Part of the White Mountain National Forest, you’ll find hundreds of hiking trails that range from short walks to challenging climbs. Regardless of which trail you choose a beautiful view is waiting for you. (Including some that haven’t been hash-tagged to death online.)
A tried-and-true trail in Evans Notch is the Baldface Trail. This trail is not for beginner hikers - some conditioning and outdoor know-how is required. It’s a 9.5 mile loop trail that gains 3,454 feet in elevation. Be prepared for a shift in weather from the start of the trail to the summit, and pack appropriate gear. This means that while you might start out in shorts and a t-shirt at the bottom, you might need a rain coat and wool pull-over at the top. Every day sneakers aren’t up to the challenge on this hike, so hiking shoes are needed.
If you can check those essentials off your list, then start your hike, and enjoy the view that awaits. Baldface Trail is located 25-minutes outside of Fryeburg Village, in Chatham, NH. It’s trail parking lot is easily picked up on your phone’s GPS.
Located just a few minutes outside of Fryeburg's town center, Saco River Brewing Co. is a local brewery that features a fleet of flagship and seasonal brews. If you ask head brewer, Mason Irish, what his favorite beer is, he’ll tell you it’s the one they’re working on next. The creative process is a huge part of what Irish and his team love about brewing beer, and they love sharing it with their customers.
Saco River Brewing Co. regularly features live music and food trucks, and offers indoor and outdoor seating. (The brewery is not dog-friendly, so your pooch does have to sit this one out.)
Next stop is Weston’s Beach, located a few miles from the brewery, and is a great place to relax along the Saco River. Catch paddlers and tubers as they make their way down the river or enjoy a dip or a walk along the beach during your visit to Fryeburg, Maine. (May through September, dogs are prohibited on the beach between the hours of 10am and 5pm. Dogs must also be leashed when on the beach. )
Grab a picnic from Weston’s Farm, a stop you can make right before turning into the beach parking lot. Put together a lunch made of fresh fruit and veggies, locally made cheeses, chips, a few homemade cookies, and a cold beverage.
Weston’s offers a wide selection of locally grown vegetables, and locally sourced meats and cheeses. It makes for a great option to create a lunch on the go, whether you’re fueling up for your hike in Evan’s Notch, or spending a day at the beach. You can also stock up on gifts with Weston’s gift shop that sells Maine made and influenced books, kitchen wear, stationary, and more.
So far during your stay in Fryeburg, Maine, you’ve hiked, you’ve enjoyed local beer, enjoyed lunch, taken a walk - and maybe even a dip in the Saco River at Weston’s Beach. It’s time to enjoy dinner. And enjoy you will, because you’re eating at (and staying at) The Oxford House Inn.
A four room inn, The Oxford House Inn also boasts a causal fine dining restaurant and pub. Remember that view we were telling you about at 302 West? You can see it from The Oxford House’s dining room. Request a table in the back, and you can enjoy a menu created by a Head Chef, co-owner, and Culinary Institute of America graduate Jonathan Spak.
You’ll most likely be welcomed and seated by the inn’s other owner, Natalie Spak. She and her husband and Head Chef, Jonathan have created a true experience when you eat at The Oxford House Inn. You’ll enjoy dishes that reflect Chef Jonathan’s culinary style, which is described as “contemporary American, with influences and techniques from Asia, the Southwestern United States and France.” The Oxford House Inn is also a member of The Valley Originals, and joins 302 West, and twenty other restaurants in providing an authentically local experience when it comes to dining in the Mt. Washington Valley.
A few of our favorites off the menu include the Hoisin Braised Pulled Duck with Scallion Pancakes, the Local Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Burrata, or the Pan Roasted Chicken with Bacon Lardons, Garlicky Green Beans and Mustard Seed Vinaigrette. Of course, Chef Jonathan sources his meats, cheeses and vegetables as locally as he can - remember he’s just down the road from Weston’s Farm - so his menu is constantly changing to reflect the season, and his whim.
You also have the option of eating in Jonathan’s Pub - a speakeasy-esque bar and restaurant in the basement of the inn. Its walls are made of granite, and deep wood accents make up the bar, tables and chairs. In the winter a fireplace crackles in the corner, and featured art from local artists rotates throughout the restaurant. You can order off both the pub menu and the fine dining menu in either dining area. It’s hard to choose which we love more; the intimate setting of Jonathan’s Pub or the bright dining room with a wall of windows to let you take in the view. You’ll have to visit more than once to make a comparison. The Oxford House also hosts Pint and a Pound and Taco Tuesdays in the fall, which both highlight mussels, beer, and tacos with different flavors and pairings.
We hope to see you in Fryeburg, Maine soon! For complete trip planning resources and information, explore this site, visitmwv.com, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep.