mwv insider Blog

Three Ways to Vacation Like a Local This Summer!


We get it; when you visit an area you want to immerse yourself in the local community.

Finding authentic restaurants, meeting local characters, shopping in stores that locals love, and spending time at their favorite river spots and on their favorite trails can make it feel as though you're a local too!

We want you to feel like Mt. Washington Valley is your home too - the more it becomes a part of you, the more invested you'll become in our community. We want you to feel a sense of pride when you visit the area, support its locals and care for its natural resources. We've outlined three ways you can easily get closer to the culture of the Mt. Washington Valley, become an insider, and find your own special gems in the White Mountains.

Before you do anything though, sign the MWV Pledge! This ten-point responsibility code on how to safely and responsibly recreate in the White Mountains helps us spread the word on how protect them! Sign your name and join the others who pledge to care for this forest to ensure it sticks around for years to come!

For more information on planning your Mt. Washington Valley vacation, sign up for our monthly newsletter!

woman serving a drink to a man and woman fryeburg maine
Eat at a Valley Original restaurant when looking for dining in North Conway, NH and beyond.
302 Smokehouse is one of over twenty Valley Original restaurants, all of which are locally owned, and offer a one-of-a-kind experience.

1)  Eat at a Valley Original Restaurant!

Few things feels more like being an outsider than frantically scrolling Google for a “restaurant near me” while on vacation. Typically a search like this is done twenty minutes past the hunger mark, making the need for a meal far more dyer. Situations like this have a way of forcing one to grab a meal at establishments that lack local flavor and atmosphere.  

We have the secret to finding a great meal, where you can pull a seat up at the bar and bump elbows with a local guide, grab coffee while waiting in line with a business owner, and enjoy a meal served by a long-time resident.

When you’re vacationing in North Conway, NH and looking for dining, start your search with The Valley Originals. Marked by a yellow flag hanging outside of each Valley Original, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see one. A Valley Originals restaurant is one that is locally owned and operated and focuses on what the true experience of local eatery should be like.

A group of over twenty restaurants this organization reps restaurants from every type of cuisine; from causal pub to smokehouses to farm to table fine dining, to Indian and Irish, to bagels and breakfast, and beyond. You’ll find a Valley Original restaurant in throughout the twenty-plus towns that make up Mt. Washington Valley.

live concert at night north conway
Arts Jubilee is one of many concert series that take place in Mt. Washington Valley. Our event calendar is full of ways to keep yourself entertained while on vacation!

2) Plan your vacation around an event…or two!

Jump into one of the many events in North Conway, NH and beyond that are hosted by local businesses and non-profits. Midweek or weekend, it doesn’t matter, there is some type of entertainment taking place.

From live music, to garden concerts, to lecture series and nature hikes, to corn hole tournaments, comedy shows, and more; you can fill your every day of your vacation with a different event.

Take a look at a live music round-up that overviews different venues throughout Mt. Washington Valley that regularly host live music.

A few that come to mind include the...
Lynda Cohen Performing Arts Series - a free concert series taking place at the AMC Highland Center in Bretton Woods
Theater in the Wood which hosts a Sunset Concert Series every Friday at 7:30pm in its amphitheater.
Stone Mountain Arts Center, in Brownfield, Maine hosts nationally known acts in a post and beam barn, and creates a setting that makes you feel as though you’re on of the neighbors just stopping by for a show.
Denmark Arts Center has a jam-packed line-up of performers from dancers to comedians to singers, and brings in talent from all over New England.

Another event coming up that is sure to bring in the locals in droves is Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s “Beyond the Valley Adventure Fest: Stories from Caves, Climbs and Crevasses,” taking place in September. It’s a two-day series that features speakers who have taken on extreme adventure all over the world, and want to share their experiences with you over some food and a beer.

It doesn't get more local than local beer and local non-profits! The upcoming Jockey Cap IPA release party hosted by Saco River Brewing and Upper Saco Valley Land Trust celebrates the non-profit's newest land acquisition, Jockey Cap in Fryeburg, Maine. In taking over this land, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust promises maintain it, keeping the Jockey Cap trail open to all. Located right across the street from the trail, Saco River Brewing has been diligently working on an IPA in Jockey Cap's honor. It will be debuting this IPA at a release party on September 16th, starting at 4:00pm. Visitors are welcome to join Upper Saco Valley Land Trust for a guided hike up Jockey Cap prior to the release party.

A few other note-worthy events that take place throughout the year include the Mt. Washington Backcountry Ski Festival, Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest, as well as the Thompson House Eatery farm dinner, Jen's Friends Climb Against Cancer, and many more. Check out our events calendar to stay-up-to date for events taking place throughout the year!

man tying a rope fryeburg maine
Hire a guide for an outdoor adventure and learn from community members who share their insider tips with you! See a list of guides, here.

3) Hire A Guide!

With over 700,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest to play in, it can be difficult to find the right place to go. What is the best way take advantage of all the activities it has to offer from rock and ice climbing, to hiking, to backcountry skiing, and more? We suggest hiring a guide!

Hiring a guide in Mt. Washington Valley ensures a fun, and safe trip, and offers opportunities to explore parts of the White Mountain National Forest you may not have known existed. Not only will you be supporting the Valley's local economy, which is substantially made up of those dedicated to outdoor recreation, but you'll also be ensuring a successful trip through safety, and technical training. Click the link for a list of guiding outfitters.

Spread across each acre of the White Mountain National Forest are hidden gems in the form of trails, rivers and lakes that you can play in. You just need the right person to show you where, and how. Get to know individual guides through their profiles, and learn more about the programs they offer, here. We outline different guides throughout valley at our Guided Adventure page, which also provides business listings to various outfitters throughout the Mt. Washington Valley.

Depending on what type of adventure you're looking for, there's a guide to meet your needs. Consider a nature retreat like the "Wander the Whites and Write;" a program led by owner and guide, Lisa Holcomb, that focuses on spending time in nature and allowing it to fuel your creative outlet as a writer.

Guide Paul McCoy of International Mountain Climbing School runs youth rock climbing clinics in the summer, which is a great way to instill a sense of love and respect for the outdoors in young children and teens, and in the winter leads backcountry skiing excursions and avalanche training in the Presidential Mountains.

Nate Harvey at Great Glen Trails leads guided wildlife kayaking tours, which offers a the potential of seeing moose, native birds, and bears off the beaten path.

Mike Cherim of Redline Guiding focuses primarily on hiking, and has courses set-up that focus on mountaineering skills and wilderness safety, as well as services that either get you out on your first hike, or help you finish a worth goal like hiking all 4,000 footers in the White Mountains.

Hiring a guide is a great way to not only gain insights into technique, but also the lifestyle of living and working in the Mt. Washington Valley. By way of taking a one-hour, half-day or whole-day clinic with a guide you'll get to know them, and learn more about their favorite places to recreate, grab a beer after they get off the trail, where they buy their gear, and where they go for live entertainment.

For complete trip planning resources and information, explore this site,, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep.  To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to

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