mwv insider Blog

A Week of Winter Fun


It's impossible to list every aspect of Mt. Washington Valley that makes it so great, and its definitely impossible to experience all it has to offer in just one visit!

Below is a seven-day itinerary with ideas on how to spend each day of your vacation in Mt. Washington Valley. Follow it exactly or let it be inspiration for your trip. Whatever you don't get to do on this visit, just bookmark it for your next one! Because you'll definitely want to come back again!

Many lodging properties offer amazing packages this holiday season by partnering with local ski resorts, snowmobile purveyors, restaurants, and shops. Find a lodging property you love, and inquire about any specials they may have.

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!

Ski schools at each ski resort in Mt. Washington valley will have you confident and ready to take on trails after a private or group lesson!

Day One: Take a ski lesson!

Kick your vacation off with your best ski forward, and take a ski lesson! Regardless of whether you're a seasoned skier or rider, or totally new to the trails, there is always something to learn on the slopes. Mt. Washington Valley's alpine and nordic ski resorts have excellent ski schools and expert teachers - that offer a warm, welcoming, and supportive environment in which to learn. Come with questions, and let your teacher customize your lesson to your needs.

Most ski lessons are offered in individual or group format, and can include rental equipment and a lift ticket. Reservations are required, and can be made through individual ski areas. Most lessons last 90-minutes, which gives you a great preview of the mountain's trail system, before you head out on your own.

Insider Tip: Start your day with a lesson, ski for the rest of the morning, and end it a hot spot for local skiers and riders - Shannon Door Restaurant and Pub! Located in Jackson, this restaurant serves traditional Irish comfort food, and some of the best pizza and wings! The Red Parka Pub, right down the road is another skier institution, and is a legendary steakhouse that also plays live music regularly.

Both restaurants are part of The Valley Originals restaurants, which is a band of locally owned restaurants in Mt. Washington Valley, that bring their own flair to your dining experience. When you see a yellow flag waving outside a restaurant, you'll know it's a Valley Original restaurant, and you're in the right spot!

Day Two: Compare Rides!

You can explore the valley in many ways, but we'd love to hear your feedback on whether you enjoy exploring it more from the seat of a dog sled or a snowmobile!

Whether it’s gliding through peaceful pine woods, on the state of New Hampshire’s hundreds of miles of trails (which go right through Mt Washington Valley) or across open meadows, Mt Washington Valley is one place with tons of terrain and trails for snowmobile adventures.  Mt Washington Valley is lucky to have many snowmobile outfitters, including Northern Extremes Snowmobile and Northeast ATV & Snowmobile. Both offer rentals, guided tours and sales of sleds and accessories.

These snowmobile trails are made possible through the partnerships with thousands of landowners who generously open up their land for the recreation of snowmobiling along with State Parks throughout New Hampshire. Countless club volunteers work tirelessly to construct and maintain this vast trail system, including the Mountain Meadow Riders, who groom and maintain the Corridor 19 trails surrounding Mt Washington Valley. Northern Extremes Snowmobiling and Northeast Snowmobile & ATV Rentals offer access to a network of trails that span hundreds of miles.

Consider taking on Northern Extreme's winter "Ride the Rails" snowmobile tour, that combines snowmobiling and a ride up the Mount Washington Cog Railway! Known as one of the most unique winter tours, you'll find yourself riding to the Cog, where you'll take a train ride 4,000 feet up Mount Washington, enjoy lite refreshments, and return to snowmobile to make your way through Jefferson Notch and over Cherry Mountain. Reservations are filling up quickly for both tour outfitters, so make sure you book in advance!

Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, based in Jefferson offers a variety of dogsled rides. Dog sledding tours here range from introductory experiences to interactive clinics, for ages two and up. While its dog sledding adventures vary in duration, they are all designed to be more than "just a ride". Guests are encouraged to be hands on to their comfort level and are given the opportunity to meet and greet sled dogs, and help their musher prepare the team for the trail! Check out their website for more information. Tours sell out quickly, so make sure you make a reservation in advance!

Insider Tip: Grab a "Kweenie" - a combination of a cake and croissant, with flavor that's on steroids - and a cup of coffee from Big Dave's Bagels in North Conway, before you head out on your snowmobiling or dog-sledding vacation. Bagels Plus is on the northern end of North Conway, and they're making bagels from scratch and turning them into delicious bagel sandwiches.

Both breakfast spots are delicious, and the only wrong choice is not stopping for a bagel or Kweenie at all! Click here for a list of breakfast spots in Mt. Washington Valley.

Book a spa appointment for yourself and your travel buddy. It's a great way to break up your week of skiing, outdoor adventure and winter fun!

Day Three: Rest, Relaxation, Shopping and Art!

Book a spa service after a couple of days on the trails!

Few things feel better than soaking your toes in a warm, bubble bath; or having a facial under a heated blanket. You'll find metropolitan services in a mountain setting at various salons throughout Mt. Washington Valley, where stylists, massage therapists, and estheticians offer high-end services to enjoy ranging from spa pedicures that include a massage, foot mask and steam towel treatment; to facials; massages; blow-outs; and more!

Before OR after your relaxing day in the spa, tack on a shopping trip and art tour!

Shop locally owned stores and boutiques for one-of-a-kind finds through the White Mountain Independents, and make a stop at name-brand outlet village,
Settlers Green.

While you're exploring Mt. Washington Valley shop by shop, pair it with an art tour through Mt. Washington Valley! This is a build-your-own-tour, where you can make your way From murals to galleries to glass blowing studios to jewelers and more, by following this itinerary.

Mt. Washington Valley is home to some extremely talented artists. and Settlers Green has also dedicated much of its outdoor space to recognizing them. It offers an art walk featuring close to twenty sculptures, large-scale canvases, and murals. Click the link for a list of works you can make your way to.

Insider Tip: On your way to Debony Salon for a Spa Pedicure, stop in and purchase freshly-pressed juice and homemade chocolate from The Local Grocer ! Sit back, and melt into the massaging chair! Or enjoy a massage with a local massage therapist and then enjoy brunch at 27 North, right in North Conway, NH. Click here for a list of spas and salons, and here, for a list of brunch and lunch spots in Mt. Washington Valley.

While you're shopping, grab a coffee from The Met Coffee House or Frontside Coffee Roasters, and pick up a pair of quality mittens from Spruce Hurricane to stay warm as you make your way from mural to mural and gallery to gallery, and shop to shop.

Day Four: Fun on and Off The Trails!

You don't have to find yourself on a ski slope to have a great time in Mt. Washington Valley!

You can bike this winter by renting Fat Bikes and hitting trail networks at Great Glen Trails or Whitaker Woods; you can take a ride 4,000 feet up Mount Washington on the Mount Washington Cog Railway; you can tube down a hill with lighted tubing hills at King Pine Ski Area, Cranmore Mountain Resort and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.

You also don't have to be outside to have in Mt. Washington either!

There are tons of ways to stay inside and have a blast. Come play 75 of the best courses around the world virtually at White Mountain Indoor Golf! Take a lessons from a teaching pro, book a private event for the whole family to enjoy a round of golf, or fit in a practice game while you're on vacation!

Play over 50 of the hottest and newest games at Ryan's Family Amusement. There are video games, skill games, arcade games, virtual reality, great prizes, and so much more. Located in Settlers Green, this is a great option for groups or a couple looking for something different to do.

Saco Valley Sports Center, in Fryeburg, Maine, offers multiple lanes of bowling and arcade games for the family. Pair it with a day spent in Fryeburg, where you can enjoy dinner at 302 West Smokehouse for some homemade BBQ, right after you make a stop at Saco River Brewing for a flight of handcrafted beer!

Insider Tip: Your vacation in North Conway, NH and its surrounding area is jam-packed. Sometimes it's nice to end the day with takeout, watching tv back in your hotel room in PJ's! The absolute best spot for take-out is Shalimar of India serving some of the best Indian food - while we can't verify that statement as fact, you can ask any local in Mt. Washington Valley, and when they hear the name "Shalimar," they'll tell you that the folks there are serving delicious food. Bangkok Cafe, is another option for flavorful Thai take-out.

Pairing a SnowCoach tour above tree-line up Mount Washington with a virtual presentation presented by the
Mount Washington Observatory is a great way to sneak some education into your vacation in a really fun way!

Day Five: Education!

There are many winter vacation destinations throughout New England that offer skiing, skating, sledding, and snow sports, but there are no other destinations that offer some of the unique educational and recreational programs you'll find in Mt. Washington Valley.

From renowned ice festivals to above tree line winter sightseeing, and snowshoeing with well known naturalists by moonlight you can spend weeks in Mt. Washington Valley seeking unique experiences, and find another each day here. We like to call it “Edutainment”, and we’ve perfected the art of education concealed inside of wonderful outdoor adventure!

Cultivate a love for skiing early on with your kids, both on and off the slopes! After a few days spent on the trails, make a stop at the eastern branch of the New England Ski Museum, right in North Conway Village. This museum is free and open to the public, and focuses on the collection, conservation, and exhibition of ski history for research, education and inspiration. The eastern branch of the New England Ski Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, seven days a week.

If the temps are too cold to play outside, bring everyone into the Living Shores Aquarium! Inside you'll see Coral and Great Barrier Reef and Tropical Reef exhibits, a New Hampshire Species exhibit, and Cold Water Trout exhibit, among many others. Experience touch pools, where you can get up-close-and-personal with many of the residents of the aquarium and interact with them. Daily talks, and live events are all a part of the experience, where a heavy focus on education is emphasized.

Living Shores Aquarium is a cashless entity, so make sure you come prepared. Offering an indoor escape into tropical temperatures you will discover otters, stingrays, sharks and more!

Take a Guided evening snowshoe tour at Great Glen Trails are led by an Appalachian Mountain Club Naturalist, you'll learn to navigate by using your senses, learn new animal sounds and calls, and test your  night vision. There is a minimum age of 8 years old to participate, and Great Glen Trails offer snowshoes for rent. The program lasts 90-minutes, and you'll finish the tour having learned something new. Once you're done, make the trek across the street to The Glen House Hotel for dinner, and piping hot cup of hot cocoa.

Purity Spring Resort also offers guided snowshoe tours with a Naturalist along the NH Audubon's Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary Loop - a loop on the resorts property. While snowshoeing at Purity Spring Resort, you'll enjoy an approximate 1-1.5 hour guided snowshoe tour. Equipment rentals are available, and must be made in advance. Click here to learn more, and see which dates are available for guided tours.

Mount Washington Observatory is one of the few institutes in the world that mans a year-round, full-time weather station atop a mountain. It's survived some of the world's worst weather, and regularly conducts experiments for gear companies and the US Military. You can participate in its virtual classroom with weekly, regularly scheduled programming, live via Zoom. Click this link to learn more and register.

Pair it with a ride up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The country's first man-made attraction; an 8-plus mile paved road leading up to Mount Washington will take you just above tree-line on New England's highest peak. You'll ride in a specially prepared, 12 passenger heated van, called The SnowCoach! You can experience all you learned from Mount Washington Observatory's virtual classroom from above tree line on Mount Washington!

Insider Tip: After a few days with the whole family, maybe it's time to focus on a date night?! Make a reservation at restaurants like the Notchland Inn or Stonehurst Manor - two historic inns that also host a high-end dining experience. Enjoy a martini lounge at Stonehurst Manor, or a menu that changes daily at Notchland Inn and serves a prix-fix four-course dinner at Notchland Inn! For a list of allfine dining establishments to elevate your date night in Mt. Washington Valley, click this link!

Each guiding outfitter in Mt. Washington Valley can help you customize a day of outdoor adventure this winter!

Day Six: Guided Adventure!

Hiring a guide is a great idea! Not only do you support the valley's local economy, but you'll also ensure a successful trip through safety and technical training. Another aspect of hiring a guide that always proves worth it is the local intel each guide shares with you. Each guide in the valley brings their own flair to each clinic or trip, and not only do they lead you on your chosen excursion, but they also share personal anecdotes on where you should go next!

Below are some ways to get started when it comes to your guided adventure in Mt. Washington Valley. For more ideas on winter guided adventure in Mt. Washington Valley, click here. For a list of the valley's guiding outfitters, click here!

Take a Backcountry Ski Course and give yourself to the mercy of elevation, and find yourself trekking up a mountain, and taking on untouched terrain on skis.

By hiring a guide for your backcountry skiing adventure you’ll learn tips and techniques that will make you a better hiker and skier; enjoy an easy process of renting the highest quality gear; ensure a safe ascent and descent; and your guide will share untapped gems in the form of trails and location that only a local knows.

Local outfitters such as International Mountain Climbing School, AMC Highland Center and Joe Dodge Lodge, and Northeast Mountaineering, Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School, among many others offer a varying array of backcountry skiing adventures.

When you take on backcountry skiing in the White Mountains with a guide, you’ll learn the importance and proper use of beacons, probes, and shovels. Backcountry skiing in New Hampshire’s mountains definitely comes with a level of responsibility and know-how that you’ll want to learn from an experienced guide.

Follow the experts and book a guided winter hike in the White Mountains.

The folks at Redline Guiding live for hiking, and make it a main focus of their offerings, which means they know a lot about their craft. You’ll find half and whole day hiking excursions that can be tailored to your needs. Gear isn’t the only thing that is custom fit at Redline Guiding! Based on what you’re looking for, the guide will work to customize a trail, and skills based learning experience that is custom fit. You can also take a mountaineering course that can be more technical and challenging, as it takes on summiting and traversing some of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers - including Mount Washington, known for having the world’s worst weather.

Ice climbing in North Conway, NH, and throughout the White Mountains is unparalleled.

The terrain found in this part of the East Coast is unmatched with much of its rugged qualities, and its ice climbing is some of the best, and most challenging found in the states. Just ask the guides at Eastern Mountain Sports, Northeast Mountaineering, and International Mountain Climbing School!

The guides at these outdoor outfitters are all out there getting after it, and can share their passion and expertise with you.

And who could be more passionate about ice climbing than the guides at International Mountain Climbing School?! This climbing school hosts the MWV Ice Fest in February, and has for the last 23 years. This event celebrates the culture of ice climbing with demos and guided climbs, speakers, live entertainment and more; putting you in the center of climbing culture for the weekend.

Insider Tip: You're going to need a lot of fuel after a day exploring the White Mountain National Forest and NH State Parks with local guides. We suggest filling up - and warming up by the hearth of Flatbread Company! A wood-fired pizza place using local and farm-fresh ingredients the flavors in each pie hit the mark, every time! Don't skip the homemade brownie for dessert, and add on a freshly squeezed maple lemonade that you can opt to pair with bourbon if the mood fits!

Day Seven: Tours, Tastings and Live Entertainment!

The valley is home to five breweries, two wineries and one distillery - all of which are fueled by the brewers, distillers, and wine-makers who are passionate about making the best beverage they can! Build your own tour, here!

We like to say that local flavor means a lot of things when you visit Mt. Washington Valley! You'll find it in the ingredients used at independently owned restaurants; at the farms growing the ingredients; within the culture of the area and the local people who make Mt. Washington Valley their home, and when it comes to the local craft beverage scene in the Mt. Washington Valley, you'll find it in the local breweries, distilleries, and wineries.

Enjoy each unique perspective on hand-crafted liquor, cider, wine, and beer at each of these locally owned businesses. Taste the difference between each beverage; feel the excitement from the local brewers, wine-makers-and distillers as they perfect their craft; spend time amongst locals who are enjoying a refreshing beverage after a day of hiking, biking, or skiing; and catch some entertainment in the form of live music, corn hole, or food trucks.

Live entertainment can be found at many of the breweries, as well as at local ski areas that offer an apres-ski scene. Click this link for a a rundown of apres-ski in North Conway, NH and beyond! Live entertainment is also being doled out regularly at theaters and music houses such as Friday Night Jazz nights at Majestic Theater, or regular national acts playing at Stone Mountain Arts Center!

Before you make your way to a show, combine a few stops at a local brewery and winery. You could start with...
1) Alpine Garden Winery, a true find, tucked away on the outskirts of Bartlett Village, where owner and wine-make, Ryan, believes that "Drinking should celebrate the agrarian culture of the area you're drinking it in."

2) Saco River Brewing, where there favorite pour is the one they're thinking of next! The brewers love the creative process of creating a new beer, and they spend years perfecting a recipe to share it with you!

3) Ledge Brewing Co., where you'll find a gathering place for the climbers; hikers; bikers; runners; ski instructors; and parents and grand-parents of those climbers, skiers, and hikers who call Mt. Washington Valley home. This brewery is focused on brewing beer that pairs well with an outdoor adventure.

4) Cathedral Ledge Distillery, where you can enjoy a dog-friendly tour and tasting in North Conway! Known for being NH's "Gin Distillery of the Year," and its only certified organic distillery, it also holds the record for having the tallest vodka column in NH. With 16 "Bubble Caps," this promises 16 points of distillation, making for the highest quality vodka.

5) Tuckerman Brewing Company, one of the "OG" craft breweries in the valley, started out twenty-five years ago! It credits much of its success to its consistency in product, where its brewing team hand measures and manipulates every variable of the brewing process to keep that "craft feel" in each of its 16 beers. You'll also find weekly live music, and a menu with beer pretzels, pizza, and salad, and more!

6) Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewing Co. is the proverbial family dinner table for Mt. Washington Valley..It's a local spot where friends, and friends of friends gather. Ask the staff why they love working there, and they'll say it's because it feels like family there. And that's what you'll feel like when you go there for a beer and a meal. Enjoy fourteen handcrafted beers on tap that pairs well with its BBQ forward menu that has a southwestern and Thai flair!

7) White Mountain Winery, a local wine-making shop that works to produce the finest wines to appeal to as many palates as possible. Their wines are made with 60% less sulfites and no added tannins which gives them a much smoother finish and more of the flavor of the grape itself. You'll also find their three rescue pups witing for you at the bar, where any tips left for the wine-makers and bartenders are donated to local shelters. (Only service dogs are allowed in their shop.)

8) Sea Dog Brewing, provides great times and great meals in an 18th century barn. has plenty of room for groups large and small! Sea Dog Brewing brews a full line of award-winning handcrafted ales that capture the spirit of our sea-faring history, in a traditional English style using only the highest quality ingredients. It also serves a full menu of handcrafted ales and creative pub fare with a flair.

See what we mean, when we say there is SO much to do in North Conway, and beyond! The Mt. Washington Valley is the perfect destination to plan a vacation that entertain every single person in your group. Fun on and off the trails, outside, and indoors, along with fantastic shopping and dining experiences give you the change to plan a trip that's spilling over with things to do!

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
There's SO much to do in North Conway, NH and beyond! As the hub of the Mt. Washington Valley region, North Conway is the gateway to twenty-plus towns, thirteen ski resorts, two scenic trains, a network of locally owned restaurants and shops, five breweries, New Hampshire's only organic vodka distillery, over 60 brand name outlet stores, a dogsled crew, and SO much more.

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