WHY GO: The 800,000-acre White Mountain Region of New Hampshire has been drawing tourists since our country’s independence. Though not quite tamed, man has left his mark on these stony hills, making money by highlighting Mother Nature’s finest features. And selling fudge. In fact, the Cog Railway on Mount Washington was the first transportation system built specifically for tourists in 1869. Though not quite “Offbeat” or unsung, many attractions here are in private hands, and have been for generations – a rarity in the increasingly corporate world of tourism.
Drive the “Notches” (called “gaps” or “passes” elsewhere) through the mountains, and pull over for spectacular hikes, kitschy but worthwhile attractions, great food with breathtaking vistas, and lodging for every taste and pocketbook. Check out Bath, Littleton, Tamworth and other Classic New England church-spire towns.
There is so much packed into these 800,000 acres, The Getaway Mavens have divided the White Mountain Region into Eastern, Western and Northern White Mountains. Combine all three for a weeklong visit or snag a few days in one or two.
If you intend to visit most of these places, reserve a White Mountains Attraction Pass, which will get you and a friend into most attractions, including the Cog Railway and Santa’s Village, for $379 (a $1100 value).
EASTERN WHITE MOUNTAINS NH: Includes N. Conway, Diana’s Bath, Jackson, Tamworth and Kangamagus Highway.
WESTERN WHITE MOUNTAINS NH: Includes Clark’s Trading Post, Polar Caves, Lost River Gorge, Bath NH.
NORTHERN WHITE MOUNTAINS NH: Includes Mount Washington, Cog Railway, Santa’s Village, Franconia and Pinkham Notches, and Littleton NH.