Sometimes, it's hard to tell where Waterville Valley Resort ends and the untamed wilderness begins. Built in 1966, the 500-acre resort is a comfortable, civilized outpost in within the surrounding White Mountain Natural Forest. The resort calls to mind the rustic charms of a traditional New England mountain town, with clapboard buildings and green-gabled roofs peeking out from between the trees.
The resort sits at the foot of Mt. Tecumseh, a 4,000-foot peak that sports 50 trails and 220 acres of space for skiiers and snowboarders alike. Eleven lifts ferry guests up to each run, and snowmaking machines ensure complete coverage even when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. The resort also features four terrain parks for snowboarding, as well as a handful of on-mountain dining spots with stunning views. Its been voted #1 in NH for Kids-Activities, Off-Hill Activities, Terrain Parks, and Dining by SKI Magazine.
For nine years running, New England Brewfest has assembled a coterie of craft breweries to get more than 100 taps flowing with their unique creations. This year, the event includes 30 breweries, and each of them will treat every guest through the gates with complimentary samples of small-batch beverages and reasonably priced high-fives. Exhibitors range from Magic Hat and Peak Organic Brewing Company to Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Twisted Tea. You can also take in brewing demonstrations and learn about the creation of items such as beer-infused jelly.
Organizers require that guests present ID at the entrance, and recommend bringing a folding chair and comfortable dancing shoes. These items come in handy when absorbing the sweet rhythms of live music acts such as the Rustic Overtones and Air Traffic Controller.
Sculpted into tree-studded mountain slopes, Ragged Mountain Golf Club's 18-hole course plots a winding path over dramatic elevation changes. When played from the double black diamond tees—the club borrows skiing terminology in an homage to the winter activities hosted at the same site—club pros compare the layout to a U.S. Open course and advise only scratch golfers or those with remote-controlled golf balls to brave the tips. Along with tight tree lines and rolling terrain up and down the mountain, the course runs over streams that come into play on 14 holes. With onsite lodging and golf-and-stay packages, Ragged Mountain invites golfers to set aside a weekend amid the mountain air. In the winter, Ragged Mountain activates a high-speed, six-person chairlift, from which skiers, snowboarders, and snow-angel enthusiasts gain access to two mountains with 50 trails, including 11 glades and three terrain parks. Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Course rating of 74.9 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 149 from the farthest tees * Four tee options
Perched on I-93 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Exit 28 Ski & Snowboard Rentals fits slope-destined travelers with equipment. Skiers and snowboarders of all ages can pull off the highway to check out rental packages or peruse the equipment for sale, including gear by top brands such as Salomon, K2, and Armada. Once they’ve loaded rentals or new purchases into their cars, trucks, or street-legal snowcats, they can hop back on the highway and continue to the runs at Loon Mountain, Waterville Valley Resort, Cannon Mountain, and Bretton Woods.
A natural doorway to the past, Polar Caves gives families an underground adventure through a network of caves and passageways formed by a retreating glacier during an age when woolly mammoths still roamed the earth. Encompassing a stretch near Hawk's Cliff, the highlight of Polar Caves Park is the caves themselves, which wind underground through the rock, twisting and turning before reemerging at the surface. Self-educating explorers can guide themselves through the subterranean walkways, where escaped slaves, Prohibition-era rumrunners, and angry teenage saber-toothed tigers found safety. Previous occupants have left behind evidence of their hidden lives, including a wood-burning stove and cider press. Along the trails, both above ground and underground, educational opportunities abound, with signs proclaiming local history and distinguishing local flora and fauna. Diminutive Dr. Dolittles enjoy practicing their deer whispering at the petting zoo, and landlocked fans flock to the birds at the waterfowl display.
After seven years of guiding thrill seekers through winter snowmobiling tours, SledVentures' team of White Mountain wayfarers decided to parlay their spirit for adventure into a year-round enterprise, establishing DirtVentures ATV Rentals and swapping snow-covered runs for the rugged terrain of spring, summer, and fall. A typical tour begins with a crash course in vehicle operation and safety before cruising through the trails of the New Hampshire mountains, including an easy trail on old railroad bed alongside the river. Brief stops along the way allow amateur explorers to not only visit the area stores and treat themselves to ice cream, but to also take pictures of the burbling streams, mountainside panoramas, and tree-lined scenery that surrounds them at every turn. All riders must wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, and boots in order to operate DirtVentures' Brute Force 300 ATVs. Locations may vary throughout the year.