PLYMOUTH — As travelers started to discover the White Mountains nearly two centuries ago, the Willey family smelled a business opportunity. Indeed, the region’s tourism did soar after the Willeys opened an inn near Crawford Notch in 1825. Unfortunately, the travel boom came completely at their expense. After a massive landslide in 1826 buried the entire family and their hired hands as they fled the inn, which ironically was left untouched, morbid curiosity lured thousands to witness the aftermath of the Willey Slide.
Those who came to northern New Hampshire to gawk at nature’s savage power were instead seduced by what the painter Thomas Cole described as “an ocean of beauty and magnificence.” Ever since, vacationers have come to the White Mountains, and now the region has one more attraction to draw travelers.