One of New England’s most popular summertime destinations, the Mount Washington Valley is a New Hampshire hotbed for families, shoppers, and hikers alike, crowding Route 16 with traffic from Conway to Glen, where the road diverges into Route 302 and the town of Bartlett. Just minutes north of North Conway Village, Bartlett is a four-season destination that boasts popular attractions such as Attitash Mountain Resort and Story Land, in addition to endless options for immersing yourself in the majestic surroundings of the White Mountain National Forest.
At the base of the resort’s Bear Peak area, the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel (104 Grand Summit Drive, 603-374-1900, www.attitash.com/grand-summit-hotel.html, from $169) is the largest hotel in the town, featuring both standard rooms and family suites. During the summer free shuttle service is provided to the main attractions about a half-mile away. The Bartlett Inn (1477 Route 302, 603-374-2353, www.bartlettinn.com, $99-$235) is a pet-friendly bed-and-breakfast whose owners pride themselves on their knowledge of the area, and are on hand to answer whatever hiking, canoeing, or mountain biking questions you might have. Budget-friendly travelers can find an inexpensive night at The Villager Motel (1126 Route 302, 603-374-2742, www.villagermotel.com, $59-$199), situated on the Saco River, where one might find families tubing to their rooms from upriver.
Few spots in Bartlett present a better way to start out the day than The Sunrise Shack (644 White Mountain Highway, Glen, 603-383-7169, www.facebook.com/TheSunriseShack, breakfast $5-$10), serving “creative comfort food with a funky mountain vibe.” Nor will it hit you in the wallet. For lunch, Cabin Fever Restaurant (1395 Main St., Route 302, 603-374-9104, www.cabinfeverrestaurant.com, $8.95-$26.95) has half-pound steak burgers (the “Forth Iron” boasts pizza sauce, cheese, and six slices of pepperoni, $10.95), sandwiches, and seafood dishes. Dinner at The White Mountain Cider Company (207 Route 302, 603-383-9061, www.ciderconh.com, entrees $22-$30) features a contemporary menu utilizing the area’s seasonal ingredients. Large families and groups will want to check out Joseph’s Spaghetti Shed (357 Route 302, Glen, 603-383-6680, www.josephsspaghettished.blogspot.com, $6.95-$14.95), with a host of Italian dish and pizza options to choose from at prices that are more than reasonable.
DURING THE DAY
Hiking abounds in Bartlett, but if you want to take time to see some of the attractions in the area, head to Arethusa Falls (Route 302, Hart’s Location), generally regarded as the highest waterfall drop in New England, and accessible via a moderately difficult, but mere 1½-mile path. Otherwise, there’s enough to fill your entire day at Attitash Mountain Resort (775 Route 302, 603-374-2600, www.attitash.com, $45 general admission, $20 children under 48 inches, includes unlimited use of attractions), where the skis are shed in the summertime for a mountain coaster, alpine slide, rock climbing wall, horseback riding, airbag jump, water slides, and more. Of course, there’s always the ultra-popular option of Story Land (850 Route 16, Glen, 603-383-4186, www.storylandnh.com, $29.99 ages 3 and up), the family-friendly amusement park with rides and attractions fit for all ages. Tip: Purchase your ticket after 3 p.m. and you’ll get a second day added to your transaction to be used on a future date during the same calendar year.
A favorite landing spot for apres ski enjoyment, Matty B’s Mountainside Cafe (1 River Run Road, 603-374-0044, www.matty-bs.com) is just across the street from Attitash, and is open daily during the summer for an evening cocktail or snack (serving food until 9 p.m.). For one of the more lively scenes in the immediate vicinity, the Wildcat Inn and Tavern (94 Main St., Jackson, 603-356-8700, www.wildcattavern.com) is a local favorite for both dining and its comfortable pub, which features an entertainment calendar with frequent musical guests.Eric Wilbur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.