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White Mountains

Getting There Lodging Restaurants Attractions North Conway Fishing Hiking Backpacking Hut Trekking

The favorite type of lodging in the White Mountains is a full service lodge which includes breakfast and dinner in the room rate and has a bar and fireplace among its other amenities.

We recommend Stonehurst Manor on the north edge of North Conway. This is the former mansion of Erastus Bigelow, who invented the power loom, revolutionized weaving and created the carpet industry in America. The mansion was built in 1872 and is famous for its English Oak woodwork throughout the interior. In 1907, while the family was travelling in England, Stonehurst was used as the temporary British Embassy for Viscount James Bryce, the British Ambassador to the U.S. During that Summer it was the center of several international negotiations. It was sold in 1946 and became a country inn.

There are rooms of various sizes, some with fireplaces and jacuzzis. There are TVs and very good internet service. Stonehurst sits high on a hill with great views of sunsets over the mountains.

 The Wild Rose Restaurant within the Lodge is excellent. The huge advantage of this is that after you've been out hiking, fishing or otherwise adventuring all day, you can come back to the lodge and not need to leave in search of dinner. And, since almost everyone is staying for one or two weeks, after a few days you get to know all the other guests and exchange daily stories during your meal.

The food is excellent and portions generous. Breakfast includes all the usual favorites, and the coffee is outstanding. A full range of Teas is available with their Chai Tea particularly delicious. The Mediterranean Omelette (spinach, tomato, mushroom, etc.), Quesadilla (scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese, bacon, ham or sausage), Cinammon Apple French Toast, Gravlax (Salmon on Bagel with cream cheese, capers and red onion) and the Very Berry Waffle are signature entrees and will fuel you up quite nicely for a day of hiking.

You can top all this off with Irish Coffee, a Breakfast Bloody Mary or a Breakfast Mimosa.

At Dinner, the Caesar and Garden Salads are both very good. You can also order a larger version of either of these as an entree.

The Wild Rose allows diners to choose two Appetizers as an entree. Since their portions are generous, this works out very well. Combining the Crab Cakes and Black Cherry BBQ Riblets is particularly popular, but the Scallops are also good. Add a Soup or Salad or Dessert and you have a fine meal.

Their Soups are outstanding. The Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder are particularly good. People forget that New Hampshire is a coastal state, even if its coastline is only 18 miles. But that coastline includes the Isles of Shoals, one of America's richest seafood sources. The Clam Chowder is a rich, creamy version with clams, celery, onions, bacon, thyme and potatoes. The Lobster Bisque is also thick and creamy with plenty of Lobster. Their Four Onion Soup contains Spanish onions, red onions, green onions, shallots and Sherry, topped with Swiss and Provolone.

The Soup of the day is often a very good Tomato Basil, but when they accumulate enough leftover fish back in the kitchen they offer a Seafood Chowder. Once again, two Appetizers, a Soup and Salad, plus a fine glass of wine creates a very good dinner.

But then there are the Entrees. This is a very good restaurant and the fact you can order any entree without concern for its price because it's included in the room rate is tremendous. Their Stuffed Cod, Salmon, Grilled Sword Fish, Bouillabaise, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast and Lobster Ravioli are award winners. The Wild Rose Medley contains shrimp, scallops, lobster and crab meat in a garlic basil cream sauce with tomato fettucini. Their Lamb, New York Strip Steak, Pit Smoked Prime Rib and Beef Tenderloin are also outstanding.

Desserts rotate daily and are always good but you may not have room for them. There's a strong wine list and the bar out by the fireplace offers a good array of Martinis, Scotches, mixed drinks and craft beers.

A dozen other lodges in the North Conway area offer the same room & meals option. The most basic choice would be the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center at Crawford Notch, shown in the photo at right. Lodging includes bunk beds in the annex (not shown) or spartan rooms here in the main lodge. Meals are cafeteria style, and are similar to a good college cafeteria. Trails lead up in all directions from this lodge so you could spend a week here, hike every day, and never start your vehicle.

If you'd rather stay in a standard motel and eat out every meal to sample the area's many restaurants, there are 12 motels of varying price ranges in North Conway.

There are also cabins, cottages and condos for rent by the week.

You can camp either at commercial campgrounds in town or in very nice national forest or state park campgrounds just out of town in various directions.

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