Fall Weekend in the White Mountains

By Yankee Magazine

Jun 21 2019


Fall Weekend in the White Mountains

There’s few places quite as spectacular to take in the colorful glory of New Hampshire’s foliage season as the White Mountains. This large region of mountainous terrain across the northern half of the state encompasses several beautiful towns, a famous scenic highway, endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, and more than enough options for dining, entertainment, and lodging to fill a weekend.

Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a fall weekend in the White Mountains. For even more travel inspiration, check out episode 12 in season 3 of Weekends with Yankee, in which we head to the White Mountains to take a ride along the iconic Kancamagus Highway and check out the spectacular fall foliage.

Fall Weekend in the White Mountains | Weekends with Yankee
Fall Weekend in the White Mountains
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Plan the Perfect Fall Weekend in the White Mountains

5 Essential Things to Do in the White Mountains

Kancamagus Highway

The Kancamagus Highway, anchored by Conway Village to the east and Lincoln to the west, is driven by more than 750,000 vehicles every year – in part because the scenic corridor is surrounded by some of the loveliest and wildest land in the White Mountain National Forest. It’s worth a road trip, because no matter how far you drive, the views don’t disappoint.

Mount Washington Cog Railway

You’ll feel like a kid again aboard this colorful steam train as it blows its whistle and plumes steam and smoke, chugging along a winding track up New England’s highest and most iconic mountain, Mount Washington.

Franconia Notch State Park

This park is home to state treasures such as the Flume Gorge, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, and the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza and Historic Site, plus some of the best and most accessible hiking trails, including the nine-mile, seven-hour Franconia Ridge hike or 1.6-mile, family-friendly Lonesome Lake hike.

Story Land

This storybook-themed family amusement park in Glen has been delighting children since 1954, and is just as much fun for children now. Kid-sized figures and buildings depict traditional nursery rhymes such as Humpty Dumpty, plus there are rides like Alice’s Tea Cups and the Polar Coaster, live animals, and special shows and performances.

North Conway Shopping

It’s not a visit to the White Mountains without a stop at Zeb’s General Store, where you can maneuver your way around antique fixtures, indulge at the candy counter, and browse a sprawling collection of New England–made specialty foods. Nearby, the Toy Chest beckons kids with dolls, games, wooden railroad sets, and more. Adults, meanwhile, will appreciate the artistic offerings at the League of N.H. Craftsmengallery, filled with locally made pottery, glassware, prints, textiles, furniture, and jewelry.

3 Places to Stay in the White Mountains

Omni Mount Washington Hotel

This famous red-roofed grand hotel with an impeccable view of the mountains and a famous porch is a National Historic Landmark, welcoming presidents, writers, and other luminaries since it first opened in 1902. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic weekend escape or adventure-filled family getaway.

The Wentworth

Built in 1869, the Wentworth sits in the heart of beautiful Jackson Village, where its rooms are divided among the elegant main building and a number of neighboring cottages. Guests can dip into the hotel’s heated outdoor pool or sign up for a relaxing spa session, while golfers can tee up next door at the 18-hole Wentworth Golf Club.

Glen Ellis Family Campground

For those who really want to stay among the White Mountains, Glen Ellis puts campers right in the heart of the National Forest while still being just minutes from the North Conway scene. The riverside sites are some of the most prized car-camping spots in the state, while the pool, playgrounds, and game barn will keep kids entertained all weekend long.

5 Restaurants to Try in the White Mountains

Thompson House Eatery

This restaurant and farm on a 200-year-old homestead has a coziness to the menu, with options like roasted chicken, artisanal cheese boards, and house-made breads, plus other items like sambals, pickles, and pastas that showcase global techniques.

Polly’s Pancake Parlor

So renowned for their delectable discs, this family-owned institution built a new building in 2015 to accommodate the over 58,000 pancake pilgrims who make the trek to tiny, aptly named Sugar Hill each year.

Schilling Beer Company

This cozy, urbane brewery overhanging the Ammonoosuc in a converted mill building is a favorite among locals and visitors alike for its artisanal brews and Neapolitan flatbread pizzas made in a wood-burning oven.

Mountain View Grand Resort

At this grand hotel, the candlelit tables surrounded by bins holding 6,000 wine bottles are undeniably romantic, not to mention the food – lobster-scallop stew and roasted locally farmed venison, for example.

Libby’s Bistro & Saalt Pub

Libby’s chef/owner Liz Jackson was a 2012 James Beard semifinalist, and now serves up mouthwatering food inspired from all over the world at this super-hip bistro in the White Mountains.

More from Yankee:
Best of the New Hampshire White Mountains | Editors’ Choice Awards
The 5 Best Scenic Hikes in the White Mountains
Guide to the AMC Huts | White Mountain Adventures
10 Favorite White Mountain Cabin Rentals