Rediscovering the Road Trip: Northeast Part2
Continuation from Part 1
For dinner, circle back downtown for the excellently executed English pub fare at The Liberal Cup, or stay on the north side of town for a taste of what’s been called central Maine’s best Thai place, Sweet Chilli. For a slightly fancier evening, be sure to make a reservation at Cloud 9 Restaurant—and if you want to keep the luxury rolling, you can book a night at the adjoining Senator Inn and Spa.
Once you’ve had your last lobster roll, and slurped your last oyster, pack up and hop on Route 2 for a brief but winding jaunt west, through the deep woods of Maine, to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As you near the end of the two hour drive, keep your head up and eyes out for the stately presidential mountain range—the highest peaks in the east will at some point just appear, and if the light is right they can be absolutely stunning. As their size might suggest, the white mountains boast innumerable outdoor endeavors for the road tripping family.
In the summer months (and the winter, for a few brave souls) hiking is the obvious choice: the whites combine serious alpine hiking with expansive views of the gently rolling New England countryside, offering dozens of utterly unique mountain-climbing experiences. If you’re a more of a biker, or want to get the kids into a new activity, Great Glen Trails maintains an extensive mix of wide hardpacked carriage rods and similarly well-kept single track for mountain bikers of every ability level. They have mountain bikes, fat bikes and even e-bikes available for rental.
In the winter months, well, there is practically no end to the skiing options. Nestled between the Presidentials and Carter Mtn, Great Glen earns its “premier NH cross country ski area” label with 45 km of crisply groomed trails, and scattered vistas of the nearby ice-capped peaks. Down the road, Bretton Woods Nordic Center has made a name for itself as the largest Nordic ski area in the east, with over 100 km of trails that climb and drop along the lower elevations of Mt. Washington.
When your famished from the exhilarating day of big-mountain exploring or valley cruising, stop in at Munroe’s Family Restaurant, right on route 3, for straightforward American classics. If you’re looking for similar fare but leaning towards more upscale flare, try the Bretton Arms Dining Room, just down the road from the famous Mount Washington Resort (a pricey affair, but a one-of-a-kind stay if you’re looking to splurge). For more reasonably priced rooms that are still located in the heart of the Whites, try Carlson’s Lodge in Twin Mountain.
If you and your crew have more gas in the tank, and want to keep the road trip rolling, consider taking a turn southwest—read our piece on Woodstock, Vermont to learn how to have the quintessential Vermont experience. Then, you might keep trucking a few hours west, and Upstate New York—see our Hudson Valley recommendations here.
Be sure to check back shortly as we shift our trip-planning attention to the Midwest and the natural amazements the region has to offer.