North Conway Restaurants, attractions and outlets!
North Conway has come a long way baby!
North Conway started expanding in the 19th century due to its' popularity with artists that flocked to the area to paint the rugged terrain. Their paintings were collectively known as "White Mountain Art" became popular in other areas and ultimately, attracted tourists to the area.
It wasn't until the 1930's and the advent of the snow train that skiing became the major draw of the area. North Conway is often referred to as the birthplace of American skiing.
Since those days, passenger trains have ceased, the airport closed and became the site of Settler's Green Outlet Village and Conway Scenic Railroad was established.
Along with these major changes there were more subtle ones happening; local homes were transformed into antique shops, vacation rentals and restaurants, White Mountain Highway was widened and a parallel byway called North South Road was constructed.
Today, North Conway is a bustling tourist town with activities and entertainment for all ages surrounded by the beauty of the Presidential Range, Cranmore Mountain and the Moat Mountain Range.
If rain is predicted for your vacation dates, check out our suggestions for "10 Kid Friendly Secrets for a Rainy Day in North Conway" and for great weather, "Where to Hike with Tykes" or "Doesn't Everyone Feel Happy Playing in a Waterfall?"
Come on for the ride and explore with me all the Things to Do in North Conway, NH!
Canoe, Kayak and Paddle Board the Saco River!
The Saco River is a special river to folks in New England. Most adults have wonderful memories from childhood of tubing, swimming or canoeing down the Saco River!
During most of the warm weather months, the water moves at a lazy, rambling speed that's perfect for paddle boarding, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and swimming.
Whether you are an experienced kayaker or a first time canoer, you will enjoy a relaxing day floating down the crystal clear waters of the Saco River.
You can enjoy a quiet and relaxing afternoon, full day or longer on the waters of the Saco River. During most of the warm months the depth of the water averages 3 feet.
Your time spent on the Saco River will be rewarded with rope swings, small rapids, sandy beaches, friendly paddlers, wildlife, beautiful scenery, many photo-op stops, places to cool off with a dip plus several picnic spots.
There are several companies in town that can set you up with tube, canoe or kayak rentals. My first choice would be Saco Canoe Rental Company. They have been offering Saco River Rentals for over 25 years. Their convenient riverside location allows you to paddle back to your car. No waiting for shuttles!
There are other choices if you want to kayak or canoe. Both of these companies come well recommended by locals.
Before you set out take a look at this guide to planning a canoe trip. You'll be GLAD you did! Read a few articles like it and take notes. No one guide is complete and you will find all kinds of suggestions online to help you plan the best canoe/kayak/paddleboard trip ever!
The History of the Saco River
The Saco River was called Chouacoet in the 1600's and eventually it was changed to Saco River which comes from the Eastern Abenaki word sakohki, meaning land where the river comes out.
American Indian legend speaks of the Curse of the Saco River. The curse foretells how every year three white people will drown in the Saco River. (Take a look at our Insider's Guide to North Conway - it has safety tips about the Saco River)
As the legend goes, Squando, his wife and son were navigating the Saco River by canoe when they met up with 3 drunken sailors. The legend continues saying the sailors waged bets about Native American babies being natural swimmers. They grabbed the baby from his mother's arms and threw him into the river.
Although the baby was rescued by his mother, he died a few days later. Squando who was said to have great powers, put a curse on Saco River that every year 3 white people would drown.
Historical documents hint that this encounter and the ensuing death of his son resulted in the end of peaceful relations between the American Indians living in the Saco River region and the early settlers.
There are many versions of this legend but Tad Baker, of the Saco Museum feels “I think the legend of the curse might have sprung up, as some other legends did, during what we call the Colonial Revival era, when it was popular to romanticize events that took place in the Colonial period.”
Having lived in the North Conway area for many decades I can attest that many lives have been lost in the Saco River. The Saco Canoe Rental Company has an up to date summary of Saco River conditions on their home page. Check it out!
According to Yankee Magazine, Hiram historian Hubert Clemens also remembers hearing about the Saco River curse "ever since I was a young boy." Among his files is a partial list of drownings near Hiram dating back to 1873 and an old "Ripley's Believe It or Not" clipping about the legend in which the Saco River is called "the River of Death."
Interesting Saco River Facts
According to Wikipedia, the Saco River is located in northeastern NH and southwestern Maine, 136 miles long, drains the rural area depicted in the map to the left and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Saco Bay.
It supplies drinking water to approximately 250,000 people in 35 rural towns and over the years supplied transportation and electricity to Biddeford, Saco, Fryeburg and Hiram.
The Saco River starts at Saco Lake in Crawford Notch in the White Mountains then meanders generally in a southeasterly course through the towns of Bartlett and Conway before crossing into Maine.
Travel the Kancamagus Highway
Ahhhh... vacationing in North Conway, NH! Within a 5 minute drive of the Village of North Conway you can start your journey down the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) which meanders from Conway, NH (at the intersection of Route 16 and 112) to Lincoln, NH (intersection of Routes 93 and 112) passing mountains, forests, beaches, waterfalls, scenic overlooks and wildlife galore!
The Kancamagus or Kanc as us locals refer to it, travels smack dab through the White Mountain National Forest. Plan on spending a full day making the round trip on this 32 mile scenic highway! Pack a lunch, load up the car with the necessities (sunscreen/sunglasses/camera/hiking boots/rain gear/water/lunch, etc), gas up the car and let's get started!
Now that you're packed and ready to go, your first stop on the Kanc should be the Saco Ranger Station about a 1/4 mile in. You will find a great assortment of trail maps highlighting historic sites, scenic overlooks, great picnic spots, waterfalls and much more. The Rangers are mostly locals and can offer great advice on hiking and camping and also let you know if there is any road construction or bad weather ahead!
Armed with your maps, rack cards and brochures you're now ready to head out for your first adventure of "Things to Do in North Conway"!
Your first stop is a not to be missed historic site. I'll admit I am a science and and nature junky so I stop anywhere there is a plackard but the Russell-Colbath Homestead is a great way to start your journey. For instance, I learned that in 1907 the surrounding area was 95% farmland and 5% forest. Check out this photo of the area then and now!
The farmhouse and barn were built in the 1800's and the farmhouse is all that remains. It's been restored and is now a museum and is all that's left of the farming and logging community of Passaconaway, NH.
Continuing your journey along the Kancamagus Highway you will ascend 2,860 fee upwards toward the Kancamagus Pass which is the highest point of the ride. Pull off into one of the scenic overlooks and spend some time relaxing and identifying the local mountains. My favorite stops are Sugar Hill, Pemigewasset and Hancock overlooks, all make for great photo-op stops!
Don't miss Falls Pond, Rocky Gorge and of course, Sabbaday Falls. All are popular stops along the Kanc.
Your drive will lead you directly into Lincoln, NH. It has a short strip filled with restaurants, shops, a grocery store and antique shops.
Make the drive back to North Conway a leisurely stroll. Stop at all the spots that were too crowded on your journey west. You'll be glad you did!
Mt Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center
The Mt Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center is located at 2779 White Mountain Hwy, Conway, NH 03860 and their phone number is (603) 356-2137. This wonderful museum (FREE for children under 6) is located less than 10 minutes from Four Seasons Lodge!
The Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center is an interactive science museum that brings the wonder of the atmosphere right to your fingertips!
You and your children can explore the science of climate and weather through fun, interactive exhibits like their air cannon, flow tank and wind room. Plus if you time it right, meet and interact with experienced observers living and working in their summit weather station through a twice daily live video link.
Taken from OBS website, the Mt Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center is: "Made possible by a collaboration between the Mount Washington Observatory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Forecast Systems Laboratory (NOAA-FSL), the mission of the Weather Discovery Center is to enhance awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the atmosphere, its complexity, its impact on the human experience, and the many ways in which atmospheric phenomena are observed and interpreted."
The Weather Discovery Center is located across from the Eastern Slope Inn at 2779 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH 03860.
Open daily from 10am to 5pm. Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
Adults - $2
Children ages 7 to 17 - $1
Children ages 6 & under - FREE
Observatory members - FREE
Cathedral Ledge is part of Echo Lake State Park and is located about 5 minutes from Four Seasons Lodge.
Standing at 700 fee of granite cliff, Cathedral Ledge towers over Echo Lake and is a landmark of North Conway!
There are several hiking trails leading to the top plus a mile long auto road for the not-so athletic in the crowd!
Sweeping views of the Saco River Valley and the White Mountains are your treat when you reach the top. If you head to the viewing area the edge is marked with a 4 foot chain link fence. Hold tight to your youngsters... only that area is fenced off.
On a nice day the is my favorite thing to do in North Conway! Sit and wait, you'll be treated to a rock climber making their way up and over the top edge of the cliffs. Rock and ice climbing are very popular at Cathedral Ledge and nearby White Horse Ledge. If you listen near the edge you can hear them and get ready for some great pictures!
Make a day of it and head down to Echo Lake after your ascent. There are beautiful views of the ledges from the beach, changing rooms and bathrooms, a lifeguard plus a 3/4 mile loop walk that's perfect for wee-ones that feel so proud that they did a loop hike!
For more suggestions on great hikes check out our blog "Where to Hike With Tykes."
Access to the park is seasonal.
Diana's Baths are located off West Side Road just north of Echo Lake State Park in North Conway. Access to the falls have just been upgraded and now is handicap accessible and there are bathroom facilities. The distance between the parking lot (paid parking) and the falls is about 0.6 miles.
The Lucy family has a long history with Diana's Baths. George Lucy purchased several acres of the lower falls in the mid-1800's to build a sawmill.
Tourists were drawn to the falls even back then and George decided to capitalize on their presence and built a large boarding house. The Village of North Conway had many hotels already and his boarding house did not attract tourists like he thought and unfortunately, was shut down.
In the 1930's the family installed water driven turbines to power their sawmills and ran them successfully for many years. The advent of the portable saw mills made the turbines obsolete and they were torn down. Remnants of the original sawmill and turbines are still very evident in the lower portion of the falls. When you visit Diana's Baths try to imagine how different they looked when the saw mill and turbine structures where there!
The land was owned privately until the 1950's when it was turned over to the government and has been part of the National Forest system ever since.
The stream that is the reason for the many beautiful small falls at Diana's Baths is Lucy Brook. This historic site is part of the White Mountain National Forest.
Although the total vertical drop from start to finish is only 75 feet, the beauty you will see here is unparalleled! The falls are a very popular family spot for exploring and sunbathing.
The falls change from seasons to season and are very affected by the local rainfall. Even if you've been to Diana's Baths in the past, visit them again. Every time you see them they are different!
Plan to spend relaxing and playing in the crisp, clean water and don't forget your waterproof camera!
According to Wikipedia: "These curious circular stone cavities on Lucy Brook originally were known as the Home of the Water Fairies; tradition says evil water sprites inhabited the ledges, tormenting the Sokokis Indians until a mountain god answered the Indians' prayers and swept the sprites away in a flood. But sometime before 1859 a Miss Hubbard of Boston, a guest at the old Mount Washington House in North Conway, rechristened them Diana's Baths, presumably to evoke images of the Roman nature goddess. The pools are also called Lucy's Baths."
1937 was the year that Cranmore Mountain was officially opened by Harvey Gibson with a single rope tow. The following year a new lift called Skimobile was installed. This new lift which was designed and built by George Morton, consisted of a series of cars traveling on a wooden track. You can see one of the original cars in front of Delaney's Hole in the Wall Restaurant in North Conway.
Cranmore made a name for itself with its' modern Skimobile, newly built base lodge and a ski school run by European skiers.
Hannes Schneider is the most well know European affiliated with Cranmore Mountain in the early days. He was invited by Harvey Gibson to come to North Conway after he was imprisoned for a brief time in Germany for his anti-Nazi views. Schneider immediately began the expansion of Cranmore by extending the Skimoblile to the summit and cutting additional trails.
Cranmore Mountain is westerly facing which causes the snow to get soft or melt in the warmest part of the day and then freeze into ice overnight. This fact spurred the owners in the 1940's, to be one of the first mountains to invest time and money in snow making technology.
In the 1950's and 60's there was considerable expansion of the mountain followed by two ownership changes in the 1980's and 90's. Fast forward to today and you find a thriving enterprise with summer and winter activities!
Cranmore Mountain is listed in my blog entitled, "Kid Friendly Ski Resorts in North Conway". I have to admit, I'm partial to Cranmore. There's so much I like about the mountain; lift passes are lower priced than the bigger mountains, it's a "warm" mountain with its' westerly exposure, has a great team of groomers, parking is close, the apres ski music is good, I like the feel of the pub and the staff is friendly!
Here are some stats for those that like that kind of thing:
Phone - (800)SUN-N-SKI
10 Minutes from the Lodge from Four Seasons Lodge
Skiable Acres 200+
Longest Run 1 mile
Summit Elevation 2000 ft
Vertical Drop 1,200 ft
Totals: 57 trails and 10 lifts
16 easier (28% of total)
25 intermediate (44% of total)
16 most difficult (8 trails, 8 glades) (28% of total)
5 surface lifts, 1 double, 2 triples, 1 high speed quad, 1 fixed grip quad
Summer fun includes zip lines, summer tubing, trampoline with bungies, hiking, bouncy houses, mini-adventure park and climbing walls and an aerial adventure park.
Check back to this Insider's Guide to Things to Do in North Conway often. I have about 30 more fun adventures to add!
Feel free to call me, Teena at 603.662.5391 or email me at Teena@FourSeasonsLodge.com
Conway Scenic Railroad
Conway Scenic Railroad is to North Conway what the Citgo sign is to Boston - THE landmark of the community!
An outing on one of the vintage trains at the North Conway railroad is sure to be a highlight of your vacation. It's an old-fashioned railroading experience as you ride along on two historic rail routes in antique and restored passenger cars. Most cars are vintage 1920's and the train station was constructed in 1874.
The Victorian station was designed by Architect Nathaniel Bradlee of Boston, built by railroad carpenters and became a true testament of their craft. The building design included a ticket office, baggage room and restrooms. Two gorgeous curving mahogany staircases let to offices in domed towers on the upper level.
An E. Howard eight day clock was placed in the front of the building facing Schouler Park and I have to say, every time I have driven by the Conway Scenic Railroad I've checked the time. History almost was made in the shadow of the eight day clock. December 3, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Mr. Watson attempted to converse over telegraph wires that spanned 143 miles between Boston and the ticket office in the Train Station. Even though they couldn't hear each other they both were still inspired to continue with their efforts. Imagine if they didn't?
You have two options when planning your train excursion on vacation, The Valley Train and the Notch Train.
The Valley Train or as some call it... The North Conway Train
The 11-mile, 55-minute roundtrip Conway excursion is a perfect choice for vacationers that don't want to be on the train all day, especially those with young children. This trip takes you on a journey traveling south past the Moat Mountain Range and runs side by side with Route 16 before passing through farmlands off West Side Road and crosses Moat Brook, the Saco and Swift Rivers on the way to Conway. One of the highlights of this trip is watching the engine “run around” the train in preparation of the return trip.
The 21 mile, 1¾ hour roundtrip Bartlett excursion is a longer and more relaxing train ride that takes you “over the river and through the woods” on the same route as the Polar Express trains. Sit back and enjoy the passing scenery or wave at folks in their cars as you travel through fields and woodlands, crossing the East Branch, Saco and Ellis Rivers on the way to Bartlett. On this trip the engine will “run around” the train to make the return trip to North Conway. Through late fall, the train will make a stop at White Mountain Cider Company in Glen.
The Notch Train
ON THE NOTCH TRAIN you will be traveling on tracks that were laid in the 1870s. This route passes some of the most spectacular scenery in the East, especially in Crawford Notch. Crawford Nortch is known for panoramic mountain views, sheer granite bluffs, steep ravines, waterfalls, brooks and streams and plentiful wildlife. The highlight of this trip is crossing Frankenstein Trestle and Willey Brook Bridge making your way to Crawford and Fabyan stations.
The original Frankenstein Trestle was constructed of wood and finished in 1875. The trestle needed to be sturdier in order to carry heavier trains so in 1892 a wrought iron bridge with concrete abutments was constructed. This trestle, although it has had further modifications and improvements and still remains today!
As you make your journey to Crawford Notch, try to imagine what it was like constructing the railroad 140 years ago! It really was an engineering marvel in such rugged terrain. Railroad staff will provide commentary onboard about the history, points of interest and folklore (factual and hearsay)
There is a layover at Crawford Station which is across from Saco Lake. Saco Lake is a scenic pond which in fall is very photogenic. It's also where the Saco River originates. Get off the train, stretch your legs, grab your cameras and take a walk-about!
Check back often to this Insider's Guide of Things To Do In North Conway. I have about 30 more things to add!
Or call me at 603.662.5391 Email is good too - Teena@FourSeasonsLodge.com
Settlers Green - The Home of North Conway Outlets
Settlers Green in North Conway, NH was built in 1988 when Outlet Mall shopping was not commonplace. The site it is built on was previously an airport servicing the Mount Washington Valley.
This is the place for leisurely shopping because bargains and discounts on brand name merchandise is the norm here! Plan on heading home with either an extra bag or a stuffed suitcase full of bargains!
Shop until you drop at Settlers Green Outlet Village features more than 70 stores, restaurants and shops making it the largest Outlet Mall in New England AND it's TAX FREE!
You can find outdoor wear for your active sports at outlet shops including Nike Factory Store, Adidas, Eddie Bauer, Reebok, and Sunglass Hut. Kids will have a ball shopping – or let me rephrase that, shopped for, at Carter's, Gymboree, Toys R Us, and the Children's Place.
Stock up on unique gifts for that special someone at Zales, and Yankee Candle.
Relax for a bit and grab something to eat at Brandli's Pizza & Grille, Wrapsody N' Greens or Kaity’s Big Chill.
Whether you're a browser or a power shopper, be sure to plan at least a day in your itinerary for shopping at Settlers' Green Outlet Village, just a walk across the grounds from the lobby of the North Conway Grand.
Thanks to northconwaynh.com, here's a list of stores at Settlers Green Outlet Village.
If it’s Accessories and Jewelry you are after here are some outlets to pop into:
Clair’s: From tween’s to teen’s this store is where mom can even find some fashion trends such as earrings, necklaces and more!
Coach: Need the newest design of handbags? Wallet or scarf? Come on in for all your fine fashion tastes.
Kay Jewelers Outlet: Your trusted source for engagement and wedding rings, diamonds, charms and all types of jewelry.
Lids: One of many sports attire outlets Lids offers visitors a wide variety of top of the line hats, sunglasses and other brand names.
Sunglass Hut: Need some new shades for that beautiful sunny weather out and about in the White Mountain Valley? Go right on in and see what the Sunglass Hut has to offer you and your family!
Zale’s Outlet: Is it diamonds you are after or even maybe some pearls? Zale’s jewelry is the fine place to look at simply beautiful style jewelry.
If you are looking for those Fashion Needs here are some wonderful outlets to enjoy.
Aeropostale: Any age can enjoy Aeropostales style of clothing to jeans, tee’s to even accessories.
American Eagle Outfitters: The place to shop for men’s and woman’s jeans, tees, shoes and more!
April Cornell: Has beautiful clothing style for young girls and woman alike. It also has beautiful style home décor and accessories any girl would love.
Banana Republic Factory Store: Has all your latest fashion needs to suits, casual wear and accessories to match!
Brooks Brothers Factory Store: Here you can find wonderful dress shirts and other apparel of all styles for everyone in your family as well as suits, dresses, and even styles for your Country Club’s needs.
Carters: Did you and your family welcome a new born or a family friend? Or even have a little tyke, Carters is one of several stores for small children’s dress needs.
Champion Outlet: Has shoes to running gear, to work out outfits, Champion will help you suit your needs!
Chico’s: Ladies this outlet is for you! Chico’s has a wide variety of outfits from sweaters, pants denim and accessories you are sure to love.
Dress Barn: Is for the career woman and her dressing needs or for any fashion to casual wear.
Eddie Bauer Outlet: Looking for casual wear with style? This outlet has it all from shoes to swim wear and more.
Gap: Who can resist a great deal for clothing at Gap with everyday great savings?
Gymboree Outlet: Another great store for your children’s clothing needs from newborns and up!
Haggar: From casual shirts to dress pants, Hagger has the styles you love and want.
Hanes Brands: Has a variety of garments for you and your family to pick and choose from.
J. Crew Factory: How can anyone resist J. Crew’s fashionable sensible styles for any event in your life? From casual to evening wear and even accessories.
Jockey: Has your active wear to casual wear for great prices!
Justice: For the young girl in your life this store has all her fashion needs.
Levi’s: Is jeans you need? Levi’s has all the styles you and your family will love.
Maiden Form: Ladies, this store has all your undergarment needs to even sleepwear you will love.
Old Navy: Has all the hottest styles you and your family will love with everyday great prices.
OshKosh B’Gosh: For kids 0-12, OshKosh B’gosh offers timeless and trend-right clothing grounded in an authentic American heritage.
Pacific Sunwear: From hats, to great clothes Pacific Sunwear has a great style you will enjoy.
Rue 21 Company Store: Has great styles of clothing and accessories for everyday wear at everyday great prices.
Talbots: Ladies you will love this store with its chic look and accessories.
Tommy Hilfiger: Has all the latest fashion from casual to dress wear and so much more.
The Children’s Place: High quality, value priced clothing and accessories for boys and girls. Sizes 0-14.
Under Armour: Has all your athletic needs for outer wear for the active person.
Van Heusen: Has a variety of other brand names you love from causal and dress with more accessories.
Wilson’s Leather Outlet: Has wonderful style leather jackets, bags and wallets.
Looking for some gift idea’s Here are some outlets to check out while you are shopping in Settler’s Green.
Brookstone: Looking for a great deal on innovative gift idea’s? Brookstone has great deals on the most interesting items and more.
Crabtree & Evelyn:This store is internationally recognized for original fragrances, luxurious bath & body products, gourmet foods, & elegant gifts.
Kitchen Collection: This store has all your cooking items from pots, pans to even cooking stones you will love with so much more.
Lindt: Chocolate lovers enjoy Lindt’s delicious Swiss chocolate and its wide variety to enjoy.
Stonewall Kitchen: Has your cooking essentials needs from homemade jellies to a variety of baking mixtures, this place has it all!
Toys R Us Express: It’s all about kids here! Come on in and enjoy the latest toys your children will love.
Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton: Shop for crystal, stemware, china, vases, gifts and more!
Yankee Candle: This store has a huge selection of candleswith abundant scents, accessories and gifts!
Looking for Footwear and Shoes and accessories?
Adidas: Looking for new sports gear and apparel? Adidas has just what you are looking for from shoes, to clothing and more.
Crocs: Come shop for their innovative casual footware for men, woman and children!
Famous Footwear Outlet: Has a wide variety of brand shoes you love with great prices.
G.H. Bass & Co. Outlet: Come shop for all of your shoe and accessory needs.
Gold Toe: The place to find the largest selection of socks for men, woman and children.
Journey’s: Has the latest hot new items for those who like hip and trendy wear, for affordable prices they offer styles such as Puma, Converse, Ugg’s and more!
New Balance Factory Store: Come on in for premium New Balance footware and apparel.
Nike Factory Store: Has all your physical activities needs from clothes to shoes and more.
Reebok: Has yet more of the athletic clothing and shoe styles you’ll need.
Rockport: Has men’s women’s, and children’s style shoes and accessories to enjoy!
Stride Rite: Has the shoe fashion for your child’s needs for everyday great prices!
Timberland Factory Store: Has rugged boots, shoes, clothing, backpacks , luggage and accessories.
Looking for Luggage and accessories?
Travelpro Luggage Outlet: This store has all your luggage needs.
Need a bite to eat and drink or maybe need a snack?
Brandli’s: Come on in and grab a slice of pizza or enjoy a delicious sub or salad to even more great foods!
Kaity’s Big Chill: Seasonal Outdoor Bistro. Offers soft ice-creams, sundaes, shakes, smoothies and more.
White Mountain Cupcakery: Come on in and taste their award-winning cupcakes in a variety of enticing flavors!
Wrapsody N’ Greens: Seasonal Outdoor Bistro. Has wraps, panini’s salads and smoothies!
Have FUN and go get some deals!!
Email Teena@FourSeasonsLodge.com or phone 603.662.5351 for more information
Specialty and Gift Shops
North Conway is a shoppers delight! I don't just mean outlet shops either.
Sure, we have Settlers Green Outlet Mall (see above) and Christmas Tree Shops but when you're vacationing in a Village it's great to shop old-fashioned!
I'm going to introduce you to 10 of my favorite specialty and gift shops that all within walking distance of each other!
Feel free to call me at 603.662.5391 for other recommendations of things to do in North Conway!
Covered Bridges of North Conway
The Covered Bridges in North Conway and the surrounding towns are loved by tourists and locals alike. There's something about the history and uniqueness of them that draws folks!
Aside from being great photo-op stops, covered bridges provide a service for the traveler and the community.
A true covered bridge is constructed with timber trusses, has a roof and sides that make an almost complete enclosure. The original purpose was to protect the wood structural members including the floor of the bridge from the elements but they also kept horses from shying away from the rushing water below thereby protecting pedestrians. Long ago, young couples took advantage of the privacy that covered bridges afforded them and some became known as courting or kissing bridges!
According to the "Covered Bridge Manual", the timber truss system of construction, whether it be by stone, masonry or timber, circumvented previous length restrictions by other construction options.
These hold-overs from another time dot the countryside of the North Conway area and are a reminder of simpler but hard times. Many folks travel to New Hampshire and the North Conway area to walk through or take a picture in one of these historic landmarks!
Here is a sampling of some of the area’s favorite covered bridges.
Saco River Covered Bridge - According to the Conway Daily Sun, the Saco River Covered Bridge is 235 fee long and it called a 2-span covered bridge. It was built at a cost of $4,000 by Allen and Warren of Conway. It was destroyed once again in 1890 by a tannery fire and rebuilt again by Charles Broughton and his son Frank (who also built the Jackson Covered Bridge)
The Swift River Covered Bridge is just a short walk down West Side Road. It was built in 1850 and in 1869 it was swept downstream by raging floodwaters which lifted the bridge from its foundation. When it swept downstream it slammed into the Saco River Covered Bridge and knocked it off its moorings. Both covered bridges broke up and came to rest 2 miles downstream.
The following year the Swift River Covered Bridge was rebuilt incorporating some salvaged timbers from the wrecked bridges. Today the bridge is not open to automobile traffic but you can enjoy a stroll through the bridge and even bring a picnic lunch to eat on one of the picnic tables!
Make sure you have your camera with you. Both the Saco and Swift Covered Bridges make great photo-op stops!
Below you will find a list of NH covered bridges in North Conway and the surrounding area which were all built in the 1800’s. Go vist these wonderful historical landmarks and enjoy a piece of local history!
The Albany Covered Bridge is about 6 miles west of Rt 16, spans the Swift River and is sometimes called the "Lovers Bridge".
The first bridge was built in 1857 and destroyed that same year by a windstorm. It was rebuilt in 1858 for $1,300, it is a paddleford truss and has added arches. The Albany Covered Bridge is eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bartlett Covered Bridge was built in 1851 and is a paddleford truss with added arches.
This covered bridge is maintained by private owners, Marc and Mary Ellen Frydman who renovated the bridge in 1990 at a cost of $38,000. The renovations decreased the weight of the bridge by approximately 25 tons!
The Bartlett Covered Bridge is eligible for registry with the National Register of Historic Places.
The Jackson Covered Bridge is commonly called the "Honeymoon or Kissing Bridge". It was constructed Charles and Frank Broughton in 1876 and is a padleford truss with an added sidewalk. The 121 foot long bridge spans the Ellis River and is located at the crossroads of Rt 16 and Rt 16A in Jackson Village.
Town legend says that locals would steal a kiss from their beloved under the cover of this bridge and it was popular for both suitors and honeymooners alike!
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If you like Four Seasons Lodge and would like more information please feel free to call 603.662.5391 or email Teena@FourSeasonsLodge.com
North Conway Movies
Whether it's a rainy afternoon or a starry night, going to a movie in North Conway is an option!
Mt Valley Mall Cinema 7, Settler's Green and Bridgton Twin Drive-In Theater (a 30 minute drive that's well worth the effort) all bring you movies that are sure to please!
The Mt Valley Mall Cinema offers seven large viewing rooms with movies changing every week. Settlers Green shows movies in the open air in the evening during the summer. The showings are weather dependent and check their website for showtimes, dates and movie titles.
If you're looking to step back in time, head over to Bridgton, ME to the Bridgton Twin Drive-In Theater. Adults and children alike love the experience of a drive in theater. The Drive-In offers two selections a night. Check it out... it's worth the trip!
North Conway Outlets
Let's face it... lots of vacationers travel to the White Mountains for the North Conway Outlets! The mall is called Settlers Green and was one of the original malls dedicated to outlet shopping.
Settlers Green is an outdoor mall in North Conway with a backdrop of gorgeous mountains! Even the occasional husband that is not thrilled with shopping while in North Conway can enjoy an afternoon with a snack relaxing on one of the many benches and chairs throughout the mall enjoying the views.
There's something for everyone here with over 60 major name-brand outlet stores! You can literally shop until you drop (lots of cash) and then pull up a chair at one the fine restaurants in town!
Drive a bit north on Rt 16 and you will stumble upon several more North Conway outlets! Ragged Mountain, Rugged Mill, Limmer Boot, Christmas Tree Shop, TJ Max, Polo, LL Bean, Assets Jean Company, Wooden Soldier and a few others are scattered about.
If you can't find a bargain on vacation in North Conway... you're not looking hard enough!
Feel free to give Teena a call for more information about North Conway Outlets! 603.662.5391
Fun at Fryeburg Fair
Fryeburg Fair's humble beginnings were in March of 1851. According to Wikipedia, a few local
farmers and merchants got together to show off their wares and cattle and produce to their friends and neighbors. Fryeburg Fair has grown and become the largest agricultural fair complex in Maine including 6 days of harness horse racing, a wonderful farm museum and the largest steer and oxen show in the world. The Fair's reputation is well known throughout the United States and Canada.
Fryeburg Fair is referred to as the "Blue Ribbon Classic" and has grown to 8 days and hosts over 300,000 attendees annually. While the fair continues to grow in popularity, officials say they are satisfied with keeping the event at eight days.
The livestock demonstrations, shows and pulling includes 4-H, beef, dairy, draft horses, goats, horse pulling, rabbits, llamas, poultry, sheep, steers, oxen and swine and is Maine's larges agricultural event.
If it's competition you like, Fryeburg Fair has quite a selection including; 4 X 4 pulling, Agricultural Exhibition Center, Christmas trees and wreaths, fiber show, fireman's muster, Grand Parade, skillet throw and woodsmen's day.
There are nightly shows and entertainer's performing throughout the day. Past fairs have highlighted top notch entertainers including; Clint Black, Joe Diffie and Lady Antebellum. The ticket prices are reasonable and the crowds are very lively!
The Fryeburg Fair features livestock shows, harness racing, horse pulling, antique farm and forestry equipment displays and demonstrations, horticultural and culinary contests and displays, a petting zoo, agricultural vendor displays, live musical acts, amusement rides, and food stands.
Four Seasons Lodge is rented every year by folks attending or vendors selling their goods at the Fryeburg Fair. The Lodge is located 13 miles from the fairgrounds.
Phone us early if you'd like to book. 603.662.5391
Saco Valley Sports Center is home to candlepin bowling and much more in Fryeburg, Maine.
Folks from out of town will be thrilled to try their skills at candlepin bowling instead of big balls. It's a blast and most folks think it's much harder than other styles of bowling.
There are many video and action games plus a pool table for folks that are not bowling fans.
Motorcycle Rides and Laconia Bike Week
Imagine riding in and among these beautiful mountains?
North Conway motorcycle rides are plentiful and gorgeous! All you have to do is pack for our changing weather conditions, pull up the GPS on your smartphone and head north from North Conway, NH!
North Conway is about mid-way between the site of Laconia Bike Week and many GREAT motorcycle rides in the White Mountains which means you can plan your vacation here during Bike Week or any other time during the 3 warm weather seasons and be minutes away from some of the best rides in NH!
Before you head out for a day of riding you must stop by White Horse Gear in Conway, NH! They carry thousands of products for the motorcycle enthusiast plus their store is also their warehouse so they're never out of stock!
Items for sale at White Horse Gear range from Motorcycle Apparel to Videos and Movies. They do not stock supplies for just one manufacturer of motorcycle, there's something for all bikes here!
Make a long wish list before you visit this store because your dollar will go a lot further with NO SALES TAX!
Laconia Bike Week
If you've never been to Laconia Bike Week you need to put it on your bucket list! It's an eyeful of sights and a buffet of different types of folks!
I suggest going during the midweek because you'll be able to get a table at a restaurant, grab a beer in a pub and stroll along the causeway rather than going on the weekends when you will have to grab food from an outdoor vendor, get a beer in a plastic cup and become part of the elbow to elbow crowd making its' way north to south.
If you have a list of motorcycle related gadgets or clothing you'd like to buy, bring lots of cash or a credit card with a high limit! There are merchandise stands set up as far as the eye can see with an endless assortment of goods, some at great prices!
For nine years North Conway, NH has their own, tamer, Rally In The Valley!
Aside from the events listed in the picture above, there are lots of other things to do in North Conway during that week. I enjoy the smaller and more local feel to this even rather than Laconia but I'm a biased North Conway resident!
Either way, plan on vacationing in North Conway over Father's Day week so you can enjoy all the sights and get some great riding in too!
Mount Washington Auto Road
Most bikers have a ride on the Mount Washington Auto Road on their bucket list!
Personally, I thought riding to the top in a car was unnerving enough but every time I hike up or drive up there are lots of motorcycles up there.
A ride to the top will allow you to proudly display this world famous bumper sticker too!
Spoiler Alert #1: You can cheat and go here to get one by mail!
Spoiler Alert #2: There are lots of motorcycles parked at the bottom too! Guess I'm not the only scaredy cat!
Kancamagus Highway or more commonly "The Kanc"
If riding a 30 mile scenic byway, with nothing but nature, passing gorgeous overlooks and many pull-offs sounds like a great way to spend a day then the Kancamagus Highway or Kanc is for YOU!
I'm a horseback rider not a motorcycle rider but I've been told that most who ride LOVE to spend a day riding the Kanc.
See our section about the Kanc in this blog for lots more information!
Check Out Our Favorite North Conway Restaurants
Let's face it, everyone loves to eat out on vacation!
We've compiled a list of our favorite restaurants in North Conway, NH. Hopefully, we can steer you toward some great food and service while saving you money! North Conway has a unique group of home-grown restaurants that have banded together in an organization called "The Valley Originals."
We won't review or suggest any chain restaurants because... because... why would you want to eat at them when there are SO many great local restaurants in North Conway?
If you'd rather relax at your White Mountains cabin rental that you've carefully selected, here is a list of North Conway restaurants that deliver!
We're not a Valley Original but Four Seasons Lodge is a locally owned and operated North Conway vacation rental. Give us a call 603.662.5391 or click here for more information!
Here are Some of Our Favorite Restaurants in North Conway
Black Cap Grille North Conway 603-356-2225 - A hop and skip from the Outlet Mall
Cafe Noche Conway 603-447-5050 - Authentic Mexican decor.
Cider Company Glen 603-383-9061 - Perfect for a special celebration.
Christmas Farm Inn Jackson 603-383-4313 -
Darby Field Inn Albany 603-447-2181 - Wonderful views of Mt Washington.
Delaney's Hole In The Wall North Conway 603-356-7776 - Great sports bar.
Horsefeathers North Conway 603-356-6862 - Directly across from Conway Scenic Railroad.
Josephs Spaghetti Shed Glen 603-383-6680 - Kid friendly and great prices.
J-Town Deli and Country Store Jackson 603-383-8064 - Browse their store while you wait.
Margarita Grill Glen 603-383-6556 - Large portions of good food.
Max's at Snow Village Inn Eaton Center 603-447-2818 - Wonderful view and ambiance on their deck.
McGrath's Tavern North Conway 603-733-5955 - Reserve a room for large groups.
Merlino's Steakhouse North Conway 603-356-6006 - Close to Settlers Green.
Moat Mountain Smokehouse North Conway 603-356-6381 - Known for their BBQ.
Nochland Inn Hart's Location 603-374-6131 - Surrounds by the National Forest.
Oxford House Inn Fryeburg 207-935-3442 - Check out the cool pub downstairs.
Priscilla's North Conway 603-356-0401 - Usually no wait for breakfast.
Red Parka Steakhouse Pub Glen 603-383-4344 - Dance after you dine.
Shalimar Of India North Conway 603-356-0123 - Authentic Indian cuisine.
Shannon Door Pub Jackson 603-383-4211 - Irish pub known for their pizza.
The Shovel Handle Pub Jackson 800-677-5737 - Great barn decor after skiing.
Traditions Madison 603-367-4030 - Cool decor and unique drinks.
Wildcat Tavern Jackson 603-383-4245 - In the Village of Jackson.
302 West Smokehouse And Tavern Fryeburg, ME 207-935-3021 - Great specials.
The restaurants in North Conway listed above range from delicious fine dining to wicked good breakfasts and everything in between. Check out "7 Restaurants with Insanely Good Food" for more in-depth descriptions of seven great restaurants in North Conway.
If you are like us and have a family member with food allergies or sensitivities check out "You're Allergice to What? Where to Eat Out in North Conway"