Camping: We arrived at the Twin Mountain/Mt. Washington KOA Campground in New Hampshire on 9/12 with at least one sightseeing goal: Mt Washington. Another crowded campground (and we thought we were way out there!,
We thought it might be “peak color” season but.. we were a little early for leaf peeping! However, the general area is very unpopulated and there are any number of sites to visit.
Mt. Washington: We’d heard the trip up the mountain was interesting (always a dangerous word!) and the view could be fabulous so..we were game!
And, our KOA neighbors told us they’d taken the trip the day we arrived , it was extremely windy and 28 degrees at the summit….
There are 3 ways to visit Mt Washington: hike up (uh, no!), take the “world’s first mountain-climbing railway (built in 1869) or drive via the “legendary” Mt. Washington Auto Road.
We considered the tram but…thought it might be somewhat confining and scheduled (and..expensive!).
So, we did the Auto Road (which costs about $20 and is recognized as “America’s first man-made attraction”! It begins from an organized base area and then it’s 7.6 miles to the 6,288 summit. Yes; that’s correct: pretty much a vertical drive! As part of the $20, we received a fairly interesting audio tour describing the 4 ecological zones and various stops along the road (if you could stand stopping on a very twisty, vertical drop road) and the Road’s history. Mt. Washington has been a vacation hot spot since the 1850’s and all sorts of “vehicles” had been making this trip for over 150 years — including horse drawn carts and carriages. It’s difficult to communicate how crazy that sounds as the Road is so steep and twisty.
However, when we reached the top, there’s a small museum with photos of earlier travelers and their vehicles so it must be the case!
And, it was both sunny and not windy at the summit so we were able to hike around, view the Presidential Range (Mt. Madison, Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Franklin and Mt. Eisenhower) and grab a bite to eat. Stunning views (see our pics), Great exhibits and descriptions of how Mt. Washington became known where “man recorded the fastest wind speed ever — 231 mph.” The original weather station actually had chains over it — holding it to the ground!
Franconia Notch State Park: Zoe really wanted to see covered bridges (and there’s actually an entire Covered Bridge Guide ) but …Bruce wasn’t super interested in driving around, stopping at bridges so..Franconia was a good alternative offering hiking, covered bridges, history and striking geology. It also offered a tremendous rain storm at the very end of our day!
The Park offers all sorts of lakes, beaches, hikes, etc. but we were focused on the Flume Gorge — a natural granite gorge extending 800 feet (and only 10-20 feet wide) at the base of Mount Liberty. It’s about a 5-mile round trip hike and includes a scenic covered bridge!
Food Shoutout! Road Hawg Swine Dining!
Northern New Hampshire is predominantly small towns, well separated and Covid really negatively impacted almost everything — campgrounds, hotels, shops and..especially dining. Many places are permanently closed or serving only a couple of days/week. We also ran into the 2021 labor shortage issue so..finding someplace open was nice and…to have excellent BBQ and craft beer was a treat!