Attractions and Activities for your Vacation in the White Mountains
In Jackson, the White Mountains surround you, and within 2 hours or less you can be at the seacoast in Maine, the Connecticut River valley, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, or even Canada. The innkeepers are happy to help you plan memorable days in Jackson and the surrounding area. The Inn also offers Seasonal and Event Packages. Below are six days full of plans ~ on the seventh you’ll need to rest!
Day One: Since you’ll arrive at the inn later in the day, take time to settle in and enjoy the inn’s amenities. Consider a walk around Jackson’s historic village loop, and get acquainted with all the village has to offer. Make a slight detour to enjoy beautiful Jackson Falls, right in the village. As you walk across the covered Honeymoon Bridge, stop for a good luck kiss – a tradition that goes back to the 1800s, when a covered bridge was one of the rare ‘private’ places in a small village. Then relax at the inn as you look over menus for local restaurants and consider all the possible options for dining in the area.
Day Two is a great time to explore some of the Scenic and Cultural By-way called New England’s Most Scenic 100 miles. Although you can easily tour the entire loop in a day, there are plenty of things to see and do for much longer. You might want to start with a drive on the Kancamagus Highway. An easy route to reach ‘The Kanc’ is via West Side Road to Conway. From spring until fall, you can detour up to Cathedral Ledge for a beautiful overview of the Saco River valley, and take a short hike to Diana’s Baths. You’ll pass several covered bridges on your route at Bartlett and Conway. At the western end of The Kanc, you might enjoy lunch and freshly brewed ale at the local brewery. Meander back east along the morning’s route to see a different set of vistas, and stop at Sabbaday Falls, easily accessible by a walking trail. Climb the pass over Bear Notch (closed in winter) to return to the inn.
Day Three: After a day on the road, today is a good day to explore all of the activities that the White Mountains offer. Play a round of golf at any one of eight golf courses in the area, two of which are right in Jackson. If you prefer, choose an easy or challenging hike, go mountain biking or horseback riding, fly fishing, canoeing or kayaking. In winter, skiing and snowshoeing locations abound. End the afternoon with a massage and a relaxing time by the pool or in front of the fire. This evening might include a romantic candlelight dinner at one of Jackson’s great restaurants or Irish music at the pub across the street.
Day Four: Consider another road trip for today – arrange for a picnic lunch from the inn or stop at one of Jackson’s delis and then head north from Jackson to the Mount Washington auto road where you can take the van or the snow coach up the highest mountain in the northeast. Then enjoy seasonal activities at Great Glen Trails – the trail passes are yours with our compliments – snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tubing in winter, or walking and biking trails in the summer. For a great view of Mount Washington, take the gondola up Wildcat Mountain in summer, or get the same view on a pair of skis in winter.
Continue north to Gorham and Route 2 west for views of the northern Presidentials, then south on 115 to Twin Mountain and east on Route 302 to complete a northern circle route. If you didn’t take the auto road, you can ascend the other side of Mount Washington via the Cog (May-November). You can stop at the Mount Washington Hotel to enjoy its century-old splendor and views of the mountains. If you’re in a hiking mood, try Arethusa Falls, one of the highest in NH. After your day, you’ll be ready for some time in the hot tub or relaxing in the Adirondack chairs by banks of the Ellis River before dinner.
Day Five: Today, you can focus on cultural and historic interests. Take Route 302 west up over Crawford Notch to Bethlehem (yes, the views are different than going east), and then continue on to Littleton, with its 19th-century storefronts, antiquarian bookstore, and the longest candy counter in the world. The Frost Place, Franconia NH, home of Robert Frost, has both a museum and short nature trail (summer only). Then take the road over Sugar Hill for some fantastic views of both the Green and White Mountains before you descend to the Connecticut River valley. Route 10 meanders south along the river to Haverhill and Orford, both with lovely historic districts. If you wish, continue on Route 10 to Hanover (home of Dartmouth and the Hood Gallery of Art) and St. Gaudens National Historic Site (May-October) or cross the bridge to the Vermont side and take I-91 north to St. Johnsbury for some great views across the river to NH. At St. Johnsbury, you can visit both the historic art gallery in the Atheneum and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, Northern New England’s Museum of Natural History. Then it’s back via I-93 and Route 302 to Jackson, or take the northern route via Routes 2 and NH 16.
If you would like to travel a more southern route for cultural and historic interests, plan a day to see some of NH’s Paddleford truss covered bridges, visit the Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm and the Lyceum in Tamworth, and then tour Castle in the Clouds (May-October) or the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center (April – December). In summer, a dinner cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee might end the day.
Day Six: You can’t leave the White Mountains without taking advantage of its tax-free shopping. In addition to the shops in Jackson, North Conway’s downtown has a variety of unique shops, talented artisans, and many outlets near the intersection of Routes 16 and 302. Don’t miss the League of New Hampshire Craftsman. While in North Conway, stop at the Mount Washington Weather Discovery Center and perhaps have coffee and enjoy the art gallery at The Met. If you’re a railroad fan, the Conway Scenic Railway departs from North Conway’s historic station and the Hartmann Model Railroad can be seen in Intervale. This evening, plan to look for moose (take a tour or explore on your own) or in winter, plan a sleigh ride or ice skating in a winter wonderland.
These are just a few of the possible things to do. Plan Your Stay has more specific information about activities for different seasons and the Attractions Maps can help you plan specific routes. Everyone at the inn is happy to help you plan the things you would like to do and help you make arrangements for them.