Spring in the western White Mountains is a beautiful time of the year. The temperature starts to rise, the flowers start blooming, but you’ll still be able to find some snow left for the last turns of the ski season. The summer crowds have yet to arrive, so you’ll have much of the area to yourself.
Every season we ask a few of our local business owners to share their favorite activities, restaurants, and travel tips for the season. While summer and winter might be the most popular times of the year to visit the western White Mountains, there is a reason that many of our locals decided to make the western White Mountains home.
What’s your favorite thing about Spring in the western White Mountains?
Justin Walsh, co-owner of the Notch Hostel, says “Spring is a great time to hit the water. The Pemi River is in top shape for kayaking, the fish are biting, and those first few 70-degree days feel so good.” Susan Champagne of the Purple Tomato says, “I love early Spring when the snow finally melts in the valleys, but the mountain tops are still covered. There’s no bugs, no crowds, and great views when hiking.”
What’s your favorite activity to get you outside?
In many parts of New England, Spring is often referred to as “Mud Season.” Walsh says, “despite the moniker of ‘mud season,’ the trails here in the White Mountains are quite often in great shape during the Spring months. The soil on the trails around here doesn’t have nearly as much muddy organic material as those in the surrounding states and southern New Hampshire.” Renee Blood, the General Manager at the RiverWalk Resort, says, “Running! I love to run ‘the loop’ around Lincoln and North Woodstock as the temperatures are much better for outdoor running and there’s usually minimal traffic. Plus, you are sure to always bump into a couple people you know!”
What do you like to do on a rainy day?
You know what they say, “April showers, bring May flowers.” Rainy days in the western White Mountains happen. While the area is known for its incredible outdoor activities, you’ll find plenty of things to do inside as well. Margarita Dufresne, the owner of Live a Little Fitness, suggests taking a yoga class. She says, “Nothing beats a yoga class on a rainy day. Just walking into our studio from the rainy outdoors lifts my spirits and really reignites my energy.”
What’s your favorite restaurant or cafe that you always suggest to your friends and family visiting from out of town?
After a long winter season and before the crowds arrive for summer, many restaurant and café owners will take some well-deserved time off and close their eateries for a month or two during the Spring season. But, don’t worry, there are plenty of tasty restaurants that stay open year-round! Dufresne highly recommends the Woodstock Station & Brewery. She says, “They have a huge menu, and the beer they make is great! The other day I tried a delicious Papia Beer, but the Maple Porter is my absolute favorite beer!” If you’re looking to pick up a tasty homemade sandwich for the trails, then stop at the Purple Tomato on Main Street in Lincoln. For dinner, Champagne recommends, “the Black Diamond Pub at the Mountain Club on Loon because they have a farm-to-table focus.” Blood always recommends The Common Man to friends and family as “you can’t go wrong with their starters, flatbreads, and comfy couches and fireplace.”
What’s your “bucket list” activity in the western White Mountains that you want to do once the snow melts?
The Pemigewasset River is the lifeblood of the western White Mountains. The river descends over countless waterfalls in Franconia Notch and is a favorite spot for boaters and fishermen. As an avid outdoorsman, Walsh is excited about his first trip down the Pemi River after the snow melts. Dufresne, a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, says, “I’d really love to go on a helicopter ride through the White Mountains. The views would be amazing!”
What’s your top tip to survive mud season in the western White Mountains?
Mud season in the western White Mountains isn’t bad as you think. As Walsh likes to say, “Don’t go to Vermont. The mud is worst there.” Dufresne recommends, “Get active! Mud season is such a great time to prepare for summer hikes, mountain bike rides, and of course, family outings. So, start a fitness program. Maybe check out a group fitness class, hire a personal trainer, or join an outdoor boot camp class. If you want to hike all the 4000-footers, you’ll need strength, flexibility, and stamina.” Whether you’re just visiting or thinking about staying awhile in the western White Mountains, Dufresne can undoubtedly help you get in shape for the summer at Live a Little Fitness. Home to yoga, boot camp classes, and more, you’ll have tons of fun while also burning some calories.
What’s one piece of advice would you give people who are interested in visiting the white mountains in the spring?
Spring is the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Just take Champagne’s advice, “Spring in this area is beautiful and quiet. Expect that some business establishments will be closed. Expect no traffic. Expect time to talk and laugh with locals. Expect to have many of the walking and hiking trails for yourself to enjoy. Expect no bugs. Expect the opportunity to see everything come to life.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Spring in the western White Mountains is a real treat. Enjoy the fresh mountain air amongst the blooming wildflowers and the friendly locals who call the area home.