With the mercury climbing in the city, it’s a great time to plan an escape to the mountains. The western White Mountains are perfect for a weekend or weeklong adventure for all ages with waterparks, hiking, and delicious food and drink options. Let two of our longtime locals tell you a few of their favorite things to do in the summer.
What do you like about summer in the western White Mountains?
Summer in the western White Mountains is an incredible experience. With beautiful weather, warm temperatures, and tons of activities, it’s a great place to escape for a weekend or a week.
There’s lots to like about summer. Susan of the Purple Tomato Farmer’s Market says, “you can always find a place to cool off in a nearby river or stream. Plus, who doesn’t love making s’mores on the campfire?” Franconia Falls, which you can reach from the Lincoln Woods Trail, features several swimming holes and natural waterslides perfect for cooling off in on a hot summer day.
Steve Loynd of Alpine Lakes Real Estate says, “when it seems hot and muggy nearly everywhere else, the mountains have a fresh breeze and you can count on the temps being 10 degrees cooler than cities and towns on the east coast.” Summer is a great time to bag some of the 4,000-footers in the area and the take in the spectacular views from the peaks. On some mountains, you can see all the way to Canada, Maine, and Vermont!
What’s your favorite summer activity in the western White Mountains?
The western White Mountains offer an abundance of fun activities for all ages from waterparks to hiking to ziplining and even a bear show! You’ll often see many of the locals out and about on foot or two wheels. Susan loves challenging herself by riding her bike up the Kancamagus Highway. And if you’ve ever driven the “Kanc” then you know that’s no easy feat! The Franconia Notch bike path is another great ride, going up is much harder than going down – choose one or both!
On the other hand, Steve likes to “get out during the middle of the week to play golf or head to Echo Lake” You’ll find a lot more local business owners catching a show at Jean’s Playhouse or licking an ice cream cone on Main Street. As Susan says, “the dedicated Jean’s Playhouse crew never disappoints. The shows are fantastic!”
Where is your favorite place to eat in the western White Mountains this summer?
Steve says, “the Gypsy Café is one of my favorite places to visit, and I try to order the special of the day… that is where the variety is found.” As the owner of the Purple Tomato Farmer’s Market, Susan loves putting together a picnic basket of fresh fruit, cheeses & side salads and sneaking some quiet time by the river.”
And, if you’re looking for the freshest fruit in town and some of the best sandwiches around, head over to the Purple Tomato Farmer’s Market on Lincoln’s Main Street.
What’s your favorite summer hike in the western White Mountains?
Summer in the western White Mountains offer a wide array of world-class hiking. From the challenging 8.5-mile Franconia Ridge Trail to the flat Lincoln Woods Trail and everything in between, you’ll easily find the perfect hiking trail for you. “I like the short hikes with a big view for a reward. The Artist Bluff and Bold Knob loop in Franconia Notch overlooking Echo Lake and the ski slopes at Cannon is hard to beat. Plus, it doesn’t take all day to do that little hike,” says Steve. If you’re not sure where to go hiking, stop by the Mountain Wander and talk to Steve Smith.
Where’s the best place to escape the summer crowds in the western White Mountains?
Contrary to popular belief, summer in the western White Mountains isn’t all that crowded on the trails. If you prefer the peace and quiet of nature, it’s one of the best places to be! But, if you do find the area to be too crowded for your liking then take Susan’s recommendation – “all you need to do is find a trail you like and then just go a little further than most other people.” Steve prefers the quiet solitude of the Kancamagus Highway. “Lincoln Woods Trail, Otter rocks, the Greeley pond loop or a stop at the Hancock Notch rest stop is where you’ll find me. My favorite heart shaped tree that I photograph throughout the year can be found on route 112 as well,” he says.
What’s your favorite ice cream place in the western White Mountains?
PC: Coneheads in North Woodstock, NH
There is nothing better than an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Susan says, “We love Bishops in Littleton or Coneheads in North Woodstock. My favorite combo is a scoop of black raspberry and a scoop of chocolate.” Steve says that Ice Cream Delights is right across the street from his office and the variety of flavors is awesome.
What’s your favorite summer swimming hole in the western White Mountains?
Both Susan and Steve recommend taking a dip in Lady’s Bath on a hot summer day. Susan says it’s where her father-in-law swam as a child, so they are keeping the tradition going! Steve thinks the Pemigewasset is often too cold for a dip and Lady’s Bath is just right. Of course, you can always take a swim in the Pemi or one of the many waterfalls, swimming holes, and lakes in the area. Depending on where you’re staying, there may even be a nice warm pool.
What’s your favorite walk or hike near town?
“My favorite walk as a person who enjoys photography is the Flume Gorge in Lincoln. It is very nearby, and I enjoy it even more in the winter when the ice forms and climbers test their skills on the 90-foot walls,” says Steve. The Flume Gorge is one of the western White Mountains most iconic spots and if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you stop by for a visit! Susan loves the bike path from downtown to Loon and the Lincoln “town loop” is a great way to chat with friends and visitors on the street while getting your afternoon steps in.
Summer in the western White Mountains have something to offer everyone so make sure you stop by soon and visit us!