It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The Ice Castles are back again for its ninth season in New Hampshire. Since 2014, the famous Ice Castles have attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors every winter to explore over 20 million pounds of frozen features. Now located in North Woodstock with a permanent location, Ice Castles are the perfect winter attraction for families and couples. Kids of all ages will love its slides, mazes, thrones, and frozen archways and new this year – an enchanted forest!
There’s a ton of fun things to do with the whole family in the Western White Mountains, so when you visit the Ice Castles, stay for a weekend, or the entire week. The Western White Mountains are home to two of the best ski areas in the White Mountains with Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain just minutes away. We know that skiing isn’t for everyone, but don’t worry, there’s so much more to do!
Get Creative with the Family
Too cold for an outdoor activity? Bring your kids to Chutters candy shop in Lincoln or take a drive through the notch to Littleton to their flagship store, holding the world record for the longest candy counter at 112 feet. Make a stop at the New England Ski Museum, located in Franconia Notch State Park, to learn about the history of skiing, the local “firsts” and area native Bode Miller’s ski career, all for free! Afterwards, book a play time at Kids Studio Play so the kids can run off their sugar high and make some new friends!
Experience Winter on the Mt. Washington Cog Railway
Looking to experience the Western White Mountain’s famous winter weather and dramatic landscapes? Look no further than the Mt. Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world! Throughout the winter, their trains terminate at their newly redesigned and expanded Waumbek Station. Located in an alpine meadow at roughly 4000’, clear conditions provide spectacular panoramic vistas from the southern Presidentials to the Canadian border. Passengers leave the train for about 25 minutes to enjoy complimentary hot refreshments, warming huts and a fire pit. Round trips to Waumbek are roughly 1 hour, at reduced fares.
Fly Down the Mountain on Snow Tubes
You don’t need to ski or snowboard to have fun at Loon Mountain! Loon Mountain offers a lift-serviced snow tubing hill in the White Mountains, so you can spend more time flying down the mountain than hiking back up. The tubing tracks are groomed and fast on the Little Sister Trail. For the little ones under 8, there’s a walk-up Tot Tubing area. Warm up after with hot cocoa at the Octagon Lodge.
Fly above the trees on one of the three zipline courses at Alpine Adventures. If that’s too much thrill and you’d prefer to keep it on four wheels, sign up for their off-road tour in a six wheeled Pinzgauer. They offer guided snowshoe tours, a Big Air Bag stuntzone and an aerial adventure park. They’ve got all kind of adventures to get your heart rate pumping.
Celebrate a Special Occasion
Celebrate your next anniversary, engagement, birthday, or just schedule a romantic date night with your other half at one of the many delicious restaurants in Lincoln and the North Woodstock area. For something different, try tapas at The Depot or something worldly from the Gypsy Cafe. The Woodstock Inn Brewery has been voted the White Mountains favorite restaurant for eight years. With an extensive food and beer menu, you’ll find something delicious to eat. For a post-dinner celebratory beer, stop by One Love Brewery. or Twin Barns North Taproom.
Cheers to Wine Tasting & More
Send the kids to ski school or the movies and head over to one of two Seven Birches Winery tasting rooms. The original tasting room is located within the RiverWalk Resort. Overlooking the recently planted vines, you can sip on a variety of red, white, and everything in between wine varieties. The new Atrium Wine Bar is located in the Lincoln Village Shops. The Atrium is open for wine by the glass, wine flights, and New Hampshire-made snacks. And right next door is a newer addition to the area for a fun tasting experience: Rhythm Handcrafted Beverages. Try their locally sourced and produced cider, seltzer and so much more. Once you’re done sipping, make sure you do a little shopping at the Lincoln Village Shops.
Lace Up Your Skates
Lace up your skates and hit the ice to practice your triple axels. RiverWalk Resort has one of the best ice skating rinks in the mountains. While it may look like any other ice rink on top, underneath, you’ll find miles of specialized tubing turning RiverWalk Resort’s outdoor lagoon swimming pool into a state-of-the-art ice skating rink. The ice skating rink is open to the public, and rentals are available if you don’t have your own skates. Throughout the winter months, RiverWalk hosts several shows, including the popular Skate with the Bruins fundraising event.
This winter, come for the Ice Castles but stay for the dozens of family-friendly fun attractions, restaurants, and activities in the Western White Mountains.
For state-wide information, head to VisitNH.gov