Take the coming weekend for a pre-Christmas getaway for a bit of relaxation and bargain shopping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Have a day trip of fun or, better yet, make it a weekend with special package prices at comfortable mountain inns and B&Bs.
A tour with fresh tasty cookies and new holiday decorating ideas
Every year for almost the past decade and a half the Country Inns of the White Mountains celebrates the coming of the holiday season with an Inn-to-Inn Cookie and Candy Tour and each year it gets better and better. This year there are fifteen inns participating in the tour providing lodging in ten towns in the area surrounding North Conway, and even extending into neighboring Fryeburg Maine.
Each of the inns makes a special effort s to decorate to bring the joy of the season to its guests. Each of the hosts makes a special effort to show their home at its holiday best, decking the halls with fir trees, swags and wreaths of evergreens and shiny ornaments. But beyond that, the inns and B&Bs invited outside guests to come in, see their inns and enjoy specially prepared cookies and candies of the season. This is a new way to find different decorating techniques to use at home.
Special weekend Inn Cookie and Candy Tour packages
For anyone interested in experiencing the atmosphere and feeling of a mountain country inn, this is the perfect opportunity. The inns and B&Bs are offering special packages that combine 2 nights lodging, breakfast and Cookie & Candy Tour tickets. The Covered Bridge House in Glen, for example, has the basic package for $232 per couple and the 1785 Inn and Restaurant in Intervale has a basic package for $178 and a one night package for only $139. Some of the inns also have dinner packages options. The Inn at Crystal Lake and Pub has a basic package from $355 with an option for a 3 course dinner for two at $70 and also offer one night packages from $190. The Darby Field Inn package is $355 with a three course dinner option for two at $70. Brass Heart Inn in Chocorua offers a two night package for $300 and dinner for two on one night for only $50.
These inns and B&Bs are perfect getaway places because their limited size and comfortable ambiance come with a home-like feeling. Each has its own feeling, some more casual than others, some more or less elegant than the others each creating its own set of charms. Riverbend Inn, in Chocorua, is a more modern structure but comfortable with a big fireplace and windows that look out into a forest with a small river flowing by. Inn at Jackson was built in 1902 for the Baldwin piano family by Stanford White and brings that period’s elegance to its guests, while 1785 Inn has more of an early nineteenth century feel. Among the charms of oll of the places is the simple fact that none are cookie cutter, each room in each inn is different but all have the modern facilities expected by contemporary travelers. Check each of the Inns and B&Bs online and pick the one that suits the budget or the romance of the moment.
What to do there
The first item of business is to relax, so sleep in but not missing the great breakfasts these inns provide. Next, this is the Xmas season, the time for gifts. The strip of Route 16 between Conway and North Conway is perhaps the largest single area of outlet stores in New England, and the bargains here are better than elsewhere. All of the major brands and labels are here. Why drive all the way to Freeport when everybody is here. But look too in the town of North Conway for the really unusual gifts. The town has many stores that are boutique heavens. Zebs General Store is a gold mine of unusual with a big range of New Hampshire and New England made products hard to find elsewhere. The Bavarian Chocolate Haus, close by, is another favorite stop.
Getting tickets and getting there
I f you opt for a package, tickets for the Cookie and Candy Tour will be provided by your host when you arrive at the Inn. For tickets without lodging packages ($27 per person) call (800) 233-8309, or (603) 383-9339 for reservations before December 7. Tickets on the date of the Tour can be bought at 1785 Inn (800) 421 1785, Admiral Peary House (Fryeburg Maine) (877) 4AD-MPRY, Notchland Inn (800)866-6131 and Riverbend Inn (800) 628-6944. To get there from the Greater Boston area use I-95 and from I-95 at Portsmouth take Route 16 through Rochester and on to Conway.