Spend a pre-Christmas getaway weekend relaxing, bargain shopping and munching cookies in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And take advantage of the special package prices at comfortable mountain inns and B&Bs.
Tour inns for tasty cookies and holiday decorating ideas
Each December the Country Inns of the White Mountains celebrates the holiday season with an Inn-to-Inn Cookie and Candy Tour and each year it gets better and better. This year fifteen inns are participating in the tour, providing lodging in ten towns surrounding North Conway, and even extending into neighboring Fryeburg, Maine.
Each of the inns makes a special effort to decorate and find ways to make the season special for its guests. Each shows their home at its holiday best, decking the halls with fir trees, fragrant swags, evergreen wreaths and dazzling ornaments. Beyond that, the inns and B&Bs invite outside guests to come in, see their inns and enjoy specially prepared seasonal cookies and candies. Many visit just to get ideas for new decorating techniques to use at home.
Special weekend Cookie & 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 two nights lodging, breakfasts 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; a one-night package is only $139. Some of the inns also have dinner 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 home-like ambiance. Each has its own feeling, some more casual than others, each with 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 all is the simple fact that none is cookie-cutter; each room in each inn is different but all have the modern facilities expected by contemporary travelers.
What to do there
The first item of business is to relax, so sleep in but without 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? North Conway offers really unusual gifts.. Zebs General Store is a gold mine of unusual 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
If you opt for a package, tickets for the Cookie & 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.