A contrast in weather to the last post (Boston & Cape Cod) but a bright and sunny morning with temperatures now down to mid 40s F when we leave Hotel for drive to Mt Washington Cog Railway although it had increased over 10 degrees by the time we reach the base station at 2700′.
Virtually two train loads of passengers are pushed gently up the slope which in places is just over 37% which makes it difficult to stand up straight in the carriage, shows off the few buildings seen as being level but you pass them at such an angle that you think they are crooked.
Soon we leave the tree line behind us and reach an are where thick frost has started to form on anything from metal sleepers for the train, and the by now sparse vegetation.
The higher we get the colder it gets in first the frost line and then the snow line and finally the summit station at 6288′.
Some pretty impressive wind speeds have been recorded here in the past as well as some very low temperatures and the whole area is covered with windswept ice particles clinging to whatever they can find.
The previous day’s train could not get to the top because of the wind but we were lucky, although the view became clouded with the mist during our hour stop at the top. (60 minutes after we left it was all clear again!).
The cafe was a welcome respite from the cold with temperatures at the top probably about mid 20s F! Lots of photos on the walls supplied in part by the guys who work up here in the weather station. There is even a post office although it was closed when we were there.
We then go in search of one of the covered bridges New Hampshire is famous for.
Pass one that is used as a shop but when we reach Lisbon en route for the one at Bath near the Vermont border, sign reads, “covered bridge closed” so disappointingly head back for dinner at Applebee’s and their Monday burger offer!
Not so bright today but a preserved railway ride is planned locally so we won’t be too worried by the forecast rain.
The Conway Scenic Railway operates out of North Conway towards the Mt Washington area. At this time of year, only a limited diesel hauled service to Bartlett once a day and another half way in the afternoon. It would be nice to have been able to travel the whole length of the line but that may have wait until another time. We now have a book of private railway lines to pour over in future planning so we can see what is available next time we visit.
The old 1887 Pullman coach – Gertrude Emma – has been converted to 1st class, so for an extra $6 each, we sat facing the windows in comfortable wicker chairs watching the autumn colours pass by and listening to a very informative commentary from Kate. The alternative was some very hard looking seats or even an open sided coach.
Quite remarkably, an Irish family near us got talking to an American family and discovered that they had the same surname as the Irish woman’s maiden name. The American family heralded from the same area in Ireland as the Irish family so they may well be related.
The return journey was stopped at an Apple cafe where children were given pumpkins and we adults were encouraged to buy a coffee and cider doughnut, and delicious it was too, and all for under $4.
Located The Rugged Mill Clothes shop just outside the station to buy a Kuhl jumper. A shop well worth the visit, thank you Matt for your guidance and followed this up with and a browse around shopping mall only to bump into Irish family again who suggested the nearby town of Jackson to view a covered bridge.
Dinner in room tonight as we have a microwave.
A clear but cold day so we pack up and leave for a trip to Jackson following the advise given and it’s covered bridge only to find the Irish family also viewing it. By now we know them as Martin and Maeve Butler and their two boys and take our photo by the bridge. They have our blog address so maybe they will view this!
Up to the falls at Jackson and then stop for coffee at Backcountry Bakery before the drive south to Conway and the Kancamagus Highway with stunning views back over the Presidentials and loads of leaf fall some of them the deep reds we had hoped for but feared we had missed on our way to Tilton.
Ask reception at Holiday Inn Express at Tilton for dinner recommendations and head, on her recommendation to Shiloh’s for a meal that cost under $30 and was, in quantity, far too much for both of us. Should have opted for just one meal and shared! Retire, somewhat stuffed.
A clear but cold day and we head for the Canterbury Shaker village. Not really quite sure what to expect other than it was mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide.
Tour at 11am with about 10 others was provided by a guide whose family worked for the Shakers when he was a kid so knew the properties exceptionally well.
Although he talked quickly, he covered a lot of ground, was very informative resulting in a wonderful experience.
There are now only 3 members left of the Shaker religion which started in the 1700s in Manchester (UK) and has resulted in many inventions including the first washing machine. Of course Shaker furniture is known worldwide but it was extraordinary to be in buildings that had been built in the late 1700s with furniture of a similar age.
Shakers got their name after the dance routine they “invented” back in the 1700s in the Manchester (UK) area – yes, they shaked!!
A very cold biting wind made the upper 40s seem much colder, so afternoon drive at Gilford and around Wentworth Drive where waterfront properties are on the market for anything between $600k and $10m. Dinner in Shiloh’s again narrowly avoiding a deer crossing the road during our return to the hotel.
A travel day, south to Stamford – not able to see a few areas as by now a cold was developing. However, there were a few diversions en route to see some stunning properties. Upgraded at Holiday Inn Express in Stamford to a Suite which was a pleasant surprise. Dinner in a Chinese restaurant opposite was one of the best meals we had in our travels.
Next post in our travels – New York, Philly and Washington.