Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 05/31/06

I visited the White Mountains in New Hampshire last weekend — it’s great to go when it isn’t mobbed by tourists, but the seasons is just barely opening in late May, so a lot of things (like water parks, the Loon Mountain gondola) were closed. The theatre season hasn’t started yet (they start mid to late June) which was a disappointment, so there is not much to do in the evenings. But if you have a hotel or B&B with a jacuzzi or swimming pool you are all set.

Here are the evening activities we did find, both from Rt 93 exit 32 (Lincoln NH). There is a dinner railroad, basically you get served dinner on a train and poot around seeing the sights. Also there are Moose Tours! We went and saw two meeses. Um, moose. Pemi Valley Excursions, 603-745-2744. Reserve in advance. They have horseback tours in the daytime too.

I would avoid The Incredible Heritage, which is a tourist trap with some impressive dioramas but little or no educational value. We got to try riding a Segue machine though, the Big Wheel for adults that can’t tip over. Next door I would also avoid Storyland. In general why visit New Hampshire if you’re going to stay in the man-made spaces… get out and do some hiking or walking. There are a ton of places to rent kayaks. We visited the Bear Brook State Park which has a cute snowmobile museum and a beach, and you can rent boats. Pawtuckaway State Park is also great, probably the nicest that is closer to Boston. Bring your swimsuit, beach blankets, sunglasses, and sunblock.

The Cannon Mountain tramway is open, which carries you to the top of Mt. Cannon. From there you can hike down or ride the tramway back. Loon Mountain and Wildcat also have gondola rides. Mt. Attitash has huge “mountain slides”.

The Flume Gorge and Lost River Gorge are worth seeing — a walk through many rocks, boulders, and a river. There aren’t really caves at the Lost River Gorge and Caves though… there are merely some cracks where a jumble of rocks makes a small place you can climb through. However, the Polar Caves attraction,, which did have “caves” worth visiting, even if they were also simply jumbles of rocks.

I would also recommend staying in Lincoln, NH, which is the center of all the summertime stuff to do there. This frees you from needing to plan in advance what you’re doing… just grab some of the numerous tourist brochures. In the winter just stay next to (or on site) of whichever mountain you’re skiing.

You may also know that you can drive up Mt. Washington, which is the tallest mountain in New England. Or you can take the Cog Railway, which is smokey but good — it’s a train that goes up the mountain. Bring warmer clothing for this.

Also, they have fireworks and a concert on the 4th of July at the Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, NH. I went there one year and it was worth seeing. Finally, we heard that Clark’s Trading Post is worth seeing… it’s not just a store they have bear shows and a mini amusement park thing going on. But I haven’t seen it personally.

When Water Country (the largest water ride park in New England) opens, in Portsmouth NH, also check out nearby Strawbery Banke Museum, also in Portsmouth, which is the 3rd great live action museum in New England. The other two are Plymouth Plantation (1620s), and Sturbridge Village (1820s). Strawbery Banke is a late 19th century museum showing a settler village, and unlike many of the tourist traps it’s really well done. Yes, they do not have the best spelling skills, do they.

OK. Now you know everything about summer New Hampshire that I know. 🙂