White Mountains Wonderland

By Barrett, Wayne M. | USA TODAY, May 2004 | Go to article overview

White Mountains Wonderland


Barrett, Wayne M., USA TODAY


"Remember that vulture we saw on the train?" Alex blurted out one evening at dinner. Huh? "You know," he insisted, "when we were on vacation in New Hampshire." There are a lot of these types of mutated snippets around our house--especially when it comes to vacation, either remembering the last one or anticipating the next.

What Alex was alluding to was our scenic ride through the White Mountains on the Conway Railroad late last summer. Watching the countryside go by became much more intriguing when this large brown hawk glided down below the tree line. Talk about a perfect view of a perfect predator!

My wife and I, going w-a-y back to our dating days, used to ride the Conway every autumn during foliage season. The burning colors of the changing leaves are nothing less than breathtaking that time of year. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful region than New England during the fall. However, we hadn't gone on the train since our first-born, Julie, now 7, was just a few months old. Her brothers (Alex, 5, and Trevor, a month shy of his fourth birthday) finally were old enough to sit still (well, at least for a little while), sc) we decided to see how the old locomotive was doing.

The summer scenery, while certainly devoid of the brilliant hues that would be evident in a matter of weeks, still had an aura all its own. The lush greens were quite soothing and the mountaintops, as always, a sight to behold.

After such rural pleasures, the kids were ready for action, which is why we were back in the Granite State in the first place. On the docket for the week were all the favorite old haunts: Story Land (in Jackson), Santa's Village (in Jefferson), Whale's Tale Water Park (in Lincoln), and Six-Gun City & Fort Splash (also Jefferson), supplemented by plenty of miniature golf at Pirate's Cove and Hobo Junction.

Story Land, like Santa's Village, has an admissions policy that makes it almost impossible to visit for just one day. Enter the park after 3 p.m. (it closes at six o'clock) and receive a pass to return any day that season. Of course, we're always back the very next morning, bright and early--and why not? The prices are reasonable, the lines for the many excellent rides and attractions rarely are long, and the staff is personable and attentive. …

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