We left Thursday after work got to Franconia, NH around 10:30pm at the lovely Stony Brook Motel (6 hour drive). This was the motel their team chose. Luckily for us the heat didn't work at all and it was a lovely 50 degrees or so in the rooms as outside temps were around high 30s to low 40's overnight. But all good! After eating subpar continental breakfast we decided to tackle Mount Washington. We drove about an hour to Pinkham Notch which is the start of some trails and got there around 9am. Standing at around 6200 feet it is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi.
This hike is strenuous! It took us about 10 hours including a 1 hour break up top and plenty of stops for photos and breaks. We took the Tuckerman Trail to Lions Head and back down straight Tuckerman. There was a detour during the trail which slowed things down, someone mentioned it caused a 45 minute extension to their hike. The Lions Head trail provided better views but it was more technical as there were parts that required being on all four. The way back down was difficult as our legs were sore from going up and the steep decline on the jagged rocks did not add any more comfort as it caused pain from the knees down. But hiking this trail was an amazing experience and we were hit with gorgeous weather. It's known as "the most dangerous mountain" due to the crazy weather that can change any second and it's high winds. But we were hit with sunshine and a clear day; lucky us!
When you get to the top there is a Cog Rail incase you want to take that back down. There is also a road the drives up the mountain. I'm sure there is a service out there that will drive you back down/drive you up/or both. You can also purchase food/water up top; and restrooms/water refill as well.
After the hike was over we drove 35 minutes to North Conway and went straight to get food over at the Muddy Moose Pub/Restaurant. We all had burgers and housed it down right away. We stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites and it had to be the best Comfort Inn I ever stayed in. The heat worked and beds were super comfortable. We all knocked out by 9:45pm. That was a shame because this town seemed like it had a bunch of things to check out. There were a ton of restaurants, breweries, and bars. There was even a club steps away from where we stayed! I wanted to try Sea Dog Brewery across the street, but I just had no energy and was the first to knock out.
However sleeping early had its perks and we got up bright and early for the 7am opening of their continental breakfast. Ate up everything, they had bacon, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, sausages, bagels, bread, oatmeal, etc etc! Best continental breakfast ever. We managed to have enough time to drive to Portland, Maine which was only about 1 hour and 20 minutes away. Got there around 10:30 am and managed to walk around for a couple of hours. It looked like a great little city, almost like a mini Boston. We were in a bit of a rush since we had to head to the finish line at Hampton Beach, NH. We walked through most of Old Town and the Marina section and even had time to stop at Shipyard Brewery for some beers and get some food at Market Street Eats. Check out Food/Beer for how we liked it. But I will definitely have to spend more time in this charming city. You will see me soon Portland!
Hampton Beach, NH was a small nice little beach town. Had it's typical overpriced okay ocean view restaurants and shops selling ugly sweatshirts. But this town was taken over by the Ragnar Race as over 6000 people from the race were there having a good time. Again we slept early, especially the girls as they hadn't slept for almost 36 hours. We managed to walk the beach at around 10pm as the moon was right over the ocean for an amazing setting. Here we stayed at Pelham Motel which was a decent place even had its own little kitchen. Only beef I had was the bed could have been a bit more comfy.
The drive back home was a little over 4 hours since we left at 7:30am. Arrived home Sunday around noon.