The forecast called for 6+ inches of snow on the weekend of December 9. That was the weekend of the much anticipated Inn to Inn Cookie Tour in the White Mountains. When we moved to New Hampshire, we made sure to trade in our very urban highway friendly/flat terrain Houston car for a more rough and tumble/winter snowpackage/heated seats plus steering wheel/automatic starter from inside the house… all terrain vehicle. I didn’t know cars came with so many options for winter driving. The winter doodad features and the many buttons to push and toggle boggles the mind when first figuring it all out. Patrick, who considers all cars, old and new, pieces of art to be collected, loved weeding through all of the northern climate car options. He test drove MANY tough looking vehicles before deciding on the Jeep Trailblazer (correction…Patrick has just informed me after reading this that we do not have a Jeep Trailblazer…we own a Jeep Cherokee. I say…”whatever”!) …in pumpkin orange…nonetheless. Actually, the pumpkin orange was my choice!
6+ inches of snow in just a few hours is a lot for our first snow of the season. We decided to get up with the sunrise that morning and take off, even with the snow filled forecast. We really wanted to go! Well…I really wanted to go on the sweet and very quaint sounding inn to inn cookie tour. Patrick, my somewhat willing partner’s motivation was more or less preoccupied with testing out the Jeep’s snow package features as the 6+ inches of snow fell as well as…the cookie part of the tour. Truth be told, he was in and out of each inn lickety-split (cookies in hand) as I wandered at a more leisurely pace. It all worked out in the end. I enjoyed the drive while he enjoyed the…driving!
The best plan is to book reservations at one of the inns, wake up to a beautiful breakfast and begin the inn tours in that manner. Our schedule wouldn’t allow such a supremely lovely weekend plan, so we woke up with the sunrise to head north. We brewed some steaming hot coffee, poured it into our travel thermos, and took off north up and over the rolling hills of New Hampshire into the stunning snow capped White Mountain region. We were headed towards Conway Village area where the cookie tour begins just north of there in Jackson, NH. There were 11 inns in the tour altogether. We weren’t sure how we were going to see so many inns (and eat so many cookies!) but the entire drive was very easy, scenic, and really fun. It was a day filled with peeking inside charming inns, collecting delicious cookies and candies, and having a wonderful magical start to the holiday season.
The inns were all dressed in their finest holiday ensembles. We chatted with the innkeepers, munched on cookies, and generally had a wonderful time driving up and down pretty hills to find the next inn on our list. To break up the tour, Conway Village was a perfect stop for lunch. I enjoyed a delicious swordfish plate with black bean soup for lunch at Horsefeather’s. We sat upstairs at tables overlooking the Conway Railway Station across the street. The steam engine across Main Street let out thick swirling plumes of smoke as the vintage trains at station rumbled out of the station on their “Journey to the North Pole” trips to celebrate the holiday season. Families with brightly clad bundled up children could be seen excitedly making their way from the Main Street shops over to the train to depart for their trip.
We have that holiday scenic train ride experience on our next year’s “to do” list but after lunch, a stop at Zeb’s famous candy store or my favorite black licorice and a few choice cupcake selections at The Cupcakery, we went on our merry way to see more inns…and collect more cookies.
Not one flake of snow fell during the day. Truth be told, we were a bit disappointed. We did want to see the inns as well as the lovely country lanes begin to be blanked by beautiful white snow. We missed it by one day. The next day, there was more than 6 inches on the ground by midday. But on Saturday, the clouds were heavy and thick with flakes but they stayed all tucked up there in the sky until nightfall. All day it looked like those clouds would burst with snowflakes to turn our Christmas drive into its very own little snow globe-scape.
Not until the very last inn, The Inn at Crystal Lake, where there was a local craft show going on and the locals were gathered together for the big end of the day holiday raffle baskets, did the big fat flakes begin to tumble from the sky.
We had just discovered this magical little spot across from Crystal Lake where the scene before us could have been a perfect holographic image projected against the darkening sky. Across from the lake, where a sweet family of ducks went paddling by in the water, sat The Little White Church and graveyard. It was the most quintessentially New England scene to cap off a really charming day in December. The snowflakes were tumbling down and landing so gently on the water. The church in the distance poked the sky with its little white steeple and rested so cozily on the lake’s shore. No one was around us as we pulled the car over to the bank of the lake and just took in the endearing scene. It could have been 2017, but because it was so quiet and the only thing we could see was the little chapel through the thickening haze of snowflakes, it was so easy to imagine this scene 100 years ago. The church was built in the 1800s. Even today, the area is remote, secluded, and has a serene presence on the bucolic landscape. What a journey to get to church so long ago. What a gathering it must have been for the families who traveled during winter snowfalls like this one. I imagined it an intensely joyous occasion as the snowflakes gathered all around to eventually blur the lines between the tiny structure and the pastoral landscape as the scene before us transformed into whiteness.
More scenes from The 1785 Inn
The lovely rustic Saco River Bridge near North Conway, NH
The Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton, New Hampshire
The 1785 Inn’s breakfast room
Shopping and dining in downtown Conway Village, New Hampshire
Bottom Left and Right: The Eastman Inn
The snow capped White Mountains in the distance as we drove from inn to inn (cookies in hand!)
Horsefeather’s restaurant in Conway Village, New Hampshire
I know! I know! Cupcakes on a cookie tour? Yes…its The Cupcakery!
The Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton, New Hampshire
The Old Red Inn & Cottages
Cranmore Inn in North Conway, New Hampshire
Darby Field Inn
The Little White Church across from Crystal Lake in Eaton, New Hampshire.
List of New Hampshire Inns on the 2017 Inn to Inn Cookie Tour:
|1785 Inn – North Conway|
|Admiral Peary Inn B&B – Fryeburg, ME|
|Cranmore Inn – North Conway|
|Darby Field Inn – Albany|
|Eastman Inn – North Conway|
|Glen Oaks Inn – Intervale|
|Inn at Crystal Lke & Palmer House Pub – Eaton|
|Inn at Ellis River – Jackson|
|Old Red Inn & Cottages – North Conway|
|Snowvillage Inn – Eaton|