Sunday, January 16, 2011
So, someone I knew was having a birthday on New Years Day, and what better way to celebrate a birthday than to go out hiking and sight seeing in our beautiful little corner of the Universe called New Hampshire!
I am a lover of trains. Always have been as a little kid, and I remember the first train (and only) set my father gave me for Christmas when I was about ten. Sadly, I screwed it up by putting key oil down the stack rather than through the little opening that was for the oil...and the train stopped producing little puffs of smoke.
So I got us train tickets to the Conway Scenic Railroad from North Conway to Bartlett, about a ten mile ride. The depot has a small museum, showing historical photographs of old locomotives that ran in New Hampshire, mostly on the old B & M rail lines. I was very surprised to come across an old photograph of a crash between a passenger train and a freight train that took place in Rollinsford, NH a small town that I used to live in right on the NH/ME border!
We boarded the train, and it began its slow ten mile trip from North Conway to Bartlett. The engineer announced over the PA different points of interest, many of them now gone, and unfortunately the majority of what you see is people's back yards, however there are some nice views of the Saco River. This ride takes about an hour and a half to make the total 20 mile trip. However, I definitely recommend the trip as it is easy, and is in close proximity to some other nearby points of interest (besides the shopping that North Conway provides).
After our little trip on the train we made our way to Cathedral Ledge, and impressive hulk of rock slightly lower in elevation than White Horse Ledge (right next to it) over looking Echo Lake. We drove as far as we could since the road is not maintained in winter and there was a decent amount of snow covering the road. We continued on foot up the steep road, occasionally passed by people heading down on sleds (something that occurred to me as wicked fun, if only we had a sled!).
After huffing and puffing our way up the mountain (passing by some ice climbers along the way), we reached the top of Cathedral Ledge and took in the view for a while. There were other intrepid folks to took the time to either walk up the road, or take adjacent trails that led to the top.
After spending about an hour or so, it was to dinner at the Moat Mountain Brewery, maker of their own microbrews (AWESOME!' I might add) and they offer a wide variety of food ranging from vegan to meat lover's paradise. Then it was back home for some vegan pumpkin cake and a movie. All in all, a very nice way to spend New Year's Day in NH!
For more information about the Conway Scenic Railroad, please visit their website.