Going places: From mountains to beach getaways, New England serves up summer delights for families

Karen Rubin
What a trip! Riding New Hampshire’s historic Mount Washington Cog Railway up to the top of the Northeast’s tallest peak © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

by Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Vail Resorts in Northeast Gear Up for Summer with Mountain Biking, Golf, Zip Tours

Broomfield, Colo.-based Vail Resorts has opened its summer activities program at six of its Northeast resorts including Mount Snow, Stowe and Okemo in Vermont and Mount Sunapee, Attitash and Wildcat in New Hampshire. (Openings comply with state and local guidelines and may be subject to change.)

Mount Snow Resort

The Mount Snow Golf Club has already teed off. The Mount Snow Golf Course has matured into one of Vermont’s premier mountain courses and has been rated one of the top five in the state by Golf Digest.

Mountain biking has begun at the Mount Snow Bike Park. Now in its 33rd season, making it one of the oldest bike parks in North America, the bike park is a four-time Top Five finisher in the MTBparks.com Riders’ Choice Best Bike Parks Awards for the Northeast. The lift-served park’s 10 trails offer a variety of cross-country, downhill, freeride and mixed-use terrain with a total vertical of 1,000 feet. Mount Snow also offers the First Lift and First Drop programs, which are clinics geared toward introducing people to the sport of downhill mountain biking and helping them build their skills.

Scenic chairlift rides on the Bluebird Express to the summit of Mount Snow have begun, offering views of Somerset Reservoir, Mount Monadnock and sometimes even Mount Washington.

Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe’s Zip Tour Adventure, which opens on July 1, is among the world’s fastest and most exhilarating zip line experiences. Ride the Summit Gondola to the launching point near the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, then fly down three of the world’s longest zip-spans, above and through the Green Mountain State Forest.

Stowe’s Treetop Adventure offers six different levels of courses consisting of aerial tree-to-tree connections with 68 various Challenge/Game elements intertwined in the experience. Suitable for most ages, the courses are designed to progressively build confidence.

The 4.5-mile Mount Mansfield Auto Toll Road begins next to the Inn at the Mountain and climbs to an elevation of 3,850 feet, from which you can access the Mount Mansfield Summit Station for spectacular hiking.

Another spectacular mountain ascent is provided by the Mount Mansfield Gondola which departs from the Gondola Barn, just north of the historic Mount Mansfield Base Lodge.

Okemo Mountain Resort offers lift-served mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides on The Sunburst Six to the summit of Okemo Mountain. Okemo’s Adventure Zone at Jackson Gore features the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, Miniature Golf, Disc Golf, Haulback Challenge Course and Coleman Brook Mining Company Sluice.

Mount Sunapee offers scenic chairlift rides to the summit and lift-served mountain biking, hiking trails, an archery course; the Mount Sunapee Adventure Park has miniature golf, disc golf, an aerial challenge course, a mining sluice and a new pump track. The return of warm-weather events this summer will include the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair, scheduled Aug. 7 through Aug. 15.

Attitash Mountain Resort in the heart of the White Mountains offers its classic Alpine Slide and the Flying Yankee Scenic Chair.

Wildcat Mountain Resort: Wildcat Express Scenic Ride offers spectacular views of Mount Washington and the surrounding Presidential Mountain range. Take the scenic, four-person enclosed gondola to Wildcat Mountain’s 4,000+ foot summit.

Epic Pass Price Reset for Winter 2021: Vail Resorts is reducing Epic Pass products prices for the 2021/22 winter season by 20 percent across the board, and are now available to purchase at EpicPass.com. The Northeast Value Pass is priced at $479 (down from $599 last season) and offers access to all seven of Vail’s Vermont and New Hampshire resorts plus Hunter and Roundtop. The Northeast Midweek Pass is now $359, reduced from $449. The price reduction applies to all the Epic passes: the Epic Local Pass is now $583 (down from $729 last season) and the full Epic Pass is $783 (reduced from $979 last season). Visit www.epicpass.com and www.snow.com for more information.

New England Inns & Resorts

The New England Inns & Resorts Association (NEIRA) has collected the best accommodations with water experiences for travelers to Cool Off this summer in the region’s lakes, rivers, oceans, pools and waterfalls:

Beach Loving Cows at the Nobnocket Boutique Inn at Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts: explore the Elizabeth Islands by boat, stopping to swim with the highland cattle of Nashawena Island (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/inns-resorts/massachusetts/vineyard-haven/nobnocket-boutique-inn/offers/explore-the-elizabeth)

Waterfall Tour at the Stone Hill Inn in Stowe, Vermont: visit all of Vermont’s famous waterfalls on a 2-hour guided excursion through the Green Mountains (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/inns-resorts/vermont/stowe/stone-hill-inn/offers/stowe-hiking-adventure).

Tuna Fishing at the Beauport Hotel Gloucester in Gloucester, Massachusetts: the crew from the popular TV show “Wicked Tuna” will take guests hunting giant tuna and split the total earnings (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/inns-resorts/massachusetts/gloucester/beauport-hotel-gloucester/offers/go-tuna-fishing-with-the).

Paddle a Lazy River at the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, Vermont: floating the Clyde River, view birds and wildlife before returning for a romantic dinner at the inn (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/inns-resorts/vermont/lower-waterford/rabbit-hill-inn/offers/lazy-river-paddle-add-on-package).

Themed Water Park at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis, Massachusetts: the indoor/outdoor 30,000 square foot water park with themed pools at the resort offers a magical family getaway (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/inns-resorts/massachusetts/hyannis/cape-codder-resort-and-spa/offers/splash-into-spring-savings).

Lobsters & Lighthouses at the Glenmoor By The Sea in Lincolnville, Maine: cruising Penobscot Bay, guests will bait lobster traps, bird watch, and count the local lighthouses on a boat cruise (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/inns-resorts/maine/lincolnville/glenmoor-by-the-sea/offers/lobster-and-lighthouse-package).

NEIRA (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com) is a one-stop shop for travelers to discover more than 300 places to sleep in New England by filtering properties by state, offers, and interests (www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/offers/cool-off).

Summer Vacation in New Hampshire’s White Mountains

Twin Mountain-Bretton Woods, in the shadow of Mount Washington nestled between Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, is a great home base for a White Mountains summertime getaway in New Hampshire. There are plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy:

Biking trails, ranging from easy to advanced (bike rentals available at Bretton Woods and Drummonds Mountain Shop).

Hiking: Take in the views of Mount Washington, the mighty Presidential Range and the Ammonoosuc River by foot. There are hiking trails suitable for all ages and abilities – beginners will enjoy Elephant’s Head or Mount Willard; Lower Falls is a great kid-friendly hike which leads to an incredible waterfall; more experienced can hike on Zealand Trail; less-traveled alternatives are Middle and North Sugarloaf Mountains. (See a list of hikes at https://twinmountain.org/hiking/)

Some of New Hampshire’s top-rated waterfalls are in Twin Mountain-Bretton Woods, including Arethusa Falls, NH’s tallest waterfall.

Enjoy rides and activities at Clark’s Bears and Bretton Woods Adventure Center; The Rocks or nearby Franconia Notch State Park (featuring the Flume Gorge and the tramway to the summit of Cannon)

Bird watchers flock to Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge where 200 species can be spotted; during the summer, loon, American bittern, northern harriers, gray jay, Swainson’s thrush).

Ride to the top of the Northeast’s tallest peak, Mount Washington: Board the Mount Washington Cog Railway for a three-hour round-trip to the skyline, a 6,228’ excursion! Drive yourself on the Mount Washington Auto Road, where you’ll earn your “This Car Climbed Mount Washington” bumper sticker.

To explore from a birds-eye view, take a helicopter ride with Vertical Ventures Aviation. For breathtaking views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, enjoy a 12 minute a ride on the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola.

Rivers, lakes, and ponds are often stocked with trout and attract anglers of all ages and abilities. Enjoy fishing around the White Mountain National Forest or at one of the many bodies of water with roadside or backcountry access. Fishing licenses are required and available online through the NH Fish and Game.

Golf at five extraordinary Donald Ross golf courses, including the Omni Mount Washington Hotel.

Twin Mountain-Bretton Woods offers a variety of lodging from a grand resort (the Mount Washington, a grand historic resort, is our favorite), to hotels, motels, campgrounds, cabins and vacation homes (https://twinmountain.org/find-lodging/)

More information at Twin Mountain-Bretton Woods Chamber of Commerce, 800-245-TWIN, twinmtnchamber@gmail.com, https://twinmountain.org/.
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