Loon Mountain and its nearby towns of Lincoln and North Woodstock are on the western side of the White Mountains region and at the western end of the picturesque Kancamagus Highway. A year-round destination for outdoor sports and activities, the area draws skiers and snowboarders in winter, as well as people looking to simply enjoy the scenic surroundings in the snow. People who don’t ski can find outdoor fun on snow tubing hills or snowmobile tours. There is plenty of hearty dining at well-loved, family-operated restaurants. And there is lots for kids to do, indoors and out.
Alpine Adventure Off-Road Tours, Snowshoe Tours, and Zip Lines at 41 Main Street in Lincoln: These trips depart from Main Street in Lincoln and take adventurers to 300 private acres on Barron Mountain, just outside of town, via the six-wheel Pinzgauer off-road vehicle. Snowshoe tours cater to the ability and preferences of the group, but all move on a trail system with glorious views of the surrounding White Mountain National Forest; group and private tours can be arranged. Zip lines operate in winter, too! Why not? You are flying high about ice and snow anyway! 603-745-9911.
Snow tubing, zip lines, Nordic skiing, ice skating at Loon Mountain: If you find yourself on a ski mountain in winter, drawn by a family gathering and New Hampshire's winter beauty, but you are not a downhill skier or boarder, there are still ways to get out and enjoy an outdoor sport. Loon Mountain ski area has plenty of other options for you. Plop into a giant snow tube and zoom down the lift-serviced snow tubing hill. Hang from a zip line and fly high across the frozen Pemigewasset River. Rent and jump on Nordic skis and explore the local cross-country skiing path network; snow shoeing rentals and trails also are available. Go Olympian (in your mind, at least) and mimic ice dancers on the ice skating. All at Loon!
Sledventures Snowmobile Tours and Rentals, 514 Route 3, Lincoln: If you are over age 18 and have a driver’s license, you can take a snowmobile out onto New Hampshire’s excellent snowmobiling trails with Sledventures. Guided tours of groups of snowmobiles are available, or more-skilled operators can travel on their own. Sledventures trains people to operate SkiDoo 550 or 600 4-stroke machines, and also rents out clothing and gear. SledVentures is on Route 3, right off of corridor 11, one of the state’s main north-to-south trails. This is a chance for newbies to try is expensive sport, at a reasonable cost for a day. 603-238-2571.
Fadden's General Store at 109 Main Street in North Woodstock: At this authentic, old-fashioned general store, family-owned since 1896, you can buy treats of all kinds (candy, maple goods), groceries, and mementos to take home. Like many early settlers of the early 1800s, the Fadden family harvested maple sap and produced syrup for their own use. In the 1930s the family began a commercial operation. The Fadden’s Sugarhouse, located on Main Street adjacent to the general store, is open to the public whenever sap is boiling (usually late February into March). Family members and staff are eager to show the boiling off process and tell you about their history.
Chutters at 165 Main Street in Lincoln: Chutters, which has operated in Littleton for many years, also has a location in Lincoln, and not a moment too soon. Chutters is famous for its long counter of glass canisters filled with traditional and old-fashioned candy of every imaginable variety, from Mary Janes to taffy to fireballs to licorice and everything in between. It’s a fun excursion for kids, who can choose lots of old mystery candy to their hearts’ content. Adults love Chutters, too. 603-728-6144.
The Richardson Gallery at 116 Main Street in North Woodstock: Located on the Main Street of North Woodstock, Richardson’s Gallery features the artwork of the late artist Jack Richardson. The Gallery also exhibits local artwork including jewelry, pottery, stained glass, metal work, and photography. Call for hours at 603-745-2030.
New Hampshire Ice Castles at Clark Farm Road in North Woodstock: In this unique cold-weather creation – really, a work of walk-through art -- everything is made of ice and snow. Stroll through the castle, where walls are 10 feet thick and 10,000 icicles add to the eerie interior. You can explore tunnels and caves, frozen fountains, chairs and thrones, sculptures and towers, some arching 25 feet tall. Lights are frozen into the ice and at night colored lights sync up to music for a spectacular light show.
Flume Covered Bridge in Lincoln: New England’s covered bridges are little masterpieces of design, conveying traffic over streams and rivers across three centuries. There are a delight to painters and photographers. Local people don’t take them for granted. Various New England communities host annual dinners and dances on their local bridges. This bridge is east of US Route 3 in Lincoln over the Pemigewasset River at the junction of routes 175 3. Built in 1871, the bridge is built in the Paddleford Truss design. View Map
Fired on the Mountain Paint at 49 Main Street in Lincoln: Make and paint your own pottery gift or memento. Pottery-making is just a degree away from playing with mud, and what kid doesn’t love doing that? This is a nice half-day activity for families that are looking for a bit of quiet play. The studio is immersed in a fun creative atmosphere where families can paint pottery or people can even take an art class in many media. Artists display and sell their work in the gallery and gift store. 603-745-8205.
Seven Birches Winery at the Riverwalk Resort, 22 South Mountain Drive in Lincoln: Seven Birches Winery, located within the Riverwalk Resort, is open for wine tastings year-round. When you arrive, you receive tasting notes to read before deciding what wines to try. The eager and knowledgeable staff gladly discusses the wines and the wine-making process. Guests who are particularly interested in how the wines are produced are encouraged to take the “Meet the Winemakers Tour” on Saturdays at 1p.m. and 3 p.m. 603-745-7550.
Woodstock Inn, Station, and Brewery at 135 Main Street in North Woodstock: Since it started small in the early 1980s, Woodstock Inn has become the social center for local people and visitors attracted to the good food, hospitality and feeling of community. The inn was started in an old Main Street house, but in 1984 the former Woodstock railroad station was moved to the present location. The freight room of the station is now the dance floor; the passenger waiting room and stationmaster’s office serve as dining rooms. In 1996, the brewery and brew pub were founded. The seven-barrel brewery produces many award-winning ales.
The Common Man Restaurant at 10 Pollard Road in Lincoln: The Common Man is a small, New Hampshire-based chain of restaurants, and you won’t hear a bad word about it from anyone who has dined here. The atmosphere of all Common Man establishments is always warm and welcoming. The staff serves American fare with flair – enjoy prime rib, home-made macaroni and cheese, and crab cakes. Dinner is served in the dining room or in the bar 'n grill, complete with cozy couches, a fieldstone fireplace and parlor games. It is not formal, so kids fit in well. Open daily for dinner after 4 p.m. 603-745- 3463.
Gordi’s Fish and Steak House at 260 Main Street at the Depot on the Kancamagus Highway in Lincoln: As you might guess from its name, you are going to leave a meal at Gordi’s well-filled and well-nourished. Gordi’s was opened in 1986 by Olympic skiers, and is still family-owned and -operated. Gordi's building, on the scenic Kank Highway, is accented with Victorian pieces, stained glass lamps, and leaded beveled glass. As you enter, you'll see tanks full of live Maine lobsters, one of the house specialties. A recent snapshot of the day’s special included bleu cheese filet mignon, Belgian-style mussels, scallops supreme, and classic Caprese salad. There is a kids menu.