North Conway, NH: Family Getaway – Part II

Nordic Village Resort, Jackson, NH

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I already posted about the first 4 nights of our North Conway family break at the North Conway Red Jacket Mountain View Resort.  The second  part of our family break was spent a condo at the Nordic Village Resort.  It’s located in Jackson – just a few miles from North Conway. It is just up on the same road as Storyland – so a great location for young families who want to have a self-catering option (cooking some meals at home), pool, separate sleeping area for the kids.  They even have nice activities for the kids during the different seasons.  As for the units – there are different units and price levels here from one-bedroom budget, joining three-bedroom townhouses for groups and even high end Chateaus – so depending on budget and preference, I’m sure you’ll find something that suits. Note: Unlike hotels, not all have a/c – if that is important to you make sure you book one that has it.

God it’s been years, but I remember going to hotel rooms and having to lay still in the dark around 7:00 pm trying to get Soren to fall asleep as a baby in his pack and play.  The separate bedroom area is a great thing to have with small kids – put on a white noise app and happy days!   

Anyway, this is another resort which we are familiar staying for many years (but in the fall/winter) but this time we are staying in a friend’s parents condo.  They stayed at our house in Dublin, Ireland a couple years ago and they wanted to allow us to use their place here so it worked out perfectly!

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Their place is actually quite nice.  Unlike some dated places which are used for vacation rental income, where there are old mix matched dishes, appliances, furniture, etc as they are afraid it will be broken.  Here it was super cozy and we had a great time.   This is the beautiful view from the living room.

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As they have a lot of grand kids they have a lot of bunk beds in the kids area – our kids loved that – each had their own private bunkbed! So there was no problem of who had the top – the can both have the top!

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As with our other hotels, we used the pool here a lot! I swear it is what helped Soren get is A & B diploma’s so quickly!

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The indoor pool is an option but there are two outdoor pools and both are heated even in the winter!!  There can be snow and ice on the ground and you can swim with icicles in your hair.  I’d just hate to get out of the pool – I’d be sooo cold.

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Breakfast Choices Galore

As you can imagine, there are MANY breakfast places in the area.  So many choices but two of the four mornings we had breakfast in our condo unit – bagels with cream cheese!  You don’t get good bagels abroad so we took that opportunity to enjoy them on our trip when we could. But we did go to one of our favorite breakfast places from our time in the White Mountains – Sarah’s Yesterdays in Jackson, NH.  Nils and I both got one of their daily egg’s benedict specials – yummy!  We always order a side of corned beef hash to try – as I find that is such a delicious treat that reminds me of being home.

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Another day we had breakfast in North Conway village at Stairway Cafe.

The food was good but it’s a bit confusing when you walk in.  You walk up a set of stairs and when you get to the top you are in a tiny waiting area with a small sofa and people waiting.  Our group of 4 could barely fit so I sent my hubby and two kids out and I stayed and waited.   There is no one there to greet you as the waitresses, are super busy attending to the tables, so you are to wait. I spoke up and questioned the process and was told 20 minutes or so but as more people came in (well more like piled in) it was a bit weird. No one knew what to do.  Then you are forming a sort of queue without giving your name or number in your party – it’s just a bit get in line without a line and it’s first come first serve.  I think a sign or a person would be helpful to understand but it all worked out so we were fine and we enjoyed our food – a good way to describe it would be awkward!    Oh and we sat near the window where there was loads of stuff which could use a good dusting.  I recommend every month or so, spend 20 minutes and dust down those items.

Jackson Falls Swimming Area

In my previous post, I mentioned that we visited Jackson Falls  – a swimming spot with our kids and a friend and her kids.  As their youngest is two, we wanted to find a place that was easy to park and get to the falls without a long hike.  Also a place that was not too steep.   The location is easy – just go into Jackson, NH via the covered bridge – past the Wentworth Hotel on the left and the falls are up on the right.   All the cars are parked facing the water.  Just park and walk in.

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Mount Washington Valley Moose Tours

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to see a moose in the wild and always said when the kids were older, we’d do a tour.   Some people take small kids on the tour, but I’d say 8 would be the youngest I’d take on this tour – they won’t last.  It’s from 8 pm til 1:00 am!! So it was only fitting to do the tour when we were back in the US for this vacation.  We booked in advance as we knew it would be very popular and would likely sell out.

The bus leaves promptly from the Conway Railway station and you board the bus based on first booked.  You get preference on where you want to sit – seems fair.   When you first arrive, the driver passes around some moose antlers for you to hold and take photos – the kids liked that.

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Tip:  There is no bathroom at the station open at the departure time, so use the facilities at Ben & Jerry’s!  He does stop at the Appalachian Mountain Club Pinkham Notch half way for a bathroom break and you can buy a drink/snack for he bus, if you wish. 

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The bus sets off and there is a movie shown about moose and there are lights, songs and let’s just say the bus driver is a character – it all adds to the experience.   There was a lot of driving back and forth, quickly, lots of u-turns and the bus was very loud.  At one point I thought we may break down on the side of the road (he said it was going into the shop for full service tomorrow – it needed it badly!).  Thankfully we did see a few moose which made it all worth it to me and the whole point of the trip.  All the extra stuff we just put up with to see the moose.  To my husband, this review summed up his experience – he couldn’t wait to get off the bus!   

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Apart from the one we took, Mount Washington Valley Moose Tours out of North Conway.  There are other Moose tours in the area too – Dan’s Scenic Tours and Pemi Valley Moose Tours both out of Lincoln, NH – the area we were in seeking our moose.

I personally got only ONE photo of the mom and her baby Rosie.

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At one point I was trying to take a photo of the huge bull but suddenly the driver screamed out to the bull – which started it.  Not sure why he did it but it was odd to say the least.  We did see a one massive one walk across the road, and some along side the highway, etc.  We now know where to look for moose too – so when we go back, we’ll take some drives (carefully of course!).

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The next day a hiker shared this photo of two moose in the area.   We are happy to have seen moose on this tour!

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Beautiful Scenery

When we we not swimming in the pool, we were admiring the beauty of the area.  While it’s most beautiful in the fall with fall foliage, summer is a special time in the mountains too.  The days are warm, dry and sunny – perfect for swimming but at night it cools down so it’s lovely too.

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Next post will be about ZEB’S COUNTRY STORE and then our journey in Booth Bay Harbour, Maine.

North Conway, NH: Family Getaway – Part 1

After our day at Santa’s Village, we moved down to North Conway, NH in the Mount Washington Valley where we stayed for the next 8 nights.   The first 4 nights, we stayed at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort.

Red Jacket Mountain View, North Conway, NH

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We’ve stay at this resort before so we knew when picking a place to stay for the first 4 nights, this would be a great place.  We’ve been to the White Mountains in all seasons, so knew it would be a great place for this trip and with the outdoor pool, we knew this would be a great place for our first part of out stay.  The hotel offers various package deals including passes to the local attractions and also a deal to their indoor waterpark, Kahuna Laguna, for when the weather is really bad but we didn’t use it on this trip.    We did, however, use their outdoor pool a lot!  And at certain times, there was a cocktail bar outside so I enjoyed a couple frozen margaritas with salt poolside – loved it!   We made sure on this trip that every hotel we stayed at had a good pool for the kids.

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We booked a traditional standard double room with two double beds but they have other options like bunk beds, an alcove area and even houses out back if you wanted to do a self-catering type stay – we did not want that during this trip.

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These rooms overlook the west side of the property and the Moat mountain range, White Horse Ledge and Cathedral Ledge and the Saco River Valley.   The view is quite pretty and sometimes there is a lot of fog so it changes often.

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The resort offers activities too – the kids did cookie decorating one afternoon which was free.  They had other stuff happening on night the kids wanted to attend but the timing didn’t suit us as we had our moose tour to attend 🙂

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One evening Maebh did a paint your own pottery thing while the boys watched the Red Sox vs. Yankees in the bar area.  This had a fee, as it was run by an independent woman, but the costs depended on what you chose.  She pick out this little snail and I think it was around  $5.  I was thinking it wouldn’t make the flight home to Amsterdam, but I packed it so well and put it in my hand luggage, that it survived the journey and sits on top of her dresser to this day.

Apart from the indoor water park (which you must pay $20 per person, per day – which might change in the season), this hotel doesn’t have an indoor pool… but you can use the pool at the sister property,  Fox Ridge Resort – just up the road.  Conveniently, they offer a complimentary shuttle service with a very friendly bus driver.   This meant, mom took the car in the pouring rain & lightning to the outlets for a couple hours and dad took the shuttle bus with the kids! 🙂

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Overall the hotel is in a great central location to many of these area attractions.

Yet close enough to drive to places like Bretton Woods, Loon Mountain, Attitash for their summer adventure parks and in the winter the skiing, tubing and snowmobiling options are here too.  There are tons of nature hiking trails along the Kancamagus Highway.  Of course swimming places like Diana’s Baths, Echo Lake State Park and Saco River Tubing.  We even went over to Cathederal’s Ledge State Park  and drove up for a photo on the view point of the ledge, pretty but I don’t care much for heights so I was happy to be done with it as fast as we got there.

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A tourist attraction to me in itself is Zeb’s General Store – it’s FANTASTIC.  I’ve been coming here for as long as I can remember.  They have tons of great stuff – many nostalgic items like Moxy and Fudge but other beauty products to unique gifts.  I’ll make a blog post about Zeb’s alone it’s great place!

A little shopping at Settlers Green Outlet Village where we got the kids some Gap sweatshirts but we’re most proud of Soren’s Gronkowski jersey and New England Patriots hat which we picked up at TJ Maxx along with some other close.  That particular store does have some good deals.  Sadly, he put his hat and sunglasses down at the beach in Georgetown, Maine bear Five Mile Island Lobster Co. and when we left, he forgot to pick them back up – he remembered them about 45 minutes into our ride.

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Family Visit

During our time, we got to meet up with my cousin too, so it was nice to visit her place.  She took us down by the River Saco (where the tubers go down) which runs by her house.  Of course, Soren goes right in the water … such a labrador.   The river was very low this season, but we did see some tubers go by and a lot of people enjoying themselves.

To keep this post from getting to big, I’ll post about Nordic Village, Zeb’s General Store,  our experience with the moose tour and Jackson’s Falls in a different blog posting.

Overall, we loved the area and we loved the resort.  Would we stay here again – ABSOLUTELY!   We had no complaints about the hotel nor our room.