Thursday, December 8, 2016

Epic Fall Road Trip - Part V: Vermont and New Hampshire

Saturday, October 29th:

We left Niagara Falls the next morning and started the long drive to our next destination: The Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire.

We drove all the way across New York before reaching Bennington, Vermont, which is on the border of the Green Mountain National Forest. We stopped at the Visitor Center where we met some nice people who gave us a map and recommended a route to drive to New Hampshire, along with some places to see while we were in Maine.  

[The Bennington Battle Monument]

We continued the drive through the Green Mountain National Forest and I can not even explain how gorgeous Vermont is! Not only are there HUGE colorful trees, but the mountains and the rivers are phenomenal!

We didn't have time to pull over (and in a lot of areas you can't pull over), so I tried to take pictures out the window of a moving car.

[Hawks Mountain Wildlife Area] 

Later that night we arrived at The Omni Mount Washington Resort and checked into our cozy Queen room.

[Hallway to our room... not at all Shining-like] 

Sunday, October 30th:

We headed down stairs and went to the Main Dining hall where we found an amazing breakfast buffet! 

[So many delicious local butters and jams![

[Omelette bar]

[So much food! Bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fruit, yogurt, potatoes, etc.]

After our hearty breakfast we walked around the hotel to take pictures. This hotel is HUGE! It reminds me of a cruise ship. There are plenty of places to sit and relax, multiple bars, a bunch of restaurants, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, etc.

[Post Office in the basement]

[View of the golf course from the hotel]

After taking our pictures outside we jumped in the car and headed up the road to the Mount Washington Cog Railway.

*Side Note: I knew we were in trouble when we woke up that morning because when I looked out our hotel window I saw this:

That is the Cog Railway, which we were supposed to go on that morning. The railway takes you up Mount Washington to the Observatory at the summit, which is at 6288 ft. I had read online that Mount Washington is notorious for it's extreme weather (hurricane-force wind gust are observed 110 days per year, 231 mph wind gust recorded, 96.9 inches of rain per year, etc.), so I knew there was a chance that we would have bad weather but I was optimistic. *

Before we left the hotel I received an email from The Cog letting me know that there is too much ice on the railroad and that we would only be able to go 3/4 of the way up. If we don't want to go we can get a refund and if we do want to still go we can get a partial refund. 

Well, why not?! Let's go!

We arrived at The Cog, got our partial refund, met the Conductor, and hopped on the train.

[Our ride!]

[Here we go!]

We left the bast station (2700 ft) and began the climb up Mount Washington. For the first little bit we climbed up Cold Spring Hill which is a 35% grade! As we chugged along we came across another train.

Then we passed by the Waumbek Tank where the steam powered locomotives can stop and fill up, if needed.

The higher we went the colder and colder it got! 

The coolest part of the ride was going over Jacob's Ladder! It is 30 feet above the land and the grade is 37.41%! Super steep! 

We got above the treeline and the Conductor stopped the train at a place called "Skyline". Here he let us come out onto his platform and take pictures. 

After being at Skyline for a few minutes the clouds decided to shift and we were able to see "The Presidents" (Mt Jefferson and Mt Adams) and the tower at the summit!



["The Presidents"]


After everyone was able to get their pictures, we flipped our seats around, the "Breakman" moved to the front of the train, and we started our decent. 


[Started in 1866!]

[Close up of the Cog]

[Another cute train!]


[View of our hotel from The Cog]

I had my doubts as we made our climb up Mount Washington in the thick clouds and cold, but what we saw at Skyline was totally worth it! Just breathtaking! 

After we got back from The Cog we went on a walk down to the river to get a few more pictures of our hotel.


It was very cold so after taking our pictures we headed inside to get a few warm beverages and to watch some football. While we were watching the game we met a nice couple from Brooklyn who gave us suggestions on what to see in Maine and New York.

That night we went to dinner at one of the hotels many restaurants, Stickney's Steak and Chop Pub. The food was delicious!

I would highly HIGHLY recommend going to the Bretton Woods area of New Hampshire. The area is beautiful and is very active all year round (ski resorts in the winter and golf courses in the summer). If you find yourselves up there definitely go on The Cog and make sure you go to the Omni Mount Washington Resort, but maybe think twice about staying at the hotel. It is VERY expensive and the rooms are a little too cozy.

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