N.H. -- New Hampshire is full of towns just as scenic as North
Conway, but while some draw leaf peepers in the fall and others
draw winter-sports enthusiasts, not many can boast the robust
tourism numbers that make the area a hot spot year-round.
You have to have
the perfect combination of tourism-oriented businesses, and one of
our strengths is that there is a lot to do here for almost any kind
of visitor, said Marti Mayne of the Mount Washington Valley Chamber
Fall attracts the most concentrated number
of visitors, thanks to the foliage market, but summer draws the
most people overall because it lasts longer, Mayne said.
She said the
winter season is strong but variable, depending on the vagaries of
about 1.75 million tourists arrive in summer, 1 million in
September and October and another 1 million from November through
March. Spring, considered low season, draws about a quarter of a
million visitors, she said.
attractions are the top draw any time of year, according to Mayne,
with a variety of options available in the surrounding White
Mountain National Forest.
can take advantage of four ski resorts within a short driving
distance of town -- Wildcat, Black Mountain, Attitash and Cranmore
-- or take a 20-minute drive to Shawnee Peak, Maine, a family ski
area revered by locals for its uncrowded slopes and excellent snow
The closest ski
area, Cranmore, is spitting distance from town center and offers
not only plenty of skiing and snowboarding but lift-assisted
snow-tubing into the evening.
Attitash becomes a warm-weather playground with water slides, an
alpine slide and horseback riding.
Cranmore offers a swimming pool, tennis and climbing
catered to at two area theme parks -- Santas Village and Story Land
-- both of which boast a loyal fan base going back
But even outdoor
buffs need amenities, and it is here that North Conway separates
itself from the rest, said Mayne.
There are at
least 50 lodging properties in North Conway, with everything from
upscale hotels, condos, vacation rentals, smaller bed-and-breakfast
accommodations and country inns to timeshares and affordable
motels, Mayne said.
Another 200 rooms
are in the planning stages, she added, including two chain hotels
(details not yet announced) in or near the town center.
The North Conway
Grand is in the process of getting approval to build 30 suites and
a wonderful family-oriented water park, available not only to their
own guests but to outside visitors, she said.
At the other end
of the spectrum is the Kearsarge Inn, which opened in
The Kearsarge Inn
is situated within walking distance of the village and has just 15
rooms and suites.
reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].