A few weeks ago, my boyfriend Jimmy and I took some time off from work and headed up to North Conway, New Hampshire for a few days of outdoor fun and relaxation.
We went from Wednesday Morning- Friday Afternoon which was a perfect amount of time, since a lot of activities and places up there are still closed or barely open due to COVID.
We stayed at the North Conway Grand Hotel located in the middle of North Conway. It was right on the main road and was just minutes from all of our activities. The check in process was simple and felt very safe. Everyone was wearing masks in common spaces and our room was very clean! We got very lucky and got a room on the top floor with cathedral ceilings and a huge couch/relaxation space in the room.
Wednesday Afternoon/Night Adventures:
Jimmy and I took I-93 up to Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center which was directly across the road from the MT. Washington drive-up entrance. There, we ate a quick lunch and enjoyed the views before we got our mountain bike rentals for our Wednesday afternoon activity.
We got our 10 speed bikes and as someone never having a bike with gears, I was instantly confused. I had no clue how to work the gears and I couldn’t figure out how I was peddling so much but not going anywhere lol. I definitely struggled with the gears and definitely held back Jimmy from exploring more of the trails. This adventure definitely made us realize we will NOT be going mountain biking ever again, but it was still fun and we definitely had some laughs!
This activity had amazing views and basically empty trails which was awesome. It was around $55 for the two of us for bikes, helmets, and 2 hours of trail access. If you are into mountain biking (and know how to work a 10-speed) definitely do this!
After our biking adventure, we checked into our hotel and got changed for dinner! In between our relaxation and dinner, I took Jimmy to my absolute favorite place as a child in downtown North Conway…
Zeb’s General Store!
Zeb’s is a staple in North Conway and if you visit, you HAVE to go there. With COVID, there are obviously some occupancy restrictions so we waited for around 10 min in line before we got in. Honestly, the candy counter was still pretty packed and it was probably the first place I’ve been since COVID where I didn’t feel 100% safe.
However, social distancing was easy in the rest of the store and we were able to look at all of the cute little souvenirs and knic-knacks. Jimmy found some cool beef jerky and we both got bags of penny candy!
After Zebs, we decided to try a restaurant called Delaney’s Hole in the Wall. It was American food and the whole place was absolutely packed. I got a steak and cheese and Jimmy got a cheeseburger. We both absolutely loved our food and definitely would come back! After dinner, we were absolutely exhausted and went back to the hotel for some relaxing and sleep.
Kayaking Adventure on the Saco:
We woke up on Thursday semi-early so we could grab breakfast in time to go for our 5 mile kayak trip down the Saco river. The kayaking was around $70 for both of us and included a kayak, paddle, life jacket, and transportation to the start of the route.
When we got to the start of the route, the kayaks were waiting for us and we just simply hopped in and started paddling. The river was super low and at some points Jimmy and I got stuck lol. It was definitely a trip filled with a lot of laughs as we were bumping into each other and literally beaching ourselves in the middle of the river because it was around 6 inches deep in some places. At one point I got so stuck I got out of the kayak in my sneakers and leggings, got totally soaked, and pushed myself back in the river.
We paddled strong at the beginning so we were able to break away from the other 6 people we started out with. We were by ourselves for the majority of the 3.5 hour paddle so we were able to just float around, talk, and snap some pictures. It was around 65 degrees and cloudy so it was perfect weather because we weren’t sweating or sunburnt. Overall, it was definitely my favorite part of the trip because it was a HUGE workout but super fun at the same time.
Our Thursday afternoon fun:
After our kayaking adventure, Jimmy and I went back, had some lunch, and then decided to go to the North Conway Country Club.
Jimmy has really been getting into golf this summer and I always go to the driving range with him, so we decided to check this one out. It was such a cool driving range and course because it had incredible views of the mountains. We also went mini golfing after this too!
Jimmy and I decided to try a new restaurant within walking distance from our hotel- Barley & Salt. It was American food with a ton of local beers on tap to try. At dinner I also found out I got into grad school (woo!!) so it was an awesome dinner. We got truffle fries and a pretzel to start, and I got an amazing local pork chop for my main dish.
To celebrate, Jimmy and I went to a local ice cream place called Trails End Ice Cream. They said that their sizes were huge, so I got a kiddie. Jimmy got a medium and THIS is what it looked like! It literally came in a tray that’s how big it is!
Friday morning we woke up and checked out of our hotel- super simple process and we really enjoyed our stay overall- definitely would go back!
We then went to a place called Peach’s for breakfast and made another stop at the driving range before we made our way to the start of the Kancamagus highway.
I drove the Kancamagus with my parents forever ago in the winter months and we didn’t make any stops, so I was dying to visit in the summer time and see amazing views.
The roads were super windey and we immediately lost cell service- so be aware of this! There were also some bikers on the side of the road which I think is verrrry dangerous.
There were a ton of stop offs that consisted of picnic areas, hikes, waterfalls, and scenic views. Our first stop was Rocky Gorge which included a few great views and a small walk from the parking lot. There were even people sitting there painting the river, which I thought was awesome!
Rocky Gorge has a path on the side, and then walkways to get on to the rocks in the shallow river as well as the bridge. We walked on to the bridge and admired the amazing views and then continued on to a path that led to a beautiful lake! There were more trails around there, but we decided to just quickly explore, take a few photos, and continue on our way.
After Rocky Gorge, we made several other stops along the way for some scenic views! I totally would love to go back on this route to leaf peep and explore more of the hiking trails, but I very much enjoyed our stops along the way!
At the end of the Kancamagus, we landed in Lincoln NH and hopped on I-93 easily to head home. Overall, it was a great 3 day trip that totally could’ve been extended throughout the weekend to do more things such as hikes, visits to waterfalls, or going to Attitash Mountain.
Like I said, it was hard to do some things because they were either closed overall or closed during the week days. I definitely wish there were no restrictions, but the trip was barely affected by them. This could totally be a great 2/3 day fall get-away during COVID or for years beyond!
We had some awesome food, a great hotel, and did so many fun activities without breaking the bank! It was so great to get to spend some time together and explore an area of New Hampshire we both aren’t too familiar with!