Need a quick getaway this weekend? Here at Northeast Adventure we know that deciding on a quick weekender can happen only a day or two in advance. So we take the liberty of helping you plan. Lincoln, NH is a great winter town that will keep you busy all weekend long.
Lincoln, New Hampshire
The great part about Lincoln is that it makes an easy drive on Friday afternoon. Located only 90 minutes from Boston and immediately off of Interstate 93, travel here is quick. Of course, that brings along heavy crowds, especially during peak ski season where Loon mountain and nearby Cannon mountain ski areas are the major attraction. But don’t worry – most will be headed for the slopes all day, leaving plenty of unspoiled terrain for those who venture past the resorts.
What to Do
Snowshoeing – There is almost no better outdoor playground in the New England than the Kancamagus Highway, and that includes the cold winter months. The vast trails network along this scenic road make for excellent snowshoeing or winter hiking. Seven miles from the base of Loon Mountain is the Greeley Pond Trail, an easy to moderate snowshoe trail and a great introduction for the uninitiated. Two miles of relatively flat hiking gets you to the Greeley Pond Scenic Area. If you take the kiddos, be aware of the shallow river crossing ¼ mile into the trail. Kids aged 10+ should be able agile enough to cross.
Cross-country skiing – Want to cover more miles on trail? No problem. Instead of snowshoes, strap on the sticks and continue past Greeley Pond on the above trail another mile to reach the Kancamagus Brook Cross-Country Ski Trail. This trail, maintained for winter use only, is a great backcountry experience. The total distance out and back is approximately 12 miles, so get an early start.
Closer to town are the Lincoln Woods Trail and the Pemi East Side Trail. Both start at the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center (closed in winter) just east of town and follow the east branch of the Pemigewasset River. These are old logging roads and offer roughly four miles of flat ski trail. This is a popular destination for skiing, snowshoeing, and just plain old hiking when the snow is packed tight, so it can get a bit bumpy here. But after a few inches of new powder, it’s a great place for a quick trip to the backcountry.
Side-Country Skiing – Let’s say you want to do a little skiing in the glades, but don’t have the alpine touring or tele gear. Try Cannon Mountain’s Mittersill Terrain Area. This section of the ski resort features intermediate and expert terrain consisting of narrow trails and glades (although a few trails were recently widened) with limited trail grooming and snowmaking. If you are trying to figure out if you’re ready for the backcountry, this is a good place to make your bones and figure it out. Just don’t break your bones in the process. Later in the day, if you think you are ready, you can try a true backcountry trail. The Tuckerbrook Trail begins at the top of Cannon, and then exits the ski area to become an non-patrolled path down the western face of the mountain. Your lift ticket will gain you access from the summit, but you will finish at the bottom a couple of miles from the ski area. Arrange with others in your party to pick you up at a designated time, or have someone help you drop off your car at the trailhead on Tuckerbrook Road. Although the trail is accessed from the ski area and is thus easily accessible and well traveled, it is worth noting that the Tuckerbrook Trail is not part of the resort. The same ethics and preparedness should go into skiing here as with any other backcountry area.
If you’re lacking gear, Village Ski & Snowboard is located at the center of town and rents whatever snow gear you need. They specialize in alpine touring and telemark skis, and also carry the full range of alpine gear as well as snowshoes. If you are trying a new technique this year and just want to see if it’s your thing, then rent here. The prices are reasonable and it’s a quick process to pick up your gear and get going.
Where to Eat
After being out in the woods all day, you’re going to want a hot meal to help warm up. The Common Man has great atmosphere, making you feel like you’re in a massive lodge where Paul Bunyan himself could be found quaffing pints of ale and telling stories about the day’s events. Get there early, around 4:00 pm, and snag a spot in the bar area where you can sink into the couches around the fireplace and enjoy a cold Sammie before ordering. The Common Man serves up delicious New England style comfort food that will erase any chill from your bones. The New England Pot Roast will not disappoint.
Looking for a quick pizza to take back to the room. Try Enzo’s on Main Street, which makes traditional New York/North End style pies. If you’re a pizza snob that scoffs at frozen crust and thick gobs of tomato sauce, then Enzo’s is the place. The pies are made with a crust that’s thin enough to showcase the flavor of the sauce and toppings, but not so thin as to turn into a box full of mush by the time you get it back to the hotel. I have tried a few places here in town, and this is the best that I have found.
Where to Stay
The great part about Lincoln is that it is located just off of Interstate 93, so it makes a relatively easy day trip from the Boston area. However, if you plan on staying for more than a day, then you’ll need a place to lay your weary head. In addition to the usual hotels found with a simple web search, you may want to take advantage of the many vacation condos that may be up for rent. Vacation Rental by Owner has condos and vacation homes for rent, usually with a 2-3 night minimum stay. If you have a bit more time, Sell My Timeshare Now has weekly rentals from those trying to offload their annual burdens.