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Consuming Views home page Back to North Conway Approaching the Mountains The Saco Valley Crawford Notch Franconia Notch North of the Notches North Conway

North Conway

One of twenty-one frames composing a panoramic scroll which records a trip to the White Mountains by eight young men and women from New York in 1875; drawn by an unidentified woman in the group. New Hampshire Historical Society.

One always finds, we think, on a return to North Conway, that his recollections of its loveliness were inadequate to the reality. Such profuse and calm beauty sometimes reigns over the whole village, that it seems to be . . . a suburb of Paradise. . . . Certainly, we have seen no other region of New England that is so swathed in dreamy charm. . . . Mount Washington does not seem so much to stand up, as to lie out at ease across the north. The leonine grandeur is there, but it is the lion not erect, but couchant, a little sleepy, stretching out his paws and enjoying the sun.

Thomas Starr King, The White Hills, 1859


Back to North Conway

The last stretch of the journey takes us back in a southerly direction via Pinkham Notch (also known as the Glen) to North Conway and the Saco River valley.  No trip to the White Mountains would be complete, however, without an ascent to the top of Mount Washington by one means or another.  Until the carriage road was opened in 1861 and the cog railway in 1869, foot and bridle paths were the main means of access. 

Experience the rugged surface of the mountaintop as a party of eight visitors mounted on horseback reach the summit in 1857.  They and the Danish artist who captured this scene and recorded it for posterity likely made the climb from the Glen House in Pinkham Notch along a bridle path opened from there in 1853. 

After the descent and a possible overnight stay in the Glen or in nearby Jackson, we return down the Ellis and Saco Rivers toward North Conway.  As the tour proceeds, Mount Washington evolves from a breathtaking and unrelieved terrain of bare rocks, as seen up close, to a stately and serene backdrop for atmospheric and pastoral scenes, often in a luminous riverside setting.      


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