July was…hot. And August is shaping up to be no better, so far. With temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s each day, folks are looking for any way possible to beat the heat. Today, we hit on a great idea: Why not escape the 90-degree day by enjoying the afternoon at the coldest spot in the Northeast??? Knowing that Mount Washington is universally regarded as having the most unpredictable weather on the planet, we figured it might be a fun trip on this hot and sticky day. So, to the North we drove!
Of course, if you set your GPS for the base of Mount Washington and just drive, you will miss a number of amazing sights and stops along the way. Along the way to the mountain, we made a point to stop at such places as Silver Cascade – a gorgeous waterfall right on the side of the road on Route 302 -, the world-famous Mount Washington Hotel, the Old Man of The Mountain historic viewing site and, of course, The Basin – a beautiful walking trail that leads to a neat geologic formation and waterfall that gives the location its modern name.
Headed North, our first stop was of course at the site of the Old Man. As sad as it is to see the symbol of our state fallen, the memorial plaza and profile viewers are a great way to once again “see” the formation in its original glory.
Across the way from the Old Man viewing plaza is Eagle Cliff on the western edge of Mount Lafayette. The photo below shows “The Eaglet”, a formation popular with rock climbers. Look closely at this photo and you can see climbers at the summit of the formation.
The main route to Mount Washington is NH302 – a scenic byway with plenty of opportunities for stops along the way for photos and relaxation. The historic Mount Washington Hotel in Crawford Notch is an impressive feat of architecture situated in the hills of Bretton Woods and is worth the stop even if just to gaze on the building and grounds.
Further down the road, in Hart’s Location, you come across Silver Cascade – a tall and narrow waterfall that lies right next to the highway.
Of course, the real purpose of our trip was to get to the summit of Mount Washington. And so, after what was already a fun day in the region – despite the heat -, we finally found ourselves on the famous Mount Washington Auto Road. The trip up was filled with the grand scenic views that make the road and the mountain so popular and, before we knew it, we were at the summit pulling into a parking space. Despite the 90-degree heat, it was a brisk 50-degrees at the summit. While we enjoyed the coolness for a few moments, it quickly became obvious that bringing our jackets with us was a good idea! The wind was blowing very strong and the clouds had the summit almost completely blocked in. Nevertheless, there were occasional glimpses of the various mountain ranges that make up the White Mountains region.
The drive down was fairly quick and, once we reached the base, the summer heat hit us like a furnace. But, the relief of the mountain and all the fun we had along the way made the day thoroughly enjoyable.
About the Author: Jeremy Jones is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.