I took Friday the 21st off so Sue and I could get an early start on her 60th birthday celebration fall foliage adventure up to New Hampshire's White Mountains. We grabbed coffee and pastry on the way out Rt 4 from Dover.
We planned to head over to Maine's Rt 5 and go North through Limerick, Cornish, and Hiram, ME and into Fryeburg. From there, I had planned to head up the back road around North Conway, and then across the mountain to the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, NH via Dundee Road.
The trip, if done straight through, is about 2 hours. Well, with Sue yelling, "Stop—the—veee-hicle!" what seemed to be at every turn in the road to jump out and take pictures, the trip took us just over 5 hours. But then we did stop for about an hour in Fryeburg at the 302 Smokehouse & Tavern Restaurant for lunch. A lunch, by the way, that was not only super with a great hamburger and the best quesadillas I have ever had (sampling Sue's lunch!), but also a really, really cute place.
We left there and had an interesting trip over Dundee Road into Jackson. They appear to close off the mid part of it in the winter and it's sort of rough going. Though nice, I actually prefer Thorn Hill Road and will probably just take that in the future.
We were able to check into the Eagle Mountain House when we arrived, and then went for a short walk along the river. My leg was a little sore from sitting in the car so long so we came back up to the hotel. I had left the backgammon board in the car, so I got that and we picked a spot out on the hotel's veranda, and parked there. While Sue set up the board, I went inside to the bar and got us two mugs of the best hot apple cider I think I've ever had.
I forget how many points I was down after that because I was excited to take Sue to The 1785 Inn again this year for a 60th birthday dinner. I had asked for Alan to wait on us, and he was just terrific. We had a wonderful time at a great little table right by the dinning room fireplace. After dinner, I got Alan to get the owner, Charles, and another willing waiter to take pictures, and we headed into the living room by the fireplace and got a great shot of all of us.
We got back to the hotel early enough that I thought it would be nice to sit by the huge fireplace in the lobby and have an after dinner liquor. Sue was up for that and we had to go up to the room first to get the backgammon board so she could continue her pillage of my ego. And, yeah, she remained ahead by the end of the night....
Saturday morning we were up and down to breakfast so we could get a mid morning start on our great planned adventure. The goal was to drive the backways over to the Sugar Hill area where Sue had lived for several years and has always told me how beautiful it was. Between stops for pictures and gaping around at the beautiful views, it took us about 3 hours to get there. I was amazed to see The Sugar Hill Sampler barn. I mean, I hadn't even thought about it or even made the connection. But there this huge red barn was with all sorts of great stuff. I was so mystified that I forgot to even get a picture of it. But Sue did get some of the best shots of the trip from just down the road from there looking out across the valley to the next set of mountains. Just spectacular. And, somewhere I definately want to come back to.
It only took a little less than an hour and a half to get back to Jackson over 302, and part of that was a stop at the magnificent grand Mount Washington Hotel. Sue got some super pictures of it; a place I have always wanted to go into but never had the chance. Well, we walked all around that place. What a hotel! The term 'grand' does not do it justice.....
When we got back to Jackson we drove out Carter Notch Road north of The Eagle Mountain House aways just to see where that went. We didn't get far when we decided to park along side the road and go for a walk because it was just so pretty. We did about three quarters of a mile and I decided that my leg was just not going any further so we turned around, got back to the car, and drove back to the hotel.
Since it was late afternoon and we were planning on having dinner at the hotel, we just changed out of our day clothes into dinner gear, grabbed the backgammon board, and headed downstairs. It had turned pretty chilly by then and sitting out on the veranda was not going to be pleasant so we parked it in the main lobby by the fireplace. We got a glass of wine and played so many sets of backgammon I can't even remember it was such a blur.
We headed into the dining room around 6:30 and had a wonderful, leisurely dinner. Since it was early when we finished, Sue wanted to go back and sit by the fire, have an after dinner drink, and play a little more backgammon. It was so nice sitting there by the fire, chatting, and enjoying what had been a wonderful get-away.
We were up and down to breakfast fairly early Sunday morning, and then after checking out, down the road toward home. We decided to take a short jaunt over to Echo Lake, and ended up walking around the entire shore. It was just so pretty with the late Fall leaves scattered across the trails.
Coming out of Echo Lake, we stopped for coffee on Rt. 16, took the back way around Silver Lake, and then down onto 153 as far down as that would go. And then the great explore over 202 through Rochester and then other roads I had no clue but just kept following Sue's directions. It was just beautiful driving through some of the smaller towns and huge farms. I had no idea....
So, a wonderful vacation, lots of rest, some good red wine and food, and wicked backgammon! Can't get much better than all that!