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North Conway: Love it? Hate it? Never heard of it?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Recent discussion in another thread produced quotes like these:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
North Conway is usually invisible here on Epic. But for New England, it's the best. Apres-ski is great.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DropKickMurphy View Post
North Conway somehow seems to get overlooked when discussing great ski towns. Personally, I think it is the best ski town in NE.
and this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treewell View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
But for New England, it's the best.
You make some good points but you lose all credibility on this one...sorry
So I thought that I would start a new one and open up the discussion to all. What do you think about N. Conway, NH? Have you been there? Lived there? Is it the best ski town in the East? The Worst?
post #2 of 27
I heart the Red Parka
I heart Wildcat
I heart Mt. Washington, and the little liquor shop on the way back that stocks premium perry and cider
I heart Stan & Dan.
Ragged Mountain, intervale ->
1785 Inn ->
Woodworking shop in town with no sales tax ->

Other than that

(not quite true, I also like, I mean really like the bring your dog everywhere culture and EMS deserve mention)
post #3 of 27
Rt. 16 is a humorless, ill natured beast of a road to slog 2 hours on to make it to North Conway/Jackson.

Otherwise it is a good spot.
post #4 of 27
The traffic situation in North Conway is usually horrendous, so I've taken a hatred to the place. The rest of the Mt. Washington Valley is awesome, but North Conway itself?
post #5 of 27
When I'm driving home from the mountain, I intentionally take a route that doesn't come close to it.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post
When I'm driving home from the mountain, I intentionally take a route that doesn't come close to it.
Well yeah, North Conway would be a little out of the way for you.
post #7 of 27
The only times I've been there were during March and I found it empty and a great and practical base for nearby skiing. I would say the apres ski offering is shopping rather than nightlife. I don't do a whole lot of either when I'm on ski trips, so it didn't matter to me. Not so much charm in NC, but you have that (and higher prices) 10 miles up the road in Jackson.
post #8 of 27
North Conway... the Yosemite of the east, or a great place to build strip malls?

Why not BOTH!! (only in New Hampshire)

Best ski town in the east? Sure, and Vail is the best skiing in the west.
post #9 of 27
When I was in College and taking a "mountaineering" class we took a weekend trip up to climb Mt. Adams in March. We did and along the way we stopped in N. Conway for supplies, etc....

My teacher, Ned Britt, had us stop by a Mountaineering store which was called IME (I think) to meet a couple of men who had summitted Everest. I remember there being a large model upstairs of the route and surrounding moutains of Everest.

I rememember N. Conway being small, quiet, and a bit backwards. All the things I look for in a town.

Hope it is still the same.
post #10 of 27
It's not small or quiet anymore, but IME is still there.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
It's not small or quiet anymore, but IME is still there.
...and so is EMS and Polo and Coach and J.Crew and Nike and Perry Ellis and Nautica and Liz Claiborn and Tommy Hilfiger and Crate&Barrel and... you get the idea.
post #12 of 27
North Conway is a good example of that peculiar American phenomenon , ie the tourist trap in an area of natural beauty. Why all those strip malls have come to be located there is a mystery to me. Rather than being perceived as an horrific eyesore they seem to be an attractant as anyone whose suffered through miles-long trafffic jams there can attest. There are a number of ski areas nearby, a couple of decent restaurants and the old center of town retains a bit of charm, what with Mt. Washington visible dead center down the main street. The nearby skiing, hiking, climbing, canoeing and camping is great. The strip malls might be more at home in say, Joisie.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
The traffic situation in North Conway is usually horrendous, so I've taken a hatred to the place. The rest of the Mt. Washington Valley is awesome, but North Conway itself?
living in nearby Lincoln for the summer. There are different routes that go around the totally crowded hwy 16. But why would I want to get those routes more crowded so it takes me longer to get back to home.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotama View Post
Rt. 16 is a humorless, ill natured beast of a road to slog 2 hours on to make it to North Conway/Jackson.
Take 153 instead. It's classic New England still, with all the little white protestant churches from 1700's, steep hills, lakes along the way, deer on the road, and no gas stations. Avoid it after a dump.
The hills are dangerous.

By the way, Rte. 16 is fine if you're traveling during non-rush hours. I drive up on Friday mornings. No one's there. It's all mine.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
I heart the Red Parka
I heart Wildcat
I heart Mt. Washington, and the little liquor shop on the way back that stocks premium perry and cider
I heart Stan & Dan.
Ragged Mountain, intervale ->
1785 Inn ->
Woodworking shop in town with no sales tax ->
And the apple cider store on 302 - yummy not-bo-be-missed cider muffins. And Margarita Grille up the road, what a great place to stop by after skiing.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson Rockwood View Post
...and so is EMS and Polo and Coach and J.Crew and Nike and Perry Ellis and Nautica and Liz Claiborn and Tommy Hilfiger and Crate&Barrel and... you get the idea.
No one said you had to go to those shops. The only "outlet" shop I've been to is the Pearl Izumi outlet. Real deals, real stuff.

There are two roads that bypass the six stoplights and the outlet malls on Rte. 16. Locals can show you where they are. Just take those, and you get no outlets, no stoplights, and cows and barns depending on which alternate route you take.

Granted, North Conway is growing. It saddens me. There's even a Starbucks there now. But none of these things takes away the Presidential mountains, the extensive rugged trails for hiking/biking/cross country skiing, Tuckerman Ravine and its neighbors for raw skiing in the spring, the skies, the views, nor the skiing. The town is skier heaven in the winter.
post #17 of 27
I went to preschool there about 25 years ago. I remember living in a modest chalet at the base of Mt. Cranmore. I have very fond (EARLY) ski memories of riding the funky old "skimobile" lift and passing the time by watching all the other skiers from inside the lodge while sipping hot cocoa with my mom.
I was there last year climbing at cathedral ledge and I noticed that it has gone the way of our "shopping culture." Why do people drive long distances to quaint "mountain" towns just to go shopping?!
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
Well yeah, North Conway would be a little out of the way for you.
Yes, I suppose the extra dozen or more tanks of gas I would need to burn to go that route is a major factor in my decision, plus I'd be late to work all of the time.
post #19 of 27
I always thought the only good ski town in the East was Stowe, though I've never been to Lake Placid, and hear good things about it. I don't remember North Conway being anything special, but I've only been there once.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
I always thought the only good ski town in the East was Stowe, though I've never been to Lake Placid, and hear good things about it. I don't remember North Conway being anything special, but I've only been there once.
Stowe is terminally quaint. Yes, that's nice.

I've done my time there and enjoyed it. But normally I prefer the ragged shape of real life, where $$$ doesn't maintain the presence of a single aesthetic.

For instance, North Conway has a theme motel featuring suites named New York Penthouse, Jungle, Sugar Shack, The Cave, Treehouse, Roman Spa, Dragon's Lair , and more. Dontcha love it?

Eat your heart out, Stowe.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
For instance, North Conway has a theme motel featuring suites named New York Penthouse, Jungle, Sugar Shack, The Cave, Treehouse, Roman Spa, Dragon's Lair , and more. Dontcha love it?
No.

'Coz 2 million Bostonites do.

It's an exercise in frustration to attempt to ski at Attitrash, Cranmore, let alone Loon.

If I haven't had a good, satisfying day on skis, the last thing I want to do is be entangled amongst the same throng that made for 45minute liftlines (and stole my skis -twice-).

Stowe may be terminally twee, but at least I can get to the goods.

You're right, I despise malls with 5 level garages at Christmas too and do everything in my power to avoid them.
post #22 of 27
Let's just leave Stowe out of the N. Conway thread. There is enough out there about Stowe, let North Conway shine a little.
post #23 of 27
I'm in the "never heard of it" camp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
)

Best ski town in the east? Sure, and Vail is the best skiing in the west.
Man - you better watch out! That Justanotherskipro dude might sue you for defamation of charactor. DO NOT make fun of Flail/Fail!
post #24 of 27
I don't get Stowe as a town. But that's just me. The skiing is great but I hit the pillow early and don't linger after the lift closes...

I think N. Conway is as good as it gets in the northeast. I personally prefer Lake Placid more due to the lack of strip malls. Just as much tourist trap but not the eyesore. I can ignore the Gap and outlet stores but I can't ignore the strip malls with cars turning in and out. With all shopping and eating places done by walking at Lake Placid, it just looks and feels more like a real village instead of just some roadside dump.

As a base for skiing or hiking, both are GREAT.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
where $$$ doesn't maintain the presence of a single aesthetic
What does that mean, exactly? Seriously, not trying to pull your chain or anything...
post #26 of 27
Stowe over N. Conway.......

Carrabassett Valley over Stowe.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
What does that mean, exactly? Seriously, not trying to pull your chain or anything...
All I mean is when property values are consistently sky high in a place, you often get a fairly coherent upscale look. The village of Stowe is just that. Of course it's nice.

By ragged shape of real life I mean less homogeneity in property values, taste, class norms, and so on. North Conway certainly has that variety, and as such lacks the overall quaintness that Stowe has. But it has something else.

Ever been to Woodstock, VT? You'll find updated old houses, some quite stately, finely manicured lawns, and cute locally owned shops in its small downtown crossing (not a ski town, but it makes my point). It sets the paradigm for New England quaintness. It looks authentic, but has all the posh conveniences money can buy for leisurely living. Tiny Jackson, NH, with the highest property values in the state, lies just outside North Conway, and has already been mentioned in this thread. It is probably as close as New Hampshire gets to this "quaintness."

But I like the eclectic atmosphere of N. Conway more. I find the messiness there to be a more authentic expression of what New Englanders who like mountains are really like. Those old mountains are the focus of the activity that goes on in the town all year long. Its economy depends on hikers, kayakers, ice climbers, cross-country skiers, bikers, dogsledders, downhill skiers, mt bikers, and even the visitors who just want to look at the mountains and the trees while shopping and eating. Those mountains sit there, quietly unmoved by the attentive babble below. I like the contrast. I ski there every weekend during the season, and I've grown to love the place. That's why the outlet malls don't bother me. I suppose I'm in a minority, but what the heck.
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