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Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire is a beautiful mountain landscape that’s ideal for family travel. There are so many things to enjoy here. Lakes and hikes welcome the summer traveler, and snow sports invite the winter enthusiast. The Valley’s unique villages also offer shopping and dining to fit any budget.
TripAdvisor named Mt. Washington Valley one of the most affordable ski vacation destinations in the United States. The area’s 13 downhill and cross country skiing locations offer everything a family could want on a winter getaway. In addition to skiing, these mountains offer outdoor fun including snow tubing, snowshoeing in wildlife preserves, and ziplining through the snowy forest.
My children really enjoy skiing, so we recently headed to New Hampshire for a ski weekend. King Pine Ski Area is one of the most family-friendly mountains in the valley, so it was the perfect destination for us because the kids and I are still beginners. We stayed right at the base of the mountain at Purity Spring Resort. You can’t beat that convenience!
The lessons were wonderful for all of us, and I managed to fall only a few times. Now I know what a great workout skiing can be, and I just need to practice those turns.
Mount Washington Valley Real Food Travel
I did have an ulterior motive in planning a vacation to Mt. Washington Valley. This region is known for its commitment to fresh, locally sourced food, and travelers have so many healthy dining options in this part of New Hampshire.
The Valley Originals is a group of over 20 unique, locally-owned restaurants that share a strong commitment to their community. Many of these restaurants focus on using regional products in food that’s prepared fresh daily. If you dine at a Valley Originals restaurant, you can expect a freshly made meal served with warm hospitality. These restaurants give back over $150,000 a year to area charities, and they’re a great alternative to national chains for vacation dining.
There are so many great restaurants and markets in Mt. Washington Valley. Here are some of the highlights I found during my travels in the area.
Southern Mt. Washington Valley
As we entered Mt. Washington Valley from the south, we were struck by the beautiful winding roads and rustic landscape. The restaurants we visited in this area were so charming and unassuming.
Max’s Restaurant (Snowvillage, NH) is the restaurant at Snowvillage Inn. We ate at this farm-to-table restaurant on our first night, and we couldn’t have received a warmer welcome to the area. The menu features ingredients from several area farms. I’m still thinking about the delicious, crispy Brussels sprouts appetizer, and my husband enjoyed a beer from a local brewery with his dinner. My daughter’s homemade Fettucini Alfredo with locally sourced sausage, squash, and fennel was another highlight at the table.
Traditions Restaurant (Madison, NH), the restaurant at Purity Spring Resort, is a cozy spot that serves classic New England comfort food. We enjoyed the variety at the buffet dinner and breakfast, and there was something for everyone in my family. The salad bar was an impressive spread and made for a nice alternative to a traditional salad menu. My husband enjoyed another locally brewed beer at Traditions.
Darby Field Inn (Albany, NH) is home to a restaurant that features seasonal entrees that are often prepared from local ingredients. They have their own garden, which supplies herbs and vegetables used in the restaurant during the growing season.
Central Mount Washington Valley
The drive up White Mountain Highway through North Conway is dotted with country stores, markets, outlet shopping, and lots of locavore dining.
Black Cap Grille (North Conway, NH) serves contemporary American fare made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their menu is full of healthy salads, sandwiches, and wraps. They also have a variety of burger options, including beef from local farms as well as a house-made veggie burger.
Delaney’s Hole in the Wall (North Conway, NH) is a casual restaurant with an extensive menu to satisfy different tastes. They serve homemade family recipes that feature locally sourced vegetables and meat, and they proudly support local farmers, artisans, and businesses.
Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Co. (North Conway, NH) is a brewpub that makes beer from fresh mountain water. The restaurant makes just about everything from scratch, and the casual menu includes nachos, quesadillas, sandwiches, burgers, and pizza. They get their ingredients from many local farms, and the spent grain from the brewing process goes to local farms.
Local Grocer (North Conway, NH) is a full-service natural foods market with a focus on local products. The cafe/deli has an extensive breakfast and lunch menu featuring local grass-fed meats, milk, eggs, and cheese, plus organic produce. This is a great place to grab a healthy breakfast or lunch, and you can stock up on groceries here if you have a kitchen where you’re staying.
Northern Mt. Washington Valley
A visit to Mt. Washington Valley isn’t complete without a trip to the northern part of the region. The area’s beauty persists as you drive north past North Conway.
Margarita Grill (Glen, NH) is a leader in locavore cuisine in the valley. This southwestern restaurant offers a varied menu featuring locally grown vegetables, cheese, meat, and baked goods, as well as non-GMO oil. The chef even has his own line of hot sauces that are served at the restaurant. I love the “Happy Belly” kids’ menu, with everything from fish tacos to locally sourced hamburgers.
White Mountain Cider Company (Glen, NH) is an award-winning restaurant that uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to make their creative dishes. This is a wonderful restaurant for a special occasion. You’ll also find a country store with a deli and take-out meals here, so this is a good place to stop and grab a quick meal to go. During the fall, you can see the cider press in action and sample fresh cider.
J-Town Deli and Country Store (Jackson, NH) is a quintessential New England market. They serve baked goods, salads, sandwiches, and homemade sausage made from fresh, local products. The market also includes healthy snacks and drinks. If you’re visiting nearby Story Land, this is a great place to take a break from the amusement park food. They even offer a catering menu, and they’ll provide a hot meal to go for your group if you aren’t up for another restaurant.
Eastern Mt. Washington Valley
The valley stretches east into Maine, where the beautiful landscape and classic New England hospitality continue.
The Oxford House Inn (Fryeburg, ME) is a renowned inn that offers exceptional farm-to-table dining. The innovative menu changes with the seasons, and it features many local and organic foods. Our trip to the valley was cut short by yet another Boston snowstorm, so I missed out on my planned visit to this inn. I’m hoping to arrange a getaway here in the near future. It looks like the perfect place to escape from the hectic day-to-day and celebrate seasonal, local food at its best.
We had so much fun skiing and snow tubing at King Pine. My family can’t wait to return to the area for more great food and fun on the slopes. And a camping trip may be in the works for the summer.
Have you visited Mt. Washington Valley? I’d love to hear where you like to eat in this region. Please share in the comments!
Visit my Real Food Travel page to read about other destinations where healthy, locally sourced food is celebrated.
Disclosure: We were hosted by Purity Spring Resort/King Pine Ski Area, Snowvillage Inn, and the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. We can’t wait to go back!