Last weekend, Misha and I celebrated our one year anniversary. First, we traveled back to the yard where we were married. The occasion was for Violet, the flower girl at our wedding one year ago, who was now celebrating her second birthday. Our second half of the trip brought us to the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire. Here’s a rundown of the entire weekend:
Friday night, we checked into our hotel–the same one our families stayed at one year ago before our wedding. Then it was out for dinner at Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland. We shared a spare rib & pulled pork combo. The meat was good, but unfortunately, I didn’t taste any real slow smoke flavor. This was my second time eating at Bub’s and the second time that I didn’t taste smoke or see a smoke ring in my BBQ. The good news is that the ribs were cooked nicely (just not slow smoked) and had a lot of tasty meat on them. I’m not a big meat eater, but the occasional BBQ is the time when I indulge. The better news at Bub’s is their unlimited sides when you order a full meal. The smoked potatoes were surely smoked. The baked beans, collard greens, and dirty rice were all excellent. I think the unlimited sides is what Bub’s does best. It’s tough to beat the atmosphere either, with outdoor tables under a big tent out in Western Mass.
We both intended to swim at the hotel’s indoor pool, but I was the only one to do so because the pool closed around 9:45 pm, before Misha had a chance to change and make it to the pool. I might have got in 10 or 15 minutes of swimming.
Saturday morning we drove to Amherst and had a good breakfast at The Lone Wolf. The city center was quiet, although when we parked, a college age man was being escorted from the police station by his father who was telling him he needed to stop drinking. (Party town due to U Mass Amherst)
At 10:30 am we arrived at Jon and Khama’s, the place we were married. They had invited a handful of young families to share their daughter’s birthday and Happy Dan the children’s entertainer. Dan is very nice. He told my wife and I that he was in our area the day before! We’re going to look out for him once our boy is born.
Misha and I enjoyed observing the parents with their babies and young children. The birthday girl Violet is so cute. Her hair is growing out and she has beautiful light brown highlights. She had a great birthday. And obviously it was great for Misha and I to be back at the warm and inviting yard and house where we were married and were hosted so wonderfully.
Per the suggestion of Steve Rheaume who writes an excellent New England ski blog, I booked a room at The Barron Brook Inn in Whitefield, NH. Saturday afternoon was mostly spent on the three and a half hour drive from Amherst up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, an area I am fond of from the many ski trips there with my family and friends. The inn is run by a great couple that both cared about our interests and our stay. Our room, including the bathroom, was spotless, if a bit unpolished. It seems to be a work in progress. The king bed was very comfortable. The inn is on many acres of natural land, with a lake a few minutes walk from the back yard.
Saturday night, we took a chance on eating in Littleton, not something I like to take a chance on after being burnt and understanding the tourist trap nature of the area. We ate Thai food at Chang Thai Cafe. Both Misha and I felt like our food and her Mango juice were watered down. The food wasn’t bad, but we certainly wouldn’t come back if there were other options. With Loon Mountain and year round vacationers staying in the area, these restaurants don’t need to be very good to get you to spend money…once.
After eating Thai food, we walked across the street to Chutters where the innkeeper had told us has the world’s largest candy counter. Misha bought a little bit of candy for us. I picked out a few flavors of malted milk balls. The flavors were good but the layer of chocolate around the malty center was too thick. I ended up tasting very little of the center.
We had no luck seeing any moose during the ride from Whitefield to Littleton and back. But the next morning, Sunday, after taking a stroll behind the inn to the little river, we saw a large Great Blue Heron up close. We startled it when we approached.
We checked out of the Barron Brook Inn, telling the owners that we’d like to come back, and headed to my favorite part of the trip, the mighty Cannon Mountain Tramway.
Understanding the crowds that flock to the White Mountains and the attractions of Rt. 93 especially during fall foliage season, I made sure we arrived early. We were their before 9 am and got the first tram up with only about a dozen people on board. Being at a ski area is always great. Being at one of the true skier’s mountains in New England is something that takes my breath away. The tramway is an amazing lift and one with tons of history. It was originally built in 1938 and was completely refurbished in 1980. I got to ride the original tram before the changeover! Yes I’m that old! Old and proud of my ski history and all the areas of New England I’ve had the opportunity to ski.
We took a drive to adjacent Mittersill to check out the new lift that is scheduled to go in by this ski season. Yes folks, it’s finally happening. A top to bottom lift is being installed at Mittersill which hasn’t seen their lifts turn since the early ’80s.
We finished our anniversary trip with a stop at one of the great New Hampshire attractions, the Flume Gorge. Even thought it hadn’t rained in a while, the water flow was not actually disappointing.
Growing up, my parents often took me and my brother to New England’s great attractions. Now that I’m married with a baby on the way, you can bet I’ll show my wife and son the same awesome traditions that families have been visiting for generations. I love my wife and my unborn son!