This summer, we decided to "swing through" VT and NH on our way to Maine, as we usually take the normal route up 495 over the Big Green Bridge. Well, this detour was amazing. Mount Washington is an awesome slice of nature, where they have vistas beyond compare, and weather conditions you don't want to mess with. We arrived in late July, 2012, and on a day that began with rain and cloud cover. As we made our way from MA to NH, the skies cleared considerably, and we purchased tickets for the guided ride up the mountain at 3 pm. Our driver was Steve, and he was a great liason for the mountain. It was just my two kids and I, so we had a truly personalized tour. It takes 30 min. to reach the summit, and you get 30 min. to walk around up there before heading back down. The tickets are a little costly, but worth it if you want to take pictures like I did. And the whole wear and tear on your vehicle is saved by letting them drive you up the narrow, twisting roads with no guardrails! You'd pay the vehicle fee and the per person fee anyway, so consider that when you go.
Anyway - the day we were there, it was strange, because there was almost no wind. It is usually VERY windy up there. We still needed light jackets, and were glad we'd worn them. Being from Virginia, we don't have use for jackets in summer much. :) You can visit the original lodgings up there - the Tip Top House. It is constructed of stone walls over 3-feet thick. There's also a museum at the observatory, and it is pretty interesting. There's a cafe and little market up there, as well as a gift shop/gear place. You'll see AT hikers, which is cool as well. I enjoyed seeing the plant/tree life change as we increased altitude. A fall or winter trip up there would be amazing. We could see for miles and miles, and enjoyed the Presidentials. Next time, perhaps the Cog Railway will be our mode of transportation? There are hummingbirds that come to the feeder at the base lodge in the summer. We saw 5-6 of them, and they were fun to watch.
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