Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fundraiser for NH sled dog rescue and ed. center March 7-9

This looks like it’ll be a really great event and a fun way to spend a weekend here in the beautiful White Mountains!!

AR Logo horizontal Great Glen horizontal logo

SLED DOG TEAM TO ATTEMPT HISTORY MAKING ASCENT OF MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD ON MARCH 7-9 AS FUNDRAISER FOR NH SLED DOG RESCUE AND EDUCATION CENTER PINKHAM NOTCH, NH-An intrepid team of sled dogs and mushers from the Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel of Jefferson, NH will attempt to tackle the Northeast’s highest peak on either March 7, 8 or 9, depending on weather conditions. This will be only the fourth ever attempt of such a feat and the first time ever in winter. The Muddy Paw mushers and dogs will be following in the historic “pawprints” of Arthur Walden and his famed Chinook team, who were first to summit in 1926, followed by the first and only woman, Florence Clark, in April 1932 and then Carl Brown in April 1992.

This event has been undertaken in an effort to not just make history, but raise awareness and funds to help support the more than 130 sled dogs that the Muddy Paws kennel have rescued and care for. Muddy Paw owners Karen Tolin and Neil Beaulieu have been taking in rescue and second chance huskies and giving them a home & job for life while supporting their care with year round dogsled tours.

The couple took their passion for rescue and the rich history of dogsledding in NH and formed a board of local mushers to create the nonprofit NH Sled Dog Rescue, History & Education Center. This new nonprofit will focus on rescuing northern breed dogs in need, preserving NH sled dog artifacts, and educating the public on the history of dogsledding & the care of northern breeds.

In addition to the one team making a summit attempt, a truly unprecedented opportunity will be offered on two additional sleds–two guest seats will be auctioned to the highest bidder for this once in a lifetime opportunity to ascend halfway up Mt. Washington and experience the world above treeline on a dog sled. Local school children will also be involved, as they write letters to the Observatory staff members on the summit (which will be delivered by the sled dog team) and follow the track of the mushers to the summit.

“It will be exciting to see this adventurous episode of Mt. Washington Auto Road history brought to life after all these years. This is not an endeavor to be taken lightly and those involved will certainly earn their place in the history books!” noted Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails.

Taking into consideration the changeable conditions on Mt. Washington, safety of all two and four legged participants is of paramount concern. Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel’s veterinarian, Dr. John Anderson, DVM of Lancaster, NH will be supporting the dog teams on the day of the event and staff members of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, Mount Washington Observatory and the Mt. Washington State Park will be on standby for any emergency circumstances.

For more information, check out or email Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel at . Individuals or companies wishing to sponsor the teams or be involved in the auction for the two available seats should contact Karen Tolin at 603-545-4533.

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North Conway named one of world’s best ski towns!!

Whether boasting steep drops and extreme skiing or romantic get aways in the picturesque mountains, there are many factors that make a great ski town!  National Geographic scoured the world in search of the best!  When all the powder was settled, North Conway came out in the top 25!

Just what makes a classic ski town? It starts, naturally, with skiing and snowboarding so good they attract people like youth-bestowing fountains. Then add an inviting mountain burg steeped in ski heritage, amenities, and culture. These are the 25 best. For insider tips, we asked local luminaries where to stay, play, and party, whether you’re on a budget or indulging.
—Aaron Teasdale  (See the full article here)

North Conway, New Hampshire

Photograph by Greg Keeler, Cannon Mountain

Best For: History-buff families in the northeastern U.S.

North Conway may be less well known than many of the towns on this list, but only a few towns in North America can rival its skiing heritage. Tucked into Mount Washington Valley in the White Mountains, some of the first purpose-cut ski runs on the continent and a host of other innovations in grooming, lifts, and ski schools were developed here in the 1930s. North Conway was one of the leading lights in American skiing for decades before Western resorts rose to prominence. Much of that old New England character lives on today in the town of 2,349, where skiing is still tightly woven into the small community’s social fabric.

This may have something to do with the fact that there are no less than seven different downhill areas with an easy drive of town (and six Nordic ones). Visitors here will likely focus on three. Cranmore sits two miles from the main village. It’s an excellent starting point for families, with its revered ski school and abundant non-skiing activities, including indoor tennis, climbing walls, on-mountain tubing, and a plummeting rail-coaster ride. Attitash, seven miles up the valley, is the biggest of the bunch, with 73 runs and the region’s best terrain park. No-frills, expert-friendly Wildcat, a half-hour drive, is the wildest, tallest mountain of the three, with the most vertical and spectacular views of nearby Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Wildcat and Attitash now share the same owners and feature interchangeable lift tickets, so if the weather is belligerent at Wildcat, which is not uncommon, you can skip 16 miles over to the more sheltered Attitash.

Ask a Local

Tom Eastman, a ski historian and reporter for Conway Daily Sun, has lived and skied in North Conway for the last 30 years. Here are his recommendations.

Best Digs

Budget: The Yankee Clipper Inn
Swank: White Mountain Hotel & Resort

Best Eats

Cheap: Horsefeathers is great for families, with good pizza, pasta, and seafood.
Gourmet: Maestro’s has incredible Italian dishes.

Best After-Ski Party Spot

Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub is a skiers’ hangout, with live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and an open mic on Mondays.

Best Rest-Day Activity

Head for the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center right on South Main Street, where kids can learn about meteorology and the peak’s record-setting wind speeds. Then go to Farm by the River Bed and Breakfast with Stables for a sleigh ride.

North Conway’s Classic Run

The Lynx Trail at Wildcat runs top to bottom and snakes its way across the fall line while enjoying sweeping views of Tuckerman Ravine and Mount Washington.

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Romantic getaways without kids

I think most of the parents out there can appreciate those moments you get without kids.  Of course we love our children and cherish the times spent with them, especially as they grow up, but a quiet Jackson, NH romantic getaway is often just the thing!!  our friend Eileen Ogintz from Fox wrote a nice article about her adventures and I wanted to share it!  Enjoy!

Romantic getaways without kids
Where’s the music?

We succumbed to the sales pitch for the “romantic,” albeit pricey gondola ride early one evening on Venice’s famed canals, but our gondolier, decked out in the traditional striped shirt, didn’t sing, much less talk to us.

I don’t think he spoke English and our Italian didn’t go beyond buon giorno. Still it was fun gliding on the narrow canals past Marco Polo’s house, Mozart’s House, the famous Bridge of Sighs (legend has it, that the bridge takes its name from the sighs of prisoners stealing their last look at freedom before making their way to their cells from the Doges Palace.)

As for the romance, honestly, we just laughed at the kitchy-ness of it all. At least we could relax and not worry about the kids’ reaction — (so lame … I can’t believe you spent money for this!) That entire trip to Italy and Croatia, in part on a Windstar Cruise last fall, was full of moments like that — just-us time, sans kids — no sibling squabbles to mediate, no children’s opinions, no juggling different agendas, no playing psychologist, nurse and cook.

Of course, I love traveling with my children, their pals and various other pint-sized relatives. I do it all the time. (Read my trip diary about our most recent family trip, sailing in the Caribbean.)

But there’s something deliciously decadent about an adult-only trip, whether you manage just a night away in a nearby hotel (Affinia has a “Kiss and Tell” deal starting at $139 in New York City and Washington, D.C., $149 in Chicago, complete with a list of the most romantic spots to kiss) or a trip of a lifetime to Patagonia. (Tierra Patagonia offers guided adventures during the day — think horseback rides to view nesting Andean Condors — and luxurious accommodations at night in the 40-room lodge, complete with signature spa treatments.)

If you choose instead a few days of kicking back in the sun or on the slopes, rather than the practical condo, opt for a quaint B&B like the Red Clover Inn in Killington, Vt. or boutique hotel like The Sky Lodge in Park City, Utah. There are plenty of bargains — even to Tahiti. They’re touting deals including airfare starting at $1,699 per person, from Los Angeles. Check out websites like that promise unique experiences at five-star accommodations around the world, at up to 65 percent off best-available rates, or Groupon Getaways with Expedia.

“Even a few days alone can help couples recharge and reconnect with each other,” said Dr. David Fassler, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and professor at the University of Vermont Medical School. No wonder nearly 70 percent of travelers polled last summer said their personal romantic relationships would benefit if they vacationed more together, Hotwire reports. So this Valentine’s Day, instead of the chocolate and flowers, give your significant other a promise of a just-us, guilt-free break in the months to come.

“Letting your kids stay home while you go away can also support their growing sense of independence and autonomy,” Dr. Fassler added. “Although kids certainly miss their parents, short-term separations can actually enhance resiliency by helping them develop new coping skills.” So now that you’ve let go of the guilt, where to go?

Obviously somewhere you won’t be surrounded by other people’s children. Consider the, adult-only new Travaasa resorts in Hawaii and Austin, Texas that integrate local activities and organic culinary programs. The 29-room Kenwood Inn and Spa, located in Sonoma, Calif., respectfully has a no-children policy, which, they promise, will enhance romance. Did I mention the guests-only restaurant serves farm-fresh, Italian-inspired cuisine?

Since you don’t have to worry about the kids’ happiness, try something you’ve never done. Take a glass-blowing class with the Hotel Murano’s Hot Piece of Glass Package in Tacoma, Wash., which has emerged as the center of the American art glass movement. Put your romance on ice and go ice fishing with your honey and then cuddle up at the Blue Harbor Resort and Spa on Lake Michigan. Located in Sheboygan, Wis., the Blue Harbor is just two hours from Chicago. Climb one of St. Lucia’s famous pitons or zipline under the stars in Antigua. Be a castaway for a day on a deserted island in the Bahamas, complete with beach chairs, drinks and lunch, of course. (Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours can arrange it all.)

Learn all about the farm-to-table movement from the resident forager at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, R.I., where you can take an “In the Kitchen” workshop focused on seasonal ingredients. (The deluxe hotel has a first-rate spa, too, and you can snare good off-season deals.) See more of Italy than Renaissance art and churches with customized Country Bred Encounters tours, whether you want to make parmesan cheese on a cheese farm or make ceramics with a master in Umbria. Combine gourmet dining, wine with the adrenaline rush of river rafting with O.A.R.S on special Wine on the River Tours. Go camping — without all of the work — with El Capitan Canyon.

Along California’s central coast, you’ll stay in a furnished safari tent and pick up your barbecue kit at the Canyon Market. At Orenda in the Lake George area of New York’s Adirondacks, all meals are provided and outdoor activities are customized.

Volunteer working with children in Cambodia, playing with lions in Zambia or building a house in Uganda. Go Voluntouring offers many options.

As for us, in Europe, we had a blast without the kids doing things they would have never considered — like our overpriced gondola-without-the-music tour of Venice.

Sometimes a little imperfection, I told the kids, just adds to the romance.

For more on Eileen’s trip without the kids to Europe, read her trip diary and also follow “taking the kids” on Twitter, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.

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Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tonight!!, Feb, 1.

Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center to host Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes on Wednesday Feb 1

Join Eric Pedersen, AMC’s Huts Manager, as he shows slides from his climbing
expeditions to Cotopaxi, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.
Ecuador sits on the equator and is one of the world’s hot spots for volcanic
activity. Its rich bio-diversity, delicious food, beautiful landscapes and
friendly people make it a wonderful climbing and travel destination.  This
program follows the 6 pm International Dinner featuring cuisine of Ecuador.

This program is part of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s annual International
Dinner and Adventure Series.  Dinners are offered every Wednesday night from
through March 28, 2012 (excluding February 22).  Each week features a unique
menu carefully planned and prepared by our chefs.  Dinners are four courses
of delectable fare from fresh baked breads to dessert. Beverages are
included. All menu items are prepared fresh in our kitchen.
BYOB is welcome.

After dinner, sit back  & enjoy the evening program.  Presentations from
around the world will spark your curiosity for travel and adventure.

Dinner is at 6 pm, the program follows dinner.  All programs are free and
open to the public.  Reservations are recommended. For more information or
to make reservations call: 603-466-2727.  The Appalachian Mountain Club is
an equal opportunity service provider. The AMC operates the Pinkham Notch
Visitor Center and its system of backcountry huts in the White Mountain
National Forest under special-use permits from the US Forest Service.

Nicky Pizzo
Senior Naturalist
Appalachian Mountain Club
PO Box 298 Gorham, NH 03581

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