|Chuck & Lori Selfie in North Conway, NH – About Day 2 of the Goatee|
Hmm, where did we leave off? Oh yeah, Randy clutching his shoulder and saying, “I broke something.” Needless to say the ski trip took a turn for the worse at that point. The good things were that it happened late in the day, after we had gotten in a full day of skiing, and that Randy got to ride down in one of those orange vinyl-lined litters. Chuck followed, watching Randy’s head bob along with each bump on the trail, worried what Susan would say–do–to him when he told her what happened. A few hours later we were wrapping it up at the ER (and what a fine hospital they have in North Conway, I must say), Randy’s shoulder having been found NOT to be broken but only strained, or–at worst–separated a wee bit, and wondering where to eat.
Now it’s usually a vacation-buster when your ski trip is interrupted halfway through with an injury, but being the roll-with-the-punches travelers that we all are, we made do, and in fact we managed to see a few things we had not seen before and likely wouldn’t have if we had continued to ski like mad men. We returned to Bretton Woods for a little souvenir (t-shirt) shopping and spent a few hours checking out the Mount Washington hotel.
|Randy & His Bum Shoulder at Bretton Woods|
The Mount Washington Hotel is one of those rare, grand old hotels built around the turn of the century, made of mostly wood frame on a stone foundation. The architecture is simply beautiful, especially surrounded by a sea of snow and the hotel outfitted with Christmas decorations. And (for this business geek) it was pretty interesting seeing the spot where the Bretton Woods Accord was signed. We had a fine meal at the hotel and enjoyed exploring, and especially watching the (much younger) people going swimming (we are confident the pool’s water is comfortably heated, but just getting to the outdoor pool would have been the deal-breaker for us).
That day was New Year’s Eve, and while we had aspirations of hanging out with the revelers in North Conway’s town square (we had heard there would be a bonfire and fireworks), after we managed to drive back into town and get some dinner, we were positively tired. Figuring we’d head to the hotel, take a nap, and get back out later in the evening, we were delighted to find a bottle of chilled champagne waiting in our rooms for us, compliments of the fine people of The Golden Gables Inn. We didn’t make it back out that New Year’s Eve, and we hardly even managed to stay awake to see the ball drop in Times Square.
|The Mount Washington Hotel|
The next day we took another road trip north, this time to Pinkham Notch–past the Dana Place Inn where we had stayed all those years ago–and to the visitor’s center. The drive was beautiful, hemmed in with mountains on either side of the road and trees filled with snow. The visitor’s center was manned by members of the Appalachian Mountain Club and we spent a good hour or so learning about the area, the mountains, and studying the huge relief model of the Presidential Range in the visitor’s center. Lori and I took a short walk up the trail toward the peak, just far enough to be amazed at the people heading up to camp in the negative temps of the mountains. After the Pinkham Notch visitor’s center we drove by the Wildcat Ski area and made a note that–maybe next time–we’ll ski there.
|Even Though it was 4 degrees, This Looked Incredibly Inviting|
Susan and Randy left the next day, as was their plan. When we said goodbye to them, Lori and I headed back up through the falling snow to Bretton Woods. Despite the cold and poor visibility, it was one of our best-ever ski days: there were few people on the slopes and we never had to wait in a lift line; we were getting in a tiring 5 or 6 runs each hour. Friday was our day to say goodbye to North Conway: having survived the second nor’easter of our visit, we headed south to Manchester where we caught our flight home the next morning.
Bretton Woods remains our favorite ski resort.