Before diving in to make an honest attempt at describing what I’ve likened to a little piece of heaven on earth in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I’d like to take a moment to thank Ed & Les for their generous hospitality and for inviting my husband and I to stay at the Notchland Inn so that we could fully experience all that they have to offer and bring you this review. Although the stay was complimentary, all thoughts, opinions and my love for The Notchland Inn are sincere. Thank you, also, to Marti and the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce for connecting me with The Notchland Inn for this fabulous little getaway! This is a sponsored review.
The Notchland Inn
Cruising through the White Mountains, one can’t help but feel amazed by the breathtaking sights from the mountain peaks to the wildlife and waterfalls aplenty, there’s little nature has left out here. Then, as the road curves and you cross just one more bridge over the Saco River, The Notchland Inn greets you with it’s beautiful gardens and it’s strong, historic granite presence and you just know you’ve found the perfect place to press pause and make yourself at home.
From the moment we arrived, we knew that we were in excellent hands. Our first “hello” came from Roxie, a sweet and gentle giant Bernese Mountain Dog who met us near the stunning floral gardens on the grounds. Soon after, Patty, one of three assistant innkeepers, greeted us with her warm smile and was genuinely excited to pause her duties to give us a tour of the inn and grounds.
The part of me that holds an MA in History was simply in awe of the historic 1860’s built mansion in which I stood, and I was especially excited about the portrait of Dr. Samuel Bemis proudly displayed above the mantle in the “music room” where guests are invited to play music from the inn’s cd collection, or on the beautiful piano, to enjoy a fire while perusing magazines and books, or to set technology aside and play a game of scrabble, cribbage or one of the many other options so often overlooked in our time of tech driven entertainment. Speaking of which, cell service is limited here though the inn does offer complimentary wifi.
Just off the kitchen, another tribute to Dr Bemis displays news of his papers being held at the Conway Historic Society. Bemis built the estate as his private home, and the hiker in me was interested to learn that it was he who had named Frankenstein Cliffs in Crawford Notch after artist, Godfrey Frankenstein, who had in fact been the one to paint the portrait I admired so.
I could certainly go on and on about the historic aspect of The Notchland Inn, and perhaps one day I will, but for now I’ll leave you with a link to this news article that not only tells the story of Dr Bemis, but also of how the innkeepers, Ed and Les, have cared for his memory, as well as his home.
Following our tour, Patty led us upstairs to our room – Kinsman; one of eight deluxe rooms within the main house (there are also five suites and two pet-friendly cottages on the property). Each room has it’s own unique and quaint charm, with the furnishings and decor carefully selected – in Kinsman, their is an essence of Asian notes with a full Kimono hung on one wall. Here is what we walked into:
Our room had the most lovely four post bed, a real working wood-burning fireplace (not an electric knockoff), a small living room/office space, a generous sized closet and … the most incredible bath tub I’ve ever had the opportunity to bathe in, and yes, it’s big enough for two.
Little details don’t go unnoticed, and the guidebooks, wine glasses and corkscrew, soaps and amenities typically found in a hotel are not left out here. One of my favorite things found in the room were three journals, with entries left by guests over the last twenty years – from newlywed couples to those celebrating golden anniversaries, it was easy to see how the Notchland Inn was their home away from home where romance flourished and many a happy couple departed at the end of their stay already feeling homesick over leaving the granite mansion behind.
As you can imagine, the room alone is enough to keep you entertained for quite some time, just taking it in, relaxing and imagining life as it was a hundred years ago. But, alas – the property is in the middle of the White Mountains National Forest and their are sites to see, and things to do, both on the grounds and around Crawford Notch and the Mt. Washington Valley.
The Notchland Inn is a hiker’s paradise. You get a little R&R, and yet also the opportunity to hike and explore, literally right outside the door. In fact, you can’t miss the display of hiking sticks by the front door, and the trail map hanging on the wall above them.
My husband hasn’t caught the hiking fever I have, so I opted for a short hike with an incredible waterfall, Ripley Falls. I highly recommend that you take this hike, and also do the longer but possibly more rewarding hike into Arethusa Falls when you stay at The Notchland Inn – I did that hike a few years back and it’s probably the best waterfall hike in New Hampshire! Here’s what you find on the Ripley Falls hike:
Dining at Notchland Inn
With all of the things to see and do, walking, swimming, hiking, fishing and exploring, you’re going to want to be sure to fuel up and you’d be hard pressed to feel hungry after a breakfast at The Notchland Inn. Every morning, the coffee is brewed and muffins, fresh fruit, cereal and granola is set for the early birds, or those that want to nibble while waiting for their made-to-order breakfast of eggs in almost any style or french toast or pancakes, each with many options for dressing them up.
Breakfast is included with your stay and is not to be missed. I enjoyed bacon and eggs most mornings while my husband ventured into the land of specialty french toast along with eggs and sausage on most days. Along with your coffee, juice and breakfast, you’re given a warm greeting, asked if you need any help finding things to do for the day and presented with a weather report for the area as well as on the summit of Mount Washington should you choose to hike, take the Cog or ride up in your car or in one of the Mt’s vans. If your morning starts out on a Wednesday through Sunday, you’ll also be presented with the option of making your dinner reservation for that evening.
Dinner at the Notchland Inn isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience. In fact, it’s a five-course dinner and you are able to chose your course in the morning from two to three options per course. The innkeepers knew ahead that I follow a low carb diet and they, and the chef, went out of their way to ensure that I didn’t have to skip a single course, right down to making me my own low carb roll to be served alongside my husband’s flaky buttermilk biscuit and, a blueberry sorbet with almost no sugar to topped off my meal while the rest of the guests enjoyed their choice of one of the three sugar-laden desserts on the menu (and sometimes all three as the innkeepers never put the brakes on a guests’ sweet tooth following their meals). I enjoyed Lobster Bisque, Ensalada Caprese, Ny Sirloin with a Red Wine Mushroom Sauce, a lovely salad and finally, Blueberry Sorbet! My husband enjoyed Duck for his main entree!
While staying at the Notchland Inn, we explored a variety of places including the Willey House, Crawford Notch, North Conway for shopping at Settler’s Green, dining at a few great restaurants and a drive on Route 302 to Bethlehem, Sugar Hill and Fraconia where we visited the Iron Furnace and Robert Frost Place in addition to hiking, waking and sightseeing. So much fit into four days, too much to share here all at once. But, here’s a video slideshow showcasing the best of our Notchland Inn weekend getaway!
Notchland Inn Savings
Summer Sale! Two Days Only! 25% Off All Standard Rates … BUT only if you book directly with them by phone on Sunday, July 2 or Monday July 3. This offer is good for reservations made for all dates thru September 21, 2017. Payment-in-full required at the time of reservation. To reserve, call them directly at 800.866.6131
Notchland Inn Package Deals
- Murder Mystery Dinner Train — October 20, 21, 27 and 28, 2017
You are cordially invited to an evening of Matrimony, Mayhem and Murder
aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad into a world that is sure to entertain and lift your spirits!
- Something Ghostly This Way Comes — October 28, 2017Join us for a ghoulish gathering, a soulful walk in the dark of night and a graveyard stroll.
Dress for dinner in your favorite Halloween costume and come as you’d like to be
to enjoy a themed menu.
- December Diversions and Delights — December 8, 9, 10 & 15, 16, 17, 2017
Discover new holiday magic, traditions, and spirit; inspiration to kick off
the coming weeks of baking, gifting and celebrating with family and friends.
Maple Madness Tour — March 24, 2018Tap your sense of whimsy with a road rally, a trivia quiz for prizes and early Spring
maple treats during this annual Maple Sugaring Event!