The Grand Mt. Washington Hotel

Before the automobile, there were many grand hotels and boarding houses in the White Mountains, called the Great North Woods back then, where people from the cities in Massachusetts would stay for a month or two in the summer for some fresh air and recreation. The Mt. Washington wasn’t open in the winter until 2000. They would arrive by trains and ‘tallyhos’ which were horse drawn carriages. It took so long to get anywhere, you would stay longer. The Mt. Washington Hotel broke ground in 1900 and opened for guests in 1902. It was built by Joseph Stickney, who also owned the Mt. Pleasant Hotel (which is now where the Lodges at Bretton Woods are) across the street.

It is breathtaking, the largest wooden structure in New England, all white exterior with that bright popping red roof against the most beautiful backdrop- the Presidential Mountain Range. I have driven by the hotel many times in my hiking adventures, and looked down upon it from many peaks in the area. Last week was the first time I actually stayed there, and honestly I could have moved in. We stayed Wednesday night and Thursday night, and it was really great being there midweek. It was a lot less crowded from what I have heard. There was rain on Wednesday, but Thursday and Friday were gorgeous. Wednesday night we sat out on the veranda overlooking our beloved mountains. They sat tucked under a blanket of clouds until the sun set and the alpine glow set in. We went to dinner that night at Stickney’s, a restaurant in the lower level of the hotel that used to be the men’s billiard room back in the day. After, we had a couple drinks in The Cave, a space that was originally squash courts that became a speakeasy during Prohibition years. They drank from tea cups and had a view out the window to the driveway to see if any officials were coming up.

IMG_5677
The beautiful mountains under the clouds

IMG_5662

IMG_5659
Red clay tennis courts, new from when the conference center/spa addition took up space where the old courts were.
IMG_5656
The Ammonoosuc River
IMG_5665
The Bretton Arms Inn on the property
IMG_5666
The carriage house that is now the stables/equestrian center
IMG_5685
The alpine glow at around 8PM. From left to right, the peaks are Jefferson, Clay, Washington, Monroe, Franklin, and you can just see the slope of Eisenhower.
IMG_5679
Out on the roof of the newer section of the hotel which houses a conference center/spa

Thursday we hiked Zealand Mountain which was fantastic because it was only 15 minutes from the hotel. I will write up the hike in a separate post 🙂 Thursday night we did a little fly fishing in the trout pond out front before eating out on the veranda. After, we got a couple glasses of champagne, a book titled A Self Guided Historic Tour, and meandered around the hotel.

IMG_5734
No trout caught unfortunately, we just caught some creek chubs

IMG_5732

IMG_5674
A place is always set for Carolyn Stickney, the wife of the original owner of the hotel. He died just a year after the great hotel had been built, and Carolyn remarried French nobility and used to summer at the hotel. The main dining room was built as a circle so that no table was inferior off in the corner, but the table just to the right of the entrance is always ready for the Princess.
IMG_5672
All the different place setting patterns over the years
IMG_5660
When Carolyn was summering at the hotel, she would watch all the dining guests make their way to the dining room and she would change if anyone was dressed more finely than her.
IMG_5724
The great hall aka the lobby of the hotel.
IMG_5725
The moose head above the grand fireplace in the lobby
IMG_5745
Ornate ceiling and chandelier where Carolyn would have private dinners. Now it is used as a lounge area, nice for getting a drink before dinner
IMG_5739
The veranda above, and Stickney’s dining below.

Friday we had breakfast and took a last lap around before heading out on a couple more adventures. We went to the Gale River right by the trailhead to hike Galehead and I happily read my new book, Kaysen’s Cambridge, while my husband caught around 5 brook trouts. From there we went to the Bretton Woods ski area and took the free ski lift up to the Latitude 44 restaurant. Bretton Woods is a part of the Omni Mt. Washington Resort as is the hotel. The view from the restaurant looking across to the hotel and the mountains was beautiful. What a great ending to our trip.

IMG_5747IMG_5749IMG_5756IMG_5758IMG_5769

It was an amazing place to stay. So many families and couples there were taking the cog railway up Mt. Washington, or driving up during their vacation. I heard excited children talking about their upcoming journey, parents telling them about the wind, or the pizza at the top! I have hiked all the Presidentials, and I will never forget hiking up Mt. Washington. A day in March when the world up there was still snow-covered and barren. The pizza wasn’t open, and there was no wind. It’s a beautiful place no doubt, but looking up from the plush cushions on whitewashed veranda wicker furniture to see mountains that you regard as familiar friends as opposed to awesome strangers is truly a gift.

Signature 2

Advertisements

One thought on “The Grand Mt. Washington Hotel

  1. Pingback: Spring Weekend at the Mount Washington Hotel & An Announcement!! – New England Classic Beauty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s