Sports enthusiasts know Mount Washington Valley, New Hampshire region for its many ski resorts (Attitash, Bretton Woods, Cranmore, King Pine, Wildcat) and outdoor adventures, and shoppers know North Conway for its outlet shopping, however the area also has much to offer foodies with a full calendar of gastronomy related events throughout the year, as well as excellent locally made artisanal products including craft beers, maple syrup, and more. We drove to the Mount Washington Valley region to experience its foodie culture and were delightfully surprised by what we found.
Where to Dine
We had an excellent dinner at Highfields Restaurant at the Eagle Mountain House & Golf Club, located in Jackson Village, New Hampshire where stunning vistas of the White Mountains from its wide expanse of windows complement Chef Vanessa Davis' intriguing classic comfort cuisine with a twist.
A few of the many highlights of our dinner included the Apple Cider and Butternut Squash Bisque made with local apples and squash, and garnished with diced apples, toasted pumpkin seeds and maple cayenne cream, which was a delicious nod to Mount Washington Valley's rich bounty of local products; the Roasted Root Vegetable Chowder made with an enchanting mélange of local root vegetables; and the New England Cod Cakes presented on a bed of baby spinach, drizzled with a white wine aioli, topped with parsley, accompanied by a small bowl of housemade tartar sauce redolent with chopped scallions and dill, and garnished with a lemon wedge.
The restaurant is open daily for Breakfast from 7:00 am until 10:00 am, and for Dinner daily from 5:30 pm until 9:00 pm. On Friday and Saturday the restaurant is open from 11:30 am until 10:00 pm. Eagle Landing Tavern is open for cocktail libations throughout the year and for lunch during the high season. In the winter months, the tavern offers a daily Après-Ski Menu from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm.
Read more about our experience at Highfields Restaurant at the Eagle Mountain House & Golf Club in the Restaurants section. Read the interview with Chef Vanessa Davis and get her recipes for Curried Vegetables with Rice Pilaf and Coconut Curry Cream Sauce and her Orange Bowl filled with Orange Curd in the Chefs' Recipes section.
Highfields Restaurant at the Eagle Mountain House & Golf Club
179 Carter Notch Road
P.O. Box 804
Jackson Village, New Hampshire 03846
We also had an excellent dinner at the Wildcat Tavern in Jackson, New Hampshire where the focus is on New England cuisine in an attractive and comfortable setting, with Chef Bryant Alden as the talent in the kitchen. Chef Bryant Alden, whose ancestry dates to the Mayflower, has a true New Englander's flair which he extends to the restaurant's culinary vision and style.
A few of the many highlights included the Lobster Corn Bisque, which was rich, creamy, and very hearty with an abundance of chopped lobster meat and sweet corn; the Seared Scallops with Artichokes and Cherry Tomatoes in a White Wine Garlic Scampi Sauce over Linguini, and the Pork Osso Buco Burgundy Braised Pork Shank Simmered in Pan Gravy.
The restaurant is open for Dinner only on Monday from 5:00 pm until 9:30 pm, for Lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm, and for Dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:00 pm until 9:30 pm. Please visit their website for performance schedules. Also, on Tuesday nights there is Open Mic night, so there is always something fun to check out at the Wildcat Inn & Tavern.
Read about our dining experience at the Wildcat Tavern in the Restaurants section. Read the interview with Chef Bryant Alden who graciously shares a delicious taste of the Wildcat Tavern and New England with his recipes for Asparagus Brie Soup, New England Clam Chowder, Roasted Garlic Oysters, and Alice's Chicken and Shrimp in the Chefs' Recipes section.
94 Main Street, Route 16-A
Jackson, New Hampshire 03846
The 13th Annual Mt. Washington Valley Chili Cook-off
The Mt. Washington Valley is a foodie paradise with year-round food-related festivals. On Saturday, February 27, 2016, we attended the 13th Annual Chilly Chili Cook-Off presented by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in North Conway Village.
While Chef Bryant Alden and his team of judges judged the Professional Chef Division entries, as ticket holders we had the opportunity to sample chili and cornbread, the perfect winter food combination, and vote for the People's Choice award in the Professional Chef Division as well as vote for the amateur chefs competing for their favorite non-profit organizations in the People's Choice Division.
Professional Chef Division - Winners of Best Chili, Best Cornbread, and Best Display
Chef Dave Hausman, co-owner - Big Dave's Bagels & Deli: "Best Chili" in the Professional Chef Division and also won the People's Choice Award for "Best Chili."
Chef Dave Hausman
Chef Maureen Reilly - The Stow Corner Store: "Best Cornbread" for her recipe made with made with cranberries, jalapeno and sour cream. Chef's Bistro: "Best Display."
Chef Maureen Reilly
Amateur Cook-Off - People's Choice Division - Winners - Best Chili, Best Cornbread, Most Creative Table
Chef Jessica Wright - MWV Leadership, sponsored by the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort - First Place "Best Chili."
Chef Matt Joyce - Vaughan Community Health, sponsored by Hannaford - "Bison & Chorizo Great Range Chili" - "Second Place" for his chili.
Chef Matt Joyce
Chef Jeff Dillion - Mt. Washington Valley Promotions, sponsored by Eastern Propane & Oil) - "Sweet Heat Meat Chili" - "Third Place" award for their chili.
Chef Avi Deiter - The American Cancer Society/Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, sponsored by Stonehurst Manor, won the People's Choice award for "Most Creative Table" and they also won "Best Cornbread" for their recipe, "Smoked Cheddar, Scallion, and Sweet Pickled Pepper Cornbread."
Read more about The 13th Annual Mt. Washington Valley Chili Cook-off in the Gastronomy section.
Edward Nesta at Stonehurst Manor for Chocolate Fondue
On Sunday, February 28, 2016, we attended the 27th Annual Chocolate Festival presented by the Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation designed as a cross-country ski or shoeshoe event traveling along the in-town network of trails, or by driving, walking, or taking the free shuttle to the 9 stops at the participating inns and shops, where participants were rewarded with hot chocolate, chocolate-themed cookies, cupcakes, hot fudge brownie sundaes, and a chocolate fondue as sweet inspiration. As the day was bright and unseasonably warm, we opted to walk rather than cross-country ski or snowshoe, which was a great way to enjoy the beautiful day as well as work-off the "chocolate calories."
Bavarian Haus Pretzels
Devil's Food Cupcakes
Taking Home a Taste of New England
There's beer in them there hills! We made a stop at Tuckerman Brewing Company in Conway, to take a tour and taste their wares. Since 1998, Tuckerman Brewing Company has been producing handcrafted "dry hopped beers that are naturally carbonated in the bottle, thanks to the injection of a small amount of fresh fermenting wort in the final filtered beer. This age-old process of conditioning beer creates a "live" beer, with just a little yeast remaining in the bottom of the bottle.
A few of the beers they make include: Pale Ale, Headwall Alt (A German Style Brown Ale), 6288 Stout, ALTitude (Alt Style Beer), and TRale (Miller Limited Edition).
The Brewery is open daily from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm. Visit their website for tour and tasting information.
Tuckerman Brewing Company
66 Hobbs Street
Conway, New Hampshire 03815
Maple syrup is the heart of, and one of the most loved of New England products, and we had the opportunity to learn about, and watch the maple sugaring process at 100 Acre Woods Sugar Shack.
Selection of Maple Syrup
It was very interesting to experience the maple process from watching the maple "water" dripping from the taps on trees into collection buckets to the end result and seeing and tasting the different grades of maple syrup.
Catching the maple "water"
We learned that maple water is the sap collected to make their maple syrup, and that "maple water naturally contains 46 nutrients that aid in keeping bodies healthy including: phytonutrients (anti-inflammatory agents), electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, pre-biotics to support digestive health, and more manganese than a cup of kale."
The maple syrup process
Watch our YouTube video to hear how to make maple syrup is made: https://youtu.be/e_6_1yJbv3k
The 100 Acre Woods Sugar Shack is owned by the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization bringing literacy to its surrounding communities. The net proceeds of the "100 Acre Wood" Maple Syrup goes directly toward their literacy programs.
100 Acre Woods Sugar Shack
Open weekends from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm. They offer Group Educational Tours for all ages during Maple Season mid-week. For more information, please call them at +1-603-356-9980.
100 Acre Woods Sugar Shack
41 Observatory Way
Intervale, New Hampshire 03845
Edward Nesta hanging out at Zeb's General Store
We felt like we had stepped back in time when we entered Zeb's General Store, a quaint country outpost featuring a vast selection of New England products, where the nostalgic ambience was warm, friendly, and fun. If you want to bring home a delicious taste of New England, most likely you will find what you want here.
Zeb's General Store
Zeb's General Store
2675 White Mountain Highway
North Conway, New Hampshire 03860
Food for the Eyes
The Jackson Historical Society and the Museum of White Mountain Art is a must-visit art treasure located in the village of Jackson, New Hampshire with its wonderful memorabilia, historical archives, and permanent and revolving exhibitions. Ever since American Artist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) visited the region in 1828, the spectacular natural beauty of the area has beckoned to landscape artists and photographers to capture its essence.
Jackson Historical Society and the
Museum of White Mountain Art
During our visit, we had the good fortune to see the exhibition, "Personal Favorites: Collectors of White Mountain Art" (October 23, 2015 - March 31, 2016) where one of the many highlights of the White Mountain Paintings by 19th century artists included the painting, "Mt. Kearsarge from Fryeburg, Maine" by John Ross Key (1832 - 1920), grandson of Francis Scott Key, author of "The Star Spangled Banner," on loan from the collector, John Henderson.
Contemporary White Mountain Paintings highlights included the many paintings by artist Erik Koeppel (born 1980); of particular interest was his "Storm in Tuckerman Ravine," and "Moat Mountain, Intervale, New Hampshire" after the artist Albert Bierstadt (1930-1902), on loan from the collection of Mark Butterfield.
Contemporary White Mountain Paintings
The museum is open Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm, and other days by appointment, or by chance.
Jackson Historical Society and the Museum of White Mountain Art
PO Box 8
23 Black Mountain Road
Jackson, New Hampshire 03846
Telephone: +1603-383-4060, +1-603-383-9922
Jackson Falls is a feast for the senses with its spectacular waterfalls from the Wildcat River and we loved making daily stops here over the course of the weekend to take in its beauty and the sounds of the water cascading over the rocks.
Debra Argen at Jackson Falls
Drive along Carter Notch Road, off Route 16A from the center of Jackson Village to see nature at its very best. Picnic benches and trails make this a perfect spot to enjoy an al fresco breakfast or lunch, enjoy a swim or sunbathe, or simply relax and bask in its tranquility.
Watch our YouTube video to experience Jackson Falls in the winter: https://youtu.be/mu9EhVpJYp8
Crawford Notch State Park
Another spectacular "eye-candy" drive is along Crawford Notch State Park (2059 US Route 302, Harts Location (12 miles northwest of Bartlett), where the rock formations dazzle the eyes. Be sure to look for "Elephant Head Spur" a large rock formation shaped like an elephant head that is visible from the road.
Edward Nesta at Crawford Notch State Park
During our winter visit, we also had the opportunity to watch the daring ice climbers working their way up the stunning ice floes, which looked like nature's temporary sculptures.
Watch our YouTube video to experience ice climbing in New Hampshire: https://youtu.be/XApY2hML2Vg
The state park encompasses 5,775 acres with hiking trails, camping, fishing, and picnicking available. For more information please visit their website: www.NHStateparks.com/crawford.html.
Crawford Notch State Park
Hart's Location, New Hampshire 03812
The Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire has much to offer visitors year-round so make a trip and discover its diverse appeal yourself.
Foodie Calendar - A Listing of Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire Foodie Adventures
Debra Argen and Edward Nesta
Mt. Washington Valley, NH
Chilly Chili Cook-Off, presented by the MWV Chamber of Commerce: February
Chocolate Festival, Presented by Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation: February
Strawberry Festival, presented by Vaughan Community Services: June
Blueberry Festival, presented by Attitash Mountain: Summer
Fields on the Saco at Hardy Farm, Presented by Slow Food Saco Valley: October
Inn to Inn Cookie Tour, Presented by Country Inns in the White Mountains: December
Jackson, New Hampshire - Covered Bridge
Read more about our experiences in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire in the following sections: Gastronomy: 13th Annual Mt. Washington Valley Chili Cook-Off, NH, USA, Restaurants: Wildcat Tavern, and Highfields at the Eagle Mountain House and Golf Club and Chefs' Recipes: Chef Bryant Alden Recipes - Wildcat Tavern, and Chef Vanessa Davis Recipes - Highfields Restaurant at Eagle Mountain House and Golf Club.
For information on Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire, please visit the website: www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call them at: 1-800-367-3364.
For information on visiting New Hampshire, please visit the website: www.VisitNH.gov
For information on the Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring & Snowshoe Foundation, please visit the website: www.MWVSkiTouring.org.
Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring & Snowshoe Foundation
Located at Ragged Mountain Equipment
PO Box 646
Intervale, New Hampshire 03845
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