Before I tell you about today's activities, a word about our hotel. We chose this hotel in Bethlehem, New Hampshire because the online description called it "Charming". We are guessing that the rooms in the main building were charming. The room we got in the adjacent building was, as Cheryl described, "rustic". When we checked in we were given a key to the room. It was a real key with a plastic holder with the hotel name and our room number on it. It has been a while since I've seen one of them. On the other hand, the beds were comfortable, and there was a mountain brook just beyond our balcony. All in all, not too bad.
Now on to our day. We began by getting breakfast at the hotel. A good breakfast, and it was included with the room. As we were eating we overheard the waitress tell the table behind us that they had run out of fruit cups, but that she had told one of the guys to go out to the garden and pick some more strawberries and blueberries. In a few minutes the table had their fruit.
Once finished with breakfast, we headed to Franconia Notch State Park, about 20 minutes from the hotel. The park consists of two major attractions; The Flume Gorge, and The Cannon Mountain Ariel Tram. Our big decision was if we wanted to go down in the gorge or up onto the mountain first. We chose the gorge as our first activity. We parked the car and headed for the main building to get information and buy our tickets. With tickets in hand we set out to the gorge. The walk through the gorge is a little over two miles. During the trip you walk through the gorge around the river and waterfalls that have carved the gorge over the years. It includes walking through a covered bridge (one of the things on my list) many scenic overlooks, and a lot of ups and downs. It was pretty taxing, but a lot of fun. When we finished the walk we had a quick lunch in the cafeteria, and a quick walk through the required gift shop, then on to our next stop.
We got to the car and headed to the mountain tram, about a 10 minute drive. When we got there we parked the car and went into the main building. We had bought combination tickets, so we were able to bypass the ticket booth and head directly for the tram entrance. It was not very crowded today, so we went to the front of the line. We waited about 10 minutes and then boarded the tram along with about a dozen other folks.
The tram ride takes about 7 minutes during which time the attendant told us some facts about the trip. We will be headed to the top of Cannon Mountain, which has an elevation of about 4,060 feet. Up there we will find a building with numerous lookout points and a cafeteria which sells food, soft drinks, and beer from the "highest taps in New Hampshire". There will also be an opportunity to hike another trail to a tower we can climb. The elevation there will be 4,080 feet.
We got to the main building and quickly decided that the extra 20 feet were not important enough to us to walk another trail. We looked at some pretty amazing views. The visibility today was listed as 70 miles. We had been told that we would be able to see 4 states and Quebec. We assume we saw them all. After about half an hour we decided we had had enough of the view. We each got an ice cream and after eating headed for the trip back down. We boarded the tram and were told there was no dialogue for the trip down, but he would answer any questions we had. Someone said they had heard that someone spotted a bear on the way up. He confirmed that and pointed out roughly where that had been. Almost everyone moved to that side of the car, and said that they saw a small black dot in the distance. The attendant said that was the bear. Cheryl and I decided that was as close as we wanted to be to a bear. In fact the only wildlife we had seen the entire day was two chipmunks...we assume Chip and Dale. That was fine with us. Back at the main house, we went through the gift shop, this time buying a souvenir Christmas ornament, something Cheryl and I have been doing frequently on trips we have taken together. We then got back to the car and headed for the hotel.
Once back, we planned our next couple of days and headed out to dinner. We found a nice Italian restaurant. Today we were able to sit outside (it was about 72 degrees) and had dinner while listening to a folk duo sing. It was real nice. After dinner we came back to the hotel and relaxed, Cheryl reading her book and I watching the Mets.
Tomorrow, Portsmith New Hampshire.