Granite State Ambassador VolunteerRecommendations & Tidbits
Castle in the Clouds and The Loon Center Tour
by Tim Adams, GSA Southern NH University Class of 2013
The weather wasn’t looking good when I started out on my trip North to join in on the Castle in the Clouds tour. While it wasn’t raining real hard, it was raining enough, and the roads were wet enough, that I had to keep the wipers on for the majority of the drive. A few times I did turn them to intermittent mode but those times didn’t seem to last very long.
When I arrived at the designated parking lot, at least I hoped I was at the correct one, I sat in the car for a few minutes debating if I should start the day carrying an umbrella or just wearing my GSA ball cap. I finally opted for the ball cap and, as I was exiting my car several other GSA members drove in, helping me confirm I was in the right place, or that we were all lost! The sky also started clearing which was nice to see.
We walked over to the Carriage house, passing a gift shop on the way and joined several other GSA members that had arrived earlier.
In short order, we were greeted by Brenda and then she introduced us to Chuck who gave us a bit of history of the Castle in the Clouds.
Now, having grown up in New Hampshire, I’ve heard people talk of this ‘Castle in the Clouds’ off and on for years but the closest I had ever come to seeing it was while passing through some of the surrounding grounds on a snowmobile in the dead of winter! Not the time I want to take a look around at the scenery since I was doing the driving and I was riding with several other people on their own sleds.
I did not know the Castle was built between 1912 and 1914 for an estimated cost of one million dollars. While that amount might not sound like much today, back in the early 1900’s it was quite a tidy sum. Even more impressive was the fact that it was a retirement home for the owner, Tom G. Plant and, at one time this ‘estate’ (for the lack of a better term) owned all the land from the Castle to the lake and 2 1/2 miles of lake front property! This little piece of property was over 6,000 acres!
The actual building took, as I mentioned, around 2 years to complete and around 1,000 workers to build! While this might sound strange to you, you must remember most of the transportation for building supplies was still being done with the horse and wagon! Carting the material up the mountain wasn’t an easy task, especially when you consider what we have for tools and equipment to use today.
After the talk, we adjourned to a shuttle and a ride up to the Castle itself.
We were greeted with construction vehicles along the way as there is some very serious roof repairs underway. Over the years, several repair projects have been undertaken. The entire goal of this work is to maintain the building as close to the original as possible. This is done by using pictures that exist from shortly after it was built.
The building wasn’t quite what I expected but still a huge place for a couple to reside in. The main sitting room had a fantastic view of the lake.
From the old wood burning stove in the kitchen at one end of the building to the, now impossible to get, circular shower, the first floor of the building was very impressive. Most impressive I think was the small hidden room!
Now, when I was much younger I had always wanted to live in a house with a secret room or something similar but I would have wanted something just a bit bigger then this room. Built into the back corner of the main parlor, the room had a chair, a small book shelf and a window. It is believed the former owner would use this room to ‘escape’ from (annoying?) guests from time to time so he could relax and read a book in quiet. My thought was that it also made a great ‘punishment’ room for an unruly child. Put them in, close the door and I expect they would quiet down quickly.
The Hidden Room door is clearly visible in the picture.
The second floor had several bathrooms, 2 or 3 more circular showers, several tubs and the master suite. A sitting room, changing room, bed room and bath room took up much of the western side of the building. With the lake to the west, I can just imagine the fantastic sunsets anybody that lived there must have seen.
There was also a maid’s room on this floor while male servants had rooms in the basement.
Two other interesting items we saw was the intercom that had been installed when the building was built and the fire suppression system that was also built into the mansion.
Much of the interior Castle walls were covered in wallpaper. Several, while not original, were of the same color and pattern of the original. It seems that when a wall has needed to be recovered, extreme care is taken while removing the old paper to try and find out what the original paper underneath might have looked like so that they can digitally recreate it and re- paper in the original color and design. Quite a nice way to use modern technology to help keep history alive.
After the tour, several of us walked back down the hill to our starting place while the rest of the group jumped onto the trolley for a ride back. Lunch was then served and we were again given a short talk about the mansion and the property.
We then returned to our cars for a short drive down to the Loon Center, also located in Moultonborough. The Loon Center, while only 20 years old, has a history that goes back 40+ years in helping restore and preserve the natural habitat for the Common Loon here in New Hampshire.
At the Loon Center, we heard a talk on the Common Loon, found on many of the lakes and ponds here in New Hampshire. Forty years ago, there were less than 100 breeding pairs of Loons in New Hampshire. They survey 350 lakes in New Hampshire and all of them have at least one nesting pair on it. Quite an improvement even if it is slow. Work like this doesn’t happen overnight.
If you kayak, you might have seen some of the nesting platforms that this organization places in many of the lakes and ponds of New Hampshire. The primary reason for this is if a nesting couple builds a nest on shore, predatory animals may find it and make it unsafe to raise the young. By adding the nesting platform, even if it’s in the same area as the original nest, it’s out on the water and a bit off shore and covered so eagles would have a harder time seeing the young.
The young don't spend much time on the nest after they hatch, opting instead for the water where the adults will pass them fish for their meals. At the beginning, the young need to learn how to turn the fish 90 degrees so it can swallow it. Not an easy task and the video we saw showed a young loon dropping its meal several times before getting it right.
As they grow they learn how to catch their own meal and so become less dependent on their parents.
Loons are a very solitude nesting bird, keeping other nesting pairs at quite a distance but, as their young reach that point where they are able to feed themselves, the adults seek out others and so you’re apt to see more than just a pair at a time.
They migrate, as do many other birds, but their journey is a lot shorter than some as they merely head for the coast and the ocean where they will spend the winter. Some Loons even go north rather than south for the winter. They just need the opened water for a supply of food to survive.
Behind the Loon Center there are several hiking trails and so after the talk and movie, as well as a visit to the gift shop, I took a walk out around their Loon Nesting trail. The trails, as was to be expected after all the rain, were extremely wet and I had to wander off the trail in several places to avoid the puddles. While I was told by a couple of people I met along the way that there were a pair of Loons around the nesting box, I didn’t see them. It was a good way to end the day however.
For more pictures, CLICK HERE
A view of the lake out the main floor window.
The following article was published in the Concord Monitor on August 25, 2012.
With the summer months approaching, and the Kiosk scheduled to open over Memorial Day Weekend, we thought it would be fun to share. Dwight reported that in one 3-hour shift from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Kiosk in front of the State House he remembers clearly having visitors from Lisbon, Portugal, Ukraine, and Burundi, Africa!
BLOG: The Kiosk in Front of the State House – A Window to the World
By: (Rev.) Dwight S. Haynes, GSA - Discover Wild NH Class of 2008
The little kiosk in front of the State House is not only a place with maps and brochures provided by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, but a window to the world, providing volunteers like me a wonderful opportunity to meet local people plus tourists from across the country and around the world.
Some requests are easy like for maps & brochures, bus schedules, nearest grocery store, nearest campground, literature on Concord for someone moving here, a list of places to dine, a list of things to see and do in this area, directions for City Hall, Library, Police station, the D.M.V., Hospital, nearest Food Pantry, NH Audubon, St. Paul’s School, NH Museum, Planetarium & Discovery Center, Dem. & Rep. Headquarters, Sweepstakes Headquarters, hiking & biking trails, antique shops, a candy shop, and “Where is the State House?” I kid you not!
People registering a business have to come to the office of the Secretary of State. Some assume it will look like an office building! Actually, to register a business they have to go across the street to the Corporate Div. at 25 Capitol St. One person asked if the big building behind me was a Town Hall. No, Concord is the State Capital. She said, “I thought Montpelier was the Capital.” Time to get out a New England map!
Someone from Maine asked where the bridge is between Concord & Lexington, and Walden Pond? Someone from Germany asked; “Where is the Minute Man?” She, too, thought she was in Concord, MA. Oh dear! Time again for a New England map.
Someone from Ossipee had locked the key in her car and was looking for a locksmith. Someone else had run out of gas and needed a gas can. Some requests are challenging like: the nearest pay phone (not many left, one in Eagle Sq.), a wi-fi station nearby for checking e-mail (library, some coffee shops), Korean food, the difference between Capital & Capitol, What’s the Chamber of Commerce?
Also, “Where does the Merrimack River begin?” (Franklin, actually Lafayette & Cannon Mtn. via the Pemigewasset River), “Has anybody really important come from your State House?” (Yes, Daniel Webster, Franklin Pierce, John Hale, etc), and “How come NH is the only state with neither a broad-based sales or income tax?”
A woman from CT wanted to see the John Stark statue (on the lawn). She is one of his descendants, a few generations removed. The Delaware Sec. of State was looking for NH’s Bill Gardner! A student from Russia said, “Clothes, Walmart?” A woman from Paraguay was looking for children's clothing. Someone else wanted NH T-shirts & souvenirs.
Many are visiting all 50 State Capitols. For two this was # 49! Many are surprised that our State House is open inside to visitors. One young couple was “glad to get out of the mountains.” Why? “It was scary; we feel safer here.” Another young couple from Springfield, MA come to NH as often as they can, saying, “We’d love to live here.”
NH is the 2nd most forested state in the nation. A man from Iowa said that on some of the highways the trees block the view! I suggested that this is to entice people to climb our mountains and get a magnificent, panoramic view, especially compared to the molehills in Iowa. I get questions about places to stay and things to see and do in the Lakes Region, the Mountains, and the coast. While serving churches I had to be a little discreet in telling people where to go. Here, they thank me!
One day, 25 Jr. High students from China arrived to visit the State House. Another day, a large group of well-dressed men from Korea came to do business at the State House. An attractive, young Japanese woman, who is a fashion executive in Montreal, is impressed with Concord’s Pay-as-You-Throw recycling program. She has traveled the world – 75 nations so far – and feels travel is the best investment in life. She took my picture and said: “We are all one.”
Every Monday a.m. during foliage season 1 or 2 buses with people from around the world stop here for 20 minutes to let them walk around, get coffee, take pictures. Starting in NYC, Boston, & the Cape, they’re heading to Loon Mtn., Montpelier & Stow VT, Montreal & Toronto, & back to NYC. One woman from Denmark said: “Oh, just like the book says: “Your leaves go from green to red!” I said, “Wait til you see a swamp maple next to a white birch”. Like a teen-ager seeing snow for the first time, she said, “What’s a swamp maple?”
The number of people who come to the kiosk varies. In my 3-hour shift last Monday I had 24. The few who take turns at the kiosk here, like people at the Airport and other Visitor Centers, are called Granite State Ambassadors! I see this as an opportunity to exercise the spiritual discipline of hospitality, which is rooted in the Old Testament Book of Ruth with its emphasis on hospitality to the foreigner and in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount with its command to welcome the stranger.
This is my 5th year at this. My wife, Maryellen, is in her 3rd year. Her experiences are somewhat similar. One day, she was talking with a woman and discovered that she now lives in West Concord in the same house that we lived in back in the 80’s! The Chamber could use several more volunteers. I found the 2 days of training led by people from all over the state to be fascinating and very helpful.
Occasionally, I get stumped by someone’s question. I just call the Chamber Office and the encyclopedic Carolyn O’Brien rescues me! The newly-located Chamber of Commerce Office is at 49 So. Main St. in the new Smile building. This Office is a good source of lots of helpful information.
Often, my parting comment to people leaving the Kiosk is: “Travel while you can. Remember St. Augustine said: ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’.”
Tour: Lincoln, NH
04/13/17 by: Michelle Gittleson
On Wednesday April 12th, the Granite State Ambassadors had a fun filled day of multiple tours in Lincoln, NH. We started out at Jean’s Playhouse and later made the short walk to the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain, where we had lunch at La Vista Restaurant, enjoyed a wine tasting at Seven Birches Winery, and had the chance to see the fabulous accommodations and amenities at the RiverWalk Resort.
Our lovely host Sharon Paquette, the Producing Artistic Director at Jean’s Playhouse, started by bringing us into the the theater, which has 260 seats and is very spacious and comfortable. We then explored the lobby area while she gave us a brief history of the theater, and enlightened us on some of the upcoming shows. The season begins on June 29th, 2017 and you can see their full list of productions here. In addition to these main stage shows, they also have a traveling Children’s Theater called IMPACT, which features specially written plays geared towards younger audiences. Their actors range in age from 18 on up, and Jean’s is passionate about hiring New Hampshire talent. They have partnered with many local restaurants offering “Dinner And A Show” discounts that would make for a great night out! GSA’s are also fortunate as Jean’s offers a special PERK for GSAs of half price tickets. Visit the Perks page on the GSA website HERE for details. There are concessions and even a full bar offering playfully themed drinks to match some of the shows! They allow you to bring your refreshments into the theater as well! They have some wonderful acts coming up this season, so don’t miss out! Located about one hour north of Concord, Jean’s Playhouse would love to see even more visitors from southern NH. You can also subscribe to their email list at the bottom of their homepage.
RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain
La Vista Italian Cuisine
and Seven Birches Winery
Our next stop was La Vista Italian Cuisine, the restaurant located right inside the RiverWalk Resort. We were greeted with warm hospitality from the manager, Doug Smith, and his staff. We had the chance to sample some of their creative pizzas made in their 650 degree brick oven, some salads and specialty dipping bread as well. No one left hungry, and everyone said it was delicious! The ingredients were fresh, and the dough is made from scratch in house and was absolutely delicious. ½ price pizza is on Wednesday nights so go check them out! To learn more about their restaurant or see their menu, click here!
Turn your wine tastings into a summer adventure by making Seven Birches Winery one of your many stops by following New Hampshire’s wine, cheese and chocolate trail or the NH Wineries passport program. Whether you are up for a play at Jean’s Playhouse or just catching dinner with friends, stopping at Seven Birches is one of the classiest attractions around and will definitely add to your Lincoln experience.
To wrap up the afternoon Brian Willette - Sales Manager, and Renee Blood - General Manager of the RiverWalk Resort at Loon took us on a tour of this elegant new lodging property. Accommodations range in size and include studio units, one bedroom and two bedroom units. There is even an Executive Suite, a Presidential Suite and a Penthouse! Each unit is fully and very comfortably furnished, features a full kitchen and other creature comforts like whirlpool soaking tubs and fireplaces.
Balconies off the units offer amazing views of the nearby mountain and ski slopes or the village of Lincoln. While the resort does function like a hotel - many of the units are privately owned, and there are still some units available for purchase! The first two floors even allow pets!.
Some of the amenities include a lovely spa, full gym, ice skating rink, campfire pits and an outdoor heated pool, that you enter from indoors! Oh - and the resort is very family friendly and has a good size game room sure to entertain. There is even on on-site adventure concierge, ready to
help you plan a day hike, snowshoe adventure, a kayaking trip or more, as there is SO much to see and do in this region.
There are two more future phases planned for the resort with many exciting additions, including room for the Winery to grow and even a 300 seat convention center.
The Granite State Ambassadors thank all of our gracious hosts again for providing a full day of fun and learning. We won’t soon forget all that these attractions have to offer.
In case you missed it, last week's newsletter featured a number of comments from the GSAs who attended the tour. Here are a couple more…
“What a delightful experience the GSAs had in Lincoln. The combination of the theater, lunch, the hotel and the winery was fabulous! Each stop was unique and fascinating. It was also very well orchestrated. One takeaway that immediately jumps into my mind was the lunch. We were told we would have a pizza lunch. That just really didn’t describe the gourmet lunch they laid out for us. The Caesar salad was delightful. And the array of pizza’s with a variety of interesting toppings, cut small so we could try a lot, was really delicious. I love the thin and crispy crust. I look forward to returning. They are only open at dinner and brunch on Sundays but they said they might expand to lunch in the future.” - Sue G.
“The size of the suites and the layout of the new RiverWalk Resort was impressive. You could tell they paid a lot of attention to detail when planning and building it. Large storage areas for unit owners makes it easy to take advantage of all seasons in the white mountains. The resort's location is key - views, amenities and everything the white mountains has to offer, right outside your door! C. M. Class of 2016
Poetry Out Loud at the State House was my first, but certainly not my last volunteer assignment for this event. I throughly enjoyed interacting with parents, guests, and the very talented Champion Finalists.
Sandra C and I started at the front door in the Hall of Flags by getting everyone to the second floor where the competition and judging was taking place. There were two choices: the elevator or 34 steps up. Next assignment I was in the Representatives Hall, choice duty, this is where you can see and hear finalists recite their poems. Next Sandra C and I were assigned outside the Representatives Hall making sure QUIET was observed outside the hall and no one entered during a finalist reciting their poem.
For my last assignment (as Kelly rotated GSA's every hour to a different location,) Sandra C and I were with the ever so excited, enthusiastic, seeming so adult-like, encouraging each other, finalists. Each one of them were so supportive of each other, and when the word came down who won they all congratulated the winner, Charlotte Perkins, a senior from Kearsage Regional High School with hugs and cheers. Second runner up was a delightful Concord High School student, Laila Ruffin. Their enthusiasm makes one feel gosh these schools are doing a fantastic job preparing our future generation to take the lead and not only make New Hampshire great but this great country of ours.
Thanks to everyone who made this event possible starting with Virginia Drew, GSA, Director, State House Visitor Center; Master of Ceremony, Virginia Prescott, Host of NH Public Radio's Word of Mouth; NPHR; Art Works, National Endowment for the Arts; NH State Council on the Arts and many others to numerous to mention individually but especially our future NH poets. Good luck Charlotte on competing in Washington DC. I'm sure Robert Frost is smiling down on you and has his fingers crossed that you walk away with the title Poetry Out Loud from NH.
Proud to be GSA, 2013
NHGSA Tour - Aviation Museum of New Hampshire
February 21, 2017
27 Navigator Rd, Londonderry NH 03053 - Off Harvey Rd.
Recently some of NH’s passionate ambassadors toured The Aviation Museum of NH in Londonderry, NH and it’s new attached hangar filled with interesting exhibits. The museum has added so much since the last time NHGSA visited. While on the tour we learned of aviation history in our state, impressive NH pilots, saw eye catching historic displays, and even saw the inside of several of the planes. Their docents were passionate and knowledgeable - one even took us all for a flight to Concord in their simulator. The museum is suited for all ages and has added multiple hands-on activities for younger guests. The museum even offers a wonderful, and free Aviation Education program for High School
students. See the details here! Another plus - the parking lot looks over the runway and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) and is one of the best spots around to watch the planes land and take off!!
While there, Wendell Berthelsen, Director of Operations, told us how a personal visit to our friends at Bedrock Gardens, and the subsequent connection he made with them at our 20th Anniversary led to scheduling a special presentation about Bees and flight at the gardens. The presentation, which will be part of an open house exhibit installation by art students about Winged Insects and Flight, will be held on March 20 & 21 at Bedrock Gardens. The NH Aviation Museum’sWilbur Wright, in character, will demonstrate flight kits and will enlighten participants on how bumble bees manage to fly.
Here is what our GSA’s had to say about the museum:
“The Aviation Museum of NH is a must-see treat. You will easily leave with 5 new things you are amazed to learn about NH's aviation history, and 5 more you wish to look up. There's a wonderful diorama of the current airport in front of a window with a view of the airport in operation.The wonderful original 1937 art deco terminal building built by the WPA , the Depression era’s Works Progress Administration, makes a great museum with so many stories to tell. Wendell Berthelsen, Director of Operations and his volunteers are wonderful at sharing them. You will find that flight becomes more clear and fascinating. I had about an hour's more questions that I wished I could have peppered each volunteer with. The red stunning home-built experimental EAA Biplane is a treat to explore up close and personal with a rich story all it's own. The thought of one person building it is mind boggling. I could imagine myself in it like it's placard says "tearing up the sky and cutting holes in the clouds".
If only I could be in high school again and take part in The Virtual Skies course held at the museum offering six modules which include airport planning and design, navigation, weather, communications, air traffic control and aeronautics. The museum offers fun special events like an Easter Egg Hunt, a Paper Airplane Contest and silent films accompanied by live music. This is a wonderful NH resource for residents and visitors.” Admission Fees: Adults-$5.00, Seniors (60+)-$4.00, Child (12-16) -$2.50,Child under 12- Free, Family Max-$15.00, Veteran-$4 Stay tuned via it's website www.aviationmuseumofnh.org
“I was aware of the Aviation Museum, but this was my first visit. It was awesome, an experience that adults and children should take advantage of. Manchester and area residents are very fortunate to have this museum in our backyard. It is housed in the original terminal building at Manchester Airport, which a piece of history in itself! Step inside and experience New Hampshire Aviation History at its finest.
The docents and volunteers are extremely knowledgeable and forth coming with great stories about aviators, who were NH residents, that went on to become historically noted for their contributions to space and aviation. The exhibits are outstanding - donated to the museum, for public viewing, from people who were fortunate to have these aviation antiquities. Thank you for sharing. A perfect road trip for young and old alike!!!!”
“Kelly, I was quite impressed with so many upcoming activities offered for adults & children at the Aviation Museum. And, like you, the high school program, as well. Such an opportunity for someone interested in aviation. It was a great informative tour. Thanks for arranging it.”
“To step into the Aviation Museum of NH is to physically relocate to the 1930’s and the beginnings of air flight in NH. Starting in the Manchester airport’s original Art Deco terminal, you are lead by story boards displaying a timeline of the that history from the Civil War to the present day. The knowledgeable volunteers do a wonderful job of discussing that history with a depth that brings it off the storyboards, so it is thoroughly engaging. Inside the hangar the sense of the pre-WW11 era continues as examples from the evolution of flight are displayed in such a way that makes you want to question and understand. The story behind each item on display offers a deep appreciation of this slice of NH history as well as NH’s connection to the greater whole of flight. The whole of the experience leaves you just staggered by the simpleness of the early days when compared to today’s large, security-guarded terminals and jet airliners that seat hundreds.” - Kirsten
“There are 25 public airports and approximately 93 private airstrips in New Hampshire. That is just one of many interesting facts GSA's learned on Wednesday, Feb 21 touring the Aviation Museum, located at 27 Navigator Road, off Harvey Road, at the Manchester NH airport. You can receive their quarterly newsletter, THE AERONAUT, filled with interesting facts and exciting upcoming events by emailingwww.aviationmuseumofnh.org. You will not be disappointed. I encourage anyone who hasn't visited the museum to put this on your to do list of fun activities for you, your spouse, friends and family. The museum is a hidden gem not only for Manchester, but for our state. Our own Alan Shepard, from Derry NH, took flying lessons at the Manchester Airport and we know the rest of his career story and how proud he makes us feel knowing he came from New Hampshire. Thank you Alan Shepard and all the other brave souls that led us in this journey into space. Let us not forget Christa McAuliffe's contribution as well. Reciprocal membership exchange with the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, "We bring the universe to you" can be enjoyed; see the above website for membership details for the Aviation Museum or www.starship.com for Discovery Center membership. The future of space travel is our future and maybe our next NH hero is already enrolled in the free Aviation Education High School course. To find out more about this credit course open to high school students join the Aviation Museum Wednesday, April 5, 3-6PM to learn more. The museum is open Monday-Thursday by appointment; Friday-Saturday 10:00 AM-4:00 PM; Sunday 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM.”
- Sally, Proud to be a GSA, 2013
NH’s Aviation Museum also offers an impressive events calendar. Click here to check it out!
By GSA Tim Adams, Southern NH University Class of 2014
I would expect that every GSA knows what the Omni Mount Washington Resort looks like. I mean, it is a Grand Hotel in the White Mountains and it is quite the Hotel!
This past Thursday a group of us had the chance to both visit the hotel, get a bit of a tour of it, as well as a history lesson of the hotel itself. The hotel was built in for a cost of around $1.7 million dollars. Not a bad deal by today's standards, until of course you realize construction started back in 1900. today that cost would be closer to $45 million dollars!
Joseph Stickney, a native of Massachusetts, had made a fortune by the age of 30, and along with a partner, purchased a nearby hotel and (apparently) caught the hotel fever and started construction on the Grand Mount Washington Hotel.
His stating point was bringing in 250 Italian artisans to build it, mainly of granite and stucco masonry. Unfortunately, Joseph Stickney didn’t live long enough to really enjoy this new hot as he died within a year of its opening. While the hotel remained opened for many years, the nephew of Joseph Stickney widow did close it in 1942 and then sold it in 1944.
It reopened, under the new owners in time to host ‘The Bretton Woods monetary conference' also in 1944. The choice of this hotel was based on both security and access. The trains from Boston made several trips a day so people could get to the conference but with only a couple of roads into the region, if needed, the area could be sealed off to protect the people already there. The mountains surrounding the region also worked as a security measure as not many groups were going to hike up and over them unseen.
Today the hotel had been upgraded to many modern standards but still retain the elegance of the past. They offer almost anything a person might like while visiting. A large spacious dining room, sitting rooms, an indoor pool, a spa, and bar where you can sit back and relax after a day out sightseeing.
Once the tour was done we drove over to the Bretton Woods ski area for lunch. I’ve never skied there so wasn't familiar with the parking lot of the main lodge but finally got settled in with a sandwich and drink.
At some point during lunch my GSA badge came off my shirt but it was turned in to lost and found there at the lodge and so I retrieved it before heading home. After lunch everybody sort of headed their separate ways. Some for snowshoeing, some the spa, some snowboarding, zip lining, or alpine and Nordic skiing.
Since I had never been Nordic skiing before I had decided to try that. Looking back I think I should have picked either snowshoeing or zip lining as the cross-country trails, while nice and groomed, were a base of ice with a couple inches of snow on top - not the kind of conditions a person likes, especially for their first time. I did however get out and got around one of their trails, of which there are many. IF the snow conditions had been better, I might still be out there even. The views were fantastic even with a low cloud cover and the temperature wasn’t so cold as to drive a person inside after just a brief stint out in it. All in all, a great day for a tour and a side adventure learning how to stand up on slippery skis with a little snow and lots of ice under them.
You can view a few more of my pictures at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/h9ey26ow8o6f9aj/AACkdQZCJb-4p5lT__wBJsoxa?dl=0
By: Michelle Gittleson, NHGSA Intern
The tour at the Omni Mt. Washington resort and Bretton Woods Ski resort was nothing short of amazing. It was a pleasure to put together this tour, and I want to thank Kelly for the opportunity, along with Travis, Craig and Jen for providing the tour and wonderful experience of playing on the mountain.
We started off meeting in the lobby of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, where we were greeted with the utmost hospitality! Thank you again for greeting us, Travis! Craig, the hotel’s marketing manager delighted the group with a rich timeline of the grand hotel’s history, it’s original owners, and its changes through time. As we toured each room, we learned of the unique architecture and detailed, italian artisans interior work. It certainly is a grand hotel, with 200 rooms, and 1,200 associates on the property who all play key roles in helping it run as a well oiled machine. Although the hotel itself has undergone many changes in the last century, there are special details throughout that preserve and showcase its rich history, including “Caroline’s Table”, where the late French wife of the first owner sat to watch over her dining room. If you take a tour, you will see for yourself how each section of the hotel accommodates modern day needs while keeping pieces of the 1900’s intact. The chairs in the dining room are completely original, and the Audubon artwork is exquisite. We also visited their tea room, where you can reserve a table for authentic tea time with scones, and loose leaf tea blends made from Mt. Washington botanicals, and their prohibition era bar called “The Cave”. You’ll just have to see for yourself!
During the hour long tour we were able to ask questions about the hotel and property itself, but also gain advice from Craig regarding what would be helpful to tell visitors prior to their stay. He suggested that the Granite State Ambassadors advise guests to book reservations for things they want to do ahead of time. They offer a plethora of activities to engage in, no matter what the season! During the winter they offer alpine and nordic skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, sledding, and a zipline canopy tour (Yes, all year long!). Craig stressed that in order for guests to have the best experience possible, booking ahead of time allows a guaranteed spot on the list and ensures a wonderful vacation! For a hotel that believes in the value of hospitality, seeing guests miss out on an adventure is never something the staff wants to see.
After the morning tour of the hotel, we transitioned to Bretton Woods Ski Resort, where we were each provided a delicious hot meal from their cafeteria. The burgers were delicious! More fun followed afterward when we all split into our separate activities. They also graciously provided rentals to all who didn’t have their own gear. Thank you again!
It’s clear that every GSA who attended this tour had a great time participating in each activity. You can find their comments at the end of this article. Some visited the slopes and trails while others enjoyed the spa, and we even had one person do the canopy tour as well! As Craig told the GSAs - “You guys are the point of the spear!” As New Hampshire Granite State Ambassadors, we have quite a privilege to encounter visitors and enlighten them on all our state has to offer - and it is especially meaningful when we can draw from our own delightful experiences. We are thankful for the opportunity to gain intimate knowledge of this admirable estate!
For more information on upcoming events and activities offered at the Omni Mount Washington, check out their events & activities calendar on their website! http://brettonwoods.com/activities/event
You do not have to be a guest to participate in specific activities, including hour long hotel tours offered at 10 am and 3 pm, tea in their historic tea room, and much more. Just make sure you call to reserve a spot!
GSA Impressions of the Omni Mt. Washington & Bretton Woods Ski Resort:
“I loved the history and magnificent beauty of the building. I have always wanted to visit there. It was interesting to hear about the history of ownership and its construction. I did not realize there was so much more going on there than just a hotel. It really is a resort filled with a variety of fun things to do. While on the tour I did beginners alpine skiing. The slopes were very wide and gentle. The staff at the chair lift were very accommodating to beginners. If I were to go again I would probably try the canopy tour. Although the spa and pool looked very inviting. Thank you so much for the opportunity to experience this beautiful resort.”
~ Rosemarie C
“The Mount Washington Hotel is always awesome, but hearing about the history and how that is intertwined with the community and expansion of the community of Bretton Woods was great. Craig, our hotel guide, was full of so many good stories. We could have sat with him the whole afternoon. Our stroll through the main lobby was like going back in time. The Spa area was calm and relaxing. Staff were so welcoming and were anxious to make it a great experience. Very private and personal. A big THANK YOU to everyone!! The day was perfect. ~ Mary O
“Thank you for the opportunity to attend the Mount Washington Resort tour. I was very impressed with the history of the hotel and the innovations and forethought that went into the building of the hotel. I almost wish I was a guest way back when! But now, I will surely return to stay at the hotel, especially when the Glenn Orchestra will be performing. I enjoyed the alpine skiing. It felt so good to be out in the glorious White Mountain's fresh air! Lunch was delicious and gave me the necessary energy I needed to ski! In the future, I would like to try cross-country skiing and the spa. Having been a guest at this hotel, I enjoyed many of the amenities and, of course, The Cave. Staying at the Mountain Washington Hotel is an experience all visitors to NH would enjoy.” ~ Rita G
“I really enjoyed our tour and had been looking forward to it ever since it was announced. While there I snowboarded at Bretton Woods. It was a great opportunity, because I probably wouldn't have gotten up there to experience it otherwise. My favorite part of the resort's history was standing in the Gold Room, where the monetary council was signed in 1944. I am not a history buff, but I found it really neat that something that affects me so much today (the value of currency) was determined in that very room. I think a guest at the hotel would most enjoy all the mountain vistas from the comfort of that grand building. I would especially love eating breakfast in the dining room beside those huge windows. I wished our tour had been more extensive. We definitely didn't get to see the whole hotel, or even go up the stairs. It definitely felt incomplete. When I got home I was still pumped up from my great day and couldn't wait to tell everyone about it! Thank you GSAs!” ~ Ellyn G CNHCC Intern
“The beauty of the Mount Washington Hotel and its majestic setting can literally take your breath away. A magnificent grand hallway with cozy fireplaces leads you to spectacular views from the formal dining room and the classic wrap around verandas. It is difficult to find enough superlatives to describe the Mount Washington resort and Bretton Woods ski area. As my activity I chose to snowshoe instead of ski as I am a little hesitant about falling. We met after lunch at the Cross Country field office near the hotel which I believe doubles as the golf club during the warm months. From here you can choose to cross country ski, snowshoe or ride fat tire bikes (looks very interesting) on prepared trails through the golf course and into the woods. Inside the clubhouse is a lovely fireplace and small eating area. As a beginner at snowshoeing I was very appreciative of the assistance provided by the staff at the center. They made it easy and enjoyable. The day made me feel invigorated and happy. I felt that I was spending the day closer to nature in a relaxing and beautiful setting. I think my favorite part of the tour was the hotel itself with its spectacular verandas - both front and back - and the main hallway. I love the design and the warmth of the roaring fireplace as you enter. I did not experience the skiing this time but have many times in the past and fondly remember the wide slopes with a view of Mount Washington that is unforgettable. I believe this may be one of the best views in the state. The fact that the international monetary conference was convened here in 1944, setting the price of gold and the US dollar as the international standard makes this place a historical gem. On a more personal note I loved the story about the original owner Joseph Stickney’s widow, Carol Foster Stickney, who would summer there and watch as people entered the dining room and change if someone was better dressed than she! Also when you go, make sure you check out the carpets and pictures throughout the hotel. They reflect the flora, fauna and wildlife that is indigenous to the area. Craig, our tour guide, is full of incredible stories and tidbits about the hotel and its history. His tour helps to set the mood for your visit.
If you are visiting our wonderful state and plan to go to the White Mountains you must visit the Mount Washington Hotel even if it is only for a quick drink on their outstanding wrap around veranda. But given all the options that are offered it would be better to plan a stay for a few days so you can immerse yourself in its beauty and history. You too will return with a new zest for life. I personally would like to return to try the spa and zip lining.” ~ Kathryn S
“The tour of Bretton Woods was awesome on so many levels; and of course we’re always looking forward to more opportunities like that.” ~ Howie W
“I want to express my appreciation for the familiarization tour of the hotel and ski area on Thursday, January 19th. Although I ski at Bretton Woods often, I was not very familiar with the hotel and all that it has to offer.
I must say that the ski area continues to live up to its amazing reputation for impeccable grooming and fantastic ski conditions. It is a cruiser's paradise with occasional challenges like Bode's Run and Deception Bowl.
The overall resort has so many recreational options. I was glad to learn that the zip line operates in winter. The nordic ski trail network and dog sledding are also wonderful attractions on the hotel side of Route 302. During the tour you acknowledged that the Mt. Washington is a luxury hotel but that more affordable accommodations for the budget conscious are available in other buildings on the property. That is good to know. Also good to know is that guests planning a stay at the Mt. Washington are well advised to book their excursions in advance if they wish to go dog sledding or whatever.
The history behind the property is fascinating. So I was glad to learn that guests can go on daily historical tours of the hotel. The fact that the underground cocktail lounge was once an actual "speak easy" serving "imported" Canadian spirits was especially interesting.
I frequently greet incoming guests at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport on their way to the Mt. Washington Hotel. I always tell them that they are in for a treat. Now I will have more to tell them about what to expect when they get there. “ Maurice D
“The day began with a drive north on Route 93, which was an absolutely beautiful winter wonderland on both sides of the highway. Trees covered with fresh snow, and better yet, the roads were clear and driving was easier than I had predicted. This reinforced one of the reasons I do love NH in the winter!. Upon arrival at the Omni Mount Washington, the elegance and majesty of the hotel and grounds was spectacular as well. I was very impressed with the in-depth tour provided by Craig. He was clearly "at home" at the hotel, and had a passion for the historical details of the structure, and the people who are part of it's history. The tour was detailed and included snippets of history, including what china and furniture was original to the hotel... amazing!
A complimentary lunch over at the Downhill Ski area was great, and gave us all a sense of the quality of the food and offerings to skiers. The staff was friendly, concerned that they got our order "right" and it was fun mingling with the skiers coming in for a break. Being a weekday, it was pleasantly crowded, but not packed. After lunch, I personally checked out some of the rental options, but then made my way to the activity I chose... the spa.
I must admit, I didn't realize that the spa was different from the indoor pool and jacuzzi. I learned it's operated separately from the hotel's facilities, and I felt that when I went down the elevator to the reception area, I entered another world. Soft music played, colors of walls and furnishing were soft and there were no clocks, TVs, or other distractions. I was led by an attendant on a brief tour of the facilities, which included a sauna, steam room emanating eucalyptus fragrance, showers and changing areas, locker room, "relaxation rooms" both private and a larger one leading out to the outdoor jacuzzi. Amenities included fresh ice water infused with fruit, healthy snacks like pecans cashews, and other nuts, and soft lights and curtains produced a very peaceful ambiance. I felt immediately relaxed as I donned my complementary large plush white robe and headed for the outdoor jacuzzi, which was the perfect temperature. Bubbles gently massaged me as the snow flurries fluttered down, while I had a view of the mountain, obscured at the top by clouds. Gentle music played, but was best appreciated when the bubble machines stopped periodically... the water was crystal clear, and an attendant appeared periodically providing either complimentary flavored water or orders from the bar. I thought I would only stay there for a half hour or so... but two hours later (taking breaks to cool down occasionally) I hated to leave. The shower, steam room, and changing areas were thoughtfully stocked with whatever I might have wanted or needed.
A few other guests I spoke with told me this was not their first visit, and they considered this spa the best one they had ever been to. One couple deliberately came to the Omni Spa for Sunday - Thursday mostly because there were not so many people, but also because the prices were less. This trip they left their kids home, and didn't even ski, just enjoyed the Spa for several days! My only slight regret was that I underestimated how much I would enjoy the experience, and that I didn't allow enough time to leisurely enjoy more of the offerings. Would I consider returning... Absolutely! “ ~ Jean S
GSA Tim A, wrote a wonderful article about our day. Click here to read it. http://nhgsa.com/Blog/4589421
Thank you for allowing me to take part in the tour of the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods on Friday (January 19).
As you know I have a website (www.images-of- new-hampshire- history.com) devoted to the rich history of New Hampshire. I have taken many photographs of the Mount Washington Hotel exterior and surrounding landscape, but had never been inside before. I was very excited to get this opportunity.
The morning started with a tour of the Hotel . It was interesting to learn many new facts about the hotel I did not know. The story of Joseph and Carolyn Stickney, the transformation of a 3 season hotel into a year round thriving resort. Having the last name of Marsh, I was particularly interested in the relationship of the Mt Washington Hotel and the Cog Railway (Designed by Sylvester Marsh). Sylvester was nicknamed “Crazy Marsh” for his “Railway to the Moon” and thereafter on the tour I was dubbed “Crazy Marsh”
The Tour was not only of historical value, but also gave me valuable information regarding what the Hotel has to offer for its guests. Besides the skiing both at the Nordic trails at the hotel and nearby Bretton Woods , guests can also enjoy a relaxing swim in the pool, several shops ranging from souvenirs to clothing and jewelry and a movie theatre. A self-sustaining facility, the hotel also has its own Post Office.
To experience first hand the many activities available at the resort, I elected to try Nordic skiing for the first time in 25 years. I would often go with my children on the Kancamagus highway. Although the equipment has changed for the better in 25 years, I still remembered how to glide and really enjoyed the peacefulness of the wooded trails and the beautiful view of the back side of the hotel.
As my opportunities to volunteer hopefully increase, each tour of the beautiful places New Hampshire has to offer will make me a more informed Granite State Ambassador and a helpful resource to the “Guests” visiting the Granite State.
By Ellyn Gibbs, intern for Central NH Chamber of Commerce
I lifted my salt-crusted boots gingerly across the custom-weave carpet in the Mount Washington Hotel lobby, scanning the grand room for a familiar face. It didn't take long to spot who I was searching for - a large group in forest green shirts and khaki pants clustered in front of the hotel fireplace, savoring the mountain view through the surrounding expanse of windows.
Last week, I joined the Granite State Ambassadors (GSA) group on their January tour to the Omni Mount Washington Resort and Bretton Woods. Many of these volunteer men and women had come from as far as Manchester to experience this jewel of the White Mountains. Our tour took us through the polished round dining room with fresh flowers on every table, the Princess Room, the "cave" bar, and the Gold Room where the monetary council met in 1944. We finally landed at the ski lodge for lunch and finished the day on the ski slopes.
I was excited to experience these places for myself, but I was also eager to watch the GSAs in action. This group's mission is "dedicated to meeting and exceeding the informational needs of guests and residents of the state of New Hampshire through in-depth training and active participation of our certified Ambassadors." These GSAs are valuable sources for our community and tourists, but they are also valuable promoters of our chamber businesses.
In their twenty years of existence, the GSAs have toured facilities like Alpine Adventures, Indian Head Resort, Branch Brook Campground, Waterville Valley Resort, and others. They experience these places firsthand in order to educate others who are visiting the state. "Our GSAs volunteer at over twenty welcome and information centers around the state, as well as over twenty special events like the Farm & Forest Expo, the Made in NH Expo, and more," said Kelly Bryer, Executive Director of the Granite State Ambassadors.
Bryer quoted numbers from independentsector.org, which stated that in 2016, 298 volunteers served 19,351 hours and assisted 97,360 guests for a value of $460,371. Each year, New Hampshire certifies about 100 new GSAs, some volunteers, and some tourism industry employees.
If you are interested in hosting a group of GSAs at your facility for an educational tour, contact Kelly at email@example.com
You can expect results from these industrious New Hampshirites. After our tour to Bretton Woods, GSA Maurice Demers said, "I frequently greet incoming guests at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport on their way to the Mount Washington Hotel. I always tell them that they are in for a treat. Now I will have more to tell them about what to expect when they get there."
If you're interested in becoming a GSA yourself, check out this link for information on the required classes, offered in Manchester, Peterborough, Waterville, and Concord on different dates through spring 2017.
At their core, the GSAs believe that we the people should take responsibility for our home and future, and do our part to protect the living landscapes that make our state so exceptional. They are ready to bring success to our area and your business!
I am combining a couple of recent blogs sent on to us by GSA Moe Demers - Comfort Inn Airport Class of 2011
From earlier in December...
There is a light at the end of the tunnel as far as the renovations at MHT are concerned! The renovated Hudson News near gate 8 that is pictured here should be open by the time you read this.
Next door to the Hudson News, the bagel shop that you see here will closed by the end of the year. Construction will then begin on a new Burger King. It should be completed sometime this winter. We frequently get requests for a McDonalds type eatery. There hasn't been one at MHT for a long time, so this should be well received.
From December 20th...
Today I was dressed in seasonal attire. Passengers were in a happy mood and many wished me a Merry Christmas!
In the American Airlines departure lounge three college age women were practicing a very intricate choreographed dance routine. Although they seemed very intent on getting it right, they were also having a ball!
Later I encountered a Southwest Airlines flight attendant who was wearing a Santa Clause suit over her official uniform. No doubt she was intent on lightening the mood on her upcoming flight!
In the Southwest Airlines departure lounge I met Army Command Sergeant Major Bob Stewart. CSM Stewart resides in Florida and travels the country recruiting Veterans to attend Southern New Hampshire University. Officially he is known as the Assistant Director of Military Initiatives. He explained that much of the training Veterans receive in the service can be counted as college credit. Thus, Veterans can sometimes complete their degree in a relatively short period of time. Bob's goal is to help them document the qualifying training and to assist them in finding sufficient financial aid, such as the GI Bill, so that they can attend college at little or no cost.
On this trip he attended a function for sailors at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. But he was anxious to return to the relative warmth of Florida!
Happy Holidays everyone!
NHGSA volunteers and friends,
I am sorry to announce that GSA Al Peters passed away on December 12, 2016.
Al was a member of the Kancamagus Class of 1998 and had accumulated 1,873.85 hours mostly at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. In 2011, Al was honored by his peers with the Hospitality from the Heart award at the AMBIE awards.
Al had a rich and interesting life and will be remembered for his gentle demeanor, sense of humor, wonderful story telling, and devotion to his family. He will be dearly, dearly missed.
Services: A calling hour will be on December 30 from 9:30 – 10:30 am at Goodwin Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 607 Chestnut Street, Manchester, NH. There will be a reflection on Al’s life at 10:30, also at Goodwin Funeral Home with internment to follow at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Boscawen with military honors.
You can read his full obituary at http://www.goodwinfh.net/obituaries/?slug=alexander-george-peters-manchester-new-hampshire/141#sthash.V9pNzY26.dpuf
Physical:12 Vintinner Rd, #3Campton, NH 03223