Category Archives: Outdoor Activities

Top 10 Must-Have Equipment to Hike with Children

My entire family comes from the French and Swiss Alps. My parents were avid climbers, waking up at midnight to hike glaciers before the morning sun would melt the ice and form  crevices dangerous for climbers. When my sister and I were born, climbing glaciers wasn’t possible anymore, but they didn’t give up the hiking.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been hiking. Forty-fifty years ago, kids carrier did not exist and my dad would just put layers of clothes at the bottom of his old backpack with my sister or I on top of them, so that our head was actually out of the bag. We would spend the entire day on the trails.

infant backpack in the 60s
Early 1960s: My sister was an infant hiking the Alps, tucked in my dad’s backpack.

Sometimes our parents would have to drag us to finish the hike but at the end of the day, we were so happy to rest in our sleeping bags after a good outdoor dinner cooked in a homemade firepit (my parents always camped in the “wild”, never in campgrounds).

Child hiking
1976 : I was hiking the Alps in Summer (there was still snow in the background), with our dog Ulla

I remember asking my parents to finally spend our vacations by the ocean for once  but the first time I spent several days at the shore (I was nearly a teenager) I got bored after 2 days and asked to go on a hike!

When our sons, Antoine and Guillaume were as little as 4 and 2 years old, we would go on vacation in the Alps as well, hiking everyday for a week or two. One day we actually made it through a total of 10 km! I remember passing by other hikers who were very astonished to see these little boys hiking so well and obviously having pleasure doing so.

Children hiking the alps
Summer 1995 : Antoine was 4 and Guillaume was 2, hiking the Alps. I was carrying Guillaume because he didn’t want to step in goat poop!

How did we do that? Hiking for a kid is all about the journey : You have to make it fun for them and there is no better hike than the one leading to a special spot such as a waterfall or a brook, a blueberry patch, a mountain lake, where you can have lunch and have fun for several hours before heading back. Hiking to a summit to see a beautiful panorama can be also rewarding for older kids, but not so much for toddlers.

lunch break at La Chappelle d'Abondance
Summer 1995, La Chappelle d’Abondance : during a lunch break, it was so much fun to play in a mountain brook! While there, we saw cows with their big bells walking back to their barn to get milked.

During the hike itself, we went at their pace, taking the time to observe the flowers, trees, ants and spiders, playing games such as a scavenger hunt (let’s find a special rock, a piece of wood, where can you see something red, can you spot a ladybug…) : there is no better way to teach them the love of the outdoors and respect of nature. They were taking turn to “lead the pack”. We also took numerous breaks, for them as for us as Thierry was carrying a heavy backpack and I often had one of the kids on my shoulders (yes, they didn’t always want to walk and needed to be carried). During these breaks, we were also making sure we were still on the right path by checking our map, modifying our itinerary depending on how far we were, what time it was, and how tired were the children.

Bernex 1995
Summer 1995, Bernex : the kids checking the map with dad to make sure we were on track

Many people come to the White Mountains New Hampshire with young kids to visit StoryLand or Santa’s Village, not knowing that even for a kid as young as 2, hiking is also an option : we have many small hikes to waterfalls, blueberry patches and so in our area. A hike that would normally take you up to 1 hour (such as Arethusa Falls), can be up to 2 hours with a younger kid, but he will love playing in the water at the foot of this giant waterfall and will forget all the effort he had to do to reach it! It’s all worth it.

It is much easier for families nowadays to discover the outdoors and lots of backpacks, kid carriers… have much improved and are lighter (and much less expensive) that what we had forty or even twenty  years ago.

Whatever the decades the kids are born in, here are our 10  must have equipment when you go hiking with them:

- First Aid supplies, including insect repellent. We’ve hiked the Smoky Mountains, the Adirondacks, the Poconos and of course the White Mountains, and insect repellent is an absolute must have from April to November. We do not have lots of snakes in our area, but it is always a good idea to carry a “venom vacuum” such as Aspivenin, or Sawyer Products B4 Extractor Pump Kit (sold at Our kids were never attacked by vipers that were numerous in the Alps, but were bitten by wasps and horse flies… This venom vacuum allows to stop the pain and the swelling immediately, so the rest of the day is not wasted with a child who cries… A bruise cream is also a good addition to your first aid kit.

- Sun protection : sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, lip balm

- Packable rain gear, long sleeves clothes, and a change of clothes including underwear for the kids : be prepared for a quick change in weather in any mountain in the world you are going to hike. Packable rain gear is lightweight and doesn’t take much space in the backpack. It can also protect against the wind, and be very useful if you wish to have a picnic on a wet rock or wet grass. At the end of the day, it can be chillier than when you started in the morning and you will all be happy to put on something warmer with long sleeves. Kids can get wet exploring and then whine to get dry and you’ll be happy you brought dry clothes, underwear and socks! In the same spirit, always have a small towel in your backpack.

- Magnifying jar : kids love to collect along the way a caterpillar or other bugs to observe or other interesting treasures. That will keep them going and wanting more.

- Lots of healthy snacks, food and lots of water (no soda), such as cereals, cereal bars, nuts, peanut butter sandwiches, pretzels. Antoine was a very picky eater and would not eat any sandwiches, but agreed to eat some bread, and then a slice of ham, and could not be more happier when we would give him some sugar cubes (for energy). Keep your kids moving by motivating them such as “when we will be at the crossing of these paths, we will take a break and have some snacks”. I remember when I was a kid there was nothing that could make me move ahead more than promising to give me an Ovomaltine bar (made of malt and chocolate) during the next break.

- Tissues and moist towelettes . They are useful for many things, from first aid to using them as napkins.

- Plastic bags or ziploc bags to take back your trash, diapers… with you.

- Toilet paper (possibly not the roll you found in your hotel room)

- Map of the area, flashlight, batteries. Be prepared for anything! Your cell phone might not have service where you hike so make sure you know where you are going.

- Multi tool knives and matches

And finally, these are useful supplies to leave in your car that you will be happy to find when you come back from your hike : a large trash bag (to throw away all the garbage you are coming back with), large towels (if you got wet during your hike, they will protect your car seats and they will allow you to be dry on your way back home), extra clothes for the kids, and diapers . It’s also a good idea to have a cooler where you pack extra fresh snacks and that can keep a fresh water supply. The best part though of coming back from a hike is to stop at an ice cream shop and reward the family!

For more information about day hikes with kids in the White Mountains New Hampshire , visit :

adirondacks with kids
August 1997 : the Adirondacks, Antoine 6 and Guillaume 4 having a blast in a mountain lake. That very same day we were caught up by a huge storm with torrential rain and were very happy to have our rain gear and large towels back in the car!

Family Adventure at Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park

Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park ‘s giant swing and mountain coaster are open year round (yes, even in winter!) but in summer, the tubing hill, soaring Eagle zipline, bouncy houses for any age,  bungy trampoline and scenic chairlift rides give families a unique way to test their adventurous side. You can also choose to try the Aerial Adventure Park and become Indiana Jones for a few hours!

Our daughter, son and a friend did just that and had a BLAST :

So what are you waiting for? Check out our Cranmore Adventure Package and save $$$ on your next stay & play getaway.

Mt Washington Auto Road & Great Glen Trails – Promo Events Summer 2013

Mt Washington Auto Road

As usual, lots of events have been planned on the Mt Washington Auto-Road and Great Glen Trails and we join the celebration by offering special discounts to those participating and staying with us :

Get 10% off a 1 night stay, and 15% off a two-night stay!

In addition, any guest staying with us can get FREE vouchers giving them these summer benefits:

  • FREE use of the Great Glen Trails system for biking, running or walking,
  • 50% discount on bike rental packages at Great Glen Trails (4 hour minimum),
  • Discounted guided tour tickets ($25 Adult/Senior , $10 kids age 5-12)
  • (1) Adult Passenger FREE with a paid “Drive Yourself” toll at the Mt Washington Auto-Road ($8 savings!)

Don’t forget to mention your participation to any of these events upon reservation to get your discount!

May 25, 2013: Alton Weagle Day
A celebration of all the firsts at the Mt. Washington Auto Road! Alton Weagle had a passion for Mt. Washington. To show his passion, he climbed the Mt. Washington Auto Road in a number of unique ways: by car, on foot, walking backwards, pushing a wheelbarrow full of sugar…just to name a few.

June 2, 2013: Newton’s Revenge Practice Ride
This bicycle ride is available to pre-registered Newton’s Revenge racers only.

June 15, 2013 : Northeast Delta Dental Mt Washington Auto Race
A footrace to the summit of Mt. Washington! Runners from around the globe come to the Mt. Washington Auto Road to take on the fabled climb.

June 22, 2013: Minis on Top
200+ Mini Coopers from around the world enjoy an evening tour and barbecue on the Mt. Washington Auto Road. You can bring your car group or club here too! (we do special group rates)

June 30, 2013 : Sunrise on Mt Washington
The Auto Road opens at 3:30 am for cars, pickups and motorcycles to drive to the summit of Mt. Washington. Experience the brilliant colors, crisp mountain air and maybe even a view of the sun coming up over the Atlantic Ocean.

July 6, 2013 : Newton’s Revenge
The race is contested on the same exact course as the original Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, making Newton’s Revenge the other Toughest Hillclimb in the World. Road opens to race traffic only at 6:00 am. Line up for racers at 8:20 am.

July 21, 2013: Bicycle Hillclimb Practice Ride
This ride is available to pre-registered Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb racers only.

July 28, 2013 : Sunrise on Mt Washington
The Auto Road opens at 3:30 am for cars, pickups and motorcycles to drive to the summit of Mt. Washington. Experience the brilliant colors, crisp mountain air and maybe even a view of the sun coming up over the Atlantic Ocean.

August 17, 2013 : Mt Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hill Climb
The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge are known as the toughest hillclimbs in the world at 7.6 miles in length, has an average grade of 12% with extended sections of 18% and the last 50 yards is an amazing 22%! Sprint that to the finish!

August 25, 2013 : Sunrise on Mt Washington
The Auto Road opens at 3:30 am for cars, pickups and motorcycles to drive to the summit of Mt. Washington. Experience the brilliant colors, crisp mountain air and maybe even a view of the sun coming up over the Atlantic Ocean.

September 6, 7 & 8, 2013 : Muster in the Mountains
This weekend long event is a colonial encampment of reenactors representing various individuals of the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and Mountain Man periods from 1750 through 1840.


North Conway Named Most Affordable Ski Destination in the NorthEast

Article copied from the 2012-2013 Season New Hampshire Winter Guide, published by Salmon Press Newspapers :

“TripAdvisor’s Inaugural Ski Destination Cost Comparison Intex Reveals Top Resorts in U.S. and Canada Where Travelers Can Hit the Slopes and Save. North Conway comes in most affordable in Northeast and #2 in the U.S.


TripAdvisor, the world’s lagest travel review site launched its inaugural TripIndex Ski - a cost comparison of 20 popular ski destinations across the United States and Canada. North Conway, NH was deemed the least expensive ski destination in the Northeast and the second least expensive destination for skiing in the U.S.

TripAdvisor’s TripIndex Ski presents the combined cost of one night’s hotel accommodation, a basic ski rental package, a one-day lift tickets, a local meal and a bottle/glass of beer at top ski destinations. Salt Lake City, Utah came in as the most affordable ski destination, with a total TripIndex Ski cost of $238.58. Yet North Conway scored just over a dollar higher on TripAdvisor’s TripIndex Ski at $239.88, making the price between two top contenders negligible. With a price tag of $746, Vail, Colorado emerged as the priciest ski spot in the country.

“For travelers who are looking for a snowy escape, TripIndex Ski provides an easy way to compare the most popular ski destinations across North America,” said Karen Drake, senior direction of communications at TripAdvisor. “TripIndex Ski is a useful tool for travelers who are looking to get the best bang for their buck this winter season”.

According to TripAdvisor, the TripIndex Ski prices out the following items in each destination : Per night cost of a hotel (between December 2011 and March 2012 within 5 miles of the destination), cost of a lift ticket, cost of a meal (burger and fries from 3 local restaurants on or near the mountain) and cost of an alcoholic drink (domestic beer at 3 local pubs on or near the mountain).

Prices were collected through a variety of research methods, and apply to travel between December 2011 and March 2012. The “basket” of items is representative of the common items many travelers will purchase while on a ski vacation says TripAdvisor.

“It means a lot to us to learn that TripAdvisor, a trusted trip planning resource for travelers, has recognized that North Conway and the surrounding region offers and affordable ski destination,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Direction of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “With 13 ski resorts and XC centers all offering great skiing and value, skiers need look no further than the Northeast’s most affordable ski destination this winter,” finished Crawford. All of Mt Washington VAlley’s ski resorts are making snow around the clock as temperatures allow and plan to be open for Christmas week (the week between Christmas and New Year). Six out of seven are presently open.”

At Cranmore Mountain Lodge, room rates start from $89 per night for the whole winter season, and we offer many different ski & stay packages options with different ski resorts. You can find all these packages by clicking here.

Cranmore Mountain - Just 1 mile from us

Attitash Mountain - 15 minutes from us

Black Mountain - 15 minutes from us

Jackson x-country Foundation - 15 minutes from us

Wildcat Mountain - 35 minutes from us

Great Glen Trails - 35 minutes from us

Bretton Woods - 45 minutes from us


All Inclusive Cranmore Ski & Play Package – Season 2012-2013

Claire, our daughter, learning to ski on Cranmore

We are only 1 mile away from Cranmore Mountain Ski Resort, with its 11 lifts including a high speed detachable quad and a fixed grip quad chairlift, 200 acres of skiable acreage with extra-beginner terrain, a larger tubing park (increased from 7 to 10 lanes), a mountain coaster, a giant swing and an indoor adventure center!

OPTION 1 – The quick getaway!
Starting from $168 + tax (Click here for detailed pricing) 

  • 1 night stay at Cranmore Mountain Lodge for 2 in the room of your choice
  • Full country breakfast cooked-to-order – (Full gluten free menu available at no extra charge)
  • Afternoon hot cocoa
  • 2 adult lift tickets for Cranmore Mountain
  • Optional 2 tickets for 2-hour tubing or 3 rides on the Mountain Coaster for Cranmore Mountain (add $20 per person – available weekend & Holidays only)
  • A Valley Pass for discount on dining, or/and horseback riding/sleigh ride
  • If you are driving a hybrid car, you’ll get a $20 voucher towards a future stay with us and valid for 6 months (come back in Summer!)
OPTION 2 – For 2 or more nights – SAVE MORE $$$Starting from $306 + tax (Click here for detailed pricing)

  • 2 night stay at Cranmore Mountain Lodge for 2 in the room of your choice
  • Full country breakfast cooked to order every morning – (Full gluten free menu available at no extra charge)
  • Afternoon hot cocoa
  • 2 tickets for 2-hour tubing or good for 3 rides on the Mountain Coaster at Cranmore Mountain (available weekend & Holidays only)
  • 2 adult lift tickets for Cranmore Mountain
  • A $30 voucher for a dinner at one of the Valley Originals’ Restaurants
  • A VIP card to shop at Settlers’ Green outlet Stores for extra savings
  • A Valley Pass for discount on dining, or/and horseback riding/sleigh ride.
  • If you are driving a hybrid car, you’ll get a $20 voucher towards a future stay with us and valid for 6 months (come back in Summer!)
  • Too many things to do? Optional 3rd night with a 10% discount
  • Optional FREE vouchers to go tubing/x-country skiing/snowshoeing at Great Glen Trails
  • Optional discounted lift and tubing vouchers for additional children or adults in the room, or for an additional day of snow fun!

When is the package available?
Any time, from the opening of Cranmore Mountain to the end of the 2013 ski season! No Blackout dates! For a midweek stay (Sunday through Thursday) you can also check out our Midweek Ski & Stay Package!

Conditions:Advanced reservation only – 50% lodging deposit asked at reservation – Subject to availability – Rates are double occupancy for all rooms except two bedroom suites (4 persons) – Room 19 , Suite 12, Suite 24 and Suite 25 are dog friendly, additional fee applies for a dog – Gluten free breakfast available at no charge upon request at reservation, only if you are gluten intolerant – Cannot be combined with another offer or discount

David tubing on Cranmore
Tubing is also available for those who just want to play in the the snow!


June 16 to September 3, 2012

(Attitash Mt’s attractions open on Memorial Day weekend but the package is available only starting June 16)

Just 15 minutes away from us, Attitash Mountain offers an array of summer activities that your family will enjoy: A mile long Alpine Slide, an Scenic Mountain Coaster, 20 miles of Mountain Bike Trails for all abilities (including 27 downhill trails and 8 cross-country trails), Waterslides, a Scenic Chair lift Ride, a Eurobungy Trampoline, a climbing wall and more…

Our Package includes:

  • Two night stay for two in the room of your choice
  • Full country breakfast cooked-to-order each morning (full gluten free breakfast available at no extra charge)
  • 2 Full day tickets including unlimited use of the Mountain Coaster, Alpine Slide, Aquaboggan Waterslides, Sidewinder Waterslide, Buddy Bear’s Playpool, Scenic Chair Ride, Eurobungy Trampoline, Climbing Wall and Mountain Biking (downhill and cross-country – does not include rental equipment)
  • A VIP card to go tax-free shopping the Settlers’ Green Outlet Stores
  • Exclusive coupons from our partners
  • A Valley Pass for discounts to area restaurants, horseback riding, gift shop…
  • if you are driving a hybrid car, you’ll get a $20 voucher towards a future stay with us and valid for 6 months
Pricing (includes taxes – for 2 people – gratuities not included):

From June 16 to June 28, 2012 :

From June 29 to September 3, 2012 :

  • In Room 5Room 10: $266.94 (midweek) – $310.54 (weekends & Holidays)

Scenic Horseback Riding on Black Mountain

Horseback Riding at Black Mountain
From May 28 until September 27, 2012

Black Mountain stables offer the most scenic trail ride in the White Mountains! Traverse up the mountain and at each switchback another breathtaking mountain vista is unveiled. In addition their skilled guides and well trained horses will offer even the most novice riders, a safe and enjoyable experience. Sunrise and Sunset Rides are also available.

  • Expect a 1-hour horseback guided ride (walking only) up Black Mountain on their ski trails. The ride goes through the woods and across meadows and provides excellent views of Jackson, Mount Washington and the Valley below ;
  • The ride times are 10:00, 11:30, 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00, everyday from Memorial Day to the end of October (this package although is proposed only until September 27) ;
  • The ride goes out is most weather, with the exception of high winds, lightening and torrential rain ;
  • No experience is needed for this ride, geared towards beginners. However, people with horse experience enjoy it as well due to the fact that climbing a mountain on horseback is a little more challenging than walking along flat ground ;
  • There is an age minimum of 10 years old, however some exceptions are made for children as young as 8 years old on an individual basis ;
  • There is a weight limit of 250 lbs ;
  • Preferred attire is long pants and closed-toed shoes. Shorts are acceptable, just not recommended ;
  • Helmets are required, and provided by Black Mountain ;
  • Bring your cameras, but it is requested that you leave all cell phones and other electronic devices in the car.
  • Guests must arrive 1/2 hour prior to ride time to fit helmets and fill out paperwork (or you can download and fill out the release form here!)
Package includes:

  • 2 nights for two in the room of your choice;
  • Cooked-to-order breakfast each morning (gluten free menu available at no extra charge);
  • A $30 voucher valid towards a dinner at one of the Valley Originals’ Restaurants;
  • A One-hour Scenic mountain side trail ride for two at Black Mountain ;
  • A VIP card to go tax-free shopping the Settlers’ Green Outlet Stores;
  • Exclusive coupons from our partners;
  • A Valley Pass for discount to area restaurants, horseback riding by the river, gift shop…
  • Optional vouchers for the Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park, right next to our door
  • If you are driving a hybrid car, you will get a $20 voucher towards a future stay with us and valid for 6 months

  • This package is available from Memorial weekend (May 28, 2012) through September 27, 2012.
  • Trail rides are weather dependent. Black Mountain will adjust dates & times if needed and accepts cancellation 48 hours in advance.
  • We ask for 50% lodging deposit and full payment of the rides upon reservation.
  • In case of no show for a reserved ride, no refund is done.
  • Our regular lodging cancellation policy applies for the room reservation (click here to read it)
Price (including taxes – for two):
From May 28 to June 14, 2012 :
  • In Room 5, Room 10 : $294.22
  • In Room 3, Room 4, Room 11 : $305.12
  • In Room 1, Room 6, Room 22 : $326.92
  • In Room 2, Room 7, Room 9 : $337.82
  • In Room 8, Room 19, Room 20, Room 21, Room 23 : $359.62
  • In Suite 17, Suite 25 : $403.22
From June 16 to June 28, 2012 and from September 3 to September 27, 2012 :
  • In Room 5, Room 10 : $302.94
  • In Room 3, Room 4, Room 11, Room 22 : $355.26
  • In Room 6: $361.80
  • In Room 1, Room 9, Room 20, Room 21, Room 23: $379.24
  • In Room 2, Room 7, Room 8, Room 19: $392.32
  • In Suite 25 : $422.84
  • In Suite 17 : $453.36
From June 29 to September 2, 2012 :
  • In Room 5, Room 10 : $302.94 (midweek) – $346.54 (weekends & Holidays)
  • In Room 3, Room 4, Room 11, Room 22 : $355.26 (midweek) – $398.86 (weekends & Holidays)
  • In Room 6 : $361.80 (midweek) – $405.40 (weekends & Holidays)
  • In Room 1, Room 9, Room 20, Room 21, Room 23: $379.24 (midweek) – $422.84 (weekends & Holidays)
  • In Room 2, Room 7, Room 8, Room 19: $392.32 (midweek) – $435.92 (weekends & Holidays)
  • In Suite 25 : $422.84 (midweek) – $466.44 (weekends & Holidays)
  • In Suite 17 : $453.36 (midweek) – $496.96 (weekends & Holidays)

Contact us at (800) 356-3596 or for family pricing!
In addition to trail rides, Black Mountain Stables offers…
Pony rides : Tinkerbell absolutely loves to give rides to the little ones. She’s sweet, and gentle and all the kids love her. Available daily from 10:30-3:30 at $15.00 a ride. Rides are approximately 10 minutes.
Trail lesson: If you are too small for a trail ride but looking for more than a pony ride… in this lesson learn horse basics and ride in an enclosed area. Ages 6+ $35.00 per 1/2 hour or $65.00 per 1 hr. By appointment only.