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           New Hampshire Travel Guide

Vacationing In The White Mountains At New Hampshire's Grand Hotel's Offers History And Comfort

At one time, there were more than a dozen of luxurious getaways in the state. New Hampshire’s grand hotels once offered their own post offices, printing presses, newspapers, baseball leagues and dormitories for chauffeurs. Presidents, poets, statesmen and celebrities all signed the guest registers at one time or another. Today, these Grand Hotel offer to their guests with modern luxuries, world-class amenities, and endless recreation for their enjoyment.

New Hampshire’s White Mountains, with their endless scenery, first attracted tourists to take the Grand Tour of New Hampshire in the19th century. The Presidential Range that envelopes Mount Washington has 86 peaks, and dramatic notches are the only way to cross them. It was here in the notches that lodging houses to attract visitors were built in the early 1800s. When railroads made getting to the mountains a simpler task, grand hotels were built offering luxury in the heart of the wilderness.

The Mountain View House in Whitefield began in 1866 as a modest country inn with a spectacular view. Over the years, several grand additions were made. By the summer of 1884, the Mountain View House could accommodate over 100 guests. With an amazing setting, a lush golf course and a guest register filled with America’s leading celebrities and politicians, the hotel flourished into the 1960s, but closed in 1981. The new 146-room Mountain View Grand reopened its doors in May 2002 after the completion of a $20 million restoration. It features revived fountains and English gardens, more than 20,000 square feet of conference, meeting, and wedding facilities, scenic golf courses, a 5,500-square-foot ballroom, four dining rooms, custom-made mahogany furniture for the guest rooms, and a state-of-the-art European spa located in the tower atop the hotel.

The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel has operated continuously since the opening of the Dix House, just after the Civil War. The original inn honored the town's first landowner, Colonel Timothy Dix, a hero of the American Revolution, who lost his life during the war of 1812. The town's European settlers, the Whittemore family, shared their hearth and home with wayfarers on the old Cos Trail through Dixville Notch. In 1895, a wealthy Philadelphia industrialist, Henry S. Hale, purchased the Dix House and renamed it The BALSAMS. Hale steadily expanded and enhanced the facilities. By 1918 he had completed the Hampshire House, an elegant addition that doubled the overnight capacity of the resort to 400 guests, which is also the current capacity. The BALSAMS is an all-inclusive resort with skiing, golf, swimming, hiking, and one of the most breathtaking settings in the world, complemented by distinctive service. And it is also here that the first in the nation voting is held in the New Hampshire Primary.

The Wentworth-by-the-Sea Marriott Hotel and Spa renovations were completed in May 2003. When you think about you could say it is like an old jewel polished to perfection since this Grand Dame by the Sea was originally built in 1874. With 168 rooms, including one room in each of its three turrets, the Wentworth-by-the-Sea Marriott Hotel and Spa includes a 4,100-square-foot expanded Grand Ballroom, a spa including massage rooms, treatment rooms, saunas, whirlpools and an indoor pool, and the renovated outdoor pool near the waterfront.

Twelve of New Hampshire’s historic grand hotels have succumbed to fire, abandon, and demolition: the Crawford House, Summit House, Faybian House, Twin Mountain House, Mount Pleasant House, The Maplewood, Sinclair House, Sunset Hill House, Deer Park, Intervale House, The Kearsarge and The Profile House. Another three, The Eagle Mountain House and Wentworth Hall in Jackson, and Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway survive as hotels with condominiums.

By Iris Dean

Getting There:

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