We love the White Mountains area of New Hampshire, and unfortunately we don't get to visit near as often as we wish we could. We planned our inevitable return for a while, and finally got to execute the trip. We left work Thursday afternoon to finish packing and make our way north out of Ipswich. The weather was pristine, with a slight chill; textbook New England fall weather. We cruised up 95N to catch 101W, and drove towards the sun. We got on 93N and continued the lovely drive with far less traffic than we are accustomed. Leaving Thursday instead of Friday was brilliant. As we passed Tilton, the skies began to change and dark clouds loomed ahead of us. We accepted the fact that we would probably get wet at camp, but we were more dismayed that we would probably not get to glimpse the Aurora Borealis. There was a prediction of a geomagnetic storm that would make it visible quite far south and we've been chasing it unsuccessfully for years, so we were excited.
We had loosely made plans to get dinner in the area with my dad, stepmom, and brothers, James and Braden. We called them to solidify a plan while Mandy looked for dog-friendly patios on bringfido.com and read aloud about The Covered Bridge Farm Table Restaurant & Bar. Loki was drooling by the end of it, so we all agreed to meet there after we setup camp and my dad & Co. checked into their hotel. Well, not too long after that, those ominous clouds opened up to let loose a deluge of rain. We decided that would make for less than ideal eating conditions, and Loki pointed out that he hates being out in the rain, so we needed a plan B. Another phone call and we learned that my dad had got us our own room at his hotel so we would remain dry for the night. We were very thankful for this surprise, and we met at the Woodstock Inn, Station, and Brewery in North Woodstock, NH.
After check-in, we all crammed into their vehicle and made our way just down the street to our plan B, One Love Brewery in Lincoln. Mandy and I had been here in the past, when they didn't have the brewery up and running, and we were excited to try their beers. Also, all six of us were rather hungry, so we were ready to get our food on, too. We got seated and promptly ordered a round of drinks. I was somewhat surprised to find they only had one of their own beers on tap, but I ordered it anyways. It's an American Pale Ale, and it's not a favorite. It was decent, but not really noteworthy. I got a Spanish mojito, which was very good. We ordered a plate of nachos and Bavarian pretzels for the table. The nachos were really tasty. The pretzels were soft and delicious. Braden claimed most of them for himself. Not totally satisfied, but no longer starving, we decided to split an entree of chicken and waffles. With two whole chicken breasts, this was more than enough food. And it was absolutely delicious! We loved it, and gobbled it all up. We ordered another round of drinks to enjoy while James and Braden had their desserts; a giant piece of lava cake with ice cream...each. After the final round we made our way back to the inn. Just in time, too, apparently, because the inn called to report that Loki was garnering some noise complaints with his barking. This was a first, as he rarely ever barks. We felt bad, and got back to him as quickly as possible. We hung out with him a little while and gave him copious pats on his head and ear scratches before bed, around 10pm.
We woke up around 6:30am and got up leisurely. We had made breakfast sandwiches earlier in the week, which we intended to eat while camping. We heated them in the microwave in the room, which isn't quite as tasty as if they're cooked on the grill, but they're still good! After we'd fully woken (thank you, coffee!), we packed up the few items we'd unpacked and checked out.
We cruised up the highway a short jaunt, past where we wanted to be, so we could turn around and get onto the southbound side. We pulled into Lafayette Place campground under overcast skies. Mandy got some clothes out of the truck bed and executed the change in the passenger's seat. Loki was super rambunctious to get outside the truck, so we got moving as quickly as we could. We started up the Lonesome Lake trail around 11:15am. We took our time getting up to the lake, passing several other hikers along the way, who were all very happy to meet and pet Loki. We arrived to the top behind a group of 3 guys and almost immediately it started to rain on us. We let Loki off the leash for a few minutes so he could run around and get the zoomies out of his system. As he hates the rain, we had hoped that he would go for a swim in the lake and not notice the drops falling from the sky. He didn't seem to care as he was sprinting back and forth in the woods and he opted not to go for a swim.
Contemplating walking around the lake, we watched the clouds and estimated that the rain would stop shortly, and that a break in the clouds was approaching. Hoping for good views and cooperative weather, we hooked Loki back up and went for it. It only took about 5 minutes to get to the opposite side by the hut and we were not disappointed. The sun actually made an effort to come out and warm us up a bit. The views of Lafayette were fantastic across the lake. Loki sort of tried to meet some ducks but I think they were all afraid of each other.
We ate some trail mix and dried mangoes, and got some pictures, then made our way back down towards the truck. It rained intermittently on our way down, and we arrived to the truck about 2:30pm, where we discovered that someone forgot to close the tonneau cover. OOPS!! Luckily, it hadn't rained heavily at all, and our stuff was hardly damp, and none of it grew legs while we were gone. It rained off and on a little bit as we made our way back towards Lincoln. We stopped by an awesome cafe we like to visit, Half Baked & Fully Brewed. I got an iced Old Man Joe. I got an iced spiced chai with almond milk. The drinks were delicious, as usual, and we sipped them on the ride back to Woodstock Inn, where we checked in again. We had pre-existing reservations for Friday and Saturday night but they happened to be in a different room than we were in the night before.
We got settled in and showered to clean of the sweat of the hike. We dressed and made our way out, back up the highway past the hike we'd done earlier and went to Echo Lake Beach. Unfortunately, it wasn't great swimming weather, but we wanted to check it out nonetheless. The clouds seemed trapped in the notch between mountains, and swirled around the top of Cannon Mountain. The beach was quite serene due to the lack of people from the unfortunate weather, so maybe it wasn't so unfortunate after all! We enjoyed the calm a while before we hopped back into the truck to make our way to dinner.
We decided to check out the Common Man Restaurant in Lincoln for dinner. I had been to one in Merrimack years ago and enjoyed it, and Mandy had been to the one in Concord, so it was sort of a return, even though we hadn't been to the one in Lincoln before. We ordered a round of drinks; I got a Finest Kind IPA and Mandy got a mochatini. The mochatini was phenomenal. Seriously. The Finest Kind is always delicious, so no surprises here. When it came time to order food, we went for the same thing; hazelnut crusted chicken. It was outstanding! They're topped with strawberries, which sounds odd, but somehow just works. This was, again, way more than enough food. I muscled through it anyways, and Mandy took half to go. We decided to get dessert but left it up to chef's choice which happened to be strawberry cheesecake. It was very close to being the best cheesecake (maybe it was the best) I've ever had. Not long after dessert, we got back to Loki, who did much better alone this time. We gave him some company for a bit before we went to the bar at the inn for one round.
We woke up around 6 and Mandy took Loki around the block while I showered and got dressed. When they got back, we got our complimentary breakfast in the front room of the inn. I had eggs, bacon, and french toast which was all amazing, but the bacon was exceptionally good. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, and home fries. We went back to the room to hang out with Loki for a while until 11am, when the brewery tour began. The guide talked at length about their history, the brew process, and their equipment. He was clearly very knowledgeable on the finer points of brewing, and offered a lot of technical insight, which was awesome. Afterwards, Alex served four of their beers; Weasel Wheat, Autumn Brew, Scottish Ale, and Pig's Ear. They were all tasty, of course, and Alex was super friendly. After the tasting, the tour dispersed and we returned to our rooms.
Since the weather was awesome, we went across the street to Cascade Park to get some pictures down by the river. Then we decided to go back up the highway to Echo Lake, so we could get some more on the beach up there. Unfortunately, the cloudy weather was still trapped in the notch, but we got some anyways. It was somewhat clearer than the day before, and the sun actually broke through for a few minutes.
We got married in the rain and returned to the Woodstock Inn as husband and wife, where we snacked on appetizers of barbecue meatballs, chicken and waffles, and raspberry and brie stuffed pastries along with a cracker, cheese, and fruit display. We were announced into the reception room and provided an entertaining first dance to Hard to Concentrate, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Dinner was a delicious feast of chicken, steak tips, ribs, lasagna, mashed potato bar, and mixed veggies. We gorged on a gigantic dessert spread of tiramisu, whoopie pies, cookies, and fruit pies. We partied all night with 70 of our closest friends and family and danced our feet right off. We had the best day and night ever and could not have imagined asking for any more than exactly what we got. By 10:30 or so, exhausted and sweaty, we made the trek down the street to the house at which Loki was being graciously cared for. We collected him and trekked back to our room to go to bed.
We woke up around 6:30am. We worked on cleaning and organizing the disaster we had made of the room while getting ready the day prior. We loaded some things into the truck, and took Loki out for a walk. We had to leave him just one more time so that we could attend brunch at the Inn. Brunch was a fantastic opportunity to chat with all our guests one last time in a much quieter setting. We hung out in the dining room while people filtered in and out to enjoy the breakfast buffet before making their respective rides home. The food was, again, fantastic, and we urged everyone to take desserts with them. We had contacted a few of our guests about making various desserts for our wedding, and we definitely overestimated how much we would need. There are worse problems to have than too much dessert! Our friends and families happily obliged, yet we still ended up taking a bunch home!
After brunch, we packed the rest of our belongings from the room. Actually, after deconstructing the ridiculous display an unknown someone put on the truck, THEN we were able to pack the rest of the stuff. We profusely thanked all the inn staff for a perfect weekend, checked out, and hit the road south. We were lucky to have flawless weather for the ride home. After a quick stop to pick up Mandy's car we made the final leg of the journey home, where the next chapter of our life started, around 3pm.
Additional pictures from our wedding weekend follow below for your viewing pleasure.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins
We're just an adventure-loving couple with a puppy looking to share our stories with the world.