It looks a little out of place: The giant white castle structure with the red roof, surrounded by Appalachian peaks and the White Mountain National Forest, fast-flowing rivers and bright green golf holes. It brings to mind the West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana or the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in British Columbia — similar settings, similar service, similar wow factor. Then again, New Hampshire isn’t exactly overflowing with resort destinations, so the few they have are going to stand out anyway, for better and worse.
Omni properties tend to be loaded with the “better”—emphasizing service as the primary amenity, with swimming pools, spas, great restaurants, group activities and golf, etc. merely icing on a classy and rich, many-layered cake.
A unique “layer” at the Omni Mount Washington is their moose tours. This New (to) Hampshire resort concept had us riding around after dark in a souped-up spotlight-loaded school bus, listening to classic animal hits like Brent Holmes’s “Moose Don’t Moo” as we watched a mother moose (out the window) nudging her baby along through a creek. Perks of isolation you could say.
Another benefit to the remote location of Bretton Woods is the panoramic dining views and relaxed atmosphere provided off the patio of the property’s newest eatery, Stickney’s Steak and Chop Pub. Sit through a gorgeous sunset, watching the golfers roll in and the kids frolic on the hills below while you devour a sirloin sandwich with some melt-in-your-mouth butterscotch bread pudding. Talk about fantastic. The Cave (a stone-walled prohibition-era speakeasy) was a pretty great post-meal hangout to catch the game (and a few drinks) too.
Bretton Woods is a four-season resort with so many high-quality draws, including an amazingly luxurious spa, but the golf… The Mount Washington Course is historic — a 100-year-old Donald Ross design (with a Brian Silva 2007 touchup). The pro shop service is exceptional, the Presidential Mountain Range backdrop is stellar, and the round goes quick. Bretton Woods is a heavenly place, and it was cool seeing a couple bears out on the course, but it’s possible that in this instance all the greatness elsewhere throughout the property resulted in a pretty good course seeming much less so. I expected to love it a whole lot more. There are nine more holes on site wit the Alex Findlay-designed Mount Pleasant Course, all steeped in history and extremely family friendly.
There’s something for everyone here and “good enough” golf — plenty for you to love.
Appalachian trains and pancake waterfalls
The highest point on the Appalachian Trail is the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington — accessible by car, on foot or via the old-school Cog Mountain Railway. Equal parts memorable and expensive, chugging up the mountain on a clear day (especially aboard the historic steam locomotive) is quite the sensory way to spend three hours. Start your day with breakfast at the locally famous Polly’s Pancake Parlor then grab a swimsuit and head to the Marshfield Base Station for Mount Washington, located 6 miles off of Rt. 302. Buy your choo-choo ticket(s), make the slow scenic climb and take your photo at the summit marker before dropping back down to the base station. On your return drive to Rt. 302, stop at the bridge over the Upper Falls of the Ammonoosuc River and let your adrenaline carry you off the rocky cliffs into the area’s coolest and most picturesque swimming hole. My 10-year-old twins jumped off the highest rock, so no excuses!