Mountain towns are the places my friends and I retreat to while searching for relaxation and peace over a long weekend.
They are the heart and soul of the forest, a meeting place of rivers and streams, the home of laid-back folk, charming mom-and-pop shops that close at 6 pm, and home-cooked cuisine.
Backroads are filled with the smell of cattle and moist air. Farm stands with gentle faces bear wild berries and freshly baked bread. It’s no wonder these towns attract more and more people every year.
They have something we all crave. And a slow-paced life, a break from city chaos, is enough to make anyone want to stay a while.
Nestled in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire, North Conway is one of those towns. It’s probably my favorite place in this whole world for all the reasons I named above and more.
Let me guide you through why this destination is a Northeast gem and the 4 stunning adventures I took with my Oliver Charles summer sweater.
Breathable Sweaters For Humidity And Heat
I know what you’re thinking; why would anyone drag along a sweater with them to a place with 90% humidity during the day in the summertime?
I used to only have the yak wool sweater, but Oliver Charles had this exact problem in mind when creating their seaweed sweater.
While both sweaters are designed for adventure, the seaweed-based SeaCell summer sweater has slightly different qualities, like being more lightweight and anti-irritant. It totally bypasses that first period of wearing wool and getting cozy in it.
It’s still durable, soft, very breathable, and the most important quality to me - moisture-wicking! It also checks off all my boxes in terms of sustainable sourcing.
So I decided to try it throughout a typical day in the mountains: temperature fluctuations, humidity, and versatility.
North Conway: Heart Of The White Mountains
North Conway is a favored destination among the neighboring states of Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont.
It has gorgeous seasons of peak sun, a spectacular change of leaves, and a winter wonderland. There’s just about everything an outdoorsy person would enjoy: hiking, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking, paddleboarding, boating, tubing, swimming, etc.
With many waterfalls and swimming holes right off the road, you won’t miss a place to jump into after a long day.
You can get lost driving back roads and exploring for hours. The forest is incredibly lush and abundant. And being only about 2.5 hours outside of Boston, Massachusetts, it’s a perfect weekend getaway.
The influx of crowds is not without its disturbances, though. The busy summer months usually mean traffic, crowding, and pollution.
Small towns don’t always have the infrastructure to support large numbers of people at once. Overcrowding threatens ecological diversity and wildlife.
To avoid overwhelming the places we love to adventure, follow these three tips:
- Avoid peak seasons. The White Mountains have two peak seasons: summer and winter. Because there are so many recreational activities, the White Mountains are a booming place for summer family fun and ski season.
These months are Late June through December. September through October is a lovely time to go because the air is drier, the weather is cooler, and the leaves are changing to these incredible shades of reds and oranges across the landscape. Plus, you’ll avoid the black flies, which peak throughout June and July.
- Pick less popular destinations when visiting the area. For example, instead of lining up to go to Diana’s Bath, a series of waterfalls just outside the center of town, choose to go to another swimming hole or get up super early to avoid the crowds.
Likewise, choose the roads less traveled for your hikes - I promise you won’t be disappointed.
- Carry out. As your mother taught you, leave the place better than you found it. Take everything you brought with you back out. The park service and other fellow humans are not there to pick up after you. And the deer can’t eat it!
You can also help by picking up the garbage that was mindlessly left behind and educating the people around you about how to take care of the environment.
Top 4 Things To Do In The White Mountains
If you're visiting the White Mountains, there are a few places you have to see.
These 4 adventures are my favorite in the area, reconnecting me back to nature.
- Emerald Pool: Snow runoff with cliff jumping and swimming holes.
- Cathedral Ledge: Hike to a mountain view you'll never forget.
- Crawford Notch: Drive to see the highest peaks in the Whites.
- Kancamagus Highway: one of the best places in the state to stargaze.
Earthy Hues Connect Me Back With Nature
1 Emerald Pool: If you head north on Route 16 towards Gorham, you will eventually come upon three separate, relatively large pull-outs.
Park at the third one and take the trail down to Emerald Pool. The water here comes down from the mountain, so it stays cold throughout the summer.
There are two rocks you can jump from if you’re feeling brave; the water is pretty deep. I usually start my days early. The world is quiet since crowds of people are still sleeping.
After I make my morning cup of coffee, my favorite place to go is the river. The flow of the water rushing over the rocks mixed with the absence of chatter is intoxicating.
As my personal style has been transitioning to even more earthy tones, I’ve been enjoying my Oliver Charles summer sweater.
I have a sand dollar color and love looking like the Earth when sitting on the beige-colored rocks, blending with my landscape.
SeaCell's SPF +50 Helps For Sun Exposed Hikes
2 Cathedral Ledge: Head to Cathedral Ledge right outside of the center of town. To get to the top, it’s about 2-3 miles of moderate hiking.
Be prepared to enjoy a beautiful view of the valley, surrounding mountains, and Echo Lake, which sits beneath the ledge.
The natural minerals in seaweed that compose SeaCell have SPF 50, making it an ideal choice on a hike.
Exposure can be damaging to the skin if it's not protected properly. So to stay sun safe, I put on my sweater for the sunnier portions.
SeaCell Is The Best Fabric For Sensitive Skin
3 Crawford Notch: Take the drive on 302 towards Bretton Woods through Crawford Notch.
There are many places to pull off, gaze at gorges, or sightsee, but my favorite part is at the end of it all is a spectacular view of the Presidential Range, which contains some of the highest peaks in the Whites.
As I threw my hands out of the window to feel the air between my fingertips, I noticed how good this sweater felt on my skin. The gentleness of cotton reminds me of the joy in simplicity and choosing less.
SeaCell During The Day And Yak Wool For Night
4 Kancamagus Byway: A 35-mile-long road that stretches from Conway to Lincoln, New Hampshire. Though commonly driven in daylight, it’s one of the best places in the area to stargaze.
With being at elevation and little to no light pollution from nearby towns, the nights are clear so long as there are no clouds.
The sun sets in summer around 8:30 pm. You’ll want to wait until the sun is fully away and the sky is pitch black, preferably without a moon to contribute to the light. You can choose from multiple pull-offs to stargaze on the highway.
Both SeaCell and yak wool sweaters are welcomed here. Temperatures usually drop into the 50s at night.
The White Mountains are an unmissable part of the Northeast. Having explored the hikes, secret river spots, and places to pick wildflowers, I’m taken aback by the endless beauty that lies here.
Sure, it might take some searching and some wandering, but that’s what weekend adventures are for!
Lia Klinchik is a freelance blogger, content creator, and editor, who studies wellness and nutrition. She's passionate about sustainability, travel, and making the world a better place. Through her writing, she hopes to convey meaningful messages that change people's minds.