Pat’s Peak & Mt. Monadnock- quick winter getaway

Over Christmas break we always look for a quick winter getaway.  We look for something that’s within driving distance.  After the craziness of Christmas we are in need of a change of scenery, some outside time, and most importantly, time to unplug.  We don’t like to book anything too much in advance because the weather is so unpredictable.  Ski lift tickets seem to be getting more and more expensive and who wants to spend that kind of money, especially after the expense of the holidays, if there is no snow, if it is raining, or worse yet someone isn’t feeling well.  This year we chose Pat’s Peak and although we hadn’t planned on it, the weather ending up being perfect for a winter hike up Mt. Monadnock.  Here’s what I thought about both.

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I am constantly searching the internet, reading blogs, reviewing comments on tripadvisor.com,  and talking to friends and family to get ideas for new places to visit.  My sister had recommended a great deal on a ski & stay at the Hampton Inn/Bow, NH.  https://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-hampshire/hampton-inn-concord-bow-CCDNHHX/index.html  For a little under $400 we booked a two night stay, Friday-Sunday, which included four anytime ski tickets to Pats Peak and a buffet breakfast for the four of us each morning .  Although we usually prefer to stay somewhere with a kitchen and separate sleeping areas, during Christmas week this type of lodging tends to be way overpriced.  So we made do with the hotel room.  My only negative comment would be that the room was a little warm, but I tend to like sleeping in arctic temperatures.  I would say the beds were very comfortable though. We checked in on Friday afternoon and took the kids to the indoor pool, which was clean but very small.  There were many options for dinner in downtown Concord, NH, about 10 minutes away, and we chose Margaritas.  I wasn’t the best Mexican we’ve had but there was no wait for a table and it was inexpensive.  Actually, the hotel front desk gave us a list of area restaurants and a 10% off voucher which was a nice bonus. After a good nights sleep we headed to breakfast buffet  which was great,  there was plenty of options and we left for skiing full and ready for the day.https://www.patspeak.com

Pat’s peak was an easy 16 mile drive from the hotel.  We were a little nervous on the ride over as it had rained the day before and there wasn’t any natural snow on the ground.  We had read on their website that “Pat’s Peak has one the the largest snowmaking systems per acre in the state of NH” and we were pleasantly surprised by how much snow was on the mountain.  We were on the slopes by 9:30, and we did not wait in any lines all day which was awesome considering it was a Saturday of a school vacation week.  Every trail, except the glades area, of the mountain was open.  The mountain has 11 lifts which were all up and running, but we ended up using the same four lifts that took us to the top of the mountain.  As a family I feel that we are intermediate to advanced skiers.  We really enjoyed the black diamond trail Cyclone and double black Tornado, and although they were marked black diamond, I would compare them to a blue trail of larger mountain.  We were able to ski all of the trails with no difficulty, and made a full day of it skiing from 9:30-4:00 with two short breaks.

We enjoyed the day very much but I feel that in one day at Pat’s Peak we covered every trail that we wanted multiple times and feel like our family would have been board if we spent multiple days there.  Overall I would recommend Pat’s Peak for a day of skiing.  There is great snow making and groomed trails.  I wasn’t crowded and there was no wait time for lifts.  The lodges were clean and it’s one of the closest mountains to us that live south of Boston.

Originally when we headed up for the weekend our plan was to  go night ski on Sunday at nearby Crotched Mt., but unfortunately they are not open for night skiing on Sunday nights so we went to plan B.  It was a beautiful sunny day in the 30’s and I went online to look for a close area to go for a hike.  Although it wasn’t exactly on our route home we chose Mt. Monadnock and I’m so glad we did.  We were greeted at the gate by a friendly park employee who assisted us by giving us a map and recommending a trail to climb.  We paid the $14 fee for entrance, parked, and headed up the white dot trail which was easy to find and is the most direct route to the summit.  The park ranger said we should allow 2 hours  for the 2 mile hike to the summit.  We decided that our legs were pretty tired from skiing the day before and the ranger told us there would be a clearing a little before half way up, which was above the tree line and had a good view, so we thought that would be a good end point.  The hike stared at a steady incline that became steeper and more rocky the higher up we climbed.  We had dressed in multiple layers and were all sweating when we reach the tree line even though it was only about 35 degrees.  There were a few scattered people along the way up but we were mostly by ourselves and it was peaceful and beautiful.  Fortunately it was a clear day and view from the clearing at the tree line was amazing.  The climb down went smooth even though our legs were jello after skiing and the climb up.  We can’t wait to go back and make it to the summit!

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Mt. Monadnock – December 30, 2018 – White Dot Trail

Winter is long and just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy being outside.  I don’t think our family would make it if we were cooped up all winter, so we go out as often as we can.  Winter can be beautiful and fun. Just bundle up and get out there.  What are your plans for outdoor fun this winter?

Heather

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