When you think of the Mount Washington Valley you may automatically think of North Conway – with all its recreation, shopping, restaurants and activity – as the place to be as you head to the White Mountains. But just off the beaten path is the lovely little town of Madison, set along the Maine border and featuring some of the most beautiful scenery around. Route 153 winds past the oddly named but pristine Pea Porridge Ponds, white steeples dot the landscape, and centuries-old architecture greets you everywhere you turn. This town was home to E.E. Cummings at Joy Farm (now on the National Register), and one of the largest glacial boulders in the world. Quirky and quiet, Madison is one of central New Hampshire’s hidden gems.
King Pine is part of the Purity Spring Resort, set on a pristine private lake and celebrating over 100 years of hospitality. Since 1939, a King Pine institution has been in Ski and Snowboard Camp for kids - the longest running ski camp in the country. The Hoyt family has owned Purity Spring since the late 1800's and offers a variety of year-round family camp destinations, including Camp Tohkomeupog for Boys, Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort, The Bluffs RV Resort (exclusively for adults), Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary, Purity Spring Resort, and King Pine Ski Area. It is conveniently located to the south-east of the White Mountains and its proximity to Boston makes it a popular destination for skiers from all over New England. King Pine is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, affordability, consistent snow conditions, and lodging options.kingpine.com
The Madison Boulder Natural Area is home to the largest known erratic in all of New England. (The definition of an "erratic" is a rock that has a completely different composition than its surroundings, meaning that it must have traveled a great distance.) At 83 feet long, 23 feet tall (another 10 feet below the ground) and 37 feet wide, it is estimated to weigh in at 5000 tons. Sure, it’s just a rock, but even if you call it a boulder it won’t prepare you for the size of it. Geologists believe this natural landmark was moved here during the last ice age from a location anywhere from 4 to 12 miles away. It’s impressive, completely non-commercial, and worth the trip. Bring the kids and have a picnic, or check out the hiking trails in the 17 acre park. Pets on a leash are ok.nhstateparks.org
Foss Mountain features a long, open ridge, which is home to a low bush blueberry farm (check the trailhead kiosk to see where it is okay to pick them). It is one of the easiest climbs in the area affording panoramic views of Mt. Washington, Kearsarge Mountain, Mt. Chocorua, Conway Lake and more. The trail is easy to navigate, well marked, and short. There is a parking lot at the trailhead. It can be a bit tricky to find, as the unpaved road is not well marked. Dogs are welcome.hikingproject.org
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