Lincoln and Loon Mountain
A family-friendly trip
Courtney and friends at Loon Mountain.
As I began my light research on Lincoln, one "must try" activity quickly bubbled to the top and that was to try tubing at Loon Mountain. I had been "professional" tubing once before at a mountain in upstate New York. The area there had three trails side by side like one of those carnival slides I've seen children glide down on bathmats. At the bottom your tube hooks to a rope tow that pulls you back up.
Remembering how much fun this was, I invited my divorced (and adorable) friend Andy to be my date along with his two daughters who are 8 and 11. Having never included children in a previous column, I wondered, would it possible to have a proper "Evening Out" with kids in tow?
Unfortunately, my Lincoln outing needed to happen at the peak of the holiday season. This hectic time of year compounded with Andy's "every other" schedule left us with one Saturday that we could all get together and, of course, NH's first Nor'easter hit on the very day we planned. But as luck would have it, my date was an experienced snow driver with a 4x4 truck. It took us about an hour longer to get to Lincoln than it should have due to cautious driving and an off-highway detour around a multi-car accident. Andy never broke a sweat and his girls were amazingly patient passengers, chatting pleasantly and showing me the Christmas gifts they had brought to pass the time. In kind, I entertained them with photos of my kitten wearing embarrassing outfits.
Finally at the mountain we shook off the long ride with hot chocolate in the Summit Café. I mused to myself how this seemed to sub in for my usual stop for pre-dinner cocktails. Then we trekked all around the base of the mountain trying to find the tubing area. What I now know: There are two lodges at Loon. The tubing area is located near the second one and we were wandering aimlessly around the first. After signing some waivers and very little instruction, the four of us were sent tubeless to the lift.
Let me take a moment here to stress the word "lift." I was expecting the rope tow I remembered from NY and instead found us staring down an actual chairlift. Having never skied before, Andy and his daughters had also never been on a chairlift. I panicked, thinking, oh my god, Andy is going to think I'm trying to kill his daughters. But nope, we rode up tearless in sets of two, spilling out to a pile of tubes at the top. I quickly realized these were no ordinary snow tubes and this was a real mountain, not a carnival ride. In fact, these tubes had two levers for STEERING. I asked the attendee about to launch me down the mountain if the levers really worked. I barely saw him shrug before I was rocketing at full speed in a rubber space ship down a ski slope. Our foursome nearly rammed into each other at the bottom, but we all had the same immediate review: "That was AWESOME!" On the second run, we all got more of a handle on the steering and gosh darnit, it actually does kinda work.
Sessions are an hour long and go until 10 p.m. on weekends. Pushing dinner time and starving, we headed back into the main part of town and found ourselves at the Black Mountain Burger Company, which is located in a small strip mall and offered the perfect menu for our group. My Tuckerman's Pale Ale and brie/bacon/arugula burger with maple mayo on brioche was life changing, yet the girls were still able to have the typical kids' fare (a way above-average-looking hot dog and grilled cheese, I might add) that included a Hoodsie cup for about $4 each.