Moose and fine dining are the lures.We found peaceful paddling, a stone profile and some railroad history in the North Country town of Gorham.Dinner at Libby's BistroWe couldn't fit dinner at Libby's Bistro and a moose tour into Saturday evening, so we left the office early on Friday to be there for a late dinner. Arriving hungry, we took the edge off by splitting Liz's savory plump juicy mussels steamed in white wine with chorizo, garlic, paprika and herbs. I also ordered Pork Three Ways - brined loin, sausage and smoky tasso pork served with mustard sauce and roasted fingerling potatoes. Neither of us had much room left, but finished with her summertime favorite, citrus-Prosecco sorbet.Saturday MorningI awakened at the Mount Washington B&B to a symphony of birds singing outside my window, and descended the stairs to a plate of our host, Mary Ann's heavenly Lemon Raspberry Pancakes. After breakfast I carried a second cup of tea out to the big front porch to savor the view of Mt. Washington. Over breakfast, Mary Ann reminded us about Shelburne's own stone profile, a short walk in the woods from Route 2, so we drove toward the Maine border to say hello to The Old Man of the Valley. The realistic profile seems to have been carved, but a look at the back assured us it was a natural formation. We drove back through the beautiful Shelburne Birches and on to the bungalow-style 1907 railway station. Inside is Gorham Historical Society Museum, fascinating displays on railroads, tourism and lumbering and outside are old locomotives, boxcars, a snow plow and caboose.LunchAfter that substantial breakfast it was mid-afternoon before we thought of lunch. Luckily, Saladino's doesn't believe in meal hours, and one of their hearty sandwiches would carry us nicely through the evening's moose watch. After polishing off sandwiches, we thought of the long evening ahead and added Mike Saladino's house-made cannoli.Saturday AfternoonInspired by the museum's N.H. memorabilia, we added to our own collection at Gateway Gallery, where along with contemporary art were White Mountain souvenir booklets dating back to the 1890s and framed vintage postcards. Back at Mount Washington B&B, there was still time to pop our kayaks into Reflection Pond, formed when the railroad cut across a riverbend behind the inn.Saturday EveningPocketing a couple of fresh-baked oatmeal-spice cookies, we headed for our three-hour Moose Tour, which took us north along the Androcoggin toward 13-Mile Woods. They made good on their promise of seeing moose, which inconsiderately come out of hiding in the evening when they're hardest to photograph.Dinner at Saalt PubIt was late when we returned, but Saalt Pub isn't finicky about meal hours either, and my Thai chicken sausage with sautéed onions and red peppers with spicy mayonnaise on ciabatta was just the right thing.Sunday MorningMary Ann fortified us with hearty Baked Eggs Italiano, and told us how to find the nearby put-in to paddle the Androscoggin itself, several miles of flat-water with mountain views. Before leaving town, we stopped at Jackson's General, a new emporium selling locally made tapanades, cheese spreads and artisanal breads. We stocked up on take-homes and provisioned for a picnic at Moose Brook State Park on the way.
This article appears in the July 2011 issue of New Hampshire Magazine