March Gladness

Maple treats are just around the corner.A sweet weekend in March wouldn't be right without stopping by a sugar house to nibble on maple creams. And who could resist seeing Jackson's beautiful snow-covered scenery from a ski trail?Saturday MorningWe awoke at the Inn at Jackson to find fresh snow covering the sloping lawns of this former summer home designed by Stanford White. After stopping to read the four breakfast entrée choices on the blackboard, we took a window table overlooking the village and tucked into crispy granola and hearty omelets. It was tempting to curl up with a book in front of the big living-room fireplace, but Jackson Ski Touring Foundation's 89 miles of trails with views across the White Mountains were calling us. LunchThree hours and glorious white miles later, we doffed our skis and devoured roast beef and Muenster cheese piled on bulky rolls, across the street at J-Town Deli.Saturday AfternoonIn the stylish Canterbury Hill Studio & Gallery we watched the owner create beautiful beads from molten glass and browsed among contemporary and traditional crafts. We could hardly miss the idiosyncratic building where Ravenwood Curio Shoppe displays everything from handmade paper to rustic furniture, all by New England craftsmen. It was built from found objects to house this eclectic collection. After stopping to buy an illustrated Mt. Washington Valley map puzzle at White Mountain Puzzles, we drove up Carter Notch Road past the frozen cascades of Jackson Falls. Local lore holds that a long-ago sled ride down the falls was the inspiration for waterslides. Maybe, but we wouldn't recommend trying it. We looped back down via Davis Farms Sugar House to watch the sap boil.Saturday EveningWe felt as though we'd stumbled into a Christmas card as we rode, bundled under carriage robes in an Austrian sleigh pulled by enormous draft horses, through the woods of Nestlenook Estate and watched skaters glide around the floodlit Victorian skating park. We could have rented skates and joined them, but after warming our hands at the bonfire, we headed back through the covered bridge to ...Dinner at the Thompson House EateryThe casual atmosphere didn't hint at the knock-out dinner. Following house salads of impeccably fresh greens topped with various raw veggies, we savored roasted mushroom ravioli with smoked duck sausage tossed with spinach, roasted eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes in a leek lemon cream, and the seafood risotto, also from the nightly specials menu. Haddock, shrimp and mussels were sautéed with tomatoes, basil and rice in a ricotta pesto cream. Back at the Inn at Jackson, we yawned by the fireplace in our room before turning in.SundayLate breakfast lingered into brunch-time before we headed for the sunny south-facing slopes and views of Mount Washington from Black Mountain. The variety of trails kept us skiing until hunger overtook us mid-afternoon when Shovel Handle Pub at Whitney's Inn, right at the foot of the mountain, opened. We stretched our tired legs and enjoyed a pint with our Reuben Panini until the live Sunday après-ski music started at 4:30. The pub takes its name from the first-ever T-bar lift, made by the Whitneys from Sears Roebuck shovel handles.
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