George

Up the mountain we went. We passed tennis courts and other game fields, a sheep corral, Nordic Falls Park (which includes a game room pavilion and a small pond), numerous inside and outside swimming pools and six condominium buildings before arriving at our destination, Innsbruck. Our nice condo had a view across the valley to nearby mountains, and we were still only halfway up the mountain.

Linda wanted a special getaway to celebrate her birthday and her first weekend of retirement from teaching, so I booked a surprise trip to Nordic Village Resort in Jackson, New Hampshire, thinking the foliage would be stunning. Well, the White Mountains are certainly stunning, but the colorful foliage is late this year. Didn’t matter. We had a wonderful time.

The mega-shopping destination of North Conway is 10 minutes down the road, and yes, we did a bit of that. But it’s the White Mountains that always draw us here. We used to camp just up the road from here when our kids were small, visiting Story Land, just five minutes down the road from Nordic Village.

This trip, we enjoyed a leisurely drive through Grafton Notch in the White Mountains National Forest with amazing, jaw-dropping views, stopping several times to enjoy the scenery and take short walks. Then we swung up to Gorham so we could drive by Mount Washington on our way back to Nordic Village. A picnic beside a bubbling brook was so relaxing.

The personable Steven checked us in upon our arrival at Nordic Village, and he was helpful in going over all the details we’d need to know as first-time guests. The next day we visited with general manager Shawn Ford, partly to alert him to the fact that a bear had gotten into the dumpster behind our condo the previous night. Shawn reported that they’d seen two sows with cubs hanging around the condominiums. Yes, the general manager has to deal with a lot more than just his human guests.

Bangor’s Lafayette Family purchased Nordic Village Resort in 2007 from its founder, Robert Cyr, who constructed this amazing place over a 20-year period. From the fitness center that serves all guests, to the many outdoor grills and picnic tables, to the two-person Jacuzzis in the units, Cyr clearly had a wonderful vision that makes this a special experience.

Linda

We headed out for a fall adventure on a weekday. I’d just retired, so George surprised me with a trip during the week, because we could. We’d planned to stop for a picnic, but as we traveled through some of our favorite towns, we were reminded that we’d be driving by lots of great places to eat. George didn’t have to twist my arm to save the picnic and grab a lunch at the Black Horse Tavern, our favorite restaurant in Bridgton.

The Tavern was serving Sunday brunch and I was starving. I remembered how spectacular their burgers looked, so I chose the SW Cajun Burger. Good thing I was really hungry, because out came a towering burger on a brioche bun that was impressive. It had chipotle mayonnaise and was topped with lettuce, tomato and onion rings. Their french fries were almost as delicious as their burger, and all that was left on my dish were the last two bites of burger.

George thoroughly enjoyed a menu special, a Shrimp Po’ Boy, another towering meal. When folks from Montreal at a nearby table noticed George photographing the Po’ Boy, they ordered it too. Our server remarked that she was “impressed” that we both had polished off some “challenging sandwiches.” But they were oh-so-good.

We haven’t visited New Hampshire’s White Mountains in the fall for a number of years now. We had forgotten just how spectacular a drive it is through the Presidential Range. Though the leaves were turning late, breathtaking views, warm weather and clear blue skies made this a trip to remember.

We stayed a couple of nights at the Nordic Village Resort in Glen, New Hampshire. While checking in at the office we were given detailed information about the properties, and it’s a good thing because this is a massive compound. Condominiums are arranged in loops named after Nordic cities. We were thankful for our detailed map.

Their amazing facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, a fitness center, a playground, and volleyball and tennis courts. It’s a year-round destination that attracts guests and families who are active, as there are many hiking trails and several ski areas nearby.

Our Innsbruck condo had one bedroom, a large open living area with a full kitchen, dining area and a comfortable living room with a fireplace. All the units had balconies with views of the mountains.

Whether you are coming for a shopping trip, skiing, hiking or simply a nice getaway, the Nordic Mountain Resort is a wonderful place to visit.

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed in the “Best of Maine” section.