You want to live somewhere your hard work is respected. In a state like New Hampshire, with no income tax, you can be sure politicians aren’t treating you like a piggy bank. But you can also enjoy some of the most beautiful country in America. Every year droves of tourists flock to New Hampshire for the fall foliage. The Conway Daily Sun reports on some of those who ventured there this year, writing:
Michelle and Pat Case of Brookhaven, Miss., said they were first-time New England fall foliage viewers. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Michelle. She said they had flown into Bangor, Maine.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. It’s gorgeous,” she enthused. “We wanted to do this because we researched it and saw pictures.”
Asked if they have similar foliage like that back home, Pat said, “It’s spotty, here and there,” he said, to which Michelle added, “Nothing like here.”
The day before, they had come over from Lincoln via the Kanc and Bear Notch Road. Then they drove their rental car up the Auto Road.
“The Auto Road was great; and Bear Notch was even more spectacular than the Kanc,” said Pat, who works as a mechanic at a paper mill while Michelle is a sixth-grade teacher.
Standing in line nearby to ride the 11-mile round-trip Valley Train was Kelly Adams, a tax accountant from San Francisco who was in town for a month to do business in the Mount Washington Valley.
She said she was squeezing in some foliage time in between doing her fall quarter tax season work.
She said she first discovered North Conway four years ago during foliage season.
“I went hiking in England and I asked them about their foliage. They told me if I wanted to see foliage, while theirs was OK, to really see the best, I had to to go NEW England, not England,” she said.
“So, I first came here a few years ago to see the foliage and now I’m back to see it and do some more hiking. It’s been fantastic,” said Adams, noting she also had hiked Black Cap and planned to take in Jackson’s Pumpkin People.
Karen and Richard Napilo said they had come up from Acton, Mass.,
Overhearing that Adams was a tax accountant, Richard chimed in, “New Hampshire has no sales tax or income tax you know.” “What — how do they do that?” exclaimed Adams. “They call it ‘the New Hampshire Advantage,’” she was told by the dutiful reporter, to which added Richard, “But the real estate taxes will kill ya. It’s a case of pay me now or pay me later, you know?”
Seated on a bench outside the stations gift shop were Phyllis Woodside of Loudon and daughters Donna Tremblay, also of Loudon, and Susan McCarthy of Concord.
Taking the Bartlett Train was to be an early birthday present for Woodside, who turns 90 on Dec. 3.
“This is the first time we have ridden the train,” said Donna.
Meanwhile, conductor Kinzie Weimar directed passengers to the proper line for their respective trains.
Those waiting to board “The Mountaineer” — the CSRR’s most popular excursion — were directed to the north end of the station.
A family of four said they were taking the “Mountaineer” to celebrate. Daughter Allison Ballantine of Lynn, Mass., and Wolfeboro said she was there with her parents Mary and Ron Grimm of Northampton, Mass., and brother Chris Grimm of Freeport, Maine, because she was cancer-free after a year of treatments.
“This is a celebratory day today. I’ve done a lot of backpacking here and have always seen the train tracks, so I am very excited. We got the tickets in August,” said Allison, a third-grade teacher. “So we’re here to celebrate life.”
Added her mom, who grew up in Portland, Maine, “This has been on our bucket list to ride through Crawford Notch so this is a fun family thing to do. I love trains — I wish there were more of them!””
“I once took a train from Chicago to New York in 1949 when I was 4 years old. by myself,” Ron shared when asked if he was a train buff. “My brother had scarlet fever so they quarantined our house and I went to live with my grandparents.”
They boarded the “Mountaineer,” which takes passengers on a 60-mile round-trip up past Intervale and Bartlett and Sawyer River Station and on through the breathtaking chasm of Crawford Notch.
“The Mountaineer” then passes onward up the notch below Mount Willard’s sheer cliff face and through the Gateway to Crawford Station at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center that sits on the site of the Crawford House, a grand hotel built in the 1850s and which burned as a vacant structure in November 1977.
The westbound grade is 2.2 percent for 18.5 miles from Bemis (Notchland) to the Gateway at Crawford Notch.
The line formerly known as the Mountain Division was built in the 1870s from Portland, Maine to St. Johnsbury, Vt. by the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad. The line was later owned and operated by the Maine Central Railroad, and was abandoned in 1983 by MEC’s successor, Guilford Transportation Industries. In 1994, the state of New Hampshire awarded the lease to the Conway Scenic Railroad, which continues to run it as the world-class attraction it is today, complete with awe-inspiring mountain views, steep rock chasms and foliage.
As for the Conway Scenic Railroad’s history, known in railroad terminology as a “heritage railroad,” it was the result of three key individuals who made it become a reality: Dwight Smith, Yield House founder Bill Levy and Carroll Reed Ski Shops co-founder Carroll P. Reed.
The Conway Scenic Railroad was formed by Smith, who was an employee of the Boston and Maine Railroad in the late 1960s. After years of negotiations, Smith in 1974 was able to convince his employer to sell a portion of the Conway Branch, which it planned to abandon, to him and partners Levy and Reed, and the Conway Scenic Railroad began taking passengers on Aug. 4 of that year.
In 1999 the original owners were bought out by the husband-and-wife team of Russ and Dot Seybold and on Jan. 30, 2018, the railroad was sold again to Profile Mountain Holdings Corp., owned by Rhonda and David Swirk, who have continued the attraction’s proud tradition.
The Victorian train station is the centerpiece of North Conway Village, lovingly restored by Smith, his late wife and his crew and maintained over the years by subsequent CSRR owners.
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E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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