by Deirdre Frost writer/photographer…
In bringing families together, one of the best ways is for grandparents, parents, and children to vacation together and today’s ski resorts provide programs for all. Now as we move into summer you may think this is an odd time to read about a family ski trip but it’s the perfect time to start planning your “the more the merrier” multigenerational get together for next winter.
Recently, I observed grandparents from Atlanta who piled their grandchildren into the car in Boston to take them skiing in New Hampshire. All ready for adventure on and off the slopes.
In my family, my father liked to ski along the peaceful trails in the wooded mountains before meeting for hot chocolate in the lodge. Then taking a few leisurely afternoon runs, he ended his day of skiing by meeting us for an early evening dinner in a rustic inn nearby. It is different for my mother, who does not ski, but rather, she likes to socialize, meeting others at the lodge and to chat about the latest events in the village.
On my last trip to the mountains, I watched how grandchildren happily waited for their grandparents to take them skiing. They adore their grandparents, who always seem to have enough time to pay attention and indulge their whims. Usually, everyone stays at the same lodging whether that be a single large lodge, Independent villas, single homes or apartment styles.
The Follansbee Inn in North Sutton, NH, is a New Orleans style country house where families are welcomed. Situated on Kezar Lake, the Inn’s beautiful scenery is relaxing and it gives us family time to catch up and unwind in a quiet setting. This country home offers intimate space where all can enjoy the glowing fireplaces and find plenty of books and board games to make everyone feel right at home.
Before hitting the slopes, a delicious, freshly-cooked breakfast revs everyone for a great day of skiing and the outdoors. At lunch, we share our ski experiences while having quality time together.
Families are also welcome at Dexter’s Inn, which is located 3 miles from Mount Sunapee Ski Resort. This country house offers several family rooms, a restaurant and even a children’s playroom with plenty of toys and games. Next door to the Inn is Holly House, which is an ideal family retreat, accommodating up to 8-10 guests. The Inn has great views of Mount Kearsarge and Mount Sunapee in the distance, both providing inspiration, and motivation as we lay out plans for our day of skiing. We use Mount Sunapee’s Ski & Stay Package, which allows us one-night lodging and an all-mountain lift ticket.
At Mount Sunapee Ski Resort, families can experience a variety of terrains and choose to meet at one of the lunch spots on the mountain. Skiing at this resort keeps every member of the family engaged whether it is exploring on the ski trails or just enjoying the camaraderie of others in the lodge. Even tiny tots and youngsters will find plenty of activities, ranging from tubing to racing to keep busy.
In my family’s case, the main lodge served as our meet up base.The Summit Lodge also is an option where families and friends can rendezvous after a chilly time on the mountains. Even non-skiers can ride the lift and dine at the Summit while viewing the spectacular mountain panoramas. In this relaxing setting, skiers and non-skiers enjoy the great outdoors and make new friends.
During these three-generation trips, grandparents can accommodate parents by picking up the children from ski school and other activities, while giving parents an extended ski time.
So, when is the best time for a family ski trip? Holidays are particularly appealing, but I consider just before spring a better option, as the daylight is longer, the trails are sunnier and often the snow condition is freshly groomed and crisp. With the ski season winding down, what about a game of golf at the nearby Lake Sunapee Country Club and a visit to the club restaurant with family and friends? After a leisurely lunch, I prefer to be actively engaged in a relaxing game of golf with my family in the beautiful mountain surroundings of Lake Sunapee.
Let’s not forget that many ski lodges offer extensive programs for the rest of the year. Very handy if other seasons are better for your family get-togethers.
Traveling towards home, along the country road from Mt. Sunapee, we make a planned stop at The Common Man Restaurant in Claremont for dinner. Near the border between New Hampshire and Vermont, The Common Man is in an old mill building, ideally located and accessible to over a dozen ski resorts in the region. In this idyllic spot, the rushing waters of the Sugar River border the renovated factory buildings that include the Common Man with amazing views overlooking two waterfalls.
The spacious dining room extends outside for al fresco dining, creating a convivial ambiance throughout the entire space.
Common Man Specialties Prime Rib* Choice prime rib served on Friday and Saturday till it’s gone, with au jus and creamy horseradish. Thick 10 oz. 23.99
Filet Mignon* Seasoned and char-grilled. Served on garlic ciabatta toast and topped with a bacon onion jam. 29.99
New York Sirloin* Choice cut aged to perfection, seasoned, char-grilled and topped with bleu cheese bacon butter. 26.99
Crispy Parmesan Cornmeal Chicken Parmesan and cornmeal-coated boneless chicken breast, pan-seared and topped with heirloom tomato basil salad and shaved Parmesan. 16.99
Chicken & Sausage Pasta Grilled chicken, sweet Italian sausage, red peppers, onions and baby spinach tossed with tomato pesto cream and cavatappi pasta. Topped with shaved Parmesan. 16.99
Featured along with popular fare is innovative cuisine, setting this restaurant apart from so many other establishments. Their commitment to quality sourcing and farm-to-table ingredients make the difference in the cuisine, according to General Manager, Jennifer Swavely and Kitchen Manager, Steve Rheaume. My brother and I dine on delicious salmon and filet mignon entrées that reflect the restaurant’s high quality, sustainability practices at their best. The experience is exceptional and is in keeping with the restaurant’s tradition of serving good food and wine where families are most welcomed
In retrospect, my holiday in the mountains had a lasting effect in bringing me closer to my family. For me, these shared experiences in the outdoors and nature are moments that I will relive for many years.
The Common Man Restaurant www.thecman.com