KITC would like to welcome back, guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel. During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival. During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.
Our family thinks one of the keys to a great family vacation is to make frequent stops along the route. Especially if it is to see fun attractions. Loon Mountain Resort, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire fit the bill.
We arrived at Loon Mountain after being on the highway for two hours. I read online that the resort had the longest scenic gondola ride in New Hampshire and also had ziplining. Perfect for our son, David.
We checked into the adventure centre and opted for the full adventure package so we could try all the activities. Our first destination had to be the gondola. Heights and I have a mixed relationship so I was somewhat tentative to take the gondola. My fears were quickly dispelled as we were treated to a smooth ride and breathtaking vistas.
It took us about ten minutes to reach the summit. We decided to go check out the glacial caves trail where a person has a chance to explore the caves. While on the glacial cave trail, we first came across the outdoor amphitheatre. The amphitheatre was located on the sloped mountainside with seating providing an amazing view of the surrounding valley. I could not imagine a more stunning location for any type of event.
We continued along the trail and came to our first cave. The space to explore the cave was tight which added to the challenge and fun. Eleven-year old David fared well crawling in-between the spaces with relative ease. My wife, Sandy, also proved quite capable. I used the excuse that I was wearing sandals thus did not have proper footwear! David and Sandy explored three or four more caves with David completing the entire circuit.
It was now time for lunch so we decided to try the summit cafe. I was frankly expecting so-so food with outrageous prices because the view was so spectacular. Instead, we were treated to tasty food at a reasonable price with the views included for good measure.
After lunch, we took the gondola back down the mountain and headed to the adventure centre. The centre serves as a basecamp for all activities at the foot of the mountain. David first wanted to try the ziplining. He got suited up and zipped across an idyllic mountain stream. Sometimes, I wonder where David got his genes for adventure. I enjoy mild pursuits like hiking and biking but ziplining is not top of my list.
Once done the ziplining, we were almost done for the day. David wanted to do one last activity, the rock-climbing wall. He strapped into the harness and was ready to climb away. He reached the top of the climbing wall and rang a bell at the top to signify his achievement.
It was now sadly time to go and head back to Ottawa. We did not have a chance to check out some of the other activities including the aerial forest adventure park and mountain biking. Next time, we would like to extend our stay in the White Mountains as there are many outdoor activities to experience.
If you go - Loon Mountain Resort is about a five hour drive from Ottawa. It would be advised to book accommodations ahead of time as the area is a very popular tourist destination all seasons.
For more information about Loon Mountain Resort, visit, www.loonmtn.com.
Disclosure: Stephen received free passes for the purposes of this review, but all views are his own.