Blog: Applachian Mountain Club Tour 2018

01 Jun 2018 9:04 AM | Kelly Bryer (Administrator)

Thank you GSA Sue Greenbaum for putting this together from feedback by: Kathryn Segreti, Sue Geyer, Ron & Judi Lai, Maureen Walsh, Mary O’Brien, Mark Burzynski, Cathy Crane, Diane Miner, Jane Anderson, Bruce Flegal, Duncan MacIntyre, Angella Call, and Kelly Bryer

We were so grateful to be able to participate in a tour of the Pinkham and Crawford Notch AMC facilities recently, which was fabulous! Our tour started at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center & Joe Dodge Lodge where Rob Burbank, who has been with the organization for years, provided us with lots of history and club information including a fun anecdote leading to the fact that the AMC Hut system was started in 1876. AMC folks did a great job telling us about all they do, and showed us a lot of their facilities, including pictures of the various huts.

Both locations provide visitor information sites for anyone wanting to hike the trails of the White Mountains and are in need of maps, clothing, info on weather conditions, and on lower mountain lodging facilities that serve food.

At the Joe Dodge Lodge, at Pinkham Notch, we were able to view a few rooms, which are available year round. Rooms range from private to group bunkrooms. All include towels, linens, and soap to make packing light and dinner and breakfast are available in most room packages. Guests can even purchase healthy trail lunches to go. The facilities also offer comfortable living room with a fireplace and a sunny library to relax in as well as many free, walk-on programs from guided day hikes to evening talks. They have meeting spaces, a demo center where guests can try out gear and an extensive gift shop.

We next traveled down Route 16 to Route 302 through Crawford Notch to the Highland Center in Bretton Woods.

At the Highland Center, Rob introduced us to several of the onsite guides who split our group up and took us on a whirlwind tour and enlightened us on its design and educational programs. They made us aware of the services they can provide guide services everything from easy day hikes to backcountry camping trips.

One important session was devoted to the Hike Safe card that any visitor who plans to hike should purchase. This program stresses the importance of being prepared in the outdoors and, should an accident happen, releases the card holder from having to pay the costs of their rescue.

Video tour:

AMC's Highland Center Lodge at Crawford Notch is constructed with recycled building materials and utilizes green technologies such as high-efficiency biomass heating. Video “Green” tour:

We were amazed at how well maintained and appointed each room was. LL Bean has generously provided all their bedding and hiking equipment. If you stay at the Highland Center you can borrow boots, backpacks, coats, sleeping bags, and whatever else is needed to have a safe hike. The gear came in lots of different sizes, from children to adults. It also included headlamps, trekking poles, as well as snowshoes.

There were many places to sit and relax including living room areas with fireplaces, patio, library… They have a hiker shuttle to nearby trailheads in the summer and fall, a new electric vehicle charging station and WiFi service. The Highland Center also has a new playground area “Big Mountain Playscape” made of wood and rocks, which is a great place for kids to let out some energy. The public is welcome to come play too!

When you combine your overnight stay with free guided day hikes, educational programs, free borrowing privileges at their LL Bean Gear Room and the dinner and breakfast package, you will find that your stay is not only reasonable, but a great deal for a family vacation!

The AMC maintains 8 high huts throughout the White Mountains. These mountain huts can be booked so hikers can travel from hut to hut (they are about a day apart). Each hut provides a meal and sleeping bunk with bedding, but you need to book these online and in advance, as they are very popular during the summer and into the fall months. What a wonderful place to introduce a family to the outdoor experience! 

The Highland Center Lodge restaurant is open to the public for lunch and on the weekends for dinner. If you want dinner during the week it is family style, so you will need to let them know a few days in advance. It's also good to know that the chefs are able to accommodate guests with special dietary needs. If the meals were like our lunch (especially the soup!) We highly recommend a stop. Should you wish to plan a hike or a visit go to their website, where you will find a wealth of information on their mountain huts, including places to stay at varying heights and locations throughout the Whites, popular hikes, hiker shuttles, a calendar of events including Naturalists Programs at the huts during the summer, and so much more.

AMC generously gave us lunch in a room surrounded by incredible photos of the White Mountains and other sites by the very talented artist Bradford Washburn. That in itself is a reason to stop by the Highland Center. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t give us warm sunny weather but it didn’t matter, we still had a great day. As they told us, "There Is No Such Thing As Bad Weather, Only Inappropriate Clothing."

View all of our photos:

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