New Hampshire over Christmas
October 12, 2009 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Going to New Hampshire over Christmas. Ideas for places to stay and a FWD car rental question.

My wife and I are flying into Boston for 4 days/4 nights over Christmas. Ideally we'd stay no more than 4 hours drive from Boston for at least three nights, and be within reach of a ski field. We are currently thinking of staying near Woodstock, NH or near Mt Washington. My wife really wants to do the whole white Christmas, so suggestions on great little inns and locations to stay would be appreciated (the cuter, the better!)

Also, I've seen this previous thread about winter rental cars in Boston, which seems to suggest a FWD drive car + safe driving practices would generally be okay, but really wanted to confirm if the same holds true if we venture out north from Boston city and suburbs into New Hampshire. We'd like to be able to get to the local ski resorts (without too much hassle), and I doubt we'd be straying too far off the interstates at that time of the year. Is a FWD drive rental generally going to be okay in this situation?
posted by inflatablekiwi to Travel & Transportation around New Hampshire (4 answers total)
either a front-wheel or a 4-wheel / all-wheel drive car will be fine. 4WD / AWD is slightly better if you're going to more rustic ski mountains that have less-improved roads. If you're going to the major ski resorts, this is really pretty much irrelevant, unless you are driving though a blizzard- the roads handle so many folks that they are pretty well maintained.

As mentioned a million times in the other thread, it's less what you drive and more how you drive that will be important. In some ways, driving on icy roads is like steering a boat- you end up endlessly correcting your heading, and you're aware of the outside forces (wind, tide, gravity) that are changing where you're actually going to go. You'll be fine as long as you take it easy and leave enough room to stop if something odd happens.

FWIW, remember that Maine is right near New Hampshire; Sunday River is a pretty quick shot from the mount washington area, and is supposed to be a pretty fun mountain.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:24 AM on October 12, 2009

No specifics for you, but North Conway/Jackson are about three hours out of Boston, depending on how you go, and are located very very near Mt. Washington and a billion ski areas (Cranmore, Attitash, Wildcat, Bretton Woods, Black Mountain, even Sunday River). The whole area seems perfectly designed for the kind of thing you're looking for (lots of solid restaurants, B&Bs and so on).
posted by charmedimsure at 11:15 AM on October 12, 2009

Regarding driving, yes what you heard is right. Ski resorts are often frequented by people who are not from places with snow, especially around holiday time. I have never seen as clean and safe a road in the wintertime as the roads around Killington over Thanksgiving.

So, the roads near ski resorts and the highways will be fine if it's not actively snowing. If it is actively snowing, be smart. Check the forecast to see what you are in for and if the roads look like they're going to be really bad STAY HOME. Basically the best car in the world isn't going to be great on a road with a bunch of snow and ice and other crazy drivers, so the best thing you can do for this trip is build in lots of wiggle room time so you're not like "well the roads are bad but we HAVE to get to XYZ in two hours!"

This place spends a lot of tourist bucks to get you to go stay there, but I have local friends who have stayed there and say it's actually quite nice.
posted by jessamyn at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2009

If you are concerned about driving in risky weather, Consider looking into a shuttle bus service. Lots of mountains have them. While it is sometimes tough to be stuck on someone else's schedule, you will less likely be stuck on the side of the road.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:47 AM on October 12, 2009

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