Getting There -- North Conway and the Mount Washington Valley sit on Route 16 and U.S. Route 302. Route 16 connects to the Spaulding Turnpike, then to I-95 to Boston and New York; Route 302 zigzags from Maine to Vermont. Traffic can be vexing in the Mount Washington Valley on holiday weekends in summer, and (especially) foliage weekends in fall, when backups of several miles are common. Try to plan around these busy times in order to preserve your own sanity.
Concord Coach (tel. 800/639-3317; www.concordcoachlines.com) runs two daily buses from Boston, picking up and dropping off in North Conway at the Eastern Slope Inn (Rte. 16/302) and in Conway at the First Stop Market gas station, right on Main Street.
Visitor Information -- Contact the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (tel. 800/367-3364 or 603/356-5701; www.mtwashingtonvalley.org), which operates a seasonal information booth opposite the village green. Staff can help arrange for local accommodations. It's open daily in summer, and in winter on Saturday and Sunday only.
Riding the Rails -- The Conway Scenic Railroad (tel. 800/232-5251 or 603/356-5251; www.conwayscenic.com) provides mountain excursions in comfortable rail cars (including a dome car and a dining car) pulled by either steam or early diesel engines. Trips depart from a distinctive 1874 train station, off the village green, recalling an era when trains regularly pulled in from Boston and New York to enjoy the country air for a month or two each summer. The 1-hour excursion heads south, but only to Conway; you're better off signing up for the more picturesque 1 3/4-hour trip northward to the village of Bartlett. Or, for the best show, select the 5-hour excursion through dramatic Crawford Notch, with stupendous views of the mountains from high along this beautiful glacial valley.
Some trains run from mid-April right up until Christmas, while others only run in summer -- each train has a different schedule, so check ahead. Coach, first-class, and dome-car fares are available; the first-class passengers sit in "Gertrude Emma," an 1898 parlor car with wicker and rattan chairs, mahogany woodwork, and an observation platform. Depending on the class of service you choose, tickets for shorter excursions are $12 to $31 per adult, with an extra charge for the dining car because a meal is included; it costs $42 to $62 per person for the Crawford Notch trip. There are discounts for kids and toddlers. Some trains do not take advance reservations.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.