Attractions in the White Mountains of Ossipee, New Hampshire

The villages of Ossipee, New Hampshire, boast Victorian homes and historic storefronts housing antique shops, art galleries, museums and handicrafts stores. Surrounded by the White Mountains National Forest which overlooks Lake Winnipesaukee, the Ossipee area is home to covered bridges, historic railroad sites, a Shaker village, and a majestic mansion referred to as “The Castle in the Clouds.”

White Mountains National Forest: A year-round vacation destination, meandering back roads wind through the White Mountains, passing rolling fields, lakes and rivers, historical landmarks and old homesteads. Portions of the volcanic “ring dike” can still be seen from the Ossipee Mountains, which were once a range of ancient volcanoes.

Mount Washington Cog Railroad. When this mountain-climbing cog railway was built in 1869, it was an engineering phenomenon that used toothed cog gears and rack rails to ascend, a risky new technology at the time. Running up a three mile-long trestle, it is the second-steepest mountain climbing train in the world and the only one built entirely on a trestle. Visitors can take a three-hour round-trip to the summit where, on a clear day, you can see New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec and the Atlantic Ocean. At the summit is Mount Washington State Park and the Mount Washington Observatory Center and Museum. At the base is a museum, restaurant and gift shop.

Frankenstein Trestle
: Completed in 1892, the present Frankenstein Trestle is 80 feet high and spans 800 feet, making it one of the world’s oldest, longest and highest mountain trestles. Part of the Conway Scenic Railroad, the bridge crosses a gap over Crawford Notch, spanning the 2,555-foot Frankenstein’s Cliff, named after German-born American painter Godfrey Frankenstein. The Trestle can be experienced from a Conway Scenic Railroad Tour, or the more adventurous can hike five miles from Arethusa Falls, heading up Frankenstein’s Cliff and passing under the trestle. (See hiking directions here, and a YouTube clip of the train crossing the trestle here.)

The Canterbury Shaker Village is one of the oldest, best preserved and most authentic of the Shaker communities, boasting a first-generation 18th-century Meetinghouse and Dwelling House on their original sites. The Village includes 25 restored original Shaker buildings and 694 acres of gardens, forests, fields, nature trails and mill ponds.

The Winnipesaukee Belle is a 70-foot circa-1900 paddle boat replica, owned by the Wolfeboro Inn. Surrounded by the White Mountains, Lake Winnipesaukee’s islands and shores can be enjoyed from the “Winni Bell” from beneath the outside canopy or inside the main salon. In July and August, scenic tours run weekdays and Sunday, and on Thursday evenings guests can board the “Thirst Quencher Cruise” featuring music and cash bar. The “Belle” can also be privately chartered for company or family outings, parties or wedding activities, and offers senior and group packages.

Lucknow Estate: High atop a mountain in the Ossipee Mountain Range in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, sits the century-old Lucknow Estate, popularly known as the “Castle in the Clouds.” The 16-room mansion was built in the classic Arts and Crafts architectural style, designed to blend into its wilderness surroundings, utilizing heavy oak timbers and octagonal stone veneer. The original floor plan, fixtures and furnishings have been retained and an exhibit of 1920s lifestyle includes period clothing, literature, kitchen utensils and music. The mansion is open from May through October, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $15 for adult, $10 for seniors, $5 for ages 7-14.

Covered Bridges: Covered bridge enthusiasts could spend their entire vacation seeking out bridges. Visit this site for information on and directions to the bridges in the Carroll County and surrounding Ossipee area.

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