North Conway, 2005

Following last year's anti valentine's day plan, Cris booked us a room at the Kearsarge Inn in North Conway, NH, and we planned a ski and relaxation weekend. Friday ended up pretty jam packed, with lots of work on my end, a quick trip to the gym, dinner at Brown Sugar on Comm Ave with Cris' sister and some friends, home to change, then out to Matt and Alison's party so we could hand over some vcd's and talk about his HCI program.

Sat Feb 12

We started off with fresh waffles for three for breakfast, Cris did a load of laundry, and I read for a while. We went out for lunch with his sister, to the pub around the corner, Connelly's. Service was slow and we didn't get back to the house and into the car until close to 2:30. The drive up to North Conway was fine, clear and sunny along 95 and route 16 in NH. We stopped at the State Liquor Store to get a couple of bottles of wine, and I used Tony's lucky new year money to buy a power ball ticket (only got one number, should have used it on a chocolate bar). We stopped at a highway side Dunkin' Donuts to stock up on water and coffee, almost not making it out of the slick parking lot. Ice covered parking lots were a theme this weekend, they'd had a snowstorm recently and though things were mostly cleared, there was a lot of ice left over. The trees were all laden with snow.

We found the inn, no problem, after running the outlet store gauntlet just south of the town. I didn't even fall in the icy parking lot, and for once we checked into a BNB while it was still light out. The jacuzzi was smaller than I was expecting, but it was deep and had jets, so I was mostly happy. The gas fireplaces were neat, though linked to the room thermostats (only source of heat) and didn't go on except at night when it cooled down.

We headed out for dinner at the Lobster Trap, off the main drag through North Conway, on a road that runs parallel to it. A woman was impatiently waiting to be seated in front of us, and gave up just as the server came back to seat her, so we got her table, in the "quiet" area as I asked - the main room was filled with families and large tables. Apparently the quiet area was mostly reserved for locals, the owner, his wife and son served us, and we got drawn into conversations that started above our heads with the guy at the bar and the guy at the table next to us. It surprised both of us when the two of them introduced themselves at the end of the night, they seemed like old friends until then! Politics and skiing dominated the conversation, and Cris got some pointers about his stance from the owner. Oh, and the food was good - I had lobster on top of really good linguine. We went back and snuggled into the really high really big bed.

Sun Feb 13

We got up a bit earlier than expected while thinking that we were up later than expected (never let the guy who wears glasses read the time from the incorrectly set alarm clock...). We wandered downstairs for our continental breakfast, and were joined by our hostesses as they sipped at cups of coffee and we swapped stories about various inns and hotels we've stayed at (it was very meta, but I felt like I was talking to a potential date about dating experiences...). Then it was back upstairs to layer on the clothes and then I hauled my skis back down to the car and we were off to Attitash. A quick drive later and we were there, 10 minutes or so. This was the main luxury of the weekend, not having to drive 2-4 hours to go skiing. Cris meandered off to get his skis rented while I sorted out my lift ticket, after carrying my skiis across the, you guessed it, icy parking lot, while wearing ski boots.

We did a couple of runs together on the bunny hill (they had a conveyer belt to get you up to the top) while Cris remembered his lessons from last year, and then we took the double double up to the top, and spent a while getting down again. Then we went up half way and the trip was faster, as they seem to have mislabeled some blue runs near the top as green ones. A big difference from Sunapee where I went last weekend, where Jason and I could make it down black diamond runs with little problems. Here, no way. In any case, Cris improved in leaps and bounds and we broke for lunch at around noon, walking through the pedestrian tunnel under the highway to the pizza joint across the street. We beat the rush, and had a pretty good deep dish pizza for not too much money. Then, back to the slopes, where we split up so that I could try going up to the summit and Cris could work on his own. It was cold up there, and windy, and icy, and I promptly took the connector over to Bear Peak and did a couple of runs over there, much less crowded and not so icy. The crowds weren't bad in general, as people were possibly holding off to go next weekend for the long one. We met back up at the cafe, and sat outside sharing a hot cocoa, and then resumed skiing together. I was impressed, Cris was zooming down the green hills like a pro, and recovering from potential falls with elan. I stuck with him through to 3:30 or so, and did a run by myself while he returned his skis, and my knee made it known that it didn't want to do any more - I wasn't wearing my brace, no ill effects.

We were glad that we were only a quick drive from the inn and the jacuzzi. The hostess had forgotten to make our dinner reservation, but she called while we were changing for dinner. When we got to the Stonehurst Manor, after negotiating the icy parking lot there, we found that we'd worried needlessly, there was only one couple there, and the room slowly filled in as we were eating. Our waiter took good care of us, and we had a swanky pre-valentines dinner for a very reasonable price. It seems like they rent out three bedroom suites for a good price, we're considering going back and staying there. The tiramisu to end with was very very good. We were pretty wrecked after skiing all day, so we ended up reading for a while and then falling asleep early.

Mon Feb 14

Our plans to go snow tubing were foiled by Cranmore Mt. not offering it on weekdays. The hill was pretty empty, but we opted to go cross country skiing instead. We rented gear from the EMS store, and ended up driving a little while to go to Jackson Cross Country Skiing instead of the school group mobbed Whittaker Woods. I hadn't gone cross country in about 5 years, and Cris for 12, but we sorted ourselves out and found the trail along the river, and even managed to fly down a couple of hills with no problems by the end. It was gorgeous out, but my pictures all came out blurry. It was also a good workout, so we hit the inn again for a shower, then checked out and had lunch at Picallilies on the corner before returning the skiis. We made home made valentines on our paper napkins with the crayons they provided, it was schmoopy, and those pictures came out clearly. :) I demolished the two huge fluffy blueberry pancakes, surprising myself, but I'd worked up an appetite on the trails.

We popped into a few of the outlet stores, but only the Pearl Izumi one yielded loot for Cris, and nothing for me. Good for my credit card, at least. Snow was starting to drift down, it was around 2pm, so we hit the road south. We beat the snow out of the mountains, and mostly avoided rush hour traffic around Boston, detouring to Bedford to pick up something at Cris' office. We went out for dinner at Molena, a new Persian restaurant in Watertown center (sour cherry and saffron rice was amazing), and then I struggled to keep awake with my book while Cris ran over to Ceremony for a little while. All in all, a good relaxing weekend, with lots of sun, fresh air, and the best partner possible to share it all with.


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