Monday, August 31, 2009

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

The annual Polar Express Event is a unique experience based on the Award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg. This is the most popular area holiday event that originated here in North Conway. The train leaves from the Victorian train station near the Green downtown taking children and their families to the North Pole.
Polar Express Tickets are limited and sell out quickly so reserve early!

Our Package Includes:

  • One or two nights lodging
  • Full breakfast each morning—some menu items are chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes, yeasted Belgian waffles, fresh fruit salad topped with raspberry sauce, or Buttonwood special doughnut muffins
  • Afternoon tea service, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and Paula’s hand-decorated sugar cookies or other traditional family Holiday cookies
  • Polar Express tickets for select departures from the original North Conway train station
  • Watch the Polar Express movie on our new 50-inch Plasma TV and listen to the Liam Neeson recording in our toasty Mt. Surprise Room warmed by our new wood-burning fireplace insert
  • Discounted snow tubing tickets at Cranmore Mountain Resort (minutes away)
Call toll free to reserve now 1-800-258-2625

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stay and Stargaze Special - VEGA SPECIAL

To all you stargazers out there the Buttonwood is offering a special this month. Lodge with us for two nights or more and use our 10 Inch Meade Schmidt-Newtonian to view the wonders of the New Hampshire night sky!
We are in a low light pollution area and now is a perfect time to view the Constellation Lyra which includes the Northern night skys' second brightest star, VEGA. Nearly directly overhead we can count on the lowest possible amount of atmospheric disturbance and the current weather conditions have been nearly perfect for viewing.

Bring your own scope if you like as our viewing area is quite large and can easily support multiple setups.

We'll have the Mount Surprise media room setup with our 50 inch plasma to do some pre-night viewing of the constellation and it's multiple targets like: The Ring Nebula M57 which is a classic planetary nebula. Vega, Altair, and Deneb form The Summer Triangle.

The Ring Nebula M57
The Ring belongs to a class of objects known as "planetary nebulae" which have nothing whatever to do with planets. They were called that back in the days of crude telescopes because their small disk shapes resembled planets and the name has stuck. A planetary nebula is actually a large cloud of gas which was previously expelled from the central star. Having lost much mass to the cloud, the central star compresses to a very dense and hot star that illuminates the gas cloud via ultraviolet radiation in much the same way as electric current lights up neon in a sign.

Monday, August 24, 2009

GOLF PACKAGE - Play ANY DAY throughout the season

This is a golfer's dream.

Play eighteen holes of golf at your choice of eight participating area courses offering spectacular views. Three courses are in our immediate area with others located throughout the White Mountains from Jefferson to Effingham. Choose to play New Hampshire's oldest course, a challenging course with elevated tees, or one winding through the traditional New England village of Jackson along the Ellis and Wildcat rivers.
North Conway Country Club, North Conway - 18 holes     
Wentworth Golf Course, Jackson - 18 holes
Hales Location Golf Course, North Conway - 9 holes
Waumbek Country Club, Jefferson - 18 holes
Androscoggin Valley Country Club, Gorham - 18 holes
Mountain View Country Club, Whitefield - 9 holes
Indian Mound Country Club, Ossipee - 18 holes
Province Lake Golf Club, Effingham - 18 holes

With 126 holes to play, one night is just not long enough!

Package includes:
  • Lodging at our Select Registry Inn
  • Full gourmet breakfast each morning
  • Afternoon tea service (including fresh squeezed lemonade or iced tea) with Paula's baked treats
  • Play 18-Holes of Golf at your choice of one of the participating eight courses including golf cart
Call for details at 1-800-258-2625 and mention Golf Any Day Package!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dining near the Buttonwood Inn

Choose from a wide variety of dining choices in the White Mountains, from traditional New England fare to continental cuisine, from pizza with pizzazz to spicy ethnic dishes. No matter where you choose, you'll be sampling a true taste of the White Mountains. Here are just a few of our favorites:

The Restaurant at the White Mountain Cider Co. is Chef owned by Culinary Institute of America graduates Teresa and Scott Stearns.
The restaurant has become a local and visitors favorite alike. The original farmhouse built in the 1890's has been restored and maintains many of it's original details. The interior of the house has been renovated to accommodate spacious dining areas that also include a separate room and intimate loft for parties, rehearsal dinners and special events.
Thompson House Eatery
The Thompson House is a restaurant in the beautiful mountain village of Jackson NH.

The heart and soul of the original Thompson House home was a massive center chimney with 3 working fireplaces and a bake oven. The main fireplace, a Rumford style, with an arched fireback was used as the kitchen “stove.” The large crane and gutchens held the cook pots and laundry pots. The bake oven had its’ own flue and ash pit. The ashes were saved for such things as the making of soap and keeping slippery walkways passable. The other 2 fireplaces provided heat and auxiliary cooking space. Fires were kept burning 24hours a day. This massive structure is held up by huge granite block cribbing. The fireplaces and bake oven have been completely restored to their original condition.
Owners of the Bernerhof Inn, George and June Phillips, along with guest chefs will cater to your dining pleasures.
“We will, of course, continue to offer our famous Bernerhof Weiner Schnitzel, fondue and other Swiss delights,” stated Mrs. Phillips. “Often Inn guests will say for 3-4 nights and they will order the Schnitzel every night!” The Black Bear Pub will have an enhanced pub menu with unique sandwich items, soups and stews.
The newest edition to the Inn is the Cy Bear Lounge. With free WIFI available, inn guests will be able to catch up on email while enjoying late morning coffee or afternoon tea and snacks. The lounge will open to the public for refreshments from the pub in the late afternoon. Perfect for apr├Ęs ski as well!

May Kelly's Cottage

"An Old World Atmosphere Irish Bar and Restaurant" There is no way to describe the wonderful atmosphere inside May Kelly's. It is a place like no other. The food is outstanding, the price just right, and the friendliness overpouring not to mention the best poured Guiness in the Valley as far as this writer is concerned.
"Good food & good times" has been the motto at the Red Parka for more than 30 years. Family owned and operated, we want you to feel comfortable in the knowledge that every time you return, the quality of food and service will be consistent. Whether you are coming here for a great steak dinner, a refreshing beverage, or dancing in the Pub, our crew wants you to leave with a smile on your face.
Our Vision Statement"The owners, management and Staff of the Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub are committed to providing our guests with hospitable service and great food prepared with genuine caring for your satisfaction. We are a responsible, involved member of the community and have attained leadership in our industry by being true to our individual and innovative style."

We are proud of the casual, friendly ambience of our main dining room. Families are very important to us, and we strive to make your dining time together as much fun as possible. We have more high chairs than any restaurant around, and plenty of crayons. Ski and kayak videos are shown constantly in the area of the dining room where we seat our larger parties.

Hiking the Presidentials from The Buttonwood Inn

Just minutes from the Buttonwood Inn on Mopunt Surprise is The Presidential Range a mountain range located in the White Mountains of the state of New Hampshire, almost entirely in Coos County. The most notable summits of the range are named for prominent Americans, either public figures of the 18th and 19th centuries or Presidents.

The summits marked with an asterisk (*) are included on the peak-bagging list of 4,000-foot and higher mountains in New Hampshire; the others are excluded, in some cases because of lesser height and in others because of more technical criteria.

Aside from the notable summits, the geological Presidential Range contains a number of additional named peaks. Several of these peaks, drained on their west faces by the Dry River, are less accessible than the main and most visited ridge of the range and are therefore likely to be neglected, or mentioned as an afterthought, in discussing the range as whole.
Subsidiary peaks of Mount Washington: Ball Crag (6,106 ft); Nelson Crag (5,620 ft); Boott Spur (5,500 ft)

The Presidentials separate drainage via the Saco and Androscoggin Rivers into the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Maine, from drainage into the Israel and Ammonoosuc Rivers, then into the Connecticut River, and then into Long Island Sound.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kancamagus Highway Celebrates 50 Years

One of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the entire Northeast marks a milestone this summer and a two-day celebration is planned for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Kancamagus Highway.

"The story of The Kancamagus Highway is one that has not really been told over the years and, as we have discovered in our research, there was never a celebration of its opening in the summer of 1959," said Jayne O'Connor, president of White Mountains Attractions in North Woodstock, which, along with the U.S. Forest Service, is coordinating a celebration of the anniversary. "It is very appropriate that, for the half century mark of this remarkable road, we do take time and celebrate it."

In 1959, when The Kanc, as it is affectionately called, was officially opened. The beauty of the road earned The Kanc a designation in 1996 as a National Scenic Byway from the U.S. Department of Transportation. At the time, it was the only such designation of a road in the entire Northeast. For information on the Kancamagus Highway celebration, visit

Watchable wildlife, Swift River, Dugway Picnic Area, Albany Covered Bridge, Passaconaway Historic Site, Hancock, Pemi, C.L. Graham Wangan Ground, and Sugar Hill Over-looks, Sabbaday Falls, Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, Lower Falls and Picnic Area, Greeley Ponds Scenic Area, Discovery Trail.

Saco Ranger Station and Russell-Colbath House, near Conway on the Kancamagus Highway, Lincoln Woods Ranger Station, White Mountains Visitor Center, North Woodstock.

The Kancamagus Highway stretches 34 1/2 miles from Conway in the east to Lincoln in the west. “The Kanc,” as it is known, traverses the White Mountain National Forest, crossing the flank of Mt. Kancamagus and climbing to nearly 3,000 feet in the process. Along its length are numerous hiking trails, federally designated Scenic Areas, and overlooks that provide travelers with truly breathtaking views.

The highway was named for Kancamagus, an early Indian Chief of the Penacook Confederacy, who tried to keep the peace between his people and the white settlers. Repeated harassment by the English eventually ended his efforts, and ultimately brought war and bloodshed to the region. In the early 1690’s, the tribes of the Confederacy scattered, and Kancamagus and his followers moved on, either to northern New Hampshire or—in some instances—to Canada.

It was Passaconaway, Kancamagus’ grandfather, who, in 1627, originally united more than 17 central New England Indian tribes into the Penacook Confederacy. Born as early as 1555 (or as late as 1580), it was Passaconaway who consolidated at least a dozen local tribes under the Pennacook leadership. Their names, spoken aloud even today, offer a haunting view of this region in an era before maps, boundaries, walls, fences and land ownership -- Wachusetts, Agawams, Wamesits, Pequawkets, Pawtuckets, Nashuas, Namaoskeags, Coosaukes, Winnepesaukes, Piscataquas, Winnecowetts, Amariscoggins, Newichewannocks, Sacos, Squamscotts, and Saugusaukes. Both action-hero and politician, Passaconnaway wove these depleted tribes together through marriages with his many children, through war, and through the sheer force of his argument, character and legendary skills. The story of one tribal marriage was popularized, with great exaggeration, by poet John Greenleaf Whittier in "The Bridal of Pennacook". A more accurate account by Thomas Morton, published in 1638, details the marriage of one of Passaconaway’s sons into a powerful tribe near Boston.

The rich flat land 12 miles north oof Conway is named for him. This community was first settled about 1790. The Russell-Colbath House is the only remaining 19th century homestead in the area, and serves as a US Forest Service Information Center. Visitors can learn about the history of the Passaconaway Valley, the families who lived in the house, domestic life in the 19th century, and view artifacts uncovered in recent archaeological excavations. The house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is open to the public seasonally. Contact the Saco Ranger District for hours and more information.

Monday, August 10, 2009

NH Living Internet Magazine - "Happenings in the State"

If you are planning a vacation to New England, you can view information about New Hampshire on the NH Living Internet Magazine website. The Buttonwood Inn is featured in an article this month and we are located in the heart of all the Mt. Washington Valley's scenic areas and activities just minutes from North Conway. Go to:

Friday, August 7, 2009

True to form Jupiter has not disappointed this month and the weather has been pretty cooperative so far in the Mount Washington Valley. Using our 10 inch Meade Schmidt-Newtonian we've been able to get some awesome views of the planet and it's four moons, Io, Europa, and Ganymede, and Callisto. These four moons, discovered by Galileo Galilei and by Simon Marius in parallel, orbit between 400,000 and 2,000,000 km, and include some of the largest moons in the Solar System.

Odd thing is on Wednesday night August 5th I observed what I thought was a fifth moon just barely separated from Jupiter. It's alignment was consistent with the other four moon's but this was the first time I had seen it over the years of observing. I'm now beginning to wonder if it just wasn't a star aligned with the planet although I must say it did not appear to move out of view or change it's separation over the course of about an hour.

If anyone knows which moon this is I'd love to know. I did take a snap shot a while back that Alan Chaniewski was nice enough to "clean up" for me. I'm still working on the group I to0k on the 4th of this month and hope at least one of them displays that fifth "moon". Right now it doesn't look too hopeful since the camera I'm using doesn't really have the imaging capabilities to resolve the image.

Tonight is the 8th and it proves to be another good viewing night if the current weather is any indication. Looking forward to the Perseids. I've also been fooling around with a laptop and a simple Logitech webcam to see what if anything I can do with that. Here's hoping that on August 11th the skies are clear because the literature says that will be the best night for viewing Jupiter this year and there is a second bonus in that the Perseids will be active! ...The weeks best...

Happy Stargazing!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hike up Mt. Willard

Yesterday morning, Bill and I quickly finished our innkeeping duties and escaped up North on Route 302 to the trail head of Mt. Willard located behind the train station in Pinkham Notch. Though the rain clouds loomed overhead, we figured that equipped with our rain jackets and hats, we were covered for a cool summer rain. However, it only lasted a few minutes and we proceeded up Mt. Willard which is 2,804 feet to the cliffs overlooking the valley, Route 302, the scenic railroad tracks, Mt. Willey, and other mountains in the Presidentials.

It's a well worn trail of moderate degree and maintained by the Park Service. In fact, on the way down, we passed the rangers fixing the trail. The trail starts out flat passing over a stream and then begins the incline up the mountain. About two-thirds of the way up, we passed by a waterfall that pours into Centennial Pool. We proceeded at a moderate pace and reached the cliffs after 1 hour and 15 minutes (about 1.5 miles). As mentioned, the view was spectacular and hauntingly beautiful with the clouds looming over the tops of the mountains, but it wasn't raining. In fact, it's a popular trail and there were around 20 people up there admiring the view and listening to the wildlife in the forest below. Hiking the mountain trails in the Whites renews our spirits and reminds of the astounding beauty and wildlife around us.