It's not often that a whole region goes on sale but welcome to the recession economy. Businesses throughout the Mt. Washington Valley in New Hampshire are cutting their rates through the end of this month.
For instance, the White Mountain Hotel and Resort is offering a third night during a mid-week stay for $20.09. As in, the year 2009. Get it?
Old Saco Inn tops that. Stay any two mid-week nights and get the third night fee. Includes a full fireside breakfast (fantastic idea), "bottomless cookie jar," free beverage and snacks and tickets to a garden show in May if you're able to stick around. Or return.
Here's the nice thing about the Mt. Washington Valley, where I have cross-country skied for three out of the past four winters, on the many trails maintained by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation: It's difficult to find a chain store.
I won't say they don't exist. But the character of North Conway, where I stayed, and its surroundings, stems from the plethora of unique shops. A penny candy shop. Clothing stores that don't sell the same things you see everywhere. Locally owned restaurants serving Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese and other other cuisines, and American food too. Great breakfast places. (Remember where maple syrup comes from? Ayup. New England.)
And good news for solo travelers: the Mount Washington Valley Velo Club, a biking club, welcomes visiting cyclists. Hard to say whether any rides will be scheduled this early (it's cold up north!) but there's an organizational meeting April 16 to make some of those decisions.
Back to the valley on sale...
For the rest of this month, one restaurant is serving ribeye steak for $1 a pound and another is serving, ahem, a meal for two is $35. What about us solo travelers, folks? Does that mean a meal for one is $17.50? Hard to say.
Local stores also are offering discounts on various goods. It's worth checking the website to see what appeals to you.
Full disclosure: I was in NH with friends. But if I were to go alone, as a first-time visitor, I know what I'd be doing. I'd be on that main street flitting into every shop and taking my time, going in and out as I pleased.
I'd sit by a roaring fire as often as possible. And I'd be at a different breakfast place every morning, testing pancake and French toast variations. As we all know, breakfast alone doesn't cause nearly the apprehension that going out to dinner does.
Photo: North Conway Train Station. Starting point for scenic train rides.