Dream Towns: North Conway, New Hampshire


There are three rules you have to live by in North Conway: 1) Don't litter-it's a $250 fine and a sure way to get blackballed around town; 2) be kind to the tourists-they might be a nuisance, but they're the town's meal ticket; and 3) leave the road rage back home-driving behind Mainers takes patience. If you can adhere to these simple rules, then this quaint-yet-bustling central New Hampshire town could just learn to live with you. Nestled in the White Mountains, near scores of kitschy tourist traps like Santa's Village and Six Gun City, North Conway is an old-school-and affordable-ski town within an hour of more than a dozen ski areas, including major resorts such as Attitash, Loon, Waterville Valley, and Sunday River, Maine, as well as less polished spots like Wildcat and Cannon. As for the off-season...what off-season? Fall foliage brings out "leaf peepers" from across the globe, and the area has become a favorite summertime spot for hikers, rock climbers, kayakers, and other weekend warriors from Massachusetts and New York.

Downtown is home to all the usual chain restaurants, but locals and big-city transplants stick to more rustic joints like Horsefeather's, Delaney's, and the Scarecrow Pub. The nightlife? It isn't New Orleans-or even Killington after dark, for that matter-but the local taverns can crank it up, especially on holiday weekends.

BUSINESS MOST NEEDED: a side-street-savvy cab service.
DON'T FORGET TO PACK: a rake-that foliage eventually ends up in your yard.

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