Granite State of Mind, #64: North Conway
North Conway isn't technically a town - it's a village, a "census-designated place" within the town of Conway. Still, it's one of the coolest places in New Hampshire - who doesn't love North Conway? Skiers love it, and have for more than a century. Rail service from the south arrived in the 1870s, and by the 1930s was mostly carrying snow enthusiasts up to the bustling village, which had begun to call itself "The Birthplace of American Skiing". I'm not a skier, but that's cool. And the historic train station still stands, vintage and grand.
North Conway also has a cool downtown, full of interesting shops like Zeb's General Store and The Toy Chest, as well as a host of great little restaurants. Besides, what other McDonald's has booths made of alpine gondolas? When business with the bank brought me to North Conway - the Mount Washington Observatory, among others, was a customer - I loved shopping and eating and just walking in one of the most welcoming, if touristy, downtowns in the state.
I also have to nod to my friend Geoffrey Simard and his family's northern outpost up there, where we've certainly enjoyed ourselves (lumber ferrying ineptness included). As I said, I'm not a skiing guy. But I can appreciate a ski town, with all of its lazy energy and vacation vibe.