The Mount Washington Valley Chocolate Festival is a spectacular annual event that draws crowds from around the world. Fans of chocolate, snow, and the great outdoors gather to ski or snowshoe between several historic inns and area businesses. Each stop on the tour offers a unique, delicious treat for participants to sample. This year’s event takes place on February 24th, 2019. It offers 27 different creations at 18 stops, and costs $30 in advance, or $35 day of, to participate. The event is a fundraiser for the Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring and Snowshoe foundation. The exercise you’ll get between stops and the knowledge that you’re helping raise funds for a great cause makes this a truly guilt-free indulgent experience!
In total, there are 18 stops on the tour, each of which offers a unique treat, included with the ticket price. These treats are original each year, and go far beyond a simple piece of fudge or bar of chocolate. True artisans work to craft delicious and special offerings, from chocolate mini-pies to dipped marshmallows and cookies. It will be hard to pick a favorite. You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time as you ski up to historic inns like the 1785 and the Stonehurst Manor. For those who would prefer to drive between stops, that is certainly an option as well; almost all tour stops are accessible by car. Staying in a vacation rental home is a great way to cap off your day, curled up by a woodstove and decompressing.
The trail system linking each inn is beautifully groomed and incredibly scenic. As you glide or tromp along, you’ll travel through farmland with open views of the mountains and thickly forested glens. There is plenty of direction and the trail map makes it easy to navigate. You can make quick work of the well-maintained trails if you’re in a hurry, but you can also take your time and soak in the quiet atmosphere. The chocolates are on offer from 11am until 4pm, so you have a nice wide window in which to explore.
You don’t need to own your own gear to participate in this magical event. There are several outfitters who are partners in the event who can assist in making sure you are well-equipped for your travels. The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is located in the quaint town of Jackson, and for North Conway ski rentals, visit the Great American Ski Renting Company.
Food and Beverages
No need to pack a lunch (liquid or otherwise!). Several of the stops along the way offer delicious local food and beverages for sale, in addition to their chocolate creations. The 1785 Inn will have its bar open, and the Stonehurst Manor will be offering its famous chocolate martini. Some of the tour stops are right near downtown North Conway, so there are several options available for a bite to eat. The Moat Mountain Smokehouse is not an official tour stop, but is a worthy side-trek for a hearty meal and a locally-brewed beer.
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