Best of Mount Washington Valley Awards

We designed the "Best of Mount Washington Valley" contest to give locals a way to acknowledge many of the people, organizations and businesses that make the valley such a dynamic place. The two-tiered process gave everyone a chance to nominate their favorites in 107 categories. We winnowed that list down, and the nominees getting the most votes in the first round went on to a second round of voting. To keep the process authentic, we required email confirmations from every vote, and removed nominees that weren't current and local (and yes, we eliminated Boaty McBoatface; he's really not from around here).

A-2From left: Kim Cavanaugh, Mal O'Leary and Jeannie Courture celebrate the Peking Sunrise's "Best Takeout" win at the party May 12.In the end, more than 4,000 people cast about 110,000 votes to select the winners, who were recognized at an awards party on May 12 at Cranmore's Zip's Pub.

Planning is already under way for next year's event.

What follows is the comprehensive list of all of the categories and winners, as well as runners-up and honorable mentions. Here are your picks for the best our valley has to offer:

CULTURE & COMMUNITY

Best Art Gallery

League of NH Craftsmen: A fixture for decades, showcasing juried craftspeople from around the state, it was reinvigorated under new ownership in 2006, and is looking forward to a new expansion soon. Owner/operator Karissa Masse, also a resident potter, selects from the work of more than 750 juried members to stock the shop's shelves. At the League of NH Craftsmen, craft is art. 2526 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-2441.

Runner-up: Jackson Art Studio and Gallery
Honorable Mention: The Met Coffee House & Art Gallery

Best Author/Writer

5-20-Best-Valley-Jamie-03Finalists and well-wishers mingle May 12 at Zip's Pub. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)Stephen King: The master of horror, sci fi and fantasy, with more than 50 novels to his name, King's vacation home in Lovell, Maine, makes him a local and puts him on our list. We can't help wondering exactly which local places and personalities have figured in his work — and will appear next.

Runner-up: Lisa Gardner
Honorable Mention: Tom Eastman

Best Charity Event

Climb Against Cancer: This fundraiser for Jen's Friends is one of the biggest charity events of the year. Started 18 years ago, the event raised over $100,000 on its 10th anniversary and nearly $90,000 last year. One hundred percent of the funds raised go directly to cancer patients and their families. 230 E. Conway Road, Conway, NH; (603) 356-5083.

Runner-up: Polar Express for Believe in Books
Honorable Mention: Bark in the Park

Best Community Event or Festival

Fryeburg Fair: With the downhome, animal-judging, tractor-pulling, doughnut-frying, music-playing, "mechanical ride" offering event taking place every October — this year, it's Oct. 2-9 — you'd have to be crazy not to put on your jacket (because it can get a little brisk in the Northern New England fall) and jeans, and go! It's a simple pleasure and simply pleasurable. 1154 Main St., Fryeburg, Maine; (207) 935-3268.

Runner-up: Jackson's Pumpkin People
Honorable Mention: Arts Jubilee

Best Local Charitable Organization

Jen's Friends: Jen Hill lost her battle with brain cancer in 1998, but her legacy lives on through this non-profit organization that provides financial help to cancer patients and their families. "It was her dying wish to help others struggling with this terrible disease," says Jen's Friends' Wendy Holmes. 230 E. Conway Road, Conway, NH; (603) 356-5083.

Runner-up: Conway Area Humane Society
Honorable Mention: Angels & Elves

Best Volunteer

Emily Smith-Mossman: Emily is the youngest person to be named a Valley Treasure by the MWV Chamber of Commerce, and is someone who just gets it. She created the "Back to School Giveaway," helping families prepare for the school year by providing school supplies and clothing for free. The campaign was so successful it became an annual event. It also spawned the #RevolvingCloset, which provides free clothing to teenagers.

Runner-up: Nora Mulkern-Bean
Honorable Mention: Lisa Saunders-DuFault

Best Local Theater Company

M&D Productions: This award-winning year-round community theater, offers a variety of shows, ranging from light comedies to challenging drama in an intimate, newly renovated space. In addition to familiar productions such as "Spamalot," the company also produces lesser-known plays. 1857 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 733-5275.

Runner-up: Eastern Slope Playhouse
Honorable Mention: Barnstormers Theatre

Best Member of Local Government

Rhoda Quint: Rhoda embodies service with a smile. She and her staff are the kind of people you want helping to make your experience at town hall a pleasant one. Rhoda has been town clerk/tax collector for Conway for five three-year terms and says she genuinely loves what she does.

Runner-up: Rec Director John Eastman
Honorable Mention: State Rep. Ed Butler

Best Local Band

Full Circle: Renowned for its classic, upbeat rockers from the 1960s to today, Full Circle built a wide following of fans over 17 years. Due to a number of factors, the band played its last show April 2 at a packed fundraiser for the Shawn Smith Foundation — going out in classic style!

Runner-up: White Mountain Boys
Honorable Mention: Shark Martin

Best Solo or Duo

Dennis & Davey: This Celtic pop duo gives new meaning to "four feet and two shoes," as Davey Armstrong performs barefoot to play bass pedals while handling a variety of stringed and wind instruments. Dennis O'Neil handles the guitar, and both do vocals. It's always a party when they perform at Deacon Street (32 Seavey St., North Conway, NH; (603) 356-9231) Fridays and the Shannon Door Pub (Route 16, Jackson, NH; (603) 383-4211) Saturdays.

Runner-up: Jonathan Sarty
Honorable Mention: Riley Parkhurst

Best Music Series

Stone Mountain Arts Center: Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, the Stone Mountain Arts Center is a beautiful timber frame music hall hosting national acts up close and personal in an equally beautiful setting. This unique under-200 seat space is located just over the border from New Hampshire in Brownfield, Maine. Acts like Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls have performed here. 695 Dugway Road, Brownfield, Maine; (207) 935-7292.

Runner-up: Arts Jubilee
Honorable Mention: Tuckerman's Brewery Live Music Series

Best Venue for Live Performance

Stone Mountain Arts Center: A hidden gem nestled in the hills of Brownfield, Maine, this 200-capacity venue hosts up-close and personal performances. In spite of its middle-of-nowhere status, Stone Mountain's ideal acoustics and warm, inviting atmosphere draws such national acts as Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt. 695 Dugway Road, Brownfield, Maine; (207) 935-7292.

Runner-up: Cranmore Mountain
Honorable Mention: Schouler Park

Best Visual Artist

Jamie Gemmiti: Conway Daily Sun photographer for 18 years, Gemmiti doesn't just shoot news photos; he shoots art. In fact, often his news photos are art. He also does weddings, portraits and promotional photos for local businesses. "When I'm with my camera, I'm really just trying to let what is in front of me speak on its own," he says. 66 Intervale Cross Road; Intervale, NH; (603) 986-5270.

Runner-up: Megan Hanlon Bailey
Honorable Mention: White Mountain Photography

Best Place To Get Married

Little White Church in Eaton: Old New England church on the edge of a lake in a village just big enough to have a general store and an inn. An idyllic setting for a memorable event. The non-denominational church doubles as a community hall and is used as much for concerts as for services. 2371 Eaton Road (Route 153), Eaton Center, NH; (603) 447-1881.

Runner-up: Stone Mountain Arts Center
Honorable Mention: Eagle Mountain House in Jackson

Best Place to Propose

Jackson Falls: Featuring the fast-flowing waters of the Wild and Scenic Wildcat River, Jackson Falls is a romantic place at which to pop the question. And, if the answer is yes, contact the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce for information about having a wedding here, too, or at any of the many fine local inns. Carter Notch Road, Jackson, NH; (603) 383-9356.

Runner-up: Cathedral Ledge
Honorable Mention: Mount Washington

Best Overall Thing You Love About the Valley

Quality of Life: Mountains. Skiing. Quaint villages. Crystal rivers. Four-season beauty. Caring neighbors. Cultural and entertainment events. Lots of places to eat and shop. And, oh yes, black flies. What's not to love? MWV Chamber of Commerce, 2617 Main St., No. 1, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5701.

Runner-up: The Mountains
Honorable Mention: The Community

RECREATION

Best Beach

Weston's Beach: Located in Fryeburg, Maine, Weston's is the perfect spot for a day of fun at the beach, which abuts the Saco River. It offers a large, sandy beach where you can sit and relax in your beach chair for the day — a wonderful place to swim and relax. River Street, Fryeburg, Maine.

Runner-up: White Lake
Honorable Mention: Echo Lake State Park

Best Canoe-Kayak Livery

Saco Bound: Started in 1972, it was the first canoe-rental place in the valley. "Saco Bound is unique because we use mostly all of our own riverside properties for the convenience of our customers," says President Bob Tagliaferri. The segment of river they use is best for families, tubers and novice paddlers, he said, "as there are few obstructions and miles of sandy beaches." 2561 E. Main St., Center Conway, NH; (603) 447-2177.

Runner-up: Saco River Canoe & Kayak
Honorable Mention: Northern Extremes Canoe & Kayak

Best Cross Country Ski Area

Jackson Ski Touring: For more than 40 years, JSTF has worked to provide the best cross-country skiing and snowshoeing experience anywhere. As a non-profit, this is their passion. The center offers guests a family-friendly base lodge, top-quality groomed cross-country trails, purpose-built snowshoe trails, a superb ski school, fast and friendly service. 153 Main St., Jackson, NH; (603) 383-9355.

Runner-up: Whittaker Woods
Honorable Mention: Bear Notch Ski Touring

Best Golf Course

North Conway Country Club: Established in 1895, this 18-hole course continues to make every effort to provide the best golfing experience in the valley — not to mention the breathless views of Mount Washington and the Presidential and Moat Ranges. There's also a great pro shop, picturesque deck where you can get lunch or breakfast, and a dedicated staff. 76 Norcross Circle, North Conway, NH 03860; (603) 356-9391.

Runner-up: Pirate's Cove Mini-Golf
Honorable Mention: Wentworth Golf Club

Best Hiking Trail

Diana's Baths: This is the perfect trail to take your visiting friends, your kids, your parents, your in-laws — you name it, because the half-mile path through the woods is great for all ages. Up a gentle slope to the series of terraced pools and noisily cheerful falls, the Baths demand the perfect amount of effort and the biggest bang for your $3 honor parking buck. It's also close by — in the National Forest just off of West Side Road just outside North Conway Village. West Side Road, Bartlett, NH.

Runner-up: Black Cap
Honorable Mention: Mount Willard

Best Scenic Spot

Cathedral Ledge: A milelong auto road and hiking trails lead to the top of Cathedral Ledge, where views across the Saco River Valley to the White Mountains are always spectacular — especially in the fall. Both Cathedral and nearby White Horse ledges are popular rock and ice climbing walls. 68 Echo Lake Road Conway, NH.

Runner-up: Mount Washington
Honorable Mention: Chocorua Lake

Best Swimming Hole

Emerald Pool: Located off the Baldface Circle Trail in Evans Notch, Emerald Pool is a hidden gem. One of the smaller swimming holes in the White Mountains, it has shimmering green waters that give it its name. It's an easy half-mile walk to from the trailhead. Route 113, North Chatham, NH.

Runner-up: First Bridge in North Conway
Honorable Mention: Diana's Baths

Best Ski Area

Cranmore Mountain Resort: Home to famed Austrian skimeister Hannes Schneider from 1939-55 and run by skimeister son Herbert after that, Cranmore today is a year-round resort. It has been revitalized under the ownership of the Fairbank Group, which has invested more than $9 million in improvements since 2010. One Skimobile Road, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5543.

Runner-up: Bretton Woods Ski Area
Honorable Mention: Wildcat Ski Area

Best Place To Take Kids On A Rainy Day

MWV Children's Museum: Designed for children from birth to 7 years old, the museum is open year-round. The mantra is, "Building tomorrow's grown-ups by providing opportunities for children and adults to learn through play." 2936 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-2992.

Runner-up: Mount Washington Observatory
Honorable Mention: Kahuna Laguna

FOOD & DINING

Best Chef

Vito Marcello: Owner of Vito Marcello's Italian Bistro in North Conway Village, Vito is a third-generation Italian, born and bred in Providence, R.I. Vito and his sous-chefs create everything — all their pasta and sauces even the salad dressing — from scratch. Don't miss the house specialty, Shrimp Fra Diavolo. And enjoy your meal with some superb Italian wine from the bar. 5 Seavey St., North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7000.

Runner-up: Seammus McGrath — McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Theresa Stearns — White Mountain Cider Co.

Best Food Server

Jim at Bea's Cafe: Jim Tyrrell treats everyone, young and old, like you're his longest friend. He combines an amazing sense of humor with all of the qualities you want in someone you want to entrust serving you. He's been at Bea's for 15 years. Conway Marketplace, on White Mountain Highway, Conway, NH; (603) 447-4900.

Runner-up: Nora Mulkern-Bean — Shannon Door Pub
Honorable Mention: Caitlin — McGrath's Tavern

Best Farmstand

Sherman Farm: It began as a small dairy farm just west of Fryeburg in the 1970s, and expanded to include growing fruit and vegetables. Today, the Sherman family tends around 60 acres of vegetables, raises 40 head of cattle, 30 pigs and opens a 12-acre corn maze open during the fall. There's a reason The Weather Channel used it as home base for their "It's Amazing Out There" travel series last year. 2679 E. Conway Road, East Conway, NH; (603) 939-2412.

Runner-up: Weston's Farm
Honorable Mention: Lucy Brook Farm

Best Bagel

Big Dave's Bagels & Deli: Dave's bagels are big and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, the way a bagel should be. Here, New York-style bagels are freshly made in a variety of flavors and offers equally diverse cream cheese flavor options. 1130 Eastman Road, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-3283.

Runner-up: Bagels Plus

Best Bakery

Leavitt's Bakery: Plain and chocolate, glazed and honey-dipped, filled with lemon, filled with cream. Owners Ray and Beth Leavitt get up at 2 a.m. to make the fresh-every-morning doughnuts that bring people in and keep them coming back. They also have other pastries, pies and cakes, cookies, muffins and bread. There are tables and chairs where you can enjoy them over a cup and a chat with a friend — or pick out a book from the tiny library installed there. 564 White Mountain Highway, Conway, NH; (603) 447-2218.

Runner-up: Old Village Bakery in North Conway
Honorable Mention: Riverstones Bakery

Best Bread

Old Village Bakery: This retail scratch bakery has a bread for every occasion, from baguettes to New England Cheddar and organic Anadama bread made from Vermont-grown corn meal bread, sweetened with molasses. 50 Seavey St., North Conway, NH; (603) 356-8989.

Runner-up: Vintage Bakery
Honorable Mention: Leavitt's Bakery

Best Barbecue

Moat Mountain Smoke House and Brewery: The popular pub in the big yellow farmhouse just up Route 16 from North Conway Village says it uses local, fresh ingredients and does all its smoking in-house. That's easy to believe when you bite into the Carolina-style smoked pork or Texas-style brisket, which adorn all kinds of items, including sandwiches, nachos, sliders and combo platters. 3378 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-6381.

Runner-up: Route 302 Smokehouse
Honorable Mention: Yankee Smokehouse

Best Burger

Black Cap Grille: Thick juicy burgers, just about any way you like them, with a build-your-own menu of 35 toppings — from caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms to fried egg, baked beans and garlic aioli. Add fries, onion rings or cole slaw, it's the all-American meal. Settlers Crossing, 1498 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-2225.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Delaney's Hole in the Wall

Best Chicken Wings

Delaney's Hole in the Wall: With its motto being "Great Food and Good Times since 1994," this popular sports bar has a wide-ranging menu of pub fare. And what pub menu wouldn't be complete without wings? Here, they fry them golden-brown, then smother them with Buffalo or honey hot sauce. Yum! 2966 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7776.

Runner-up: Route 302 Smokehouse
Honorable Mention: McGrath's Tavern

Best Lobster Roll

Bay Haven: Bay Haven Two Lobster Pound draws folks from all over the Granite and Pine Tree states for fresh seafood. The lobster roll is a fan favorite, bursting with succulent seafood. 101 Maple St. in Cornish, Maine; (207) 625-7303.

Runner-up: Bea's Cafe
Honorable Mention: Black Cap Grille

Best Sandwiches

Big Dave's Bagels & Deli: Utilizing freshly cooked and carved meats, Big Dave's piles turkey, ham and roast beef high on both classic and unique sandwiches. 1130 Eastman Road, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-3283.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Delaney's Hole in the Wall

Best Steak

Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub: A valley tradition since 1972, and member of the Valley Originals, the Red Parka is renowned for its succulent, aged sirloins, fine seafood, family fare and full salad bar. Route 302, Glen, NH; (603) 383-4344.

Runner-up: Oxford House Inn
Honorable Mention: Merlino's Steakhouse

Best Pad Thai

Taste of Thai: Prepared from scratch with fresh ingredients, Taste of Thai's pad thai can be customized to your preferred level of spiciness. Offered on both their lunch and dinner menus for a reasonable price, each serving offers enough for your meal and a little extra to take home. 1857 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7624.

Runner-up: Bangkok Cafe
Honorable Mention: Thai Nakonping

Best Taco

Fiesta Jalisco: Not only does Fiesta Jalisco have the best tacos, they have the best tacos prices. "Taco Tuesdays" offers either beef or chicken tacos at $1.25 each, with complimentary nachos and salsa. Lightly seasoned, the tacos come prepared with cheese and lettuce. 6 Mountain Valley Blvd, North Conway, NH; (603) 733-5550.

Runner-up: Cafe Noche
Honorable Mention: Margarita Grill

Best Pizza

Flatbread Pizza Co.: Flatbread offers wood-fired, clay oven pizza made with organic local ingredients but doesn't stop there. Its menu includes truly unique pizza spotlighting such ingredients as goat cheese, chipotle barbecue sauce and maple-fennel sausage. 2760 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-4470.

Runner-up: Shannon Door
Honorable Mention: Boston Bros.

Best Desserts

Riverstones Bakery: Originally located in Conway but now across the border in Fryeburg, Maine, Riverstone offers rich, decadent cakes and pastries. You know you're special if someone gets you a cake from Riverstones. 7 Portland St., Fryeburg, Maine; (207) 256-3143.

Runner-up: White Mountain Cupcakery
Honorable Mention: Leavitt's Bakery

Best Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's: Sure, it isn't locally made, but it is hard to argue with a scoop of the such outrageous flavors as Phish Food, Americone Dream, The Tonight Dough and perennial favorite Cherry Garcia. Free cone day every April certainly doesn't hurt either. 26 Norcross Circle, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7720.

Runner-up: Trail's End Ice Cream
Honorable Mention: Bobby Sue's

Best Restaurant — Breakfast Spot

Bea's Cafe: Bea's is an unpretentious local restaurant, where the service is quick, with a diner-like experience. Try the French toast, pancakes with Nutella, home fries, or eggs Benedict. The staff prides itself on no one leaving hungry. Conway Marketplace, on White Mountain Highway, Conway, NH; (603) 447-4900.

Runner-up: Sunrise Shack
Honorable Mention: Banners Restaurant

Best Restaurant — Brunch

Red Fox Bar and Grille: Red Fox in Jackson is famous for its Sunday brunch, and why not? The massive all-you-can-eat buffet runs from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and includes items like house-made corned beef hash, chef-prepared omelets, baked ham, biscuits and sausage gravy, and kid-friendly Belgian waffles and French toast. 49 Route 16, Jackson, NH; (603) 383-4949.

Runner-up: Sunrise Shack
Honorable Mention: White Mountain Hotel

Best Restaurant — Lunch

Delaney's Hole in the Wall: Owned and operated by the Delaney family, lunch at this North Conway mainstay includes, along with great salads and soups, such creative treats as a steak bomb, Cajun chicken Caesar wrap, lobster salad croissant or any of the many sushi dishes. 2966 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7776.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Sunrise Shack

Best Cheap Eats

Bea's Cafe: Hit the ATM because Bea's Cafe is cash only but thankfully you won't need too much of it. Bea's menu isn't fancy but it serves up affordable comfort food for breakfast and lunch. 50 White Mountain Highway, Conway, NH; (603) 447-4900.

Runner-up: Fiesta Jalisco
Honorable Mention: McGrath's Tavern

Best Restaurant — Family

Shannon Door Pub: A tradition since 1953, the Shannon Door is like the "Cheers" of the valley: the kind of place where everyone knows your name. Owned and operated by the Mulkern family, its thin-crust pizza has followers throughout New England. Popular entrees include shepherd's pie. Route 16, Jackson, NH; (603) 383-4211.

Runner-up: Flatbread Pizza Co.
Honorable Mention: Red Fox Bar and Grille

Best Restaurant — Overall

McGrath's Tavern: You can't go wrong with chef/owner Seammus McGrath's famous rich and creamy clam chowder or his signature sesame-crusted scallops. Entree classics include port penne pasta, pistachio crusted salmon and Big Jim's tender bourbon-marinated steak tips. 3465 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 733-5955.

Runner-up: Delaney's Hole in the Wall
Honorable Mention: Moat Mountain Smoke House

Best Restaurant — Splurge

White Mountain Cider Co.: Delicious food and charming atmosphere in a renovated 1890s farmhouse. Chef Teresa Stearns chooses seasonal and locally sourced foods. Expect entrees like bacon gorgonzola crusted pork chop and roasted cod in green curry sauce with coconut-roasted sweet potatoes. Always on the menu: cider doughnuts served warm with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Route 302, Glen, NH; (603) 383-9061.

Runner-up: Oxford House
Honorable Mention: Vito Marcello's Italian Bistro

Best Takeout

Peking Sunrise Restaurant: The venerable Peking recently changed hands, but the menu remains the same, and the fast, friendly service might be even better, judging by the speed at which the phone orders were coming in and the big bags of food were going out on a recent visit. Their takeout menu includes stir-fries, egg rolls, sweet-and-sour pork, rice, noodles, soup and more. 1179 Eastman Road, Conway, NH; (603) 356-6976.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: China Chef

DRINKS & BARS

Best Coffee

Frontside Coffee Roasters: Frontside owners Austin Orth and Laura Denis source and roast their own blends from around the world. Try the maple latte or the Bees Knees (with honey, of course). In good weather, you can sit outside on the patio and watch the world go by. 2697 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-3603.

Runner-up: Dunkin Donuts
Honorable Mention: The Met

Best Apres Ski

Shannon Door Pub: After a day of on the slopes, all trails lead to the Shannon Door, where you can unwind listening to great entertainment while enjoying a pint of Guinness or a local brew. Entertainment is featured Thursdays through Sundays, with Marty Quirk, Dennis & Davey, and Simon Crawford and Kevin Dolan playing the bill. Route 16, Jackson, NH; (603) 383-4211.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Moat Mountain Smoke House

Best Bartender

Brendan Hawkes: The Shannon Door Pub and Black Cap Grille's Brendan Hawkes is a pro: friendly to all, gifted with the Irish wit, and a bartender who makes everyone feel at home. A golfer, skier and hockey player, this member of the Shannon Door's Mulkern clan, and wife/fellow Door bartender Renee are also proud parents to Callum, 15, and Kathryn, 13. Shannon Door Pub, Route 16, Jackson, NH; (603) 383-4211. Black Cap Grille, 1498 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-2225.

Runner-up: Seammus McGrath, McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Ken Nusbaum, Black Cap Grille

Best Place for Cocktails

Oxford House Inn: Built in 1913, the inn's Mission-style architecture, beautiful sunset mountain views, gourmet food and warm New England hospitality have established it as a dining and lodging destination. The cozy downstairs Jonathan's Pub opens at 5 p.m. for drinks. Starting Memorial Day, hours go to seven days. 548 Main St., Fryeburg, Maine; (207) 935-3442.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Black Cap Grille

Best Cocktail Drink

Breakfast in Puerto Rico, McGrath's Tavern: Puerto Rico, here we come: one part each of Captain Morgan's original spiced rum, Malibu coconut flavored rum, pineapple juice and orange juice, a splash of grenadine and last a topper of Myers dark rum. McGrath's Tavern, 3465 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 733-5955.

Runner-up: Scorpion Bowl, Peking Sunrise
Honorable Mention: Maple Manhattan, Oxford House

Best Margarita

Margarita Grill: The long beverage list includes frozen margaritas in a variety of flavors — lime, strawberry, raspberry, mango or pineapple and coconut; the strawberry lemonade margarita; the skinny 'rita — tequila and soda water; the Cabo Waborita; and the Ultimate Margarita. 78 U.S. Route 302, Glen, NH; (603) 383-6556.

Runner-up: Fiesta Jalisco
Honorable Mention: Cafe Noche

Best Beer Selection (Bar)

Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewery: So many choices. Always brewed: Czech Pilsner, Iron Mike Pale Ale, Miss V's Blueberry. Almost always: Bone Shaker Brown, Hoffman Weiss, Square Tail Stout. And as much as they can: East Intervale IPA, Hell Yes Helles Lager and Matilda's Red Rage. Recently tasted (and loved) at the Smoke House: Cathedral Ledge Lager, Kearsarge Kolsch and Rye Pale Ale. 3378 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-6381.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Tuckerman's Tavern

Best Local Beer Brewing (Company)

Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewery: The historic Limmer Barn in Intervale is home to Moat Mountain's 20-barrel Brew House, and New Hampshire's first craft canning operation, the Cannery. Iron Mike Pale Ale had its first barn brew Dec. 31, 2013. The Cannery was installed in February 2014, with 16-ounce Iron Mike cans soon rolling to market. The Brewery Barn and Cannery are not available for public tours, but they continue to brew in the basement of the Smoke House. 3378 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-6381.

Runner-up: Tuckerman Brewing Co.
Honorable Mention: Sea Dog Brewing Co.

Best Neighborhood Bar

Delaney's Hole in the Wall: Featuring local beers on tap and the coldest beer in the valley, Delaney's walls are adorned with a sports memorabilia collection to wow the biggest sports fan. There is also a full menu — including sushi. 2966 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7776.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Shannon Door

Best Sports Bar

Delaney's Hole in the Wall: When Boston teams are playing, you know the game's on at Delaney's. There are no bad seats when you watch a game at Delaney's thanks to the six televisions. 966 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7776.

Runner-up: McGrath's Tavern
Honorable Mention: Almost There

Best Place for Live Music

Stone Mountain Arts Center — This unique space is located just over the border in Brownfield, Maine. This special performance space towers over Noonan's 200-year-old farmhouse providing you with a dramatic audience experience you will not soon forget. 695 Dugway Road, Brownfield, Maine; (207) 935-7292.

Runner-up: Red Parka Pub
Honorable Mention: McGrath's Tavern

Best Pick-up Spot

McGrath's Tavern: So, come here often? McGrath's attracts mostly a younger crowd for the Thursday night fun, especially when chef/owner Seammus McGrath and crew host bashes like the annual Toga party every June. The older crowd loves to socialize on other nights, enjoying McGrath's creative Irish and American culinary fare. 3465 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 733-5955.

Runner-up: Hannaford's Supermarket
Honorable Mention: Red Parka Pub

Best Trivia Night

302 West Smokehouse and Tavern: On Tuesday nights starting at 8 p.m. it's all about the trivia at this cozy pub, where Clare, Sandra and/or Bob grab the microphone and tease teams to strain their brains through four fun categories, free raffles of "attic items" and actual prizes. 636 Main St., Fryeburg, Maine; (207) 935-3021.

Runner-up: Sea Dog Bewing Co.
Honorable Mention: Ninety-nine Restaurant

BUSINESSES & RETAILERS

Best Auto Salesperson

Alan Frechette, Profile Subaru: Frechette is just as at home coaching softball and singing karaoke as he is selling Subarus. "It seems like everyone in the valley knows Alan," notes sales manager David Belliveau. "He's been here for over 30 years. He bends over backwards for his customers to make a deal happen." 1323 Route 16, Conway, NH; (603) 447-3845.

Runner-up: Toni Petell, Profile Subaru
Honorable Mention: Haven Quint, Profile Motors

Best Auto Dealer

Profile Subaru: Committed to the community, Profile Subaru sells new and pre-owned vehicles and also sports an award-winning service garage. Over the past two years, the company has donated more than $20,000 to Jen's Friends as part of their local version of Subaru of America's "Share the Love" national campaign. 1323 Route 16, Conway, NH; (603) 447-3845.

Runner-up: Berlin City Auto Group
Honorable Mention: Crest Auto World

Best Pre-Owned Auto Dealer

Stan Anthony and Berlin City Auto Group (tie): Stan's Service Center, owned by Stan Anthony, has been in Conway Village for 44 years. "Our philosophy is just to make the customer happy," Anthony says. Berlin City Auto Group now has 17 franchises in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Greg Cottman, a member of the company's advertising staff, says, "We'll deliver vehicles right to your home." Stan's Service Center, 45 Main St., Conway, NH; (603) 447-5457. Berlin City Auto Group, 485 Main St., Gorham, NH; (603) 752-6644.

Honorable Mention: Profile Subaru

Best Hotel

Adventure Suites: It's not just a place to rest your weary head. Each suite has a different theme: Ancient Rome, The Cave, Treehouse, to name a few. As one reviewer put it, it's "a touch of Disneyland in New England." 3440 White Mountain Highway, North Conway; (603) 356-9744.

Runner-up: Omni Mount Washington
Honorable Mention: White Mountain Hotel

Best Bed-and-Breakfast

Christmas Farm Inn and Spa: The family-owned and managed resort on a 15-acre estate in Jackson offers the New England experience that most guests are looking for: historic accommodations, full-service mountain bistro restaurant, indoor pool, hot tub and spa with steam room. 3 Blitzen Way, Jackson, NH; (603) 383-4313.

Runner-up: Oxford House
Honorable Mention: Snowvillage Inn

Best Family Attraction

Story Land. This iconic amusement park has been bringing families and kids of all ages to Glen for generations. But what's old is new again, and Ruth and Bob Morrell's original attractions — the antique cars and Cinderella's pumpkin coach — are now joined by rides like the Roar-o-Saurus wooden coaster, Turtle Twirl and Whirling Whales. A day of fun for all in a fairy-tale setting. Opens May 28. 850 Route 16, Glen, NH; (603) 383-4186.

Runner-up: Conway Scenic Railroad
Honorable Mention: Cranmore Mountain

Best Bicycle Shop

Stan & Dan's: Known for fitting skiers with the perfect boots and skis, they now fit cyclists with the perfect ride. Bike technician Patrick Ferland can keep your bike tuned up and your ride smooth. The shop also provides parts for the do-it-yourselfer, as well as clothing and gear. 2936 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-6997.

Runner-up: The Red Jersey Cyclery
Honorable Mention: The Bike Shop

Best Bookstore

White Birch Books: This independent bookstore owned by Laura Cummings has been a local mainstay for more than 20 years. "You'll find all the hot trends reflected," she says, with best sellers, cards and space set aside just for kids on the second floor. "They make a beeline for the stairs as soon as they come in." 2568 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-3200.

Runner-up: B.A.M.

Best Candy Store

Zeb's General Store: The first thing you see when you walk into Zeb's is its impressive candy counter that not only displays classic penny candies, like red hots, gummy bears and licorice, but chocolate truffles and fudge. 2675 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-9294.

Runner-up: Bavarian Chocolate Haus
Honorable Mention: 5 & 10

Best Flower Shop

Ruthie's Flower Shop: Now in its second decade, Ruthie's has a wide selection of floral arrangements for all occasions — from weddings and new bundles of joy to memorial services and get well wishes. 984 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 447-8878.

Honorable Mention: Papa's Floral

Best Gift Shop

The Penguin Gallery: If you're looking for quirky gifts, the Penguin is your best bet. From absurd gag gifts to hand-made jewelry, to cookbooks, novelty items, unique toys and some of the best greeting cards in town, the Penguin Shop offers its customers a little bit of everything. 2655 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-7600.

Runner-up: Zeb's General Store
Honorable Mention: Handcrafters Barn

Best Jewelers

North Country Fair Jewelers. This custom jeweler, started by three people, has been around since Woodstock. Owner Brian Smith now has three daughters who also work in the shop. "I try to approach each day, customer and task with joy and enthusiasm," he says. Pretty cool. 2448 Main St., North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5819.

Runner-up: Valley Jewelers
Honorable Mention: Laura Guptill Jewelry

Best Pet Supply Store

Four Your Paws Only: Pet supplies, gifts, locally made Lupine collars and dog treats made on the premises. And every Saturday, Puppy Playtime in the back of the store — a great place for dogs to socialize and learn their doggie manners. Brian and Kathy Ahearn understand pets — and their owners. 1821 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (800) 327-5957.

Runner-up: Paris Farmers
Honorable Mention: Lupine Pet

Best Men's Clothing Store

L.L. Bean: Perhaps best-known for its outdoor gear and clothing, the Settlers Crossing location in North Conway also sells men's, women's and kids' apparel; footwear; even home furnishings. But its men's clothing, durable and stylishly casual, is particularly popular locally. 1390 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-2100.

Runner-up: Labonville
Honorable Mention: Eddie Bauer

Best Women's Clothing Store

T J Maxx: Where else can you get activewear, dresses, jackets and coats, pants and jeans, shorts and skirts, sleepwear, sweaters, swimwear, tops, juniors, plus size, designer fashions and accessories, all under one roof, all at discounted prices? And they're open late (till 9:30 p.m. most nights). 1584 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-9633.

Runner-up: Spruce Hurricane
Honorable Mention: Asset Jeans

Best Outdoor Equipment Store

Eastern Mountain Sports: Want top-quality gear, apparel and advice you need to have more fun outside? It's here. From camping, hiking, and climbing to kayaking, cycling and snowsports, in-store gurus are there to help guide outdoors lovers to enhance their experience. Visit www.ems.com for a list of climbing and outdoor classes. 1498 White Mountain Highway, Settlers Crossing, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5433.

Runner-up: Ragged Mountain
Honorable Mention: L.L. Bean

Best Retail Outlet

T J Maxx: There's a reason the discount chain's profits are soaring while rivals saw slumping sales: It offers something for everybody: clothing for all ages and sizes, gifts at all price points, and even fashions for the home, like bedding and bath items, decorative pillows and furnishings. The North Conway store is open daily. 1584 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-9633.

Runner-up: L.L. Bean
Honorable Mention: Old Navy

Best Retail Specialty Store

Zeb's General Store: Stop in for gifts, maple syrup, snacks and specialty foods, toys and games. Looking for maple sugar candy shaped like the state of New Hampshire? Also North Conway mugs and T-shirts, balsam fir incense, hand-crafted soaps and apple pancake mix. Hundreds of items, packed floor to ceiling on two floors. 2675 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (800) 676-9294.

Runner-up: The Penguin Gallery
Honorable Mention: The Good Beer Store

Best Ski Shop

Stan & Dan's Sports: Stan & Dan's is renowned for its attention and service among snow sports lovers. Always innovative, they became one of first four operators of the revolutionary Montana Crystal tuning machines in the country. From ski tuning and custom boot fitting to all of the latest apparel, they have a passion for skiing. 2936 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-6997.

Runner-up: Joe Jones
Honorable Mention: Bob and Terry's

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Best Accountant

Anchor Business Services: Owned by Richard Goss, Anchor provides reliable and efficient accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and tax preparation services and financial advice for individuals and businesses. 290 East Side Road, Conway, NH; (603) 447-2220.

Runner-up: Kathy Sweeney
Honorable Mention: Dave Caputo

Best Law Firm

Cooper Cargill and Chant: The largest law firm north of the lakes region has its main office in North Conway. The nine attorneys are known for their work on New Hampshire Bar Association boards and local non-profits. They build personal relationships with their clients, help them identify goals, then work to meet them. 2935 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5439.

Runner-up: Hastings Law Office
Honorable Mention: Alkalay and Smillie

Best Lawyer

Kenneth Cargill: A partner at Cooper Cargill Chant, joining the firm in 1987, he is an expert in business law and estate planning. Cargill helps his clients negotiate legal and banking work needed for setting up and developing a business, purchases, sales and commercial loans, government approval of building projects. For many years, has been the friendly face behind the gavel at various town and school meetings, first in Tamworth and then in Conway. 2935 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5439.

Runner-up: Peter Malia
Honorable Mention: Dennis Morgan

Best Real Estate Company

Pinkham Real Estate: At 53 years young, and as the longest-serving office in the valley, Pinkham's Realtors are an experienced team of forward thinkers; heavily focused on technology and online marketing, and, most of all, customer service. Judging by the dozens of glowing 5-star reviews you can read online, it's safe to say that their clients agree. 2617 S. Main St., North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5425.

Runner-up: Badger Realty
Honorable Mention: RE/MAX Presidential

Best Real Estate Agent

Bill Barbin at Pinkham Real Estate: What started for Bill and wife Kristin as a vacation destination became a place to build a family, and now their son Quinn is 10 years old. Having experienced the valley as both a vacationer and a full-time Conway resident (now a "local"), Bill says he understands the purchase process from his clients' perspective. 2617 S. Main St., North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5425.

Runner-up: Dave Cianciolo
Honorable Mention: Joy Tarbell

Best Bank Teller

Cindy Locke: In banking since 1983 and at TD Bank since 1990, Locke is assistant manager of the North Conway branch. Locke is known for her naturally friendly, outgoing personality. "I go by the golden rule," she says. "Treat people as you want them to treat you. That usually works." 2561 Main St., North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5466.

Runner-up: Marcie Drew, TD Bank, North Conway
Honorable Mention: Jen Tate, Northway Bank

Best Appliance Repair

Homer's Appliance: Homer's Appliance owner Kevin Pratt strives to provide quality customer service at an affordable price. Homer's specializes in appliance repair. Main Street, Bartlett, NH; (603) 356-6607.

Runner-up: Bellen's A-One Appliance Service Center

Best Auto Repair/Mechanic

Frechette Tire: A hometown, full-service garage, owned and operated by the same family for three generations. You can get new tires, tire rotations, balancing, car inspections, oil changes and a full range of repairs. 164 Passaconaway Road, Conway, NH; (603) 447-5538.

Runner-up: Johnson's Autocare
Honorable Mention: Stan's Service Center

Best Auto Body Shop

Northeast Auto Body: Experience and expertise are the hallmarks for David "Spike" Smith's Northeast Auto Body, which has been doing body work for nearly 40 years. Friendly and thorough, they are known for their courteous, honest service. 530 Eastman Road, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-5808.

Runner-up: Palmer's Custom Paint & Collision
Honorable Mention: The Car Guys

Best Contractor Commercial

L.A. Drew Inc.: Founded in 1969 by Lloyd A. Drew, and now run by Lloyd and Diane's sons, Kevin and Kyler, with daughter Kelly serving as office manager, this company first built home additions and small homes and today does commercial/industrial and steel frame construction projects, as well as a custom homes. 15 Drew Road, Intervale, NH; (603) 356-6351.

Runner-up: Alvin J. Coleman and Son Inc.
Honorable Mention: Cormack Construction Management Inc.

Best Contractor Residential

Cormack Construction Management: Cormack Construction was started by Gordon Cormack in 1972. "We see quality building as where art and science meeting," says his daughter, Colleen Cormack. "Our carpenters are experienced craftsmen, and everything we use to build is of the highest quality." The company specializes in custom home building, new construction and remodeling. 46 East Madison Road, Madison, NH; (603) 367-8272.

Runner-up: Richard Leavitt
Honorable Mention: L.A. Drew

Best Electrician

Tim Dipietro: Dipietro has been working as an electrician in the valley since the early 1980s. In 1995, he established Tim Dipietro Electric. With a small staff of three, Tim Dipietro Electric's provides speedy and quality service work to home owners as well as commercial businesses. 995 Kearsarge Road, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-2248.

Runner-up: Donald Whitelaw
Honorable Mention: Steve Gagne

Best Handyman

Greg Allen at Josiah Bartlett Elementary: Allen is the go-to guy for staff and students when something needs to be done at this K-8 school in Bartlett Village. He brings a wealth of experience in the trades industry and, as Principal Joe Voci describes him, he's the glue behind the school.

Runner-up: Tony Lash, All-Star Builders
Honorable Mention: Michael Schwartz

Best Heating/Cooling Systems

Hurteau Enterprises: Jon Hurteau has over 10 years of experience with installation and repairs of heating systems, HVAC and oil tanks. He's there when you need him, with prompt, professional service. 141 Hobbs St., Conway, NH; (603) 447-6224.

Runner-up: White Mountain Oil and Propane
Honorable Mention: Jesse Lyman, Inc.

Best Plumber

Dan Whitelaw: Now in its eighth year, D Whitelaw Mechanical continues to serve the plumbing, heating and air-conditioning needs of citizens across the area. 419 East Conway Road, Conway, NH; (603) 356-6230.

Runner-up: Larry Smith
Honorable Mention: Tim and Molly Savard

Best Landscaper/Property Management

Lynch's Land Maintenance: The family-owned and operated landscape service covers residential and commercial properties in the North Conway, Conway, Intervale and Fryeburg area. From cutting grass, mulching and planting in the summer to plowing in the winter, Lynch's will help with all the jobs that need doing outside. 539 Intervale Cross Roads, Kearsarge, NH; (603) 356-6657.

Runner-up: RWN Property Services
Honorable Mention: Heart n Hand, Brownfield

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Best Dentist

Tom McDonough: Dr. McDonough and wife, Alena, opened their practice in the mid-1980s. Their patient numbers, staff and facility quickly grew. "Our staff takes great pride in helping you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and beautiful." he says. But it's McDonough's soft-spoken, easy-going manner that makes going to the dentist almost painless. Plus he plays Steely Dan music sometimes. 2967 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-2566.

Runner-up: Dr. George Ryan
Honorable Mention: Dr. Eric Hirschfeld

Best Doctor

Heidi Root: Caring, compassionate and a good listener are words that would describe Dr. Root. She treats the whole person, not just an illness. A board-certified internist specializing in primary care, Heidi is an original member of Saco River Medical Group. 15 US Route 302, Glen, NH; (603) 383-3005.

Runner-up: Dr. William Martin, III
Honorable Mention: Dr. Gretchen Lockard

Best Medical Provider Other Than Doctor

Mountain Center Physical Therapy: Started more than 20 years ago by Betsy Donovan, the center has grown to three locations — Conway Village, Fryeburg and Glen. "Physical therapists, athletic trainers and strength and conditioning specialists are licensed, certified and ready to treat, teach and train," she says. 7 Main St., Conway, NH; (603) 447-2533.

Runner-up: Mellanie Shaw — Living From Within Holistic Life Center
Honorable Mention: Taylor Chiropractic

Best Veterinarian

Scott Johnson at Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital: Johnson is licensed in Maine and New Hampshire and enjoys being a general practitioner of small animal medicine, surgery and dentistry. He has a passion for helping animals and the compassion that so many pet owners love. He fully understands the human/animal bond. 203 Bridgton Road, Fryeburg, Maine; (207) 935-2244.

Runner-up: Kate Battenfelder, True North Veterinary Hospital
Honorable Mention: Sheri Cassell, Conway Veterinary Hospital

Best Veterinary Hospital

Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital: The staff here realizes your pet is an important part of your family and wants to provide the best medical care available at all hours of the day. From wellness exams and vaccines to surgical procedures, they do it all. 203 Bridgton Road, Fryeburg, Maine; (207) 935-2244.

Runner-up: Conway Veterinary Hospital
Honorable Mention: True North Veterinary Hospital

Best Health Club

Cranmore Fitness Center: "Where fun and fitness come together," is the slogan here. The 43,000-square-foot air-conditioned facility features everything from two indoor tennis courts to spinning classes to a Nautilus circuit to a weight room. 1 Skimobile Road, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-6301.

Runner-up: Integrity Health Coaching Solutions
Honorable Mention: Curves

Best Hair Stylist

Debony at the Debony Salon: Owner Debony Diehl opened the salon 11 years ago just over the covered bridge in Jackson. "Wedding hair is a big part of our business," she says, and the salon will provide its services both on-site or off. Debony is a full-service salon and spa, providing haircut and color, massage, nails and Aveda products, among others. 18 Main St., Jackson, NH; (603) 383-9366.

Runner-up: Sarah at The Root Cellar
Honorable Mention: Brittany Campbell at Cking

Best Nail Salon

Nail Envy: The nail salon, set in the heart of North Conway Village, prides itself on its trained, experienced nail technicians, high-quality products and great customer service with a wide selection of nail care services, including acrylic nails, natural nails, gel nails, solar nails, pedicures, manicures and more. 2541 White Mountain Highway, (603) 356-4460.

Runner-up: Zen Nails
Honorable Mention: Katie Nails

Best Spa

Cut Off Salon and Day Spa: Proprietors Sharon Surette and Kathy Kiesman offer services including manicure, pedicure, professional makeup, facials, hair removal and body treatments, including salt or sugar scrub, sun glow, citrus fruit oil wrap, espresso mud treatments and more. 2955 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH; (603) 356-6276.

Runner-up: The Spa at Omni Mt Washington
Honorable Mention: Pleasant Image Salon & Day Spa