CONWAY — Fantastic weather and a longer window for peak foliage viewing are only two reasons out of many that the valley experienced a growth in business this fall. The White Mountains were also named the “Best Destination for Fall Foliage” by readers of USA Today for 2021, and Mt. Washington Valley has become a prime destination over the years for domestic travel for seasoned and new visitors from throughout New England, and beyond.
Shops, restaurants and lodging businesses reported an increase in reservations and sales.
Many agreed that fall foliage was late this year, with peak foliage beginning to present in the second week of October. This stretch in time-frame has elongated the foliage season, driving an increase in reservations across the industry.
Jen Kovach, co-owner of Snowvillage Inn and Max’s Pub in Eaton, said that reservations for the weekend following fall foliage’s typical peak “are almost full from folks coming up to see the tail end of foliage.”
Bob Tupper of White Lake Speedway shared that “hours were reduced due to lack of staff, and most significantly, karting had to shut down three weeks early because of it.” Interestingly enough, even with the reduction in hours and available activities White Lake Speedway was still able to match 2019’s revenue numbers, which paints a picture on the amount of volume businesses are handling when it comes to visitors.
Jordon Hewson, owner of Designed Gardens Studio, said she is grateful for her dedicated crew. “We have a small family here that takes care of each other; and being a smaller studio is a positive aspect when it comes to the staffing side of things. I also take pride in paying very well and treating my staff often with massages, bonuses, and other incentives to thank them for their work.”
Hewson also brought attention to a growing sector that also plays a role in each season’s success in the valley; and that is of the wedding industry.
Jordon noticed “a huge increase in mountain elopements, translating to 40 bookings for this season alone.”
The chamber is currently working with the Department of Business and Economic Affairs to discuss challenges businesses are facing and find opportunities to recruit staff for the Valley.
The Chamber created the MWV Pledge, a 10-principle responsibility code that encompasses safety precautions and responsibility tenets on how to preserve the land and trails; how to treat one another in shared spaces; how to protect state’s wildlife and the indigenous flora and fauna, as well as how to preserve the state’s waterways.
Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to visit www.mwvpledge.com , and sign their name to the pledge, and promise to preserve and protect the White Mountains, and its natural resources so we can protect it for years to come.
It also launched the “Learn from a Local, Live Like a Local” campaign.
Currently represented by six locals, each local highlights their reasons as to why they love living in the valley, how they like to spend their days off in the valley, and what being part of its community means to them.