MODERATE DROUGHT NOTWITHSTANDING, has there ever been a nicer stretch of blue-skied 50-center weather here in the shadow of Mount Washington this first official week of summer?

It’s definitely been top of the charts in the daily weather rating on WMWV 93.5-FM’s Morning Weather Show, with Thursday and Friday getting the drum roll from host Roy “The Skiing DJ” Prescott after getting the top rating from local weather observer Ed Bergeron those days.

That followed a series of four 50-centers Monday through Thursday last week, leading up to the arrival of the summer solstice at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, June 20.

In keeping with my local tradition, yours truly made sure I was swimming at the time of the solstice’s arrival by heading out to buddy Brian P. Wiggin’s on Conway Lake.

Best part? As I swam out to the floating dock, I incredibly was accompanied by the mama duck that makes Brian’s dock her home territory and one of her baby ducks.

The pair later paddled over to hang out with two young neighboring children who were enjoying the best of a New Hampshire summer by hanging out with their dad on an inflatable dragon water toy. I watched from the floating dock as they swam back to the beach, the two kids, their father and the two ducks, all on Father’s Day, making for a memorable New Hampshire day.

It was a refreshing and safe, socially distant way to enjoy the start of summer, both for the ducks and me.

TODAY’S ADVENTURE will be getting to be a guest on the Conway Scenic Railroad’s Notch Train, which is being rededicated by its historic Boston & Maine name, The Mountaineer.

Every time I hear the radio ad for The Mountaineer, I think they’re saying “Mountain Ear,” the name of the newspaper my late brother Steve Eastman co-founded in 1976. Its last issue was in November 2014. I worked there from 1979-2007 before coming to the Sun.

Having ridden the first train through the Notch back on Sept. 1, 1995, once the CSRR obtained the lease for the Mountain Division, I am eagerly looking forward to today’s excursion as railroading is in my blood.

Pulling The Mountaineer will be one of the CSRR’s diesel locomotives, No. 252 or No. 216. It will be featured Tuesdays and Saturdays, with more runs to be added as the season progresses.

Safe social distancing will be practiced on the train, according to CSSR Marketing Director Brian Solomon. Passengers will be asked to board the train wearing face masks and all staff will also be wearing masks.

I’m told that most of the tickets for today’s 50-mile up-and-back run have been booked, but if you’re interested, go to conwayscenic.com or try calling (603) 356-5251 to see if there are any left or you may want to book for a different date and of course you can always book a Valley Train.

Kudos to David and Rhonda Swirk, Brian and crew for stewarding the scenic railroad founded by Carroll Reed, Bill Levy and Dwight Smith in 1974 and later owned and operated by Russ and Dot Seybold.

IN OTHER LOCAL attraction news, as today’s cover story by biking and skiing scribe Marty Basch notes, today is the grand opening of Cranmore’s beginner-friendly, lift-serviced Mountain Bike Park. It features three trails of beginner/intermediate flow trails off Cranmore’s South Quad, in addition to a skills park near the base of the mountain.  

“So far, it’s all smiles on the faces of everyone who has tested it out, so we’re ready to go,” said Cranmore General Manager and President Ben Wilcox Friday. He added: “I really think the valley is on the verge of seeing a great growth in biking as a destination, between what we’re offering for beginners and intermediates, Attitash with their lift-serviced biking and Great Glen with their trail system, let alone with what NEMBA has planned and then of course is the Rec Path next year."

For more, call Cranmore at (603) 356-5543 or go to cranmore.com.

IN OTHER RESORT news, nice to see the Theater in the Wood set to hold its second annual Sunset Concert Series despite the pandemic concerns, by holding all shows outdoors.

Ticket capacity will be somewhat limited, according to Believe in Books' Michele Wright.

The series kicks off with a rescheduled performance from the Adam Ezra Group on July 25. The final performance is a show by Erinn Peet Lukes of Thunder and Rain Sept. 26. More information and tickets for the series are available at theaterinthewood.org.

IN HAPPY BIRTHDAYS this week, we salute one and all, including dear sister Susan Eastman, now a successful Realtor in Boulder, Colo., and maker of the Jen’s Friends amulets; and photographer Dennis Coughlin (both today); award-winning Sun sports scribe and education report Lloyd Jones, Victoria Noel Blake of Tuckerman’s Brewing Co; Hannah Schneider, Bartlett Selectman Gene Chandler and Paul Costello (6-28); musician Riley Parkhurst, and former WMWV engineer Charlie Osgood, now of Washington state (6-29); North Sandwich author of the "Etched in Granite" historical novel series Mj Pettengill, Lisa DuFault of Valley Promotions, Cooper’s mom, avid golfer Suzanne McCarthy and Steve Iannuzzi (6-30), 2016 Everest summiter Thom Dharma Pollard, Phil Ouellette, Walt Henderson of Fire 21, Purity Spring Resort’s Thomas Prindle; White Mountain Treasure Russ Lanoie, founding Jen’s Friends’ board member Ruthanne Fabrizio, Realtor Theresa Bernhardt and Greyson Carrier (7-2); and Lara Preece, Gary Smith and barber June Krahn (7-3), and all others.

SPEAKING OF EVEREST, adventure filmmaker Thom Pollard and fellow Jackson resident/2019 Everest summiter/author Mark Synnott note that “Lost on Everest” and “Everest Expedition” will air on the National Geographic Channel (Channel 50 for local Spectrum viewers) at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively, June 30.

ALL ABOARD!!! See you on the high iron and out on the lake, with fellow railfans at the former and the ducks at the latter.

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