The White Mountains  are divided conveniently into two halves, corresponding to the two highways that cut through the peaks. On the west side, along I-93, is the Franconia Region . Here the peaks are smaller (though by no means unimpressive) and the highway is studded by family-style attractions and trailheads to day hikes in the excellent Franconia State Park. The prime attraction is the hike along the wooden boardwalk along the mossy cliffs of the Flume Gorge . In the same area, you can rise above the peaks with a ride up the spectacular Cannon Aerial Tramway .
In the eastern White Mountains, state Route 16 is bottlenecked by the retail paradise of the North Conway outlets. After that, it climbs high into the Presidential Range , named for the majesty of the peaks that seem to rise above mere mortal mounts. The star attraction, of course, is Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States.
In addition to hiking to the summit, two unique routes rise to the occasion, the Mount Washington Cog Railway  and the Mount Washington Auto Road , each with its own history and scenic thrills. Along the slopes of Mount Washington, the bowl-shaped Tuckerman Ravine  is a favorite destination for backpack powder skiing—just watch out for landslides.
Connecting the two sides of the region, the Kancamagus Highway —or as it’s known, the “Kanc”—has to be driven to be believed. During foliage season, its vertiginous pitches and climbs define the word scenic. North of the White Mountains, the Great North Woods  stretch toward the Canadian border with endless landscape of mountains, hardwood forests, and wetlands.
Restaurants in the more touristed areas stay open year-round. Most keep regular hours; the majority serve just lunch and dinner. But keep in mind that hours can be more erratic in the outlying towns. If you’re looking to plan a meal ahead, be sure to call and confirm first.