Spring is pretty much at our doorstep, and it couldn't have come sooner. While saying so long to the winter chill is famous for revving up our spring cleaning engines, the change of season also pushes us outdoors to experience nature at its very best. In the Northeast, few attractions awe and inspire quite like the Mount Washington Cog Railway.
Tucked away in the majestic mountains of New England, the track of the world's first mountain-climbing cog railway snakes and spirals up to a jaw-dropping 6,228-foot summit. (It's little wonder the Cog has been nicknamed the "Railway to the Moon.") From there, a dazzling panoramic view awaits—Maine, Vermont, Canada, the Atlantic Ocean, and the whole of New Hampshire's epic valleys and mountains are there to drink in.
The three-hour trek kicks off at Marshfield Base Station, where visitors can unearth the landmark's rich, colorful history at the Cog Railway Museum (which features open admission). The Cog has been bringing folks up the mountain since 1869, and is absolutely steeped in lore and legend. From there, it's up the mountain you go as a brakeman provides a guided tour jam-packed with fun facts along the way. History buffs are sure to get a kick out of making the journey in a vintage coach, powered by a steam locomotive of years past. (Modern, eco-friendly engines are available as well.)
Once at the peak, visitors are met with 360-degree vistas unlike any other. They're also welcomed with a complimentary pass to the Mount Washington Observatory Museum; a thrilling, behind-the-scenes adventure. Here, they'll get a peek into what the mountain is like during the harsh winter months, thanks to an interactive installation called "Extreme Mount Washington." Here, visitors can actually sit in the driver's seat of a Snow Cat simulator and virtually drive down a snowy mountain road. The experience provides a glimpse into Mount Washington's famously diverse weather. (It's actually the spot where the highest wind ever observed by man was recorded—an unbelievable 231 mph!)
A trip to the Cog is a refreshing change of pace from the buzz and hustle of New York. Located about six hours north of the city, Mount Washington is an out-of-the-box, once in a lifetime adventure that makes a great weekend getaway.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is located on Base Road, Mount Washington, NH; six miles from MT. Washington Resort and Bretton Woods, NH.