If you're on the lookout for some out-of-the-box fun this summer, you may want to put the Mount Washington Cog Railway on your list. The first mountain-climbing cog railway, nestled in the jaw-dropping White Mountains of New Hampshire, is attracting visitors of all stripes with its lineup of upcoming summer events—with themes ranging from steampunk to handmade crafts to classic ingenuity.
This summer is meaningful as it marks the 150th anniversary of the Old Peppersass—the original locomotive that built the railway itself. The dazzling old engine recently kicked off the beginning of a three-year U.S. tour slated to end in 2019, when The Cog will celebrate its own 150th anniversary. Peppersass is planning on making stops in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and various parts of New Hampshire. The tour will wrap up with a final anniversary bash at The Cog in the summer of 2019.
New Yorkers may want to mark August 20 on their calendars. Mount Washington, located about six hours north of the city, will be playing host to Steampunk at The Cog. Here, Peppersass and the Victorian age burst to life in a colorful celebration of all things steampunk—including vendors, a fashion show, and a themed steam train ride to the top of Mount Washington.
Peppersass, whose name was inspired by its pepper-sauce bottle shape, became the first cog-driven train to ever climb to the top of Mount Washington. Ascending the 6,228-foot summit was no small feat, especially back in 1869. The event marked a major milestone, one that many said could never be done. We have Sylvester Marsh to thank; the inventor created the first steam locomotive that used a cog wheel to grip a center-notched rail. Peppersass was a game changer, paving the way for all mountain-climbing cog railways that came after it.
The fact that Peppersass is back in action is a thrill. Those familiar with the story of Peppersass will be in awe of the little engine that literally could. What better way to get the full experience than to ride in one of the vintage coal-fired steam engines that nod to their mountain-climbing predecessor.
Today, the Cog (nicknamed the "Railway to the Moon") takes thousands of visitors each year to the top of stunning Mount Washington. The three-hour ride is known for its epic views; panoramic vistas positively dripping with natural beauty. All the while, an in-the-know brakeman offers up fascinating tidbits about the journey. On the way, passengers can explore history and memorabilia at the Cog Railway Museum before hitting the peak. At the top, the Mount Washington Observatory Museum (along with unreal 360-degree views) await. This is where visitors are given a fascinating peek into the mountain's mesmerizing weather and unique ecosystem.
Nature lovers, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts alike flock to The Cog, and with good reason. When the city streets grow too crowded this summer, consider a mini-vacation to Mount Washington. It's a day trip you won't soon forget (especially if you hit up the shopping outlets in North Conway, NH).
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is located on Base Road, Mount Washington, NH; six miles from MT. Washington Resort and Bretton Woods, NH.