Tourism and Grand Hotels
Use the links at the left under Tourism for pages and
photos of several hotels.
Before hotels were built in the White Mountains, travelers were served by taverns, which in the early days could have been quite primitive. Prior to about 1820, these early taverns catered to commercial traffic, mostly teamsters and farmers transporting excess produce to seaport towns and returning with imported goods that were not available locally. This traffic was substantial. The taverns tended to be along the rivers at ferry crossings, at road intersections and every few miles along the roads and turnpikes as they developed. Early travel journals are filled with references to these taverns-complimentary about some and quite negative about others.
As travel increased, many of the taverns expanded into hotels and as transportation improved, and as tourists began to visit the region, many of the hotels grew into the Grand Hotels. In several instances, businessmen, railroads and corporations built hotels unrelated to earlier taverns, to accommodate travelers. Some of the early tavern keepers were the first guides, escorting visitors to the mountains as early as 1819.
The links at the left will take you to pages that include the history of particular taverns and hotels as well as photo albums that document the buildings, the grounds, and changes over time.
The definitive book is Grand Resort Hotels of the White Mountains by Bryant Tolles.
For details on the early taverns:
On the Road North of Boston by Donna Belle and James Garvin