Admit it; one of the best parts of hiking is the post hike dinner. After the hike you are muddy, hungry, and you have great hiking stories that should be told over a hearty meal. Also, if you are anything like me, you have eaten nothing but Pop-Tarts and Mountain House dinners for the past few days. This means your restaurant choice is a crucial decision. Below are my top picks for post hike chow and good times.
This place is so good that I almost go hiking just for an excuse to eat here. It is the perfect combination of ambiance, food and location. The menu is full of hiker favorites like meatloaf and Death by Sandwich (see below) which is several pounds of tasty. It is impossible to leave this place hungry. Take a look around as you enjoy your meal, this place used to be a train station and I think that is pretty neat. Oh yeah, it also helps that it is a brewery with plenty of tasty beers on tap. Lastly, it is right off I-93 which is great if you are coming from Mount Washington, Moosilauke, Waterville Valley or just about anywhere in the Whites.
Death by Sandwich is not an exaggeration
Tilton is a must stop on almost every hike. This is a diner straight out of the 1950s with bee-bop music, chrome on the inside and a pink exterior. Here you will find a lengthy menu full of classic diner fare. I highly recommend a black and white milkshake with a Cadillac. No I am not talking about cars. Tilton’s “Cadillac” consists of pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast and hash browns for under $10; everything you need after getting off the trail. Hikes and skiers are a common sight here so you will feel right at home. It is located close to the junction of I-93 and I-89 so it is on the way home from most hikes. It is also right next to a gas station so you can fill up your gas tank after filling yourself up.
I have been known to drive up to 30 minutes out of the way just to eat at the Moat. Eat here if your hike takes you anywhere near the North Conway region. This is a classic White Mountains brewpub. The menu has plenty of tasty options but I am partial to their burgers and the beer menu which has something for everyone. The Moat’s only downside is that it might be too popular and is usually packed; waits up to 45 minutes are not unusual.
When the Moat is packed you should head straight for the Muddy Moose. This White Mountains themed restaurant caters to hikers with great service and food. The friendly wait staff always asks about our hike or skip trip. The food is mountain themed with items like the “Mountain Climber’s Steak Sandwich” or the “Trailside Burger”. However, I am partial to their “Smokey the Burger” which is smothered in barbecue sauce and cheese.
Next time you head to the Whites don’t settle for a gas station hot dog for dinner. You deserve better and thankfully you have plenty of options.