Conway, five miles down Route 16 from North Conway at the south end of the scenic railroad line, is a nicer, littler town, with a couple of restaurants, a post office, and the very clean and very friendly HI-White Mountains Hostel (36 Washington St., 603/447-1001, $27 per person, $65 private rooms), in the heart of town. If you have your doubts about hostelling, this place is sure to dispel them; run as a sustainable living center, it’s as clean as it is serene, and besides saving money staying here, you’re apt to meet like-minded fellow travelers over breakfast or relaxing in the game room.

Up in the hills above Conway, off Route 16 one mile south of the Kancamagus Highway at the edge of the White Mountains National Forest, the Darby Field Inn and Restaurant (603/447-2181, $165 and up) is a B&B open year-round for skiing, hiking, and great après-outdoors meals.