There is a select group of outdoorsmen and women who grow up at the base of the Tetons, in Colorado Springs, or up in rural Vermont; they are exposed to the wonders of nature and its enticing culture from a young age. However, there are many folks who come from urban backgrounds or the “flatlands” of suburbia. For these people, seeing men and women in the media conquering mountains and going on epic adventures makes outdoor leisure look like a daunting activity.
In comes the “weekend warrior.” This term refers to the many avid outdoor adventurers who do not have the luxury of living 20 minutes from the nearest trailhead—rather, they work their nine to five jobs during the week, all the while planning a crazy 48 hour excursion into the wilderness. This culture of weekend adventures into nature has made the outdoors community more accessible.
Wondering how to go about planning your weekend? Check out this example itinerary in Franconia, New Hampshire.
- Depart from Boston- 7:00 PM
Find yourself sitting behind your desk or in your claustrophobic cubicle, itching to get up and go explore? New Hampshire is only a two-hour drive from the Boston metropolitan area. Leave work around five—no need to hurry, it’s best to avoid the rush-hour traffic leaving Boston, which ranges from four to six in the evening. When packing your bag—don’t forget the ten essentials and any other things you may want for the weekend. A good novel is definitely recommended.
- Some good ole New Hampshire cookin’- 8:00 PM
About an hour’s north drive from Boston, off of exit 20 on I-93, is the town of Tilton, New Hampshire. You can’t miss the bright pink building sitting next to the Shell station. The Tilt’n Diner is part of a chain of establishments owned by the Common Man Family of Restaurants. Walking inside, you feel as if the clocks have turned back to the 1950s—old Coca-Cola advertisements hang on the walls and a bustling motley crowd of travelers and locals fills the room. The diner has a humorous, family-style ambiance that is unique to the New Hampshire experience. One of the interesting features of the menu is the “Diner Lingo” section on the back page—a “how to” guide in ordering at the Tilt’n Diner. Order some fried pickles ($4.99) and a frappe ($3.79) to start, then try to expand your pallet with some of the Homestyle Classics. You’ll leave feeling satiated and excited to continue on to your adventure.
3. Checking in- 9:30 PM
When deciding where to stay for your weekend trip, there are a few different options. You can take “all-inclusive” experience and stay at one of the many motels that dot Route 3 and other areas in the White Mountains. If you are looking to spend some money, you could even consider staying at the Mount Washington Resort up in Bretton Woods. However, for the real dirtbag approach, consider staying at one of the KOA campgrounds along the side of the road, or even at the Dartmouth Lodge, located off of Route 118. If you are looking to do a traverse of the Presidential region of the Whites or start your kayaking adventure at 6:00 AM, consider camping out at or near the trailhead to get an early start on your day.
- Early meal- 7:30 AM
If you’re looking to get the most out of your day, grab breakfast as soon as you can! The economical decision would be to bring something from home—whether that’s bagels with cream cheese (or butter, cheese, whatever satisfies your morning needs) or instant oatmeal. However, if you are looking to treat yourself before you set out on that hike, climb or kayak, go to White Mountain Bagel. Located in Lincoln, just off of the Kancamangus Highway, this bagel shop provides a wide array of options to start off your morning. Their spread of bagels includes the usual plain, poppy seed, and everything, but also the Asiago, tomato basil and many more. A bagel with cream cheese goes for $2.09, and an egg and cheese bagel starts at $2.89. Grab one or two—always a nice summit treat to have a fresh artisan bagel waiting in your pack.
- Finally, the adventure you have been waiting for- 8:30 AM
Well, this is it. Go explore! Go on that hike you have been Google imaging for the past two weeks. Ride down the Pemigewasett River. Go climbing at Cathedral or Rumney. Be present in nature; this is your opportunity to get away from the constant emailing, conference calls, presentations, or homework—enjoy the moment to the fullest.
- Time for that craft beer you have been craving- 4:00 PM
You’ve just gotten back to your car at the trailhead, and all you feel is a mix of accomplishment and dehydration. A nice place to wind down, look through some of the actions shots you took from the day, and relish the memories of a great adventure is the Woodstock Inn, right off Route 3 in Woodstock. It is important to note that the restaurant has a special half-off deal on appetizers (which are really full meals in themselves) from three to five in the afternoon. If you can get there before five, you will save yourself some extra cash. Enjoy one of Woodstock Inn’s own craft beers: Pig’s Ear Brown Ale, Pemi Pale Ale, Old Man Oatmeal Stout or 4000 Footer IPA. For those under the age of 21, their home-brewed root beer will definitely satisfy your thirst.
- Nothing like a grill and a campfire- 7:00 PM
If you aren’t full already, end your day of adventure by grilling up a burger (veggie burger, too) and enjoying the company of your fellow weekend warriors. Share stories around a bonfire—the good, the bad and the ugly. This is a great opportunity to learn from your peers and also get you psyched on your next weekend excursion.
- Do it all again- 8:00 AM
Looking to get the most out of our weekend? If you have the time, go hike, bike, kayak, climb on Sunday, too. There’s no rule against it—and you’ll find that many areas are far more crowded on Saturdays than Sundays. The weekend warrior is all about making the most of the 48 hours between Friday and Monday. If the idea of hiking another 10 miles or leading another trad route is just out of the question, take the morning to go for a walk or relax by the water.
- Pitstop on the way home- 1:00 PM
If you want to take the more scenic route home, take Route 118 all the way west to Warren. In this small town you will find Fat Bob’s Ice Cream, a local ice cream shop that will blow your mind. The extent of their menu is outrageous; there are almost too many options. For $3.25, a small cup of ice cream will be more than enough. Take the time to hang out and chat with the other folks from Warren before heading back to your car for the drive home.