by Francis and Linda McGovern
Are you one of the people that loves fall and can’t wait for it to begin? Do you want to get away and get your share of fresh air and fall foliage?
My wife Linda and I wanted to take a few days to get in the spirit of fall. We were looking for something new yet that felt familiar. We wanted to find a friendly place that would welcome us back even if we haven’t been there before. We were looking to have some fun make a memory along the way.
We drove to Madison, NH from just outside Boston and arrived the night before at the Purity Spring Resort’s first annual Oktoberfest. At the end of September the leaves are just starting to change and turn orange and gold and there was a little bit of lull at the resort. We visited during the week and it was super peaceful. The resort is a made up of a gathering of buildings and a ski slope (King Pine) around Purity Lake. This includes the main office (The Mill) and some dorm / camp style lodgings including hillside condos, small houses and the like with some nice trails connecting everything together. The Resort has been under the care of the Hoyt Family for the past few generations and has grown from a summer camp to a year round resort that is modern but feels like step back in time to lake living in a quiet peaceful section of New Hampshire.
For dinner on our first night we went to Traditions restaurant which is right across from the Main building from the Mill House.
We had delicious grilled vegetable kabobs, and fries with truffle oil. Then we split salads a perfectly tender kale salad and the trail’s end salad. We finished it off with hot homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Kris was managing the pub and told us her own personal story about her tradition of coming here as a young girl and then ending up working here years later. When she was a little girl in Old Greenwich Connecticut she would get on a train and as a Christmas gift she’d come up to North station by train and then she would get a bus up to the ski resort when she was 12 years old and take her younger sisters up with her on her own.
She spoke of tradition as a real phenomenon as part of the resort experience. She described how many people would come here when they were kids and then maybe they would take a break in college and then they come back as adults when they had their own kids. She said…”The reason they come back is because of the memories.”
After a delicious dinner we made our way back across to road to our the room. The property was quiet and we realized that no one else was staying there in the main building. Linda forgot her reading glasses in the car and asked me to get them on the condition that I had better come back. It was still a little warm and we opened the windows and let the babbling brook lull us to sleep without another sound to disturb our slumber.
We started our second day with a delicious breakfast burrito and a pumpkin spice latte and couple of wonderful muffins (try the cranberry orange.) Then Linda hit the gym, which is right next to the indoor pool. And then we wanted to explore the resort so we took a lovely trail walk around Purity Lake and visited the top of the King Pine Ski Slope as well as Sunset Beach. The trails around the lake are well maintained and used for cross country skiing in the winter. We took our time and easily spent a few hours on the trails. Part of the resort has been preserved as the NH Audubon Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Hoyt family has been welcoming guests since 1911. In fact Purity Spring Resort marked its 110-year anniversary in 2021, and has been continuously owned by the Hoyt Family of East Madison. The Resort strives to accommodate travelers and families looking for an authentic experience. The resort grew from a mill to a summer camp into a year-round destination. The family has carefully maintained the land around the lake so travelers can go back in time to see and experience the same lake that brought families here years ago.
Highway West Vacations, has been brought in to run the property. Highway West has lodging, camping, glamping, and RV properties in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Hawaii. The Hoyt family also owns the Danforth Bay Camping Resort and The Bluffs RV Park and offers a unique high-end option for campers new and old alike.
People have been coming to the resort for generations. Sometimes it is guests that are coming with their families and other times it is an Alumnae group or special interest group like a scrapbook gathering. The next day after we visited a group from MIT was coming. The resort can handle large groups of between 150 to 200 people for weddings, gatherings and family reunions.
Because the resort is intimate and pristine, many people (not just former guests) hold weddings on the King Pine Ski Slope (where guests can take the chair lift to the ceremony at the top of the slope.) A recent traditional Indian wedding ceremony was held at the top. The view is fit for a king and we were able to visit top of the slope where you have a beautiful view of the lake.
Many people have learned to ski at King Pine and it is looked upon fondly as a great resort to learn to ski. The name of slope comes from two large pines on the property that bore the mark of King George—meaning that, before the American Revolution, they were identified and marked by British forces to be used as ship masts for King George’s Royal Navy. The trees both fell during severe storms, but today, sections of board can still be found on display in both the ski lodge and The Mill.
When it was time for the Oktoberfest we were ready and excited. A very nice crowd of about 70 or 80 people showed up for the event. The Oktoberfest continues the Thursday summer tradition of lobster cookout on Purity Island.
Food included authentic German potato salad, German bratwurst with sauerkraut, Gurkensalat salad, German beer pretzels with beer cheese dipping sauce, and of course local and seasonal lagers and ale. There were also yummy desserts such as German chocolate cupcakes and German apple cake. The polka music helped to set the mood for the Stein hoisting contest. All food was provided by Tradition’s restaurant.
At the Oktoberfest celebration we met really nice people who were staying in the Madison area who were curious about the resort. Everyone arrived in a spirit of friendliness to something new they were curious about. The first people we met were a couple from Tampa, Florida and then another couple from Richmond Virginia that owned a house on nearby Silver Lake. The gentleman from the second couple told us his parents bought a house on Silver Lake over fifty years ago and he hasn’t missed a year coming up. (He lived near the E.E. Cummings house. In fact, they were headed there as guests for lunch the next day. It has been recently renovated as a private residence. There are always literary connections when you least expect them.)
If you are looking for a place to escape into fall or winter or summer then check out Purity Spring Resort you’ll be glad you did. You’ll be welcome back even if you haven’t been there before.
For More Information please visit Purity Spring Resort to learn more about their packages and specials. They have many great packages including a Tin Mountain tour package, a romance package, and a stay and dine package which includes lodging and dinner at Traditions Restaurant, Tuckerman Brewing package and a holiday shopping package.
About the Authors
Francis McGovern is the co-founder and founding editor and publisher at Literary Traveler. He has run the site for almost 25 years. He was at Walking Magazine and then spent three years at Lycos.com where he served as a product manager for their suite of personalization products including My Fidelity and My Lycos.
Francis has also run a search engine consulting practice as well and has served as Vice President of Operations for the reviewed.com network. He has helped to lead and develop many literary tours and cruises and loves to discuss books and ideas with a group of travelers as they discover new places.
Linda McGovern is the co-founder and founding editor for Literary Traveler. She received her Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from Lesley University. Before Literary Traveler, she was at The Atlantic Monthly, where she had the opportunity to work with the travel editor Barbara Wallraff. Linda sparked the idea for Literary Traveler the day she and Francis met. Francis took the idea to write and travel the world to heart and they have been at it ever since.