Conway is and outdoor adventure town and retail mecca comprised of three villages (North Conway, Center Conway and Conway) and covers a large area. The villages of Kearsarge and a portion of Intervale are also part of the town of Conway. In 1765, New Hampshire governor Benning Wentworth appointed the first 65 men to settle the area in Center Conway. "It can be a little confusing, but there is a history and logic to the existence of the different villages," says Bob Cottrell, Henney History Room Curator, Conway Public Library
. "Actually, the town was chartered in a large land area, so the villages developed as the hubs of the populated parts of town."
The Pequawket and Abenaki Indian tribes inhabited the area when explorers arrived in the area in 1642, however their numbers decreased rapidly, due in part to Smallpox. The Conway Public Library has worked diligently to document the history of native peoples in the Conway area.
The arrival of rail travel in 1861, and the area's natural beauty, allowed it to quickly flourish
as a vacation destination.
Arguably the best-known of the villages, North Conway is called "the birthplace of American skiing"
by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of
website. The area is sophisticated, successful and popular.
"Snow trains" increased the volume of skiers in 1932, and the number of inns and hotels in North
Conway increased rapidly. Passenger trains ended in 1961, and the automobile became the primary
mode of transportation, however North Conway is served by the
Bus, with connections to Berlin
to the north, Concord, Manchester, Boston and Logan Airport to the south.
A center for outdoor recreation, the Village of North Conway is also a hub for shopping and shopping
outlet centers created with land procured from the defunct White Mountain Airport. Picturesque Route
16 was redesigned and widened to accommodate the increased vehicle traffic in the 1980s.
Dining selections are numerous, varied and international. The usual chains are represented, and the independent
restaurants include A Taste of Thai
, at 27 Seavey Street in North Conway,
that offers non-fried spring rolls and other interesting items and May Kelly's
Irish Restaurant & Pub
on Route 16 offering sandwiches, steaks and salads in an Irish-style pub atmosphere,
with occasional live music.
The lodging list is long and varied from the modest to the opulent, and includes chains and independent inns, hotels,
motels and bed and breakfasts. Colonial Motel
, 2431 White
Mountain Highway is an economical, family friendly place to stay. The
White Mountain Hotel
Red Jacket Mountain View Resort
offer more upscale amenities and activities, and, of course, incredible views.
A charming village, complete with white churches and colonial homes, Center Conway is inviting and calming. The hub of the sprawling land area of Conway, Center Conway is the location of town offices and other civic agencies.
There is a town beach on Conway Lake. Canoe rentals are available on the Saco River at Saco Valley Canoe
at 1734 Main Street.
Conway Village is a mostly residential and was once known as "Conway Corner." The medical offices here have been the place of business for physicians for over 100 years. For those who are history sleuths, many interesting stories can be discovered here.
"There are things we locals know, that visitors don't," says Bob Cottrell. "For example, everyone in town knows where Bowling Alley Hill is, even though the bowling alley has been gone for many, many years."