The home of the Mount Washington Auto Road
, Gorham sits at the intersection of Routes 2 and 16 on the Androscoggin River, about six miles south of Berlin
. With its picture-postcard town green surrounded by the library and playing fields, and varied services, Gorham has much to offer travelers. The collection of shops, outdoor outfitters and traveler services provide hikers, bikers and motorists both the necessary and the unusual.
When chartered in 1770 by Governor John Wentworth, Gorham was a small and rocky town composed of farms and small industry. The town's incorporation in 1836 was quickly followed by the arrival of the railroad in 1851. Soon, Gorham, located midway between to the seashore and Montreal, became a hub for trains and their repair and maintenance.
The town's combination of natural beauty and accessibility by rail soon attracted tourists. As the website A Guide To The Towns Of Gorham, Berlin, Jefferson, Randolph & Shelburne, NH
states: "Tourism developed hand-in-hand with the railroad and made Gorham a relatively prosperous town for most of the late 19th century." This past is celebrated today, at Gorham Historical Society's Railroad Museum
, located at 25 Railroad Street.
With tourism came sophisticated attitudes shared by the town's residents. The Medallion Opera House
was constructed in 1915, and operates today as an event and concert venue. An 1800s era private home was transformed into the Gorham Public Library
, which was relocated to its Railroad Street location in 1997.
The arriving in 1861, the Mount Washington Auto Road
, provides visitors with amazing views of the White Mountains. According to www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com
, "When first opened as the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, Abraham Lincoln was president and the Union was made up of 34 states. In fact, the Road preceded many of today's most common items: the telephone, light bulb and the camera." The Auto Road celebrated its 150 year anniversary in 2011.
The nearby Cog Railway
, which according to boston.com
, "Reached the mountain top in 1869, and today also bears the distinction of being the second steepest climbing train in the world -- after the cog train that climbs the Gemmi Pass in Switzerland's Bernese Alps." The Cog Railway is celebrating 140+ years.
For the outdoor enthusiast, the 18-mile Presidential Range winds through stunning landscapes, past the Israel and Moose Rivers, along the perimeter of the White Moutain National Forest
. Trail access is available off Route 2 in Gorham, Hazen Road off Route 2 Whitefield
, or Randolph
at the Castle Trailhead
. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are always permitted, while ATVs, motorized trail bikes and snowmobiles are allowed in snow cover only.
Perfect for history buffs and anyone who enjoys nature, Gorham offers plenty of activities. A variety of lodging and dining choices abound, and the Androscoggin Valley Country Club
offers a full 18 holes. The mountain community of Gorham offers expected charm and welcoming unexpected surprises.