For years, whenever I visited New Hampshire’s north country, I would blissfully drive or pedal along West Side Drive — connecting Conway and North Conway — to escape the mayhem on Route 16, never knowing about the high-end homes, manicured 9-hole golf course, and sprawling hotel nestled into the woodlands at the foot of White Horse Ledge. And that’s precisely the point.
The Hale’s Location Owners Association, its fabulous Hale’s Location golf course, and the wonderful White Mountain Hotel & Resort are tucked into a spectacular pocket of green and granite just to the west of West Side Drive, near Echo Lake State Park and the Lobster Trap restaurant. Pass the access road, and you’ll miss all three. But once you’ve visited, you won’t forget any of them. And you’ll want to come back, again and again.
The White Mountain Hotel & Resort, part of the homeowners association, is owned by the Sullivan family of Massachusetts and was the first structure erected on the site, opening in the summer of 1990. Next came the Albert Zikorus-designed golf course, which quickly gained a reputation as a short-but-challenging nine. By 1998, every home lot had been sold, said Gary Sullivan, owner and general manager of the hotel and resort.
“The hotel was always part of what was envisioned here,” Sullivan said. “It was supposed to be much smaller than the one I built.”