Colebrook, New Hampshire

Nestled amidst the picturesque splendor of the northern White Mountains in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, stands the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel.

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About This Location

Nestled amidst the picturesque splendor of the northern White Mountains in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, stands the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, a cherished icon of hospitality and leisure. Its history in the realm of tourism likely traces back to the 1860s when George Parsons welcomed guests at the Dix House. It was later acquired by Henry S. Hale, a frequent guest, who rechristened it as The Balsams in 1895. In 1918, Hale's vision saw the completion of the Hampshire House, a grand expansion that elevated the resort's capacity to accommodate up to 400 guests. Over the ensuing decades, The Balsams flourished, drawing visitors seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

However, even grand resorts can face challenging times. In 1954, The Balsams filed for bankruptcy, and the property underwent a significant change of hands. A man named Neil Tillotson is reputed to have acquired the sprawling 15,000-acre Balsams property at a liquidation auction for a modest sum of $185,000. Although The Balsams was renowned as a summer vacation haven, its potential as a winter wonderland remained largely untapped in the era of burgeoning alpine skiing. As the 1960s dawned, the hotel's management recognized the need for a ski area to keep pace with the numerous resorts emerging across Northern New England. Thus, the development of a ski area near Table Rock was initiated, giving birth to the Wilderness ski area, which opened its slopes on December 26, 1966. This new addition featured a 3,210-foot-long double chairlift and a 750-foot-long novice T-Bar. The ski area continued to expand with the addition of more lifts.

The chapter of The Balsams took an unexpected turn when it closed its doors to the public in December 2011, following its acquisition by new owners for $2.3 million. As of January 2021, the resort remains closed, as the new proprietors seek financing for their ambitious plans of redevelopment and expansion. In 2014, Les Otten, the former CEO of American Skiing Company, joined the effort to revive The Balsams. The grand vision includes a substantial expansion of the ski area to around 1,000 acres, quadrupling its current size and potentially making it one of the largest in the Northeast. The blueprints also outline the renovation of existing hotel structures, the addition of a new hotel wing, and enhancements to the golf course clubhouse.

Estimates place the cost of this extensive revitalization project at approximately $170 million. After years of dedication from the property's owners, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed the "Balsams Bill" into law in May 2019. This legislation empowers the Coös County Commissioners to create a tax increment financing district encompassing The Balsams. Otten intends to raise $28 million by selling bonds through the municipal finance structure, marking the initial step towards redevelopment. As of January 2021, a suitable buyer for the bonds had yet to be secured.

In recognition of its historical significance, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 2002, a testament to its enduring legacy in American hospitality. It's reference number, assigned by the National Park Service, is 02000166.

Though The Balsams is currently private and not accessible to the public, it can still be admired from afar. Travelers along Route 26 can catch glimpses of its grandeur. For the best and most convenient view, there is a small parking area along Cold Spring Road, across from Lake Gloriette. Furthermore, The Balsams can be seen from the iconic Table Rock hike nearby, a favorite spot for photographers to capture its timeless charm.

Location Features

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1000 Cold Spring Road, Colebrook, New Hampshire

GPS Coordinates:
44.870217, -71.306817
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
The Balsams is private, but it can be viewed from Route 26. There is a small parking area along Cold Spring Rd (across Lake Gloriette) which offers the best and easiest viewpoint. You can also see The Balsams from the iconic Table Rock hike nearby.


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