From Surviving to Thriving …
How the Mt. Washington Valley Changed One Family’s Life

By Chris Major, Caldwell Banker Wright Realty


“Have you heard the Raining Tacos song?” Eight-year-old Oliver asks me as I settle in at the kitchen table of his family’s home. To his 10-year-old sister Ella’s delight, I tell him no, I have not. They play me the silly song, giggling madly, while their parents and I look on, unable to hold back our amusement.

Looking at Andy Dean, his wife Jess, and their two children relaxing and having fun after a day of work and school, you would never guess that this laid-back family once lived in the hustle and bustle of Boston. Eight years ago, the Dean family felt like they were simply “surviving” the city life, when they were introduced to the Mt. Washington Valley by friends. Like many families with young children, they were initially interested in Story Land, however, the Deans quickly fell in love with the year-round adventure the area provides.

Visits north from Boston became more and more frequent, so the family could ski, swim, and hike. Jess says, “I couldn’t wait for the weekend, so we could head north.” In 2013, the Deans were spending so much time up here, they chose to purchase a vacation property close to Cranmore. As Andy puts it, “Ella wanted to join the ski racing team, and it meant we were here every weekend. It just made sense to have our own place and be able to invite friends and family up, too.”

Three years later, after hopelessly falling in love with the Valley, they made the decision to make the move permanent and leave city life behind. They purchased a home in Intervale with plenty of land for the kids and Willow, their rescue dog, to run around. With trails leading directly off the property and winter views to their favorite ski mountain, Cranmore, it was the perfect choice.

While the hardest part of moving was leaving behind their friends, Oliver says he is happy to have a large yard to play in, and they now have more room for animals. “In Boston,” the kids exclaim, “the yard was smaller than the kitchen!” They enjoy raising chickens and hope to convince their parents to let them add goats to the family. “Living in the Valley gives you a wonderful work-life balance. We have been able to spend more time together as a family,” states Andy. “The community is welcoming, and truly understands and embraces the importance of having family time.”

When asked what they love most about the Valley, the Dean family echoes the same sentiment that those living here can easily relate to, “You can breathe in the Valley, there is a strong culture, and the opportunity for adventure and fun is endless.” Jess says, “I love swimming with my family at Flat Rocks and looking for new swimming holes to explore.”

The Mt. Washington Valley offers a unique outdoor experience for families. “On Monday’s, the kids participate in ESSC”—a program that allows all children in grades 1-6 in the area to ski or ride at area mountains—“and I can ski with them every week,” says Andy. “Whether you are visiting for the first or hundredth time, or if you live here permanently, the Mt. Washington Valley truly has something for everyone, especially if you love the outdoors,” says the Dean family.

I can’t help but agree with them. Though I’ve lived here for 30 years, as the seasons change, I find myself excited for what’s next. Whether it’s first tracks in fresh powder, reeling in the catch of the day, or exploring new areas on my bicycle, the Mt. Washington Valley does not disappoint.

Chris Major is an outdoor enthusiast and Realtor at Coldwell Banker Wright Realty, serving buyers and sellers throughout the Mt. Washington Valley.