Treasure the beautiful Laconia, NH lakes region.
Sep 16, 2019 at 8:00 AM by
Life always seems better on the water, or in the water, particularly if it’s a hot summer’s day. There’s nothing like the silky waters of a lake whether you’re swimming in them, listening to them lap at the shore or gazing out upon their blue–green beauty. Of course you could also be boating on them, hiking alongside of them or ice fishing on their white, crystalline surfaces in January, to name just a few of the activities you can do here. There’s no end to the enjoyment you can have at a lake.
You’re well served within the Lakes Region of New Hampshire since this area in the mid-to-northern part of New Hampshire boasts many lovely ones including Winnisquam Lake, Squam Lake, Newfound Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee, the biggest one of them all. Peppered with hundreds of islands of all shapes and sizes whether private, public or forever wild, these irregular-shaped bodies of water charm you with their natural beauty, the fun you can have upon them and the life and culture created on them by man. Bordered by long, loafy mountains that ease into their shores, the water as well as the land here beckons to be revered. And from hotels such as the Lake Ochepee Inn in Laconia to an historic home on Meredith Bay, there’s no end to the handsome and heartwarming structures and homes that punctuate the lakeside landscapes in this section of the Northeast. No wonder this part of New England has attracted vacationers for more than a century and a half.
Did you ever see “On Golden Pond” starring Jane and Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn? If so, that provides you with an instant visual of the allure and tranquility of these lakes. That famous movie was actually filmed on Squam Lake, located northwest of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Approximately twenty-one miles long and one to nine miles wide, Lake Winnipesaukee ranks as the largest lake in New Hampshire. The center of the lake is called The Broads, an area that you’ll see marked next to a big sailboat on your Discovery Map.
You can enjoy one of the best views of the lake perched high up at Castle in the Clouds Lucknow Estate. Take in stunning panoramic vistas from the patio of their Carriage House Restaurant. Immerse yourself in more incredible scenery on some of the nearby hiking trails maintained by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. Some offer water views of a different kind, ones flush with cascading waterfalls including a really big one called Falls of Song. You can easily spend a whole day there, especially if you want to take a tour of the historic Lucknow Estate, a glorious mansion built between 1913 and 1914 in the Arts and Crafts style. Good news:You can now even tour the basement where you can learn about some of the property’s more Downton Abbey-like ways.
Visit the Loon Center and Markus Wildlife Sanctuary, also in Moultonborough, not far from Castle in the Clouds. Learn all about loons and the extraordinary work of The Loon Preservation Committee that is headquartered here. You can also walk their trails seven days a week, every day of the year from dawn to dusk where you will likely see a few loons in their natural habitat. Be sure to check out their gift shop to find everything loon. If you’re like most, you’ll fall in love with the loons.
On the other side of Lake Winnipesaukee at Weirs Beach in Laconia, you can board the M/S Mount Washington, the big, beautiful ship that cruises the lake much the same way its namesake steamship did beginning in 1872. And here’s something super original that allows you to experience a different way of life while taking in more of the nooks and crannies of the lake:take a two-hour mailboat cruise on the oldest floating post office in the United States. Yes, that’s right–it’s an extraordinary mail carrier! It offers a great way to sightsee and be a part of traditional mail service to the more remote residences of the lake (and its islands). Fill out a postcard and mail it from onboard!
To have a full appreciation of Lake Winnipesaukee and the whole Lakes Region of New Hampshire, visit the Lake Winnipesaukee Museum in the Weirs section of Laconia. The museum itself is an historic property that shows how Americans have spent their summer vacations in the region since the mid 1800s. Inside, the museum–along with the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society–has done a terrific job of showing informative snapshots from the past from the steamboat era to waterskiing on Lake Winnipesaukee to summer camps and more. It’s wonderful to see such preservation of the history and heritage of this beautiful lake and the vicinity. And it’s even better when you can be a part of it yourself.