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More Travel Info:
New Hampshire
Lake Winnipesaukee - New Hampshire’s Playground
By Cliff Calderwood

Lake Winnipesaukee nestles in the foothills of the White Mountains in New
Hampshire. It is the state's largest body of water and one of the deepest. Centered
in the popular vacation area known as the Lakes Region it provides four-season
pleasure for millions every year.

Before Europeans visited the native people had been enjoying the lake for 10,000
years. They gave Lake Winnipesaukee the Indian name meaning "Smile of the
Great Spirit."

Spend a week on the lake and you’ll understand what they meant. The area is a
magnificent playground for both water and hiking activities.

These days people still fish and canoe on the lake but it’s shared with modern
day jet skis and motorboats. But essentially Lake Winnipesaukee is an area to
take your time exploring, and enjoy the lazy feeling of messing around on water.

The lake is spring-fed and clean, and many homes on the lake take their water
supply directly without any filtering. The towns around the lake are mindful of
conservation and it makes for a safe and pristine lake for everybody.

I’ve been visiting Lake Winnipesaukee for the last twenty years and I have these
suggestions for enjoying your visit to the Lake.

M/S Mount Washington Cruise

For a 132-years a cruise boat has been traveling up and down the 72 square miles
of the lake. The current boat --
M/S Mount Washington -- has been operating
since 1946. Due to the demand it was extended in 1982 by cutting the boat in half
and adding a middle section.

The three decks of the M/S Mount Washington provide stunning vistas of the
mountain ranges overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. These mountains include the
Belknap, Ossipee, and Sandwich ranges -- the foothills of the White Mountains of
New Hampshire.

There’s no better way of getting oriented on the Lake. You can board the boat at
Weirs Beach and take the 2½ hour cruise down to Alton Bay or up to the
picturesque town of Meredith depending on the day.

When you make the trip be prepared to do a lot of waving. The M/S Mount
Washington is a popular and the most distinctive boat on the lake, and you’ll
find most boaters and people on the shorelines waving in recognition of this
majestic large ship.

The Lake Winnipesaukee Scenic Train Ride

You don’t have to venture far from the cruise ship to take the scenic train ride.
They share the same ticket office and almost the same dock -- except of course it’s
a train platform. Nonetheless the Lake Winnipesaukee scenic train runs from
Meredith to Weirs Beach to Lakeport and back. You can take a 1 hour or 2 hour
ride. You’ll get spectacular views of the lake and shoreline and

At times the train hugs the shoreline of the lake and seems like it’s in the
backyard of homes built on the lake. But it all adds to the charm and fun of the
ride. This is a slow train as it travels the section down to Paugus Bay and back to
Weirs Beach.

The Castle in the Clouds

The Castle in the Clouds is a wonderful home built on a mountaintop in 1913 by
industrialist Thomas Plant. You can tour the castle and grounds where you’ll find
waterfalls and miles of trails to explore.
During the fall foliage season it offers
dramatic views of the lake and surrounding area.

The Castle is near Moultonboro on the eastern side of the lake and you can get
there by following Route 171 in Ossipee. This side of the lake is the "quieter"
region, as there are less towns and villages. In particular worth visiting is
Wolfeboro for a fine evening dinner at one of the homely country inns.

Belknap Mountain Hike

For those willing to be a little more adventurous Lake Winnipesaukee offers
some great hiking tails. Many are moderate to difficult, but the Belknap
Mountain hike in Gilford is easy and can be done by most people including
small kids.

This is an enjoyable walk and you should allow 2½ hours round-trip to
appreciate the walk to its fullest. At the summit you’ll be rewarded with a
magnificent view of Lake Winnipesaukee, and if conditions are right you can
sometimes spot Mount Washington in the distance.

Take Route 11A to Gilford and drive south through the village. Stay on this road
as it climbs Belknap Mountain road. Eventually you’ll see signs and a parking
area on the left.

Weirs Beach

Weirs Beach is the closest to a hub and family entertainment center on Lake
Winnipesaukee. It has a water park, amusement games, miniature golf, and many
of the activities you’d expect at the seaside. A great place to take the kids when
they've had enough of train rides and cruises.

Lake Winnipesaukee offers a visitor pure relaxation coupled with a range of
activities that’ll keep your mind and body in balance.

About the author: For more details on these and other attractions in the Lake
Winnipesaukee area and to pick up your free travel reports go to
Cliff Calderwood's New
England Vacation
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The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont