My first blog post is going to be about my wanderings around Lake Winnipesaukee New Hampshire! Several of my Instagram followers wanted to know all things related to my week’s itinerary at the lake and what better place than a blog to share and inspire. I hope it gives you inspiration, nudges your desire to see more of your world and encourages you to hit the road.
We rented a house through Vrbo for this trip. It was in Meredith and right on the water. Absolute perfection. I like having my own kitchen while traveling, making a lot of our own meals. With two autistic daughters and one being a teen, we need space to quiet down. We didn’t bring our dog but looking back I would have liked to, it’s definitely a dog friendly area.
Here are my top nine things to do around Lake Winnipesaukee (plus one thing I don’t recommend):
Buy Local: the first thing we did at the lake, headed to Moulton Farm for local fruits, veggies, meats, drinks, anything we needed for the week. I scoped it out online ahead of time and realized it was minutes from our house and they made fresh hot apple cider donuts on site. Yes please. We did a quick visit to the regular grocery store, there are plenty of them, fyi, but eating local and drinking local beer and wine helps to get you right in the space at the get go. I had to walk around the flower fields too, of course 🙂
Catch a Sunrise (or Sunset): this is something I started doing by accident in Mexico. Couldn’t sleep and walked to watch the sun come up. Been doing this every trip since and I’ve never been disappointed. Watching the sun come up, or go down if you are not a morning person, brings peace and a wave of awe that lasts the trip. At Lake Winnipesaukee we faced east and had perfect sunrises from the house. I did yoga one morning and it was breathtaking
If you stay on the east coast of the lake I’m sure you can catch amazing sunsets.
Take a hike! There are many trails around the lake at all different hiking levels. We’ve been hiking a lot the past year so I knew my girls could handle a moderate hike; we chose Mount Major. I wanted a challenge and views and that’s what we got. We arrived around 10 a.m. and had no problem finding a spot in the parking lot. It took us about 2.5 hours up and down. Definitely get there early otherwise you’ll be parking on the street!
Visit Castle in the Clouds: if you want views without the hike then head to Castle in the Clouds. You do have to pay to take the trolley up to the house for the tour and amazing lake views. I love history and old architecture so this was right up my alley; the kids did ok, not super exciting for them but overall we took maybe two hours up there. I wouldn’t take small children, there are lots of things to touch in the house! The staff did well with enforcing masks, keeping everyone socially distant; we toured the house at our own pace and didn’t see any other tourists while we were in there. The staff kept everyone apart as much as possible.
There are many hiking trails around the property, that are free, and I planned for us to walk to one, Falls of Song. We parked on the street by the second (and closed) entrance the the castle and it was about a ten minute easy walk to the waterfall.
Visit a local town, Meredith and Wolfeboro: Cute little towns to explore, shop, get food or ice cream, rent boats or kayaks/paddle boards/etc. We were in Meredith and spent more time there but did drive to Wolfeboro after visiting Castle in the Clouds and had dinner on the water. Since it was August 2020 there was a lot closed, like museums, so we manly stuck with the outdoor stuff.
Go for a swim: I am still amazed at how clear the water is in Lake Winnipesaukee! You must go in it. We were fortunate to be on the water at a private beach but we were close to Leavitt Beach and Weirs Beach wasn’t far either.
Try something new! For me that included paddle boarding for the first time and for my girls it included their first time fishing. We rented kayaks and paddleboards out of Meredith Bay, Ekal was the rental place, highly recommend. My nine year old and I struggled getting back into the bay against the wind, I had to take her on as a stowaway and used up all my strength getting back! It was an experience for sure. Did not deter me from trying again in the future. My husband bought a temporary fishing license at the bait and tackle shop, we brought our own fishing poles to use, and we fished one evening at sunset. Didn’t catch anything but the girls loved it anyway.
Get on a boat! Viewing the lake from out on the lake is a must in my book. The paddle boards and kayaks are great but since Lake Winnipesaukee is huge, a boat ride is needed to see more of it. There are plenty of places to rent a boat or pontoon boat but we opted for the M/S Washington boat tour. I loved it and enjoyed the “box lunch” they provide and drinks from the nice wait staff.
Head North: I know we did not have enough time over a week to spend a lot of time in the White Mountains but I knew I needed to see them. I picked my one top thing to do up north, head to Diana’s Baths. The drive was about an hour from Meredith, through Conway and North Conway, both delightful towns in and of themselves. We didn’t arrive until 3 p.m., way late for me, but I was determined, so we waited in line to get into the parking lot. My sweet husband knew how excited I was and waited in the car line while we went on ahead to the baths. There is NO on street parking there so you really have no choice but to wait to get in the lot. FYI, it’s $5 to park, all done by self-service at the trail head. The walk was easy and took about 15 minutes to get to the baths.
My girls all agreed this was their highlight of the trip! Guess I picked right, happy momma here. We explored the baths for at least two hours, moving around and checking it all out. The social distancing made it take longer to move around, waiting for others to finish in certain areas so we can enjoy them, but everyone was nice and understanding and it was beautiful!
I’m going to leave you with one thing I don’t recommend, bike riding. Sadly. We lugged our bikes up there and used them once. I couldn’t find any good bike paths, a lot of the lake is residential, so we headed down to Laconia. Nice paved path but completely unexciting and not much sightseeing, which is what I was looking for. There are plans to push it to Weirs Beach and Meredith and I hope that happens.
There are my nine recommended things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee! If you have other things to recommend for the lake area I’m all ears because I will certainly go back.
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