Last weekend, my husband and I wound our way through the lakes region of New Hampshire following the Roadtrippers "113 miles of pure lakeshore love" route and discovering all the natural beauty and charming lakeshore towns that this area has to offer. We’ve lived in Boston for several years and have traveled extensively throughout New England, so we were pleasantly surprised to uncover so many hidden New Hampshire gems along this route that we’d never known were there!
Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm
Our first stop was the idyllic Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in Tamworth Village. A small $5 fee grants you not only a cute cow-print admission bracelet, but also access to explore the entire 100-acre homestead and museum, as well as participate in interactive learning opportunities such as collecting eggs and hand-milking. Our time strolling through the rolling pastures, meeting all the chickens, cows, and goats (some of which were babies) was definitely well spent!
Just a short walk from the farm was the Tamworth Distillery, where you can find a plethora of unique in-house distilled liquors, such as Camp Robber Whiskey and Tamworth Garden Flora Gin. Their liquors incorporate a variety of fresh, local ingredients that give them a true sense of place and authenticity that you’ll rarely find anywhere else. If you’re a connoisseur of liquor, or even if you just enjoy trying new and one-of-a-kind things, this place if for you. Also, the store displays are absolutely beautiful. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to leave without buying everything in there!
Castle in the Clouds
In 1913, after Thomas Plant amassed a fortune through the sale of his United Shoe Machinery Company, he began construction of his mountaintop estate in the Ossippee Range. We took an old wooden trolley from the Carriage House to see this “Castle in the Clouds” mansion in the late afternoon of our first day in New Hampshire. When we arrived at the top, a tour guide was waiting to greet us and tell us all about the interesting history of the original owners and the craftsmanship of the house. After learning a little history, we took our time roaming the beautiful gardens that surround the house and relishing the breathtaking views of Lake Winnipesaukee below. If you’re in the region, Castle in the Clouds is truly a must-see attraction.
Town Docks Restaurant
At the end of our first day in New Hampshire, we stopped at the Town Docks Restaurant in Meredith to grab dinner on the waterfront. The restaurant, which opened in 1999, is a bustling place that gives off a Caribbean vibe and offers summer classics such as fish tacos, fried seafood platters, burgers, and refreshing cocktails. Luckily, we arrived at just the right time and got a table on the upstairs deck that overlooks the docks. If you can, you should request to be seated there too!
When we first entered “Polar Caves” into Google Maps on the morning of our second day in New Hampshire, my husband was thinking of headlamps and dark cavernous spaces. Even though that’s not what we found, our experience was nevertheless amazing! At the Polar Caves you’ll be taken on a tour through 9 glacially-formed granite boulder caves at the base of the White Mountains. Archeological evidence suggests that these caves, which first appeared thousands of years ago during the last Ice Age, once harbored members of the indigenous population as well as runaway slaves on their way north to Canada. The deepest cave is so cold that ice lingers down there well into summer, hence the term “polar.” As you follow the path, you’ll have to duck down low, squeeze through narrow passageways, and make good use of your quad muscles — so come prepared! We had an awesome time exploring, and also got some exercise while we were at it. As an added bonus, there are deer that you can feed before the entrance to the caves!
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness offers live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, a public garden, and lake cruises. While we were there, we walked the ¾ mile Live Animal Trail and saw coyotes, bobcats, a mountain lion, white-tailed deer, river otters, and eagles -- all animals that are or were once native to New Hampshire. Although all the animal exhibits were extremely interesting, our favorite was the Black Bear Exhibit. We arrived just in time to see one of the bears lazily saunter up to the viewing glass, stand up on his hind legs next to a worn down tree stump, and gleefully rub his itchy back against the grain of the tree. Needless to say, this is a fun place for the whole family!
Situated on the southeastern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, Wolfeboro is a charming little town with lots of restaurants, ice cream parlors, boutique shops, and art galleries. We took a lovely stroll down Main Street and admired the charming New England architecture. Whether you’ve been out on the boat all day, or you’ve been driving through the area like we were, Wolfeboro is a great lakeside retreat where you can grab a bite to eat, do some shopping, and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the waterfront.
Mt. Washington Cruises
We began our third and final day in New Hampshire with a brunch cruise on the Mt. Washington, an excursion ship that offers daily scenic cruises on Lake Winnipesaukee. We were hungry, and that was a good thing, because the buffet offered mountains of delicious food to compliment the mountains that surround the lake. The whole cruise lasted for 2.5 hours, and took us from Weirs Beach on the eastern shore to Alton Bay in the south and back. Throughout the trip, the captain recounted interesting facts about Lake Winnipesaukee’s history, including facts about some of the unbridged islands in the middle of the lake which are privately owned.
After our relaxing cruise on the Mt. Washington, we stepped onto the shore to explore Weirs Beach in Laconia. This place screams summer! The small strip of storefronts along the water includes an arcade, a drive-in movie theater, and a boardwalk stretching from the pier down to a sandy beach. If lake cruises are not your thing, Weirs Beach is also a stop on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, which travels between Meredith and Lakeport, always within view of the lake.
We spent a lovely three-day weekend exploring the lakes region of New Hampshire. Just when we thought we’d already explored all the interesting and beautiful places in New England, we found out there are so many more things still left to see! I've created a guide for the Roadtrippers website, check it out here.