Lakes Region (New Hampshire)
The Lakes Region refers to an area in central New Hampshire in the United States of America. As implied by the name the region is home to numerous lakes, the largest of which, Lake Winnipesaukee, is the sixth largest natural lake in the USA.
There are several lakes throughout the region. Some of the most noteworthy lakes are-
English is by far the predominant language in the region, although it's not unlikely to hear tourists talking in various other languages. There are some New England expressions, such as Frappe (for milkshake) and you'll hear people say expressions such as "so doesn't she", when they really mean "so does she". Locals also say "New Hampsha". In regards to the sandwich name issue, it is called a "Grinder" in New England. "Can't get there from here" is also a popular phrase which is a common response when asking for directions because of the large lakes and mountains and lack of roads which traverse them.
Most tourists arrive by car via Interstate 93. Exits 20-24 serve the Lakes Region Area. From the east you can arrive via I-95 to Portsmouth, NH, and then take NH Rt 16 directly to NH Rt 11 and into the Alton Bay area where you can either take NH Rt 11 around the west side of the Lake or NH Rt 28 around the east side of the Lake.
The simplest way to get around the Lakes Region is by car as there is no real public transportation system. As a result many towns experience traffic jams during peak tourist seasons, such as summer and fall weekends.
Boat is a very common mode of transportation, particularly on the larger lakes where it is possible to reach many towns via water. Many visitors bring their own boats or keep them year-round in the region, although it is possible to rent boats from the various marinas such as Thurston's Marina in Weirs Beach. In addition, Lake Winnipesaukee can be cruised via the Mount Washington, Doris E, which offer cuises predominantly run from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can also catch a ride on the Sophie C, a US Mail Boat, as it delivers mail to the various islands.
The Mount Washington Boat offers scenic day and evening cruises from several ports around Lake Winnipesaukee. The main port is through Weirs Beach though stops in Meredith, Center Harbor, and Wolfboro happen on different days of the week (check the schedule online).
There is a dinner cruise available most nights during the summer. This is a sit down dinner with waiters and a menu. Dress is very casual with many guests wearing shorts and a polo shirt or business casual clothing.
Some cruises at night feature special menus. If at all possible, reserve for the later cruise which features the sunset over the lake. Be aware that the weather gets chilly and make sure you pack a sweater.
For a more relaxing time consider the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad which leaves from either Meredith or Weirs Beach on one or two hours tours. Most travelers take the two hour route which consists of a round trip from their boarding station to the end of the line in both directions. The train travels from Meredit to Weirs Beach (30 minutes) on down to Paugus Bay (30 minutes) and then reverses directions for a total round trip time of 2 hours.
There is a Hobo Railroad which is essentially the Winnipesaukee Railroad with an additional fee to ride it during the lunch time. You may purchase a box lunch which consists of sandwiches and a dessert.
If rain is in the forecast during your vacation, you may want to travel north on I93 to the COG Railroad which takes you on a 2+ hour round trip up Mount Washington. The fare for this is expensive (presently $57 for adults and $37 for kids 4 - 12). The trip is a great way to experience the summit of Mount Washington. Be aware that it will be cold when you get to the top - so bring a sweater. Many days on the summit also feature very limited visibility - so check the weather first if an unobstructed summit view of the surrounding area is important to you.
A place that is a must to visit while being in the Lake Regions is New Found Lake. It is a moderate sized lake. Not to big but not too small. There are plenty of activities to do on the lake but also if you want to just relax that is an option to. Renting a house on the lake would be ideal for a family vacation and usually it does not have to be that expensive. When renting a house you may or may not rent one with a private beach but if you do it will be one of the most relaxing vacations you have. If not renting a house that has access to a public beach, is always fun, you will meet some of the nicest people and can make some lifelong friends. The lake allows boats, canoes, jet skis, really mostly anything. There are plenty of places to rent any of those or just bring your own and you can explore the lake. There are several islands in the middle of the lake that are fun to sit down and have a picnic on. Unlike many lakes now a days the lake is still extremely clean even with all the boats. The lake is gorgeous and is a great place to go during the summer. Going there you get a small town vibe but in a good way. Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee is a fun place to go when you are in the Lakes Region. There are arcades, shops, places to eat, and so much more when you go. It is right on the lake and a fun place to go. It is a very touristy place so it can get crowded especially on a nice summer day so your best bet is to get there early before twelve is ideal. While you are there, there are about a few different arcades that can be fun for kids or anyone really. Then there are a bunch of shops that you can buy a bunch of different things ranging from bathing suits to jewelry. They are just those fun tourist shops that you can buy your shirt that says “Lake Winnipesaukee” to “Laconia”. They are mostly junk shops but defiantly fun shops to go to. There are plenty of great places to get lunch or dinner. They are not really sit down restaurants mostly family friendly ones. They are on a boardwalk and have the set-up of one; easy and affordable food. If you get hot while walking the pier there is a public beach that you can go swimming in to cool off. At night weirs beach has a great night life. You can go to several different restaurants along the boardwalk and hear live bands and dance while getting some great drinks. If you are looking for a better way to mellow down you can go to the drive-in movie theater across the street. They play all the movies at a regular movie theater for cheaper than actually going to the movies, with the convenience of sitting in your car. On a warm summer night it is the perfect, most relaxing place to go.
There are numerous restaurants throughout the Lakes Region providing food for all nationalities and tastes.Some restaurants are seasonal, so it may be a wise idea to call ahead.
259 Endicott St Laconia, NH 03246: A great place to stop and get ice cream is the Kellerhaus in Laconia New Hampshire. When you go you get a giant sundae for a great price. They have a broad range of ice creams and toppings. Going there will not leave you unsatisfied. There is an amazing atmosphere with in the shop. Not only do they sell ice cream but they have a great candy selection mostly candy that is homemade. They also have a section that is like a gift shop that sells everything from toys to jewelry. This little ice cream shop is truly a gem in New Hampshire and is a place to stop!
Newfound Lake Rte. 104 Bristol, NH: A little restaurant that most people would just drive by that is actually really good is The Homestead in Bristol, New Hampshire. It is a restaurant that has a homey atmosphere. It was at one point a ranch that they converted into a restaurant. The food is amazing and not too expensive. The service is great and the whole place has a great vibe. If you are on your way to New Found Lake it is a place to stop after your long drive to get a bite to eat.
Lake Winnipesaukee is a big lake. The weather can change quickly and become dangerous. There are boats on the lake that make large wake and also speed boats. A trial of a 45 mph(day)/25 mph(night) speed limit on Lake Winnipesaukee went into Jan 1st 2009 and will last two years. There is a 150 foot seperation rule, from boats or the shoreline when going above wake speed. Weekends are the most crowded, and during the week or off-season, the lake is almost empty of boat traffic. If you boat on the lake, you must have a map. There are many rocks close to the surface, and the navigation bouys are not easy to understand unless you are using a chart. Squam lake is similar, in that it is hard to navigate without a chart. Squam has a speed limit of 45, and much less boat traffic, so you may feel safer on that lake. There is very little violent crime in the lakes region, but some people are uncomfortable being around motorcycle bikers during "bike week" in June. 99.99% of these guys are the friendliest people on Earth. Loud parties at night is the most frequent "crime" during the summer months.