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Lake Winnipesaukee New Hampshire


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History of Lake Winnipesaukee

Winnipesaukee is a native Indian name that means "Smile of the Great Spirit." As New Hampshire's largest lake, and the sixth largest natural lake completely inside U.S. borders, Lake Winnipesaukee is 28 miles long and up to 13 miles wide, with a surface area of 72+ square miles. The lake has many islands, with counts varying from 230 to 274. The largest of these islands are Long Island (1,186 acres), Bear Island (780 acres), Cow Island (522 acres) and Governor's Island (504 acres). Many lovely protected bays and harbors are tucked along its 283 miles of winding shoreline. Its greatest depth is 187 feet, with an average depth of 60 feet. Meredith, Weirs Beach, Center Harbor and Moultonborough all share Winnipesaukee shoreline.

Meredith area towns include many other lakes, in fact, New Hampshire's unique Lakes Region has 273 lakes and ponds! There's more water recreation, attractions and family activities than you can fit into one vacation! Here are more facts about the Winnipesaukee Watershed and surrounding area.

Lake

Area

Shoreline

Length

Max/Avg Depth

Winnipesaukee 72+ sq.mi. 283 mi. 28 mi. 187'/60'
Squam lake 10.5+ sq.mi. 60 mi. 3.7 mi. 98'/36'
Lake Winnisquam 6.5+ sq.mi. 28.3 mi. 5.4 mi. 154'/52'
Lake Waukewan 900+ ac. 8.1 mi. 2.1 mi. 68'/22'
Little Squam Lake 408 ac.   4.3 mi. 84'/23'
Lake Kanasatka 371 ac. 5.2 mi. 1.6 mi. /30'
Lake Wicwas 322 ac. 5.9 mi. 1.2 mi. /30'
White Oak Pond 290 ac. 3.2 mi. 1.2 mi. /30'
Pemigewasset Lake 241 ac. 3.8 mi. .9 mi. /32'
Lake Winona 154 ac. 3.1 mi. 1.3 mi. /41'

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Meredith, New Hampshire

The Meredith Area, the heart of the Lakes Region, offers the best of New Hampshire... picturesque villages, beautiful mountain views, pristine lakes and ponds, and a host of attractions, tax-free shopping, a wide variety of outdoor activities, and special events.

Meredith itself surrounds the pristine protected bay in the northwest end of Lake Winnipesaukee. Meredith's quaint Main Street features traditional white clapboard buildings with a unique variety of distinctive shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants overlooking the lake. In addition there are nearby shopping centers, many distinctive and unique shops, and several old-fashioned country stores. Antique shops abound in the area as well as arts and crafts shops. For generations, Meredith has greeted visitors with its unsurpassed beauty and a tradition of sincere New England hospitality.

The other communities in the Meredith Area hug the water's edge and provide great variety and interesting exploration:

  • Weirs Beach - the home of the M/S Mount Washington and of Endicott Rock, where the original surveyors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony signed their initials.
  • Center Harbor - A beautiful small town on one of the northern bays of Lake Winnipesaukee.
  • Moultonborough - 68 miles of Lake Winnipesaukee shoreline and the home of famous steamers of yesteryear.
  • Holderness - Located on pristine Squam Lake. Home of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, many hiking trails and boat tours.
  • Sandwich - A picturesque New England town, with crafts, galleries and the trailheads for many Squam range hikes.
  • Wolfeboro - America's first summer resort, a town of beauty and history.
  • Bristol - The gateway to the beautiful Newfound Lake Region, with a variety of shops, including many antiques.
  • New Hampton - A quaint New England town, home of the New Hampton School.

TOWNS

TOWN HALLS (603-)

ZIP CODES

Center Harbor 253-4561 03226
Ashland 968-4432 03217
Moultonborough 476-2347 03254
Meredith 279-4538 03253
Holderness 968-7536 03245
Laconia 524-1520 03246
Center Sandwich 284-7701 03227
Bristol 744-3354 03222
New Hampton 744-3559 03256

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Town Services

Historical Societies

  • Sandwich Historical Society, Maple Street, Center Sandwich. Open June through September.
  • Meredith Historical Society, Main Street, Meredith. Open Wed-Sat from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
  • Center Harbor Historical Society, Rt. 25B, Center Harbor. Open Saturdays in Summer

Hospital

Newspapers

  • Meredith News - Thursday
  • Weirs Times - Thursday
  • The Laker - Tuesday
  • Laconia Citizen - Daily

Public Beaches

  • Waukewan Town Beach, Meredith: Located on Waukewan Street. Beautiful views of hills and mountains from a sandy beach.
  • Leavitt Park, Route 25 between Meredith and Center Harbor: Sandy beach and picnic area on Lake Winnipesaukee.
  • Weirs Beach: Large sandy beach on Lake Winnipesaukee with nearby shops, restaurants and attractions.
  • Area State Parks: White Lake State Park, Tam worth; Ellacoya State Park (on Lake Winnipesaukee), Gilford; Wellington State Beach (on Newfound Lake), Bristol.

Public Boat Launches

  • Lake Waukewan: Waukewan Street, Meredith
  • Lake Winnipesaukee: Meredith Town Docks; Brown's Boat Basin, Meredith Neck; Center Harbor Docks
  • Squam Lake: Route 113
  • Newfound Lake: Wellington State Beach, Bristol

School Districts

  • Inter-Lakes School District (serving Meredith, Center Harbor and Sandwich), (603) 279-7947
    • K-6 Sandwich Grade School
    • K-6 Inter-Lakes Elementary School
    • 7-12 Inter-Lakes High School
  • Moultonborough School District, (603) 476-5247
    • K-6 Moultonborough Central School
    • 7-12 Moultonborough Academy

Service Clubs

  • Meredith Rotary
  • Meredith Lions
  • Meredith Altrusa
  • Meredith Kiwanis
  • Moultonborough Lions

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Getting There

By Car

The Meredith Area is located in the center of New Hampshire, just off I-93 at Exit 23E. It's an easy 2 hour drive from Boston. The village of Meredith is at the junction of Routes 3 (Daniel Webster Highway) and 25, two well-maintained roads which circle the Lakes Region.

Driving Miles to Meredith, from...

Interstate 93 11
Manchester NH 50
Portland ME 80
Boston 110
Providence 135
Montreal 250
New York City 250

By Air

If you are interested in a list of private airports, please contact the New Hampshire Division of Aeronautics at 603-271-2551.

Logan International Airport (Boston, Massachusetts) - New England's largest airport, a busy hub for domestic and international flights, and only a 2 hour drive from Meredith. 1-800-235-6426. http://www.massport.com/logan/logan.html

Portland (Maine) International Jetport - Located on the coast of southern Maine, Portland International Jetport is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Meredith, and an excellent alternate airport for travelers. 207-775-5809 & 207-774-7301. http://www.portlandjetport.org

Manchester (New Hampshire) Airport - The state's largest airport, served with regular flights on several commercial airlines. Directions & General Information: 603-624-6539. http://www.flymanchester.com

Pease International Airport (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) - A full-service airport on the state's seacoast, for general aviation and commercial flights. 603-433-6088. http://www.peasedev.org

By Rail

AMTRAK/USA RAIL serves northern New England with a stop in Claremont, NH. AMTRAK has a terminal in Boston's South Station, as does Concord Trailways bus service. For more information on Amtrak call: 800-872-7245.

By Bus

Concord Trailways provides daily bus service to Boston's South Station and Logan Airport from 18 communities in New Hampshire. Stops are primarily in the Merrimack Valley, Lakes Region and White Mountains. 800-639-3317 & IN New England 603-228-3300.

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Things to do

Biking

Our country backroads and quaint shoreline towns offer wonderful places for you to explore on your bicycles. Mountain bikers will enjoy the Lakes Region also, including miles of trails for the entire family at Gunstock's Mountain Biking Center, which rents bikes and helmets and conducts guided mountain biking tours.

Boating

Boat rentals are available for canoes, sailboats, kayaks, jet skis, boats. If you bring your own boat, all motorized boats must be registered. Short term reciprocal agreements may be used with some other state registrations. If your boat is used in NH for more than 30 consecutive days, it must be registered.

Covered Bridges

  • Durgin Bridge in Sandwich
  • Squam River Bridge in Ashland
  • Tannery Hill Bridge in Gilford

Fishing

By Don Miller, New Hampshire Region 2 Fisheries Biologist, New Hampton

The Lakes Region offers incredible ice-fishing, but after a long winter even the most ardent angler begins to whisper the question "When will the ice be out?" A most anticipated event is ice-out, as landlocked salmon anglers greet April 1 by casting from icy docks and shorelines, and paddling frozen canoes and johnboats around small openings in the ice, underneath bridges, and stream mouths of our salmon lakes.

Lake Winnipesaukee is our premier salmon water. Last fall 2000's netting survey revealed an average salmon of 20 inches long and better than 3 pounds. Thirty-five percent of the catch consisted of salmon three years and older, which translates to an abundant age class of four and older salmon this year. Other good bets are Newfound and Winnisquam lakes, where salmon and lake trout are in fine shape, thanks to an abundance of rainbow smelt for forage.

The trout angler will find good stream fishing opportunities on the Smith, Newfound, Winnipesaukee, Pemigewasset and Baker rivers. Late summer and fall stockings in these streams should provide good early season fishing. Please consult the Freshwater Fishing Digest for specific rules on these streams.

Pond fishing for brook trout is available throughout the region. For the fly-fishing enthusiast, here is a sampling of pretty good fishing destinations: Saltmarsh Pond in Gilford, Sky Pond in New Hampton and Upper Hall Pond in Sandwich.

Call the Region 2 office in New Hampton at 603-744-5470, because we love to fish and we'll help you plan your next fishing trip.

For more New Hampshire fishing information visit http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing.htm

Residents and non-residents over age 16 must have a fishing license. Yearly or one-day licenses are available for NH residents; non-residents may purchase 3-, 7-, or 15-day or annual licenses. Special 1-day family license available - check with our local sports stores. You can apply for your New Hampshire fishing license online at: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Licensapp.htm

Hikes

  • West Rattlesnake Mountain, Holderness: .9 miles to summit, spectacular view, ledges - use caution with kids. From Meredith take Rt. 3 North to Holderness. Turn right on Rt. 113 and go approx. 2 miles. Look for sign for Rockywold Deephaven Camps on right. parking is .5 past sign on left. Rattlesnake trail is on opposite side of road at base of knoll.
  • Mount Morgan, Holderness: 2.1 miles to summit. Follow directions for West Rattlesnake Mountain above. Mt. Morgan trail is off the parking lot.
  • Red Hill, Center Harbor: 1.7 miles to the summit, which offers wonderful lake views of Squam and Winnipesaukee
  • Mount Belknap, Gilford: highest peak in the Belknap Range
  • Mount Major, Alton: 1.5 miles to the summit, offering a panoramic view of Lake Winnipesaukee
  • Mount Morgan, Sandwich: 1.5 miles to the summit, which connects to Mount Webster and Mount Percival
  • Gunstock Mountain, Gilford: Overlook Trail is blazed in orange and utilizes some of the cross-country ski trails to start. Then the trail crosses the brook, climbs the mountain and comes out to a fantastic overlook. From the overlook the trail goes through a beautiful forest and then climbs up to intersect with the Saddle Trail. From this trail you can either go to the summits of Belknap and Gunstock, or come down the Brook Trail.

Horseback Riding

Guided horseback rides, on scenic wooded trails, and pony rides are available at Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough, and at Gunstock, Gilford.

Inline Skates and Skateboards

Gunstock's 17,000 sq.ft. skate park features a half pipe, 1/4 walls, bank wall, grind boxes, and more, plus a section for new skaters and families. Equipment rentals available on site.

Scenic Drives

Any time of year, the country side throughout the Meredith Area offers spectacular vistas, but foliage colors make for especially gorgeous drives in the fall. Hit the road for these spectacular Lakes Region drives:

  • Route 109, Center Sandwich to Wolfeboro
  • Route 113, Holderness to South Tamworth
  • 3A and Newfound Lake Road, Bristol to Hebron
  • Route 11, Alton Bay to Glendale

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are New Hampshire's official state sports - and it's easy to see why. For more than a century, the lure of winter fun on the bright snowy slopes of New Hampshire's mountains has made winter a special and exciting season for New Hampshire residents and visitors alike. The rich history of New Hampshire skiing, combined with its significant contribution to the economic growth of the state and its role in family and individual lives, has made skiing an integral part of New Hampshire's landscape.

Walking Trails

  • Waukewan Highlands, Meredith: a multi-use managed forest offers 3 marked trails which lead to a 3-acre pond.
  • Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest, Center Harbor: Located just off Rt. 3 in Center Harbor, offering a short walk to "On Golden Pond".
  • Markus Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, Moultonborough: Just off Rt. 25 - walking trails where one can observe nesting loons. This sanctuary is located at the Loon Preservation Committee center.

Winter Activities

Ice skating, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice sailing, snowmobiling, sledding, and cross country skiing are some of the popular Meredith Area outdoor activities in our spectacular "off" season. You'll find equipment rentals and information at many local recreational outfitters.

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Last modified: January 07, 2014