By: Roberta Wells, GSA The Hotel Concord, Class of 2019
Like many people during the pandemic, my husband and I have been doing a lot of work on a Home Improvement Project. There have been numerous trips back and forth and back again to Home Depot. But today we decided to drop that hammer, get in the car, drive past Home Depot and explore more of our beautiful state. Starting from Sanbornton, NH on the shores of Lake Winnisquam, we took a meandering route first to Wolfeboro and then continuing on via Rt 109 towards Wakefield, Milton, Rochester, and finally Rollinsford before meandering back via Farmington and Gilmanton to return to Sanbornton. It is quite fun to see what you might discover along the way that you were not expecting to find.
On Rt 109 as you drive along the shores of Lake Wentworth, you may see a sign for Wentworth State Park. We drove down the single lane dirt road wooded path to find a little parking area next to an historic marker for the remains of what once was Governor Wentworth’s summer estate. Governor Wentworth was our last Royal Governor and the King had granted him 4000 acres of land on the lake where he build his summer home with views cleared down to the lake shore. This home is what gives Wolfeboro its claim to being the oldest summer resort in the nation. Of course, now the woods have filled in and most of the land has been sold off with only 99 acres now belonging to the state. The view to the lake has been claimed by private residences that now own the shore front. The loan care taker who was at the property doing the last mowing of the season says he is hoping someday to be able to create walking paths to entice more people to come visit this notable site.
Continuing on toward Wakefield, we detoured off the beaten path onto some back roads where we enjoyed some lovely views of rolling farm steads, had our first sighting of some long straight railroad tracks that passed through many of the small towns like Sanbornville and Union, and even had a sighting of Big Foot in the form of a tree some clever person had sculpted for the keen eyed to spot along the way.
Turning back onto more traveled roads like Rt 153, Rt 75, and Rt 125 we also passed by TurnTable Part in Sanbornville with the remains of an old railroad turntable, and the Train Station at Union with some unique railroad equipment on display. Then after a brief crossing of the border and then back again at Berwick, we found ourselves at the old mill town of Rollinsford where we enjoyed a brief tasting at North Country Hard Cider. They had some unique blends, such as Wulf Kitty, which uses tart cherries and ginger, and Honey Badger made from Honey Crisp Apples with a clean crisp taste. More varieties than you will find in the stores.
Rather than back track, we continued looping, taking Rt 9 towards Rochester thru its vibrant downtown and then onto Rt 11 towards Alton where we branched off onto Rt 28 A and then Rt 140 taking us past Gilmanton Ironworks and finally Rt 107 and the Laconia bypass, back to our starting point.
All told, our drive took us about 6 hours with several pleasant stops along the way just to take a closer look now and then. It was a drive that pointed out how varied our state is and how many little treasures you can find along the way if you take the time to look.