Tour: Lakes Region-Weirs Beach, Meredith, and Holderness
By: Emily McMaster, GSA Communications Director
Our GSAs recently had the opportunity to tour a portion of the beautiful Lakes Region of NH, and it was a spectacular day! Beautiful weather, lots to see and learn about the Lakes Region, and great company all made for a fun-filled adventure.
We started our day at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith. The playhouse started in Weirs Beach in 2004, and then it opened in 2013 in its current location, which is a renovated former Annalee Dolls Factory. The theater includes 194 seats, as well as an outdoor amphitheater. We enjoyed exploring the theater and seeing the set for the current show, and we learned about the variety of shows they will offer throughout the year. Several GSAs even returned that night for the show!
Our next stop was the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness. We started our tour with a brief overview of the center, which includes the Squam Lakes Cruises and the Kirkwood Gardens. There will also be a new giant insects exhibit starting on July 1st. We walked throughout the grounds to see all of the animals, and we started off with the new raptor exhibit.
There is a new interactive exhibit that enables you to hear what an owl would hear – even if you just whisper, your friend can hear what you’re saying from a distance away!
Some of my favorite exhibits included the bear, which came right up to the viewing station, and the otter, who was having a blast swimming around!
It was only late morning, but we were all ready for an ice cream treat after that! We drove to Kellerhaus in Laconia, which I’ve always heard so much about and was finally able to go! The ice cream certainly merits its stellar reputation. We learned that the building was previously a house, built in the early 1900’s, and that the business is the oldest candy and ice cream maker in NH (since 1906!) We ate our ice cream overlooking a view, looking through the original windows of the house. They have a variety of flavors, and we were treated to their topping bar as well. I ordered Moose Trax, with hot fudge and a few M & M’s. Yum! Their chocolate and candies looked delicious too, and they have a large gift shop. We didn’t have time to explore the gift shop, but that would be a perfect activity for a return trip!
From Kellerhaus, we traveled down the hill to the Winnipesaukee Pier. We were given a tour of the Winnipesaukee Pier and Marketplace, where we learned about current and future plans for the area. We were introduced to the chef at Bar Salida, who showed us all of their outdoor seating options and their outdoor bar. The tapas menu looks enticing! We even got a behind-the-scenes look above the arcade at the pier.
Our next activity of the day was a ride and buffet on the Mount Washington. Their buffet boasts a wide variety of meat, fish, and vegetarian options, and there was a lemon burst cake for dessert. Drinks included a bar, soft drinks, and coffee. The food was quite tasty, which we enjoyed as we looked out at the lake! We soaked up the mountain and lake views, and we were even treated to a presentation in the wheelhouse!
The boat traveled all the way over to Wolfeboro, where we picked up some additional passengers. It suddenly started to pour, and we still had a great vantage point from the top floor, with a roof covering and open sides. It was a pleasure to experience the lunchtime boat ride, and the company also offers sunset dinner cruises, Sunday brunch cruises, summer cocktail cruises, and U.S. Mailboat cruises. This year is particularly special, as it is their 150th anniversary!
When we returned to Weirs Beach, we headed over to Meredith to conclude our whirlwind trip. We stopped briefly at Church Landing, where we were able to view one of the lodge rooms and the conference/event room, all with beautiful views of the lake. Church Landing offers 70 guest rooms, with lots of amenities, including the Cascade Spa and Salon. Church Landing is one of several Mill Falls properties in Meredith. It would be a fantastic place to spend a night!
Our last stop of the day was Hermit Woods Winery. One of the owners gave us a tour of the wine-making equipment and a detailed overview of the process. We even learned about the origin of the name, which comes from a hermit who lived in Meredith Woods in the 1800’s. The snail logo for the business represents the slow process of wine-making. The tour was followed by a tasting in the tasting room, where we were able to try 5 wines of all different kinds. Hermit Woods specializes in fruit wines, so we tried anything from a berry wine to a strawberry rhubarb wine, to a dessert wine with chocolate. They also have some food to pair with the wine, and a wine and gift shop. Their most recent addition to their store is an event venue in the upstairs area, where they offer music events.
This Lakes Region tour was a wonderful day, where we learned about lots of options to refer guests to in the Lakes Region. Thank you to Kim Sperry, Lakes Region Tourism Association, for coordinating and hosting such a fabulous tour!
More pictures here.