Memorial Day weekend has arrived and we are all excited to kick off the summer season. The Lake District is home to 273 lakes, ponds and rivers and there is plenty to do on and off the water. I could spend hours talking about our lakes, but here are some ideas to put on your list of places to visit a little off the beaten path.
Livermore Falls, Plymouth
Located on the Pemigewasset River, it is a dynamic tourist and swimming spot. There are two sandy beaches, flat rocks to play on, rocks and cliffs for jumping, and rope swings. In one of the large swimming holes, tubes and floats are popular around the crystal clear water. The scenic falls have a total drop of 25 feet. The river tube is always popular with Plymouth State University students, and there is plenty to explore in the Livermore Falls Recreation Area.
Beede Falls is a moderately trafficked 0.9 mile trail near Center Sandwich that features a beautiful waterfall and an amazing little swimming hole for those hot summer days. Great place to pack a lunch / picnic. Kids love to stand under the falls and jump into the cool, clean waters… it’s a natural playground.
The small mountain town of Sugar Hill is teeming with quaint beauties with community staples like Polly’s Pancake Parlor and Harman’s Cheese & Country Store. It is a destination to visit. When the lupines are in full bloom in June, views across the fields look out to Mt. Layfatte, Lincoln & Cannon are unmatched. The Lupine Celebration takes place throughout the month with an outdoor market from June 8-9. For over 80 years, Polly’s Pancake has drawn thousands of people from all over New England to its vintage 1830 building overlooking the White Mountains. Harman’s Cheese & Country Store sells over 13 tonnes of its “World Famous Cheese” to huge audiences.
Franconia Notch State Park
This public recreation area and nature reserve has a lot to offer. It straddles 8 miles along I-93. Here you can take a scenic ride on the overhead railroad of the Cannon Mountain Ski Area and hike around the ridge to its 4,080-foot summit. You can take a short hike to the Flume Gorge with its 45 foot drop. The wooden walkway / boardwalk leading to it is cool and magical. The Basin unfolds with its geological formations. The amazing water flowing through a 20 foot wide natural granite abyss is possibly one of the biggest “potholes” you have ever seen. Artists Bluff is a short 1.5 mile hike with great views of Echo Lake and the mountains. Echo Lake beach and boat rentals are a beautiful scenic spot with crystal clear water. While you’re at it, visit the New England Skiing Museum. If you bring your bikes, the Franconia Notch 8.8 mile cycle route is popular. However, if you are looking for an aggressive hike my favorite is the Franconia Ridge Loop that crosses Mt. Lafayette, Lincoln and Little Haystack above treeline. National Geographic in 2017 rated the trail as one of the top 10 hikes in the world.
Sculptured Rocks Natural Area, Groton
This 272-acre geological nature reserve features a series of narrow, heavily sculpted rock formations with a popular local swimming hole. Described by some as the “Great Cannon” of New Hampshire (miniature size) located on the Cockermouth River, a tributary of Lake Newfound. Great place for a picnic and a dip in the cool water on a sunny day.
Pemigewasset, Mad River, Swift and Saco rivers
There are plenty of “pools”, beaches and long, flat rocks to lie on, read a book, sunbathe and listen to the calming sounds of waterfalls and slow rapids circling around you. in water. I love it. So many favorite places to relax, enjoy life, and rejuvenate with mountain runoff springs and clear, cool water, especially after a hike. Kayaking the Pemigewasset, Merrimack and Saco rivers is a blast with lots of gorgeous scenery and beaches along the way for lunch breaks.
Potholes and Creamery Sandwich, Sandwich
Sandwich is such a picturesque town with its historic clapboard houses. It’s like stepping back in time. During your visit, take a tour of the “Potholes” on the Cold River. You may need a Sandwich Permit or Guest Pass. It’s thrilling to watch the local kids jump off a 22-foot cliff into the refreshing waters. While you’re there, visit the Sandwich Creamery for a natural ice cream adventure. This unique kiosk stacks all kinds of delicious ice cream and assorted cheeses, all under the honor system. Delicious!
Hike Welch / Dickey or Rattlesnake Mountain
This is my half day hike in the White Mountains. The 4.4 mile loop trail is located in Campton / Thornton. A pretty babbling stream begins the trail. The majority of the trail is exposed ledges with stunning views. At the end of the hike, walk up Route 49 a mile before the Waterville bend, and there’s a great spot on the Mad River to soak up the sun with bubbling water and small waterfalls all around you. Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness is the perfect short / easy hike with stunning views of Squam Lake over exposed ledge outcrops. The walk around Squam Lake is arguably one of the most scenic in fall foliage.
So many visitors have been drawn to visit New Hampshire and the Lake District and some of us are lucky enough to call this special place home. Take advantage of this summer season!
This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is President of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Do not hesitate to visit www.roerealty.com to learn more about the Lake District and its real estate market.