Winnipesaukee is a brute of a lake. It embraces 274 islands in its 72 square miles of surface water, and it takes you 182 miles and several hours to drive the mostly country lanes that encircle it. There are many layers — from the sublime to the mildly ridiculous — along Lake “Winni” and its shores.
You can walk along the water and be nearly alone, save for the company of a pair of loons, or you can play miniature golf with legions of screaming kids. You can indulge in innovative cuisine on a candlelit deck where the only noise is the whispering wind, or you can kick off your shoes and down a boilermaker (a shot of whiskey in a stein of beer) chased with a cheeseburger while a raucous crowd roars like a 747 on takeoff. The cool thing about Winni is that everyone can find his or her place.
Located on Winni’s western shore, Meredith is a perfect weekend destination and boasts some of the best accommodations on the lake. The newest and nicest is Church Landing, located in the former St. Charles Church and part of The Inns & Spa at Mill Falls complex. The inn offers 58 rooms with lake views, an indoor/outdoor pool, a full-service spa, and fine food on site.
If you can visit only one of the three most popular Italian restaurants in town, try Abondante, with its copper-topped tables, snug patio, and excellent pasta. Sunshine and Pa’s is the best place for breakfast. About two miles out of town is Moulton Farm, a New Hampshire Agriculture Farm of Distinction, with everything from ice cream and baked goods to flowers and fresh produce.
Back in town, the Mill Falls Marketplace, a converted mill, houses a variety of shops, such as Oglethorpe Fine Arts & Crafts, chockablock with one-of-a-kind artisans’ items. Just outside town is The Etcetera Shoppe, with a hodgepodge of goods, including vintage jewelry and hand-embroidered linens. As you explore the area, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you.
Yankee‘s picks for Winnipesaukee region. Click on any destination below for a map and more information.