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Lake Winnipesaukee Hotel Blog

Lake Winnipesaukee Hotel Blog


New Hampshire Fall Festivals

If you love everything pumpkin spice, scarves, and fall, you’ve come to the right place. There is no better way to see fall foliage than in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Luckily with a stay at the Center Harbor Inn, you will be centrally located to all of the fun fall fun happenings in the area.

Sandwich Fair:

Located just down the road from the Center Harbor Inn, the Sandwich Fair will take place October 7-9, 2017. The fair is centered around the state’s agricultural roots, and each day you can attend competitions and demonstrations of a variety of animals. Special events include parades, a dog show, and an Oxen pull. On October 6th, admission will be free from 4pm-9pm for an opening night ride preview where you can pay $20 to go on all the rides. Admission all other days is $10 for adults, $3 for children 8-12, and children under 7 enter free. So, whether you go for the food, animals, special events, or the games and rides, you can’t go wrong with the Sandwich fair. Make sure you check out their website here for information on ticket sales and a schedule of events.

Pumpkin Festival:

The NH Pumpkin Festival, previously located in Keene, NH, has moved to Laconia and this will be its second year at this the new location. This The Pumpkin Festival has been a great addition to the Lakes Region and we could not be more excited for its return. Taking place on October 13th from 4-8pm and October 14th from 12-8pm admission is free to all. You can drop off your carved pumpkin or carve one out at the carving station, or just stroll the streets admiring all of the designs. For those 21+ there will be a beer garden, and plenty of amusement and kiddie rides for everyone. On the Saturday of the event, there will be live music playing all day long. There will also be a 200’ zip line attraction and horse drawn hay rides around the downtown area. Make sure you stick around later in the night for a Guinness world record attempt and the pumpkin dump derby. Check out their website here for more information on events.

Beans and Greens Corn Maze:

For Fall festivities, look no further than Beans and Greens located in Gilford, NH. They have been offering the Lakes Region some of the best corn mazes for over 15 years. Designed to last for about an hour, this one is for all ages. The corn maze is typically ready for visitors during mid-September and is open every day of the week, and Friday & Saturday night by reservations. The night maze is fun as they add a haunted element and is only for those brave enough to enter. While you are there you will want to check out the farm stand for a local taste of the freshest New Hampshire eats. The corn maze and farm stand stay open through Halloween Weekend. Make sure to check out their website here for more information.

Wine Tasting New Hampshire

If you are a lover of wine then the NH Lakes Region is the perfect destination for you. Here at the Center Harbor Inn we are in close proximity to a variety of local New Hampshire wineries and we have created the perfect wine tasting tour for your stay in the area. Start your day off with continental breakfast at the Inn and grab a wine map from the front desk with directions to each winery listed below. Head out for a day of fun and let us know what your favorites are. Once you’re back take your purchases to your private balcony or deck where you can open a bottle of wine and watch the sun set over beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee.

Hermit Woods Winery:
Start your tour off at Hermit Woods Winery located in the heart of Meredith, NH. Wine tasting is available anytime they are open which is, Sunday through Thursday 11am to 6pm & Friday and Saturday 11am-7pm. Wine tastings are $8 per person and includes your choice of six selections, you also get to take home a souvenir tasting glass. If you want a little more education on the winery they offer full tours for $20 per person and it includes a 30-minute tour of the facilities along with a tasting. Tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday from 12-5. Hermit Woods has recently opened a deli adjacent to their tasting bar where you can order a glass of wine and select food items including charcuterie plates and panini’s. The Center Harbor Inn has partnered with the winery to bring you some amazing fall Wine Packages, so check it out here. And visit the Hermit Woods website for more information on their wines and tours here.

Winnipesaukee Winery:
Previously the Newfound Lake Vineyards, the Winnipesaukee Winery moved to their location in Wolfeboro On August 12th. Located inside a large barn, the winery offers tastings alongside antiques for sale. Tastings are $7 per person and you get to keep a souvenir glass from the experience. If you participate in a tasting you get $2 off of a bottle of wine of your choice. Tasting room hours are Saturday & Sunday 12pm-5pm. For more information check out their website here.

Sap House Meadery:
Okay, so by definition Mead isn’t quite a wine, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Located in Center Ossipee, the Sap House Meadery is New Hampshire’s First Mead Pub. Featuring tours, tastings, and a pub that offers specialty cocktail drinks made with their product, you could spend an entire afternoon here alone if you wanted to. Tastings are available whenever they are open and it is free to sample their signature meads, you can purchase an extra 4 tastings for $7 or $2 each. Tours are available only on Saturdays at 12pm for $10 per person and reservations are strongly encouraged. The hour-long tour takes you behind the scenes on an in-depth experience through how the mead is made. To check out their menu and more information on tours and tastings visit their website here.

Haunting Whisper:
Located in Danbury, NH, Haunting Whisper is both a Winery and Distillery. Their wines include reds, whites and fruits. For spirits, they offer rum and brandy but plan to add whiskey and moonshine in the near future. The vineyard is located on a family owned 75-acre property with beautiful views of the mountains and lakes. If you are up for a hike this place is great to hit up on the way either in or out of hiking Mount Cardigan. Cardigan had a fire many years back and the entire top of the mountain is treeless granite which makes for amazing views. The winery is open in May-November, Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 5 pm, and in December Saturdays & Sundays from 12pm-5pm. Check out their website here for more information on their wines and spirits.

Whippletree Winery:
The Whippletree Winery located deep in the woods of Tamworth, NH craft their award-winning wines in a traditional way. They make a variety of wines from whites and reds, imports and fruits, to a few specialty selections. Their tasting room hours run from Friday through Sunday 12pm-6pm. It is strongly encouraged to visit by appointment, so check out their website here for contact information and a wine list.

Lake Winnipesaukee Towns

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Center Harbor:

The quaint town of Center Harbor sits between Meredith and Moultonborough on the northwest shores of the beautiful waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. Center Harbor is in close proximity to major tourist attractions such as Weirs Beach, Meredith Center, the White Mountains, Gunstock and more. Boasting easy access to many of the most popular destination in the Lakes Region, Center Harbor also offers a low key, more laid-back setting for those looking for a little more peace and relaxation. The small town provides easy walking access to a variety of wonderful dining options, galleries, and shops and retains much of its original ambience dating back to the golden days of tourism on the big lake. Key area attractions include the home port of the M/S Mount Washington, the Canoe Restaurant, Lavinia’s Relaxed Dining, Lemon Grass Restaurant and Yikes Gallery.

Meredith
Meredith:

The bustling town of Meredith, NH is located on the north side of Lake Winnipesaukee just minutes from the Center Harbor Inn. With an abundance of tax free boutique shopping options, Meredith is one of the most popular spots on Lake Winnipesaukee. Although the town is always busy with its great mix of tourist attractions and restaurants including Guiseppe’s Pizzeria located in the original mill building, Meredith manages to keep its small-town charm. The town offers a variety of dining spots with lakeside views, whether you want to have a casual drink by the lake or a romantic dinner for two you can find it in Meredith. If you’re looking for some great local entertainment the Winnipesaukee Playhouse and Interlakes Summer Theatre put on shows all summer long. The town is also home to Hermit Woods Winery, they offer tastings on the weekends so make sure to check them out for a taste of local NH wine.

Laconia
Laconia:

Laconia is situated between Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Winnisquam, and includes the village of the Weirs. The town offers a public beach as well as a pier that boasts a lively atmosphere all day and night. Weir’s Beach is currently undergoing a major revitalization project of the pier and you can find more information about that on on our sister resort’s website here. The town is also home to Motorcycle Week in the early summer, and the NH Pumpkin Festival in October. Check out the blog post on our sister resort’s website, a Guide to Weirs beach, for more information. Other key attractions in and around Laconia include Funspot Arcade and the main embarkation for the M/S Mount Washington Cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee.

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Alton:

The town of Alton, located on the southeastern end of Lake Winnipesaukee, is home to the village of Alton Bay. This town is a popular destination for hikers as it is home to Mt. Major, which offers some of the most beautiful views overlooking Winnipesaukee. With food options including fried clams at Pop’s Clam Shell, lakeside dining at Shibley’s at the Pier and variety of ice cream stands, Alton presents a 1950’s vibe that allows you to relax and slow down life a bit as you watch the boats cruising in and out of the bay.

Wolfeboro
Wolfeboro:

The town of Wolfeboro sits on the eastern shores of Lake Winnipesaukee at the head of Wolfeboro bay. Wolfeboro which is commonly referred to as “The Oldest Resort in America” offers a picturesque New England lake town. During the summer months, the town is bustling with concerts, theater, and craft fairs. Water enthusiasts and shoppers alike flock to this town where they can enjoy locally owned shops and boutiques, fishing opportunities and more. A tempting array of restaurants line the backstreets of town as well as the harbor itself which provide beautiful sunset views along Winnipesaukee. Key attractions include Garwoods Restaurant and Pub, the Downtown Grille Café, Nolan’s Brick Oven Bistro and Seven Suns Coffee and Tea Shop. For those looking for specialty treats try out the new Lone Wolfe Brewery location or hit up Bailey’s Bubble for some delicious ice cream.

Lakefront Oasis on Winnipesaukee

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” The CHI project was a great opportunity for our team to bring new life to a once run down landscape and inn. The different outdoor spaces on the property allow guests to enjoy every aspect of life at the lake.” – John Stephens, Stephens Landscaping Professionals LLC

Overlooking the pristine waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, the lakefront at the Center Harbor Inn was made possible by vendors such as Stephens Landscaping who helped us bring our vision to reality. Upon your first arrival to the Inn you may be able to see the water from the parking lot, but it isn’t until you step to the top of the grand lawn steps that the beautiful transition from the hotel parking lot to the unique oasis of lakefront luxury becomes apparent. The steps open up in descending arch patterns to the lower lawn and offer a peaceful vantage point to watch activity on the hotel beach. We’ve even seen a guest or two read a book while looking down on the lake from here.

As you descend the steps while gazing out onto the lake, the luscious manicured green lawn offers a soft contrast to the blue waters, metal railings, and wooden structure of the Inn. To your right you’ll notice the two weber grilling stations with bluestone pads that allow you to grill delicious burgers and still take in views of boat traffic and swimmers out on the water. Just down the slope towards the beach a beautiful, four-season hot tub awaits. Set in front of a beautiful stone retaining wall crafted by Miracle Farms and surrounded by hand-laid, heated pavers, the hot tub has been positioned at a grade to offer a breathtaking view over the lawn and beach toward the harbor. Enjoy basking in the warm water and watching guests glide across the bay in kayaks during the Summer or take in the scene of the local ice fisherman searching for the next big catch in the winter months. The fence surrounding the hot tub includes a long plexiglass span toward the beach side for year-round, unimpeded views of Lake Winnipesaukee.

If you look left the fire pit was strategically placed far enough away from the hot tub and farther down towards the docks so you could get a clear view of the bay including the other side of the hotel. Sit by the fire at night surrounded by friends and family and watch as the stars come out over the lake. The oversized, Adirondack chairs by the fire also offer a great spot to unwind during your New Hampshire getaway.

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We took a natural lakefront that was already one of the ideal spots on Winnipesaukee and transformed it into a true oasis of unparalleled lakeside beauty. With a natural sandy beach, the team wanted to accentuate the existing strengths and add design elements to bring together a truly ideal Winnipesaukee experience. Throughout the lakefront, flowers and plants enhance the area with a romantic feel. We picked a variety of short plants so not to block the view from anywhere you are. One big white birch tree was left as we felt it helped to romanticize our vision.

If you continue down the hill onto the nearly 200 feet of sandy beach, a rock wall separates you sitting on the beach in one of our new beach loungers from the rest of the lawn enabling you to fully soak in the beautiful lake views. We added a top coating of several inches of fresh sand during the construction process to improve what was already one of the best locations on the lake. Enjoy an afternoon of watching the boats come in and out of the hotel docks and moorings from the comfort of your chair. The Inn also offers an array of water craft rentals, so grab a kayak and head out on the water or simply take a dip in our swim area and head out to the raft.

The Center Harbor Inn lakefront offers something for everyone, whether you want to be right on the water, sit under a tree and enjoy a book, hop in the hot tub for a late-night soak, or sit around a fire with family and friends; take your vacation to the next level with the lakefront oasis at the Center Harbor Inn.

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Lake Life With a Boat

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If you’re a boater, you know boating isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. At the Center Harbor Inn, we want you to bring your boat with you and explore all that Lake Winnipesaukee has to offer. With 16 Dock Slips, 8 Moorings, and easy access trailer parking you can be sure to enjoy a hassle-free vacation. If you are new to the area and aren’t sure what to do or where to go by boat we have a great day planned out for you. As we all know life at the lake is more fun when you are out on the water exploring.

Wake up early and visit the continental breakfast to grab some locally sourced bagels and fresh coffee to go. Head out at first light to take advantage of the quiet harbor with an early morning ski or wake board ride. These early hours offer the perfect mix of calm, chop-free waters and amazing lighting to enjoy the natural beauty as the sun comes up over the bay. Stretch your legs from the active morning adventures and head across the street to the EM Heath Supermarket for your standard boating fare; load up a cooler with cold beer, white wine, cheese and crackers, and a few waters.

Get back on your boat and head across the lake to the quaint town of Wolfeboro. This route will take you along the length of the big lake and offer a life changing perspective on why Winnipesaukee is truly a natural gem of New England. When you arrive at Wolfeboro Harbor, grab a spot at the town docks. Enjoy sitting on the lakeside deck and patio at Garwood’s for an early lunch and sample some delicious oysters while watching the boat traffic taxi in and out of the docks.

After lunch, take a relaxing cruise up to Moultonborough Bay away from the crowds; throw in the anchor, turn up the tunes, and enjoy a refreshing afternoon of swimming the waters and sunbathing on your boat. Take in the breathtaking views of the Ossipee Mountains while sipping on an ice-cold beer and fully experience the Winnipesaukee lake life. Moultonborough Bay offers some great views of the local mountains with the Castle in the Clouds Estate perched up in the high tree line

Head back to the Inn and dock your boat so you can freshen up, shower, and get ready for dinner. Take a short walk into town to enjoy a meal at either Canoe or Lavinia’s. Lavinia’s offers fresh fare made by local ingredients and puts a new twist on traditional New England comfort foods. At Canoe enjoy sitting back with a glass of wine in their rustic style restaurant with the most beautiful views of the Lake.

Don’t forget to save room for dessert, stop by Dewey’s Ice Cream Parlor. They serve up some awesome homemade ice cream. If you can, try out their specialty homemade soda’s because Coke will never taste the same again. Then, get back on your boat for a sunset cruise to tour the beautiful lake homes along the shores of Center Harbor Bay and out towards Long Island as the sun settles into the nearby mountains.

Once the sun goes down, head back to the Inn to relax and enjoy the outdoor fire pit. Gather round with other guests at the Inn and share your favorite spots from the day. Head in to sleep, wakeup, and repeat. That is the lake life after all.

Lake Life Without a Boat

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The Center Harbor Inn is your key to living the lake life, and as they say; Life is better at the Lake. But don’t take our word for it, get out there and experience it for yourself. With direct access to Lake Winnipesaukee we bring the experience to you. Start your day off with our continental breakfast, grab a locally made bagel and fresh roasted coffee and head to your balcony where you can start out the morning with peace, serenity, and views of beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee.

The Inn offers watercraft rentals that include: kayaks, paddle boards, and pedal boats. You don’t need a motor boat to enjoy life at the lake, it’s all about taking advantage of what is right in front of you. Spend the first part of your day exploring Halfmile and Mile island, the nearest of the 260 islands around Winnipesaukee.

After a long morning of exploring the islands you must have worked up an appetite for lunch. So, walk across the street and grab a table by the windows at Mug By the Bay restaurant or go to Bellies – N – Butts for some Texas style BBQ take out and enjoy some savory ribs back on your deck overlooking the lake.

Head back down to our nearly 200ft of sandy beach, grab a lounge chair, and settle in with a good book for a few minutes. After all you are supposed to wait 30 minutes after eating to start swimming again. Wade into the water for a refreshing swim and head out to the raft to bask in the sun for a bit.

After a long day of being in the sun, go back to your room; take a nap, shower, and refresh for dinner. Center Harbor offers many dining options; walk to Lavinia Dining for a delicious meal inspired by local ingredients and a tasty IPA in the pub. For something more low key go to the EM Heath Supermarket to pick up some choice grilling meats and head back to the Inn to enjoy dinner using one of the lakeside grills we offer overlooking the bay.

Post dinner, feel free to sit by the fire pit where there is always a fire going. Enjoy conversation amongst other guests who love the lake as much as you do. Don’t forget to do a late night hot tub session, there is nothing better on a cool summer night. After a long day, get ready for bed, sleep, wake up and repeat, lake life.

Dock Your Boat at the Inn

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Imagine waking up to beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee and grabbing a to go bag of locally baked bagels and freshly prepared coffee from our continental breakfast. Then picture yourself walking down to the hotel docks to board your boat for a day of cruising the pristine waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. One of the true natural gems of New England, a day of basking in the sun, tubing across the wake or waterskiing adventure will never be the same after your time on this amazing lake.

Where else in the Lakes Region can you bring your boat on vacation without paying an overpriced nightly mooring or dock fee? The Center Harbor Inn is the ideal destination for the avid boater. Right off our nearly 200 feet of sandy beachfront is a dock system that offers 16 Slips with an additional 8 Moorings further out. This unique hotel amenity allows guests to bring their own boat or rent one and keep it right on the property. The town boat launch is just a few hundred yards away and the inn also has an arrangement for trailer parking during your stay. When it comes to boating getaways, the convenience available at the Center Harbor Inn is unmatched on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Docks are currently available at $50 a night, and moorings are offered free of charge on a first come first serve basis. Even better, any guest staying for four or more nights qualify for our Boater’s Delight Package which includes the dock slip for free. At the Center Harbor Inn you can truly embrace all that Lake Life has to offer.

Watercraft Take Float

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The waters along the beachfront at the Center Harbor Inn are bobbing with excitement. Our recent shipment of brand new watercraft has arrived and guests are sure to be delighted. Featuring six Abaco Single Kayaks, two Abaco Double Kayaks, four Jimmy Styks Scout Paddle Boards and two Pelican Pedal Boats, the new fleet offers a variety of options for anyone looking to launch from our sandy beach and explore Lake Winnipesaukee.

This exciting new addition sets the Center Harbor Inn experience apart from other lodging options along the Lake. Each reservation includes one free half day rental of a watercraft of the guest’s choosing based upon availability. The new water activities program also offers additional half day rentals for $20 and full day rentals for $35. Enjoy a one-stop shop for your ideal lakeside getaway. Get out on the water with your friends or family and make the most of your trip to scenic Lake Winnipesaukee.

A Taste of Something Local

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Coffee and bagels have always made for a good pairing. This statement is particularly true if you are on vacation and looking to kick off a fun-filled day by the lake. As construction neared completion on the Center Harbor Inn, management looked to re-envision the continental breakfast offering. Too often a hotel’s continental breakfast is underwhelming and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. After much consideration, the team decided that the key to a positive continental breakfast experience was sourcing select, quality items from local vendors.

Coffee is king and we wanted our guest to be happy with their early morning beverage. The inn partnered with Wayfarer Coffee Roasters to deliver the perfect cup of joe. A local roaster based out of nearby Laconia, Wayfarer struck a deal to supply a variety of freshly roasted beans and even came onsite to calibrate the handpicked grinders and train the staff. With the breakfast area just steps from check-in, any new guest will be greeted by a welcoming aroma of hand-roasted, freshly made coffee. The partnership also supplied homemade granola and signature energy balls to the breakfast counter at the inn. If you are looking for a power snack before a big hike, we highly recommend the energy balls.

For some additional local flavor, the Inn struck a deal with Winnipesaukee Bay Gulls. This local bakery is widely known as the best bagel shop in the Lakes Region. Just a few minutes down the road from the hotel, Bay Gulls handmakes a variety of bagels and delivers them for the enjoyment of our guests. Imagine a delicious sesame bagel with a piping hot cup of locally crafted, dark roast coffee. Are we getting hungry yet?

While the selection might be limited, the continental breakfast at the Center Harbor Inn packs in a few local staples that are sure to impress. Kick off your morning by tasting the local flavors and enjoying the sunrise on your deck. It’s hard to imagine a better start to your lakeside vacation.

Ribbon Cutting at our Winnipesaukee Hotel

Ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Center Harbor Inn.

On Friday, January 20th, the Center Harbor Inn held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the grand opening of the new facility after nearly a year of aggressive renovations. Originally a series of vacation cottages dating back to the 1920’s, the main lodge building on the property was erected in 1968. The Inn offered comfortable hotel rooms with private decks on a sandy Lake Winnipesaukee beachfront just walking distance from the shops and restaurants in Center Harbor. Over the years, however, the facility experienced a prolonged period of deferred maintenance and was no longer positioned to do justice to its unique and valued location.

Following a lengthy negotiation process, the hotel group that operates Steele Hill Resorts was able to purchase the inn this past March. With the support of town officials and local businesses, a major renovation project kicked off to completely revitalize the hotel. Conneston Construction spearheaded the contracting services using architectural plans from Stewart Associates Architects and interior design input from Frances G Hodges Interiors. The renovation involved stripping the building down to the studs and completely rethinking the structure. Key changes included the addition of Douglass Fir clad beam work to frame out the new decking system, new accent gables to break up the roofline and two large decorative cupolas along the center of the main lodge.

The interior work echoed the appearance of the exterior with an emphasis on both modern and rustic features. Inside the main lodge, bathrooms were completely gutted and fully tiled. The addition of modern glass panel dividers, new plumbing fixtures and custom hickory vanities finished off these spaces. All new carpeting, custom furniture and beautiful floor to ceiling, hickory headboards with floating shelves dressed out the upscale, lakeside accommodations. The addition of amenities included complete refurbishment of the nearly 200 feet of sandy beachfront and the construction of a beautiful, 4-season outside hot tub facility overlooking the lake surrounded by heated pavers offering direct access to the building. Interior improvements also included the addition of an all new fitness center with an adjacent sauna facility.

With the completion of this extensive renovation, the hotel will now offer an upscale, lakeside hospitality experience allowing guests to enjoy wading into the relaxing waters of Lake Winnipesaukee from the sandy beachfront or walking into town to experience all that Center Harbor has to offer.