It’s a popular theme, this side of the pandemic, to say “welcome back.” But like most of us in the Lakes Region… we never left.
he Lakes Region offers so many outdoor activities, on and off the water. Even with the pandemic, there are still a variety of things to do… in a day. If you haven’t experienced these great ideas, try them. There is nothing like a good, filled with fresh air, New Hampshire Lakes Region day trip!
Gunstock’s three-acre fishing pond is stocked on a regular basis through the summer by New Hampshire Fish and Game. Anglers are required to park in the main Gunstock parking lot in order to access the pond. A valid New Hampshire State Fishing License is required for ages 16 and older.
The NH Fish and Game website has information on when the pond has been stocked and where to purchase fishing licenses. NH Fish and Game refers to the Gunstock pond as the Belknap Recreation Area Pond. The Camp Store has bait available for purchase.
Opechee Bay, located just 1.3 miles from Laconia, in Belknap County, is another great fishing spot. Whether you’re fly fishing, spinning or baitcasting your chances of getting a bite here are good. So grab your favorite fly fishing rod and reel, and head out to Opechee Bay. Alternate names for this bay include Opechee Lake, Lake Opechee and Round Bay.
No matter how experienced you are as a fisherman, you can almost always benefit from hiring a fishing guide. Fishing guides provide an opportunity for you to learn how to catch more and bigger fish. Fishing is an ongoing learning experience.
Even if you have fished all over the world, there is always an opportunity to learn something new.
The reasons to hire a fishing guide may be different depending on how experienced you are. Remember, you aren’t just paying for a day of fishing; you are hiring their experience.
These guides have put in the time to understand what the fish are eating, when the fish are feeding, and where the fish are located.
By hiring a guide, it drastically increases your chances of catching fish. This becomes more important when you have young children trying out the sport. There’s no better way to get your son or daughter into fishing than having them reel in one themselves!
Gunstock Mountain Resort is nature’s playground and a Best of the Lakes Region multi-year winner. Miles of hiking trails across Gunstock Mountain, Mount Rowe and Cobble Mountain provide views of Lake Winnipesaukee, the Ossipee and Sandwich Ranges and into the Presidential Range with a great view of Mount Washington.
The Wetlands Boardwalk in partnership with the Belknap County Conservation District, is home to the 1/4 mile, handicapped accessible boardwalk, complete with benches for resting. The walk is self-guided with informational points along the way. Parking is available off the entrance road just past the end of the bridge’s guardrail. Handicap access is through the campground. The Camping Center have directions.
In the middle of the Belknap Range and right above Lake Winnipesaukee, there is a wonderful trail network maintained by the Belknap Range Rail Renters, a volunteer organization that has assumed primary responsibility for the maintenance of many of the trails in the Belknap Range, particularly in the western part of the range.
While the hikes at Gunstock should take just a few hours, it is your responsibility to be prepared. Make sure you know where you are going and how to return. Wear appropriate clothing for the season, in layers. Carry a whistle, flashlight, rain coat and extra food, water and clothing in a daypack. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return.
The Belknap Range Conservation Coalition is a non-profit group whose mission is to promote the conservation of open space, responsible stewardship, and low impact public enjoyment of the scenic natural, recreational and historical resources of the Belknap Mountain Range. They are a great resource for hiking trail maps of the entire Belknap Mountain Range.
Highland Mountain Bike Park is the first lift-access mountain entirely dedicated to biking. Located just 90-minutes north of Boston in beautiful Northfield. A 2019 & 2020 Best of the Lakes Region Winner, Highland has an extensive downhill and cross-country trail network, skill building areas and a 9,100 square-foot indoor training facility. Staff offer lessons and camps for all age groups. Their lifts are open. Highlands is open late into Autumn. Learn more at highlandmountain.com.
At Gunstock, single and double track trails. There are all levels of difficulty, starting with beginner terrain through the campground, to intermediate trails around Cobble Mountain, and up to advance riding across the ridge line from the summit of Gunstock to Mount Rowe.
New this season at Gunstock are e-bike tours! An E-bike is an electric bike that contains a battery. Scott brand mountain bikes contain 3 degrees of pedal assistance, which means you get to have all the fun of traditional mountain biking without all the hard work. Conquer hills with ease!
Guides lead groups of up to eight participants on a 90 minute tour. Tours run daily. Your e-bike tour begins in the Stadium Area across from the Camp Store, located on the Panorama Drive, with instructional how-to and practice prior to heading out to explore Gunstock’s trails. The tour is designed for those comfortable on a bike with any level of fitness.
Whether you’re heading out for an afternoon cocktail party or a two- week offshore voyage, it’s important to think through and write down your meal plan ahead of time.
As we all adjust to a new lifestyle that may include social distancing, a great way to get out into the world in a safe and responsible way is with a family boat.
Having a primary home, or a second or third can make summer or long weekends best. In Laconia, you can still have waterfront lake living for well under a million dollars.