My family enjoys vacationing in a small village adjacent to Lake Winnipesaukee. We discovered the area during the late Nineties when we were looking for a less crowded alternative to Cape Cod. The town of Wolfeboro has everything we like for a vacation spot: lots of options for outdoor activities, good places to eat in the evening, evening musical concerts and best of all, an area that conducive to relaxing. The typical family coming for a week's vacation in this town has been coming for a generation and has handed down the tradition to their families. On that score, we're relative newcomers, but we've established our own family tradition up here in Wolfeboro during the past decade.
So this year, when we arrived, we dove into our favorite activities -- swimming at the beach, riding on the bike path and kayaking on a quiet lake. But there were a couple changes. The hotel we've staying at has been partially refurbished, so there's a new look to several of the rooms in a separate building near us. Some people like to bring their boats to the region, but this time, there were also two large boats in the parking lot with bright orange pontoons equipped with dual, aggressive looking Honda 225 VTEC engines situated in the parking lot. It turns out we were sharing our vacation digs with the Coast Guard.
Mitt Romney, candidate for President, has been in town at his summer home on the lake several weekends this year. He's been coming here for years, including during his tenure as the governor of Massachusetts, and he's sometimes been in town at the same time we were, but this is the first time it's been noticeable. Even during the weekdays when he isn't here, the Coast Guard has been staying at our hotel and occasionally taking their boats onto the big lake. The guys have mostly kept to themselves, but seem to like hanging out by the beach and having a cookout, just like the rest of us, at least during their down time.
The nice thing for our family is that this is still the Wolfeboro we know and love. The bike path starts at the edge of town and the packed, sandy path extends along railroad tracks onto causeways crossing the lakes, past beaches and deep into undeveloped wooded areas. There are several different places to park and access the trail, and the number of people encountered is reduced as one rides several miles away from the town center.
Our crescent shaped lake -- way too small for those Coast Guard boats -- is quiet in the morning and very well suited for swimming and kayak rides. We like to explore the nooks and crannies of the lake, and observe the local flora and fauna close up. There are neatly spaced homes and cottages under heavily wooded canopies of deciduous and tall pine trees, and several areas remain totally undeveloped.
Wolfeboro does not have any large, name brand hotels and the typical visitor has booked rooms or rental houses many months in advance. I like to say that the you won't end up in Wolfeboro unless you really intend to come here, since the nearest interstate highways are about an hour away and the roads into town are all two lane state roads or smaller local roads.
There is a fine little park by the water, Cate Park, and musical groups play in its gazebo twice a week. On Wednesday nights, the local community band plays and it's open to all musicians who are willing to come early for a one hour rehearsal, so my wife has played clarinet with the band several times over the last few summers. The music is not spectacular, but fills the evening with sounds of pop tunes, marches and lots of brass. The park itself has a fabulous view of Lake Winnipesaukee and its surrounding hills. While the music plays, families arrive via cars, on foot or on large motor boats.
Wolfeboro offers a taste of summer life in a small New England town at a cross roads between the waters and the woods. The absence of brand name stores and chain restaurants contributes to the ambiance and the patchy cell phone reception helps to keep the emphasis on summer vacation. So, we may be in the footsteps of one of this year's presidential candidates, but so far, Wolfeboro has retained its unique character and it's not too hard to find solitude amidst nature's bounty up here on the eastern reaches of the Lakes Region.