This is New Hampshire's summer resort country. There are moments in the height of summer when it seems like half of urban New Englandthe half that owns boats instead of hiking bootsis here on vacation. Like Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn in the movie On Golden Pond (which was filmed here), people come to go boating in the daytime, watch the sunset from screened-in porches, and be smiled upon by the Great Spirit.
Lakes Country serves as a kind of transitional zone between the flatlands of southern New Hampshire and the White Mountains. Lake Winnipesaukee is the big lake in the region, at 45,500 acres, but there are many others: Ossipee, Squam and Little Squam, Winnisquam, Wentworth, and a host of smaller ones. The land between the lakes is filled with interesting nooks and crannies that provide good riding.
Eric Stinson's Mountain Biking and Hiking the Belknap Range of Lake Winnipesaukee provides details on trails near Laconia, the largest town in Lakes Country. It's a local, self-published guidebook, and copies are hard to come by (Eric's day job keeps him quite busy these days). Try the Sundial Shop in downtown Laconia, or Pinces Sport Shop, a bicycle shop just east of town on NH 11A.
Suggested Reading: Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. Very little of Heat Moon's 13,000-mile journey across America actually took place in New Hampshire, of course, but he made an extended stop in Lakes Country and met with some classic Granite State folk here. If you like travel writing, and somehow haven't happened into this one yet, now's as good a time as any to read it.
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Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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