When asked, “Why is the Lakes Region the best?” Kris G.’s well-thought out response was, “It’s God’s country…a window into heaven.” Let’s move from this rather unique answer to some of the more general reasons why the Lakes Region is unsurpassed.
1. WATER: NH has about 164,609 acres of lakes and 9,612 miles of rivers and streams. One sixteenth of NH is covered by water. Much of it is in the Lakes Region with 273 lakes and rivers. NH lakes are ranked third in clarity in the U.S. behind Oregon and Montana.
2. FOREST: Over 87% of NH is covered by forest, making it the 2nd most forested state in the country. The White Mountain National Forest is a grand expanse of 800,000 acres close to or part of the towns, safeguarding the land from excessive development. The forest is closely managed and provides areas for recreation, wildlife habitat, and renewable resources.
3. ACCESS: Boston’s airport and culture are only 2 hours away. The Manchester airport is even more convenient – only an hour away.
4. QUALITY OF LIFE: For 8 years in a row, NH was named the “most livable state in the nation” by the Morgan Quitno Corporation. This ranking is based on forty-four factors, including median household income, health, environment, business tax, crime rate, climate, and education. Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, was rated the #1 retirement place in the country under the category “leisure living for recreational and cultural opportunities” (rated by MacMillan Travel – fifth edition of Retirement Places Rated).
5. HERITAGE: The Lakes Region is rich in history. Indians settled around the lakes thousands of years ago. Settlement by colonists started in the mid 1600’s. Some of the first towns in the area date back to the early 1700’s. Each town has a colorful history ready to be explored.
6. CULTURE AND ACTIVITIES: There are never-ending activities in NH throughout the year – biking, boating, bird watching, climbing, golfing, camping, horseback riding, skiing, hunting, snowmobiling, snowboarding, water skiing, and many others. Fine cultural opportunities are provided by local theaters, including the Winnipesaukee Playhouse and Interlakes Summer Theater in Meredith, and The Barnstormers in Tamworth.
7. MUSIC: In the heart of the Lakes Region is the Bank of NH Pavilion. This award-winning, state-of-the-art 8,000-seat amphitheater has become New England’s premier concert venue.
8. FESTIVALS AND FAIRS: NH residents and guests enjoy a wide variety of festivals and fairs. From the Sandwich Fair, annual Chowderfest, craft fairs, antique shows, bluegrass festivals, to Christmas fairs, the possibilities abound.
9. HEALTH: NH consistently ranks in the top ten healthiest states in the U.S. There are many fine hospitals, including Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon and Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro.
10. SHOPPING: In NH, there is tax free shopping in large national-chain stores and one-of-a-kind boutiques. Tanger Outlets in Tilton, with over 40 shops, is right off Interstate 93. A walk through any town will bring the shopper into wonderful boutiques and specialty shops.
11. FISHING: NH has endless opportunities for river, lake, and ice fishing. There are bass fishing and ice fishing tournaments, but also quiet little nooks for a personal fishing retreat.
12. HIKING: NH is a hiker’s heaven. There are forty-eight peaks over 4000 feet and access to the Appalachian Trail.
13. ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY: The state of NH is considered at very low risk for earthquakes, tornadoes, forest fires, and hurricanes.
14. CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION: Societies have been set up in NH to ensure the preservation of the environment. The Lakes Region Conservation Trust alone had conserved nearly 24,000 acres, 33 miles of shoreline, 19 summits, and more than 85 miles of trails.
15. SCHOOLS: NH has many fine schools, most notably a number of renowned private schools. These include New Hampton School, St. Paul’s School, and Brewster Academy. Dartmouth in Hanover is an Ivy League college founded in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock.
Now let’s go back to the man or woman on the street and their responses to the question. Steve C. from Meredith says, “There’s something to do in every season…especially in the winter when I can drive my truck on the lake.” Ricardo D. from Bristol answers, “I have a lot of acreage, but also I love to go to different lakes and streams for fishing.” Amanda B.’s more wistful response was, “Leaves…the beautiful colors…the feel of the crisp air on my face in the morning…I love wearing sweaters.” Western S. from Alton states, “The best part about living here is the weather…it’s not too hot in the summer…I don’t mind the winter because I love ice fishing.” Mr. M. from Laconia had one word to say, “Peaceful.” When pressed to elaborate, Mr. M. chuckled and responded, “There are other reasons too, but you can’t put them in print.” Gertrude B.’s answer was practical: “Doctors…tremendous doctors live here because they don’t want to live in the cites.” Anne S.’s response echoed that of Kris G. ‘s and left food for thought. “The Lakes Region is one of God’s appointed safe havens in this chaotic world.”
The answer to why the Lakes Region is best will be as varied as the people you meet. But it seems one thing is certain: the people who live here, live here by choice. As one resident of Laconia who wished to be labeled as anonymous put it: “I’ve lived in many different parts of the country and I’ve always come home to the Lakes Region.”
This post was written by Mary O’Neill. Mary is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith, NH and can be reached at (603) 366-6306 (cell) or (603) 279-7046 (office). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org