A Winnipesaukee Whopper in Moultonborough, NH

10-12-16_old_country_store_featured

A drive along the northern shores of Lake Winnipesaukee through the lakeside communities seems innocent enough – country roads, little town centers, and a smattering of shops and restaurants. But the reality is that there is a trove of history tucked around every bend in the road. Stop in the village of Moultonborough, sit on the wooden bench outside The Old Country Store, and let me recount for you a tale about the man after whom the town is named.

Old Country Store, Moultonborough Village, NH
Sit for a while out front of The Old Country Store and take in a bit of history.

Late one night General Jonathan Moulton was nodding off as he sat by his fireplace contemplating his financial woes. He had been a very prosperous man but now was struggling. He glanced towards the chimneypiece and was surprised to see a figure sitting on a corner bench. “Who the devil are you?” he demanded. In answer, the visitor threw flaming coals into a mug of rum and drained the blazing liquid. The general now knew the devil had come to visit him “dressed in his Saturday night best, black velvet and all, with an orchid stuck through his buttonhole.” What ensued was a lengthy dialogue between the devil and General Moulton whereby the general sold his soul to devil in exchange for a monthly ration of gold coins to be measured by filling the general’s boots (Wilkin, Winnipesaukee Whoppers, 1949).

After the devil departed, the general, known to be a wily businessman, came up with a plan. “I’ll fool the old buzzard!” he muttered gleefully. Buying the largest boots he could find and cutting a hole in the soles, he nailed the boots over holes in the wooden floor. When the devil came to make good on their agreement, the coins dropped through the boots and into the cellar below. The devil, discovering the deception, promptly burnt the house to the ground. Trapped in his cellar filled with coins, that was the end of Jonathan Moulton (Wilkin).

This is only a small slice of the stories surrounding the legendary namesake of Moultonborough. In the mid 1700s, General Moulton had led a group of settlers from Hampton, having successfully petitioned Masonian Proprietors for part of the ungranted lands in the province. The land encompassing Moultonborough was first chartered in 1763 and is described as “running along the northerly shore of Winnepisseoky Pond, and including a neck and point of land running into the pond.” The party of settlers included other members of the Moulton family (nhes.nh.gov/Moultonborough). As another story goes, Moulton was very friendly with British Governor Wentworth, who controlled the royal province. One day Moulton marched his fattest ox to Portsmouth as a gift to the governor. “The 1,400-pound beast, draped in flowers…could not have been missed by the jealous locals” (Robinson, The Devilish Fall of General Moulton, seacoastnh.com). Pleased with the gift, the governor granted Moulton an additional 18,000 acres of land near Moultonborough. General Moulton “was one of the country’s first big real estate speculators, turning ten’s of thousands of Lakes Region land into New Hampshire towns in what is today the Moultonborough area” (Robinson).

Moultonborough abuts Sandwich to the north, Tuftonboro to the south, and Center Harbor to the west. The town has 60.0 square miles of land area and 15.0 square miles of inland water area (nhes.nh.gov/Moultonborough). It is one of eight towns with shorefront on Lake Winnipesaukee, but it is unique among its neighbors in that its shorefront includes many “fingers” of land that jut out into the lake, allowing for countless surprising spots to situate a home or cabin. The main waterfront areas are along the so-called “Neck.” Down the length of the Neck, Moultonborough Neck Road eventually leads to a short bridge and onto Long Island, which covers about 1,200 acres. This is Winnipesaukee’s largest island and one of only 5 bridged islands on the lake (s21794.p694.sites.pressdns.com/longisland). The early history of the island mostly revolves around farming. At one point the wheat farmed there was purchased by the Federal Government and shipped to farmers in the western half of the US because it was of such high quality. Another farmer, John Brown, developed King Philip Corn on his Long Island property. For 50 years he held the record in NH for the quantity of corn per acre produced (lwhs.us/moult-windermerejewel.htm).

General Moulton may have found himself well at home in one of Moultonborough’s most unique spots. Positioned high in the Ossipee Mountain Range is Castle in the Clouds, also known as Lucknow. Built in 1913-14 by manufacturing millionaire Thomas Plant, the castle is an arresting example of Arts and Crafts architecture and commands mighty views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains. Today it is set up just as it would have been in the early 1900s. The castle has become a popular and intriguing venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, reunions, fund raisers, and a variety of other functions. There are also many special events such as stargazing, yoga on “Wellness Wednesdays,” and “Jazz at Sunset.” For more information on the castle and its events, visit castleintheclouds.org.

As you sit on the porch of The Old Country Store in Moultonborough village, realize these grounds too are connected to Jonathan Moulton. The building sits on a parcel of land he sold to Samuel Burnham in 1777. The store has been there since 1781. At that, it may be one of the oldest in the US. The building has served as town meeting hall, library, and post office during its 235-year history. The best way to enjoy this distinctive establishment is to wander though its rooms across the wide uneven floorboards.  There are things old and new – collectibles, toys, penny candy, clothes, maple products, pickles, books, maps, fudge, gadgets, aged cheddar, and much more. Additional information can be found at nhcountrystore.com.

Now it is time to climb back into your car and continue to explore the beautiful area and colorful history of Moultonborough. Just don’t make any deals with the devil along the way.

This post was written by Mary O’Neill.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
Inflation and housing prices

How Inflation Impacts Lakes Region Housing Prices

I was out with a friend this week on Squam Lake, and we were talking …

Read More →
Picture of author in the Grand Canyon

Is Lake Region Real Estate Drying Up Like The Southwest?

I just returned from a trip to Nevada, Arizona, and Utah this past week. Put …

Read More →
Brook Hill at Meredith: New luxury homes in Meredith, NH

Brisk Sales at Brook Hill in Meredith

Meredith— Sales at Brook Hill, a new luxury townhouse community in Meredith, have been exceptional …

Read More →

Impressive Sales at Lakeside at Paugus Bay

Laconia— Sales at Lakeside at Paugus Bay, a new luxury waterfront condominium community on Lake …

Read More →

Four Decades of Change in Lakes Region Real Estate

We were talking in the office the other day regarding how much the real estate …

Read More →
Supply and demand graph, real estate housing

The driving forces in the demand for NH housing

It is no secret that our country has seen some incredible growth in the real …

Read More →
Holderness, NH

Holderness Bridges Big Squam and Little Squam

Holderness is a lakeside community in the foothills of the white mountains on New Hampshire’s …

Read More →
high inflation

Energy & Ukraine Crisis Compared to 1970s Inflation

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has emerged as a black swan event rattling the world during …

Read More →
Tilton, NH

Tilton — The Gateway to New Hampshire’s Lakes Region

Tilton, New Hampshire, is considered the gateway to New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region because of …

Read More →
Map of USA: How Real Estate Trends affect the Lakes Region

How Real Estate Trends Affect the Lakes Region

New Hampshire’s Lakes Region & New Hampshire Can you believe a new analysis from Zillow …

Read More →
Laconia NH

Laconia, NH — A City on the Rise

The 17,000 resident “City on the Lakes” is nestled on the shores of three of …

Read More →
Two ice sailing enthusiasts on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Waterfront Sales Activity and Real Estate News

Here’s an update on the waterfront sales activity that we experienced over the past two …

Read More →
Tuftonboro, NH

Tuftonboro — “The Diamond in The Heart of New Hampshire”

Located just west of Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro is called “The Diamond in the Heart of New …

Read More →
Aerial view of Lake Winnisquam and Sanbornton, New Hampshire

The Rural Character of Sanbornton, New Hampshire

Sanbornton embodies all that one expects to find in an old New England town. This …

Read More →
Castle in The Clouds is one of Moultonborough's largest attractions.

Moultonborough’s 66 Miles of Shorefront Captivates

By landmass Moultonborough, NH is the largest lakefront community in the Lakes Region with 59.7 …

Read More →
Kevin Shaw - Roche Realty Group

Kevin Shaw of Roche Realty Group is Top Producer for 2021

Laconia— Frank Roche, president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, recently …

Read More →
Wolfeboro, NH — The Oldest Summer Resort Town In America

Wolfeboro, NH — The Oldest Summer Resort Town In America

Wolfeboro: a Brief History Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains and on the …

Read More →

Roche Realty Group Reports Record of $170 Million in Sales

Meredith- Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc, with offices in Meredith and Laconia, has …

Read More →
Meredith NH

Gilford and Meredith NH – How Do They Compare?

There are 25 towns and cities comprising the Lakes Region. This week I thought I …

Read More →

EM Heath, LLC Acquires 1084 Union Ave in Laconia

The future of Ace Hardware EM Heath LLC in Laconia became solidified this past week …

Read More →
Roche Realty Group Sells Landmark Commercial Building in Gilford, NH

Roche Realty Group Sells Landmark Gilford Commercial Building

Gilford- One of the most visible, historic landmark commercial properties in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region …

Read More →
New Commercial Constructioin in Lakes Region

Commercial Sales Increasing in the Lakes Region

Recently I’ve been outlining the sales activity for residential, waterfront, and multi-family apartments in the …

Read More →
Laconia NH Commercial Building Sale

New Owner for 8,447 Sqft. Commercial Building in Laconia

Laconia— Exciting news for the downtown Laconia district. Another substantial commercial building, including approximately 8,447 …

Read More →

Strong Demand for Multi-Family Apartments in NH’s Lakes Region

Last week I was driving through Loudon Road in Concord in the busy heights area, …

Read More →
NH Lake

Area Lakes Show Considerable Appreciation

Below you will find data and insight into what’s happening in sales activity on 8 …

Read More →
inflation in shopping center / grocery store

More Inflation Concerns

More Inflation Concerns I submitted an article a while ago titled “Is Our Current Inflation …

Read More →
Alpenrose Village Retail Center located at Rte. 11 B / Rte. 3 in Weirs Beach, Laconia

Roche Realty Group Sells Alpenrose Village Retail Center

Laconia, NH – Tom Drouin of Roche Realty Group in Meredith represented both the seller and the …

Read More →
As the Real Estate Season Turns

As the Real Estate Season Turns

“There’s hope for buyers on the horizon, with more real estate opportunity to come.” This …

Read More →

10 Things to Consider if You’re Buying in a Seller’s Market

Anyone looking to buy a home today knows they are in a seller’s market, which …

Read More →

Third Quarter Update – Lakes Region Real Estate Activity

I’ve pulled up some data to provide all of you with some current insight on …

Read More →
Home Maintenance - Person repairing wall in house

Home maintenance the difference between sold and stuck

Be honest… is your home in need of some repairs? Because the truthful answer to …

Read More →
Coins stacked up indicting inflation

Is our Current Inflation “Transitory?”

The Federal Reserve officials have described the current period of high inflation as “transitory.” In …

Read More →
ABBA Tribute performing at the Lakeport Opera House

Meet you at the Lakeport Opera House

Last Saturday, Nancy and I were invited to the Lakeport Opera House to take in …

Read More →
Picture of

The New Hampshire Advantage

All of us who live in New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region certainly have lots to …

Read More →

Just like vacation seasons, vacation homes come and go

When you think about it, all homes are actually seasonal properties. Whether it’s a primary …

Read More →

Hunt for lower prices like a lone wolf

If you ever watched Saturday morning cartoons back in the day, you may recall Looney …

Read More →
Birds eye view of Lakes Region New Hampshire

Lakes Region Real Estate Market 6-Month Comparison

We are halfway through 2021 already, and as we head down the second-half stretch, I’ve …

Read More →
The "Village Store" in Gilford, NH

The “Village Store” in Gilford Has New Owners

Gilford— The “Village Store” in scenic Gilford Village, a Lakes Region landmark since 1836, was …

Read More →
Lakes Region NH - aerial view of Lake Winnipesaukee NH

Lakes Region Waterfront Sales Comparisons

I thought I would look at the real estate activity on the Lakes Region’s four …

Read More →
Island Living on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH - aerial view of Welch Island, Lake Winnipesaukee

Island Living on Lake Winnipesaukee

The thunder of motorcycles has arrived in the Lakes Region. After a long year of …

Read More →
summer fun in nh - swimming in the river

Summertime Adventures Around the Lakes Region

Memorial Day weekend has arrived, and all of us are excited to kick off the …

Read More →
Are we in a real estate bubble?

Are We in A Real Estate Bubble?

Back in April, the red hot search on Google™ was “when is the housing market …

Read More →

Roche Realty Group Sells Artie’s Subs & Pizza

Moultonborough, NH – Brian and Kara Dillard of Barrington, New Hampshire, have recently purchased Artie’s …

Read More →
Laconia, NH - City on the Lakes

Laconia— City on the Lakes

The 17,000 resident, “City on the Lakes,” is nestled on the shores of three of …

Read More →
Housing Bubble

What if it’s not a bubble?

It’s a mad mad mad world of real estate right now.  The frustrations of buyers …

Read More →
Alton, New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee

Alton’s Treasures — Natural Resources

Alton, New Hampshire is a scenic community with wonderful natural resources. The town envelopes the …

Read More →
Moultonborough, New Hampshire

Moultonborough, NH — Low Taxes Attract!

Moultonborough, New Hampshire, is a scenic and idyllic community on the northern shores of Lake …

Read More →
Gilford, New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee

Gilford Recognized For Its Quality of Life

Gilford, New Hampshire, has always been a popular destination and a great community to live …

Read More →
Meredith Village on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Meredith, NH—One of the Top 10 Best Small Towns on the East Coast

It’s always good to see our local towns highlighted in national publications, and recently Meredith …

Read More →

Economic Concerns for Real Estate

For the first time in decades, fiscal and monetary policy will likely remain easy during …

Read More →

Leave a Comment