Bear Island on Lake Winnipesaukee
Bear Island is located in Meredith, New Hampshire on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Bear Island is 780 acres in area with a length of approx. 3 miles and a width of up to .75 miles. Bear Island is the 2nd largest island on Lake Winnipesaukee. Bear Island is one of over approx. 274 islands on Lake Winnipesaukee, which spans approx. 22.9 miles with a width of approx. 7.5 miles at its widest point. The Lake includes approx. 288 miles of shoreline with approx.. 72 sq. mi. of water area. The maximum water depth is approx. 187 feet deep with an average depth of 62 feet with approx. 625 billion gallons of water. It’s the 6th largest natural lake completely inside the U.S. borders.
Bear Island is part of lands granted to John Mason by England in the early 1600’s and was annexed to Meredith in 1799. It was first settled by Robert Bryant. By the beginning of the 1800’s Bear Island had been settled by the Dockham, Bickford, Nichols, and Maloon families, who farmed the central and southern parts of the island planting maple and apple trees that still bear fruit in an orchard on Jerry Point.
Bear Island is one of the more popular islands on Lake Winnipesaukee for island living. It is the largest unbridged island on the “Big Lake”. A wide collection of vintage lake homes and cottages have been constructed on this renowned island with lots of character. There is an abundance of architectural styles, sizes, and price ranges on this scenic island outpost. There are numerous walking trails throughout the island for families to enjoy and explore as well as getting their routine exercise and plenty of area for pets to roam around. The U.S. Mailboat, the Sophie C, still today makes regular mail stops at Bear Island for its summer island residents at the public dock. It is at this location you can see children jumping off the dock as the mail boat leaves. A truly summer time feel of good times at the lake and lasting memories for the lucky families who have enjoyed the aura of island living on Lake Winnipesaukee. There are many vistas enjoyed offering westerly views, easterly views, as well as dramatic views looking up at Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest mountain at 6, 288 feet. Bear Island has a unique, irregular shape to it that creates interesting coves, sandy beaches, and intriguing topography.
–Information obtained from the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society and other sources.