Governor’s Island on Lake Winnipesaukee
Governor’s Island is located within the town of Gilford, New Hampshire on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. The island is one of only 5 bridged islands on Lake Winnipesaukee. The island includes approx. 504 acres with a gentle topography. The island is accessed by a small scenic bridge which leads to Wentworth Shores and Route 11D. Governor’s 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. Governor’s Island is the 4th largest island on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Many fine upper end waterfront homes have been constructed along the beautiful shores of this desirable island. The island is located geographically close to all sections of the lake because of its central location. Accessibility is one of its strong attributes. The island is a short drive to many fine restaurants, the Laconia Airport, shopping centers, marinas, Gunstock Ski Area, and the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion which offers many concerts throughout the season. The island has an oval shape with a couple of small cove areas. It is approx. 1.8 miles in length with a width of approx. .7 miles. The highest elevation is at 646′. The island was owned by Governor Wentworth through a land grant, given to him as recognition of his efforts to develop the Wolfeboro area, established in 1772. After the land grant, a number of owners owned the property which was later purchased by Nathaniel Davis. It was Mr. Davis who constructed the very first bridge to the island. He also formed a farming co-operative. If you visit the island today you will see very little evidence of what was once a thriving farming co-op. Instead, luxury lakefront homes and estates dot the expansive shoreline representing some of the finest high end real estate located on the “Big Lake”. The Davis family controlled the island from 1799 until 1857. In 1880 Stilson Hutchins, who was the founder of the Washington Post, purchased the island, and he later constructed a mansion at the top of the island offering expansive views of the entire lake and mountains. It was Mr. Hutchins who constructed many of the shoreline and interior roads throughout the island. In 1928 the island was purchased by Clifford Hayes whose intent was to establish a resort complex with amenities similar to the Bald Peak Colony Club located on the north east end of Lake Winnipesaukee. Unfortunately, a fire took place in the mansion in 1934 and Mr. Hayes’ attempt at development failed.
All these attempts at future development turned out to be a reality. When you look at Governor’s Island today it includes some of the most desirable and expensive real estate located on Lake Winnipesaukee. Many of the original more modest cape style residences have been torn down and larger estate homes have been constructed to today’s standards with tremendous architectural appeal. Many of the homes include stone breakwaters for their docking facilities and sandy beaches. Gilford’s most expensive housing stock is located on this island. The island residents have enjoyed substantial appreciation over the years. Current asking prices have reached as high as 10 million dollars in the past year. There are many fine properties offered for considerably less money. Additionally, an interior road network supports many fine beach access homes which are part of the Governor’s Island Association. Some of these homes offer views, and all of them are part of the Governor’s Island Association, which allows for the use of the beaches and Governor’s Island amenities.
The Governor’s Island Club offers the following private amenities:
• Nature trail network throughout the interior of the island
• Beautiful natural sand community beaches separated by stone breakwaters
• Lovely community clubhouse available for functions and island gatherings which overlook s the community beach
• Tennis courts
• Child playground behind the beach
• Canoe and kayak rack