From Boys Camp to Samoset Condominiums on Lake Winnipesaukee

By Frank Roche, President, Roche Realty Group, Inc.
Over the years, so many seasonal boys and girls camps played a significant role in the history and heritage of Lake Winnipesaukee. During the 1930s, there were as many as 72 established camps in the Lake Region. Many of these camps weathered the test of time, and still exist today while a majority have succumbed to increased expenses and a drop off in the number of seasonal campers. Today approximately two dozen camps are still in operation.

I can remember visiting a neighbor friend of mine who was a camp counselor at Camp Kehonka in the late 1960s. At the time, Kehonka was the longest continuously operated summer camp for girls in the country. It was founded in 1902 and it flourished in its days with over 12,000 campers who attended over its lifetime. The memories passed down through generations; however, times quickly changed. Kehonka for 83 years, weathered such hardships as two world wars, a depression, the devastating hurricane of 1938 as well as other tragedies. Today, if you drive by the sprawling lakeside setting, you will find an upscale mix of fine waterfront homes and water access properties, at Lakeside on Winnipesaukee, a high-end waterfront community. Yes, times have changed, instead of campers meandering the wooded site, you will hear the similar sound of families enjoying the lake experience.
Other prominent camps included the likes of Camp Belknap, Camp Idlewild, Camp Dewitt, Camp Lawrence, Camp Wyanoke and many others. Because of the deep rooted memories of so many thousands of campers, the name Lake Winnipesaukee has transitioned from a distant camp experience to what has become today a world class vacation home experience.
Another camp that comes to mind is Camp Samoset, which was located in Gilford near the Alton town line. Camp Samoset was established by Thomas E. Freeman in 1915 as a summer boys camp, along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

So many young boys enjoyed all sorts of drills including water skiing, swimming, baseball, range shooting, workshop history and sang many camp songs by the fire at night. The camp included 23 acres with 850 feet of shorefront on the "broads" section of Lake Winnipesaukee. The gently rolling topography featured towering whispering pine trees, with panoramic lake and mountain views.

I personally started my career in real estate in 1976 in the Lakes Region. I remember the sale I made of this majestic lake front property, in late 1979. I sold the property to General Investment and Development Company out of Boston. I recommended that they retain Matarrazzo Design as the land planner and work with Sugarloaf Mountain Builders as their contractor. At the time we were operating under difficult marketing conditions, with very high interest rates from 1980 through 1982. Construction was started in April of 1982. A total of 137 condominium units were planned on the site, with an average of density of 5.96 units per acre.

When I look back and think of what I sold this property for at $250,000, I could only dream that I had bought it myself and held on to it. Today, just 1 average condominium within the community sells for the same amount.

Looking at Samoset in retrospect, the land planner, George Matarrazzo did a brilliant job with exceptional land planning, and award winning architectural designs. The design and colorations of the buildings combined with the sweeping lawn areas and wooded areas, flow beautifully. Considerable native vegetation was preserved. Basically the buildings "fit well" with the land. Each condominium was executed in subtle earth tones, with fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, screened porches and many with inspiring views. The interiors were contemporary, however the exterior styling was more traditional with hipped roofs and exposed wood finishes. The amenities include a tastefully designed award winning pool and clubhouse overlooking the lake, a sandy beach area, boat slips and moorings. An additional outdoor pool and tennis courts are set back further on the property. With 850 feet of prime shorefront, Samoset's location is ideal, within close proximity to Gunstock Ski area and all other Lakes Region attractions.
Today, there is a shortage of inventory at Samoset with only two units presently for sale out of 137 units. This is surely an indication of the demand out there for this quality lakefront community. With so many former campers out there who are now active Baby Boomers, it's no wonder that the they have returned to their roots, where they experienced fond memories as children. I like to think we're like birds – we flock to the places of fond familiar feeling and we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the same experiences we had. Thank you, Camp Samoset for the memories!

Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046.

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Winni waterfront report for February 2016


There were six residential waterfront transactions on Lake Winnipesaukee in February 2016 at an average sales price of $1,102,833 and a median price point of $813,500.

The entry-level sale was at 14 Mill Cove Road in Alton. This 1967 vintage, 1,661-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home is extremely well maintained and offers beautiful long-range views and deep-water docking. It has an open floor plan with a tastefully remodeled kitchen, living room area with wood fireplace, two additional sleeping areas, and a great deck system. This home was first listed in October 2013 for $699,000, again July 2014 for $699,000, relisted in January 2016 for $619,000 and sold for $595,000 after 763 days on the market. It is currently assessed at $514,400.

The median price point representative this month is the property at 75 Neil Shore Road in Meredith. This home was completely rebuilt in 2004 and has 2,030 square feet of turnkey living space, five bedrooms, and two-and-a-half baths. This home is very nicely done, featuring an open concept main level with hardwood floors and radiant heat, a beautiful eat-in kitchen, large breakfast bar, and a living room leading out to a deck with awesome views. The 0.17 acre lot has 80 feet of frontage, a perched beach, a granite paver patio, and a 30-foot dock. That's a lot of greatness in a small area! This home was listed at $950,000, reduced to $860,000, and sold for $842,000 after 412 days on the market. The current tax assessment is $661,200.

The highest sale of the month was at 68 Wagon Wheel Trail in Meredith. This stunning Adirondack home was built in 2008 and has just over 8,000 square feet of ultra-high-quality living space. There are 21 rooms, six bedrooms (which are all en suites,) and a total of eight baths. I guess that's enough room for everyone! The enormous two-story great room has a massive fieldstone fireplace, as does the family room in the lower level, which also sports the requisite bar, pool table, home theater room, sauna, steam room, exercise room and wine cellar (of course!) The kitchen features high-end appliances, custom cherry cabinetry and flooring, granite and custom tile work. The home has all of the high-end custom features and finishes you would expect with natural woodwork trim, exposed beams, solid panel doors, cathedral and coffered ceilings, and beautiful fixtures. It sits on a 1.04-acre lot with 150 feet of westerly facing frontage, large lawn area, custom patio with fire pit and hot tub, and an oversize U-shaped dock providing plenty of space for all the toys! An expansive porch is the perfect place to watch the sunsets. There's also a four-car heated garage for your Bentley. This home was listed at $4.749 million back in May 2013, reduced to $3.249 million, and sold for $2.75 million after 933 days on the market. It is assessed at $3.093 million.

There were two sales on Lake Winnisquam and, coincidentally, they were both located on the same street at 11 and 21 Gilman Shore Road in Belmont. Number 11 is a 1955 vintage, 944-square-foot, two-bedroom year-round cottage on 0.22 acres of land with 50 feet of frontage. This home was listed at $355,000, reduced to $335,000 and sold for $300,000 after 198 days on the market. The home at 21 Gilman Shore was built in 1975, so it is a little newer and bigger with 1,450 square feet of space and two bedrooms. It sits on a 0.2 acre lot with 75 feet of frontage. This property also took a little longer to sell, with an initial offering price of $479,000 back in May 2011. It was subsequently reduced down to $370,000 and sold for $365,000 after 1,683 days on the market. The tax assessed value for 11 Gilman Shore is $364,500 and 21 Gilman Shore is $353,200.

P​lease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 3/09/16. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

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Bob Meade - We can do better. . .

A little earlier today, I watched a news report which showed a group of college students rioting in order to stop an invited guest speaker from speaking. This seems to have become a common occurrence in colleges across the country, especially when the speaker is Republican or deemed to be "right wing." Today's riot was in a California state college, where police had to take the guest speaker out a rear door to avoid possible physical injury from the mob. Recently we have seen similar incidents all across the country. At the University of Missouri, we saw a female professor calling for some "muscle" in order to stop a young news reporter from questioning the participants after a similar riot. And, only a few months ago, an invited guest speaker was shouted down and prevented from speaking at the Ivy League's Brown University in Rhode Island. One has to wonder what is taking place in academia. We have often heard and read professors espousing "critical thinking," but nationally, and to some extent locally, we find an absence of critical thinking . . . it being replaced with "left wing only" rhetoric. We can do better!

The First Amendment provides citizens with the right to free speech. That doesn't mean the speech has to be good. And "free" doesn't necessarily mean it's without consequences. Telling someone on the playground that their mother wears combat boots may earn the speaker a bloody nose. As long as speech is not libelous or slanderous, it's free. If it is either of those, it may be costly to the speaker. Even so, especially during this seemingly never ending political season, we find our politicians hurling invectives at each other, engaging in name calling, and offering crude innuendos about their opponents. We can do better!

Across the aisle, we find candidates working diligently to divide the country, most often by blaming the status of one group for the status of another. People are promised a series of undeliverable rewards, with those rewards to be obtained by taking from those who have achieved some measure of success. Education? Hard work? Merit? Family structure? Those virtues aren't mentioned as dividing and duping the population is more politically important than truth. We can do better!
Political correctness has invaded our society as a substitute for faith and morals. Our president chooses to eliminate funds designated for teaching "abstinence" as part of sex education, but is adamant about retaining over $550 million in annual funding for Planned Parenthood, which is over 42 percent of that organization's annual income. Can it be that abstinence funding is the reason for the slight declines in abortions? Supporters of Planned Parenthood tell us that no federal funding can be used for abortions . . . pure hogwash. Money is "fungible". That means it can be used for purposes other than originally intended. How many people know that Planned Parenthood donated over $1.4 million to the Obama campaign? Or, that its current plan is donate a seven figure sum to the Hillary presidential run? Or, that historically they have contributed substantially to other Democrat candidates? Or, that Planned Parenthood has one of those dreaded political "Super Pacs," mainly supporting Democrats? Part of that "fungible" money received from the government is being given back to selected politicians to buy their support for continued funding of Planned Parenthood. Your tax dollars at work. We can do better!

Our federal government has become dysfunctional. The Constitution which has served us well for over two hundred years is being pushed aside by the Executive Branch. Respect for the other branches of government appears to be nonexistent. Compromise has been removed from the political dictionary as each side digs in its heels with my way or the highway approaches. Hypocrisy abounds. The non-elected bureaucracy issues unchallenged regulations that have the force of law, with some of those regulations essentially killing established businesses and industries, with the result being excessive cost burdens being placed on citizens. Many of those businesses have had to seek redress from the court system and, in doing so, have had to bear the burden of legal costs to fight to overwhelming force of the federal government. All in all, the business community becomes plagued with uncertainty . . . not knowing what the next issue may be that takes away the norm. We can do better!

The vitriol we see on the national scene is often replicated locally, as some choose to demean those with different viewpoints by resorting to name calling and other slanderous remarks. It would be better to make a cogent argument for one's viewpoint than to make an enemy of a person with a different point of view. We can do better!

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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Nordic Tracks: Winter-Spring transitions

March is named for the Roman god of war, Mars. As Vermont's Center for Ecostudies states, "it is a month of battles between warm and cold, between winter's refusal to leave and spring's insistence on coming." I find myself also fighting the battle between wanting the cold and snow to stay so I can ski and snowshoe, and wanting the warm weather to bring on early season cycling. This year, it's especially hard to pick who you want the victor to be. After a disappointing winter, it's easy to say, "Oh, let's be done with winter, get out our bikes and hope spring is better." But a part of me feels cheated and doesn't want to let go of skis I never had because of fickle conditions. Like every other ski area or affiliated employee, the early end of winter also means an end to our seasonal paychecks, so we have a vested interest in winter lasting longer. But, as with all things natural, we don't really have a say- we have to accept what Mother Nature gives us and adjust.
This March is a month of time and seasonal transitions- Daylight Savings Time begins on March 13, Vernal Equinox on March 20, and early Easter on March 27. With those, there's also the weather shift. The sap is flowing and the snow is melting and we're stuck in the middle of the winter-spring tricky transition. One day it snows and is cold, then next, it's sunny and 60 degrees. One day, you can ski, another, you can bike. You have to be flexible and resourceful when you plan your outdoor activities. Be ready with winter and rain gear, and shorts and T-shirts. In any given day, you might need them all.
One late winter/early spring, my husband and I cross country skied in the morning on fabulous "corn" snow- snow with a rough, granular surface caused by alternating thawing and freezing that skiers describe as "good spring snow." It's like skiing in a slushy and lots of fun. In the afternoon, we changed into bike gear for an early spring ride. We prepared for fluctuating temperatures and bright sunshine. Dressed in layers that we could take off when hot and put back on when cold, we were comfortable most of the time. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and baseball caps helped keep us from baking like lobsters. Ample water and snacks kept us hydrated and energized in our winter-spring duathlon.
Adjust, acclimate, adapt- whatever you call it, be ready for whatever comes this month. Keep one foot in winter by trying some spring skiing, while having your other foot ready for pedaling. Take advantage of end-of-season ski equipment and passes deals. Put storage wax on your skis when you're done skiing, and tune-up the bikes. Whatever you do, be ready to switch gears at a moment's notice and take what March brings your way.

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The Lakes Region is a popular page in the world book

By Mary O'Neill, Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


St. Augustine said, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." This being true, the Lakes Region is a page that many have chosen to read and liked well enough to read over and over again as they put down roots in the form of a second home. Though most of the second homers are from the Boston area, the Lakes Region draws people from up and down the East Coast, across the country, and from foreign lands.

Findings by the U.S. Census listed New Hampshire third in the nation for percentage of housing used as vacation homes behind Vermont and Maine (StateImpact). There is no question the 273 waterbodies in the Lakes Region contribute to NH's overall rankings. Lake Winnipesaukee was rated the #1 retirement place in the country under the category "leisure living for recreational and cultural opportunities" (MacMillan Travel, 5th edition of Retirement Places Rated).

The percentage of second homes in some of the Lakes Region towns is staggering. Moultonborough leads with 61 percent of total residences being utilized as vacation homes. Hebron on Newfound Lake comes in a close second at 58 percent. Others include Tuftonboro at 53 percent; Bridgewater at 50 percent; Alton at 45 percent; Bristol at 44 percent; Holderness at 38 percent; Meredith, Gilford, and Center Harbor at 36 percent; Wolfeboro at 30 percent; Sanbornton at 24 percent; and Laconia at 23 percent. Understandably, the numbers decline sharply as you move away from the lakes. Northfield and Franklin, for example, have only 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively (Data compiled by Matt Stiles, NPR, based on 2010 US Census).

Many of these second homers chose communities, condominiums, or associations for the benefits of carefree ownership. Here are a few of the variety of options:

South Down Shores and Long Bay: This gated community has 4,000 feet of shoreline on Winnipesaukee, breathtaking beaches, walking trails, and abuts the Laconia Country Club. Pristine lawns, perennial gardens and neat villages lead down to the waterfront. The community offers a home for every type of living, from single-story two-bedroom condos to well-appointed family homes and everything in between.

Nature's View: This attractive newer community is surrounded by 18 acres of conservation land, offers views of Winnipesaukee, and is a short distance to the Laconia Country Club. The homes feature bright airy floor plans with first floor master suites.

Grouse Point: Located in charming Meredith, this carefully planned, luxurious gated community has its own yacht club and striking waterfront amenities on Winnipesaukee. The 82 private acres provide ample room for three sandy beaches, lighted tennis courts, and a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse. The single-family and townhouse-style residences are surrounded by impeccable landscaping, and the extensive shoreline amenities include a dock master's house, 35 boat slips and a mooring field.

Meredith Bay: Excellently situated to take in the views, this 400-acre gated community in Laconia was developed by well-renowned Southworth Development. There are single-family residences, townhomes and garden-style condominiums. Facilities include a beach, marina, day docks, picnic area with wireless access, tennis courts, swimming pools, walking trails, fitness center, cabanas, fire pit, bocce court, and pavilion with beach bar.

Bald Peak Colony: Clustered around beautiful amenities originally designed by eccentric Thomas Plant, who built Castle in the Clouds, this community of private homes is located in Tuftonboro. The amenities consist of a golf course with stunning views of the lakes and mountains, a tennis center, and a beautiful 600-foot private beach and protected docking on Winnipesaukee.

Waldron Bay: Located on 344 acres in Meredith, this group of single-family homes has over 3,400 feet of shoreline along Lake Winnisquam and is surrounded by conservation land. There is a lovely sandy beach, boat slips, clubhouse, and panoramic lake and mountain views.

Johnathan's Landing: This 62-unit condo association is situated on Moultonborough's Long Island and has spectacular views of Winnipesaukee. There are 59 boat slips, two swimming pools, tennis courts and a beach.

Patrician Shores: Located between Meredith and Center Harbor, this community of single-family homes has one of the finest natural sandy beaches on Winnipesaukee. Amenities include boat docks, moorings, canoe/kayak/paddleboat storage and launch, a playing field and a recreation hall. The network of interior roads throughout the community presents an interesting private feel.

Stonewall Village: This small association in Gilford consists of 37 single-family one-level homes with spacious decks and attached two-car garages. Gunstock Recreation Area and the stunning Gilford Town Beach, with 1,800 feet on Winnipesaukee, are close by.

Samoset: This 22-acre community in Gilford is spread out on rolling topography and has 850 feet of prime shorefront on Winnipesaukee. Approximately 130 luxury condo units feature varying floor plans and architectural features. There is an exceptional sandy beach, outdoor pool, clubhouse, tennis courts, roughly 30 boat slips and approximately 40 moorings.

These are just a handful of the numerous options for community living in the Lakes Region. Others include Misty Harbor, Yacht Club Vista, Gunstock Acres, and Dockham Shore Estates in Gilford; Weirs Beach Village, the Lake Houses at Christmas Island, Cedar Lodge, Evergreen Condos, Meredith Bridge, and Village at Winnipesaukee in the Weirs Beach area; and Squam River Landing in Ashland.

The U.S. Census statistics demonstrate not only the Lakes Region's supremacy as a vacation spot, but also that those who visit the area love it enough to makes substantial investments in second homes.

Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith & Laconia, NH and can be reached at (603) 366-6306 and

03-04 Grouse Point 10

Grouse Point is one of the many fine communities in the Lakes Region.


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