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