By Frank Roche, President Roche Realty Group
Last week, I met with a couple from the Greater Boston area. They're thinking of purchasing a second home and couldn't decide on the coast of Maine or the Lakes Region. So to help, I broke down some comparisons for them...
Coast of Maine
• Driving distance from Boston to Ogunquit: 1 hour 33 minutes
• Driving distance to Camden: 3 hours 21 minutes
• Choice of long sandy beaches or craggy rocky coastline
• Quaint coastal towns with Down East charm
• Extensive traffic up I-95 & Route 1
• Prime tourist season runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day
• Businesses have extended their operations to extend the season by two or three months with "off-season rates"
• Smell of salt air, scenic views of the coastline and fine, fresh seafood eateries attract a wide audience
• Lots of beach choices – York, Ogunquit, Old Orchard, Kennebunkport, Biddeford, Boothbay, Camden, Bar Harbor, etc.
• Saltwater beaches with surf, strong currents, colder water and tides to navigate
• Long stretches of beaches for walking and recreation
• Boating is difficult. Very few choices with direct boating access in front of your home
• Salt water and barnacles are corrosive to boats and outdrives
• Boating regulations and navigation are much more complicated on the ocean
• Ocean fog and cooler summertime temperatures are a factor
• Nearby summer attractions include The Marginal Way, Ogunquit Summer Playhouse, York Animal Kingdom, state parks, lighthouse tours, Funtown/Splashtown amusement park, Portland Museum of Art and so much more
• Winter attractions are very limited; many businesses & restaurants are closed for the winter; likewise many second home owners close their homes for the season
• Driving distance from Boston to the Lakes Region: 1 hour 45 minutes
• Easy access to I-93
• There are 273 lakes, ponds and rivers within the Lakes Region.
• Crystal-clear fresh-water lakes offer great swimming, easy boating, fishing, water skiing and relaxation.
• Boat accessibility is a huge advantage on our lakes. Most towns have public launches and most homes and communities cater to the avid boater.
• The Lakes Region is a "Four Season Destination." This is really our biggest advantage over coastal living. When the summer season ends, autumn breezes in along with its beautiful foliage; perfect for sightseeing, hiking and so much more.
• The Lakes Region is surrounded by the Belknap, Ossipee and White Mountain ranges. Offering amazing hiking trails, scenic drives. The White Mountains along offer 48 4,000-footers!
• Winter season unfolds with numerous sporting activities – alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, winter hiking, ice fishing, pond hockey, sled dog racing and so much more
• Nearby attractions include The Bank of New Hampshire Music Pavilion, New Hampshire Motor Speedway (hosting two Nextel Cup races a year and many other venues), The Tanger Outlet Mall, numerous golf courses, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, Interlakes Summer Theatre, Funspot (the largest arcade in the world), Gunstock Recreation Area (not just for skiing! Zip lines, aerial treetop adventures, tubing, cross-county skiing and snowshoeing, and new this year – FatTire bike riding across 32 miles of trails, and coming this summer a mountain coaster!)
• Choice of many scenic lakeside towns and villages. The town of Meredith is known for its Rotary Ice Fishing Derby, Gilford hosts the Ironman Triathlon at Ellacoya State Beach, Laconia is home to Laconia Motorcycle Week (the oldest motorcycle rally in the world) where people from all over the world come visit our great area and ride along our beautiful scenic roads and Laconia is also the new home of the Pumpkin Festival.
• There are numerous craft fairs, chowder fests, marathons, fishing derbies, boat and car shows throughout all our towns.
The choice between the two regions is certainly difficult. Both offer unlimited recreational and cultural opportunities. I tried my best to be unbiased. I really do love our neighboring coast, but the final decision comes down to year-round vs. seasonal living.
Personally, I prefer the four-season choice, and whenever I have the craving for fresh fried clams and that salty air, I just take a short drive to the ocean.
Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com 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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