Lakes Region Profiles – Gilford, an ideal community

By Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


Have you ever stopped to consider how unique a town like Gilford is? There are a lot of reasons why so many people stop by our realty offices wanting to see homes in Gilford. The truth is that if all the urban planners got together, they could not plan a community such as Gilford. They simply could not manipulate the location, manufacture the natural beauty, duplicate the character, and create the lifestyle.

Aspen, Colorado was recently named Ski Magazine's "2015 Top Ski Town." There is no question that few ski areas can compete with Aspen. But reality sets in when you learn that the medium single-family home price is $4,600,000 and that, the magazine notes, "waiters, plumbers, ski instructors, doctors and realtors benefit from...a government subsidized housing program, which covers some 2,800 units." This is not most people's idea of the American Dream.


Many factors converge to make Gilford an ideal place for a family to live, and these factors draw people to this community. The average price for a single-family home in Gilford is about $234,000. There are no Rocky Mountain ski areas, but ten minutes up the road from Gilford's quaint main street is a phenomenal family ski area, Gunstock Mountain Resort. Along with alpine skiing, there is snowboarding, Nordic skiing, night skiing, tubing, hiking, camping, and a host of winter and summer programs. Gilford is also strategically located for summer activities. From the center of the village, the town beach is only five minutes down the road. This amazing spot encompasses 13 acres with 1,800 feet of breathtaking shore front on Lake Winnipesaukee. Ellacoya State Park, with 600 feet of Winnipesaukee beachfront, is less than ten minutes from the village.


Why do these factors make Gilford ideal? Well if a family is sitting in their $4,600,000 home in Aspen, there is a good chance they are still more than ten minutes from the ski lift lines. And when summer comes along, will the Aspen family have a beautiful sandy beach only five minutes away? Will their boat be sitting at a marina ten minutes away? Could they drive to an organic farm in three minutes? To an airport in seven? Ocean beaches are 1 hour and 10 minutes from Gilford. A drive to the Pacific Ocean from Aspen is at least a 20-hour haul for a family.


This same scenario is true for most places. They may have one or two attractions nearby, but Gilford has it all. And what Gilford does not have within its town limits can be found a reasonable distance away. The entertainment and culture of Boston, for instance, is only a 1-hour and 50-minute drive from the village center. The Mount Washington area is one and a half hours north and the Canadian border is only another hour or so beyond.


Here are a just few of the many activities and advantages Gilford has to offer:
- Gilford's historic district includes the circa 1838 Benjamin Rowe House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. It serves as one of Gilford Village's museum buildings. The rooms are furnished with items donated by Arthur A. Tilton and his family, which are typical of an 1800s and early 1900s farmhouse.
- The newer Gilford Town Library serves as a cultural and educational resource, providing high quality books and a wealth of programs and activities for every age. Next door is the Gilford Youth Center with educational, athletic, and events for youth and adults. The beautiful Community Church is also tucked away in this corner of Gilford. In addition to nourishing the soul, it provides many other activities. Today, Dec. 5, it is hosting its annual Christmas Fair from 9 to 1.
- The excellent Gilford school system includes the high school, located in the historic center of Gilford Village on about twenty acres, and the well-respected middle and elementary schools.
- Gilford Village Field has four lighted tennis courts, a soccer field, a lighted basketball court, two baseball diamonds, a picnic area, and a bandstand on 28 acres.
- Lincoln Park offers a scenic waterfront and picnic area on Lake Winnipesaukee.
- The Arthur A. Tilton Ice Rink has an outdoor, covered skating rink with lights.
- During the summer, the Bank of NH Meadowbrook Pavilion comes alive with the sound of top-notch music. This award-winning, 8,000-seat amphitheater hosts some of music's biggest names.
- Gilford has some interesting dining choices. Kitchen Cravings serves original dishes made from scratch using only cage free eggs, real butter, and the purest products available. It was awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence from 2013 to 2015. Ellacoya Bar & Grille has an eclectic menu coupled with wine and local beers in a circa 1843 restored barn. Patrick's Pub & Eatery serves quality food in a comfortable setting, making it a favorite of diners from miles around. The nostalgic feeling at Sawyer's Dairy Bar has made it a "family tradition since 1945." Their homemade ice cream has been made in-house for 70 years.
- Ramblin' Vewe Farm maintains a flock of registered purebred sheep and produces high quality meat, wool, and breeding stock replacements for the local and New England market. They have set aside 245 acres for forestry and recreation with a trail network for walkers and bikers.
- Gilford has fairs and events throughout the year. To brighten this Christmas season, there is the annual Gilford Village Country Candlelight Stroll on Saturday, December 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. People can walk through the village lit by hundreds of candles and take an old-fashioned horse and wagon ride to the sound of carolers. A bonfire will roar in Village Field for toasting marshmallows. On December 20, at the high school auditorium, the Gilford Community Band will perform a Christmas concert. Every August, Gilford has its famous Old Home Day.


Probably the most important factor that draws people to Gilford is that a home is attainable for a family at a wide range of prices. For as low as $60,000, you can purchase a condominium at a community such as Misty Harbor. This complex comes with amenities including a 335-foot sugar sand beach. At the higher end of the spectrum are neighborhoods such as Governor's Island. Accessed by a scenic bridge, this island has luxury lakefront homes dotting the expansive shoreline. Current asking prices for waterfront homes range from $2.3 million to $10 million. Simply put, there is something for everyone in Gilford.


Gilford is no Aspen. But at the same time, Aspen is no Gilford. Few places can offer the average family the lifestyle Gilford can provide, a lifestyle usually reserved for the rich and famous. In many ways, Gilford's lifestyle surpasses the Aspens of the world – skiing, skating, hiking, boating, swimming, sports facilities, shopping, dining, music, airport, and a host of other amenities all within a 10-minute radius of reasonably priced homes in the village. Gilford certainly is unique.


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.



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Real estate - The Redneck Handyman's Christmas Gift List

By Roy Sanborn

OK, so I missed getting this out last week for Black Friday. I apologize. So, if you have already bought your redneck boyfriend or husband something like a new wallet or scarf for Christmas you can always take it back and pick up one of these suggestions. You see, guys like awesome tools or gadgets they can use around the house to make improvements and repairs. So, here goes...

First up, I'd recommend a good wrecking and utility bar because before you can fix something you need to take it apart and sometimes a simple crowbar, just doesn't look as cool. Sometimes a redneck needs motivation to do work and being able to use a tool that looks like something you would kill zombies with gets him up and out of the chair. The FatMax Extreem 30" III-FuBar will get him going. It looks more like a Mad Max tool than a FatMax one. This tool weighs 9 pounds and is 30 inches long and is used for prying, splitting, board bending and striking. It is a nail puller, pry bar, hammer, and hydrant wrench all in one. Don't know why you need to open a fire hydrant, but you can with this! It has a textured grip so it doesn't slip out of your hands when you use it to hit an intruder. Available at Home Depot for under $30. It would probably look cool hanging on your pick rear window gun rack.

For a neat tool that is a lot smaller and bit more hi-tech, check out the EDC Card by CHA/O/HA online. That's an Every Day Cary Multi Tool that fits in the wallet I told you to take back, so on second thought give him the wallet, too. This is a weapons-grade S35VN stainless blade steel tool the size of a credit card that is just 2.84 mm thick. It has over 30 functions, including 23 hex wrenches (metric and imperial), flat head and Phillips screwdrivers, pry bar, ruler, and 1/4-inch hex driver designed to hold any 1/4-inch screw bit shank. It has the requisite redneck bottle opener as well. Priced at $60 at

It seems like many times you are working on things and you just don't have enough hands. Sometimes that's because you have a beverage in one hand while you are working. In those cases a Ryobi Hands Free Lazer level Model # ELL1002 will help. This level will stick to virtually any flat, smooth surface utilizing its AIR Grip technology so you can use it with no hands. They are available for twenty bucks at the big box stores. Another time proven tool to free up your hands is a Black and Decker Workmate. These portable work benches are available in different models and capacities but they all have a clamping mechanism to hold whatever you are working on. They are available from light duty ones for $30 or so up to over $300 for the rugged he-man types and are available just about everywhere massive quantities of tools are sold.

If your guy likes remote control stuff, get him a Looj Gutter Cleaning Robot. It is made by the same folks that make the Roomba robot floor vacuum. This remote control device must have been designed by the same folks that designed vehicles for Mad Max movies. It is a low-slung tracked machine with a radical looking four-stage auger on front that breaks apart, lifts and throws out the clogs in your gutter while a set of sweepers and a scraper clean up the leftover debris. The device goes forward and backward and eliminates the need of repeatedly moving and climbing up and down a ladder to get the job done. You could buy two of them and have robot wars on the living room carpet. But remember, they don't turn so they can only go back and forth. It is probably safer that way. I found them on Amazon for $239.99. A little expensive, but they're worth it, right?

Finally, the ultimate redneck handyman gift is the XM-42 Personal Flamethrower by The Ion Production Team. Why would any homeowner need a flamethrower? Well, I guess if you might have large piles of brush to burn, and for safety purposes you want to be 20 feet away when you light it? Or, you may have weeds growing up between pavement cracks. They also say you can use it to melt ice and snow. Not recommended for roofs though ... or indoor use. Duh. Anyway, this is the real deal, a well made, and potential dangerous tool(?) that I am sure will make your guy smile ... at least until his first trip to the hospital. It is available online at for just under $1,000. Remember, in New Hampshire, there's a little bit of redneck in all of us...

There were 948 residential homes for sale as of Dec. 1, in the 12 communities covered by this real estate market report. The median price point for all homes on the market stood at $259,900. This inventory level represents about a 10.4-month supply of homes currently on the market

P​ease 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 12/11/15. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 677-7012.

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Lakes Region Profiles — Meredith, the Fine Arts Museum of the Lakes Region


Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


Recently, I had visitors from Boston, family friends who had come up for the day to walk and talk for a couple of hours. The destination Pat and Virginia chose was Meredith. As we meandered about the buildings, public docks, and streets, I would have expected comments like "charming" or "lovely." Instead, Pat's reaction took me by surprise. "I came all the way from Boston to come to the Fine Arts Museum of Meredith." Now why would she say such a thing, I wondered? A few days after their visit I retraced our steps and considered her perspective.

The first thing on my guests' agenda had been a to visit the inn at Church Landing – not to eat or book a room, but simply to admire the atmosphere and wander through the lobby and reception rooms, much as one would browse through the sections of an art museum. They exclaimed over the birch tree beams, the massive stone fireplaces, the cozy furniture, and enduring colors. The design of Church Landing is in keeping with Adirondack art. The building has features of an Adirondack "great camp" with logs, branches and bark incorporated into its architecture. The décor throughout is wilderness ornamentation and art. The furniture is classic lodge furnishing with solid with simple lines.

We moved on from Church Landing and walked toward Chase House, another one of Meredith's fine lodging options. Mill Falls at the Lake includes four hotels, seven restaurants, a full-service spa, and a conglomeration of interesting shops. Pat and Virginia made a beeline to what is their favorite type of collection – the textile and ladies adornment "exhibits." Their first stop was the one-of-a-kind boutique Lady of the Lake. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston may have jewelry collections, from ancient Egyptian broadcollars to contemporary studio jewelry, and its Department of Textile and Fashion Arts with everything from American needlework to haute couture fashions, but my two Bostonian friends found more than enough within Lady of the Lake and the other shops within Mill Falls to amaze and entertain them. All the "exhibits" took a considerable amount of time to examine, probably longer than it would take someone to peruse the textile and jewelry exhibits at the Museum in Boston. In Meredith, too, there is the advantage of being able survey as well as purchase from the "exhibits."

Time was running short so we made our way to Innisfree Bookshop to find more mementos of their "day at the museum." Pat and Virginia's visit to Meredith was drawing to a close but they knew they would return soon because there was much more they wished to explore. Before leaving for their drive back to Boston, they selected from the dining options in Meredith. The Museum of Fine Arts has its Bravo Restaurant and Taste Cafe, but these can not compare with the selection in Meredith. There is authentic Old World dining at Lago, New England cuisine with world fusion at Lakehouse, upscale comfort food at Camp, "just good food" at George's Diner, classic summer favorites at the Town Docks, festive Italian fare at Giuseppe's Show Time Pizzeria & Ristorante, hearty selections at Frog Rock Tavern, classic favorites at locally-owned Hart's Turkey Farm, which is a piece of much-admired local history itself... just to name a few.
Another popular "exhibit" in Meredith includes the artisan crafts at the League of NH Craftsman where you can find pottery, fiber art, jewelry, stained glass, wrought iron, mixed media, garden art and much more. A short way up Route 25 brings you to Parkledge Antiques and the Etcetera Shoppe. Here you discovery art, pottery, glass, furnishings, memorabilia, clothing and jewelry. At Adornments & Creative Clothing in the Mill Falls building, the sparkle of silver, semi-precious stones and handcrafted accessories is striking. Country Carriage and Great Northern Trading in Mill Falls display their wares on antique furniture and rustic counters that are brimming with exciting finds – reminiscent of the Boston Museum's "Made in America" exhibition but arguably more enticing.

With its art and craft fairs, Meredith is also a gathering spot for artists. The annual Lakes Region Fine Arts and Crafts Festival is an outdoor event abounding in handmade items including paintings, sculpture, quilts, clothing, jewelry, ceramics, and countless tchotchkes. The Festival takes place among the Meredith Village Shops and the Mill Falls Marketplace. Main Street is closed to vehicle traffic and the entire area become one enormous gallery.

In truth, Meredith can not compete with the Museum of Fine Art's world-renowned collections and extensive exhibits. But there is one way the Museum cannot match what Meredith has to offer. Recently at Sotheby's in New York, a Norman Rockwell painting sold for 46 million dollars. It was entitled "Saying Grace" and depicted a small town scene in a local café. The day to day sights in Meredith – boats bobbing in the harbor, people milling about the brick sidewalks and boardwalks to shops, ice fishing and hockey games on the frozen bay – are Norman Rockwell scenes come to life.

Meredith truly is a fine arts museum of sorts. Its beautiful village is the reflection of the life of the early settlers melded with the life of the present day townspeople. Here, the artists you admire are the old and new architects, artistic visionary Rusty McLear, builders, bricklayers, landscapers, merchants, innkeepers and restaurateurs who create a stimulating and magical environment with historic buildings, attention-grabbing street signs, colorful shops, quaint restaurants, welcoming inns and even a cascading waterfall – living art that gives credence to the premise that art is simply an imitation of life. Yes, in hindsight I see Pat was right. Meredith is a fine arts museum.

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.

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Lakes Region Profiles — The Lakes Region's Thanksgiving to God



The oldest account of Thanksgiving is recorded in a letter written by Edward Winslow dated December 12, 1621. He wrote:

"Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn...our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors... many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted... and although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want."

The people of the Lakes Region not only know the story of Thanksgiving, they put it into practice. When asked what in particular in the Lakes Region they are thankful to God for, here are some of their answers.

Chevy from Meredith Center: "I'm thankful for the good-hearted residents of the Lakes Region. You see people you know at the supermarket and they take the time to stop and chat. It's uncommon to be surrounded by people who thank us for what we do. It's nice to be appreciated."
Steve B.: "I'm thankful for New Hampshire Fish and Games employees' efforts in controlling the great fishery we have in the Lakes Region and for all the volunteers who maintain our great hiking trail systems throughout the Lakes Region and White Mountains."
Mary Jane F.: "What isn't there in the Lakes Region to be thankful to God for? I wake up and look out over a beautiful lake. I love the wildlife in the area, especially the waterfowl and the bald eagles. Years ago when I was in school, I lived in another state. I remember paying $5 just to swim for the day in a mud hole with leaches and here we are surrounded by the most beautiful, clean lakes."
Rick H.: "I am grateful for the traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation which make the Lakes Region what it is: a great place to be."

Kevin T: "I'm thankful for the lakes. That's why I get up, mow my lawn, and pay my property taxes – so I can live on the lake."
Rachel X.: "I am thankful for the unique, natural experience of the Polar Caves that my son loves! And the [Squam Lakes Natural] science center!"
Linda H.: "I am thankful for the local mental health center that works to improve the lives of people who are less fortunate."
Frank R.: "I'm so thankful that my entire family lives in such a beautiful and peaceful corner of the world with a quality of life that is unsurpassed."

John G.: I'm most thankful for Lake Winnipesaukee. I've made my living off that lake and so has my family. A lot of us wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that lake."
Joe M.: "I'm thankful for the lifestyle in the Lakes Region. I was a suit and tie in Boston for 40 years but I came here and found I could not beat the lifestyle. The traffic in Boston was always horrendous but here if there are five cars in front of me it means someone has hit a moose."
Sue C.: "I'm grateful for the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford. It is such a great music venue. You would have to go to Boston to hear music of that caliber and here the venue is surrounded by all the natural beauty."
Erika from Laconia: "I'm thankful for all the places to hike and walk that are peaceful and relaxing. I love Ahern Park."

Amanda N.: "I'd have to say I am thankful I have the opportunity to live where everyone vacations; we have lakes, rivers, mountains, oceans, cities and even different countries all within a day's travel. You simply can't be bored living here. There is something for everyone."
Amy: "I'm thankful for the year-round activities that make you appreciate being from such a small community with so much to offer."
Liz L.: "I'm thankful that the Greater Meredith Program created the Meredith Sculpture Walk. It has received appreciation and praise from residents and visitors and has become an integral part of our community."
Alice and John O.: "Oh my Lord, where to start! We're glad to see the Colonial Theater being revived. We have such fond memories of that place. We're thankful for the good city clerk who is right on top of things. We're thankful for Vista Foods in Laconia. It's good to have a grocery store right in town. It's nice to walk down Main Street and go to yard sales. You see all the people you know. And we're thankful for the Laconia Antique Center – it's a great outing."
Nate: "I'm thankful for all the outdoor stuff we can do in the Lakes Region. I like Mount Major. We don't have to go far for so many places to hike. I like to hike late at night to see for instance the Supermoon from the top of one of our mountains."

To these, I would like to add a few of my own. I'm thankful for my friendly neighborhood. When you walk down the road, everyone waves as they drive by. I'm thankful for Lake Opechee and that sometimes it freezes so clear you can see fish swimming under the ice when you are skating. I'm thankful I can drive a short distance to markets filled with fresh produce, some of it from our own local farms, and see people working there who have become my friends. I'm thankful there are moments when I'm outside and there is complete silence. I am thankful that despite what is going on in the world, peace reigns in the Lakes Region, showing that God is still on His throne and everything is as it should be.

Years ago the pilgrims gathered as a community to thank God for their survival. Together with the pilgrims and the people of the Lakes Region, join in giving thanks not only during this week of Thanksgiving but on every day in every moment.

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.

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Sanborn — The porch

As I was performing the annual fall ritual of bringing in the porch furniture, I thought it might be a good time to reflect, pause and ponder that specific American architectural institution: the porch. In America, we have front porches, side porches, back porches, entry porches, screened porches, three season porches, four season porches, and of course the topless deck which I would consider to be a poor man's porch although these babies ain't cheap to build.
Porches have been around for thousands of years dating back to prehistoric times when Fred Flintstone and his caveman brethren would sit outside their caves under an overhanging piece of ledge and discuss the day's hunt or activities down at the tar pit. They'd sit, drink, tell stories, and watch the sun go down until Wilma and Betty started yelling at them to come in. That scenario has continued uninterrupted into modern times.

The word "porch" is derived from the Latin word "porticus" or the Greek word "portico," both signifying the columned entry to a temple. According to Wikipedia, "The portico allows entrance to the inside from the exterior and can be found on vernacular and small scale buildings." But, you also had "loggias" which were "accessed only from inside and intended as a place for leisure. Thus, it is found mainly on noble residences and public buildings."

Porches did not appear in European architecture and thus were not brought to the colonies when originally settled. It is unclear how the porch became such an important element in America, but by the mid 1800s they began to appear, and over the next century became prevalent. Some of the first front porches in the Americas were on the shotgun style homes built in the South. Obviously, in the warmer climates there, the porch not only extended the living space of the home but provided a place to sit and catch a cool breeze.

By the early 18th Century, porches began to appear on many different style homes, including colonials, Greek and Gothic Revival, farmhouses, and the popular stick style homes so prevalent in the Northeast during the late Victorian period. One of the main features of these ornately decorated Victorian homes were the expansive porches, which often wrapped the entire exterior of the structure. The porches usually had intricate balustrades and ornate angled "y" shaped brackets at the tops of the support columns. There were also sleeping porches off upstairs bedrooms which spurred the use of modern window screens to prevent the mosquitoes from late night snacking.

The porch became a center for socializing and entertaining family and friends on warm summer evenings. They bridge the gap from the inside to the outside world. People would go for after-dinner strolls and end up on a neighbor's porch to discuss matters of triviality and importance along with a fair dose of gossip, I expect. But the importance and use of porches began to decline with the invention of air conditioning, the television, and the automobile. No longer did one need to sit outside to cool off, you didn't want to miss the evening TV shows, and the evening stroll was replaced by a ride down to the drive in for a burger. Pretty soon porches began to shrink down to the size of something not much bigger than a phone booth and then the phone booth shrank down to nonexistent. The porch many times is now just a place to stand out of the rain while digging for your car keys.

But there is hope. They are coming back. And the PPSU is helping. Yes, The Professional Porch Sitters Union was founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 1999 by avid porch sitter Crow Hollister to help celebrate our porches. His motto is "Sit down a spell. That can wait." Truly, I am not kidding here. Look it up yourself. This is my kind of union. They are definitely nothing like the Teamsters, but they have rules, and the rules are: there are no rules, no regulations, no agendas, no dues, no committees, no scheduled meetings, no membership requirements, and no meeting minutes. And, as near as I can tell, the meetings are not necessarily the dry kind, if you know what I mean.

Membership is spreading with locals now in Ashbury Park, New Jersey; Georgetown, California; Jessieville, Arkansas; Fort Collins, Colorado; Mountainair, New Mexico; Westbrook, Connecticut; and close to home in Waterville, Maine! It would appear to me that the Lakes Region would be prime territory for a PPSU of our own given the abundance of porches and great subject matter such as the Pumpkin Fest, the future of Motorcycle Week, the Patriots, Meredith's traffic problems, or protecting the WOW trail from vandals and druggies. Oh yeah, we could also talk about porches and real estate. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to be a founding member. Spring is right around the corner. Really.

There were 114 residential sales in October in the twelve communities covered by this Lakes Region Real Estate Report. The average sales price came in at $360,939 with a median price point of $230,000. October is traditionally a good sales month and there were 112 sales last October. I can attest to the fact that porches were attached to many of these sales.

P​ease 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 11/18/15. ​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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