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 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. www.rocherealty.com
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