By Frank Roche, President Roche Realty Group
The Lakes Region is known for its abundance of four-season communities with multiple choices for almost every imaginable budget. Governor's Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford is certainly one that stands out. Over the years, the island has transitioned to one of the finest waterfront communities on Winnipesaukee, which will continue to evolve for future generations to enjoy.
Governor's Island includes 504 acres and is approximately 1.8 miles long and 0.7 miles wide. The island was originally owned by Gov. Wentworth through a land grant in 1772 however all his lands and estates were confiscated during the revolution and Samual Gilman was elected to divide the land. In 1780 Governor's Island was purchased and later sold to a U.S. senator who also became governor of New Hampshire. He then sold the property to a man from Alton for $1,200 and was again sold to Eleazer Davis, whose son, Nathaniel Davis built the bridge and established a farming co-op. In 1883, it was leased to Stilson Hutchins (The founder of The Washington Post) for $1,000/year for 99 years. He is credited for the road along the shoreline and throughout the island. In 1885, he started construction on a granite mansion, which unfortunately caught fire 50 years later and his attempt at the development failed. After World War II, construction started to increase and more homes starting rising along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Fast forward to today, where you will find some of the finest luxury homes located on the "Big Lake," which have been constructed along the shores of this unique island. Additionally, a number of exquisite homes within the interior road network of the island enjoy shared access to the Governor's Island amenities and beaches.
Over the years, many of the original modest cape-style residences have been torn down and larger estate homes and compounds have been built with some of the most eye-appealing architectural designs found in New England. These luxury homes include extensive docking systems, many with breakwaters and canopied docks. A large part of the island is preserved as natural common-conservation land with hiking and cross-country trails meandering throughout the island. Members of the Governor's Island Club enjoy outstanding amenities, including natural sandy beaches with breakwaters, tennis courts, playground and a wonderful clubhouse overlooking the waterfront recreation area. Here you can enjoy picnics, gatherings and special occasions with loved ones. The gradual sandy beaches are some of the finest you will see on Lake Winnipesaukee. The waterfront homes enjoy expansive views from all directions, some orienting towards Gunstock and The Belknap Mountains while others face the White Mountains, Mt. Washington and The Ossipees.
The island is accessed by a small scenic bridge which leads to Route 11D. It is one of five bridged islands on Lake Winnipesaukee and is the fourth largest island out of 274 on Lake Winnipesaukee with Long Island being the largest at 1,186 acres.
Today there are over 167 property owners on Governor's Island. Together all the properties represent a total assessed value of approximately $241,000,000. This valuation produces a total tax revenue of $4.3 million annually for the town of Gilford. Keep in mind, Gilford's tax revenue is approximately $29 million, therefore Governor's Island residents contribute about 14.8 percent of Gilford's tax revenue. That's a lot of money when you consider that the entire island was once sold for $1,200.
During 2015, there were eight resales on Governor's Island ranging from $850,000 to $3,800,000. In 2014, there were six ranging from $1,500,000 to $1,650,000. During the last couple of years, the island has seen considerable new construction with some gorgeous lakefront homes substantial in size being built, which are not included in these figures. At this present time there are nine lakefront homes available ranging from a low of $1,499,000 to a high of $10,000,000.
If you would like to view or dream about some of these fine waterfront homes take a look on Google and search "Governors Island on Lake Winnipesaukee" ... RocheRealty.com will pop up first and direct you to our Governor's Island Club page on our website which features some quick facts, nice photos and all available properties for sale.
We are so fortunate in the Lakes Region to have such a wide variety of properties and communities on so many different lakes. From three season cottages to luxurious lakefront estates the choices are endless.
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 & Laconia and can be reached at (603) 279-7046.
Governor's Island beach
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