Gordon DuBois – Lakes Region Hiking – Two in One Day

Franconia Ridge, including the summits of Lincoln and Lafayette, was enshrouded in a layer of low hanging clouds when I reached the parking area of the Indian Head Trail. On the previous day we had torrential rain and the front was still moving through the mountains. So I thought, why waste a day climbing a mountain with no views? I could easily return another day when the skies are clear and I have the views that I had hoped for. The mountain will always be there, it's not going anywhere. However, since I had already driven this far and the skies may clear later in the morning I reconsidered. I thought I may as well hike the trail and take what Mother Nature has given me.

Mt. Pemigewasset lies at southern edge of Franconia Notch. The Indian Head trail is one of two trails that climb to the summit and open rock ledges of Mt Pemigewasset, also known as Indian Head. The mountain is on the "52 with a View" which is a list of mountain summits in New Hampshire that have outstanding views. The list was comprised by a group of hikers known as "Over The Hill Hikers". The Trailhead is located about .2 miles south of the Indian Head Resort on Rt. 3 and Indian Head can easily be climbed in two hours.

There was a fine mist falling when I started my hike and the trees overhanging the tread way dripped water on me as I progressed up the trail. Reuben and I followed the well-trodden path under both lanes of I-92 and then began a moderate climb that followed Hansen brook. The heavy rains of the night before had swollen the brook and Reuben enjoyed frolicking in the pools of water that the brook offered. We found beautiful cascades all along the trail. We quickly made our way following the yellow blazes that marked the trail as it climbed moderately toward the summit. The trail eventually left the brook and began a steeper climb with rough footing over rocks and boulders.

As we approached the summit we began climbing the rock ledges that have made Indian Head famous for its vistas. Just short of the summit the Pemigewasset Trail entered on the right. I then noticed that the clouds were lifting and through the trees I had a few limited views of Franconia Ridge. When I reached the summit the sun had broken out, and only the highest peaks of the Whites were clouded over. The views were outstanding from the rock ledge that overhangs Franconia Notch. So my foray into the mountains that day was not without reward. As I stood on the summit I realized the day was still early. I had made the climb in under two hours and I had time to explore another trail. I noticed on my map that the Georgianna Falls Trail lies a short distance south of the Indian Head Trail. So Reuben and I hustled down the mountain, returning to our vehicle in an hour and we headed for the Georgiana Falls.

In a few minutes we arrived at the parking area off Hanson Farm Road and were quickly on the trail following a dirt road under I-93. At .5 mi. the trail turned right off the road and into the woods and after a short distance the trail angled left, marked with blue and yellow blazes. We could hear the roar of Harvard Brook as we followed the well beaten path to the base the first Georgiana falls. We ambled down to the base of the falls and felt the cool mist against our skin. Reuben jumped into the pool at the base of the falls to cool off. We decided to continue on the trail to reach the upper falls. The trail snaked along the side of the gushing brook as the water tumbled over a long series granite ledges.

As we continued to climb, the trail became steeper and was obscured in places so we needed to proceed cautiously. I was in awe as we reached the base of the Upper Georgina Falls. The sound of the cascading water resounded through the trees bordering the brook. Reuben and I continued climbing up the steep incline until we reached the ledges at the top of the falls, and could look down at the base over ninety feet below. We were also able to view the Pemigewasset River valley as well as the Loon Mountain range. I was struck by the solitude that this trail offered. I encountered only two other people on the trail, yet I would guess that there were crowds flocking to the Flume, just across the road. What a gem I had discovered.
Above the falls the trail began to peter out so we began the descent back to our car. 
At the beginning of the day I thought of aborting my hiking plans, but as it turned out I was rewarded with not one but two of the most memorable hikes I had ever taken; both in one day. I would highly recommend these trails as being two of the most rewarding in the White Mountains and both trails can easily be done in a day. For maps and guide purchase the White Mountain Guide, published by the Appalachian Mountain Club. It is available at most book stores.

Mary O'Neill - Lakes Region Profiles - Winnipesaukee: N.H.'s natural spa

by Mary O’Neill, Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


Over the summer months we have been highlighting the profiles of many individuals who have moved to New Hampshire's Lakes Region. They have given feedback on the reasons that brought them here and have educated us on their overall feelings for the area.
After I posted a blog on the Roche Realty website pertaining to the Lakes Region, I talked to Frank Roche, president of Roche Realty Group. We thought it would be interesting to see how comments and remarks on national travel sites stack up on Lake Winnipesaukee. With this in mind, I went to some of the better-known sites and was amazed to see the high ratings and positive comments. Lake Winnipesaukee and the Lakes Region in general are consistently awarded 4.5 to 5 star ratings.
Over 40 ratings on Tripadvisor give Lake Winnipesaukee the highest reviews and attest to the matchless attraction of the lake. One reviewer from Texas writes that "paradise begins here...a little bit of heaven here on earth." A reviewer from Maine says Lake Winnipesaukee is "not your ordinary lake...the is the dreamiest lake I have ever been to." Lake Winnipesaukee is labeled as a "must see" with water "perfect for swimming and boating." One reviewer calls the lake "amazing every day."
Lori G. says, "Wherever we went, whatever road we drove on, the view was absolutely stunning." One Massachusetts reviewer describes the Lakes Region as the perfect place to "swim, fish, boat, shop, eat fabulous food, and catch local farmers markets, fairs, and parades...animal lovers will watch bald eagles fly and loons swim by."
Sharon D. from Los Angeles names her time at the lake as "the high point of my year where I can float on my back and stare up at the pine trees against the blue sky." A visitor from India found Lake Winnipesaukee "one of the cleanest and most pristine lakeshores...with crystal clear fresh water, making short waves on the beach." Another simply says, "Lake Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire's natural spa."
A family from New York says "we have been coming to Lake Winnipesaukee every summer since 2004...it is a fabulous place." One reviewer from Illinois says "Lake Winnipesaukee will take you away from all of the stress of the modern world if you let it." Another from Canada says the "lake was ethereal, with the sounds of water lapping on the shore and overnight hearing the loons calling...boating was equivalent to exploring, with all the coves and vistas." A family from Massachusetts says Lake Winnipesaukee "is totally awesome! It's great for swimming and boating and just watching so many people enjoying themselves on the lake. Very clear water and something not to be missed."
The sentiment in all the reviews is summed up by a reviewer from Massachusetts: "Lake Winnipesaukee has it all – fishing, boating, hunting, motorcycle rallies, wildlife, shopping, history, arcades, night life, and a life time of memories."
The editors of FamilyVacationCritic say that Lake Winnipesaukee and "the beauty of the natural environment here is likely to put a smile on your face, especially seen from the vantage of a pleasure craft on the lake. A twisting shoreline of bays and inlets is picturesquely dotted with dozens of pine-covered islands both large and small." They label the Lakes Region the "prime vacation-land for visitors from around New England...plenty of family-friendly fun in an unpretentious atmosphere that draws people from all walks of life and on any budget." And, when the weather gets a little cooler, "the famed New England foliage is reflected in the lake in all of its glory, and leaf-peepers come from far and wide to take photographs." Then comes winter, "a delightful time to visit."
People reviewing the Lakes Region give mostly 5 star ratings on FamilyVacationCritic. One said, "We loved everything about our stay...the food and atmosphere...touring the shops, taking a boat ride on the lake, going to the ice cream shops, swimming at the Weirs and watching the fireworks...the hiking was beautiful...a great family location." A reviewer from Exeter said the experience was "above and beyond our expectations...such a beautiful location...I am kicking myself for not going sooner."
Reviews on Expedia describe this area as "charming and beautiful." Helen from Stansted, UK, found Lake Winnipesaukee lovely and says, "I've been a sea person all my life but I am a lake convert."

Additionally, many high profile magazines have featured positive reviews of Lake Winnipesaukee. Yankee Magazine writes, "The cool thing about Winni is that everyone can find his or her place". New York Travel mentions Lake Winnipesaukee as a "boater's paradise." The lake is described in Boston Magazine as the "sapphire-blue giant of New Hampshire's famed Lakes Region."

National Geographic describes the lake as a "a place of renewal...the loons will sing, the sun will go down, the lake will be like glass, and you can think about what's important in life." National Geographic Travel names a lodge on Lake Winnipesaukee as one of the "Top 10 Classic Summer Lodges."

New Hampshire Magazine calls the Lakes Region an "iconic summer destination" but is quick to note that "winter is the secret season in the Lakes Region because not everyone knows of its quiet charms...including sled dogs, pond hockey, and ice fishing, ice automobile racing...and as a winter airport on Alton Bay...when the ice is at least 12 inches thick."

Travel+Leisure says the area "is chockablock with surprising and unpretentious charms...and is not about epic, sweeping gestures...it's the intimate moments that define the place: the crunch of pine needles under your toes on a lakefront beach." Of Lake Winnipesaukee they say, "Boat culture rules on Lake Winnipesaukee, a vast playground...every New Hampshire family seems to have a summerhouse on or near 'the lake' or at least knows someone who does." They also note that "the greatest show on earth is fall in New Hampshire."

Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H., was rated the #1 retirement place in the country under the category "leisure living for recreational and cultural opportunities" (rated by MacMillian Travel – fifth edition of Retirement Places Rated.)

On a personal level, years ago I remember my great-aunt telling me how she couldn't wait to move back to the Lakes Region from the South after her retirement. I'll paraphrase one of her many reasons. It's one of the few places left in the world where you can walk into a lake and still see your feet through clear, clean water. It is a great feeling to know that we are all so blessed to live in this highly desirable place.
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. rocherealty.com

Growler Tours offer brewery adventures

NORTH HAMPTON — Granite State Growler Tours offers guests a unique local brewery adventure.
Founder Dave Adams says that people can hop on the bus with 14 of their best friends and let "Greta the Growler Getta" transport them to fine craft breweries on New Hampshire's historic seacoast.
Each tour consists of 3-4 breweries in Portsmouth and Hampton with tastings included in ticket price plus snacks and prizes provided by local businesses.
Granite State Growlers offers regular tours Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and can plan group tours any day of the week.
Tickets are $60 and includes transportation to each brewery, beer tastings, exclusive brewery tours, Q&A with the brewers, a snack, water and coolers full of ice to keep growlers cold.
For more information, visit http://www.nhbeerbus.com/, www.facebook.com/NHBeerBus, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (603) 964-0284.

At Faro, the wine stands up to the food

LACONIA — Last winter, when the owners of the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound were re-inventing their restaurant as Faro Italian Grille, they knew that building a wine list to pair with their food was a priority.

"With great Italian food, wine goes hand-in-hand," said Richard Ray, one of the restaurant's owners. "We've got a good variety."

Faro's wine list offers more than 30 wines, most from Italy, many from California and a few from South America or New Zealand. Wines range in price from $6 per glass for house wines to the $126 per bottle Banfi Brunello di Mondalcino.

Bree Farley, Faro's office manager, said the Clos du Bois Chardonnay and the Kim Crawford Sauvingon Blanc are the most popular whites, and for reds, diners at Faro favor the Five Rivers Pinot Noir and the Banfi Chianti Classico. Farley's personal favorite is the Natura Savignon Blanc, from Chile, due to its "hint of green pepper."