Granite State Ambassador VolunteerRecommendations & Tidbits
2017 NEW FOODS
No matter what the craving, the Big E has your plate covered with great meal combinations and mouthwatering new foods.
If you can’t decide which you love more, breakfast or dessert, then Amy’s Sweet Treats is offering a perfect combination just for you: the Belgian Waffle Sandwich – two thin waffles served hot and fresh with Neapolitan Hard Ice Cream in the middle. If dinner and dessert is more your style then take a walk to Porky’s to feast on their new BBQ Brisket Sundae.
Hofbrau Joe’s is offering crowds two new creations. At their Oktoberfest Biergarten, take a big bite out of the fully loaded Burger Bomb – a five-ounce burger patty topped with cheese, bacon, onions and sauerkraut before being wrapped in a pastry dough, deep fried and served in a pool of goulash. Hofbrau Joe’s Clam Box is serving up two fried Shrimp Tacos with diced onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and chipotle mayo served in a soft corn tortilla shell. Find both locations in the Food Court.
If you’re looking for an adventure, head to the West Springfield Lions Club to try their dangerously delicious Flatliner Burger. With two layers of a cheeseburger and chili, topped with French fries, cheese sauce and bacon, this new burger is a risk too good to miss.
Enjoy Sweet Pepper Bacon at the Burgundy Brook Café, Waffle Chicken Bites from The Deep South Company, or Deluca’s new Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich. If you’re craving something sweet, Pop ‘N Fresh welcomes fall with a new and trendy take on a classic fair food: Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake. Need more dessert? Stop by the Coffee Break for their Deep Fried Holy Cannoli served with chocolate chip ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, cinnamon, sugar and whipped cream.
BELOVED FAIR-TIME FAVORITES
No one can resist coming to The Big E without sinking their teeth into a massive Big E Cream Puff. Early morning and late-night Cream Puff cravers can visit our take-out window. The Big Éclair smothered with a layer of smooth chocolate is another crowd pleaser, handmade every day of the Fair and just as rich in flavor. Both desserts are made fresh on location at The Big E Cream Puff Bakery in the New England Center, but can also be found in the Food Court.
If someone brings up The Big E, chances are the Craz-E Burger is soon to follow! The Fair’s signature sandwich made its debut in 2009 and has been a major hit ever since. Make sure there’s room in your stomach for a mouthwatering bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two halves of a grilled glazed donut.
RETURNING FOOD FAVORITES
Doughcos - Anna’s Fried Dough
Blueberry Pierogi Sundae - Moolicious
Ultimate Cowboy Nachos - The Ultimate BBQ - The Food Court
Roast Beef Sandwich on a Kimmelweck Roll - Jim’s Concessions
Deep Fried Oreos - Marion’s Fried Dough
Poutine - at Poutine Gourmet
Cinnamon Caramel Apple Gourmet Mini Donuts – The Donut Family
From new ‘gourmet’ experiences, to tried and true favorites, there truly is something for everyone to fill their plate with at the fair! While some of these foods are attractions in their own right, you can still find plenty of traditional salads, fruits, sandwiches and snacks that aren’t quite as adventurous! Whatever you fill your plate with….. ENJOY!
To see what else goes on at the Big E visit: http://www.thebige.com/
Our section of the river had Class 1 rapids which were pretty light and fun. The trip we took would have been $40pp and included the boat rental, shuttle (to and from), paddles, and life preservers. If guests have their own boat, it's $20 for the shuttle only.
Ski Fanatics/Paddle the Pemi also rent canoes, double kayaks, paddleboards and tubes. They are easy to find right off the I-93, Exit 28 exit in Campton on Vintinner Road. http://skifanatics.net/summer-rentals/
In the winter months, they are full-service winter sports shop with sales and rentals. If you are a regular, you can even rent gear for the entire season.
This is only the second time that I have been kayaking so I was initially a little nervous. This time of year, the river was higher than normal because of all the rain so that made it easier to navigate through the low water parts. The staff at Ski Fanatics were professional, friendly and knowledgeable. They bring you to the drop off, and then pick you up at another designated spot. We waited very little time for them to pick us up as they run shuttles every 15 minutes. We stopped for lunch/a snack along the way which was quite a challenge for this newbie getting in and out of the kayak. I am happy to say that I did manage to keep my kayak upright which was not the case for everyone. We now have a couple of GSAs that have joined the “I like to get wet club and experience the coolness of the river first hand.” I also got to meet a few new GSAs or at least they were new to me and we shared a few of our experiences of being a Granite State Ambassador. It was a fun day.
This is a fun activity for the whole family and I would highly recommend using Ski Fanatics for your rental and excursions.
~ Maryellen McG
July 12 and the weather was sunny in NH, perfect for my very first Kayaking trip on the beautiful Pemigewasset River. Our group of 8 Granite State Ambassadors and our fearless leader, Kelly, met at Ski Fanatics in Campton where we were fitted out with life jackets and kayaks. Everything loaded up, we were off on a short ride to Robbins Nest where we "put in." Though this was my first kayak experience, most of the others were experienced and capable kayakers.
I was a little jiggly at first, but got some great tips from Roz and soon got the hang of it. I really enjoyed the beautiful river views, ducks, geese, and a few little rapids here and there along this 6-7 mile journey. We encountered a few groups of tubers along the way, but otherwise we had the river to ourselves.
Ron, trying to avoid a large rock at one of the rapids, became our first casualty. Kelly rescued him quickly and efficiently and his spirits were not dampened, though the rest of him was.
We had a short rest stop and some of us were able to get out of their kayak for a stretch. I, however, decided to stay in my kayak as I had not yet quite figured out how I was ever going to get out of it
I soon found out - as we rounded a bend in the river, a little too close to some downed trees, I was caught in some branches - oops, I was OUT and the kayak was filling with water - eek! Once again, Kelly to the rescue. We disentangled the kayak from the tree branches and off it floated! Fortunately, Ron was prepared downriver a bit and was able to grab it and drag it to shore. Kelly helped me into her kayak and she floated down the river under Kelly power to Ron, and we resumed the trip.
We finally arrived at the debarkation point to rejoin the rest of our group - who were wondering where the heck we were. The Shuttle was there waiting for us and when we were all accounted for we were delivered back to Ski Fanatics. No GSA's were lost! My shoes (and other things) were full of mud, but I did not get my hair wet! What Happens at the River, Stays at the River!
We all had a great time and I can't wait to tell NH visitors how much fun it is to go kayaking with Ski Fanatics.
A fun time had by all. The folks at Ski Fanatics were so friendly and accommodating and the weather was great! We learned a lot and got to know each other a little better. We learned that Kelly is adept at "herding canoes", thanks Kelly! Four newbies hit the river and besides a couple of snags we did well!
The time I spent on the river was much appreciated and was a definite workout for muscles that have not seen that much continuous work in a long time! Especially memorable was the magnetic rock that drew my kayak to it despite my frantic paddling to stay away from it; my boat was capsized! Fortunately, the water was knee deep.
Everyone was so nice and efficient at Ski Fanatics. I would have not known about them had I not been exposed through the Ambassadors. I am very grateful. I will definitely recommend them as the summer and winter destination point for our visitors as I volunteer at the airport in Manchester, and to my friends.
I had truly had a wonderful time and will enthusiastically recommend the experience to anyone heading up to the White Mountains for the day or for a longer vacation. I have already mentioned it to some kayaking friends in the community I live in and encouraged them to try it out. We couldn't have had a better experience!
View more of our photos by clicking here.
Click here to download or read in full. We prepare this report for NH DTTD monthly and thought you might enjoy it too.
By: Dwight S. Haynes, GSA Discover Wild NH Class of 2008
On Monday, June 19 at 7 a.m. I was off for a 4-day tour of 17 of the top natural and man-made tourist attractions in the White Mountains, the 59th Annual Educational Tour sponsored by the White Mountains Attractions Association. In my 8 years as a Granite State Ambassador at the kiosk in front of the State House I have logged almost 500 volunteer hours; all I had to pay for was gratuities, as food, lodging, and bus transportation were provided and we were treated like royalty. The hope is that we will continue to help visitors, be even better informed, more enthused, and able to say: “I’ve been there, done that”. I didn’t have to drive. Maryellen drove me across town where I met Norma Angwin, and Connie Loken from Hollis who drove us to Polar Caves in Rumney, west of Plymouth, where we became a party of some 30 people, including some AAA and Chamber of Commerce people.
Being the oldest person in the group and not having traveled the way I used to before my double knee surgery 4 ½ years, I was a bit anxious as to how it all would work out. It’s a challenge to keep the cane with me at all times, especially for climbing and descending, set up the Bi-Pap machine each night in a different place, keep track of 2 hearing aids and batteries, 3 pairs of glasses, daily vitamin pills plus a pill and Flonase for nasal congestion, and eye drops twice daily, and carry rain gear, water bottle, notebook, etc. in my knapsack. Oh, to be young and care-free again! Despite the challenges, my love for travel was reawakened, and I had a great time!
Mike Duprey, old enough to be retired, has been conducting this tour so well for years and was scheduled to guide us; but a health problem prevented his coming. To the rescue came Estlin Loparto, 24, who worked at Lost River one season, has traveled in several nations, and works in the White Mountains Attractions Association office in North Woodstock. Many of us liked her as soon as we met her in the parking lot. She did a great job as our tour guide,
First stop - Polar Caves. 50,000 years ago, a continental glacier moved southward over New Hampshire. As the sheet thawed, great blocks of granite fell from Hawk’s Cliff. These massive granite blocks created a series of caves and passageways- great for exploring. After some Dunkin Donut munchkins & coffee, we started walking, some 300 steps up, but oh, such fascinating formations and such beauty to behold. The huge glacial rock is some 50 mil. lbs., has huge sections at different angles, offers different colors with different minerals and various forms of lichen and moss. I was fascinated not only by the rocks, but also by the trees, different kinds and different shades of green typical of late spring; and some of the trees are growing right out of the rocks! Apparently, seeds scattered by wind or birds find a home in the cracks of rocks; then dirt and moisture collect, allowing the seeds to grow roots below and seedlings above! Wow!
During a brief stop at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln we saw different kinds of zip lines with varying degrees of adventure, plus a steep slide with tubes flying and landing on a huge air bag. The Flume Gorge has a natural 800-ft. chasm with waterfalls, covered bridges, glacial boulders, and a scenic pool. Some did the long walk around; some of us hiked up about a 1/2mile up into the gorge - a bit steep, but worth it! I was there years ago; but before I read a great geology textbook in early retirement. I now have at least some clue as to what it’s all about and why! As I experienced the awe and mystery of God’s continuing creation I was moved almost to tears.
The Flume, like so many parts of our trip, provided a feast for all the senses with the different colors to see in the rocks and trees, the sound of rushing water, the smell of moist vegetation, the touch of different surfaces, and then the tastes in the cafeteria! In the gorge I was reminded of the rain forests in Puerto Rico and NW Oregon. I learned that the walkways, railings, and platforms in the gorge, weighing 300-4000 lbs., are removed by hand each fall because of the huge pieces of ice that form on the walls of the gorge and then later come crashing down. As I was walking down the steeper part, a young woman, appropriately named Angela, offered me her steady hand.
Heading north on Rte. 3, the road soon joins the I-93/Franconia Notch Parkway, which takes us through the spectacular scenery of Franconia Notch State Park along a route framed by the towering peaks of the Kinsman Range and Cannon Mtn. on the left and the Franconia Range and Mt. Lafayette on the right. The trip up Cannon Mountain in the Aerial Tramway offered such scenic vistas and also brought back memories of my having climbed Cannon a few times. The trees in June provide many different shades of green. While at the top, some clouds paid a visit to remind us how the weather keeps changing in the Franconia Notch. In descending, we saw the beautiful white blossoms of the mountain ash trees.
Next, we toured the Omni Mt Washington Resort in Bretton Woods. I’d seen this huge hotel in the distance many times over the years, but never close up! Despite some rain showers, the Cog Railway and the summits of Mts. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Eisenhower, etc. were all in and out of the clouds and clearly visible from the hotel porch. It was as though the clouds were tickling the summits while we were busy enjoying delicious hors d'oeuvres and later a full course meal. This hotel provides one of the most scenic spots in all of NH and I’ve seen quite a few in my time.
Ron LaBelle was a great room-mate. He thought I was a pretty cool cat for an 80-year old. He said that in the course of our first day we had walked 5 ½ miles, climbed the equivalent of 22 flights, and walked about 12,000 steps! After sleeping quite well, breakfast was out of this world with an omelet made to order. By the time I got through breakfast I had eaten 3 fruits and 2 vegetables. I was ready to take on the new day. Most days we were up at 6:00 a.m. and back in our rooms by 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 20. Santa’s Village - with such imagination and creativity was better than I expected. Santa was there, but so also the 3 wise men on camels, the Holy Family, and Christmas carols! How can this be in a park that caters to the public? Because it is owned and operated by a family, not by some big business with corporate headquarters far away. The theme is not just Santa, but fun, joy, kindness, and love. The buildings and grounds are beautiful with wonderful landscaping – trees, shrubs and lots of flowers.
Let’s begin with your own gingerbread man to decorate and to eat! Now, take these snack pieces of something to feed the reindeer; and so I did. This place is interactive with lots of touchy, feely stuff! Climb up these stairs and take a nice ride around and above the park. As you leave you are handed a picture of the 3 of you. That’s what was with the light flash part way along. Then, if you’d like, you can ride the dodgems just like the ones I rode at Canobie Lake Park 70 years ago. I’d love for us to bring Asher, our 5-year old great grandson, here next December, to be here when the thousands of little Christmas lights are turned on – a memorable sight I am sure. Before we left the owner’s 12-year old son came on the bus to thank us for coming and to invite us to come back again!
Before going up the 8-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road by Stage Van, we saw an old horse-drawn stage coach in the museum, as well as early and later cars that were used. The summit of Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeast at 6,288 feet. For cars, motorcycles, runners, and walkers (when permitted), you start in the parking lot at about 1.500 feet for an elevation gain of some 4,700 feet! I climbed it twice in my youth from Pinkham Notch, first with the Bates College Outing club and then with the youth group of our Lisbon Methodist Church. The views from the Auto Road were stunning and the driver’s comments were so interesting. I was reminded of the Alps in Europe and mountains in Alaska. We were to have an hour at the summit; but the weather changed quickly and we were asked to head now to the Mt. Washington Cog Railway for the sharp descent – as much as 37 degrees. It’s all quite fascinating.
Following Rte. 302 to Bartlett we come to the Attitash Mountain Resort with 5 downhill ski areas, miles of cross-country trails, and lots more things to see and do: an alpine slide, a mountain coaster, mountain biking, bungee trampoline, etc. The heavy spring rains delayed the preparations for their summer opening. We were going to try one of those things (I now can’t remember); but the manager pointed to the dark, heavy, ominous clouds coming down the valley and suggested we try it another time.
So, off we went to the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel and Conference Center. Before another full-course dinner there’s the cocktail hour with delicious hors d'oeuvres. We get to meet the owners and operators of some of the different White Mountain attractions. They are glad to have us becoming better educated, more informed, even more enthused about the various tourist attractions. By the time we finish dinner and dessert it’s almost time to call it a day, another full day.
Wed., June 21. After breakfast and a quick bus ride to Bartlett, we board the Conway Scenic Railroad “Budd Car” for a carefully narrated one-way ride from Bartlett to North Conway, where we get to walk around this old railroad station. Next, we’re off to tour the Cranmore Mountain Resort, which is undergoing major construction with older buildings being torn down and replaced by larger, more modern buildings. There are many different trails, rides, etc. It’s still a bit “pre-season”, but many in our group took the special buggy ride up the mountain. Coming down you can control the speed by moving it forward for faster or back for slower. Some went zipping down and around the curves with great gusto while also enjoying the scenery.
Then, we travel Rte. 16 North to Story Land in Glen, another family favorite, where you can explore the wonderful world of childhood with all sorts of rides, activities, and shows – so much imagination, creativity, and color - all in an attractive setting nicely landscaped. There’s lots of animation and lots of interactive, touchy feely stuff. Some of those wonderful stories from childhood days really come alive. In a show at the theatre we saw and then met a beautiful princess - a living doll! That’s the way Jane Russell described God! 2 days earlier, Estlin, our tour guide had circulated a clipboard sheet listing 3 options for today’s lunch. Upon leaving Storyland as we boarded the bus, we received our box lunch. My chicken salad was right tasty.
Continuing north past Jackson to Pinkham Notch, we head over to Wildcat Mtn., a ski area which offers a scenic gondola ride to the summit for incredible views of Mt. Washington and Tuckerman Ravine. It also offers a thrilling ZipRider trip down the mountain. In a boat the waves underneath provide a rocking motion. In a gondola you are suspended in mid-air and the invisible rocking motion comes from above! I have wanted for years to take this gondola ride with its splendid scenery. But having had a terrible time with vertigo just a few weeks ago, I decided not to risk getting dizzy and sick all over again; so I walked uphill a bit where I had a fantastic view of Mt. Washington looking from the east. At Bretton Woods 2 days earlier, we were looking from the west. There are 2 sides to every story; but how often to do you get to see 2 sides of the biggest mountain in the northeast!
In heading south back down Rte. 16, at Intervale there is a stunning view from the south looking up the Mt. Washington Valley! Then, further south, from Conway heading west to Lincoln we take the 35-mile Kancamagus Highway (a National Scenic Byway) which climbs to nearly 3,000 feet providing dramatic views, stunning overviews. I’ve been over this road many times; but usually from the west. I was eager to see it this time from the east. I woke up just in time to realize I had missed 2 of the best overlooks! Apparently, several others had taken a nap, too. This busy tour was catching up with us!
I had driven by Whale’s Tale Water Park in Lincoln many times over the years; but I had no idea what an attractive and interesting place this is with water rides and slides for different ages and different skill levels. There’s a ¼-mile tranquil river, a huge wave pool, and even a state of the art surf simulator in which the trick is to go with the water as it propelled up the slide! It was time now to head to Woodward’s Resort there in Lincoln to freshen up for the reception and dinner. Many of the owners/managers of the various attractions, also staff and members of the White Mountain Attractions Assoc. were with us for the evening. They responded to questions and comments that many of us shared from our 4-day tour. We heard they were impressed by some of our questions.
All the while, we’re being treated to specially prepared shrimp and other delicious hors d'oeuvres followed by a delicious full-course meal with a choice of 5 entrees I was very interested in 4 of the 5. I managed to gain just 1pound in the 4 days, mainly because of all the walking and climbing we did – a challenge following my double knee surgery 4 ½ years ago. It is a good thing I have a sturdy cane.
Thurs., June 22. After another amazing breakfast made to order with eggs, French toast, orange juice, etc., we departed to North Woodstock for Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves in Kinsman Notch. Lost River is so named because it is in and out of sight! We were invited to discover the beauty and mysteries of the majestic granite walls, spectacular waterfalls, and rugged boulder caves. There’s Suspension Bridge, Twisting and Turning Boardwalk, and Paradise Falls. I think, like Polar Caves and the Flume Gorge earlier, Lost River is a geologist’s paradise.
Once again, I was fascinated by the different colors and formations, centuries in the making. Speaking of color, typically at this time of year the new growth on the balsam, spruce, and other evergreens will have maybe 2 inches of lighter green at the end of each part of the branches. This year, because of all the rain that’s come, this lighter green growth is often 4 to 5 inches! It adds to the beauty. It was the same at Santa’s Village. I don’t remember seeing such before. Maybe, I’m more observant, more aware of the feast for all the senses, more appreciative of God’s continuing creation in my old age!
Next, we go to Clark’s Trading Post made famous by its bear shows and train rides. It has been providing family entertainment for 85 years. Now, you can even try a Segway. It’s early in the season and already there are lots of people there. One person, from Concord, yells out to me by name. Later, I learned who it was. After touring the grounds and having pizza and ice cream for lunch, we head for the Hobo Railroad for a relaxing, round-trip excursion along the Pemigewasset River offering a variety of open vistas along the way. The Conductor saw to it that we got a snack. There’s even a Dinner Train available. Then by bus we head east again to Loon Mountain, home of NH’s longest scenic gondola skyride. There’s also a zipline, a climbing wall, a bungee trampoline, and lots more to explore.
By now some of us were ready to return to our cars back in the Polar Caves parking lot in order to get home for supper, unpack, unwind, and reflect on how blessed we were to have been able to see and do so much in NH’s wonderful White Mountains. Back in the 5th century, St. Augustine said; “The world is a book. And those who do not travel read only one page.” So, let’s travel and encourage others to travel when we can.
On June 27th, a group of Granite State Ambassador volunteers visited the Seacoast Science Center in Odiorne Point State Park in Rye to learn about what they offer to their guests. The Seacoast Science Center turns 25 this year. The center opened in 1992 as a public/private partnership between the state, two non-profits and the University of New Hampshire. Now, an independent non-profit (2001), the center sees 80,000 people a year, of which 10,500 come for their programs, and 26,000 are children.
The Seacoast Science Center is open 10am-5pm daily from mid-February–October; from November—mid-February open Saturdays-Mondays, and Tuesdays-Fridays by appointment. Their programming is diverse and geared towards families; up to age 5; grades K-12; adults (dinner-lectures and eco-adventures); and include environmental day camps, field trips and outreach programs, marine mammal rescue and badge programs for scouts.
The Seacoast Science Center is celebrating their 25th anniversary with 25 weeks of special programs held through September 9th, 2017. There are details on their website. http://www.seacoastsciencecenter.org/events/25th-anniversary-celebration/
On Thursdays throughout July, they host the Atlantic Grill Music by the Sea concert series from 6-8:30pm, and on September 23rd, the center will hold their BioBlitz, a daylong species scavenger hunt in the park. This is where families explore alongside scientists and field experts to find and record data on as many different species in the park as possible in one day. In 2016, 421 participants identified 547 species, 31 of which were new to their list. These are only a few of the fun stuff they have planned!
Inside the Seacoast Science Center guests can get up close to some incredible creatures. You can learn about whales and other Gulf of Maine marine mammals and the work the center does to protect them. You can hold a sea star, pet a chain catshark, and others in their touch tanks. Guests can also observe many varieties of fish and crustaceans in their live displays and learn about whales, seals, and exploring the ocean through other interactive exhibits.
You could easily spend all day at the center and Odiorne Point State Park. It’s a fascinating place in a beautiful location on the ocean shore. A definite must-visit for any age! www.seacoastsciencecenter.org
My touring and learning what the center is so proficient at, ranks with the top tours that I have experience during my twenty years as a Granite State Ambassador. The initial greeting from the staff made me feel so welcome. Those that provided us with the science of managing and caring for marine life are extremely knowledgeable and just beam with enthusiasm and love for the precious items placed in their care. The facilities are well maintained and structured to maximize the enjoyment and learning experience of both mature and young visitors. I asked myself a question while watching young children having the tine of their lives: "where were these great learning centers when I was their age": From the president on down, I offer my sincere thanks for taking the time to provide us with such a rewarding experience. I will be a pleasure to share information about the Center, when I have the opportunity to great both local and out of state visitors.
We love the Seacoast Science Center. We've taken our grandchildren there for an afternoon outing. They loved it.
This GSA tour was terrific. It's the second one we've been on and we learn something new every time. This time It was lobsters. Also their Learning center is very comfortable for LEARNING!!!
The Blue and the Albino lobster were outstanding!
After our Seacoast Science Center tour we traveled down to see the sand castles at Hampton Beach and to check out the Welcome Center there.
Anita and Dan M
The knowledge of the staff at the Seacoast Science Center was impressive. I’d been to the center before, but really liked having a guide to identify the species in the tanks on this trip. During our Creature Feature presentation about lobster, I was surprised to learn that there was an upper size limit when catching them, along with other great tidbits.
The setting, views and park were beautiful. Thank you for sharing it all with us – it was very interesting.
The Sea Coast Science Center staff and the people who support its programs have made a very smart strategic decision to focus their educational effort on children, the very people who will be making decisions about our future.
The staff seems to have a passion for teaching about the ocean and their well thought out displays show their commitment to sharing this knowledge with the children.
I visit Odiorne Point State Park regularly, but had never been to the Seacoast Science Center. I was impressed that the center was made for learning about the ocean and the creatures live on our coast. The staff make it very easy to understand the animals we find in the ocean and their relationship to us and each other. The center also runs a marine mammal rescue program.
I enjoyed the lecture on lobsters, and the opportunity for children to have a hands-on interface with sea creatures including their guided tours to the tidal pools. This is a well-run educational facility and great place to bring children of all ages.
I go there several times a week - each time I realize that this was where Europeans first landed in New Hampshire. When I go there, I walk the shore to the north, past first settlers’ Monument (1623) and view of the Isles of Shoals to the south and to the north, Fort Stark, the seacoast of Maine, Wood Island Rescue House and the Whaleback Light House Tower is just spectacular.
Click here to view the NHGSA photo album.
Here are a few more notes from GSAs who cruised with Experience Squam.
What a delightful host and wonderful way to learn more about Squam Lake. It was the first time in over 50 years that I was on the Lake, and first time with a full lake tour. Cindy was marvelous at finding out what we were interested in and then making it happen--how she got the loons, eagle, and osprey to appear at just the right times was truly amazing!! A special experience for anyone who loves this (or any) lake, with a personal touch!! Not to be missed on a vacation in the Lakes Region!!
What an amazing day on Squam Lakes! Cynthia is so well informed about all the history, secrets spots and knowledgeable about boating on the Lakes. The fact that she is willing to tailor the cruise to the individuals desire is worth noting. The experience and length of time boating is a big plus.
I will centennially be recommending it not only to tourist but family members.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to cruise Squam Lake on your beautiful 23 foot Bowrider. Your knowledge of the lake and its history is incredible. It really makes for a most informative cruise. In addition, your knowledge and enthusiasm for the wildlife of the lake, especially the loons, is contagious. Squam Lake is a special place here in New Hampshire, and you convey that very well. And for film fans, your stories about the filming of the movie "On Golden Pond" are just fascinating. I will be happy to pass on information about your tours to visitors looking for things to do in the Lakes Region.
READ Blog from Tim
READ Blog from Sue
VIEW GSA photo library
by GSA Sue Greenbaum
I was very fortunate to be included in a small group of Granite State Ambassadors who were award winners at the AMBIES, and we were invited to take a tour of Squam Lake this week, hosted by Cindy O'Leary of Experience Squam Private Boating Excursions.
I had never been on Squam Lake before, so I had no pre-launch expectations. The night before we left I did view her website, www.experiencesquam.com and was quite impressed. There were a total of 11 different excursions offered, and all could be personalized to the customers' preference. Being of a certain age, I was very relieved (pun intended) to read that bathroom facilities were accessible on several public islands. Ahh, all set!
It was a beautiful, warm and sunny afternoon, but the water was still a bit chilly on June 20th, so no one was interested in swimming that day. Cindy took us around the picturesque lake and pointed out some interesting sites. I am a fan of the movie "On Golden Pond" and it was intriguing to see where some of the scenes were filmed. Even more entertaining were the amusing stories Cindy told us about the making of the movie. It turns out that Katherine Hepburn maybe wasn't the experienced navigator she appeared to be in the film, but was actually assisted by underwater scuba divers in docking her antique boat so perfectly! Other times there was an assistant crouching out of camera range driving the boat. Another interesting tidbit for me was that when the producers were scouting for a 2 story cabin to rent for the film, they couldn't find one that met their requirements, including a second story. Finally they offered the owners of a cabin to add on a second story to their dwelling. The owners agreed, with the caveat that if they weren't completely happy with the results, the film company would return the cabin to its original layout. Guess they must have been pretty satisfied in the end, because the second story remains on that cabin to this day.
On another note, we spotted some wildlife, including several pairs of loons, (as well as an empty floating nest raft) and herons and a bald eagle were seen soaring above us.
We all thoroughly enjoyed this excursion of Squam Lake. Thank you very much Cindy, for a wonderful afternoon!
Sue Greenbaum, GSA
Two things stood out to me. The first was how well maintained all the White Mountain Attractions were. Being a New Hampshire native, I've known of and seen these places all my life, and I guess I expected them to be showing their age a little more. I was pleasantly surprised at how up-to-date, clean and well-maintained all the attractions were. All of these establishments far exceeded my expectations.
The second point was how enthusiastic the staff at each attraction was. Most of the attractions are family-owned businesses, and it shows. Most of the tours were given by the actual owners of the attractions. They were happy, incredibly enthusiastic and excited about the place that they've created. Their enthusiasm was contagious.
This FAM Tour gave me a new appreciation for all the attractions in the White Mountains and I can say I will enthusiastically encourage any guest to NH to make a visit to any of these attractions.
Phil and Chris
by GSA Tim Adams, Southern NH University Class of 2014
I’m sure you’ve all heard that the journey begins with a single step and so it was the other morning, a single step, a short walk to my car and then a 90-minute drive up to Squam lake. You see, I was heading up for a tour on the lake with a few other GSA’s that had been given the tour as part of their AMBIE award.
Now, I’ve been around parts of Squam Lake before, both in my Kayak and on a friends Pontoon boat. I’ve picked Blueberries from my Kayak along the shore of Great Island and been by the cabin used in the film ‘On Golden Pond’ so the lake wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me. I didn’t want to miss this trip however as you always learn new things when you have a different guide showing you around. I also hoped to get a couple pictures of Loons and, hopefully a Bald Eagle or two along the way.
The weather couldn’t have been any better. The trip had been postponed from earlier in the week due to potential thunderstorms and, since the thunderstorms did arrive as scheduled, the change turned out to be the correct choice. The temperature was in the low 70’s, the sun was out and there were just a couple of clouds in the sky.
Cindy, from Experience Squam (www.experiencesquam.com) was our guide and she picked us up right on schedule and off we went.
We started off in Little Squam Lake and headed to the far Southwestern end to check out the Covered bridge before heading to the Northeastern end and going through the channel and into the big lake.
We headed off counter clockwise around the lake and almost on cue there was a pair of Loons in the water in front of us! As it happened, we were close to the cabin used in the film ‘On Golden Pond’, so along with the Loons, we got told a few interesting items about some ‘behind the scene’ trickery that went on in the making the movie! Want to find out what these tidbits were? Guess you’ll have to go on your own tour OR spend time looking up some longtime residents that are still living in the area and asking them to fill you in. Personally, I’d pick another tour! Who knew skin-divers played such an important role in the movie? Certainly not me!
As we were leaving the Loons behind, we spotted a Bald Eagle in flight overhead and spotted another pair of Loons. The lake has a nesting pair of Eagles with no young this year unfortunately due to bad spring weather, and about 12 nesting pair of Loons. The Loons have also had a bad year due to all the rain and the high-water levels so it appears that only one pair will be raising young. Hopefully noting happens to them.
As we continued around the lake, we spotted an Osprey circling overhead and yet another Loon. This Loon however was different than the others as it appeared full grown BUT didn’t have the distinct coloration of the adult Loon, making it an immature one which typically stays out to sea until this color change take place.
As we were heading back to the pier, we spotted a small steam boat and got a chance to hear the whistle!
Back on dry land we all thanked Cindy for having arranged with the all wildlife to show up on schedule for us to see and for the wonderful trip.
Some of my pictures can be viewed at:
It was predicted to rain….a lot, on the day our lunch bunch was scheduled to sail on Lake Sunapee. Never ones to allow Mother Nature to have the last word, the “2 Sues” rolled up their sleeves (and pants) the evening before, busily performing sun dances. And how it worked!
The day was warm AND sunny when 41 GSAs/guests sailed out of Sunapee Harbor on the MV Kearsarge Restaurant Ship. Apparently our emails asking everyone to be on time was taken to heart. We actually departed 5 minutes early with everyone on board and accounted for. Good job guys, it was much appreciated, and we thank you!
The MV Kearsarge is a replica of the steamers that once ferried vacationers around the lake during the Grand Hotel era. Our Captain, Kara Obey, did a fantastic job navigating and bringing to our attention various points of interest during our 1.5 hour excursion. The MV Kearsarge has two decks. Some of us loved the upper deck, for the opportunity to go outside, and some of us loved the lower deck, with its proximity to the buffet, bar, and bathrooms.
Speaking of the buffet, the food was superb. Everyone we spoke to loved it, from salad to dessert. Many GSAs made a special point of mentioning to us how delicious everything was. The Social Committee can personally vouch for the Sangrias, too! We had 2 wonderful servers, Sam and Lynn, one for each deck along with a mate, Michael who was in the background assisting them. Sam and Lynn were enthusiastic, efficient, very attentive, and they never stopped smiling. Our server overheard us discussing the spiced apple slices offered with the salad bar. When she heard that some at our table had wished they had sampled it, she went back downstairs and brought us up a dish of them. They disappeared in seconds. Yum!
But all good things have to come to an end, and before we knew it, we were pulling back in to dock. As we were leaving the ship and thanking the crew for a great time, they suggested we might want to come back in the fall sometime and experience the beautiful foliage. Sounds good to us! We may well look into doing that another year.
Photo album: https://goo.gl/photos/Yx948mQfo5FCc8AK7