Lakes Region businesses soak up successful summer season
GILFORD — Businesses in the Lakes Region say it's been a banner summer for tourism.
Owners and managers of motels, restaurants and stores in the area said the summer's hot weather has been bringing in much-needed tourist dollars, helping make up for past years that have been slow because of the bad economic times.
Some say it's been half a decade or more since they've had so many visitors.
"We're almost back to where we were in 2008," said Ellen Moore, front desk manager at the Fireside Inn in Gilford.
"We've been full every week since Bike Week," she said. "There's definitely been a pick up this year, a ton from last year."
The Shalimar Resort in Tilton has a similar report.
"This past month or so we've seen a definite increase in people over the past few years," said Gabby Owens, the resort's manger. "We're seeing lots of new faces."
In Moultonborough, The Old Country Store and Museum, a landmark tourist attraction for four decades, has seen more people wandering through its aisles, picking assorted hand candies and other goods.
"Business has been very good, we aren't complaining," said the store's Jo Hayden. "I don't know if it's better than ever, but it's better than last year for sure."
The Common Man Family of Restaurants which runs several restaurants in the Lakes Region, including the Tilt'n Diner in Tilton, has served more people this summer than usual, said Jeff Howard, one of the chain's managers.
"Overall, we've definitely seen an uptick, in all our restaurants in the Lakes Region, even when the weather wasn't good," Howard said.
The large tourist influx has given business owners hope that the bad economic times are changing, at least for many vacationers this summer.
"It was really nice to see the place full on the Fourth of July, like we used to," Moore said.