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The great divide: More than geography separates Lake Winnipesaukee communities
Building a sand castle at Ellacoya State Park in Gilford are, from left, Sarah McCluskey, 12, of Lowell, Mass., and Kendal Thompson, 9, of Sharpsburg, Md., and from Chelmsford, Mass., Hunter Briscoe, 9, and Kendra Kehoe, 10. (DAN SEUFERT)
Laconia and Wolfeboro are less than 15 miles apart as the crow flies. But fire departments can't go over Lake Winnipesaukee, and it's about an hour's drive around the lake between the two communities.
"I guess if they built a bridge, we'd go over there more," he said with a chuckle.
Year-round residents don't travel across the lake much, either.
Communities on the east side of the lake, especially Wolfeboro, tend to draw a "higher wealth tourism" than their counterparts on the west side. Laconia, Gilford and other towns to the east were once industrial centers, whereas Wolfeboro bills itself as "The Oldest Summer Resort in America."
Dr. Patrick May, an assistant professor of geography at Plymouth State University and a teacher of cultural geography, said the lake is an obvious physical barrier, but there are cultural barriers as well.
In any case, the Wolfeboro town firefighters were welcome help in Laconia in May, Erickson said. And Wolfeboro residents would gladly welcome people from any town, east or west, on the lake to visit, said Mary DeVries, executive director of Wolfeboro's chamber of commerce.
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