Crowds turn out for last days of Granite State summer
MEREDITH — It's September, and the nights are cooler, children are back at school, summer vacations are past, and a lot of people are talking about fall.
But according to the calendar, and to hordes of tourists who jammed the roadways and waterways in the Lakes Region this weekend, the seasons haven't passed just yet.
It is still summer, after all.
"Summer hasn't left us yet, there's still a few very nice weeks left," said Robert Cobb of Portland, Maine, who vacations with his wife at their Meredith home each year.
Cobb was continuing his summer tradition of sitting in a lawn chair in Meredith's Hesky Park Saturday, eyeing the busy boat traffic at the Meredith Town Docks with his binoculars and his trusty dog at his side.
"We come up here every weekend of the summer, right through September," he said. "It's still summer to me."
The region just enjoyed what many tourist-based business owners called their strongest summer in recent memory. Most small restaurants on or near the lakes, like Flurries in Meredith and Shibley's on the Pier in Alton Bay, were pleased to still be very busy with summer traffic this weekend and plan to stay open through the fall foliage season, though there isn't much talk about foliage yet.
Flurries, which will remain open through Columbus Day, had its picnic tables full of customers Saturday, said owner Steve Fields.
"We're very busy," Fields said. "Business is still strong."
"Our decks have been full all day, as soon as someone leaves a table, someone takes it," said Bonnie Belcastro of Shibley's, which will stay open through Oct. 27. "It was a wonderful summer, and it's still going."
Though summer officially ends on Sept. 21, the lakes remain warm and conditions are still ideal for boating and swimming, state safety officials said.
Katharine and Dan Heffernan sat on the back of their boat, eating ice cream from the Town Docks restaurant nearby. Residents of Hamilton, Mass., they chose to come to Lake Winnipesaukee for the day Saturday because the weather looked good.
Their boat is moored on the lake until Oct. 11, when they will be required to pull their moorings.
"We'll be here every weekend until they make us pull the moorings out," Dan Heffernan said. "It's the best time of the year to be on the lake, really."
Dave Lisner and Sara Maiers of New York City drove all the way to Meredith for a summer weekend, they said. Both had vacations scheduled for September, and Lisner grew up in North Conway, so…
"We tried to do everything we could up here today, we've been shopping all morning, and now we're enjoying the lake," Maiers said as she and Lisner ate lobster, corn-on-the-cob and watermelon at the Town Docks restaurant on Meredith Bay Saturday.