The Lakes Region is a summertime haven for fishermen, families and fun. But there is something to offer in every season, from skiing and ice fishing in the winter to a fall foliage flood of color for "leaf peepers" in the autumn. It is home to America's first summer resort, Wolfeboro, thanks to Governor Wentworth, who in 1763 built a summer home on the shores of Lake Wentworth.
Each year motorcyclists of all shapes, sizes and walks of life descend on Laconia for the annual "motorcycle week". The event draws hundreds of thousands of bikes and tourists to the area; some come for the races at nearby New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but most just come to admire the chrome.
The lakes truly define this region of the state. Of the 273 lakes and ponds in this area, Winnipesaukee is the crown jewel. The largest lake in the state at 72 square miles, Winnipesaukee has it all. Scuba dive in 213 feet of water, take a scenic train ride via the HOBO Scenic Railroad or a cruise around the lake on the M/S Mount Washington in Center Harbor; rent a canoe and straddle the perimeter of the lake or swim at the popular Weirs Beach.
For a little less hustle and bustle, try Newfound Lake in Bridgewater, known for its pristine waters, 22 miles of shoreline and the sandy beach at Wellington State Beach. The Lake Ossipee region offers an unspoiled wilderness and crystal clear lakes and rivers. Or, head to the Squam Lakes natural spring-fed waters, where the movie "On Golden Pond" was filmed. Nearby Holderness is home to the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, a 200-acre sanctuary for wildlife and exploration of the natural world.
The countryside here is not only decorated with mountains and lakes. You can take a step back in time at the historic Canterbury Shaker Village, tour the historic mansion known as the "Castle in the Clouds" in Moultonborough or feast on an ice cream buffet at Kellerhaus at Weirs Beach.
Shoppers will find a variety of antique shops and country stores along winding back roads. The Tanger Outlet Center's tax-free shopping is a Mecca for those looking for bargains on brand-names such as Coach, Banana Republic and Yankee Candle.
The Lakes Region offers something for everyone, in every season. Explore the small towns and back roads of this magical place and you'll find a reason to keep coming back.
© 2016 Union Leader Corporation