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Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding mountains

Lake Winnipesaukee Hotel Blog

Lake Winnipesaukee Hotel Blog


Museums in the Lakes Region

If you are staying at the Center Harbor Inn, there is no shortage of things to do and places to go. Of course, you have 71 square miles of Lake Winnipesaukee to explore which includes 258 islands and eight bordering towns. Within those towns, live some of New Hampshire’s best museums. Why not turn your vacation into an educational getaway and experience the best museums the Lakes Region has to offer? Take a look at the list of our favorite local museums.

Wright Museum of World War II
The Wright Museum of World War II has an ambitious mission: “To provide a vivid perspective on the profound and enduring impact of the World War II experience on American society.” The museum (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year!) is a non-profit educational institution which houses over 14,000 memorabilia items that are representative of the battlefield and home front throughout the years 1939 – 1945. The museum has a “Time Tunnel” to experience life on the home front throughout the years of WWII and also exhibits and displays fully operational military vehicles including tanks, motorcycles, airplanes, and more. Throughout this calendar year, the museum will be hosting three special exhibits: Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II, Esquire Magazine: The World War II Years, and The Last Good War: The Faces and Voices of World War II. If you are a history buff, check out the latest exhibits and events here.

New Hampshire Boat Museum
Since you are staying right on the lake, why not take a second to understand and appreciate a bit of the boating heritage of the fresh waterways of New Hampshire? That is the mission of the NH Boat Museum, and they pride themselves on being much more than your typical exhibition hall. There are characteristic displays and exhibits of a variety of boats and history. The museum also offers guests a chance to experience the excitement of riding in a vintage boat . Visitors can also take part in many programs through the museum including community sailing, boat building lessons, children’s summer camp programs, lecture series and so much more.

Lake Winnipesaukee Museum
Lake Winnipesaukee has been one of New Hampshire’s primary visitor destinations for over 150 years. The Lake Winnipesaukee Museum houses in-depth, historical information about the Big Lake as well as artifacts, photographs, souvenirs from the past, trophies, memorabilia and much more. To get a little bit of insight on the history of the lake you have been enjoying for days, or years, stop into the museum and take advantage of their organized historical information and knowledgeable staff.

Libby Museum of Natural History
The oldest natural history museum in New Hampshire, the Libby Museum of Natural History is the home to an impressive collection of artifacts and wildlife that dates back thousands of years. The museum displays a life-size moose, many different bird species, plant specimens, minerals and so much more. There is a nature trail equipped with a butterfly garden at the museum as well as free live animal shows every Wednesday in July. New to the museum this year are wildlife sketching and landscape painting art classes. Visiting the Libby museum is an experience you do not want to miss out on!

A Message From The Manager


Ice Out was officially declared on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 5:24am. That can only mean one thing, summer is at our heels. So what are you waiting for? Get that summer gear and beach attire out of storage and bring yourself to the Center Harbor Inn. That’s all you need; we’ll provide the rest.

Our staff lost no time getting out our fleet of watercraft, which includes kayaks, paddleboards, and pedalboats. Adirondack chairs are front and center around our lakeside fire pit, beach loungers have been laid out across our 200 feet of sandy beach, and our gas grills are fired up for your cooking pleasure. We didn’t forget the Cornhole equipment for the lawn either and of course, we even have the tanning lotion.

Come out and experience the magnificent sunrises each morning while you enjoy a fine cup of locally roasted coffee. Sit out on our sandy beach and spot all the birds returning from the south to enjoy the early summertime weather with you. You may even catch a glimpse of our resident otter swimming around our boat docks.

If you are a boat owner, don’t leave her behind. She can stay in one of our 16 boat slips or 8 moorings where you can unleash her to roam 72 square miles on New Hampshire’s largest lake. From sightseeing to water sports to casting out your line, you are sure to find it all right here off our beautiful shores.

When the day winds down you can ease right into the night with a relaxing soak in our year-round, lakeside, outdoor hot tub, or just sit back around our lakeside fire pit to catch the night falling over the lake. Let our big comfortable beds lullaby you into a restful night’s sleep. In the morning be sure to enjoy our complimentary breakfast to get your day started just right.

Make your reservations early and don’t miss out on all that the Big Lake has to offer.

Thank you,
Denis Longchamps

2019 Ice Out on Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee declared the annual “Ice Out” at 5:24am on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Ice Out is the moment in which the ice on the lake melts enough for the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship to leave its port in Center Harbor and travel to all other ports located around the lake in Alton Bay, Weirs Beach, Meredith and Wolfeboro. Traditionally Ice Out is known as the unofficial start of spring and boating season in the Lakes Region.

Here at Center Harbor Inn, we have had the luxury of viewing the regal 230-foot ship all winter, as it sleeps a little over 100 yards away at the Center Harbor dock awaiting springtime for the first cruise of the new year. Throughout the winter season, some guests were able to rent snowshoes from the Inn to traverse along the snow-topped ice to get a closer look and snap a few photos of the ship in all it’s glory. Viewers are not able to get too close, however, as the port installed bubblers in the water around the cruise ship to prevent the water directly surrounding the boat from freezing which protects the ship from ice and weather damage.

Each year, Emerson Aviation flies over the lake multiple times a day to identify the exact minute of Ice Out, a routine that has been carried out by the Emerson family for forty years now. Dave Emerson from Emerson Aviation was unfortunately unable to take flight the morning of April 24th due to visibility issues but examined the waters from shore and released this message, “I went to the Center Harbor port to inspect the bay from shore. The ice has melted around the Mount and is no longer a hinderance to it’s navigation. Finally we can now welcome spring.” The tradition of tracking Ice Out began back in 1887 and has continued annually with Ice Out dates ranging at the earliest date of March 18th to the latest date of May 12th.

Guests who were unable to make it up to view the beauty of our Lakes Region winter firsthand, had the opportunity to watch for Ice Out via our real-time webcam. Now that the ice has cleared the bay, we can finally kick-off spring and boating season. In honor of Ice Out we are starting our Lakeside Watersport Retreat Package a little early! The package includes 10% off our nightly rate plus access to hours of fun on Lake Winnipesaukee with two half day rentals of one of the hotel’s watercrafts for each night of your stay. Picture yourself gliding through the waters on either a pedal boat, paddle board, or kayak then relaxing in our four-season hot tub once your day of fun on the lake winds down. Celebrate Ice Out and springtime with us here at Center Harbor Inn.

Barrel Tasting Weekend in NH

If you are a craft beverage enthusiast, clear the calendar for the weekend of May 3 – 5, 2019. The Barrel Tasting Weekend event is coming back to the lakes and mountains region of New Hampshire. This is a special opportunity to tour production facilities, sample over 60 craft wines, beers and spirits and the chance to win over $5,000 in prizes, including a possible future stay at the Center Harbor Inn!

Barrel Tasting Weekend originated in 2011 and was held annually through 2015. The organization has modified the event to now include breweries and distilleries in addition to local wineries and has scheduled the weekend to take place in the spring season rather than autumn. This year there are ten participating businesses, most of which are within a 45-minute drive from the Center Harbor Inn. Guests visiting the properties will have the unique experience to try creations straight from the oak barrels that are used to ferment and age the products, meet the producers, and also learn in detail about the process of how their beverages are made. Many of the businesses will include other vendors whom will be offering items ranging from clothing, food and other wine and beer related merchandise for sale.

Hermit Woods Winery & Deli, located in our neighboring town of Meredith, is one of the companies participating in the Barrel Tasting Weekend. Just a ten-minute drive away, you can start your adventure here and meet the original organizer of the event, Bob Manley and his team. There will be a large tent located right outside of the winery where visitors will sign in and get their passports stamped. From there, you will be given the opportunity to tour the facility where you will learn about the filtration and aging process and engage in delicious a wine tasting.

The Center Harbor Inn is located centrally to many of the participating businesses and is offering a fantastic promotion on rooms during the event. Our Barrel Tasting Weekend Getaway Package includes 10% off accommodations of two or more nights and two tickets to the event. For more information on the package check it out here.

After spending the day touring multiple wineries, bring back some wine of your own to savor while you relax and watch the sunset over the lake on your private balcony.

NH Ski Area Discounts

As the lake begins to freeze over right before our eyes, we are thrilled to jump into some winter sports and activities! Soon enough visitors will be out ice skating, snowshoeing and snowmobiling just beyond our very own beachfront. While waiting for the ice to thicken, guests are welcome to take advantage of other great snow sports in the area with hugely discounted skiing and snowboarding tickets from our partner ski areas: Gunstock, Waterville Valley and Loon Mountain.

Gunstock Mountain, located in the neighboring town of Gilford, is a short 30-minute drive away. Guests taking advantage of our Gunstock Ski and Stay package enjoy 20% off the accommodations of their choice and 25% off tickets to Gunstock which can be used for downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, or cross-country skiing. One of the closest large ski mountains near Boston, you can appreciate the beauty of Gunstock’s panoramic views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding Belknap Mountain range from the summit. Once you finish your runs at the mountain, make your way back to the Inn and into our four-season outdoor hot tub, while enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee locally roasted by Wayfarer Coffee Roasters. You cannot go wrong choosing us for your Gunstock Lodging.

If you are planning to head a bit further north into the White Mountain National Forest, there are two more excellent ski areas that we offer discounts for. Located 45 minutes away in Lincoln, New Hampshire, Loon Mountain is a perfect choice for riders of any age and skill level. Keep an eye on their website for exciting upcoming events at the mountain! Last on our list is Waterville Valley. Waterville is a quaint town tucked away in the national forest known for skiing. This pristine New Hampshire mountain attracts many winter sporting enthusiasts. Be sure to check out their extensive cross country trail network in addition to their 62 alpine trails.

After as many trips down the mountain as you can handle, come back to the Inn to enjoy some stargazing from your personal balcony and relish in the comfort of your king or queen sized bed before retiring for the night. Get a great night’s rest and in the morning head down to the front office and check out all of our ski discounts while enjoying our continental breakfast to get you fueled up for another amazing day on the slopes.

Center Harbor Inn Wins Community Pride Award

On October 25th, the Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual meeting which included an awards ceremony where local businesses were honored for making a positive impact in the community. With our recent renovations of the inn just behind us, we are very grateful to have been presented the 2018 Community Pride Award for the rehabilitation and reopening of the Center Harbor Inn.

Chamber board of director member Julie Hayward of Hayward & Company presented the award plaque to long-term Path Resorts employee Jill Ober. Julie stated, “Throughout the renovation, they partnered with a number of local businesses to ensure the inn’s style and amenities were true to the area and best met the needs of the community and the visitors. The work took longer and cost more than expected (there’s a shock if anybody’s renovated anything because that is always the case) they were committed to restoring the inn to its glory and filling the large void in a growing and vibrant community of Center Harbor. Today the fully restored inn’s Adirondack facade brings new charm to the town along with many new and returning visitors. Guests enjoy upscale amenities and professional staff; the inn has fully reclaimed its place as a premier lakeside luxury resort.”

In March of 2016 Path Resorts purchased the Center Harbor Inn and immediately kicked off extensive renovations. The building was completely restructured with new exterior decks, douglas fir clad beam work and decorative cupolas to highlight the new Adirondack style. Interior work included complete modernization of the bathrooms and design updates incorporating rustic tones. Hotel amenities were improved with the addition of a four-season outdoor hot tub including heated walkways, as well as complete refurbishment of the nearly 200 feet of sandy beachfront. After all the updates the only thing that remained the same was the name of the property. Less than a year later, in January of 2017, the extensive renovations were completed and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to mark the grand opening.

We are honored to accept such a significant award and would like to thank the Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce for presenting it to us. It is wonderful to hear that the community is just as proud of the hard work that went into our widespread renovations as we are. We are committed to providing an upscale hospitality experience that does justice to the beautiful lakeside town of Center Harbor.

S’mores Three Ways at the Center Harbor Inn

At the Center Harbor Inn one of our lakeside favorites on a cool summer or fall night is a classic campfire. What’s better than sitting around a cozy fire unplugged from the world surrounded by family and friends? We can think of something… adding in a good old-fashioned s’more! We have taken the traditional s’more and upgraded it with a few twists of our own. Watch our video or check out the recipes below for our special concoctions. If you’re looking for ingredients, head across the street from the Inn to EM Heath’s Grocery Store for everything you might need. Just ask the front desk when you’re ready to start a fire and they will be more than happy to help!

The Classic: A straight up classic, if you have no idea what a s’more is, let us introduce you!

Ingredients:
2 Pieces of Hershey’s Chocolate Bar
2 Graham Cracker Halves
1 Marshmallow

Peanut Butter Lovers: Who doesn’t love Peanut Butter? For those who can’t get enough, try this one!

Ingredients:
1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
2 Graham Cracker Halves
1 Marshmallow
Spread of Peanut Butter

Chocolate Covered Pretzel: For extra crunch try out this twist on the classic.

Ingredients:
2 Chocolate Covered Pretzels
2 Graham Cracker Halves
1 Marshmallow

Canoe Restaurant in Center Harbor, NH

When you stay with us at the Center Harbor Inn you can expect to be immersed in the small lake town life where everything is a short walk away. One of our favorite places and hotel partners, Canoe Restaurant, is located within walking distance of the Inn. Canoe features laid-back American cuisine in a boathouse-inspired setting. This Spring they recently completed a full renovation that will be sure to bring in new guests year after year. They may have renovated the restaurant but when you walk in you still feel like you are at the same place it’s been for years.

The bar area has been completely redone with high top tables so you can look over the window sill to see lake views. They also purchased a wood fired oven which can be seen from just about anywhere in the bar area adding a rustic feel to the space and delivering excellent flavors for your meal. For the women pocketbook hooks were placed under the bar, so no worrying about draping it behind your seat or placing your bag on the floor anymore. In the main dining area, the dividing wall was opened up to provide the whole room with a view. Six-person booths were added for larger groups and a newly redesigned ceiling adds character to the room.

Check out our Midweek Winnipesaukee Romance package for a great deal which includes 15% off accommodations of your choice during two or more midweek nights and receive a $75 gift certificate to the wonderful Canoe Restaurant.

Guests can expect a casual and communal experience. In the bar there is 80s music playing, sports on tv, and local craft beer flowing from the tap tree. In the dining room you can have a more romantic and private, slow-paced experience. During the warmer months you can dine in their three-season porch and enjoy the fresh air. There has been nothing but positive feedback on the renovations and we highly suggest Canoe Restaurant on your next trip to the Center Harbor Inn. They are open seven days a week for dinner, and lunch is served Friday – Sunday.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

As much as we love sunny, beautiful beach days here at the Center Harbor Inn, we know that it’s not always possible and that sometimes you need to take a break from the Lake to go explore other attractions in the area. A favorite of ours for both the kids and adults is the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. It is the center’s mission to inform guests about ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural state through live animal exhibits, educational programs, a public garden, and lake cruises.

The live animal exhibits feature animals native to New Hampshire’s landscape and include: Barred owl, white-footed mouse, mink, painted turtle, spotted turtle, snapping turtle, various fish and amphibians, coyote, red fox, gray fox, fisher, bobcat, mountain lion, white-tailed deer, river otter, black bear, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Bald Eagle, and Turkey Vulture. It’s not every day that you get to see these animals up close and personal, so take your time and enjoy reading the descriptions and participate in the little activities they have set up along the relaxing, wooded nature path that winds through the exhibits.

If you’re interested in an extended walk, there are hiking trails around the property that range from 1/3 of a mile to a mile long. The Ecotone Trail, meaning edge, shows off the point where two habitats meet, in this case the lake and the forest. The Forest Trail provides insight into the past and present use of the land by humans and the Mt. Fayal Trail offers an elevation of just over 1000 feet and boasts beautiful views overlooking Squam Lake. Guests are invited to use this map for self-guided, nature tours through the trail system.

Trail hours are open May 1 – November 1 from 9:30am to 5pm with the last trail admission ending at 3:30pm. All guests of the Center Harbor Inn are eligible to receive $3 off trail admission coupons, just swing by the front desk and grab one.

With easy access to the science center via NH25B and US-3N it is only a 15-minute drive from Center Harbor, so spend a morning or afternoon visiting the animals and head back to the Inn to enjoy the rest of your day on the waters of the beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee.

For more information on packages at the Center Harbor Inn visit our Packages Page.

Message from the Manager

The Center Harbor Inn is excited to announce that this summer season’s preparations to our lakeside beach are just about complete and ready for guests to enjoy. We recently finished installing our swim line, mooring field, and swim raft for the brave ones ready to immerse themselves in the inviting waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. The beach furniture, fireplace seating, and our fleet of kayaks, paddle boards, and pedal boats are now available just in time to begin enjoying summertime fun as the warmer weather finally arrives.

Come out and experience the magnificent sunrise each morning while enjoying a fine cup of locally roasted coffee offered at our continental breakfast. Sit out on our 200 feet of sandy beach and spot all the new wild birds returning from the South to enjoy the early summertime weather. You may even catch a glimpse of our resident otter swimming around the boat docks.

If you are a boat owner, don’t leave her behind. Your boat is welcome to stay in one of our 16 boat slips or 8 moorings where you can unleash her to roam 71 square miles of New Hampshire’s largest lake. From sightseeing, to water sports to casting out your line, you are sure to find it all right here off of our beautiful shores.

When the day winds down you can ease right into the night with a relaxing soak in our year-round, lakeside, outdoor hot tub or sit around our lakeside fire pit to catch the night falling over the lake.

Make your reservations early and try not to miss out on all that the Big Lake has to offer. Make this summertime your summertime.

Thank you,
Denis Longchamps