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Lake Winnipesaukee Hotel Blog

Lake Winnipesaukee Hotel Blog


Tag Archive for 'New Hampshire Lakes Region'

Best Romantic Getaway in the Lakes Region

There is nothing more romantic than a luxurious beachside getaway with your significant other. Picture yourself relaxing on a private sandy beach hand-in-hand with your partner before deciding to explore Lake Winnipesaukee in a convenient two-person kayak. Once you have adventured around Halfmile Island and returned back to shore, unwind in the tranquil four-season outdoor hot tub taking in the incredible views overlooking the harbor. As soon as you know it, it will be dinner time where you can take advantage of one of the many romantic and delicious restaurant offerings located within walking distance of the Center Harbor Inn. After dinner, take a stroll around the quaint town before retiring for the night in your comfortable and modern accommodations.

The Center Harbor Inn is honored to announce that we have recently won the Gold Medal for Best Romantic Getaway in the Lakes Region in the 2021 Best of the Lakes Region contest. We truly appreciate this acknowledgment and would like to thank our guests and employees for their continued dedication and support over the past few years to make this achievement possible. We promise to remain committed to our guests and will continue to provide an extraordinary vacation experience for all.

BeachaPalooza at the Center Harbor Inn

Are you ready for a beach party like you’ve never experienced before? We are gearing up for our first ever BeachaPalooza bash taking place on Wednesday, September 15th! Join us for an end of the summer beach party located on the shores of our very own Center Harbor Inn. The party will be held from 3pm – 8pm and it is important to note that ALL proceeds will be benefiting the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction going towards local children in need.

Matt the Sax, a talented New Hampshire based musician, will be performing live entertainment with his saxophone, guitar and gifted vocals. Matt recently played at our sister resort, Steele Hill during the successful Brew with a View event and guests enjoyed singing along and dancing throughout the entire brewfest to his catchy tunes! His musical style is the perfect choice to set the tone for our charity beach party event. Each ticket purchased will also include a variety of delectable food offerings catered by our Inn neighbors, Canoe Restaurant and Tavern. Canoe will also be providing a cash bar onsite producing some of your favorite summer beverages. Save room for dessert as Gusto Italian Café will be providing a selection of their mouthwatering desserts, made right at their onsite bakery across the street from the Center Harbor Inn.

We have never heard of a beach party without exciting games and activities to take part in, therefore we will be hosting multiple friendly beachside competitions on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. Attendees are encouraged to participate in epic pedal boat races and a nail-biting cornhole tournament with incredible prizes from some of our favorite local businesses including: Polished and Proper Barbershop, Mind & Body Oasis, Hannaford Supermarket and Path Resorts. Our friends at North Water Marine will be in attendance providing a fun opportunity to cruise the lake on one of their exhilarating Starcraft boats.

The fun doesn’t have to stop when the party does! Stay with our BeachaPalooza package and receive 50% off that Wednesday night in the accommodations of your choice. Each package also includes two tickets to the exciting onsite event. Once the party has come to an end, take time to relax in the outdoor hot tub overlooking the harbor or take in the gorgeous lake views from your private balcony before retiring for the night. In the morning, refuel with our delicious continental breakfast offering before enjoying another fun-filled day in the Lakes Region.

Tickets for the BeachaPalooza bash are just $40 per person and can be purchased here. ALL proceeds benefit the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction to help the local children in need with everything from basic necessities to broadening their opportunities and life experiences. The Children’s Auction works with multiple non-profit community organizations to raise funds to distribute to under resourced children and families in the immediate area. If you are unable to make it to the event and would like to make a donation please visit the fundraising page here.

Gusto Italian Café

Located right across the street from the Center Harbor Inn is quite possibly our new favorite breakfast and brunch spot, Gusto Italian Café. Offering authentic Tuscan Italian food in a setting where you truly feel as if you are dining in Italy, the café is the perfect spot to visit and relax, learn a bit about Italy and enjoy a true taste of Italian cuisine.

Owners Nick and Elena work hard to bring a sense of Tuscany to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Offering breakfast and lunch Wednesdays through Sundays, the menu is stock full of authentic Italian classics including paninis, bruschetta, detailed charcuterie displays and of course authentic fresh pasta dishes. Gusto’s menu is inclusive providing options for individuals with dietary restrictions including gluten free, keto, vegan and nondairy dishes. Be sure to save room for dessert as Gusto always has a delectable selection at the onsite bakery providing authentic Italian pastries made daily.

There are many customers who come through the doors of Gusto café to enjoy a delicious meal, snack or cup of coffee including familiar faces who stop by as regulars and out-of-state vacationers looking to try something new (many of which return on the daily during their trip!) Many customers stay a while to enjoy not only the delightful food offerings, but the live entertainment that the café offers frequently as well. The musicians certainly add to the atmosphere, enhancing the Italian experience.

Gusto also offers an onsite Market where they sell pasta noodles, homemade sauce, meatballs and the option to preorder meals for the whole party including: classic lasagna (with a vegetarian option), cannelloni stuffed shells, chicken parmigiana, pasta salad, their signature panini bites trays, quiche and more! Nick and Elena are working hard on their newest project and will soon have their very own storefront providing many more options in their upcoming expanded Gusto Market! The new Market will also be located in Center Harbor, situated behind the café and provide imported goods, exhibit Tuscan themed works of art and of course sell traditional Italian food. Other great offerings the café provides consist of a pasta of the day dish, events like wine tastings and cooking lessons and catering. Next time you are in the Lakes Regions, be sure to visit Gusto Café, ciao!

Twin Barns Brewing Located in the NH Lakes Region

Guests of the Center Harbor Inn have the option to discover a vast amount of activities in the Lakes Region during their NH getaway. Nearby options include boating on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee, getting some fresh air while hiking the local and well-maintained trails and mountains, or visiting one of the region’s delicious offerings of food, wine and beer. After an exciting day exploring the area, there is no better way to unwind than enjoying an evening with a cold, craft brew in hand. Located in Meredith only 10 minutes from the Inn, Twin Barns Brewing Company is a newly established brewery sharing their handcrafted creations in the Lakes Region.

There’s a wide variety of brews available at Twin Barns catering to every beer lover’s unique taste buds. With diverse styles including IPAs, porters, wheat beers, stouts, and more, the brewery makes it a point to provide an array of signature taps for visitors to enjoy. The food menu at the brewpub is just as enticing as the beer list with options including chowders, flatbreads, a variety of burgers and even a children’s menu. You can’t go wrong with a delicious meal paired with an equally delightful brew under the beautiful antique twin barns!

During the warmer months, the brewery opens their large outside beer garden for guests to enjoy. Offering an outdoor bar and a variety of spaces to relax, play lawn games, take in some fresh air and catch up with friends and loved ones, the beer garden is a high-season hotspot for both locals to the region and vacationers. Throughout the summer weekends there is scheduled live music and events for all to enjoy in the beautiful and natural outdoor location. The live entertainment extends into the fall, winter and spring with the music moving inside the conjoined barns as well as other fun activities available throughout the week including music bingo and trivia nights!

After returning back to the Inn from your visit to Twin Barns Brewing Company, continue the laid-back vibes by enjoying a relaxing soak in our spacious outdoor four-season hot tub overlooking beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. There is no better way to experience the Lakes Region than appreciating some delicious locally crafted brews and taking in the beauty of the region firsthand by lodging lakeside.

The Perfect Date Night

Are you searching for ideas to have the perfect date night? Look no further, as we have all the elements for an evening you won’t soon forget! Whether you are looking to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or your just need some inspiration in your relationship, let us help you plan a romantic lakeside staycation.

When you book a stay at the Center Harbor Inn with our Dinner and a Movie package, you will bring the spark back to your love life and have the opportunity to enjoy an amazing getaway together. After visiting the front desk to check into the Inn, stop by your room to drop off your luggage and get a glimpse of beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee from your private balcony. This special promotion includes a $50 dinner certificate for a romantic dinner for two at Giuseppe’s Pizzeria & Ristorante and two adult movie tickets to BarnZ’s Cinema. While relaxing at the Inn, take advantage of our free WIFI to peak at the menu and view all of the delicious offerings of the Italian-styled restaurant. While finishing up your first cup of complimentary coffee, don’t forget to check the showtimes of the movies currently playing at BarnZ’s Cinema, just a three-minute drive from Giuseppe’s and an eight-minute drive from the Center Harbor Inn. Once your night has been planned, let the date begin!

Giuseppe’s, located in the heart of our neighboring town of Meredith, New Hampshire, is a full-service restaurant providing gourmet pizza, pasta specialties, seafood, steak, chicken, veal, sandwiches and a variety of gluten-free options. Giuseppe’s offers two full bars serving a diverse selection of beer, wine and spirits and provides live musical entertainment every night of the week. Enjoy a romantic dinner with your significant other with the easy listening of an acoustic or piano performance playing in the background or sing a duet for some live karaoke on Thursday evenings downstairs in The Grotto.

Post dinner, head down the road to the recently renovated BarnZ’s Cinema, offering blockbuster hits throughout the entire year. Relax in their spacious new reclining seats while watching the latest box office favorite. Whether you choose a horror, action or romantic film for your date night, watching a movie with your significant other is a great way to spend time together. After the movie, head on back to the Inn to share a moonlit soak in our four-season outdoor hot tub or retire for the night in the comfort of your king or queen sized bed.

A NH Foliage Vacation

There is no better place to be in autumn than the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Foliage season is a magical time on the lake, with the ability to see brilliant colors from all different vantage points while not feeling rushed along the way. When you join us for a fall getaway at the Center Harbor Inn, you can have an authentic seasonal vacation while experiencing the striking phenomenon of peak foliage.

When planning your fall getaway to the Center Harbor Inn, be sure to reference the New Hampshire foliage tracker to figure out the perfect time to book your trip. The tracker pinpoints the time of peak foliage across the state of New Hampshire and will provide a solid timeline to reserve your room at the Inn. Once you arrive to your vacation destination you can continue to use the tracker for scenic drive ideas, whether you decide to stay local and take the Lakes Region Tour which will loop around Lake Winnipesaukee (the largest lake in New Hampshire) or travel a little north to view the intense colors along the Kancamagus Highway on a White Mountains adventure drive.

Be sure to pack your digital camera and tripod for this special retreat as you will want to capture all the fall colors that northern New England has to offer. While traveling along your Lakes Region foliage tour, take a pit-stop at Mount Major located right off of NH-11 E for a moderate hike to one of the Belknap Mountain Range’s most popular summits. Mount Major is a heavily trafficked hiking destination with a couple different trail options ranging in difficulty levels but each leading to the same summit providing spectacular, unparalleled, panoramic views of Lake Winnipesaukee. Some hikers enjoy a picnic lunch atop the summit while others are content with snapping a few photos of the remarkable views before descending. If you are ambitious enough to take multiple hikes or nature walks during your stay with us, view the list of our favorite spots here, all of which including amazing fall colors along the way!

Once you return to the Inn after your foliage tour around the lake, take one of our kayaks out to view nature’s fireworks from a different perspective. The lake is lined by various trees providing all different colors including yellows, oranges, purples, and brilliant reds and crimsons. While on the lake, keep an eye and ear out for the Common Loon, a native bird of North America. Loons, also known as great northern divers, are tuxedoed birds known for propelling themselves underwater to catch fish. Loons have a very unique call that can be easily distinguished as they echo across the water. Loons tend to stay on the lake as late as November before migrating to the Atlantic Ocean for the winter. To learn more about this beautiful bird, visit the Loon Preservation Committee, only a twelve minute drive from the Center Harbor Inn!

Paddle back to the Inn and relax your muscles in our four-season outdoor hot tub while you let the brisk autumn air flow through your lungs and take some time to reflect on the beautiful fall day you were able to experience. When you take advantage of our Fall into Romance package, you can receive 20% off your stay for two or more nights as well as a $75 gift certificate towards dinner at the delicious Canoe Restaurant, located just walking distance from the Inn.

Sandwich Fair Lodging

Autumn is fast approaching which means we have an abundance of fall festivals and fairs taking place here in the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire. One fall attraction that cannot be missed this season is the Sandwich Fair, located within a fifteen-minute drive from the Center Harbor Inn. The Sandwich fair, celebrating its 110th year, is an annual event held on Columbus Day weekend and is open Saturday through Monday during the extended holiday weekend.

The Sandwich fair, originally agriculturally based, continues to focus on the state’s farming roots with exhibit halls presenting award winning vegetables, oxen and horse showing rings, tractor pulling areas and many more agriculturally founded activities. Whether you are living in the area or just vacationing in the Lakes Region, the Sandwich fair provides a great experience that brings the community together.

The fairground offers free parking for attendees and general admission tickets to enter the fair are reasonably priced at $12 for guests twelve years or older and children under twelve are free! Once you enter the gates there is an abundance of attractions to keep you occupied throughout the day and well into the evening. Grab a fairground map, or print one in advance, to plan your day accordingly. (You can find the fairgrounds map here). The Sandwich Fair offers many exhibits, attractions, and events including: 4-H animal showings and judging, Disc Dog presentations, clowns, comedians, juggling, musical and ventriloquist acts, parades and much more. Be sure to view the full list of the schedule of events throughout the long weekend to get more information to plan your day. In between events and showings, take advantage of some of the traditional and unique fair concessions like: fried dough, candied apples, blooming onions, tacos and burritos and soup in a bread bowl. The rides at the midway are always a popular attraction and provide both a fun and exhilarating experience for all ages!

Many fair visitors find just one day spent at the fairgrounds is much too short and they cannot take advantage of the various activities, or they are stuck deciding between the Antique Auto Parade on Saturday or the Grand Street Parade on Sunday. Throughout the month of September there is an advance ticket sale where a 3-day pass is only $24. Why not attend all three days and get the full experience? The Center Harbor Inn is conveniently located just fifteen minutes away and is the ideal lodging location for people planning a visit to the Sandwich fair, whether they are attending just one day or all three. By staying at the Inn, you can spend more time enjoying the fair and less time stuck in traffic. Once you arrive back at the hotel after a fun-filled day exploring the fair, relax in our four-season outdoor hot tub or stargaze from our Adirondack chairs near the warmth of our fire pit.

Castle in the Clouds

There is always something you can do while visiting the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. One standout attraction that cannot be missed during your next vacation to the Center Harbor Inn is Castle in the Clouds located in our neighboring town of Moultonborough, just a fifteen-minute drive from the Inn. Visiting this beautiful estate will give you the opportunity to stack your day full of fun activities and adventures creating a memorable experience for all ages.

The property is over a century old and is chock-full of history, art and nature. With over 5,500 acres situated on a mountaintop and an elevation of 1,300 feet, Castle in the Clouds has unparalleled views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountains. The castle, initially named the Lucknow estate by the mansion’s original owner, offers daily tours from late May until the end of October. There is an orientation to begin the tour then you may grab a floor plan and navigate the historic mansion and gardens on your own and have the opportunity to learn more from one of the many knowledgeable museum guides throughout the mansion. The castle has recently opened up their basement for guided tours as well which will give you a unique glimpse into how the mountaintop castle was built in 1914.

After your tour is complete, enjoy a meal on the terrace at the Carriage House Restaurant. Their wide-ranging menu includes soups, salads, starters, sandwiches, tacos, seafood and has options for both vegetarians and gluten-free individuals. If you just want to grab a small bite to eat or make your sweet tooth happy, swing by Cones in the Clouds featuring delicious, locally produced Kellerhaus ice cream, pizza, wraps and more! Once you are fully fueled, take an adventure and explore over 28 miles of hiking and walking trails on the property, managed by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. The estate has trails for all experience levels and offers amazing views of Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake and the nearby mountains. The trails within the network include sights of waterfalls and signage to teach visitors about the history, ecology and geology of the land.

Other highlights of the property include Shannon Pond, a pond stocked with trout which you can feed, an exhibit gallery located within the carriage house which is currently showcasing restoration stories and information, a gift shop so you can take home a souvenir and of course there is Riding in the Clouds, a unique and beautiful way to explore the land via horseback. The mansion also hosts special events throughout the year including live music nights, solar gazing, guided hikes, mountaintop yoga and many other enticing activities. Be sure to check out their event calendar for the full list and to purchase your tickets in advance.

The Center Harbor Inn has partnered with Castle in the Clouds for an exclusive deal for the 2019 season. Our guests’ tickets are only $13 each for up to four people, with the normal adult admission rates $18, saving you up to $20 for your next trip to the mansion! Be sure to stop by the front desk to inquire more about our discount program during your next stay at the Center Harbor Inn.

Hiking in the Lakes Region


Vacationing at the Center Harbor Inn gives you many opportunities to explore the Lakes Region and experience an authentic Lake Winnipesaukee getaway. The adventures of staying lakeside are endless: kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, swimming, and boating just to name a few. However, the Lakes Region has much more to offer than just the lake right outside your balcony. In addition to the lakes, tax-free shopping, and many popular area attractions, we are lucky enough to be the home of an abundance of hiking trails and mountains in close proximity to the Inn.

Having the opportunity to get out and enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature walks and mountaintops is an experience you will not want to miss while on your next Lakes Region vacation. Along with taking in the fresh mountain air, there are many additional benefits from hitting the trails including enjoying a great full-body workout, lowering your stress levels, and communing with nature. The region offers trails that cater to all skill levels. Take a look at our top 10 favorites listed below, all of which are located within a half-hour drive from Center Harbor Inn!

Lakes Region Conservation Trust
Located in the Center Harbor Woods, the Lakes Region Conservation Trust is just a three-minute drive from the Inn. There is 224 acres of land which include a network of multiple trails that lead you through the scenic forest where you will be surrounded by the natural habitats of numerous native species.

Belknap Woods
Another option right here in Center Harbor is exploring the Belknap Woods. The Beaver Pond Loop is an excellent choice for all skill levels and can be used for trail running as well. The hike is a 2-mile loop which takes you through 90 acres of land and travels around a pond where there is a good chance you could see some wildlife.

Chamberlain Reynolds Forest
The Chamberlain Reynolds Forest is a 157-acre forest in Center Harbor. The forest holds over 4 miles of gentle hiking trails including the Wister Point Trail, which takes you along the shoreline of Heron Cove on Squam Lake. Other trails include a boardwalk that passes directly over a swamp, direct access to campsites, swimming spots, and beautiful views of Red Hill and Rattlesnake Mountain (keep reading to learn about those hikes!)

Proctor Wildlife Sanctuary
Proctor Preserve is a 47-acre protected area which is maintained by the New Hampshire Audubon Society located in Center Harbor. There is a 1.5-mile loop trail that leads alongside multiple streams and is a good choice for all skill levels. Be sure to pack a lunch as there are picnic tables available in the midst of a beautiful natural setting.

Red Hill
A moderately difficult hike, Red Hill is only a 7-minute drive from the Center Harbor Inn, situated in our neighboring town of Moultonborough. The full loop trail is 3.5 miles in length and reaches an elevation of 2,029 feet. Many advanced hikers will take advantage of the well-maintained trails and use them for trail running. As you approach the summit, you will notice a large fire tower lookout that is easily accessible with panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee.

Castle in the Clouds
Just a 15-minute drive away, Castle in the Clouds offers over 5,500 acres of land with 28 miles of trails to traverse including a range of options for all difficulty levels. Many of the trails offer remarkable views of (over 7) waterfalls, historical sites, Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake and the wilderness beyond. Each Wednesday throughout the summer, Castle in the Clouds hosts Wellness Wednesday where there is a guided hike of the scenic Brook Walk. Be sure to visit the front desk at the Center Harbor Inn before you venture out and ask about our partner coupons for Castle in the Clouds. Although there is no charge for accessing the hiking trails at Castle in the Clouds Conservation Area, the coupons provide reduced admission for the castle tours and exhibit gallery located in the carriage house.

West Rattlesnake Mountain
Just short of a 2-mile round trip, West Rattlesnake Mountain is a popular destination for hikers of all skill levels. Situated in Center Sandwich, within a 25-minute drive, West Rattlesnake has unparalleled views overlooking Squam Lake. The Old Bridle Path is an out-and-back trail which ascends to a rock covered summit which you could spend hours on, taking in the beautiful scenery.

Mt. Morgan and Percival Loop
Sharing a parking lot with West Rattlesnake Mountain, the Mt. Morgan/Percival hiking entrance is just across the way from West Rattlesnake’s trailhead. This 5-mile loop trail is labeled as more of a moderate/difficult hike including two peaks, ladders to climb on, open ledges to traverse and caves to crawl through.

Lockes Hill
Located just 24-minutes away in the nearby town of Gilford, Lockes Hill is a loop trail which measures just under 2-miles long. The hike is great for all skill levels containing peekaboo views of Lake Winnipesaukee. Tread lightly as New Hampshire’s state wildflower, the Lady’s Slipper, is known to grow along the trail edges.

Gunstock Mountain
Sitting amidst the Belknap Mountain Range, Gunstock Mountain, also located in Gilford, has an extensive trail network catering to difficulty levels of all hikers. Gunstock is primarily known as a skiing mountain but they are much more than that. We have partnered with Gunstock Mountain to offer our guests additional discounts to their summer Adventure Park. Be sure to stop at the front desk to inquire about your coupon to use at Gunstock and carve out some time to experience Gunstock’s Premium or Discover Adventure programs where you can zipline, take a Segway tour, ride the mountain coaster, and so much more!

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!