Meredith, N.H.: A Beloved Lake and Mountain Vacation Town on Lake
A walk along Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith.
by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/20/16
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Meredith remains, after many years -- and perhaps forever --
at the forefront of our wonderful New Hampshire travel and vacation
memories as the nicest New Hampshire lake and mountain town.
Meredith offers classic New Hampshire lake appeal,
with the fortune of being beautifully situated on the western shores of
Lake Winnepeusakee in the popular Lakes Region. Despite busy
Route 3 dividing the lake and the unpretentious, small business
district, Meredith feels like the epitome of a small town once you
experience either side of the highway. The lake has so many negative
ions (that great smell by a body of water or after a thunderstorm) that
you'll laugh yourself silly the next time one of those television ads
promotes air purifers with "mountain fresh air." The smell of the water
and air in Meredith have a true mountain feel, which leaves you no
choice but to relax.
Meredith is truly a place for walking, boating, shopping and dining.
The myriad paths along the lake are so pleasant that it's easy to
forget about Route 3. The small-town scenery, the not-too-distant
mountains and wide body of water make boating a summertime joy for many
vacationers looking to find the perfect spot at well-known Lake
Winnepeusakee. Shopping begins across the street from the lake at the Mills
Falls Marketplace, offering its own shopping,
lodging and dining identity instead of
being just another generic, unctuous tourist destination.
Mills Falls Inn connects to the Mills Falls Marketplace in
Here's the scene at the Mills Falls Marketplace: several shops and
restaurants, brick walkways and flowers gardens, a 40 ft. waterfall and
great views of Lake Winnepesaukee. What could have been another low
moment in the trend of commercial developers creating shopping
destinations as sterile as possible happily bucks the trend by
offering something you will experience nowhere else. Nothing smug and
pretentious exists here, just a lot of rustic New Hampshire charm
and the spirit of small, local business owners making things so warm,
interesting and inviting.
Given the heartwarming appeal of Mills Falls Marketplace, you'd never
know that this former linen mill
Inn at Mills Falls waterfall, and Giuseppe's restaurant that
dates back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution was sadly
deteriorating in the early 1980s. Too bad back then for Meredith, one
of New England's great lake vacation towns.
Happily, the Marketplace's 1984 opening instantly brought back
tremendous energy to Meredith's downtown district no matter what time
of the year. The summer is wonderful for its walker friendly environs
and outdoor dining, fall as a complement to Meredith's wonderful
foliage, and winter as a place to Christmas shop and get cozy within a
warm building that features some very nice shops. For those that want
to stay over, The Inn at Mills Falls is connected to the building and
features many amenities like an indoor pool and free WiFi. Within
walking distance is the waterfront Chase House with 23 rooms, Camp
restaurant (nostalgic feel, lighter fare) Lady of the Lake women's
clothing store. Church Landing at Mills Falls, a few minute's walk from
Mills Falls Marketplace, features 59 rooms and suites, a ballroom, the
Cascade Spa and casually upscale Lake House Bar and Grille restaurant.
The Baypoint at Mills Falls offers additional lodging with 24 more
rooms and Lago Costa Cucina Italian restaurant.
Clothing, jewelry and gifts comprise the majority of shopping at Mills
Falls Marketplace, but I prefer to start at Lee's Candy with the
largest candy bar in the Lakes Region with 125 jars of Gummies,
Sours and novelties, homemade fudge, fine chocolates, hand made
truffles, maple products, gift baskets and gourmet food products. It's
hard to know where to start here!
The Country Carriage sells country gifts and decorative accessories,
while Cozy Cabin Rustics features rustic and handcrafted furniture.
Great Northern Trading Company has a nice mix of casual clothing, home
decor items and a Christmas Corner. The Guest House, a Creative Studio
is a jewelry and beading studio American handcrafted gifts in the theme
at Oglethorpe Fine Arts and Crafts. Unique jewelry, accessories and
apparel can be found at Adornment and Creative Clothing Company. The
Innisfree Bookshop is perhaps my second favorite shop here, as the
spirit of a darn good independent bookstore shines in an inviting, cozy
Other Mills Falls Marketplace restaurants include Giuseppe's
Pizzeria and Ristorante specializing in Italian cuisine, pizza and
entertainment, and The Waterfall Cafe offering breakfast and lunch in a
cozy cafe and porch overlooking the waterfall and Lake Winnepesaukee.
For ice cream lovers, Ben and Jerry's has a storefront here!
At the "gateway" to Meredith is Hart's Turkey Farm, a favorite amongst
virtually everyone, but with a special appeal to an older crowd. Hart's
has been around since 1954 and has never let its quality slip,
according to many New Englanders. To no one's surprise the specialty of
the house is turkey and it's very tasty. Hart's claims that on a busy
day they serve over one ton of turkey; 40 gallons of gravy; 1,000
pounds of fresh potatoes; 4,000 dinner rolls and over 100 pies. We
might have filled the turkey and pie quota all by ourselves the last
time we ate at this legendary restaurant.
Meredith is ideal to visit any time of the year. The summer is an
obvious choice with its lakeside opportunities and nearby Weirs Beach
for sunning, swimming and amusements. Falls brings about spectacular
foliage scenery. The winter is a fine time to visit, too, as it is
close to the White Mountain National Forest with its excellent skiing
offerings, particularly Waterville Valley. Spring is a bit muddy, but
more quiet than the summer and with a chance to walk the lake on warm
Don't go to Meredith expecting great things. Meredith doesn't ask a lot
of its tourists and those visitors shouldn't ask too much of a small
town -- just let those great things happen naturally once you arrive.
It's all part of the plan to relax and unwind in one of New Hampsire's
great lakeside towns.
Lake views from high above in downtown Meredith.
Book a room in
Meredith and get a great rate
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