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Wolfeboro, N.H.: The Quieter Side of Lake Winnipesaukee

Wolfeboro NH - a beautiful mountain  and lake town.

Wolfeboro on Lake Winnipesaukee makes for a beautiful lake and mountain town.

by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 5/14/2021

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Lake Winnipesaukee's personality never changed, just what goes on around it. Once a location of true serenity and a place to "get away from it all," parts of New Hampshire's largest lake have become highly commercialized -- from the honky-tonk to new inns made to look old (and charge a hefty price for their fabricated charm). Sadly, some of the Lake -- particularly on the west side -- doesn't look the same to many New Englanders as it once did.

Wolfeboro, America's oldest resort community at more than two centuries old, never really cared to subscribe to this odd and disturbing form of "progress." Fine neighborhoods with big, old homes, a beautifully restored former train station that houses the Wolfeboro Chamber of Commerce and a nice mix of laid-back arts and crafts and book stores, bakeries and cafes and a truly tranquil and scenic backyard to the downtown -- the magnificent lake -- make Wolfeboro a trip back in time on the eastern shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Wolfeboro Station, Wolfeboro NHWolfeboro Station

This is downtown Wolfeboro, NH....
Downtown Wolfeboro.

Take a stroll down any of the east side streets and you'll end up with one of the prettiest views in New Hampshire -- a cool, calm lake surrounded by mountains. Nice walkways and a gazebo add to the charm, as well as extremely friendly residents who have a respect for their town and the people who visit their charmed community. Once at the lake, it's hard to believe one is just a stones' throw from Main Street.

Lake life in Wolfeboro, NH
Scenery abounds in Wolfeboro.

The feeling of going from a busy -- but not too noisy -- Main Street to a place of great solitude by the water in just seconds provides a great option to those torn between shopping and relaxing within the same continent.

This is downtown Wolfeboro, NH....
Peace and quiet in downtown Wolfeboro.

When in Wolfeboro, the greatest thing to do is nothing. The lake is a gift to our senses, the fresh air a blessing to our lungs, and the quiet, star-filled nights a vehicle to feeling refreshed.

To its credit, it's hard to find an ATM in Wolfeboro, or a place to buy obnoxious souvenirs. It's not a place to drink too much at the proverbial lakeside club that offers 1970s rock revival acts playing to 20 down and out people. You'll find none of that here, just lush green fields and splendid lakeside viewing in the spring, summer and fall, and a classic wintery village scene in the colder months. More than 40 miles of groomed ski trails also offer scenic beauty. You will also notice that not every other house is a bed and breakfast or inn like in so many other tourist communities. There are only a few places to stay in town, the most notable being the esteemed Wolfeboro Inn (with its main building constructed in 1812) sitting majestically off Main Street and with a straight ahead view of the Lake.

At first glance, Wolfeboro may not seem like anything special to those driving by on Route 109. Many other New England towns have the stately old homes seen here. Countless communities in New England have the fortune of being located on a lake. The downtown retail district is not as spectacular or trendy as some of New England's most popular destinations. What those other communities lack, however, is authenticity. When authenticity is present, one can feel the real pulse of a community more than towns, villages and cities with fragmented spectacular areas, and with commercialism undermining those great scenic moments. Wolfeboro is consistently good.

The village-by-the-lake look of Wolfeboro, N.H.
Wolfeboro features a small town, village-like look by the lake.

Wolfeboro is like your best friend -- honest, friendly and loyal. Perhaps that is why it is a well-loved vacation area after all these years.

For more information on Wolfeboro, visit the Wolfeboro Chamber of Commerce web site.

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