This is the continuation of a week-long New England Road Trip.
The New Hampshire portion included a stop at my mom’s house in the town where I grew up, Laconia, NH. This is right in the center of New Hampshire among lakes and mountains. Growing up, “extended day” programs at school consisted of a school bus that would take us to the local ski area in the winter and in the summer we water-skied every day.
We were there in late May and lilacs were in full bloom everywhere. The fragrance perfumes the whole outdoors! The lake was calm and occasionally you would hear a lone boat going by fishing or just cruising.
My mom lives on the lake and to sit out back enjoying the town across the lake, and the familiar mountains in the background took me back to my high school days (which is to say, many decades ago!)
For dinner we were going to a new place, the Holy Grail of the Lakes. This was a former church that had been restored and converted to an Irish Pub. This is my kind of church and I too was quickly converted!
There are beautiful stained glass windows, a very high ceiling and a choir loft for a more private dining experience. In the center, what would have been the altar, is a large 3-sided bar. The food was good and the beer list was superb!
Our road trip was primarily to connect with family and it continued in Laconia. I visited my Uncle Dick and caught up with him, and stayed with my mom. I also got to see my cousin Beth who joined us for dinner and once again we were laughing and telling stories! This brought the family visit tally to 2 Aunts/Uncles and 3 cousins!
The next day I got up and went for a run around the lake. It’s about a 5 mile loop and in the years since I lived there the city has built a nice jogging trail around much of it. The WOW Trail is named for the three lakes in the area, Winnisquam, Opeechee, and Winnipesaukee.
It was a great run and along the way I encountered so many memories of my youth. Various friends’ houses where we used to hang out, my old middle school (which back then was called Junior High School) and a humble little fishing store called the Opeechee Trading Post where I used to buy a shoebox of night crawlers for fishing bait!
From Laconia we were headed to Maine and as we left town we drove around the big lake, Lake Winnipesaukee. If you’ve ever seen the Oscar-winning movie On Golden Pond, many of the scenes were filmed on Winnipesaukee and it is a huge beautiful lake.
One of my favorite spots on the lake is the tiny town of Alton Bay. It is at the far tip of the lake in a quiet protected bay. There is a bandstand out in the center of the bay and summer cottages (which in New England are called “camps”) along the shores.
We made a stop at Shibley’s Drive-in for some fried clams. This is not health food but it is one of life’s special treats! We would go on to eat a lot of good seafood in Maine but the fried clam–complete with big bellies–is a fond memory and a treat I don’t ever find outside of New England.
Our stop in New Hampshire was a brief overnight. Next would be Maine, Portland, Camden, and finally Bates College to retrieve our daughter.