Roadside America: Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Over a hundred years ago, my great-great Uncle Bob built a small cabin to relax overlooking New Hampshire‘s Lake Winnipesaukee, about two hours from Boston. Little did he know that the Lakes Region would later become a point of pilgrimage for thousands of bikers and gamers each year, as it hosts the annual Laconia Motorcycle week in June and arcade enthusiasts year round to the American Classic Arcade Museum. Like many other generations before me, I spent many summers playing skee-ball, building sandcastles, and angling for more money to spend on penny candy. Now that I’m old enough to have honeymooned at Uncle Bob’s old cabin and taken my own daughter there, I still love the old-school feel of the place and hope nothing changes by the time my grandchildren run out of batteries on their iPhone 25s and want some old-fashioned fun. Here are some favorite destinations that have been around for generations past and hopefully, more to come.

Old Country Store
(Moultonborough) – This store was ancient even when Uncle Bob was a tyke (possibly the oldest in the country), and still offers a range of penny candy, pickles from a barrel, and loads of maple and pine treats. You’ll also find kitchen utensils you didn’t even know existed, a map room (mostly New Hampshire/New England) and more moose-themed items than is probably necessary. Be sure to sit on the porch with the cigar store Indian, check out the museum upstairs, and spend a dime or two on the old player piano.

Funspot (Laconia) – Open 60 years this year, Funspot is the largest arcade in the world. It gained real fame when it was featured in the documentary “The King of Kong” for the annual video game tournament at the aforementioned arcade museum. In addition to video games, there’s bowling, bingo, and mini-golf. If you are not a parent or a kid at heart, you can chill out at the tavern with free Wi-Fi too.

Weirs Beach – The Weirs Beach website says they’ve been a place for family fun since the 1950s, but the history goes back much earlier. Weirs is at its peak in summer, where you can ride the waterslides, drive bumper cars, or just hang out on the beach. There’s even a variety of nightlife in season, with fireworks, live bands, and a host of bars.

Corner House Inn (Sandwich) – One of the few independent restaurants open year round, the Corner House dates back over 150 years. You can’t rent a room anymore (they need all the room for hungry diners), but you can enjoy the fire and food for dinner daily. Check out the site for special events, such as storytelling dinners in fall and Friday night music in the pub.

Ames Farm Inn (Gilford) – Open since 1890, the Ames Farm Inn is currently operated by the fourth and fifth generation of family. Choose from cozy rooms or lakeside cabins to stay, or stop for a country breakfast or early lunch in summer.

Castle in the Clouds (Moultonborough) – As a kid, I was a wee bit disappointed that there was no princess at the Castle in the Clouds, but I still enjoyed the nature walks, the views of the lake, and exploring the old mansion dating back to 1914. You can also go horseback riding and meet Zeus, the largest horse in the world. It’s open May to October, with some additional special events in fall for the holidays.

Half Moon Motel and Cottages (Weirs Beach) – Though my ancestor was once an owner of the grand old New Weirs Hotel, I don’t get any discount to stay at the Half Moon Motel and Cottages, built up from the 1930s tea room built on the former hotel grounds and family-owned since the 1950s. With probably the best location in the Lakes Region, every cottage and motel room has views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains, and free Wi-Fi too.

E.M. Health (Center Harbor)- While you may not usually see a supermarket in a travel story, it’s even more rare to see a family-owned store not only survive six decades but thrive. As a kid, my family’s first stop would be at E.M. Heath for groceries, and it’s since expanded to include a hardware store, photo desk and other services, and it’s still true to its slogan: “Dealer in most everything.”

[Photo credit: timsackton via Flickr]

Super (Duper) Market Hits NYC With Artisanal Food From Both Coasts

super duper marketThere are supermarkets and then there are Super (Duper) Markets – in other words, what happens when big names like PAPER Magazine, Target and American Express team up to create a culinary experience. Kicking off Friday, the event will bring together food innovators from across the country for a three-day pop-up supermarket in a raw Chelsea warehouse space in New York City.

The Super (Duper) Market will feature a selection of West Coast imports, like Boulette’s Larder, Humphrey Slocombe, Tartine Bakery and Miette Candy, along with East Coast favorites like Red Rooster and The Spotted Pig. And then there are the wild cards, like organic eggs raised on hotelier Andre Balazs’ Locust Farm and olive oil produced by designer Norma Kamali. There will also be cooking workshops for children and exclusive private dinners in the evenings.

So wait – why are PAPER, Target and AmEx entering the pop-up artisanal food market arena again?

“Instead of starting bands or making art so many young, creative people are baking, cooking, butchering and growing or raising food naturally, sustainably and responsibly,” said PAPER editor and publisher Kim Hastreiter in a release. “Everyone from farmers to cheese makers, organic winemakers to foragers, spice mix masters to amazing innovative chefs. There are even those who are innovating off the grid – baking divine nettles and peach pizza over wood on the back of a pickup truck; or adding truffle and foie gras to ice cream! It is to these idealistic innovators and to this spirit that I tip my hat and dedicate the Super (Duper) Market.”

My curiosity and appetite are sufficiently piqued.

Super (Duper) Market will take place Friday, July 13, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, July 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, July 15, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 410 West 16th Street in New York City.