The day prior was long yet rewarding, still it’s hard to sleep when the fresh New Hampshire air beckons. Not to mention the internal wake-up call for a Farmers Breakfast plate at The Village Kitchen (734 Whittier Hwy, Route 25) in Moultonborough. Their sign states Real Country Cook’N, and that is exactly what you’ll get.
I recall my Uncle polishing off the big breakfast platter with one hand while reading a free local paper with the other. Said platter consists of two of a bunch of things; 2 eggs any style (over easy all the way), 2 bacon strips, 2 slices of country fresh toast, 2 Pancakes (or in our case French Toast), 1 piece of thick cut ham, crisped up hearty home fries, a small bowl of baked beans on the side, and bottomless coffee in a heavy ceramic mug adorned by local business ads. Compared to city prices it’s still a great value at $8.79. We added a side of Corned Beef Hash for good measure.
The meal was more than just brunch, it was human fuel for our planned circumnavigation of Lake Winnipesaukee (about 71 miles/114 kilometers). On our way clockwise around I saw the sign for Moulton Road which reminded of a guy I met in a Boston themed bar who’s last name was Moulton. According to him, his namesake ancestors founded the town of Moultonborough. A web search concurred that the town was given that name based on several founders from the Moulton family (circa 1763). Once heading down the Eastern side of the Lake, I started recalling times I would accompany my Dad and Uncle to various marinas on their eternal quest for boats.
Our next destination (about 18 miles/29 kilometers) around the lake was Wolfeboro. The welcome sign stating it being the oldest summer resort in America. I’ll admit Wolfeboro is a classic in the department of quaint lakeside towns, and comes with plenty of cafes, ice cream and fudge shops.
To combat the inevitable after brunch sugar low we tried a little place called Lydia’s Café (33 N. Main St.) with it’s fitting painted engraved wooden sign hanging on links of chain. The Blackberry Cream Soda blended with yogurt was really notable and worth all of the $3.21. There are a plethora of gift shops (the same goes for general stores) around the region, but if you are looking for a standout, you won’t be disappointed by Black’s Paper (as in Newspaper) & Gifts also on Main Street. They’ve got plenty of T-shirts and printed apparel plus all the souvenirs you would expect in a summer resort town.
We take an almost highway looking route into the town of Gilford, home to Gunstock Mountain Resort; a diverse recreational area with surrounding hiking trails, camping, zip-lining in summer and skiing in winter. For a little shopping spree the outlets at Tilton, a little ways south off the 93 are a good bet. Sawyer’s Drive-in is on the same route. For more about lakeside eats see my previous article on Lake Winnipesaukee. Despite holding out for a later Lobster fix, I stepped in briefly and noticed a blaring change – digital screens had replaced their old fashioned menu signage.
Heading further around the lake is the largest town on the lake called Laconia. It’s known for one of the countries big motorcycle rallies in June. Then for everyone’s inner child “The Weirs”, combines penny arcades, bumper cars, fried dough, pizza by-the-slice, gift shops, a touristy railroad station and a ticket office for Scenic Lake Cruises (including the well regarded Mt. Washington). There’s also a public beach so some refer to the area as Weirs Beach. At the junction back onto Route 3 you find the iconic Tamarack Drive-In with one of the regions more famous Lobster Rolls and other New England treats like fried clams & scallops.
On the right cambered downhill road towards the lakeside town of Meredith you get some scenic lake vistas (depending on foliage density). First you will pass by Funspot (the world’s largest arcade), Pirate’s Cove mini golf and the former J.B. Scoops ice cream parlor. I’ve noticed places around the lake changing owners with every passing summer, which can dull some of those sentimental feelings. One of those places, Lee’s Candy Kitchen, bought and expanded from it’s already sugary good self is located in the Mills Falls Marketplace (they also stock a bunch of wicked fudge).
A restaurant worth mentioning across the street is Lago which serves Old-world styled Italian cuisine. There are great views of the lake from the dining room to go along with attentive service and fair prices for upmarket dishes. My cousin mentioned they serve a tasting of Limoncello with your meal, a nice touch, but don’t quote me on it (and be sure you are of legal drinking age).
For a different kind of food stop we jump off at Moulton Farms, famous for pies, jams and fresh sweet corn. They also have a serious selection of ‘Whoopie’ Pies (a giant dessert sandwich of various dense cream fillings surrounded by two soft baked cookie cakes that get on your fingers unless you eat it with a knife and fork).
We somehow managed to resist eating again, holding out for our next stop at the Red Hill Dari (literally a little red house) in Center Harbor the last town before our circle of the lake was completed. The place doesn’t look like much, but packs a good Lobster Roll punch. They use only with claw and knuckle meat and a little lettuce with a touch of mayo on a mildly toasted hot dog bun. Served with fries it is usually eaten with dreams of the next. Prices for seafood are usually handwritten over printed menus, due to market fluctuations (typically upward). It also has a boatload of ice cream and shake options.
Soon our half-day loop (during peak summer season it could take longer) would be complete. Jo-Jo’s Country store down Moultonborough Neck Road was soon in sight for provisions. This time more seasonal New England produced beer was purchased as well as makings to accompany Angus hotdogs. Seafood salad, tuna salad and coleslaw were also weighed out for a future picnic meal.
Getting back with about an hour or so of good sunlight we opted for some golf carting and a bit of beach side sunning. Only I was brave enough for a chilly dip. Once my pores had slammed shut the water was even more pleasant than the outside air. Wrapped in two towels, I was quickly dried off.
It was time to man the grill over looking another fabulous sunset. I cooked the 6 Angus hot dogs and toasted buns to match along with caramelized fresh red onions. We feasted on our BBQ dinner as the hues of dusk appeared. Having to miss my friend’s concert was further from my mind now that my belly was filled and the Boston Red Sox were on again. Despite already eating our way around the lake, sublime Lobster bisque from The Bob House (520 Whittier Mountain Hwy) would be in my dreams and so would the next food sampling visit to NH (New Hampshire).
Jeff Shoer: Having traveled the earth in search of a happy stomach, Jeff continues to follow a path to food loving destinations. He hopes to walk off the calories en-route to more great tastes. Read more about his passion for food in travel below.