by GSA Kathryn Segreti, League of New Hampshire Craftsmen 2012
On a glorious morning after Memorial Day, about 20 GSA and travel and tourism guests were treated to a tour of Mill Falls and selective parts of Meredith. Meredith since its rebuild, which started in the 80’s, has become a destination location and it’s evident as to why. Bob Strang of Mill Falls led our group on an exciting exploration of Mill Falls Marketplace, Hermit Woods Winery, Ekal Activity Center, Church Landing and Cascade Spa.
Bob greeted us at the Marketplace and we all entered the Oglethorpe Fine Arts and Crafts. An extensive collection of American made unique gifts with a large section in the rear of the store housing “Artisans by the Bay”, crafts created solely by local lake artists - a great place to pick up unique special items for you, friends or family. Across the hall we poured into Wicked Nahamsha Gifts which offers quality New Hampshire items including shirts, hats, candles, coffee cups, Fenway collectables and more.
In order to keep us in the pink, we now all got to pick a Ben and Jerry’s flavor at the convenient ice cream window next door. You’ve got to have ice cream in New England and especially on a gorgeous day by the lake. I selected Extraordinary Berry Berry Sorbet which was delicious and energizing but there are so many flavors from which to choose.
With our new found energy we headed across the courtyard to Innisfree Bookshop. A wonderful privately owned book and toy store with extremely helpful and attentive personnel. They helped me select a new pair of “Peepers” reading sunglasses. I love them!
Now we entered into the old Mill Falls Building (originally a hosiery mill converted by a forward thinking group of investors in the 80’s into an inn with rooms, shops and restaurants all at the edge of beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee). Bob Strang, our fearless leader, thought we might all enjoy a little candy so we visited Lees Candy Kitchen. Ever wondered where you can get all that penny candy you loved as a kid – well this is the place. Beautifully displayed, they will assist you in creating a collection of whatever your heart and taste buds desire. We now headed up the staircase to Adornment and Creative Clothing Co. A selection of women’s clothes and jewelry not found in your average store -the owner travels the US and selects each item personally. Good place to find something a little different to wear.
Back down the stairs to Giuseppe’s for more nourishment. Julie Gnerre-Bourgeois, the owner, provided us with an excellent cheese pizza served on their charming outdoor patio. Giuseppe’s has actually got multiple locations including one in Gloucester MA. We understand from good authority, Bob Strang, that their Fra Diavolo is to die for. We will just have to return but he says you should try to make a Friday Night when he is deejaying and dancing abounds.
Good thing we had the pizza as we now proceeded on “The Loop” up the hill to Hermit Woods Winery. Bob Manley, our host, took us into the depths of his attractive store front and tasting room to show us how he and his 2 partners make wine. Bob’s presentation is more than a lesson in making wine, he tells you why they did this. I learned so much while being totally entertained by his delivery. Did you know that all wines have sulfites? Wine does not necessarily age well so don’t stock pile – drink it now. We headed back up stairs for the tasting. Their wines are made from assorted fruits and plants that he has growing on his farm. They have created a special Heirloom Crabapple wine to celebrate Meredith’s 250th year – yummy. The Winnipesaukee Rose was delicious and wears a label by a local artist Stephen Hodecker. 10% of the sale goes to Lake Winnipesaukee Association which protects the water quality in the area. I purchased Summer in Session – carbonated low alcohol mead for a hot summer day. There is a lovely outdoor deck to sit and enjoy your selection along with whatever you choose from their selection of sandwiches, charcuterie and cheeses at their deli counter.
We continued on the loop down to the town docks passing by the beach bar to be greeted by Scott Crowder at the Ekal Activity Center (lake spelt backwards). If you feel the need to get closer to the lake, you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, aqua cycles, and bikes. If you don’t want to work that hard there are also pontoon boat charters and the classic antique style wooden boat ride on “Miss Meredith”. All of this goes into full swing mid June. As an FYI, Scott also started the Pond Hockey weekend in the winter. Now that’s a fun time too!
We continued into Church Landing – a magnificent hotel and dining room (operated by our friends “The Common Man”). The view from the bar and the dining room are enticing. You can almost touch the lake. All rooms in Church Landing (named because this used to be the location of the Catholic Church) face the lake. For that matter all rooms in 3 of their hotels (Church Landing, Chase House and Bay Point) face the lake. The room we were shown had wallpaper made from local postcards, 4 poster bed made from Birch trees, balcony and a fireplace! You can see why so many couples want to tie the knot in Meredith.
To complete this day we toured the Cascade Spa and Salon, a spa with a view. A very Art Deco design with an extensive list of services Cascade has everything to make you feel beautiful (or handsome if you are a guy).
Thank you to everyone who made this tour possible. Loved every second of it and will recommend without hesitation. I will return soon so I can finish “The Loop”!
Here are a few links that provide more information