The Escape Artist
Trad About You
The historic charm of Lake Winnipesaukee’s Wolfeboro Inn
Overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire, the town of Wolfeboro claims to be “America’s Oldest Summer Resort.” One of its oldest lodgings is the Wolfeboro Inn, which, while it draws big crowds during the warmer months, turns out to be best visited during the fall. Not only can you savor the gorgeous foliage, but also the quieter, more serene side of the lodge and town.
Flaming red, orange and yellow maples provide a mesmerizing view for your drive up to the town named after General James Wolfe, commander of the British expedition that defeated the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, leading to the British rule of Canada. Shortly after arriving in the heart of downtown Wolfeboro, you’ll see the welcoming glow from the inn, a white clapboard structure originally built in 1812 for the Rogers family. Subsequent owners and renovations have brought it to its current state, a modern country-style resort with traditional New England décor, including a stuffed moose head in the tavern.
Room choices include modern suites with lake view balconies and amenities like wi-fi. Furnishings have a comfy, rustic feel with oversized armchairs, exposed wood beams, and drapes and bedding in earthy tones of chestnut, straw and sky blue. To play up the inn’s woodsy feel, the lamps have antler bases, the nightstands boast a pinecone motif, and the brown plaid shower curtains are festooned with fir trees and moose. The downstairs lobby sports tree stump tables and a massive stone fireplace.
For dining, the casual Wolfe’s Tavern has earned accolades for its Sunday brunch. In addition to an omelet station, you’ll find a bounty of carved meats, specialty entrées, soups, salads and desserts like the warm, bittersweet-chocolate croissant bread pudding with fresh raspberry sauce and whipped cream. The tavern has the added distinction of being one of the Lakes Region’s only authentic New England-style pubs—it’s been serving local fare since the early 1800s, and the kitchen still prides itself on meats, seafood, produce and cheeses sourced from the surrounding area, showcased in creations like the New Hampshire wild mushroom and eggplant tart made with local fungi and goat cheese. Families will find plenty of options, including the inevitable pizzas.
The bar, on the other hand, draws an eclectic mix of young couples and locals. Frequent visitors can become a member of the Mug Club. By generously donating your time to tasting all 100 beers that the tavern serves, you receive an inscribed Wolfe’s Tavern pewter mug to hang from the ceiling. (There are 2,200+ proud members.) Alternately (or in addition to), you can be indoctrinated into the Martini Club after consuming 50 martinis and kissing the aforementioned moose head, netting you a customized stainless steel martini glass. Both clubs offer a dollar discount off every beer or martini ordered thereafter for life.
One of the pleasures of staying at the Wolfeboro Inn is its location. Only steps away from downtown, it’s an easy stroll to visit the shops and eateries, such as the diminutive Lydia’s Café for tasty coffee drinks and homemade muffins. Don’t miss Hampshire Pewter, which carries a huge selection of tree ornaments as well as items for the home. If vintage is more your style, try Dragonflies Antiques & Decorating Center, set in a magnificent yellow barn with thousands of items, ranging from old typewriters to Fiesta tableware.
In warmer weather, Lake Winnipesaukee provides all sorts of boating options, including canoeing and kayaking off the inn’s private beach. The area also has plenty of hiking and walking paths like the Cotton Valley Rail-Trail, a scenic six-mile railroad corridor that winds through woods and fields and past three lakes. For kids, DeVyders Farm offers hay rides, apple-picking and cider-making, while Moulton Farm in nearby Meredith, N.H., has corn mazes, a petting zoo, fresh produce, baked goods (including cider donuts) and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch to find that perfect orange orb for Halloween.
The Wolfeboro Inn
90 North Main St., Wolfeboro | 800-451-2389 | wolfeboroinn.com
Lydia’s Café 33
North Main St., Wolfeboro | 603-569-3991| lydiascafewolfeboro.com
9 Railroad Ave., Wolfeboro | 603-569-4944 | hampshirepewter.com
Dragonflies Antiques & Decorating Center
116 South Main St., Wolfeboro | 603-569-0000 | dragonfliesantiques.com
563 Pleasant Valley Road, Wolfeboro | 603-569-4110
18 Quarry Road, Meredith | 603-279-3915 | moultonfarm.com