The Lakes Region of of New Hampshire A Vacation Insiders Guide
THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR
HISTORY, FAMILY, EXPERIENCE Come on, who doesn't want a clean, pristine, warm lake to swim and lounge in? Or maybe just a quiet place to sit and read? Or, for those with a desire to be more energetic, how about a hike, armed with Art's inside tips on the best spots? And then, after a day in the great outdoors, who doesn't want to pour a drink, watch the sun set and then swap stories around a fire pit? And maybe even a night time swim before bed! If you don't, no problem, this isn't for you. If you do, read on! Meet Sue and Art Cloutman, owners of Crystal Acres, home to 3 cottages on Crystal Lake, New Hampshire. Sue is your guardian of Crystal Acre's history, it having been in her family since 1898! And Art is your resident mountain expert! Together, Sue and Art make the perfect insiders for anyone looking to experience New Hampshire's great outdoors. Whether you have tiny kids or teenagers, Sue and Art have it covered. Swimming in, or boating on the lake, zip lining, hidden hiking spots, or simply building a sand castle. They'll help you make the most of your precious time. But it's more than just being guides to the local hidden gems. Sue and Art have something else - a sense of family, of history, of what makes a place special. Yet still very much moving with the times - this may be an escape, but you can still stay connected with high speed WiFi (if you must). I've never been, but I just know from my work with Sue and Art on this guide, that a stay in Crystal Lake would be unforgettable!
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MEET YOUR INSIDERS
SUE AND ART CLOUTMAN The only summer I have missed being at Crystal Acres was the summer I was born. Let me explain. My paternal grandfather and great grandmother bought the property in 1898. At that time there was a main cottage (seasonal), a barn and an ice house. My grandfather was blind so had a caretaker/chauffeur, Herb, who lived with him and my grandmother and took care of the property. In the early 1900's Herb built 3 cottages and then one for himself. They all have stories but we can talk about that around the evening firepit when you visit us! So my father and his siblings spent their summers here, my parents met here (another story to be told on the end of the pier!) and my sister, myself and my cousin spent our summers here. The one "left over" cottage was rented to friends over the years. Time marched on and, as teenagers, Art fell in love with NH too. After we married in 1966, we raised our children here (summers) and they are doing the same for their kids. In 2002 we tore down Herb's old place and built ourselves a year-round little retirement home and have never been happier.
â€œWe have long time friends here, family isn't far, and nothing beats the smell of the Pine trees, the sound of the spring peepers, the calls of the loons and the general peace and quiet.â€?
Contact Sue & Art: Simply click any of the buttons below to find out more about Sue & Art's vacation rental...
Alternatively feel free to call Sue & Art direct on +1.800.431.6746
What the Reviews Say:
In 2004 Art hiked the Appalachian Trail from GA to ME. He had fallen in love with hiking over the years and this was on his bucket list. He still loves to hike and will direct you to all the out of the way family hiking spots or give you tips for climbing Mt. Washington! Time is more split up for the kids now since they share the big original cottage with my cousin, her kids and grandkids. But we all love being together and sharing the memories while making new ones. Friends wondered why we wanted to move north for retirement but I have always considered Crystal Acres home and Art loves it too. We have long time friends here, family isn't far, and nothing beats the smell of the Pine trees, the sound of the spring peepers, the calls of the loons and the general peace and quiet. Plus Art loves to teach skiing in the winter...#2 on his bucket list! Crystal Acres is not only my home but my heritage. My heart and soul are here and it's everything I love.
Crystal Acres Video:
SUE AND ARTâ€™S REAL LAKES REGION OF NH...
Whether you like quiet relaxation or more activity, the Lakes Region of NH has it all. Many people come here just to sit down by a lake and say ahhhh... a pure escape from the hectic lives back home! And then others are anxious to explore or find the closest hot spot for dinner. Whatever you're here for you'll find, and we'll help you along the way! For those of you in the "sit down and say ahhhh" camp there are peaceful woods to gently explore, quiet fishing streams to try out. And, best of all, this is a place where you can do absolutely NOTHING if that's your wish. Just laze by a quiet lake. And, in the evening, watch the sun go down and the loons calling whilst you sip your preferred tipple.
For those of you with a more active tendency you can go play golf, ride some go carts, get soaked on a water slide or go to the races during Laconia Motorcycle Week. There are mountains to climb, lakes to swim and play in and on, bike trails to be explored, or head with friends and family to Fun Spot which is literally the largest arcade center in the world! Whichever group you're in, you will meet some of the greatest people you'll ever know, we promise!
For the foodies amongst you, the New England restaurants serve up fresh lobster from the coast and New England clam chowder but if you're a steak and potato person there is plenty of that too! The Dockside in Alton Bay has some of the best seafood around while right across the bay you can go to Shiblees for a great steak while you watch the boats launching and heading out onto Winnipausakee. For historians, there is a ton of New England history here, antique shops to explore and quaint shops to browse. Gilmanton, which was founded by the Gilman brothers in 1727, is rich in old New England history much of which can be learned through the Gilman Museum in Alton. (We love to tell people how
the iron mined out of Crystal Lake was used to make the anchor for the old Ironsides.) The Lakes Region shows the best that NH has to offer. Friendly people, lots of vacation availability but an atmosphere of the old New England that we who live here, crave. This is the very essence of the Real Lakes Region and we invite you to come experience a little of the magic sometime soon!
5 EXPERIENCES YOU CANNOT MISS... 1
Art's Hiking Spots...
The Outdoor Firepit...
Relaxing Outdoor Evenings...
Mt. Belknap & Mt Major...
If you're a first time hiker, Art will direct you to the small, out of the way hikes that are especially good if you have little ones. He knows a wonderful 2 mile hike with gradual inclines, nature signs, streams and rocky overlooks of the Lake's Region. If your adult group is excited but inexperienced in the ways of the Mountains, Art's got all the key spots, easy access routes and will often go as your guide if you wish. For the gung-ho experienced hiker...need I say more? He's your man! (This view is from the top of Belknap Mt.)
An evening around the outdoor firepit at Crystal Acres bonds people together like nothing else. We provide the firewood and you bring the marshmallows. The kids love it anytime and the adults love it once the kids have gone to bed! This is a place for stories, for laughter, for bringing family and new friends together in a fun way!
Take the Kayaks one day and head around the corner where you can paddle all the way to the dam. You’ll love the pond lilies, the turtles, frogs and maybe our resident Blue Heron. I hear our Bald Eagle is back and hanging out down there too. An alternative route is to head straight across the lake (1.5 miles) on a quiet day for motorboats, and go under the bridge where there’s an inlet from other small lakes that feed into ours. Our loons usually feel safest up there but again you could see almost anything. There are Mallard ducks, Mergansers, and of course the Heron, turtles and frogs. Basically it’s the quietest spot on the lake.
Yes, something so simple really does make our list! You'll never experience a more relaxing evening than sitting by the lake and watching the sunset while the kids add to the sand castle that everyone's been building all week. Then hit the porch for a lively game of cards or enjoy a relaxing campfire while the kids play flash light tag. It's lovely to hear parents telling me that it's been such a relaxing week since the kids had so much to do but they never had to leave.
Climb up Mt. Belknap or Mt. Major in July (both pretty easy) but don't forget to bring something to carry down all the blueberries you'll pick! So sweet and yummy. And remember to consult with Art before you set off!! He's got other tricks up his sleeve.
SUE & ARTâ€™S GREAT OUTDOORS... FOR THE GROWN UPS FOR THE KIDS Squam Lake Natural Science Center: The kids will love the Squam Lake Natural Science Center's live animals exhibits. The animals are all native to NH and the trails are fun and easy to navigate. We took my 4 year old granddaughter there and she was enthralled. Read more... Gunstock Mountain Resort: The older kids (and maybe younger!) will love Gunstock Mountain Resort Adventure Park. They'll thrill over the 1.5 mile zip-line, climbing wall, segways, skate park, water wars, mini golf, mountain bike rentals and more. Read more... Ruggles Mine: An open-pit mine, no longer in operation, that has been turned into a tourist attraction. The spacious pit includes tunnels and underground chambers, some of which are filled with water for exploring. You can pick up minerals on the floor or from the walls, which the kids just love! My daughter still has her collection from when she was 7 and she's now 36! Read more... Polar Caves: The Polar Caves are a must see! It is much more than a series of caves. You can explore their animal area, try to get lost in the Rock Garden, BBQ/Picnic in the pine forest, and learn about Maple collecting techniques from the past. Plus lots more. Read more...
Mt. Washington Cruise: A scenic ride on the Mt. Washington Cruise Ship, a cruise around Lake Winnipesaukee is both exciting and beautiful. This 26 mile long lake has gorgeous homes to envy and the cruises feature day cruises, dinner cruises or Sunday brunch. Read more... Wolfboro: The town of Wolfboro isn't far away and features unique gift shops and to-die-for restaurants. The Bayside Grill & Tavern is our favorite. It's a family-friendly restaurant serving good food at a good price. Dine on the patio and watch the boats come and go. Read more... Mt. Washington: The highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft (1,917 m) and the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River. Art's climbed it over 100 times. If you don't want to climb (not for me!) you can drive the Auto Road or go up the Cog Railway. Be brave! P.S. You may want to consider a day hike in the Evan's Notch area. Easier and more solitude. Read more... Castle in the Clouds: The Castle in the Clouds is an amazing way to spend the day. Built in 1913, the house is an unusual example of Arts and Crafts architecture in New England, expressing that aesthetic movementâ€™s philosophy of living in harmony with nature. Read more...
SUE & ART’S TIPS ON WHERE TO STAY... Crystal Lakes has a number of options depending on your needs. Below is Sue and Art's very own vacation rental, along with a couple of other suggestions. Should those all be booked up feel free to drop us a line and let us know. We're not a travel agency but will certainly try to lend a helping hand by offering some tips to make your search easier!
Sue & Art’s Very Own...
Crystal Acres LLC features three 2-3 bedroom cottages on a beautiful beach on pristine Crystal Lake. We have a shuffleboard, kayaks, canoes, rowboats and a paddleboat. There are 3 piers and a raft, lots of beach and water toys, gas grills, picnic tables, private yards and screened porches. Visit Sue & Art's Website to Find Out More
Sue & Art Suggest...
A friend of ours, Jean Martin, has an adorable cottage that sleeps 6 and is right up the road. Contact her if we're filled up and you'd still like to stay on Crystal Lake. She'll be happy to hear from you. Visit Jean Martin's Website to Find Out More
Sue & Art Suggest...
The Margate Resort is 30 minutes from Crystal Acres and on Lake Winnipesaukee. It is clean and well maintained and another spot to check out if you'd rather be on "the big lake" as it's called around here. Indoor pool, outside on the lake and right in the center of Laconia, NH and many activities. Visit the Margate Resort Website to Find Out More
Sue & Art's Things to Avoid Crowds at the Weekend...
Renting Expensive Boats...
Everywhere is crowded on weekends. There’s no escaping it. Our suggestion is to just stay here, enjoy the lake, boats and beach. During that time you can weigh up all your options for day trips by the weather forecast and going through the pamphlets and maps we have in each cottage. We have Wi-Fi so bring your laptop so you can be sure of updated hours and rates.
It can be very expensive to rent a boat. However, if it's your wish, then the closest places to rent a boat are at Thurston's Marina, Channel Marine or Anchor Marine, all in Laconia. We would suggest Thurston's Marina at Weirs Beach in Laconia. We know them, it's family owned and operated, and was voted Best Marina in the Lakes Region for 2013. Please also read the section on the right!
Boating & fishing: Be sure you know what you're doing and be sure to get licensed! Links are on our website. There are hefty fines if you get caught without them. Hiking: Be sure to bring a jacket, cell phone, flashlight, extra food and plenty of water. If you run into problems and it’s evident that you really weren’t prepared to hike, Search and Rescue may bill you.
THE VACATION INSIDER PHILOSOPHY
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