Winnipesaukee Lake and MS Mount Washington

Glittering inside New Hampshire's Lake, formed by the Little Squam, Silver, Squam, Waukewan and Winnisquam lakes, Lake Winnipesaukee is one of the three largest located within the borders of one state. And to hold him for three quarters of a century is his flagship, the "M / S Mount Washington." Cruising this very honorable symbol is a must for exploring the area.

Patched between the Belknap and Ossipee volcanoes, the glacially shaped and spring-fed lake was first discovered by white people in 1652, when surveyors sent by the Massachusetts colony found that its northern boundaries determined that the point they were looking for was three miles along the Merrimack River. Embarking on a secondary sailboat expedition, they reached the village of Aquadoctan, then India's largest community in the area, located on the northern and western foothills.

The point itself, marked by a plaque on today's Endicott Rock, stands on today's Weirs Beach, named after a triangular rock and log trap located nearby. 72 square miles of Winnipesaukee Lake, 25 miles long, one to 15 miles wide and 182.89 miles shore, derives its name equally from an Indian word that has several translations, including "smile big spirit," "beautiful water on high place, "and even" smiling water between the hills. "

Surrounded by the major port cities of Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Meredith, Wolfeboro and Weirs Beach, it is comprised of 274 inhabited islands, a magnet for summer tourists, offering a range of accommodations, restaurants, shops, water sports and more. and shipping activities.

Due to its size and number of communities, transportation within the lake was vital and crucial to its existence, whether it was passengers, freight or mail, since surface, peripheral transport, especially during pre-motor days, had strenuously slow.

The first such vehicle with a water surface combined the buoyancy and torque of a real animal. Two such horses, housed on his aft 60- to 70-foot open-air tractor, turned the side wheels as they rode, producing a speed of two miles.

By further integrating road models, railways are strategically located stations adjacent to the marina, facilitating passenger exchange.

One of the first such boats on the lake, the 96-foot-long Belknap opened into service in Lake Village in 1833, powered by a modernized steam saw mill. Redirected to the rocks by force winds eight years later it sank out of sight.

Succeeding in what became a virtual symbol of the area, it made its passage to "Our Lady of the Lake." Built by the Winnipesaukee Steamships in 1849, the 125-foot-long boat was launched from Lake Village and carried 400 passengers during the maiden voyage to Weirs, Center Harbor and Wolfeboro.

But even the Lady of the Lake could not have wished for the crown earned by her competitor, Mount Washington, who became the Queen of Reconstruction after the elderly lady retired in 1893.

Launching a single 42-inch piston that created 450 hp, the wooden swivel steam side wheel was launched in 1872 from Alton Bay and surpassed the 20 mph cruise speed.

Technology has climbed a step away from Mineola. Built in 1877 in Newburgh, New Hampshire, it was the first propeller – unlike a rowing steamer and the first large enough to carry both passengers and cargo.

What was to become the end of Mount Washington's long, illustrious career during the 1920s was just beginning. The owner of Boston and Maine pulled her out of service, but Captain Leander Lavallee, unable to accept the demolition of the icon, bought it and managed trips around the lake for tourists during the summer months, until even that resuscitation suddenly lost air when the fire broke out. clarify inexplicably. it erupted at the Weirs train station and expanded to the dock where it was moored just two days before Christmas 1939, reducing it to a mostly submerged shed and ending his career in the very water that, 67, ironically gave him life.

Still unspoken, Lavallee couldn't see her name coming down. Citing $ 250,000 of brand-new design as a bargain, he embarked on a search for a used "Mount Washington II" replacement instead that ended up on Lake Champlain in the form of "Chateaugay." Built in 1888, the lead-wheeled steamboat, owned by Champlain Transportation, operated between Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburg, New York.

The $ 20,000 price tag was no barrier but 150 miles of surface transportation to its new Lake Winnipesaukee. Since he only needed the hull, he reduced it to 20 separate compartments and transported them on flat rails on April 3, 1940. He secured only a portion of the desired Lavallee ship.

Insisting on unprocessed steam engines, he acquired another ship, the "Crescent III," for $ 25,000, cannibalizing it and transplanting his vital, engines, boilers, shafts and propeller arteries into his new water creation.

After an extensive process of naval engineering symbiosis, the reconstructed, repackaged "Mount Washington II" double bolt was christened the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee when it sailed to Lakeport on August 12, 1940.

In hybrid size, this hybrid, born by two parent ships, which they never even met, was destined to rise supreme and long. It stretched 205 feet from bow to stern, weighed 500 tons, was driven by two bolts, and had a beam of 35 feet and a height of seven feet.

According to the 1941 summer sailing schedule, it offered exactly the kind and style of service Lavallee envisioned as the heir to the original steamboat. He made two daily excursions, with the exception of Sundays, on a 65-mile stretch of the Weirs River at 08:00 and 13:00, calling for Island Island, Center Harbor, Wolfeboro and Alton Bay. Passenger prices were set at $ 1.00.

As a venerable and seemingly timeless symbol of Lake Winnipesaukee, reflecting Lavallee's almost infinite vision, he has neither stopped sailing nor evolving. Indeed, its hybrid assembly would only characterize its ongoing dry-dock operation.

For example, in the spring of 1946, two 615-hp diesel engines were installed, facilitating the conversion of all previous steam equipment into electric, and visibility was improved by lifting the wheelhouse from the former to the current location of the third deck.

Five years later, the removal of the ship's decks allowed passengers to be accommodated on the now-configured third deck.

Yet his most extensive reconfiguration, mimicking his birth in the fuselage, occurred on October 31, 1982, at his Harbor Center shipyard and winter headquarters, when the Winnipesaukee Flagship Corporation, its current owner and operator, was once again cut in half, just outside partitioned his engine room and inserted a 24-foot hull assembly, increasing the total length to 230 feet.

The elongated vessel, which housed 1,250 passengers with nine feet and weighing 750 tons, on four decks, was relocated on April 30, 1983, after six months of refurbishment specially built for this purpose by the Marine Railway, built as early as 1949. to 15, the ship, previously designated "MV Mount Washington" – for "motorboat" – now bore the prefix "MS" or "motorboat." You could almost as well call it "Mount Washington III." Weirs Beach driveways have been modified to meet its length and gross weight increases.

Retrofitted with pure-combustion CAT engines, in 2010, this undisputed flagship of Lake Winnipesaukee was able to reach nearly 16 knots of speed.

Mainly anchored at Weirs Beach in Laconia, the headquarters of Winnipesaukee Flagship Corporation for boarding passengers just off Route 3, it offers one daily two-and-a-half-hour journey from mid-May to mid-October, with a second during the high summer season. Morning departures allow visits to Alton Bay, Meredith or Wolfeboro, with return service in the afternoon.

Sunday, lunch, and sailing related topics such as birthdays, get-togethers, anniversaries, and weddings include meals, entertainment, and even lodging.

Weis Beach itself dates from 1736 when the first recorded structure, a log fort rising from a previously untouched area and the first rail link, an integral part of the movement of land to spread west and Gold Rush fever, which mostly filled the air with abundance of dollar signs, followed by more than a century later. A rudimentary station that facilitates the exchange of modes of transportation allowed passengers to continue their journey by steamboat in the Weirs located on the west shore of the lake.

The rest of this journey by rail takes its current form as Weirs Railway Station, just steps above the ramp leading to the dock, and a one-way track, now laced with one- and two-hour tourist excursions to Meredith and Laconia undertaken by Winnipesaukee Picturesque Railway during the summer months. shape and was used by the White Mountain Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad.

The M / S Mount Washington four-deck deck, converted into a luxury multi-purpose boat, has a Victorian-style steamboat lounge complete with a dance floor, as well as an engine room and gallery, on the lower deck. The second dance floor is located in the main lounge above, next to the Bathhouse, souvenir shop, bar and grill Fantail. Promenade decks have open seating in the bow, Captain's lounge, snack bar, Flagship Lounge with liquor counter, and again a third dance floor. The observation deck, as its name implies, offers open, medium, and next sets for optimum views.

The mooring release, which preceded the silence of the horn of the boat, frees it for autonomous navigation, while the 230-foot-tall, four-legged behemoth clearly wears its crown as Queen of the Lake, disappears from a hopelessly small dock, before leaving the Weirs Beach area using Eagle Island Channel , which peered between the Eagle and the Governor's Islands.

Stonedam Island, the first to pass on the left side of the ship and located on the 112-acre Stonedam Island Central Wildlife Refuge, was once connected to Meredith Neck using a rock rail.

The nautical history of the lake, at least in the distance, is never far from the Mount Washington trails; it’s really like a trip back to it. Dolly Nichols, who once operated a hand-operated ferry between Meredith Neck and Bear Island, remembers the small island crowd that bears her name.

Bear Island itself, the second largest lake, serves as one of the planned stops for an American ship. As its name implies, the ship itself, created by an act of Congress in 1916, is the only floating post office in the state that has the power to cancel mail. His official address is "R.F.D. No. 7, Laconia, New Hampshire."

Several vessels included a fleet of post offices. The first, the "Dolphin," was built in 1885, followed by the more ambitious single-family, 100-way "Uncle Sam" built 18 years later and converted into a diesel facility in 1945. he provided faithful service until his retirement in 1961. An even bigger "Uncle Sam II" to replace him, the former PT Navy, had a length of 75 feet, a beam of 20 feet, a weight of 80 tons and 150 – passenger capacity. Sophie C, a similarly sized diesel engine, "Uncle Sam II Replacement", sports double deck and snack bar is open to tourists seeking to sample this unique piece of lake during its scheduled mid-June to mid-September mail. Like Mount Washington itself, it is owned by the Winnipesaukee Flagship Corporation of Weirs Beach and Center Harbor.

Floating in the midst of the beauty expressed by islands, bays, bays and mountains, Mount Washington offers views of the White Mountains presidential range, including its peaks Squam, Sandwich and Ossipee. The latter sports Mount Shaw at 2,975 feet.

Mile Mile Island, reflecting its distance from Center Harbor at the northern tip of the lake, is the winter home of “Mount Washington,” where it undergoes annual maintenance, inspection and repair.

Becky & # 39; s Garden, little more than a jagged, rocky outcrop that looks like it balances a wooden two-story house at the top, is the smallest lake with charts on the lake.

Mount Washington's profile, at a maximum of 6,288 feet in the northeast, is visible in the distance toward the sky.

In relation to Becky's garden, Long Island belongs to the other end of the size spectrum. Connected to the Moultonborough mainland by car-accessible bridge, it is considered to be its largest.

Notching its rapidly dispersing trench into water, whose average depth varies between 35 and 90 feet, Mount Washington penetrates a 12-mile, five-mile-wide, its largest, unrestricted area.

The lake, like the mirror of all water bodies – the sky, rarely reflects the same image. For example, on a sunny day at noon, it looks bright blue. On semi-dark days, he wears a dark blue velvet coat. During a thick cloud, it looks as if it is covered in a dirty white blanket, while its pine-covered islets seem to be immersed in an ethereal white mist seemingly caught by their needles.

On board, passengers can buy alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at the bar. Soft pretzels and cookies are baked at the Promenade Deck counter. The main deck's fantail grill offers all-day breakfast, stew, salads, sandwiches, gels, hot dogs, chilies and burgers. When traveling with tour groups, independent travelers can often buy a ticket for an all inclusive buffet, which usually contains salads, meals and desserts.

Visiting Sewell's Point, located on the left, Mount Washington glides into Wolfeboro Bay, entering the port city of Wolfeboro, and is considered the oldest summer resort in the country because of the house Colonel John Wentworth built there in 1764 to commemorate the end of his prairie journey originating in Portsmouth.

Putting the bow at the southernmost point of the lake, Mount Washington sails past Little Mark Island, threshold to Alton Bay, five miles. It has the gently curved tip of Mount Major.

Like Wolfeboro, Alton Bay is another major port city on the lake. Set in 1710, it served as the gathering place for the original "Mount Washington" 162 years later, in 1872.

Rattlesnake Island, taking its name from the cutter that descended on it, once resided on it, offers a maximum elevation of 390 feet.

Glendale is another of the nautically significant sites of Lake Winnipesaukee. Not only is the Naval Division of the New Hampshire Security Division – which oversees all the lakes of the state, but the sinking site of "Our Lady of the Lakes" is its earliest, most significant steam ship.

Incorporated as New Hampshire territory during the Revolutionary War, until the late 19th century, Governor & # 39; s Island enjoyed the status of renowned resorts.

Re-entering the Eagle Island Canal, Mount M / S Mount Washington lowers speed to the slow coast and begins its approach to the Weirs Beach dock, returning to the area first discovered by white men in 1652 and leaving a 140-year vigilance behind his hull. first swimming in the waters of Lake Champlain under the name "Chateaugay", as early as 1888.