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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire

Lake Sunapee still wears the mysterious aura of rugged gentility. Rent yourself a canoe and paddle out to the middle, jostled lightly in the wake of a passing motorboat perhaps, but still serene enough to imagine the ghosts of steamships around you, passengers leaning over the rail dressed in summer white.

Back in the 19th century, wealthy summer visitors came here by train, and then crossed the lake on steamer ferries to the grand hotel of their choice. There were several from which to choose.

A replica of the old MV Kearsarge (the original began operation in 1897) plies the gentle waters here and gives narrated tours of the history of the lake, exploring its coves and the single lighthouse.

The beach here is not always this empty, but if you come early you can stake out a spot for your towel, your chair, your umbrella, and your sense of bliss. The lake is over 4,000 acres, so there’s plenty of room to swim, ride out in that canoe, or in the Kearsarge.

Most of the Victorian grand hotels are gone, but the sense of a perfect place to escape remains.

For more on Mt. Sunapee State Park, have a look here, and here.

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