By Mark Okrant, NH Travel Guru
Several weeks ago, this column addressed your guru’s disdain for the cliché, “Staycation.” At the same time, however, we acknowledged the importance of brief, nearby getaways, both in terms of their economic impact and the role they play in regenerating one’s emotional batteries.
In that spirit, we intend to devote an occasional column to one or more New Hampshire attractions, this with the hope that InDepthNH.org readers will take the proverbial plunge and experience what the Granite State has to offer.
One of our recent same day getaways brought my wife and me to Weirs Beach, where we boarded the beautiful vessel, the MS Mount Washington. To be candid, this was a busman’s holiday of sorts, as I was gathering background information for my newest Kary Turnell murder mystery, “Long Walk, Short Deck.”
Our two and one-half hour cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee began with a quick photograph taken by the Mount’s capable staff photographer. Next, we were greeted by old friend and local legend, Captain Jim Morash. Captain Jim delivered on his promise of a delightful experience, as we soon found ourselves gliding along clear blue waters past a series of islands, some occupied for more than a century by descendants of the original settlers. Along the way, passengers were treated to an excellent narrative about the history and geography of the 71 square mile lake that owes its existence to the last Ice Age.
As we continued our voyage, my wife elected to sit at a window seat while savoring both the marvelous views and a bottomless cup of coffee supplied by the Mount’s crew. I must confess to a moment of envy as we passed Governor’s Island with its displays of opulence in the form of multi-bedroom mansions, boathouses, and private beaches.
While my wife relaxed, I explored as many nooks and crannies as possible, in an effort to find two of the four most important elements my forthcoming murder mystery: hiding places for both the perpetrator and a fresh cadaver. With the halfway point of the voyage visible through the bow portals, the pressure was becoming palpable. I’m happy to report that inspiration struck before we neared our goal: the beautiful town of Wolfeboro, which shares the claim as our nation’s oldest summer resort community with Newport, Rhode Island.
The return voyage provided a special treat in the form of Paul Smith, our captain for the day. At Captain Smith’s invitation, I shared the bridge with him and his pilot. It was then that I learned of many intricacies involved with operating a piece of floating history, avoiding numerous navigational perils, all the while providing a most relaxing sightseeing opportunity complete with seating for hundreds of passengers and food and beverage services.
When we arrived back at Weirs Beach, I couldn’t help but be extremely grateful for the opportunity to explore this corner of our beautiful state in circumstances that were most pleasurable. To our readers, I offer the following advice. Next time the urge to travel strikes, the Lakes Region awaits. However, let us not forget that there are six other tourism regions within the state’s 9,349 square miles, each with distinctive attributes there to satisfy your need to explore.
In April 2017, after forty years as an educator, researcher, consultant, and mystery writer, Mark Okrant joined IndepthNH.org. Mark shares his insight about the travel and tourism industry, focusing upon its importance to New Hampshire. From time to time, he’ll spin a humorous story or two, always looking to educate us about the industry he loves.
Learn more about Mark’s tourism-based Kary Turnell murder mystery series by visiting www.markokrant.com.
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