The days prior were filled with activities and although I am tired from going to bed late and waking up early, it’s hard to sleep when the fresh New Hampshire air beckons. After homemade eggs sunny side up, English muffins and a cup of coffee, we went out on the boat for some water skiing fun and a tour of Lake Winnipesaukee and its islands. Unfortunately, there were impending thunderstorms on the loose so we were forced to retreat back to the lake house earlier than expected. It felt like a scene straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel!
Since the weather was a bit iffy, we went to the oh so famous “Old Country Store,” also know as the general store, the Bucaria’s could not stop talking about. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. In fact, when they kept saying “General Store” I thought it was referring to an actual General in the army. Later I realized it actually meant general – like it is a general store with literally everything you could possible think of inside! It is an old house..so old, it even has a museum on the top floor! The store has anything you need – pins? Shirts? Cheese grater? Cane? Fake dog? Puzzles? Tweezers? Fake fur? Chocolate? You name it – they have it. There was so much stuff inside that I was a bit disoriented, but it was an interesting experience. The slanted wooden floors didn’t help with the disorientation, but it added to the vintage-ness of the place. I highly recommend everyone stop by this strange and rare shop when on the lake.
In the early afternoon, as soon as the storm clouds passed, I took Seamore (my flamingo) out onto the water for a relaxing float. There is just something about floating out on a calm lake after a storm in a Flamingo shaped float that makes me super happy. It’s the small things in life!
I still hadn’t discovered the town of Laconia, so we decided to take the boat out around 3PM and head over to Weirs Beach. We docked the boat on one of the many piers and headed out to explore the town. The first thing I walked into outside the dock was a set of train tracks. I was confused as to why a set of train tracks would be positioned directly outside the dock. It seemed to be still up and running since there was an adorable little ticket booth on the side. Pat’s family explained to me that the city offers a nostalgic one or two-hour scenic excursion of the lake by train and that it had been in use for the last 100 years! I heard the sound of the train horn blowing as it approached so I ran off the tracks to avoid getting hit. The vintage looking train made me feel like I was in a movie scene from the 1900s.
Once my fascination with the train passed, I turned my head to cross the street and realized that my 1900s movie scene was not over. I was raised in Asia during my childhood so never got the real classic American childhood experience, but when I always imagined it, I looked exactly like Lakeside Avenue. Vintage signs, classic arcade games, old school candy shops, ice cream stands and typical beach food like fried dough and pizza. There were upscale restaurants too, but what caught my attention was this old school feel.
We toyed around at the Half Moon Penny arcades for a good 10 minutes. I had never been to something like this and felt like I was living my 7 year old childhood dream! Vintage ping ball machines, rifle range games, air hockey tables, crane games, whac a mole, skeeball extreme, Pac-Man, Dance Dance Revolution, Fast and Furious motorcycle and automotive simulators – you name it and they had it! I could have spent all day there and I am sure that if I ever go back, I will, but my stomach was starting to grumble so we headed out to find some food.
It was excruciatingly hot that day and it was hitting 5PM, so I grabbed an ice cream from JB Scoops up the street to cool me off. Another thing I had never had before (believe it or not..) was an ice cream with sprinkles. I am Italian and spent most of my childhood summers in Italy. I was accustomed to having the occasional gelato al cioccolato with whipped cream on the top, but sprinkles? I don’t even know how to say the word sprinkles in Italian – and I am fluent in the language..! But Patrick insisted I get it. I could not have chosen better – it satisfied my cravings so well! It was light and creamy with a hint of chocolate. The ice cream didn’t last me a long time since I devoured it, but Pat was able to grab a shot or two of me downing my ice cream before it was gone.
On our way back to the boat, we stopped by the last arcade center right on Winnipesaukee Pier. We played a couple of more rounds of skeeball to get it all out of our system. I had never played these games as a child, so was not doing particularly well compared to my two competitors…Pat and Kristen, Pat’s sister. They had been playing since they were kids and were killing it at this game. The skeeball ticket receiver wouldn’t stop spitting out tickets! I was in shock. While I would get 10 tickets, they’d get 100 per round! It took Pat till my last round of skeeball to explain to me that I was doing it wrong. The ball was supposed to hit the side of the wall and bounce off it in order to go in. I was throwing it up straight and the ball wasn’t bouncing… *rolls eyes* Oh well, next time!
The champions and I ended up combining our tickets to get something for everyone. Pat got a mini soldier with a parachute (which he promptly put on our book shelf when we arrived home FYI. I am very particular about where things go and it kind of bothers me that it is just put there, but I pretend I don’t see it lol). Kristen got a set of dominoes. I remember as a child I always used to play dominoes with my grandparents. I never realized it was such a mindless and easy game till now..! I’d much rather stack them up and throw them all down in a cool domino effect, so that’s exactly what we did. I won myself a bottle of bubbles! As a child, I would always go up to my grandmother’s house in the mountains above Milan. She loved buying us bubbles and I would spend all day blowing them with my brother in the backyard. There is just something about them..I could do it for hours! And that is exactly what I did. For the entire ride home, on the boardwalk and the boat, I blew my bubbles like there was no tomorrow. There was something about Weirs Beach that took me back to a simpler time, a time when I was a kid and had no worries in the world. I think that’s what really stuck with me about Weirs Beach.
On the way back home on the boat, we stopped in the middle of the lake for a quick swim. It was approaching 7PM and there was no boat in sight. The water seemed perfect for a quick dip. After a couple of super cool and complex dives.. *cough cough* (totally being sarcastic) we decided to grab a beer and chill in the water for a bit while listening to music. You really couldn’t ask for a more perfect day.
That night as I was packing to leave the next morning, I got to thinking. After a weekend at Lake Winni, it dawned on me that I am a lake person. I always saw myself as more of an ocean and beach goer, but my trip to Winnipesaukee brought me back to my childhood days at Lake Maggiore in Italy. That’s probably why celebrities and politicians such as Mitt Romney, Adam Sandler, Robert Frost, Jimmy Fallon, and Sarkozy have been seen roaming the lake. Enjoy the tranquility and stillness of Mother Nature and add Lake Winnipesaukee to your summer vacation bucket list NOW! It’s a trip into the past that you will not regret.
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