A Day’s Drive from the NH Seacoast to the Mountains

Ice fishermen start setting up shop on Alton Bay's frozen surface.

Ice fishermen start setting up shop on Alton Bay’s frozen surface.

In a state like New Hampshire, it is possible to see quite a lot on a single clear winter day. The summer tourists are away, and the skiers are on the slopes, and if you’re careful, you can avoid some of the traffic. That’s what we did that fine Saturday afternoon when we headed north.

The first leg took us up the Spaulding Turnpike, through the snow covered construction going on around Dover Point’s bridge. All work is at a standstill, but once it is wrapped up, the number of lanes going north and south will be doubled.

Outside of Rochester, we drove inland toward Alton Bay, one of the southernmost ports of call on Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in the state. We had driven the shoreline route earlier in the year, and things had certainly changed. The bay, a long streak of water that is like a finger pointing south was iced in solidly enough that a number of ice fishing shanties were out on the ice near the floating bandstand that sits in the center of the narrow harbor. From the docks edging the park on the western side, you could see people going to and fro that fine Saturday afternoon, trying to get a catch of the day. The docks themselves were in ice-free water, as they use hoses to keep air bubbling up in the water around the shore to keep things from freezing.

Trixie had to jump out of the car here to check things out, and decided it was much too cold for her puppy toes. She snoozed in the back seat for most of the trip, popping up between the seats whenever we made a stop.

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