Driving around Governor’s Island

A pair of the smaller mansions on Governor's Island, and a more gently sloped driveway.

A pair of the smaller mansions on Governor’s Island, and a more gently sloped driveway.

Only one narrow, arching bridge links Governor’s Island to the mainland, and the approach offers great views of the narrow channel and coves on either side. As we drove through recently, this area, and the main body of Lake Winnipesaukee had yet to freeze over, creating a startling black contrast to the snowclad slopes and forests edging the grand lake.

Crossing the tall bridge, we took the first right, to make it easy to pull over to get good views of the lake when we could. This loop road of sorts circles the outer edge of the island, and the high interior woodland seems to be undeveloped – so far. Most of the loop is called Edgewater Drive, with the exception of a small segment called Shore Road that reconnects to the larger loop – but as long as you follow these roads through the thick forest, and keep views of the water to your right, you will eventually find your way back to the bridge to return to the mainland.

If you wish to glimpse how the wealthy live in New Hampshire, there are few places better than Governor’s Island to see their sprawling mansions that are perched precariously between the water and the road, at the end of driveways that are often so steep they would put the tallest ski jump to shame.

While some mansions are content to hide behind tall evergreen hedges and trees, a few flaunt their wealth with tall ornate fences decorated in glit and chrome, or more staid black iron bars. Thick stone walls capable of holding off attacking hordes are also favored in places, but in every case there is a gap in their privacy defenses, providing a slow driver a peek down the driveway toward the water, and the glamorous mansions that strive to block the views.

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