Lake Escapes: Best time to visit Weirs Beach? Well, that depends.
Weirs Beach on Sunday, July 6, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
Doug Ferreira of Derry and Donna Frizzell of Manchester watch boat traffic in Weirs Bay on Sunday, July 6, 2014, (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad train passes Weirs Beach on it's way to Lakeport on Sunday, July 7, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
Boat traffic stacks up on the Paugus Bay side of the Weirs channel on Sunday, July 6, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
The best time of day to visit Weirs Beach in Laconia is early in the morning.
The boardwalk is almost empty and Lake Winnipesaukee, rimmed by purple mountains, serenely reflects the pink and orange of the sunrise back into the sky.
That’s when you’ll find John Schler of Laconia opening up the shop of the Lake Winnipesaukee Hobo Railroad. He likes the cool, still quiet, taking those few moments to himself before the day starts.
Ron Blackey of Laconia likes to roll down the empty boulevard on his motorcycle in the early hours, visit his friends who own shops and then head out of town before the traffic picks up.
Sharon Smart ends her days with a morning stroll along Weirs Beach’s sandy shore.
“I work nights, and when I get out, it’s my time to unwind,” she said. “There’s no one down there but wildlife. I walk, I sit, I unwind.”
Hector Javier of Lawrence, Mass., said early morning is his favorite time on the shore, too.
“You get here, you get your stuff set up quickly and you can go have fun. You go swimming, you can eat. If it’s warm, the mornings are the best,” said the soft-spoken teenager.
It’s a good idea to get to Laconia early if you want a spot like Javier’s, between two trees that gave his family shade and sat just far enough apart to support a hammock.
But the best time of day to visit Weirs Beach is noon.
“Whenever is the warmest time of day,” said Norberto Scherry of Salem, Mass., as he tended to the charcoal fire that would cook his family’s food Saturday. “At noon, at 1, whenever it’s hot, that’s the best time.”
His niece Bernadette, visiting for the week from Jersey City, agreed.
“You get a nicer breeze in the middle of the day,” she said. “You can watch the people, and you can watch the boats going by. It’s a more scenic time of day, there’s more interaction with the people all around you, because people here are really friendly.”
Merfi Galvan from Lynn, Mass., visiting Weirs Beach for her second time, said once everyone is settled at their picnic tables or around their blankets, they can start to mingle.
“You meet friends from all over. You can tell by the music people are from all different places, but everyone’s so friendly. If you needed a fork, I’m sure someone would give you one.”
That’s why Michael Richards of Laconia prefers Weirs to the coast, and says the best time of day to visit is right after lunch.
“By around 1 p.m., everybody’s settled, the people around you, you get to know them. It’s a family-oriented place. The people who come here, you can tell, it’s cousins, it’s uncles, it’s aunts – it’s people you don’t see all the time, so they show up for this.”
He waved his arm along the shore in front of him, at the small groups of young men and children kicking soccer balls back and forth, the women cooking and tending grills sizzling with marinated meat.
“The people here are doing family things. There’s no arguments, no troublemakers.
“I like to talk to people, but I really like asking where they’re from. There’s people from Michigan, from New York, and everyone’s so friendly,” he said.
As the breeze Saturday afternoon kicked up, Richards asked a man in a neighboring group who was speaking Spanish how to say “very windy.” He forgot the phrase a few hours later, but he remembered the man’s willingness to talk, to share, to laugh.
His son, Alex, 16, said the bustling beach is nice during the afternoon. But the best time of day to visit Weirs Beach, he said, is at night.
After dusk, the boardwalk arcades light up and the drive-in screens glow. There’s live music in the bars, and Alex, who’s in two bands back home in Hooksett, can go as long as the kitchens are still open.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” he said.
For Pavel Navratil, a 21-year-old visiting Laconia for the summer from the Czech Republic, evening is when the beach is quiet again.
“It’s not as hot and it’s better for walking on the beach,” he said from his perch tending to a city-owned parking lot Saturday afternoon.
His fellow parking attendant, David McCutcheon of Gilford, agreed. He likes to watch the boats speed by at sunset, after the crowds pack up and leave.
And Harry and Deborah Mitchell have lived in Laconia for almost 34 years and have their own sense of the shore’s schedule. They particularly like to sit on the boardwalk in early June, before school lets out and the crowds come. But still, on the first sunny day of a long holiday weekend, there they were, books in hand, umbrella ready and sunglasses on.
“The best time to come to the beach is any time,” Harry said. “We come if there are things happening elsewhere we want to avoid. We come after doing things other places that we wanted to do.”
“The lake has a different face for each season,” Deborah said. “Each is beautiful in its own way.”
(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or email@example.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)