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Travel Talk

It’s cruising season at Lake Winnipesaukee

Bud and I had a chance to attend the annual shakedown cruise of the M/S Mount Washington last Monday, and if great weather and great spirits are indicators, 2013 will be a terrific season for excursions on New Hampshire’s largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee. The sun was warm, the waters calm and the air was clear enough for a lovely view of Mount Washington itself – 60 miles to the north!

The New: If you think the Mount Washington and her “sisters,” the M/V Doris E and the M/V Sophie C, got to have a long winter’s nap, you’d be wrong. Regular maintenance tasks keep all the vessels in top shape, from the engine room to the bright work. But winter is also when the owners schedule renovations designed to offer more to those of us who love a turn around the lake. This season the Mount Washington’s Flagship Lounge on the second level aft has been renovated and features a bar, a dance floor and (of course) great views of the lake. It’s one of three private lounges that are available for weddings, reunions, corporate events or other private parties. And if you’re wondering about the quality of the food – relax! New this season is chef James Bennet – a highly credentialed and experienced chef who, by good fortune, has fallen in love with our Lakes Region and signed on to create signature menus for guests. Visit cruisenh.com or call 366-5531 for more info. Bud and I can vouch personally for the baked goods – yum!

The Old: I love history, and the Mount Washington has not only has plenty of history – the current vessel has been operating since the early 1940s – but also some traditions that resonate with families for several generations. Over the years, more than 700 couples have gotten married on the Mount Washington – how cool is that for a truly New Hampshire wedding venue? The company website details the routes of all three vessels, special themed sailings, dinner/dance cruises and more. You can do everything from hop on the U.S. Mail Boat, Sophie C (the oldest floating post office in the U.S. – since 1892 – and only U.S. Mail Boat on an inland waterway) for her daily five-island mail run, to taking a run down to
Wolfeboro to explore the country’s oldest summer resort. Back this year, beginning with the Lobsterfest on July 5, are Friday night dinner/dance cruises. Be sure to check the schedule for varying themes.

The Best: This year’s public cruises begin next weekend, May 12, with the annual Mother’s Day Brunch cruises. Again, visit cruisenh.com (or call 366-5531) for tickets – a few are still available, though by midweek they are usually sold out. In the old days, the cruising season was summer-only – but now the vessels operate from May through October (ah . . . foliage!). There is simply no excuse for not sampling this iconic New Hampshire experience. In fact, why not put it on your bucket list?

(Chase Binder lives in Bow. Read her blog at travels

withchase.blogspot.com.)

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