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1936-2016 The Legacy Continues! Lakes Region Tourism Association Celebrates 80 year Milestone

(TRAVPR.COM) UNITED STATES - October 10th, 2016 - 10/10/2016

For Immediate Release…

Lakes Region, NH – A lot has happened since 1936! The Lakes Region family of tourism professionals has made the region a premier destination for travelers from all over the world. Those seeking a quintessential New England experience, find the astounding beauty of the New Hampshire’s Lakes Region unsurpassed.  The Lakes Region Tourism Association marks their 80th year by celebrating some of the most historic places and heartwarming stories found in the hospitality industry.

On November 1st, the non-profit association that was established in 1936 will hold their annual meeting. The celebration will honor the numerous family-owned businesses in the region, many of which have been in business for over 50 years!  The Lakes Region Tourism Association was founded by visionaries who saw the need and had the foresight to establish tourism as the Lakes Region’s “industry.” This incredible destination has thrived ever since, with beauty, nature, fun activities, great food and lodging and above all the reputation for providing a welcoming hospitality found nowhere else.

The organization is funded through membership dues, advertising dollars, state joint promotional program grants and fundraising.  They are known for producing the annual “Where To in the Lakes Region” guidebook which started in 1936.  Years later the LRTA also began producing the “Lakes Region Map and Guide,” both are still produced today and distributed in state, out-of-state, and internationally.  The very active association also maintains the regions premier destination website found online at

The region, with the famous Lake Winnipesaukee as its foundation, has been drawing visitors for generations. Governor John Wentworth is credited with the Wolfeboro claim of being the oldest summer resort in America.. In the 1800’s, steamers would transport people to Center Harbor and after the Civil War, the railroad brought people from Concord to Alton. Today, one of the most popular and iconic attractions is the M/S Mount Washington Cruise Ship which continues to delight to this day.

There are some 15 Lakes Region businesses that have been family owned and operated for over 50 years! 

Here is a quick look at these landmark operations.

Ames Farm Inn – The oldest family-owned and operated business is the Ames Farm Inn, located on the shores of Winnipesaukee in Gilford.  The property was first purchased and operated as a working farm in 1777.  In 1890, when the demand for tourism increased, James Noah Ames turned the property into a place for travelers to stay.  The first visitors on the property pitched tents in the fields.  Latter the farmhouse was operated as an Inn, and the first cottage was built in 1954. People arrived by train and would then take a scenic cruise on the Governor Endicott Steamship.   They provided entertainers, movies and dancing up until the 1960’s in the beautiful old barn. Peter Ames and daughter Peggy just welcomed a family that has been staying with them since the 1930’s…a 5th generation guest!

Purity Springs Resort – The Hoyt family of East Madison has been providing year-round family camp destinations since the 1800’s. This 4th generation family-owned business operates an Inn, house rentals, lodging rooms, campground, restaurant and ski area. Originally named Purity Spring Farms and Cottages, guests from around New England were attracted to the over 1,000 natural acres of fields and forests which surrounded spring-fed Purity Lake. Over the years the family made land preservation a priority , opened a camp for boys, and in 1938 installed a rope tow near Bald Ledge to interest people in the new sport of snow skiing! In 1962 the first trails were cut for the King Pine Ski Area which now welcomes over 60,000 skiers each season.

Half Moon Cottages  – In the 1930’s, Robert Wagner constructed the Half Moon Tea Room, a restaurant, snack bar, bowling alley and cabins on Lakeside Avenue in Weirs Beach.   The property has continued to grow throughout the years.  Sidney Ames purchased the property in the 1950’s and has been family-owned and operated for over 50 years.  Friendly service and reasonable rates have been enjoyed by guests for generations.  A vintage menu from the Half Moon Tea Room boasts a Lobster Dinner for just $1.75!  Those were the days!

Hart’s Turkey Farm – Russ and Larry Hart and their wives established this unique brand in the late 1940’s. They left New Jersey to begin farming in New Hampshire.  Helen and Gerda helped their husbands grow vegetables and apples.  In addition, the two couples sold chickens, eggs and turkeys from a delivery truck.  In 1953, they raised turkeys exclusively and in 1954 opened a 12-seat restaurant specializing in turkey sandwiches and dinners.  “Quality, service and home-style cooking” has always been the restaurant’s motto and highest priority.  Back in the day, guests remember coming down the hill on Route 3 into Meredith and hearing the turkeys gobbling behind the restaurant.  Today, on a busy day, Hart’s serves more than one ton of turkey, 40 gallons of gravy, 1,000 pounds of potatoes, 4,000 dinner rolls and more than 100 pies.  The third generation keeps the business growing with a restaurant that seats 500, a lobby gift shop as well as off-site catering services.

Clark’s Trading Post – Florence and Ed Clark opened “Ed Clark’s Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch” in 1928.  It featured guided tours of their pure-bred Eskimo sled dogs and artifacts from the far North.  The Trading Post offered souvenirs, tonic and maple candy to visitors.  They purchased their first Black Bear in 1931.  The bears were the perfect “stopper” gaining much attention of the curious passer-by.  In 1949, their sons began teaching and training the bears for shows. The shows entertained and educated the audience with a healthy dose of wit, humor and hospitality. This fifth generation business has up to 20 family members still working at this unique attraction.

Maxfield Real Estate – Founded in 1954, the Maxfield family has provided real estate services for over 60 years.  Chip Maxfield, President and co-owner and wife Tina Maxfield bring a lifetime of real estate experience to the region.  Chip, the second generation to run the business fondly recalls joining his dad on property showings at the age of eight! The family has three offices which are located in Wolfeboro, Alton and Center Harbor.

NASWA Resort – Jim and Fannie Salta were exploring a rocky hillside near Weirs Beach and found a natural spring of clear water.  The purchased the property in 1935 and founded the Natural Spring Water Company.  They sold spring water and homemade baked beans cooked in an outdoor oven from their general store.  Demand grew for lodging, so they added five one bedroom cabins.  They raised their children at the NASWA and their daughter, Hope purchased the property with her husband Peter in the 1940’s and added even more cabins.  The colorful cottages that exist today were built by Peter in the 1950’s.  The resort features a large sandy beach, a beach bar called the NazBar and Grill, and an upscale restaurant called the Blue Bistro. Now, some four generations later, the children and grandchildren operate the resort with lakeside room, suites and cottages, boat dock and plenty of entertainment and activities for the entire family.

Santa’s Village – Owned and operated by three generations of its founding family for 64 years, Santa’s Village offers rides, shows, visits with Santa, crafts and fun for the entire family. Located in Jefferson, NH Santa’s Village opened in 1953 and is a unique Christmas-themed amusement park featuring 23 rides and spectacular shows.  Normand and Cecile Dubois were in the dry cleaning and clothing business on Main Street in Jefferson for more than a decade when they decided to open a Christmas-themed amusement park!  Their vision continues to amaze visitors to this day and was recently noted as TripAdvisor’s top 25 amusement parks in the nation.

Pow-Wow Lodges – Located on Mirror Lake, just outside the quaint and picturesque town of Wolfeboro, NH, Pow-Wow Lodges provide cottages and motel suites offering guests a relaxing experience of nature along this pristine lake with mountain views. Charlie and Beverly Fairbanks purchased the property in 1963 and today, their daughters keep the dream alive by providing a place where families can build unforgettable memories.

Irwin Marine – What’s a lakeside vacation without a full-service marina?  Irwin Marine was established in 1919 by Jim Irwin Sr. Jim was a musician from South Boston who came to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with his trumpet and his band to play for weddings, dance parties, dinners, clambakes and picnics.  Jim would take the train to the Weirs to enjoy the excitement of the area.  In 1921, Jim bought the old music hall which was his first business.  One day, Jim said to his sons, “Boys, I know there’s a really big fortune in boating and I have an idea.”  That idea was the inspiration to open the marina on the shores of Paugus Bay and the oldest Chris Craft dealer in the country for over 66 years.  The 3rd generation Irwin family now operates the marina and features one of the largest boat company brands, Sea Ray.

Margate Resort – For over 64 years the Margate Resort has been family-owned and operated by the Antico/Parisi family.  On the shores of Paugus Bay, the resort has a beautiful sandy beach and outdoor beach bar serving lunch or dinner. The facility also provides meeting and function facilities as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner served in their Blackstones Restaurant.

Abakee Cottages – Once a part of the Indian village known as Aquedoctan, Abakee Cottages are on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee and offer an impressive view of the White Mountains, Mt. Chocorua, the Ossipee Range and Mt. Washington. Owner Denise Poirier is proud of the natural and secluded setting located at the end of a private road. The extensive shorefront and sandy bottom provide a protected beach for youngsters and keeps families coming back year after year for their annual vacation getaways.

Fay’s Marina – In 1944, Fay’s Marina, a full service marina, was established in Gilford on Lake Winnipesaukee. Led by Merrill Fay, this third generation family business prides itself on its personal service, offering pre-owned boats, new boats, boat rentals, slips, storage and boat repairs and are top rated in power and sailboat brands and service.

Lamprey Real Estate – Robert Lamprey Jr. and his brother Stewart formed Lamprey & Lamprey in 1945.  Today, Bob’s daughter Mary is at the helm and the company remains one of the oldest independent agencies in the area.  The first office was located right in the center of Moultonboro, on the site that is now home to the Moultonborough Historical Society Museum, which was the home that Bob and Stewart grew up in. Even with all of the “new” technology in the real estate industry, the benchmark of Lamprey Real Estate is still “good, old fashioned service”.  Their in-depth knowledge of the region has provided them with repeat customers and many referrals from friends and family who find that knowledge a valuable resource.

FunSpot – At the age of 21, Bob Lawton borrowed $750 from his grandmother Mary Long, to start his own miniature golf course and arcade.  The year was 1952 and the venture was called The Weirs Sports Center and was located on Lakeside Avenue.  Bob and his two brothers formed a partnership and in 1964 moved to the current Route 3 location and named it “FunSpot.” They continued to add new features, coin operated games, billiards, and a snack bar. In 1978, the video games took over.  Over the years FunSpot continued to grow with more and more video games, a bowling center, and bingo hall.  FunSpot is now the largest arcade in the world, according to Guinness World Records, with over 600 games of all types and 75,000 square feet of family entertainment.  It is a family business and Bob, now in his 80’s continues to work over 60 hours a week and opens FunSpot daily!

Amy Landers, Executive Director of the Lakes Region Tourism Association encourages other Lakes Region businesses and visitors to send their stories about this premier vacation destination. “We are using this 80 year milestone as an opportunity to thank and honor these great businesses and the families that keep them running,” Landers comments. “We urge everyone to send in photos and stories so we can continue the legacy of hospitality that we as a group have built.”  Share your stories and photos at .

The Lakes Region Tourism Association is the official tourism board of the region, representing close to 100 communities, 273 lakes and ponds, and more than 400 businesses in central New Hampshire, including area attractions, restaurants, retail establishments and accommodations. For more information or visitors’ guides, visit, or follow on Twitter. For more information about New Hampshire, go to The LRTA office is on Route 3 in Tilton, NH and it can be reached by calling (800) 60-LAKES.


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