The start of the WOW trail in Lakeport. See below for further information.
Where can I take a nature walk?
The 27-acre Weirs Community Park, which opened in the fall of 2014, is located at 49 Lucerne Avenue, and offers several short walking trails, a picnic area, playground and an amphitheater (photo below).
The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center (603) 366-5695, located at 928 White Oaks Road in Weirs Beach, began in 2001 as a partnership between the Audubon Society of New Hampshire and the owners of the farm, Prescott Conservancy, Inc. Since April 1, 2009, the Center has been independently operated. The Prescott Farm landscape includes open fields, wet meadows, forestlands and wetlands. The Center is open year round.
The 160-acre historic farm property provides the perfect setting for environmental education programs. With the opening of the Samuel P. Pardoe Education Building in October, 2005, the Center now offers programs for children, families, adults, and schools. The programs, which are offered several times a month, focus on wildlife habitat management, conservation, ecology, and the impact of agricultural land use.
Visitors will find over 3 miles of woodland and field trails for hiking, land stewardship demonstration sites, a 3-story historic barn, beautiful Heritage and Heirloom gardens, and a unique forested pond. In spring, summer and fall, visitors can view nesting birds and wildflowers along the field trails, explore the historic hay and milk barns, go on a natural history hayride, or visit a self-guided mystery hay maze! In winter, snowshoeing, wildlife tracking, and maple sugaring activities are offered.
The farm’s latest attraction, opened in 2016, is a kid-friendly natural “Playscape”, and includes two tree houses, a hill slide, a tree swing, and other naturally-themed kids play structures.
Above is a postcard of Prescott Farm, circa 1920’s. But is it really? Click here to enlarge the postcard and for many bonus photos.
Below, an aerial photo of the farm in the 1950s, looking north, with White Oaks Road running right down the middle of the photo.
While you won’t be able to walk there this summer, in a few years you will be able to take a nature walk alongside the railroad tracks that extend from Weirs Beach for miles along the lake in both directions. The 10-mile WOW trail – short for the Winnisquam-Opechee-Winnipesaukee Recreation trail – is to be built in 4 phases. The first phase, from downtown Laconia to Lakeport, was completed in 2010. The second phase, running South from downtown Laconia to connect with the Lake Winnisquam Trail at the Laconia/Belmont town line, near the Belmont town beach, was completed in 2016. The first, 1.5 mile phase of the Lake Winnisquam Trail, from the Laconia/Belmont town line to the Mosquito Bridge over Lake Winnisquam, was also completed in 2016. Continuing South, the Lake Winnisquam Trail, entirely within the Town of Belmont, will run another 3.5 miles to connect with the Winnipesaukee River Trail at the Belmont/Tilton town line. The Winnipesaukee River Trail, which was completed in 2011, runs another 5 miles South, though the towns of Tilton, Northfield, and Franklin, and ends at Trestle View Park in Franklin.
Back to the WOW trail. Entirely within the City of Laconia, the trail’s 3rd phase will run North from Lakeport to Weirs Beach. The fourth and final phase of the WOW trail will connect Weirs Beach to the Meredith town line and the Meredith Village Pathway. Ultimately, these 4 connecting trails will provide a 20 mile scenic waterside corridor alongside 1 river and 4 Lakes (Winnipesaukee, Opechee, Winnisquam, and Silver) from Meredith to Franklin.
For a short, interesting historical walk, try the downtown Laconia Riverwalk. The long version is about a mile and the shorter version 3/10 of a mile. Below, a photo of the Rotary Riverside Park.
Another downtown walk of note is in Meredith, on the Laverack Nature Trail at Hawkins Brook. The trailhead in downtown Meredith is directly behind the Meredith Village Savings bank. The trail winds along a beautiful boardwalk over the brook, and ends at Meredith’s Prescott Park in an easy 0.6 miles walk.