Where can I take a nature walk?
The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center (603) 366-5695, located at 928 White Oaks Road in Weirs Beach, first opened on July 9, 1998, as the Prescott Farm Audobon Center, 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.
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.
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.
In 2021, the WOW organization proposed a side trail to the main WOW trail. The side trail, known as the Opechee Loop, would head from Lakeport Square up Elm street, turn left onto North Main Street, turn right into Ahern State Park, leave the park on Shore Drive, then zig-zag along Holman St., Gale Ave and Pleasant St. to reconnect with the main WOW trail in downtown Laconia.
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.