Lakes Region Profiles — Become an island dweller (865)

by Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


"The island had come to seem one of the places seen from a train that belong to a life which we shall never take part." These words of author Arthur Ransome reflect the notion that living on an island is a sublime fantasy reserved for the fortunate few. However, the islands on Lake Winnipesaukee make this way of living a reality for thousands. Countless homes and camps dot the shoreline on many of the over 250 islands on the lake, from around 200 residences on the largest unbridged island (780-acre Bear Island) to Welcome Island, where, according to, its one home is said to cover 99.9865 percent of the island.

Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire's largest lake and covers 72 square miles. The number of islands it contains is a constant source of debate. Currently there are thought to be around 261. According to Bizer, a company that makes navigational maps of the lake, the combined shoreline length of all the islands is over 100 miles. The largest is Long Island, covering over 1,100 acres, and the smallest is Becky's Garden, which is only about 10 feet wide, though this varies with the water level. The other largest islands include Bear Island (780 acres and the only one with its own church), Cow Island (522 acres), Governors Island (504 acres), Rattlesnake Island (368 acres), Welch Island (187 acres), Little Bear Island (143 acres), Timber Island (136 acres), and Mark Island (102 acres). Six islands are connected to the mainland by bridges, including the largest (Long) and exclusive Governor's Island, which was a royal grant to Provincial Governor John Wentworth in 1772 ( Rattlesnake Island has the highest elevation on the lake – the rocky summit is about 900 feet high ( There are three Cove Islands, 3 Loon, 3 Rock, and 6 with the word "pine" in their name (

With titles like "Upper Shoe," "Gichigumi," "Little Whortleberry," and "Scavenger," one may wonder how some of these islands came to be called by their present name. Each probably has a story behind it, such as Horse Island. As the tale goes, many years back a summer resident of Center Harbor had to transport his horse by boat to the Weirs. A sudden storm came up and the craft sank. Unfortunately the man disappeared, but after days of searching the horse was found living happily on the island (Heald, 2001).

In the 1800s, Diamond Island featured the Diamond Island House, a popular destination for summer guests which included a restaurant and bowling alley. At a later date the structure was moved across the ice to the Weirs and became part of the Hotel Weirs ( It is believed that Guernsey cows were first brought to America in the 1840s. According to reports, Cow Island received its name because it was used to quarantine this first herd of Guernsey cows. In fact, many of Winnipesaukee's islands were once used as safe pastureland for cows and sheep, including Mark, Bear, and Timber Islands (Hopper, 2011,

Stonedam Island is a breathtaking 112-acre wildlife preserve protected by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. There is docking on the northeast shore, a beach, picnic areas, and a beautiful network of hiking trails. The island derived its name from an old stone causeway that at one time connected it to the mainland on Meredith Neck. The remains of the causeway are still visible when the water levels are low. Today the waters around the old causeway are known as Sally's Gut. It is a notoriously difficult area to navigate ( Inevitably, the more you read about the history of the islands, each one begins to take on a personality.

On Winnipesaukee, there is an island property to appeal to anyone's idea of the idyllic island life. Large family compounds with bunkhouses supporting the main house provide an escape where family and extended family can gather to enjoy summer rituals. You can still find rambling, nostalgic residences that hearken back to old New Hampshire summers filled with simple pleasures. Many seasonal camps command stunning private shoreline on countless islands. Parcels of land are available and provide the perfect excuse to build a custom getaway exactly as you imagined. And then there are the private islands with only one residence – the ultimate retreat for those fortunate enough to own them. Winnipesaukee's variety of island homes is vast. Even tiny Becky's Garden has one minuscule New Englander, porch and all – literally only big enough to accommodate Barbie and Ken.

In his book, Lake Winnipesaukee, author Bruce Heald writes, "Winnipesaukee lacks nothing that pleases the eye of the outdoor its glorious ensemble there is water, mountain, island, river, meadow, wilderness, cloud effect, and sunrise and sunset pictures – the most beautiful imaginable" (Heald, 2001). For those blessed to live on one of Winnipesaukee's many islands, this description is all the more significant. In the words of author M.T. Anderson, for island dwellers "life in all its operations seems unspeakably generous."

Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.



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Jim Hightower - A new species of jumping beans

When I was about six years of age, my uncle showed me something that made my eyes bug and my mind boggle: four beans that moved on their own. Leaping legumes!

It wasn't trickery, but an odd twist in the natural world that creates the novelty of "Mexican jumping beans." They're not beans — they're brownish seedpods from a desert shrub in northwest Mexico. A larva from a small moth invades the pod, attaches itself to the inner wall with a silk-like thread, and waits in relative coolness for its metamorphosis into mothdom. When you hold the "bean," however, the warmth of you palm discomforts the larva so that it twitches and pulls on that thread, causing the pod to "jump."

Decades later, I find myself wide-eyed again, astonished by the odd movements of a news species of Mexican jumping bean I've named corporados greedyados. Far from being a creation of the natural world, these jumpers are enormously profitable. Native to our land, they've long reaped the benefits of U.S. corporations, including having high-skilled and loyal blue-collar workforces, corporate-friendly labor and consumer laws, publicly funded education and training, an interstate highway system, extensive tax breaks, on-call police to safeguard their corporate order, military defense of their worldwide commercial pursuits, and more. But now they're twitching in the conglomerate pods and abruptly jumping to Mexico. Giving no more notice than a cursory shout of adios, they're leaving U.S. workers, communities, the future of our middle class, and our unifying ethic of fair play in the dust of their corporate greed.

Perfidious corporations have been jumping to cheap-labor countries for years, particularly since the North American Free Trade Agreement, China's admission to the World Trade Organization, and other polices incentivizing corporations to export our blue-collar jobs. Since NAFTA was signed in 1994, over 50,000 U.S. factories have closed and more than 5 million jobs have been lost to offshoring.

Unfortunately, that was just a warm-up. During the past decade, corrupted and compliant legislatures, courts and regulatory agencies have effectively removed our society's reins on these profit seekers. Not since the robber barons of the 1800s have those in the executive suites felt so free and entitled to work their will on the rest of us. And they're not hesitating. The corporations' recent surge in abandonments of the Good Ol' U.S.A. is different from the offshoring of only a decade ago — bigger, cruder and wholly narcissistic.

The real difference is a fundamental, regressive shift in the ethos of the elites who run major corporate empires. These investors and executives believe that what they think and do is what's best, and everyone else should get out of their way. This has led them to adopt a thoroughly unethical code of social irresponsibility, unilaterally decreeing through a hokey doctrine called "shareholder hegemony" (shareholder hegemony asserts that corporations exist strictly to benefit shareholders — i.e., maximize profits no matter what this costs everybody and everything else) that they and their corporate entities owe nothing to the country and the people who have nurtured them, even coddled them.

Consequently, we're witnessing the murder of our country's manufacturing prowess by our industry's own leaders. CEOs of America's most iconic brands have gone bonkers, asserting a "moral duty" to shut down factories here, dump the workers, desert our hometowns, and hightail out of the country to any low-wage, low-environmental-standard refuge on the map.

Of course, the beneficiaries of this Kafkaesque doctrine of shareholder supremacy include not only the large stockowners, but also the very CEOs whose paychecks and bonuses depend on jacking up stock prices at our expense. It's a socially suicidal system, proving both an irresistible incentive and a moral excuse for executives to commit corporate treason, even as their moves expand the ever-widening chasm of inequality that cleaves our society. And, by the way, CEOs and billionaire shareholders aren't moving south with their bottom-wage factories, preferring instead to enjoy their life in America the Beautiful. Apparently unaware that their elimination of middle-class wages is eliminating their own customer base, they also expect you and me to continue being the primary buyers of their now foreign-made products.

And The Powers That Be wonder why an angry populist rebellion is spreading like a prairie fire. To learn more about rebuilding a strong manufacturing economy in the USA, visit:

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)

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Pat Buchanan - Will there always be an England?

In his op-ed in The Washington Post, Chris Grayling, leader of the House of Commons, made the case for British withdrawal from the European Union — in terms Americans can understand.

Would you accept, Grayling asks, an American Union of North and South America, its parliament sitting in Panama, with power to impose laws on the United States, and a high court whose decisions overruled those of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Would you accept an American Union that granted all the peoples of Central and South America and Mexico the right to move to, work in, and live in any U.S. state or city, and receive all the taxpayer-provided benefits that U.S. citizens receive?

This is what we are subjected to under the EU, said Grayling.

And as you Americans would never cede your sovereignty or independence to such an overlord regime, why should we?

Downing Street's reply: Prime Minister David Cameron says leaving the EU could cost Britain a lot of money and a loss of influence in Brussels.

The heart versus the wallet. Freedom versus security.

While Barack Obama, Cameron and Angela Merkel are pulling for Britain to vote to remain in the EU, across Europe, transnationalism is in retreat, and tribalism is rising.

As Britain's Independence Party and half the Tory Party seek to secede from the EU, the Scottish National Party is preparing a new referendum to bring about Scotland's secession.

The strongest party in France is the National Front of Marine Le Pen. In Austria's presidential election, Norbert Hofer of Jorg Haider's Freedom Party came within an eyelash of becoming the first European nationalist head of state since World War II.

The Euroskeptic Law and Justice Party is in power in Warsaw, as is the Fidesz Party of Viktor Orban in Budapest, and the Swiss People's Party in Bern. The right-wing Sweden Democrats and Danish People's Party are growing stronger.

In 2015, Merkel, Time's Person of the Year, admitted a million Middle East refugees. This year, Merkel flipped and paid a huge bribe to Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan to keep Syrian refugees from crossing the Aegean to the Greek islands and thence into Europe.

In Germany, too, nationalism is resurgent as opposition grows to any new bailouts of the La Dolce Vita nations of Club Med. The populist AfD party has made major strides in German state elections.

While the rightist parties in power and reaching for power are anti-EU, anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant, the secessionist movements roiling Scotland, Spain, Belgium and Italy seek rather the breakup of the old nations of Europe along ethnonational lines.

By enlisting in these parties of the right, what are the peoples of Europe recoiling from and rebelling against? Answer: The beau ideal of progressives — societies and nations that are multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural and multilingual.

Across Europe, the tribalists are rejecting, in a word, diversity.

And what are they seeking?

God-and-country, blood-and-soil people, they want to live with their own kinfolk, their own kind. They do not believe in economics uber alles. And if democracy will not deliver the kind of country and society they wish to live in, then democracy must be trumped by direct action, by secession.

This is the spirit behind Brexit.

The is the spirit that drove the Irish patriots of 1919, who rose against British rule, though they were departing the greatest empire on earth in its moment of supreme glory after the Great War, to begin life among the smallest and poorest countries in all of Europe.

What is happening in Europe today was predictable and predicted. At the turn of the century, in "The Death of the West," I wrote, "Europe has begun to die. The prognosis is grim. Between 2000 and 2050, world population will grow by more than three billion to over nine billion people, but this 50 percent increase in population will come entirely in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as one hundred million people of European stock vanish from the earth."

Europeans are vanishing, as the peoples of the Maghreb and Middle East, South Asia and the sub-Sahara come to fill the empty spaces left by aging and dying Europeans whose nations once ruled them.

Absent the restoration of border controls across Europe, and warships on permanent station in the Med, can the inexorable invasion be stopped? Or is "The Camp of the Saints" the future of Europe?

An open question. But if the West is to survive as the unique civilization it has been, its nations must reassume control of their destinies and control of their borders.

Britain ought not to go gentle into that good night the EU has prepared for her. And a great leap to freedom can be taken June 23.

Trooping to the polls, the cousins might recall the words of Vera Lynn, 76 years ago, as the Battle of Britain was engaged:

"There'll always be an England,

"And England shall be free,

"If England means as much to you

"As England means to me."

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

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Sanborn — Summer selling season tips

By Roy Sanborn


Another Memorial Day is in the books. We honor and thank all of those that have served our country in such heroic fashion! Memorial Day is also the Indy 500, the Coca Cola 500, hockey and basketball. It is cookouts with friends and family. It's the start of hot dog season, when, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a whopping 7 billion hot dogs are eaten. Imagine that! It is also considered the start of the summer season and really the start of the summer home-buying season.

Memorial Day also seems to be the start of the serious gardening season for many people. All you have to do is visit Pedal Pushers, Apple Tree Nursery, Cackleberries, Agway, or Lowes to see how busy they are with homeowners filling their trunks, trucks, and trailers with everything from mulch to begonias and pansies to roses. I know, I was there. Homeowners want their properties to look great for the summer. And, home buyers are attracted to homes that look nice. Curb appeal gets buyers in the door. I don't know how many of the people I saw at the garden center were actually selling their home, but I am sure there might have been a few. If you are thinking about selling your property this time of year, here are some tips to dress your house for success and get someone to notice you.

Housekeeping...on the outside is the number one task. Just like on the inside, declutter the landscape of your home by weeding, pulling out the dead plants, and trimming back the overgrown bushes. Home buyers like to actually see the front of the house. Hedges and bushes that have overtaken the front of your home not only hide your house, they also can cause harm to the exterior of the home. Trees with branches overhanging your roof should be trimmed back. If the outside of your property looks like a dying rain forest, why would anyone believe the inside is as nice as you say it is? Make sure you edge your gardens to create a clean definition between your lawn and the garden. If you are a Redneck, you should also remove any of the more unusual items like old snow machines, truck tires, and discarded front fenders from that '56 Ford you once owned. You may not be able to take the garden out of the Redneck, but you certainly can take the Redneck out of the garden.

You don't have to go crazy, but pick up some nice colorful new plants that will make your gardens pop a little. If you don't know anything about plants or which one to buy to put where the staff at the garden center will help you out and tell you the best choices. Not everyone has a green thumb, but putting some new colorful plants in the ground might give you some extra green in your wallet. And, that is the goal.

Freshen your flower beds with new mulch which will help make your plants stand out. Mulching inhibits weeds from growing, which are not only unsightly but also rob moisture from your plants, and it also keeps the ground from drying out. A few cutesy garden ornaments can add whimsy and appeal to the garden but don't overdo it. I would stay away from the Travelocity style garden gnome... that might give a prospective buyer the idea that you've already booked your around-the-world tour and are eager to move. You don't want to give a buyer any unnecessary edge.

If you have a nice deck or patio, this is another area to spruce up and make into a great entertaining space that buyers will love. Go out and get some potted plants, new or freshly painted patio furniture with colorful cushions, and maybe even a new grill to replace that old 55-gallon drum cooker that you have had for the past ten years. These are all things that will make your home look great, and the best part is you take it all with you when you sell the place.

So, that's it. Get busy and make your yard look great. My best advice now is to do all of this on a cool day. Memorial weekend was way too hot and days like those should be reserved for grilling and enjoying the Lakes Region.

As of June 1, there were 999 residential single family homes on the market in the twelve towns covered by this report. The average asking price was $577,633 but the more meaningful median price stood at $275,000. The total inventory is up from the 921 homes on the market as of May 1, but down from the 1,158 homes on the market last June 1. The current inventory level represents a 10.7 month supply of homes on the market.

P​lease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 6/1/16. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012

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Kelly-Drake Town Conservation Area, a New Hampton treasure

By Gordon DuBois


Almost forty years ago the Town of New Hampton purchased a large parcel of land referred to as the Kelly-Drake Town Conservation Area. In 2004, a stewardship plan was written by conservationist George Frame, in which he wrote, "The land is a museum of artifacts, from old saw blades, cemetery, orchard, stone piles, (cellar holes and stone walls are) are symbols of past life of our predecessors. (They) should be revered and protected where found." The New Hampton Historical Society and the New Hampton Conservation Commission have embarked on a joint project to ensure that this town-owned land serves as a community resource by not only preserving the historical nature of the property, but also developing its recreational and educational potential. The town owned property of 230 acres, which also includes a 23-acre island on Pemigewasset Lake, is located two miles east of Route 93 Exit 23 along the western shore of Pemigewasset Lake.

This area is one of the first areas settled in the Town of New Hampton. In 1775, Samuel Kelly (1733-1813) brought his wife and two young sons from Exeter to New Hampton and built a log cabin at the base of what is now referred to as "The Pinnacle". Over time, he acquired large tracts of land in and around New Hampton. When he moved his family to the summit of  The Pinnacle, he gave his sons William and Nathan land at the base of the hill, a part of which is now the Kelly-Drake Town Conservation Area. Around 1820, this land was sold to Nathanial Drake, who had settled in New Hampton in the late 1700s. Drake then gave the property to his son Nathanial Drake Jr. The Drake family farmed the land for 130 years until the house, barn and outbuildings were destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve in 1952. Luther and Minnie Drake were the last to farm the land before the dreadful fire. In 1966, the land was purchased by J. Willcox Brown from the estate of Luther Drake. In 1978 New Hampton bought the property through funds made available by the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
This year, the New Hampton Conservation Commission began work to improve the property with three goals: recreational and educational use, wildlife management and scenic beauty. Forest management and production of wood products are important secondary goals. A significant tree harvest took place to thin tree stands and create more open space. The overgrown Drake farm apple orchard was thinned and apple trees will be pruned. This year, the cellar holes will be cleared, piles of refuse removed, and a system of walking trails will be designed and cut. It should also be noted that the island (Kelly Island) sitting in Pemigewasset Lake is also part of the Kelly-Drake property and may also be developed for recreational use. A second tree harvest is planned for next winter to thin a large stand of pine.
The New Hampton Historical Society and Conservation Commission look forward in working together to make this town-owned land a historical, cultural and recreational resource. Plans for the coming year include: surveying and marking boundaries, building and maintaining trails, increasing the recreational and educational activities by working with community groups to enhance hiking, hunting, picnicking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and nature and heritage education. The property can be accessed off Route 104 by turning onto Sinclair Hill Road and taking the first left onto Kelly Pond Road. At the end of the road is a gate and parking area. The public is invited to visit the property, park at the gate and walk the farm road, following the beautifully-preserved stone walls, past the farm cellar holes, the reclaimed apple orchard, meadows and woods full of wildlife, winding up at the shoreline of Pemigewasset Lake.

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