With more info here than we were able to include in our print visitor’s guide NH Visitor, this daytrip offers visitors in the Merrimack Valley or Seacoast a whopping taste of our Lakes Region, but in a time-condensed format. The “less-than-you-thought” driving times to/from your dock point are below, and you will get a highly scenic cruise on New Hampshire’s biggest and most beautiful lake, Lake Winnipesaukee with an optional fun stopover for shopping and lunch in a charming lakeside town. OR you could choose another experience entirely, both described below.
First, the big ship: The M/S Mt. Washington is a 240-ft., tri-level cruise ship where you can sit inside with windows or outside with the breeze, and enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery the Lakes Region has to offer. Though the ship offers a Sunday Champagne Brunch Cruise as well as Dinner Dance Cruise, what a lot of people don’t know about is that if boarding in Weirs Beach on Tuesdays through Saturdays, you can take the first of their Day Cruises which departs at 10am ($33 adults, $17 children 5-12, age 4 and under free) and then get off the ship when it stops in Wolfeboro at around 11:15am.
Wolfeboro is a charming New England lakeside town, and reportedly the first resort town in the United States. Here’s where you’ll find fun, quaint shops where you can browse and hang out, and several waterfront restaurants where you can have lunch while watching boats coming and going. At 1:45pm, the second M/S Mt. Washington cruise comes through Wolfeboro, and you’d re-board that to finish your cruise back to Weirs Beach.
The second cruise choice is fun in a different way. Instead of the M/S Mt. Washington, you could take its smaller sister, the “Mail Boat,” a/k/a Sophie C which goes out twice a day except Sundays. This is the oldest floating post office in the US and she serves five islands where residents and summer camps can exchange mail and purchase stamps and postal supplies. A 2-hour cruise on Sophie boards from Weirs Beach Monday through Saturday, June 16-September 13. Her morning mail stops include Loon Island, Bear Island, 3 Mile Island and East Bear Island. Afternoon mail stops include Camp Lawrence, Birch Island, Sandy Island, Cow Island and Jolly Island. Sophie has both indoor and outdoor seating and restroom plus a small gift shop.
Sophie C also stocks ice cream novelty treats and snacks for her island patrons and ship cruisers. What’s also fun for visitors is to send a postcard from a floating post office which will bear Sophie’s unique collectible cancellation stamp.
Driving Times to Boarding Docks:
From Concord to Weir’s Beach is about a 45 minute drive. From Manchester, an hour. From Merrimack/Nashua or Salem, about 75 minutes. For Portsmouth visitors, while the Wolfeboro dock is closer as the bird flies, the actual driving time from Portsmouth to Weir’s Beach is only about 10 minutes longer in case you’d like to see that side of the Lakes Region and do the M/S Mt. Washington OR the Mail Boat cruise as laid out above. If not, then Portsmouth visitors can just take the full 2.5-hour M/S Mt. Washington cruise out of Wolfeboro leaving at 11:15am, and returning to the Wolfeboro dock at 1:45pm, then spending whatever time you want in Wolfeboro before or after the cruise.
For more specific info regarding boarding times and other cruise choices mentioned above plus directions to their boarding docks, where to park, etc., go to www.cruisenh.com or give them a call at (603) 366-5531.