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Home » SCIENCE AND NATURE in NH » NEW HAMPSHIRE (all topics) » Lakes of New England
Lake Winnipesaukee Frozen in Winter
Lakes of New England

By Michael F. Bisceglia, Jr. | November 17, 2010

No one has lakes like New England. We have them large, we have them small, we have them round, and we have them long. No matter where you live in this, the greatest region in the country, you’re not far from one, or two, or ten of them.

A Spectacular View of Lake Winnipesaukee from the Summit of Mount Major

Yes, New Yorkers will tell you they have one or two large bodies of water.   They may even claim Ontario and Erie as their pride and joy.   We all know that size isn’t everything.   Besides, the Pin Stripers can claim ownership of only part of those lakes!

You may ask, “Well, why are New England lakes so darn wonderful?” The answer is, “They’re simply magnificent.” You can’t ask for better.   The lakes of this wondrous realm are generally surrounded by truly spectacular scenery, and are nestled among some of the prettiest mountains on the planet.

Let’s start with some of the names.   What great names! New Hampshire has Lake Winnipesaukee.   It appears on hundreds of different postcards and has attracted tourists for over two hundred years.   Translated from its Native origin it means, “Smile of the Great Spirit.”

Speaking of great names, try Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg! Thought to be one of the world’s longest names, it is found in southern Worcester county, Massachusetts.   Its name is derived from Nipmuc, an Algonquian language, and is believed to mean, “Fishing Place at the Boundaries - Neutral Meeting Grounds.” It also goes under the (abbreviated) name of Lake Chaubunagungamaug and, more commonly today, Webster Lake.

Lake Chaubunagungamaug

Whether the lakes bear names denoting their place in Native heritage or not, they are beautiful.   Many lakes of the region are hundreds of feet deep and are homes for some tremendous lunkers.   Nearly every lake has a fish or two, and are the sources for some of the greatest New England fishing stories ever told.   The “ones that got away” still lurk out there, just waiting to take your bait; snap your pole; and provide you with the fodder for a great tale.

I know... I know.   You don’t fish.   That’s okay, too.   If you use a paddle, an oar, or a camera, you will still love the lakes of New England.   There’s probably nothing more thrilling and simultaneously more relaxing than an excursion around the lake of your choice in a rowboat, canoe, or sailboat.   Throw in a few white caps, and you’ll have an adventure saga to rival Treasure Island.   Snap a couple of shots of the kids, or the significant other, and you’ll capture some great moments you’ll want to treasure.

Unlike lakes in other regions, our bodies of water are generally not man-made, and are bigger than a bread box.   On trips across the country, I was disappointed over and over again when I heard of a “great lake.” It was usually followed by, “You gotta go there.” I am embarrassed to say that I have driven hundreds of miles to those puddles surrounded by no trees or mountains.   To top it off, I usually had to pay an admission fee to get my toes wet!

Winter, spring, summer, fall, a New England lake is a jewel to enjoy.   Let’s keep that our secret, shall we?

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