Fun fact: the Lakes Region of New Hampshire features the 6th largest lake in the United States (completely within U.S. borders). It is also the biggest lake in the entire state. But it isn’t the only lake. There are about a thousand lakes in New Hampshire.
The Lakes region is aptly named. There are a lot of lakes and ponds here. The lakes and ponds are enjoyed by boaters, swimmers, and anglers in the summer and by ice skaters, hockey players, and anglers who enjoy ice-fishing in the winter. The water and scenery inspire filmmakers, writers, and tourism and the region attracts hundreds of thousands of motorcycle riders and free thinkers. This is a great place to live. Here are some fun facts about the Lakes Region in more detail.
Film & Literature
Major Motion Pictures: The 1981 film “On Golden Pond” starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda was filmed on location in the town of Holderness. The majority of the boating and water sequences were filmed on Little Squam Lake and Squam Lake. Additional sequences were filmed on Lake Winnipesaukee. The 1991 film “Once Around” starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, and Danny Aiello included scenes filmed at Rust Pond in Wolfeboro. The story for the 1991 film “What About Bob?” starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss is set at Lake Winnipesaukee (but the filming was done in Virginia).
Our Town: The 1938 play “Our Town” written by Thornton Wilder takes place in a fictional New Hampshire town, but Lake Winnipesaukee is used in describing the region by the stage manager narrating the play.
How Many Lakes? According to the New Hampshire Lakes Region Tourism Association, there are 273 bodies of water making up the lakes region.
The Most Beautiful Lakes Include:
- Highland Lake
- Squam Lake
- Kezar Lake
- Lake Sunapee
- Newfound Lake
- Lake Winnipesaukee
- Lake Opechee
- Lake Winnisquam
- Ossipee Lake
The Three Largest Lakes Are:
- Lake Winnipesaukee (44,586 acres)
- Squam Lake (6,764.5 acres)
- Lake Winnisquam (4,214+ acres)
Laconia Motorcycle Week®: The world’s oldest motorcycle rally is held in Laconia. The rally began in 1916 with a couple of hundred riders at Weirs Beach in Laconia. The event was officially recognized by the AMA in 1923. The rally is celebrating its 100th anniversary June 10th-18th 2023.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: The annual motorcycle rally in Laconia introduced competitive road races in the 1930s. The first “Loudon Classic” was held in 1934. The race started as a 200 mile dirt track race, changed to a 100 mile road race before moving to a one mile track in 1938 for a 200 mile race and followed by 100 mile races from 1939-1963.
Starting in 1965 the Loudon Classic was held as a 100 mile race on a 1.6 mile track with 11 turns at Bryar Motorsports Park. The race was shortened to 75 miles in 1973. Bryar Motorsports Park was sold in 1989 and a new speedway was built and opened in 1990, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The speedway continued to host the national championship event until 2001. The Loudon Classic was second only to the Daytona 200 from the 1930s until 2001.
The race is still held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but it is only open to amateur racers. The race was shortened to 32 miles in 2019.
Helmets are Optional: New Hampshire is one of three states that do not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets. You will need a motorcycle license or permit, and there are laws regarding noise limits, lane splitting, carrying passengers and equipment requirements. Attorneys will recommend that riders always wear helmets, knowing that when bringing a motorcycle accident case to court not wearing one can be used against the rider as “contributory negligence”.
Motorcycle Rider Training Program: This is a motorcycle friendly state. The New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles helps new motorcycle riders get on the road with a Basic RiderCourse®. They also offer an Intermediate RiderCourse® and an Experienced RiderCourse® for riders looking to improve their skills. The program trains ~3,000 motorcycle students annually.
Live Free or Die
License Plates: The state’s motto is “Live Free or Die”. It was adopted in 1945. The legislature passed a law in 1971 requiring the phrase to be included on all noncommercial license plates. This led to a 1977 court case following several citations in 1974 and 1975, and a 6 month sentence of jail time (reduced to 15 days) given to a driver who had covered up the motto (because of opposing moral, religious, and political beliefs). Ultimately the court ruled that the license plate motto statute required drivers to “use their private property as a ‘mobile billboard’ for the State’s ideological message” and the state could not constitutionally require citizens to do so.
In 1987 new license plates were introduced. The motto was still displayed, but less prominently. Lots of people love the logo, and there were complaints. One driver cut out the larger slogan from an old license plate and bolted it onto the new one. The driver was prosecuted, but the courts ruled in the driver's favor. The rights of free expression are taken very seriously in the Granite State. Live Free or Die!