It's been more than 30 years since the movie "On Golden Pond" revealed the natural beauty of New Hampshire's Squam Lakes to a worldwide audience. Truth is, it's even more wonderful in real life.
Squam Lakes comprises Little and Big Squam, which are dotted by a number of islands and coves providing sanctuary for those famous loons and other wildlife, including bald eagles. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the Squam Lakes Association (www.squamlakes.org). Or relax on the Squam Lakes Science Center (www.nhnature.org) cruise and get the dish on making the movie, too.
Though it gets a little touristy, the view from Rattlesnake Mountain (www.nhdfl.org) is spectacular. There are woodland trails at The Loon Center (www.loon.org), whose gift shop is packed with cute stuff you never knew you needed.
Don't miss the Inn Kitchen + Bar at The Squam Lake Inn (www.squamlakeinn.com) whose unbelievably delicious goodies are seasonal-locavore. The wines are boutique! Apart from being in an 1890s New Hampshire inn, the restaurant wouldn't be out of place in "Sideways." Don't miss: A stack of Portobellos sandwiched with tangy goat cheese, parmesan-crusted baked haddock with melt-in-the mouth polenta and frozen key lime pie!
The quaint Corner House Inn (www.cornerhouseinn.com) has an upstairs bar packed with stuffed animals and bric-a-brac. The funky Common Man (www.thecman.com) has exposed post and beam from trees that probably grew before the Revolutionary War. An upstairs lounge and outdoor deck offer nightlife options.
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The Inn on Golden Pond (www.innongoldenpond.com) was built in 1879, originally as a private home, and is set on 50 acres of beautiful undeveloped woodland. It’s spacious, with a dining room, sitting room, TV room and an office with a computer. Wi-Fi is available throughout. Eat a home-cooked breakfast with hummingbirds fluttering by the window. The Manor on Golden Pond (www.manorongoldenpond.com) was built as a private mansion and is now a genteel resort with eclectic guest rooms — everything from bohemian boudoir to rugged rustic — tennis courts, an outdoor pool and peaceful Seasons spa — perfect for a little me-time.