Click here to enlarge this postcard with several scenes of Weirs Beach

What is the fastest way to get to Weirs Beach?
The easiest way? The funnest way?
          There are two equally FAST ways, if you are driving from Manchester, NH ; Boston, MA; or other points to the South and West of Weirs Beach.
          Make your decision which way to go before you get to Concord, NH. The first route will take you past the Tanger Outlet Center in Tilton, while the second, past the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Each route takes about 45 minutes from Concord.

          1)   From Route 93 North in Concord, NH, stay on 93 until Exit 20, then go left and follow Route 3 North all the way to Weirs Beach. The outlet stores are on the left a short distance from the exit. Continue about 7 miles north, past Lake Winnisquam. Shortly after passing the Belknap Mall (603) 524-5651 on your left, take a right onto the Laconia Bypass highway. (Or instead, continue straight ahead to downtown Laconia, where there are a wide variety of fine shops and restaurants.) When the highway ends, bear right. In about a mile, immediately after the Winnipesaukee Plaza/Lowe's on the left and the Gilford Mobil Mart (603) 524-8014 on the right, take a right. Follow Weirs Boulevard for 3 miles along Paugus Bay to Weirs Beach.

Click to see a larger, clearer, modern map (130k)
          On July 26, 1908, the Laconia Democrat reported that "Considerable complaint was being made almost daily in regard to overspeeding of automobiles on the Weirs Boulevard. There are a large number of the buzz-wagons in the city just now, and the Weirs road is in such good condition compared with other highways in the city that the temptation to 'let 'er rip' seems to be too strong for the average automobilist to resist. There are so many crooks and turns in this piece of highway, which is extremely narrow in some places, that fast driving is dangerous alike to the occupants of the motor cars themselves as those who drive in [horse-drawn] carriages. There is a call for the auto trap, and unless the automobilists take warning and go slower, some of them are liable to see the men with brass buttons holding them up."
          One hundred years later, little has changed. Scenic Weirs Boulevard, which was built in 1899, rebuilt in 1933, and repaired and resurfaced many times since then, is in very good condition, but it still twists and turns as it runs tightly along the eastern edge of Paugus Bay. The temptation to exceed the 35mph speed limit is high, leading some motorists to unwanted encounters with the men in blue.
          2)   From Route 93 North in Concord, take Exit 15E to Route 393 East. In about 3 miles exit to Route 106 North. In about 10 miles you'll pass the speedway. In about another ten miles, while descending a hill you'll pass some car dealerships. Near the bottom of that hill take a right, joining Route 3 north onto the Laconia Bypass highway. (Or instead, continue straight ahead to downtown Laconia, where there are a wide variety of fine shops and restaurants.) Stay on route 3 north the rest of the way to Weirs Beach. When the bypass highway ends, bear right. In about a mile, immediately after the Winnipesaukee Plaza/Lowe's on the left and the Gilford Mobil Mart (603) 524-8014 on the right, take a right. Follow Weirs Boulevard for 3 miles along Paugus Bay to Weirs Beach.

          This old postcard (required postage 1¢!) shows Weirs Bay from the Winnecoette (later the location of the Shangri-La Motel, then the Brickyard Mountain Inn, and now the Village at Winnipesaukee condominiums). From left to right, one sees Mt Chocorua off in the distance, Spindle Point, the Ossipee mountains, and Stondam Island.

          Spindle Point. The 40' tall lighthouse at the very end of the narrow penninsula, below left, built in 1892 by Colonel Charles H. Cummings for his daughter's use as an observatory and art studio, was never used as a lighthouse. However, ever since its construction, it has become a landmark of Weirs Bay. Weirs Beach's newest faux lighthouse, below right, built in 2004, stands out prominently above the Meredith Bay (formerly known as Akwa Soleil) housing development on top of Weirs Beach's Brickyard Mountain. It serves as a city water tower and cellular phone tower.

Click here to enlarge this photo of the lighthouse at Spindle Point
Photo of faux lighthouse atop Brickyard Mountain ©WmHemmel/AerialPhotoNH.com
          3) Slightly longer, but by far the EASIEST way to drive to Weirs Beach, is to follow Route 93 to Exit 23, in New Hampton. Then take Route 104 East. When 104 comes to an end, take a right onto Route 3 South, and in 4 miles, you'll be at Weirs Beach.
Click to see a larger, clearer map

Click to see a larger, clearer map

Q: Which postcard is older? A: The postcard on the left has the newer Mount Washington.
Therefore, the postcard on the right is older.

          The FUNNEST way to get to Weirs Beach is to come by boat or train.

          Board the M/S Mount Washington in Center Harbor, Wolfeboro, or Meredith and take a relaxing cruise to Weirs Beach.

Click here to enlarge this postcard of the Mount approaching Weirs Beach, and to see the Mount approaching Wolfeboro, Center Harbor, and Alton Bay, as well.
Click here to see a postcard of the approach to Weirs Beach in the late 1920's

          Or, from Lakeport or from Meredith, take a scenic ride along the lake on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad to Weirs Beach.

Train from Lakeport pulls into Weirs Beach

Train from Meredith pulls into Weirs Beach

Train photos by Eric Austin
          The QUICKEST way to get to Weirs Beach is to come by plane. Fly in, on a private or charter flight, to the Laconia Municipal Airport (only five minutes from Weirs Beach.) You can call the Laconia Airport Authority for more information at (603) 524-5003.



          If you are flying into New England, consider making your destination the Manchester–Boston Regional Airport, rather than Boston's Logan International. You'll find a modern, comfortable airport, featuring several major commercial airlines. Manchester is an hour closer to Weirs Beach than Boston. Click here for a map of non-stop flights to Manchester.


                   
Photo of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport ©Yahoo Maps

          Whether flying into Manchester or Boston, you can get door-to-door service to any place in Weirs Beach (or the Lakes Region) with the LRST Airport Shuttle Service (603) 286-8181.

Photo of Laconia Municipal Airport ©WmHemmel/AerialPhotoNH.com
          Northeast Airlines, which had been started by the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1931, offered regular air service to Laconia during the 1950's and 1960's. In 1972 the airline was sold to Delta. Commercial airline service to Laconia continued until the mid 1980's.

Click here to enlarge this 1950's photo of Northeast Airlines

In 1960 Winnipesaukee Aviation began scheduled commuter service to Boston, which lasted until the mid 1980's

     SEAPLANE RIDES were a staple Weirs Beach attraction from the 1920's through the 1950's. One could fly right up to the Weirs Beach boardwalk!
     The Weirs Seaplane Base, established in 1923 by pioneer aviator Robert Fogg, was the first seaplane base in New Hampshire. Although the Weirs Beach seaplane base no longer exists, there are still five seaplane bases on Lake Winnipesaukee, in Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Meredith, Tuftonboro, and Wolfeboro. In 2010, seaplane rides are once again being offered locally, by the Lakes Region Seaplane Services, while open cockpit, biplane rides over the Lake can be arranged with Lakes Biplane.

          Click here to see the original, early 1920's Weirs Beach seaplane ride!
          For more information on the history of aviation in New Hampshire, check out the website of the New Hampshire Aviation Historical Society.

    Detail from a 1940's map of Lake Winnipesaukee, showing the takeoff and landing lanes for seaplanes in Weirs Bay.
      In the bottom left corner of the circa 1950 aerial photo (below left), one can see exactly where the seaplanes departed from Weirs Beach. In the late 1950's the public boat docks were extended southward and expanded, (also a foot bridge was added), causing the seaplane base to relocate to the shores of Paugus Bay, where rides continued to be offered from the 1960's through the 1980's.

          In this 1947 aerial, although the train station and wharf had been rebuilt, the public docks were still waiting for reconstruction, following the disastrous 1939 fire which destroyed the original Mount Washington.

Click here to SuperSize the above photo

          Around 1957 a footbridge (below) was added to the public docks, but they still had not been extended southward towards the beach.
          The footbridge expanded the available docking space considerably, by allowing boats to pass underneath and park in the shallow interior enclosure of the public docks.
          On October 27, 1958, the Laconia City Council authorized funds for construction of "Marina type docking facilities", where "...boats could dock or leave at will without disturbing other craft, as is the case sometimes in the old style arrangments." By the summer of 1959, the docks had been extended south another 120 feet towards the beach, providing space for "eight cruisers and a number of smaller boats."

          The CHEAPEST way to get to Weirs Beach is to come by bus. From South Station, in Boston, MA, take the Concord Coach bus to Meredith. The bus stop in Meredith is at the public parking lot next to Aubuchon Hardware on Route 3. The one-way price from Boston is about $20. Call (603) 228-3300 or 800-639-3317 for more information.
          The most recent schedule, effective on October 29, 2007, included the following trips:

                           Boston departure/Meredith arrival
                                        10:00 AM/12:25 PM
                                         5:15 PM /7:30 PM

          Once you arrive in Meredith, unfortunately, there is no public transportation* available in the area. Unless your friends or family will be meeting you at the bus stop, you will need to call a taxicab to take you the 5 miles from Meredith to Weirs Beach. You can call AJ's Taxi at (603) 279-6214 to schedule a pick-up.

          A bus parked in front of the Half Moon Restaurant, which served as the bus depot for Weirs Beach for about 40 years. Buses gradually took over from trains as the means of public transportation from Boston to Weirs Beach. Bus service from Boston to Weirs Beach began around 1940 with B&M service and continued until around 1980, when the Concord Trailways bus from Boston still stopped in Laconia, but began bypassing Weirs Beach on its way to its next stop in Meredith. Eventually, in the late 1990's, even bus service to Laconia was discontinued. The bus from Boston now bypasses Laconia between Concord and Meredith, stopping only right off the highway, in Tilton and New Hampton.

*There is a limited bus service, the Winnipesaukee Transit Authority, that services parts of Laconia, Gilford, Belmont, Tilton, and Franklin – but it does not reach to Weirs Beach or to Meredith.
          Sid Ames told the webmaster the following story: The buses used to stop in Weirs Beach for a half an hour. We would always feed the bus driver last, so the customers wouldn't get nervous...

          The new Laconia Street Railway was created in 1928 to replace its former namesake, which had operated electric trolleys, beginning in 1899, and continuing until bankruptcy in 1925. It operated local bus service to Laconia, Lakeport, and to the Weirs until 1938, when it was split in two. The Laconia Transit Company offered charters, while the Laconia Street Railway continued with its local service. In 1956 the Laconia Transit Co was sold to the Laconia Bus Company, and in 1960 the Laconia Street Railway was sold to Sprague Inc.
Click here to see a large detailed copy of this old map of Weirs Beach, published in 1892 in Boston by D.H. Hurd & Co.

          From a 1976 Weirs Chamber of Commerce brochure. The 1973 oil crisis had resulted in a quadrupling of gasoline prices by 1974. Clearly this was an area of concern at the time of this ad. Apparently, also at this time, 15 miles per gallon was considered "average" for cars.
          In 2007, even with a national average fuel economy approaching the mid-20's for cars, gasoline prices are once again a major area of concern for visitors and the tourist industry.

          The chart on the right shows that, while fuel prices have increased 300%, from about 75¢ a gallon in the mid-70's to about $2.25 a gallon today, the real increase, adjusted for inflation, is from about $1.50 to about $2.00 a gallon - only about a 33% increase. Combined with an increase of 50% in gas mileage (from 15mpg to 22.5mpg today), fuel costs have actually decreased slightly since the 1970's, calculated on the basis of "Miles Per Real Dollar" — 10 miles per real dollar in the 1970's; 11.25 miles per real dollar today.

Here is a fun, illustrated Lake map from the early 1950's. Click here to enlarge.

     In 1939, whether you came to Weirs Beach by Rail, Air, or Bus, you would have traveled with the Boston and Maine!
Detail from a 1903 map of Lake Winnipesaukee


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