Where does the boardwalk begin and end?
What will I find along the way?
          The boardwalk BEGINS on Lakeside Avenue, just after the entrance to Weirs Beach. It runs the full length of Weirs Beach, offering a gorgeous view of the lake and mountains with every step. There are wide wooden benchs every few feet where one can sit and rest and appreciate the view. And the boardwalk provides easy access to Lake Winnipesaukee. In fact, there are four ways to get down from the boardwalk to the lake.

          At the boardwalk's start is the first way down. Stairs lead down to the middle of the beach, where the picnic area and the bathhouse (1962) are located. Here there is also handicap access to the beach via an adjoining ramp.

          Directly across from the Beachview parking lot there is another entrance to the boardwalk. This previously led to a set of stairs that descended down to the beach, but these stairs were removed when the boardwalk was reconstructed in 2010.

          In the MIDDLE of the boardwalk, the second set of stairs will take you down to the public boat docks. Soon you come to a little foot bridge with built-in seats (see the left side of the painting below, "Early Arrivals", by Alton, NH artist Peter Ferber), where it is fun to sit and watch the boats go by. Continue to the very end of the docks, where you can dangle your feet in the water and breath in the fresh breeze off the lake. (This stairway is also currently closed.)

     Click here to enlarge the painting and for additional information.

         The third way down from the boardwalk will take you from the cruise boat ticket offices/train station down the long ramp to the cruise boats: the M/S Mount Washington, the Sophie C., and the Doris E. Before heading down the ramp, check out the information center. There are racks and racks of brochures, and local newspapers. You'll also find a convenient Laconia Savings Bank ATM machine if you need cash. There are also public restrooms in this building.

          Train station, ramp, and Lady of the Lake cruise ship circa 1880. Note how the cupola on the current (1987) station resembles the observation deck of the exquisitely detailed 1880-1892 station.

          The current station is the 5th on this spot, following the original, 1848-1879 station (right); the 1880-1892 station shown here; the 1893-1939 station, notable mainly for its 500' long canopy over the boardwalk; and the 1940-1986 station.

          At this point the boardwalk will widen considerably as you reach the center of Weirs Beach. Here you'll find the ticket booth to the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad,



as well as many park benchs for lake-viewing or people-watching, depending on which direction one is facing. Many summertime activities, including square dancing, band concerts, etc., occur in this central Weirs Beach location.

          The original Weirs Beach station and wharf burned on March 11, 1871.
Source: Th. S. Jewett. It was quickly replaced with a similar building.
          Railroad men pose leaning against 4-4-0 steam engine "Coos" circa 1890; boardwalk on left, Veterans 9th &11th regiment building on right.
          The train arrives at the Weirs Beach station in 1937. Click here to enlarge.
          The fourth way down to the Lake leads to the Winnipesaukee Pier. Head down the ramp, passing by several shops, and then, just before reaching the arcade, a set of stairs will lead down to Anchor Marine, where you can rent a boat, if you wish, to further explore the lake (highly recommended).

          The fourth way down to the Lake, circa 1965. At the right of the photo, the stairway to the Marina. Click here to see the complete photo.

The footbridge seen on the right of the postcard led to a public bandstand. Built in the late 1920's, the bandstand and footbridge were gone by the late 1950's. Now the site of a miniature golf course.

          The Winnipesaukee Gardens opened in May 1925, and for 50 years the most famous big bands in America played there. In 1973, the webmaster of this website saw the amazing - and unforgettable -Duke Ellington (1899-1974) at his very last Weirs Beach performance. In 1976 the big band era ended forever in Weirs Beach, as the ballroom that once accommodated "2000 dancers" was converted to an arcade, along with a name change back to its original name, the Winnipesaukee Pier.

          The original Winnipesaukee Pier. Click here to enlarge the above photo and for several bonus pictures. Built in 1910 by H.H. Buffum, this pier only lasted 15 years before it was replaced by the current structure.

          Below, the Hotel Weirs wharf (circa 1885-1910), which preceded the original Winnipesaukee Pier. Click here to enlarge the photo and for some additional photos and more info.

          At the END of the boardwalk, if your walk has made you hungry, walk straight ahead to the Winnipesaukee Marketplace, where you'll find the Patio Garden Restaurant, the StageView SubShop & Grill, and JB Scoops Ice Cream.

          The 39th Army Band of the New Hampshire National Guard was founded in Manchester in 1879, and is still stationed there, at the State Armory on Canal Street. The band has represented the United States on a variety of overseas missions. The band is comprised of approximately 40 musicians, representing many communities throughout the state of New Hampshire. Shown above performing on the Weirs Beach boardwalk on July 2, 2000.

          Union soldiers lead while Confederate soldiers follow as a civil war military parade u-turns in the middle of the boardwalk, summer of 1975. Click here for a larger view.

          Taking a stroll down the boardwalk around 1957. Click here to enlarge the photo and to see a similar bonus picture.


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