A Great Weekend Tour to Lake Winnipesaukee
By Peter Hanson
Thirty-nine members and guests of The Maine Region AACA and the New England Region of the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club (NER-LCOC) participated in and enjoyed a great weekend driving tour around Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia, New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, June 4 & 5, 2010. It was jointly organized by Donald Jordon of the NER-LCOC and Peter Hanson of both our club and the NER-LCOC.
On Friday, most everyone teamed up in groups to convoy over to The Margate Resort in Laconia on what turned out to be a very bright, sunny afternoon. Many of the couples who attended spent the first evening visiting and getting acquainted under warm, pleasant skies out on the beachfront Gazebo Bar overlooking the lake.
After a quick, early morning thunderstorm, Saturday’s driving tour began under warm, pleasant skies with a brief stop at Alton Bay before continuing on to the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, which features WWII military and civilian era memorabilia… remember the old fashioned dentist chairs, parlor stoves and sitting by the radio listening to the latest news? Then it was off to our main destination, the Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, a 5500 acre estate high atop the Ossipee Mountains overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. Because everyone seemed to arrive quite hungry, we decided to begin our visit with an open-air luncheon on the Carriage House patio. This allowed us time to enjoy some good food and fellowship before beginning our scheduled group tour of the Castle known historically as "Lucknow". Of interest to some of us Mainers, its original owner was Thomas Plant, a native of Bath, Maine who went out into the world at an early age and made a fortune in the shoe business. In prehistoric times, the site was once a mountain peak three times higher than the present Mount Washington, but was substantially reduced to its present size by volcanic action. 1000 Italian craftsman spent 18 months constructing the Castle out of the volcanic rock found on site. All of the lumber used for constructing the Castle was cut from the timber on-site and because of his boyhood connections to Bath, Plant had it shipped there for milling. Upon its completion in 1914, Plant presented the Castle to his second wife as a wedding present. At about the same time, in honor his family in his native Bath, Thomas Plant also constructed a large mansion on lower Washington Street in Bath as a gift to the citizens of Bath, which to this day still bears his name as the Thomas Plant Home. Presently, it continues to maintain a commanding visual presence as a senior assisted living center with its sweeping views of the Kennebec River. Unfortunately, later in life Thomas Plant wound up losing most of his fortune in a series of failed investments, the most notable of which was his heavy investment in Russian bonds just before the Russian Revolution and the ensuing financial collapse of Russia! After leaving the Castle, the return trip included a stop at the Old Country Store & Museum further down the road in Moultonborough before heading down through Center Harbor and Meredith on the way back to the hotel to get ready for the dinner cruise.
A "Poker Run" was organized by Don & Della Jordan of the NER-LCOC as a part of our driving tour on Saturday. John Worth of our club ended up with the winning hand. The proceeds netted each club $40. John also conducted one of our traditional 50-50 raffles, with our own George Enman ending up being the lucky winner. The proceeds netted each club $37.50. All in all, it was a very good day!
The Saturday Night Rock ‘n Roll Dinner Cruise aboard the Mount Washington out of Weir’s Beach in Laconia was a fun-filled, enjoyable experience! 34 club members and their guests boarded the boat early under a warm, sunny sky for the 3-hour cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee. Everyone seemed to enjoy the buffet dinner prior to departure, and once under way, listened and danced to the live band which did a fabulous job playing all of the great old rock ‘n roll songs of our era. Many also enjoyed a pleasant evening topside on the open deck mixing and mingling with each other as well as some of the other guests, including a bachelor party and a wedding party having a reception on board. NER-LCOC member Doug Grant, who also is a Lincoln-Mercury dealer in Manchester, NH and a life-long summer resident on the lake, entertained many of us with his extensive knowledge of life on the lake, including a lot of historical tidbits along with pointing out the mansions of many of its famous, present-day, summer residents such as the Marriott family of hotel fame, the Walgreen family of drugstore fame, and numerous other notables such as former Congressman Bob Dole and "our own" Bob Bahre.
Lucky for us, weatherwise, we really caught a sunny break for most of the weekend. Despite the dismal weather forecasts at the time, Friday turned out to be absolutely beautiful from dawn to dusk, and except for a brief thunderstorm at dawn and an even briefer one in late afternoon before leaving for the boat, Saturday was mostly sunny, warm and pleasant, especially during the evening while we were out on the lake. Although we had some light rain showers on Sunday, it was still a nice ride home nevertheless.
The overwhelming sentiment by most who attended this weekend event was that they look forward to doing it again, perhaps even making it an annual event. Thanks to everyone from both clubs who went! Who knows, maybe we’ll all catch up again somewhere next year, so stay tuned!