The Lakes Region’s many shops and gorgeous scenery make it a prime destination for shoppers hoping to cross items off of their holiday gift-giving list. With the addition of New Hampshire’s tax-free status, it’s easy to tell why so many shoppers frequent the shops and attractions stationed all around the lakes and ponds. One trip around the famous Lake Winnipesaukee provides plenty of opportunities for finding the perfect gifts all while enjoying a picturesque New England getaway at the same time.
A good place to start your holiday shopping is a little bit south of Lake Winnipesaukee itself in Tilton, one of the Lakes Region’s best shopping locations because of the Tanger Outlets. In this one shopping plaza, there are over 50 outlet stores, including popular brand names such as Brooks Brothers, Coach, Nike, Jockey, Old Navy, GAP, and Polo Ralph Lauren. There is also a children’s playground on site and an UNO’s restaurant for when you need to take a break.
Follow Route 93 north to Laconia to start a loop around Lake Winnipesaukee. The Laconia Antiques Center is the biggest antiques store in the state, with over 22,000 square feet of antiques. If you’re looking for keepsakes reminiscent of the Lakes Region but not the usual souvenirs, visit the Belknap Mill Gift Shop for art, books, jewelry, or their most popular item: socks made with on-site with the mill’s vintage knitting machines.
The Mill Falls Marketplace in Meredith has beautiful stores full of treasures to help you remember your time in the Lakes Region.
From Laconia, head north to Meredith, where you’ll find the Mill Falls Marketplace. Enjoy an ice cream while walking the paths of this peaceful lakeside shopping venue. Within this five-floor shopping village, you’ll find shops with clothing, jewelry, home furnishings and décor, books, candy, art and more. Also in Meredith is the Annalee Outlet, which sells the famous felt dolls, characters and keepsakes they’ve been making in New Hampshire since 1915. A little drive away is The Old Print Barn, one of the largest art galleries in New England, which has a wide-spanned inventory of both original and printed artwork in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges arranged throughout the Civil War-era barn and its lofts.
Meredith is also right next to Center Harbor, home to quilter’s paradise Keepsake Quilting, which has one of the largest selections of cotton fabrics in New England, with its attached knitting store, Patternworks. A little farther east, pay tribute to one of the Lakes Region’s most well-loved wildlife creatures at the Loon Center in Moultonborough, NH. Their gift shop, The Loon’s Feather, has clothing, jewelry, toys, games, books, kitchen items, home décor and more all dedicated to the majestic loon. At Beyond Obsession in Moultonborough, you will find frugal but fabulous fashion jewelry and accessories, and 5% of each of your purchases goes to a local charity. A little north in Sandwich, the Surroundings Art Gallery hosts New England artists whose love for the region shows in the many medias of fine art the gallery has to offer. Be sure to check their website before you visit, as the gallery has limited hours during the colder seasons
Hampshire Pewter in Wolfeboro.
While in this area, you may be tempted to take a slight detour from Lake Winnipesaukee to visit Squam Lake and Holderness, where two popular lodging areas have quaint and well-stocked gift shops: the Red Barn shop at Squam Lake Inn and the gift shop at Cottage Place on Squam. Both have home décor, candy and toys, jewelry and accessories, and more.
Next, travel around the northern tip of the Lake towards Wolfeboro. Here you’ll want to visit Hampshire Pewter, whose beautiful pewter items are made in the original colonial method, have become world-renowned through their many years of making Christmas tree ornaments for the White House. Wolfeboro is also home to The Art Place, an art gallery specifically featuring artists of the Lakes Region, and Cottage Surroundings, a rustic- and lake-style home décor store.
Finish your circle around Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford, the perfect place to outfit the outdoor enthusiasts in your life for all seasons. The Mountainside Outfitters shop at Gunstock Mountain Resort offers snow and ski gear for winter adventurers of all sizes as well as GoPro cameras. The nearby Sports & Marine Parafunalia store has everything needed for your visit back to the Lakes Region during the summer: water trampolines, tubes, skis, kneeboards, wakeboards, paddleboards and more.
There are plenty of other options available for a holiday shopper traveling the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Dispersed along this route are plenty of other shops, towns, and attractions. The best resource to find out about what to add to your Lakes Region holiday shopping route is the Lakes Region Tourism Association. Their website has listings of the best shopping, dining and lodging in the region as well as photo tours and free itineraries so you can plan your Lakes Region getaway down to the last detail.
The Lakes Region Tourism Association is the official tourism board of the region, representing close to 100 communities, 273 lakes and ponds, and more than 400 businesses in central New Hampshire, including area attractions, restaurants, retail establishments and accommodations. For more information or visitors’ guides, visit LakesRegion.org, facebook.com/NHLakesRegion or follow on Twitter. For more information about New Hampshire, go to www.visitnh.gov. The LRTA office is on Route 3 in Tilton, NH and it can be reached by calling (800) 60-LAKES.