Tourism has long been the leading business for Alton since the middle 1800's. Most visitors come for Lake Winnipesaukee, but there are many other beautiful and smaller bodies of water in the area. Attractions for visitors to Alton are within close proximity of the lake and other natural resources. Thousands of tourists pass through and visit Alton especially during the summer and fall seasons. The Merrymeeting River meanders from Alton Bay and offers boating and fishing enthusiasts many recreational activities. The views from the summits of Mt. Major and Straightback Mountain offer spectacular scenery and hikers can pick blueberries in season on their way to the top. Alton Bay has a more seasonal ambience, with a Chamber of Commerce, the Christian Conference Center, restaurants, marinas, post office, craft shops, and municipal swimming facilities with parks and campgrounds. Every season, the M/S Mt. Washington comes into port picking up passengers at the site of the former Railroad Station. The station now serves as a Community Center.
A racing association was formed in the mid 1920s by a group of men from Alton Bay. One of a few aquatic bandstands ever built, it was constructed in 1928 by the racing association with two purposes in mind: one obviously for band concerts, which was town entertainment around the turn of the century. The other reason was to use as a judge’s stand during boat races. It was constructed with cribs over a natural ledge already in the Bay and located halfway between the rail station and Victoria Pier. It recently underwent some restoration and is now back to its original glory, continuing to be a beloved symbol of the town of Alton.
This mountain gets five stars for the amazing 360 degree views of the lake, Alton Bay, and the White Mountains to the north (on a clear day Mount Washington is visible from the summit) while at the same time being one of the nicest and easiest hikes close to Boston. There are three trails to the top, all dog-friendly, and it gets very busy in the summer. If you are hiking with children, start in the morning to leave yourself plenty of time for exploring on the way and lots of viewing time at the top. Enjoy!hikenewengland.com
When you’re flying the last thing you want to hear about is ice on the runway, so it sounds completely nuts to say that a plane is going to land on a runway entirely made of ice. But that’s just what happens each winter at Lake Winnipesaukee’s Alton Bay. The Alton Bay ice runway is the only FAA-approved ice runway in the continental U.S., and it is truly amazing. Annually the runway usually opens mid to late January, once the ice is 12+” thick. The ice runway attracts several hundred pilots during the winter season.
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