Take 5: Summer Boat Rides

Jul 27, 2018

Gundalow in Portsmouth
Credit gundalow.org

Hot days call for cool water. If you are looking for an aquatic adventure, consider a sail on a Gundalow out of Portsmouth, a jaunt on a runabout on Lake Winnipesaukee, or a narrated cruise of Lake Sunapee.

A Gundalow is a shallow drafted cargo barge, sometimes measuring over 70 feet long and 19 feet wide, and constructed of wood.  Here in New Hampshire, Gundalows were used in the Gulf of Maine’s rivers and estuaries to carry freight between the towns of the Piscataqua region and ocean-going schooners.  Today, the nonprofit Gundalow Company offers a plethora of rides on a replica boat built in 2011.  You can take the Portsmouth Harbor cruise, or sail up the Piscataqua River past Kittery, Newington and Eliot.  On Thursdays and Saturdays, there are concert cruises with music ranging from Bluegrass to Jazz.  The mission of the Gundalow Company is to: “protect the Piscataqua Region’s maritime heritage and environment through education and action.”

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If you are looking for a nostalgic motorboat ride, travel to Wolfeboro to the New Hampshire Boat Museum.  The museum owns a 28-foot, triple cockpit mahogany boat—an exact replica of a classic 1928 lake craft.  Don your sunglasses and summer whites for a 45-minute narrated ride around Lake Winnipesaukee on the Mille B.  In addition to catching the breeze and a tan, you will learn about the lake’s history, geography and wildlife.  After your ride, you can tour the summer museum exhibit: Rare Boats that Mark Transitions in Our Economy and Culture 1900-1940, and also check out the collection of toy boats.

For an afternoon or evening tour that includes views of lighthouses, mountains and summer homes, jump aboard the MV MT Sunapee or the MV Kearsarge for an excursion around Lake Sunapee.  You can choose the 1 ½ hour day cruise or the 2 hour dinner cruise.  If you are lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of Steven Tyler, one of the better-known residents of the Sunapee region.