Wadleigh SP in Summer – a Reassessment

A few days ago I visited Wadleigh State Park for a quick picnic by the lake.  Even in the summer this lovely spot is underutilized, and that’s a shame.

Sunset on the beach of Kezar Lake - Wadleigh State Park

Sunset on the beach of Kezar Lake – Wadleigh State Park

In my previous post, I wondered if this park got more visitors in the summer.  The answer seems to be yes, but not many.  At least this time there was someone collecting admission, although after 5 pm it’s all on the honor system.DSC07566A few folks were swimming, a few picnicking like me, a few kids were enjoying the swing set, but on the whole the park was pretty empty.  There were quite a few folks at the very small beach just outside the park and a few boaters as well so it’s not as if people are avoiding the lake.  It’s just that the park remains to be discovered.  And there’s really a lot to be discovered.  The park lies just a mile or two from the interstate (I89) so it’s easy to get to.  Once there, you are easily carried away to another place and time, a time when summer was slow-paced and relaxing.  Kezar Lake was once surrounded by hotels and inns, where residents of the cities to the south would travel for their summer vacations.  Enough of the old flavor remains and virtually nothing new and intrusive has arrived to spoil it.

North Sutton from the town beach on Kezar Lake

North Sutton from the town beach on Kezar Lake

The Vernondale Store in North Sutton NH has been delightfully restored.

The Vernondale Store in North Sutton NH has been delightfully restored.

The Follansbee Inn in North Sutton NH

The Follansbee Inn in North Sutton NH

This time I had the pleasure of visiting the Vernondale Store, located just a stone’s throw from the park.  I expected a typical New England country store but instead discovered it to be completely restored, with a sparkling soda fountain and shiny lunch counter inside.  Across the street is the Follansbee Inn, which is undoubtedly one of the survivors from when this was a prime vacation destination.

Enjoying an ice cream at the restored soda fountain and lunch counter in the Vernondale Store - North Sutton NH

Enjoying an ice cream at the restored soda fountain and lunch counter in the Vernondale Store – North Sutton NH

Tending the flowers at the Vernondale Store

Tending the flowers on the porch of the Vernondale Store

A mile or so away is the Muster Ground Farm Museum, too.

The old schoolhouse at the Muster Ground Farm Museum in North Sutton NH

The old schoolhouse at the Muster Ground Farm Museum in North Sutton NH

All in all, the little town of North Sutton is a delight to visit, and Wadleigh State Park, with a little marketing, could easily tap into and enhance the town’s appeal.  For that reason, I’m upgrading it from a “C List” park (visit if you’re in the area) to a “B List” (worth a visit).  Happy travels!

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