Saturday Night Wagon Rides Still Going Strong

Holiday-Horses-1024x695This winter, The Inns and Spa at Mill Falls are continuing a favorite activity—the Saturday Night Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides!  This good old-fashioned fun has become a tradition in Meredith Village, where folks can even warm up by a campfire on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

On selected Saturdays through February, the horse-drawn wagon circles the village and makes several stops at all four of the Mill Falls Inns between the hours of 5:30 and 8:00pm.  Guests who are staying at the Inns can jump on for a charming ride to and from dinner, or just for fun!  Make one of your stops at Bay Point, where you’ll find a cozy campfire, complete with marshmallows for toasting, as long as the weather is cooperative!

Celebrate the spirit of Saint Valentine and take someone you love to Meredith this February.  What could be more romantic than snuggling up against the cold with the rhythmic sounds of horses’ hooves clapping on the streets?  Basking in the magic of a crackling campfire could only top it off!

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team

The Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby is Coming!

Derby Slide Show042It’s that time of year again—Lake Winnipesaukee is frozen over and bob houses are starting to appear on the ice.  Soon, Meredith will be hosting the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby!

This year’s Derby will take place Saturday and Sunday, February 12th – 13th, with a free ice fishing panel discussion kicking off the event on Friday evening, February 11th, at the Meredith Community Center.  At the Tip-Up Talk forum, N.H. Fish and Game’s Don Miller and local experts will discuss ice fishing tips, techniques, and equipment.

The two-day Ice Fishing Derby is one of the top fund-raising events in the state, enabling The Meredith Rotary Club to donate more than $1.5 million back into the community for charitable projects, area improvements, scholarships, and individuals and families in need.  The Rotary Club, in consultation with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, also stocks tagged fish in several New Hampshire Lakes as part of an ongoing fisheries management plan.  During the Derby, N.H. Fish and Game biologists Don Miller and John Viar will collect valuable data on the fish that are caught.

Now in its 32nd year, the Ice Fishing Derby is one of the most well attended events in New Hampshire.  Fishermen, their families, and friends come to Meredith from all over the country in hopes of snagging the heaviest Meredith Rotary-tagged rainbow trout and claiming the grand prize.  This year’s First Prize is an 18-foot Pioneer sport fiberglass fishing boat and Tidewater trailer valued at over $25,500.  Second Prize is a Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV and trailer valued at $7,000, and Third Prize is a complete ice fishing package, including a Frabil Guardian portable bob house with tow hitch, auger, underwater camera, and fish finder, valued at $3,000.  Hundreds of other prizes are awarded throughout the weekend as well.

On Saturday, February 12th, the Fish and Game Department’s “Let’s Go Fishing” Program presents free hands-on clinics for kids and their parents on the basics of ice fishing, including rules and regulations and tips on how to keep warm, how to set up up a tip-up, what bait to use, and other handy information.  All participants will receive a “goodie” bag of treats and then have a chance to fish!

Also this year, the enhanced Derby Rewards Program will enable everyone with a valid Derby Ticket to receive discounts at a wide variety of restaurants, hotels, and shops throughout New Hampshire.  You don’t have to be a fisherman to take advantage of these discounts!  Derby tickets and fishing licenses are available at Derby Headquarters and local bait and tackle shops.  Tickets are $30 per person and are good for both days.  Check out the official Fishing Derby page for more information, and have fun out on the ice!

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team

The New England Pond Hockey Classic Returns to Meredith

PHC_NE_colorThe second annual New England Pond Hockey Classic is about to take over Meredith Bay, and this year the tournament will be even bigger and better!  The organization’s first ever event last year was so successful, it’s grown to accommodate over twice as many teams and rinks out on the frozen waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, as well as a couple of new tournaments in New England.

The response we had last year was amazing,” says PHC director Scott Crowder.  “That our first year went as well as it did was pretty great on our end.  So we obviously wanted to bring it back and we actually expanded it, so we have two more tournaments this year, one on Lake Champlain in Colchester VT and one with the Manchester Monarchs in Manchester.  The tournament here in Meredith is going to have over 160 teams, and we’ll have 15 to 16 rinks out on the lake, so that’s close to 1000 participants.”

As a new feature this year, the player locker room tents will be out on the ice so the athletes can skate in and skate out.  Another fun addition will be the beer garden that The Common Man is doing right in front of Lago.  “We’re doing a little Fan Zone with some hockey skills competition, and things like that,” says Crowder.  “It’s really turning into more of a carnival!  We’re going to have the ReMax hot air balloon giving rides, we’ll do helicopter rides again, which is what we did last year, the Greater Meredith Program is doing a chili cook-off on Saturday afternoon… to have something that’s a nice outdoor activity that people can enjoy in the middle of winter is a nice treat.”pond hockey in Meredith

Last February, 77 teams from throughout the region competed over a three day weekend on Lake Winnipesaukee.  The event brought many athletes and fans to Meredith and earned PHC the 2010 Lakes Region Association Tourism Award.  “We’ve had a great response from local businesses this year,” says Crowder.  “We have a lot of local sponsors on board, and you can find them all on our website.  To have the support of the local businesses is great.”

The official outfitter and sponsor of this year’s event is Earthtec, a Portsmouth, NH based company that makes eco-friendly apparel.  Says Crowder, “They’re absolutely amazing.  The CEO of Earthtec actually played in the tournament last year… they’re our official apparel for all of our events.  They make all of their stuff out of recycled materials or organic cotton and wool, so their products are top-notch, top of the line.”  All tournament participants will have the opportunity to buy official merchandise provided by Earthtec, and each participant will receive a free Earthtec Pond Hockey Classic winter hat.

With Earthtec, PHC is launching Pond Hockey Classic Green, “to do our part to curb our environmental impact,” says Crowder.  “If this Earth keeps heating up we’re not going to have any ice to do these tournaments on.”  PHC is also partnering with Athletes for a Fit Planet, a company that greens events by working with organizers to reduce their event’s environmental footprint with consulting services and sustainability practices, such as the opportunity for all PHC participants to buy carbon offsets to counteract their travel to and from the event.  All registration is taking place online, so there are no paper forms to mail, store, and dispose of later.

Pond hockey athletes are also encouraged to bring their previously used equipment to donate to Restore Hockey, the tournament’s official non-profit partner.  Restore Hockey recycles the equipment and donates it back to children who don’t have the ability to play the sport due to the financial burden.

Crowder hopes that after the big weekend, local folks will continue to use and enjoy some of the rinks that they are creating.  “That’s what happened last year, which was great.  I drove by a couple weeks after and I had never seen kids skating out there, and all of a sudden there were families out there on Saturday and Sunday afternoon that were using the rinks because we made them, so hopefully this event can urge people to play some hockey in the Lakes Region, because I don’t think it’s as big a sport as it really could be.”

The 2nd Annual Pond Hockey Classic Tournament will take place February 4th through 6th, 2011, in Meredith, NH.  For those who can’t make it to see all the excitement in person, the event will be broadcast on the official website, pondhockeyclassic.tv, where viewers can watch live streaming action as well as replays of past games.  Mark your calendars, and don’t forget to check in!

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team

Images courtesy of Pond Hockey Classic

Church Landing Expansion to Provide More Event Space

Artist's rendition of the new "Carriage House" event space at Church Landing

Artist's rendition of the new "Carriage House" event space at Church Landing

The Winnipesaukee Ballroom, along with several other meeting and event rooms at Church Landing, have long been top destinations for business and social events in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and soon, there will be even more meeting space at this favorite Meredith location!  The Inns & Spa at Mill Falls is renovating a covered parking area at Church Landing to offer more options to groups that require additional breakout rooms, vendor space, and dining areas.

Construction is underway to enclose the carport at Church Landing, which will provide 1,700 additional square feet of meeting space, as well as an expanded lobby area of 955 square feet.  This new facility, called the “Carriage House,” will also have fourteen-foot ceilings and offer expansive views of Lake Winnipesaukee.  In keeping with the style of Church Landing, the rooms will be decorated with dark wood and other Adirondack features.

The Carriage House is scheduled to open this coming May, and several groups, including the New Hampshire School Library Media Association and the New Hampshire Dental Society, are already booking the space.

“The Dental Society has used Church Landing for conferences and meetings for years, not only because of the wonderful facilities and picturesque location, but because of the top-notch service,” said Jim Williamson, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Dental Society.  “We were delighted to hear about the expansion at Church Landing because it will allow us to meet our growing need for meeting space and stay at a location our members enjoy.”

In the meantime, the four-season resort’s other event rooms are still available for groups of five to 300 people.  Let the classic elegance of Lake Winnipesaukee provide the perfect setting for your special event!

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team