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10 Plus with Kathy Eaton: Enjoying Lakes Region Life

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - June 24, 2013


Kathy Eaton with Molly the Trolley.

Some people never retire and never stop planning and trying new things. Such is the case with Kathy and Dick Eaton, creators and original owners of The Laker. They continue to run a Wolfeboro icon, Molly the Trolley, and to promote the Lakes Region and Wolfeboro as vacation destinations.

1. How long have you lived in NH and what brought you here?

“I’ve lived in the Wolfeboro area all my life. I was born in Massachusetts and my parents moved to the area when I was a baby. I attended Alton and Massachusetts schools. I attended Suffolk University in Boston for journalism and communications, but I always came back to the Lakes Region. I have roots in the area dating to 1893 when my great-grandparents bought property on Jolly Island.”

2. What is your background? You have certainly done it all, from co-owning The Laker at one time to owning and operating the Wolfeboro Trolley and the Millie B boat rides.

“I have a bachelor of science in Journalism and Communications from Suffolk University. After I moved back to Wolfeboro, I worked for the Granite State News as a reporter where I stayed until 1979. I also worked as news director at WASR in Wolfeboro. I started The Laker with Dick Eaton in 1984. I also have now-grown children.”

3. What did you do at The Laker as editor?

“Well, The Laker was started because Dick was looking for a way to bring more tourism and business to Wolfeboro. He saw that there was a need for a summer tourist newspaper. The Laker was an immediate success and there was nothing else like it in the area. I handled all the writing and got into advertising sales as well. Dick focused on the advertising/business side of the paper. It worked well because I have a journalism background and I knew many local people. Dick had run a Wolfeboro business, the Basket Barn, and he understood tourism as well as business. We both grew up spending summers on the lake — Dick moved to Wolfeboro full-time in 1979. He had been in real estate development in the past.”

4. You know a lot about local tourism. How did you move from newspapers to running a trolley and the Millie B boat?

“Dick and I both have an entrepreneurial spirit. We have lived tourism for years. The Laker was tourism-related and Dick’s work in real estate and as a shop owner also was tourism-related. When we see an idea we love and think it would work for Wolfeboro, we give it consideration. We had the idea that it would be neat to have a boat available for rides in Wolfeboro. I had grown up around boats. The idea was for a nostalgic old boat to offer rides to the public. We started the Millie B in 1998 when we still owned The Laker. We started Molly the Trolley/Wolfeboro Trolley in 1987. Dick saw it as a way to bring people into Wolfeboro and to alleviate some of the heavy summertime traffic issues.”

5. You have sold a few businesses and continued with others. Please talk about that.

“We sold Panoramic Publishing (The Laker and its sister publications, such as Dining Out) to Brad and Fran Lipe in 2001. We sold the Millie B. to the NH Boat Museum in 2011; it’s such a great choice for the boat and it has found a very good home. We own and continue to run the Wolfeboro Trolley Company.”

6. Where did you get the idea for the trolley and why is it called Molly the Trolley?

“We bought the trolley from a company in Ogunquit ME and it was already called Molly. This is actually the second Molly — we had to replace the first trolley in about 2005.”

7. What is this summer’s schedule for the trolley?

“The trolley runs on weekends from Memorial Day to late June and from Labor Day to Columbus Day, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It runs daily in July and August from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and tours begin on the hour from the Wolfeboro Town Docks and the Railroad Station Information Center.”

8. Does the trolley offer transportation for charters, such as for weddings?

“We do a lot of private charters and we will be busy right through the fall until the end of November this year. We do a lot of wedding charters as well as other group charters. And this year we are bringing back summer dinner-theatre.”

9. What will the dinner-theatre offer?
“We used to do the dinner-theatre but we stopped for a while. We were asked to bring it back this summer. We will be offering trolley dinner-theatre three nights a week: Tuesdays to Inter-Lakes Summer Theatre in Meredith; Wednesdays to the Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth; and to the Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith on Thursdays. We will pick up passengers at either the Woodshed Restaurant in Moultonborough or at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro. Dinner on all three nights is at The Woodshed. The ticket includes the trolley ride, dinner, and the theatre. Seating at the theatres is orchestra and we start the week after July 4. You must have reservations for the dinner theatre.”

10. What do you love about the Lakes Region and what keeps you here?
“We have done a lot of traveling over the years and been many places. We have been to the Great Wall of China, to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Caribbean; but I have never seen a place as beautiful as the Lakes Region in the many places we have been. That is the reason we stay. Wolfeboro is a wonderful town; after all, who wouldn’t want to live in a Norman Rockwell painting? That is the way I see Wolfeboro.”

11. Is there anything else new at the trolley this year?

“We will be offering all-day passes for one or two days. It’s a fun way to get around Wolfeboro and to take the tour to see points of interest. The trolley drivers are all very experienced.”

12. What do you think the Lakes Region will be like 10 years from now?

“I don’t think it will be a lot different. If I look back 20 to 30 years, it is really not much different. I do think we will continue to take better care of the area, to keep it clean and preserve it.”

13. You are still very busy. Do you ever find time for your personal writing?

“I break away to find time to write. I write when we go on vacation because I bring my laptop computer. If only I could get up at 5 a.m. like I used to, I would get more writing done! I have, however, finished one novel and another is in the works.”

14. What plans are in your future?

“We are always looking for new opportunities. Dick is always thinking and reading and coming up with new ideas. We also plan to keep enjoying the lake and our ever-growing family of children and grandchildren.”

To learn more about Wolfeboro Trolley Company and this summer’s dinner-theatre, visit or call 603-569-1080. 

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