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Dockside Dining in the Lakes Region

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - May 19, 2011

This Article appears in our new summer publication, Boating on the Lakes.  For more great articles and information on Lakes Region boating, pick up a copy wherever you see The Laker.

Picture this: It’s summer time, you have just spent a perfect day on the lake with your family. As the sun sinks behind the mountains, the kids are clamoring for dinner. Cries of “We’re hungry!” fill the air.

Here’s another scenario: You have spent a beautiful day on your boat. It’s just you and your special someone. It could be a first date, an anniversary or a romantic Sunday afternoon on the lake. To top off the lake excursion, you want to take that special person out for a relaxing, romantic meal. The key to both these scenarios is finding a restaurant with boat docking or with public docking nearby.

Happily for boaters, dining out by boat offers many choices sure to please everyone. From pizza to chili to cheeseburgers to yummy ice cream and gourmet fare, head your boat toward any one of a number of towns for great dining by boat. Some restaurants are now even offering dockside take-out service; call ahead to place your order and restaurant staff will meet you at the docks with your food in hand.

The restaurants listed here have boat docking or are in walking distance of the spot where you can park your boat. This is just a sampling of the many eateries available with nearby boat docking. Plan ahead, because dock spaces get snatched up fast in the busy summer months.

Alton Bay is a bustling town during the summer and early fall months. One reason for this is the easy accessibility by boat to businesses ranging from real estate to marinas to groceries and the ever-popular ice cream and restaurant stops.

Shibley’s at the Pier is open seven days a week starting in mid April until October (the restaurant is also open during the winter) and is accessible by boat. Shibley’s at the Pier sits directly on Lake Winnipesaukee and has two to three boat slips for docking; the town docks is a mere 15 feet away. The restaurant serves sandwiches for lunch and dining for dinner is casual. Call 875-3636 for information.

Many people mark the official arrival of summer by the opening of Pop’s Clam Shell Restaurant in Alton Bay (the eatery is open weekends in May and June and seven days a week in July and August.) Pop’s is a mere stroll across Rt. 11 from the town docks, serving burgers, fries and lots of seafood, as well as ice cream. The eatery has indoor and rooftop dining (with great views of the bay area). Boaters can choose to either eat at Pop’s or carry their food take-out style to their boat.

If lobster is your passion and you find yourself in Alton Bay, head to Sandy Point Restaurant for what many say is the best lobster around. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner during the summer, Sandy Point is located on 186 Mount Major Hwy. in Alton Bay. Limited boat docking is available; call 875-6001 for details.

Shibley’s also has an ice cream eatery called Shibley’s Soft & Hard Ice Cream across the street from their Pier establishment. This place is hopping in the summer for take-out ice cream, burgers and seafood. There is a small indoor seating area and outdoor picnic tables. Boaters can grab ice cream here and head back to the boat by a quick walk across Rt. 11.

If you are craving Chinese food while out on the lake, dock at the Alton Bay town docks and take a quick walk to J. P. China Restaurant and Lounge. The eatery serves Szechwan and Cantonese cuisine and is open year round. Call 875-8899 for information or to place a take-out order ready to go when you arrive.

Who doesn’t love a diner breakfast or lunch? The Olde Bay Diner in Alton Bay is situated directly across the street from Shibley’s Ice Cream and is a quick walk from the dock area. Serving hearty breakfasts and lunches, the tiny eatery is open for breakfast and lunch year round; call ahead for hours at 875-3700.

For those on the go who are craving a delicious sandwich or soup or baked goods, Amilyne’s Corner Market, Bakery & Deli in Alton Bay is just the place. Take out items are always made fresh to order; if you are planning a party on the boat, you can get pastries or a cake here. Call 875-8888.

Although the River Run Deli is technically not on the lake, it is a great place to eat and to rent a kayak in Alton. Located just off the traffic circle on Rt. 28, River Run Deli offers wraps, pasta, potato salads and desserts. Soft serve ice cream is on the menu during the summer. For boaters with access to a car in Alton, take advantage of the River Run’s special gathering platters for large groups. Call 875-1000 to order ahead.

In downtown Alton on Main Street, you can get gourmet groceries at Fiddlehead Farms (855-2006), pick up a pizza to go at Alton Village Pizza (875-7333) or enjoy breakfast or lunch (dinner is also offered at select times) at Main St. Café (875-4745).

Not far away in the Gilford/West Alton area, stop at Ames Farm Inn on Rt. 11 for breakfast or lunch in a charming country inn. Diners love the delicious, homemade breakfasts and lunches served from June till Labor Day. You can dock your boat at the farm if you are dining there, but call ahead to find out about dock availability at 293-4321.

Looking for a delicious, relaxing meal? Head to the Glendale town docks where you can dock your boat for up to three hours. That will allow ample time to dine for lunch or dinner at the Lyon’s Den Restaurant and Tavern, which is a few steps away from the docks. Lunch and dinner is served year round; call 293-8833.

Laconia and the Weirs Beach area have many lake-access eateries; some have their own docks for diners.

In Weirs Beach, the breakfasts and lunch menu can’t be beat at Donna Jean’s Diner. Located at 1208 Weirs Boulevard, the restaurant offers boat docking on Weirs channel. Breakfast is served all day and all menu items are available for take out. Call 366-5996.

Boaters love the Naswa Resort in Weirs Beach for its great dock facilities and indoor dining as well as casual dining and socializing at the outdoor NAZBar Beach Bar and Grill. The restaurant and outdoor bar are open Memorial Day through October. When the weather turns chilly, the Naswa fires up the outdoor heaters so the fun can continue into the fall at the waterfront bar. A giant tent protects NAZBar Beach Bar and Grill customers on rainy days. Call 366-4341.

There are many dining options a short walk away from the Weirs Beach town docks. You can get pizza on the boardwalk, or Mexican plates piled high with delicious food at the Crazy Gringo on the Boulevard area.

Other Weirs Beach restaurants within walking distance of the town docks are located in the Winnipesaukee Marketplace structure on the boardwalk; nearby at 70 Endicott St. (Rt. 3) in the Weirs, the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound serves lunch and dinner and offers fun deck dining in the warmer months with great views of the lake and boats coming and going.

Looking for ice cream to make your boating day or evening complete? Head to Liliuokalani’s Ice Cream, located at 956 Weirs Boulevard in Laconia. The ice creamery serves all kinds of ice cream and deserts, hot dogs, clams and other goodies. Boaters will appreciate the docking space (space is limited, so call ahead for information). There is a picnic grove and tables and a patio bar. Call 366-9323.

Christmas Island Steak House, located at 644 Weirs Boulevard in Laconia has boat docking (spaces can be limited); call ahead to 366-4664 for information. Dinner is served nightly at Christmas Island Steak House and the restaurant specializes in prime rib, steak, seafood and lobster.

Heading to Meredith, the dining by boat options are many. The Common Man family of restaurants offers boat pick up of food. Says Shawn Brown of the Common Man family, “We encourage pick up of meals by boat. Many boaters love to dine in their boat on the lake. They pull up at our docks, pick up their orders and get back out on the lake quickly.”

Dock your boat and walk just steps to the Town Dock Restaurant, a part of the Common Man family, at 289 DW Highway. There is lakeside outdoor seating, free tie-ups for those who come by boat if you would rather not park at the town docks and a sandy outdoor Tiki Bar. This is the place for seafood, salads, burgers, hotdogs and ice cream to name but a few of the menu favorites. Call 279-3445.

Another Common Man family member eatery is the Lakehouse located inside Church Landing just a short walk on Rt. 3/DW Highway. Lakehouse serves continental breakfast, lunch and dinner and a sumptuous Sunday brunch. You can enjoy drinks in the Lakehouse lounge area before a relaxing dinner. Call 279-5221 for information.

Craving Italian food after a day of boating on the lake? Head to Lago on Meredith Bay, Route 25 (docking is nearby at the town docks or at Lago.) Lago includes a lounge, waterfront seating or dine on the patio during warmer weather and watch all the boats on Meredith Bay. Call 279-2253.

Looking for something unusual and fun when it comes to dining by boat? Pull up and dock at the town docks in Meredith and walk across Rt. 3 (please use the crosswalks because this is one busy town in the summer!) to Camp, located in the Chase House at Mill Falls. This fun little eatery offers dinners nightly with everything from Apple Fried Chicken to Camp Crackers! Call 279-3003.

For great pizza, visit Giuseppe’s Showtime Pizzeria located in Mill Falls, right across the street from the Meredith town docks. Also in Mill Falls Marketplace, the Waterfall Café serves breakfast and lunch.

Nearby, boaters can get delicious ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s, also in Mill Falls Marketplace. A short walk up Main Street brings diners to Sunshine and Pa’s, a great place to get breakfast and lunch. On Plymouth Street, George’s Diner can’t be beat for homemade baked goods, burgers, sandwiches and dinners. For a relaxed lunch or dinner in a unique setting, visit Mame’s Restaurant on Plymouth Street.  Mame’s is located in a historic, restored brick home and offers tasty dinners and casual lunches.

On Main Street in Meredith, you will find more restaurants just a brief walk away from the town docks. There is the Broken Antler serving lunches and dinners; Phu Jee for Chinese food and the Village Perk for coffee, baked goods and lunches.

Center Harbor is a pretty town with public docking at the Center Harbor town docks. The pretty town offers everything from ice cream to breakfasts to bagels delivered to the docks to elegant dinners.

Boaters craving a hearty breakfast can park at the town docks and take a five-minute walk to the Center Harbor Diner on Rt. 25. The diner is open year round for breakfast and lunch.

Elsewhere in Center Harbor, Canoe a Restaurant and Tavern on Rt. 25 is a favorite of many. Serving lunch and dinner daily, Canoe is known for its great food (desserts included!) all in a casual, fun atmosphere. Diners can call for complimentary shuttle service to and from the town docks; call 253-4762.

Are you in the mood for a great bagel and a cup of coffee? Head to Winnipesaukee Bay Gulls, located across Rt. 25 from the town docks in Center Harbor. The shop serves breakfast and lunch and is open year round. In the summer, boaters can call 707-2235 for the shop’s dockside to go service; simply call and place your order and a shop staffer will deliver your meal to the docks (they also have credit card terminal service with the delivery). This summer, Winnipesaukee Bay Gulls will be offering a hotdog cart on the town docks. For further information, call 253-3177.

Sam and Rosie’s Café & Bakery is located across Rt. 25 from the town docks and is a mere two minute walk. They are open year round, serving breakfast and lunch. Call 253-6608.

For great ice cream stand and take out foods, head to Red Hill Dari on Rt. 25 in Center Harbor. Near the Center Harbor Diner, the Dari offers ice cream and take-out foods. It’s a popular spot in summer and a short walk from the town docks. Call 253-3893.

When the sun sets, diners who want a memorable setting and gourmet food head to the Coe House. You can’t miss the restaurant because it has a cupola on top and is an elegant, restored former home. Serving dinner during the spring, summer and fall months, the restaurant features new American cuisine; a lounge with pub menu is also offered. Call ahead for town dock delivery at 253-8617. The Coe House is located a short walk from the town docks in Senter’s Market.

Wolfeboro, the oldest summer resort in America, is brimming with great restaurants within walking distance of the Wolfeboro Town Docks. In the downtown area, you can dine nearby at The Restaurant 03894, located at 37 North Main Street. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner in a casual atmosphere.

For a great breakfast or lunch in a cozy setting, the Strawberry Patch Restaurant can’t be beat. Located at 50 North Main Street in Wolfeboro, the Patch serves breakfast and lunch daily; call 569-5523.

Joe Green’s Garden Café is a popular spot with indoor/outdoor dining. The menu includes everything from pizza to fresh seafood, pasta and great salads; the full bar is famous for its refreshing frozen drinks. Located at 27 South Main Street, call 569-8668.

Upstairs at Joe Green’s, visit the Upper Deck Pub and Game Rooms for relaxed dining with incredible views of the lake, the boats and all the comings and goings in Wolfeboro. Serving lunch and dinner, atmosphere is casual and you can get in a great game of pool or darts while enjoying a drink. Call 569-8668.

The Bayside Grill and Tavern at 51 Mill Street in Wolfeboro has limited private docking for diners; you can also park at the town docks and enjoy a pretty walk to the restaurant. Serving lunch and dinner, the atmosphere is casually elegant. Call 515-1002 for information.

At Wolfe City Brick Oven Pizza, located at 11 Railroad Avenue, there is docking nearby at the town docks. Eat-in for delicious brick oven pizza or call for delivery to the town docks at 569-9900.

The Wolfeboro Inn, located at 90 North Main Street in downtown Wolfeboro, offers delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners daily in Wolfe’s Tavern. The Inn has docking for guests; it is first-come, first-served spaces for parking your boat. During the warm weather months, outdoor dining with lake views is available. The Inn is a short walk from the town docks (past some fun little shops that will entice you to stop and purchase everything from newspapers to pottery).

The Wolfetrap Grill and Raw Bar, at 19 Bay Street in Wolfeboro, is a must-stop spot. With indoor/outdoor seating, this is a great spot for those who love seafood; boat docking is available. Call 569-1047.

The Full Belli Deli serves lunch daily and offers just what its name says: you will definitely have a full belly after lunching on the delicious sandwiches and deli items on the menu! Located not far from the town docks at 15 Mill Street, you can call ahead at 569-1955.

If you want a relaxing and pretty spot for breakfast or lunch, a brief walk from the town docks will take you to the Downtown Market Grille at 33 South Main Street in Wolfeboro. Call ahead for information to 569-4504.

For great waterfront dining in Wolfeboro, stop at Garwood’s Restaurant and Pub located at 6 North Main Street. Lunch and dinner is served at Garwood’s; there are great lake views in the waterfront lounge. Docking is available; call 569-7788.

There is always a lot going on at the Wolfeboro town docks during the summer. From outdoor band concerts to fireworks over the bay, it’s a bustling spot. The Dockside Restaurant is located at the town docks and the views of the lake can’t be beat from this magnificent spot. Enjoy seafood, sandwiches, deserts and ice cream at Dockside. Call 569-1910.

If you are on the go or craving a hotdog, you will want to stop at Hot Dog Bob in Wolfeboro. For many, Bob is a fixture at the dock area where his fun little hotdog cart offers great dogs and drinks during the summer.

The smaller bodies of water in the Lakes Region offer some fun dining by boat options. On Squam Lake, Walter’s Basin serves lunch and dinner daily. People come for the fish and chips and fried haddock; the added bonus is that Walter’s has its own boat docking. Call 968-4412.

On Newfound Lake, the Inn on Newfound is located on Rt. 3A in Bridgewater. The inn has beautiful views of pretty Newfound Lake and offers boat docking. Dinner is served at the inn and the meals are delicious. Call 744-9111 for details.

This story features just a sampling of restaurants on or near boat docking. Always call ahead to the restaurant of your choice for updated information. 

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