They make a perfect couple – Allan (Lanny) Bailey and the Millie B. “I love this lake, this town, this boat and even the lady she was named for,” said Allan, one of five captains who take passengers for rides in the 28-foot mahogany runabout known as the Millie B. “What else can I say?”
Quite a bit, if you know Lanny and everyone in Wolfeboro does. He was born here in 1942 just four years after his parents, Allan and Marion Bailey opened Bailey’s Ice Cream, now Morrisseys’ Front Porch, on South Main Street.
“I have to admit I feel a special attachment to this boat because it is named for a very dear friend of mine, Mildred Beach,” he explained. Mildred Beach is also a life-long Wolfeboro native. Now in her mid-eighties, she served as director of the Lakes Region Association for forty-five years and as the town’s state representative for several years after that.
The Millie B is a replica of a 1928 HackerCraft, constructed entirely of wood, sealed with twelve coats of varnish and fitted out with gleaming chrome, rich leather seats and a 350 horsepower V-8 inboard engine. Half-hour rides aboard the Millie B run about every forty-five minutes from the Wolfeboro Town Docks seven days a week all summer long, weather permitting.
Driving the Millie B is the perfect retirement job for Allan . He knows as much about Wolfeboro, Lake Winnipesaukee and the hospitality business as anyone can. As a youngster he worked at the family businesses, first the restaurant and then the Lake Motel built by his parents behind the restaurant in 1956. He bought the motel from his mother in 1971 and ran it until 2002 when he sold it and retired.
“I learned to swim in Crescent Lake and water ski on Winnipesaukee,” he said. The only times Lanny didn’t live in Wolfeboro were when he went to Curry College (Class of 1968) and during his tour of duty in the US Army (1968-70) including one year in Vietnam.
“However, I can’t say I grew up in Wolfeboro,” he added, “Because I never really grew up.” Perhaps that’s why Allan’s Millie B tours are so popular. He shares his love and appreciation for Wolfeboro and Lake Winnipesaukee with a youthful enthusiasm that is just plain fun.
During the half-hour ride aboard the 1928 replica HackerCraft, Allan tells his passengers the history of some of the beautiful homes along the shore including where the late actor Jack Lemon stayed when he summered in Wolfeboro as a youth and where the actress Drew Barrymore stayed when she vacationed here.
And then, “I hope you don’t mind if I just pause and wave at my wife, Cindy, at our place,” he says tongue in cheek cruising by one of the most lovely estates on the lake.
Allan and the Millie B also take their passenger to see the very largest estate on the lake on Clay Point in Alton, through a Loon Sanctuary in the Varney Islands, and by the home that French President Nicolas Sarkozy rented for his family three years ago as well as the waterfront home of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
“Governor Romney is actually the second governor to have a summer home in Wolfeboro,” Allan added. “The first was Governor John Wentworth, New Hampshire’s last colonial governor, who built his summer home on Smith’s Pond, now Lake Wentworth, in 1771. That’s why we call ourselves the “Oldest Summer Resort in America.”
Wolfeboro is celebrating its 250th birthday this year, having been named in 1759 for British General James Wolfe, victor of the Battle of Quebec during the French and Indian War. “We’re having a lot of fun with this bit of our history too,” said Bailey.
As president of Wolfeboro Community Television and host of its program Conversations as well as co-host of Next Week in Wolfeboro (along with Wolfeboro Area Chamber Director Mary DeVries,) Lanny stays on top of what’s happening in his town. He’s always been involved.
He’s currently serving on the Wolfeboro Budget Committee, and either a present or past director of the NH Hospitality Association, Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce, Lakes Region Association, Wright Museum of World War II History, Hearthstone Homes of Wolfeboro, Wolfeboro Lions Club, and the Lake Wentworth Association. He’s served as president of several of these organizations plus the Brewster Academy Alumni Association (Class of 1960.) There’s undoubtedly more, but the only thing Allan Bailey doesn’t talk about much is himself.
“What can I say?” If it’s about Wolfeboro or the Millie B, just ask.