Notes from the Field: Lake Winnipesaukee TV Shoot

Tubing fun on the lake. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.
Tubing fun on Lake Winnie. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

This report is coming a few days after returning from our Lake Winnipesaukee shoot, but that’s because the crew has been shooting almost non-stop for the past week. We left Camden, Maine, on Wednesday morning (August 7), spent a few hours in Bath, Maine, and rolled into Gilford, New Hampshire, around 5:00 p.m.

Launching the Whaler at Fay's.
Launching the Whaler 250 Outrage at Fay’s.

After launching the Whaler at Fay’s Boatyard we climbed aboard with local boater Tom Lacey and headed out of Smith Cove. Lacey gave us the scoop on some of the important things to know about the lake, such as its many shallow ledges and the navigational buoys, which can be confusing if you’re used to the saltwater system.

As the sun began to set, we returned to Fay’s and hopped in a pair of Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks provided by Fay’s General Manager Michael Bodnar and had a blast cruising around Smith Cove for a bit.

Jack Irwin tells Lake Winnie history.
Jack Irwin expounds on Lake Winnie history.

Day 2 dawned overcast and gloomy, but we pressed ahead with the shoot by visiting with Bill and Jack Irwin of Irwin Marine at their Paugus Bay location. Jack raised our spirits by regaling us with tales of Winnipesaukee history, in which the Irwins feature prominently, having started their marine business in 1919 as a Chris Craft dealership. During the Depression, Jack’s father ran excursions on the lake in his wooden Chris Craft—the Miss Winnipesaukee—and later opened a popular dance hall at The Weirs. Jack showed us his collection of old photos depicting Irwin and Lake Winnie history.

Town Docks Restaurant.
The Town Docks Restaurant.

As we headed to our next location—the Town Docks restaurant in Meredith—the skies unexpectedly cleared and we found ourselves in the midst of an ideal boating day. We enjoyed a great lunch at the Town Docks’  lakeside picnic tables, as well as some extraordinary drinks. We also shot an impromptu interview with local author Andy Opel, whose children’s books feature boating themes.

Next, we raced to Shep Brown’s Boat Basin to interview owners Charity and Bill Littlefield. This full-service marina features valet rack storage, a launch ramp, a fuel dock, a ship’s store and more. It’s also located on a quiet corner of the lake, close to numerous small islands and protected coves.

From there we drove back to Fay’s Boatyard and hopped aboard the Whaler for some watersports fun. We filmed a local family doing some tubing and waterskiing, and Parker even got to show off her mad waterskiing skills.

Valet service at Shep Brown's.
Valet service at Shep Brown’s.

As dusk approached we hooked up with local fishing guide Jason Parrent, who put us on some terrific landlocked salmon action. We landed 3 fish in about an hour, including a 3-pound beauty, before returning to Fay’s and a late dinner.

Our weather luck finally ran out on Friday, which saw torrential rain. However, we made the most of it by shooting interviews with Leo O’Connell, the fleet captain of the Mount Washington cruise line, and later Jeff Fay, who maintains a remarkable collection of antique marine engines—many of which still function! We wrapped up the shoot with a visit to the New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro, where you’ll find all kinds of interesting Lake Winnie boating artifacts, including some exquisitely restored wooden boats.

Parker with local author Andy Opel.
Parker with local author Andy Opel.

As if to match the rainy-day atmosphere, our final day of the Lake Winnie shoot marked the departure of intern videographer Tommy Costello, who has become an invaluable member of the crew. Tommy joined us with the New Bedford episode and quickly proved to be a hardworking lad who took our often chaotic shoot schedule in stride, never offering a single complaint—even when we asked him to get up at 4:00 a.m. in order to shoot a sunrise sequence. After his crazy summer, I think Tommy is secretly relieved to be returning to Sarah Lawrence University, where he is starting his senior year. Hopefully, he’ll be back with us next season. Good luck, Tommy! We’ll miss you, bro!

Tom Richardson
New England Boating

New England Boating TV, sponsored by GMC and Boston Whaler and their network of New England dealers. The show airs Monday, at 7:00 p.m. on NESN.

The Mount Washington and the Sophie C. at Weirs Beach.
The Mount Washington and the Sophie C. at Weirs Beach.
A cool boat at the New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro.
A cool boat at the New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro.
Tommy Costello and Parker Kelley in Camden.
Tommy Costello and Parker Kelley in Camden.