Alternative flight path proves perfect way to enjoy the delights of New England with its beautiful lakes
‘What was precious was the family time, which would have been diluted by Disney’s distractions’
FLYING to the US with a young family usually means a trip to Florida’s theme parks – and no doubt we’ll be pressured into that in the coming years.
But this time around, the draw for us was a long overdue visit to family who are based in New England.
Instead of roller-coasters and Mickey Mouse, our travels across the pond saw us spending a glorious week on the lake made famous by the film On Golden Pond.
Flights for four could have been costly. We normally fly to Boston but this time we decided to try out Norwegian’s flights to Providence, Rhode Island. It was a great way to get there on a budget.
Our family live in New Hampshire and usually collect us at Boston airport, where they have to negotiate traffic, parking and navigate their way to arrivals at one of the world’s busiest hubs.
Instead, they picked us up at Providence, a smaller airport, had no issue with traffic on the way and found parking a breeze.
For us, travelling with two young kids – one still in a buggy – we found the Rhode Island airport far friendlier and more welcoming than its more bustling neighbour.
The staff couldn’t have been more helpful, assisting us as we juggled bags and bottles and giving us priority access to gates, all with a cheery smile.
Our flights with Norwegian were basic but comfortable and both times we lucked out with spare seats next to us, perfect for weary little legs and heads to rest on.
From our base in Londonderry, New Hampshire, we hit the road north to the Lakes Region – a favourite escape for many in the summer months.
We had booked a large lakeside house for the week and were looking forward to spending time together.
Squam Lake sits just south of the White Mountains and was the filming location for the 1981 Oscar-winning film On Golden Pond starring Henry and Jane Fonda and Katharine Hepburn.
Little Squam, where we were staying, is connected and the area is famous also for it’s loons, which star in the film and are a common sight in good weather.
Paddle boarding and canoeing are popular, as is leaping from the pontoons into the crystal-clear water.
My five-year-old had no fear in launching herself in.
We hired a speed boat for a day and used it to tube off the back.
Watching my fearless girl in her little lifejacket speeding along behind a boat is a moment that will stay with me.
She managed to hold on, shrieking with excitement, unlike
her dad who, despite being there to look after her, was thrown into the water within seconds.
It’s something Sophia still talks about and she can’t wait to have another go. My nerves have almost recovered. When you’ve had enough of the water and fancy some dry land, there’s plenty of towns to visit including Holderness, Ashland and Centre Harbor, where much of On Golden Pond was shot.
A trip to Meredith is recommended. The picturesque town sits on Lake Winnipesaukee and is perfect for whiling away a few hours. There are interesting shops, nice restaurants (serving the best corn on the cob you’ve ever had) and stunning views too.
The Hobo Railroad is a good way to see Lake Winnipesaukee in all its glory, with a two-hour trip along its shores (www.hoborr.com/ winni).
One of the best ways to see our spot in the Lakes Region is to hike up Rattlesnake Mountain at the end of a glorious day.
Despite the slightly off-putting name, it’s a moderate hike of about 30 minutes – slightly longer with a five-year-old in tow – with some breathtaking views of Squam Lake and its many islands.
Evenings were spent around the campfire making S’mores (short for “some mores”) from marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers or taking a trip to one of the many ice cream or frozen yoghurt stores the region has to offer.
New Hampshire is keen on its FroYo and it’s a fun trip out for kids as they choose their flavours and pile on the toppings to create a masterpiece of a sweet treat. But what was precious about this trip was the family time we all spent, something that I think would have been diluted in Disneyland with all the distractions.
Instead, the kids got to hang out with their big cousins and their auntie and uncle, who they see just once every couple of years.
Before long, though, it was time to head home – but not before a movie night where we all sat and watched On Golden Pond and reminisced about the perfect week we’d all shared.
We can’t wait to return for S’more.
MAKING WAVES Excitement watching the tubing from a boat on Squam Lake
WATER PLACE Squam Lake. Below, family fun canoeing and floating. Main picture: Getty Images