Located in the heart of the White Mountains and home to Garnet Hill headquarters (the birthplace of our famously toasty flannel sheets), Franconia, New Hampshire is known for its snowy winters and challenging ski slopes.
But this mountainous terrain provides sublime pleasures in the summer months as well. Chief among them, Echo Lake Beach.
To be honest, I was a little scared of Echo Lake. When coworkers exclaimed, “You haven’t been? It’s so beautiful,” they would inevitably follow it with, “but it is really, really chilly.” Southern blood runs through my veins, so if these native New Englanders thought this lake was cold…
This July, I was motivated by a heat wave to face my fears. The looming Franconia and Kinsman ranges dwarfed me. The water’s sun-dappled surface shimmered.
I dipped a toe into water. Then another. It was oh so cold, and oh so glorious.
Replenished by mountain snow melt and ground springs, Echo Lake is more than just a popular spot for locals and tourists to cool down. It’s also a watershed for the Connecticut river.
Families can play on the beach, swim, canoe, kayak, walk or bike the surrounding trails, and fish.
These pristine (and yes, COLD) waters are the source of the machine-made snow at Cannon Mountain on winter days when the weather is less than cooperative.
Cannon Mountain ski slopes in summer
A spectacular view from the nearby “Artist’s Bluff.”
A Pedal Boat available to rent