Sunapee, New Hampshire

Restaurant Boat on Lake Sunapee

Sunapee, NH is a town in the Upper Valley, Dartmouth Lake Sunapee region. Located in Sullivan County, south of Grantham, NH just off Interstate 89 at exit 12 and 12A, Sunapee is home to Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee, very popular destinations for tourists and residents of the area. It’s also known that there’s a rock star who owns a house in Sunapee. Perhaps you’ve heard of Steven Tyler, of Aerosmith? The town of Sunapee also includes the village of Georges Mills, which is located in the north end of town.

With more than 3,300 full time residents, the population tends to rise during peak seasons and holidays as seasonal home owners, and tourists visit the area to seek relaxation and rejuvenation at Lake, or Mount Sunapee.

The Town of Sunapee, New Hampshire

History of Sunapee

Sunapee was incorporated in 1781 after changing names several times. Sunapee was known as Saville, Corey’s Town and then Wendell before being incorporated. Sunapee grew into an industrial area with factories and workers calling the town home. Over the years, the factories became less important to the region and slowly packing up shop. It wasn’t until the factories moved away from town that tourists took notice of Lake Sunapee.

Lake Sunapee was once surrounded by glorious grand hotels. People used ferries to travel from hotel to hotel, but sadly, this tradition faded away when automobiles became more prevalent as a form of transportation in the area, circa 1915.

Lake Sunapee, NH LighthouseInterestingly, with use of the ferries on the lake; came lighthouses on the lake shore. Lake Sunapee is the only lake in New Hampshire with three intact and working lighthouses. They were constructed in the 1890’s and are currently being maintained by the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.

The town name of Sunapee has a wonderful and interesting story, the name comes from the Indian words, “suna”, which means “goose” and the word “apee” which means “lake”. So, the name of Sunapee in essence means “Goose Lake”. The Algonquain Indians, original Native Americans of the area so named the are “Lake of the Wild Goose” because the lake resembles a goose, the head and beak represent Sunapee Harbor.

Life in Sunapee

Time spent in Sunapee is impossible to call boring. There is an abundance of things to do year round in Sunapee. Between the land and the mountains, you’ll have to try hard not to find something to do. The lake offers great boating and water sports, fishing, hiking trails around and about, swimming and more. There’s a boat launch and a marina, which will fit your needs nicely.

The lake is a beautiful place to take the family and spend a day, whether it be on a boat, canoeing or lakeside having a picnic at the beach. The Lake Sunapee Beach is located on the south end of Lake Sunapee, in Newbury, New Hampshire. It’s located on Rt 103 and is easy to find. The beach offers bathhouses, a shaded picnic area as well as 300 yards of beach, with views of Mount Sunapee. For your convenience, there is also an onsite snack bar which is open during the operating season of mid-June through labor day.

Of course during the winter months, while the lake is frozen it offers plenty of activity from ice skating to snowmobiling to ice fishing. There’s a lot to do at Lake Sunapee, which is why it continues to be a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.

Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire

Not to be outdone, Mount Sunapee offers many year round activities as well.  During the summer months, you’ll find things such as hiking trails, zip line canopy tours, Segway tours, aerial challenge courses, mini golf, and much more. Of course, during the winter months, you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding or just hanging out at the lodge. There’s always something fun going on at Mount Sunapee.

If you’d rather have a more relaxing time at Mount Sunapee in the summer, you may want to consider a picnic at the summit. Pack a lunch and enjoy the Sky Ride, you’ll ride to the summit on a chair lift where you’ll be able to take in views of the valley floor, lakes and rivers.

Calling Sunapee Home

We know there’s no lack of things to do in Sunapee. With Lake and Mount Sunapee in your backyard, the outdoors is your playground. But what is it like to call Sunapee home? It’s a very nice and well kept town. It’s quiet, peaceful and gives residents a sense of living in a quaint community. You know your neighbors by name, you’ll see them around town, out mowing their lawn or wave to them while you’re out taking your dog for a walk.

Although Sunapee sees peaks in tourists and visitors, that only adds to the small town charm. The tourism helps bring revenue to the town which in turn helps to keep property taxes low. Many small craftsmen and artists benefit from the influx of tourism to the town during the summer months. There’s even an annual craft fair at Mount Sunapee

Sunapee is just a hop from New London and Newport, New Hampshire where you’ll find some shopping, restaurants and locally owned shops – a skip more and you’ll be in Claremont where you’ll find big box stores and a choice of supermarkets. Jump over to Concord to the south or West Lebanon to the north and you’ll find a great amount of shopping or dining choices.

The median home value in Sunapee, NH is in the range of about $315,000. The housing available in the Sunapee area is diverse and ranges from multi-family homes to town homes, condos and single family homes. There are lake houses, mountain homes, both with spectacular views. There is plenty of undeveloped land ready for new residents to build their dream homes as well.

Sunapee is a beautiful, quiet small town just outside the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and gives residents a quiet, peaceful place to live with plenty of activities and fun things to do within the immediate area. When you live in Sunapee, you’re “livin’ on the edge“.

Sunapee Town Website »

Andrew Eaton

Andrew is a New England native and has spent the past 15 years in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont. He is a marketing guru and freelance blogger who loves all things Upper Valley.

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