Created By: Mount Washington Cruises
The name “Winnipesaukee” is of native American origin and has two possible translations. One is “Smile of the Great Spirit”, the other is “Beautiful Water in a high place”. The lake, its islands, and surrounding mountain ranges form one of the most beautiful scenic areas in the world.
The Winnipesaukee watershed supported many native American tribes. The earliest known settlement was that of the aquadoctan tribe, located at present-day weirs beach and is several thousand years old. Weirs Beach gets its name from the large enclosure built in the lake, called a weir, and used by the aquadoctans for fishing.
The lake was discovered by colonial settlers in 1652, when a aprty of surveyors was sent north from the Massachusetts Bay colony. It’s mission was to find the source of the Merrimack River and establish the northern boundary of the colony. The party followed the Merrimack north to present-day Franklin, NH, then turned right onto what’s now the Winnipesaukee River, arriving at the lake at the east end of Weirs Beach. They carved their initials and the initials of Massachusetts governor John Endicott on a large boulder which is now part of a monument called Endicott Rock. They laid claim to all land ten miles north of that point in order to include the lake in the claim.
This point of interest is part of the tour: M/S Mount Washington Cruise to Wolfeboro