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June 01. 2013 8:08PM

NH has plenty of water to help relieve the heat


Lovell Lake in Sanbornville is a favorite swimming spot for the Toussaint family. Here, Cheryl Toussaint, 14-year-old Jacob Toussaint and 3-year-old Jaden Toussaint enjoy the water on Thursday. (Larissa Mulkern)

Time to take a swim, many places to do so.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, there are more than 17,000 miles of river and more than 944 lakes and reservoirs in the state.

The recent hot spell brought out the bathers.

"This is what we waited all winter for," said Chase Williams, 20, decked out in swimsuit, suntan lotion and shades and surrounded by friends at Brewster Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro.

Several public beaches hug the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Wentworth.

Williams and friends Brenna Madden and Haley Lineham, both 19, and May Williams, 20, all listed Brewster Beach as one of their favorite swimming and hangout spots.

"This is one of the nicest beaches in town; we can meet up with friends here," said Williams.

There are dozens of lakes in the Lakes Region. Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest, at more than 44,500 acres, but residents and visitors alike have their pick of many public beaches. Among them is Albee Beach on Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro.

"I'm loving it," said Hannah Bergeron, 18, a student at the University of New Hampshire who enjoyed a summer-like break at the beach with friend Grace Mitchum, 19, who studies at the University of Vermont. "It's definitely nice to be able to finally relax after all the studying."

Bergeron and Mitchum said they also visit Brewster Beach and White Lake in Tamworth, but like Albee Beach for its calm waters, quiet, wooded setting and newly built bathhouse equipped with an outdoor shower and indoor changing rooms. The public beach is free and open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The water was a "little chilly" said Mitchum, but that didn't keep the teenagers from accepting an invitation from 3-year-old Sophia Canney, at the beach with her mother, Sarah, and brother, Jack, 8 months, to play in the sand at the shoreline.

"Wolfeboro summers are awesome," said Bergeron.

Sarah Canney brings the family up to Wolfeboro from Rochester to enjoy the kid-friendly Albee Beach surroundings.

Wolfeboro residents Diane Kuhn visited the beach with her niece, Hannah, 4, and said she, too, prefers Albee Beach to others.

Is she ready for the heat?

"We can't complain after this winter," she said.

Lovell Lake in Sanbornville, a short distance from Route 16 and Route 109, is a smaller pond with public access walking distance from the village area. Mid-morning on Thursday, local residents Cheryl Toussaint and stepchildren Jacob, 14, and Jaden, 3, were already in the water. Cheryl and Jacob, dressed in protective T-shirts and shorts, floated Jaden on an inflatable chair in the shallow water.

The spot is a favorite of the Toussaint family. "It's nice and local and quiet," said Cheryl. "We came down to play and swim, and we brought a lunch."

"We're in no rush," she said.

Swimming holes

Swimmingholes.org, a guide to swimming holes and hot springs in the United States and Canada, lists 51 swimming holes in New Hampshire. The website also provides links to additional information specific to the White Mountain National Forest. Find directions to each spot, descriptions and some photographs on the site,

Examples of swimming hot spots include the Big Rock swimming hole on the Mad River in Campton and Livermore Falls on the Pemigewasset River.

The Crawford Notch area lists eight spots. At least nine spots are accessible off the Kancamagus Highway in Conway and Lincoln. The 34-mile scenic highway parallels the Swift River, Hancock Brook and the east branch of the Pemigewasset River, with many camping, swimming and picnicking sites along the way.

Popular swimming spots include Upper Ladies Bath behind the Hancock Campground. Another is accessible by a short hike up the Lincoln Woods Trail into the Pemigewasset Wilderness to swimming holes in Franconia Brook.

Easily accessible swimming holes in the Conway/North Conway area include one under a bridge on River Road in North Conway, Diana's Baths off West Side Road, and at the Humphrey's Ledge Recreation Area just behind Diana's Baths. Check first to see whether a parking permit from the White Mountain National Forest is required.

Another resource is www.newenglandwaterfalls.com, a supplement to the book "New England Waterfalls, a Guide to More Than 400 Cascades and Waterfalls," by Greg Parsons and Kate B. Watson, published by Countryman Press in 2010. The site and the book include notations on whether a cascade or waterfall spot is a good place to swim, or readers can print off a list from the page, www.newenglandwaterfalls/swimmingholes.php.

lmulkern@newstote.com


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