Situated near the center of New Hampshire, it’s the state’s largest lake and the third largest in New England.
It stretches about 21 miles and varies in width up to nine miles, covering about 71 square miles.
The lake contains at least 264 islands and has 288 miles of shoreline.
Maximum depth is 180 feet, augmented by a dam at Lakeport.
The center part of the lake is called the Broads.
The outflow joins with the Pemigewasset River to form the Merrimack, which heads south into Massachusetts before turning east to the Atlantic. Its waters powered many of the industrial mills along its way, including Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, and Lawrence.
The Native name translates as either “smile of the Great Spirit” or “beautiful water in a high place.”
Officially, it’s not a lake but a “great pond,” which the General Court has defined as a natural lake of more than ten acres. The state owns the beds of all the great ponds, making the surface public water.
Ice-out is a popular measure of the end of winter in the Granite State. It’s declared when the ice on the lake breaks up sufficiently for the Mount Washington cruise vessel to make it to every one of its five ports: Center Harbor, Wolfeboro (“the Oldest Summer Resort in America”), Alton, Weirs Beach, and Meredith. It’s also considered the beginning of boating season. The date has varied from March 16 to May 12.
It’s hard to spell. That’s why it’s often known as Lake Winni.