While paddling my kayak on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire I had to admire the number of beautiful homes along the waterfront. My educated guess is that the lake has about 120 miles of habitable shoreline. There isn’t a single home on those 120 miles that sells for under $1 million today. The real estate market out there is just exploding, and the lack of building space on the waterfront has pushed prices for existing homes on the water through the roof.
There is a gluttonous amount of wealth around the lake. The same people who own these homes also own the BMWs, Mercedes and Acuras that are driven around town, frequent the restaurants and shop in the boutique stores. The lakefront draws many rich people from throughout New England.
Just off the lake is where the town folk live. My friends in Moultonborough have very modest lives. They will never be able to afford a house on the lake but they will be able to send their daughters to college and still put food on their table. They are middle class through and through.
Even though Moultonborough and the adjoining towns are economically modest towns, the allure of the water draws many tourists and certainly many wealthy people to this area. In fact, I can only think of one area where a large waterfront does not draw the wealthy to it.
How we have so abused our waterfront to the point where 20 miles of it is uninhabitable. Robert Moses, Occidental, Bethlehem Steel and so many others got away with murder along the Niagara River. And for 40 years we’ve argued and screamed about it yet nothing has been done to bring back the allure.
Regionalism spokesmen talk about increasing tourism to Buffalo, and water is a prime attraction. Yet for all the talk, there’s virtually nothing to show for it save but a few condos. When will we ever learn?