Local History: Sunapee – The Ben Mere Inn


This old photograph of Sunapee Harbor shows the old Ben Mere Inn.

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Sunapee Harbor, where the lake has its outlet and where is also the largest settlement about its shores, is the next point touched on the steamer routes. Just opposite the wharf rises the Ben Mere Inn, new in 1890, the largest and handsomest house upon the lake, and a model in all respects. It is four stories in height and 150 feet long….

Above from the Granite Monthly

The Memorial Day Excursion, May 26-31 [1905], was to Sunapee Lake, N. H., with headquarters at the Ben Mere Inn, Sunapee Harbor. Eighty-one members and their friends participated: seventy-two left Boston, Friday, May 26th, in a special car attached to the 1.00 P. M. train.

Sunapee Lake is said to be at the highest altitude of any of the larger lakes of New Hampshire, and proved to be a satisfactory place for the excursion. On Saturday seventy participated in a trip to Sunapee Mountain, being driven in mountain-wagons about six miles to Johnson’s Farm, on the side of the mountain. About half of the party climbed to various outlooks on the mountain. Sunday was spent quietly, the main feature being an excursion in the afternoon around the lake in one of the large steamboats, in which sixty-three of the party joined. Monday seventy-six visited Corbin’s Park, while thirty-one of the number climbed Mt. Croyden in the afternoon and reported it to be an exceedingly interesting mountain. On Tuesday, the 30th, an excursion was made across the lake, thence by mountain-wagons to Mt. Kearsarge in Warner, which was climbed by thirty-eight of the party. The return to Boston was made Wednesday afternoon. The party was in charge of Messrs. Thomas Edward Parker and Edward Moffette.

Above from the Journal of The Appalachian Mountain Club Vol XI 1905-1908

Related Article

Panorama of Sunapee Harbor circa 1930 (Sunapee News)

7 Responses

  1. Being a kid and the managers son, made this place the largest kids play house in Sunapee Harbor. Aside from the builders of it , I learned more about the foundations, tower, flat roof and Ice house then any kid should know. Rest in peace, Ben Mere.

    • My uncle Robert (Bob) Hill owned the Woodbine Cottage next door. I worked there in the summer of 1961. Fond memories-as we spent part of each summer with my grandmother who was a seamstress and designed and made many a dress for the yacht club set in the 40’s and 50’s. Great lady-good times. When did the Ben Mere Inn come down?

      • Thanks, Dewey, for your comment. The Ben Mere came down in 1971…You might enjoy this article posted under the Stories tab: http://bandstands.blogspot.com/search/label/Sunapee%20NH

        • Thanks for the info on the Ben Mere Inn’s demise. Do you have any info on Dewey Beach. Where did the name Dewey come from? It was such a great time each summer to come back to Sunapee. I usually stayed with Joe and Jo Hill and my cousin Bill Hill. We would trade off weeks and he would visit me in Gonic NH. My sister would stay with Phil & Mary Eastman and our other cousin Gail. They lived across the street from the old fire station. These were the years between 1950-1960’s for the most part.

          • Re: DEWEY BEACH — In 1946, Mary Norris, George T. Dewey and Charles M. Dewey, “with stipulations as to its management,” gave Dewey Beach to the town. This and other interesting town history, pictures and articles can be found in the Sunapee Bicentennial (1768-1969) booklet, which was reproduced by Ron Garceau/Common Sense Marketing for the Sunapee Historical Society.

    • My grandfather and grandmother owned and ran the Ben Mere Inn from about 1941 – 1964. I have memories of playing on the shuffle board out back. My grandmother was a very hard worker and did most of the daily housekeeping herself and planted several hydrangea bushes, one beautiful one which remains down by the docks.

  2. […] News Before the gazebo graced the green on the hill overlooking Sunapee Harbor, and before the Ben Mere Inn came and went, Albert Runals and John Y. Gardner built the Runals House in […]

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