A lakefront rental log home with a sandy beach beckons guests back year after year.
You don’t have to catch a flight to Tibet in search of the mythical paradise of Shangri-La. It’s located an hour-and-a-half north of Boston, in the small town of Tilton, New Hampshire.
“We named our log-cabin rental property Shangri-La,” says Sharon Spanos, “as a tribute to my husband Peter’s family, who owned a famous resort at Laconia’s Weirs Beach in the 1960s. They called it Shangri-La.”
Indeed, Peter and Sharon’s log cabin on the shores of Lake Winnisquam in Tilton, New Hampshire, hails back to a bygone era, accessorized with artwork and other nostalgia from the earlier iconic retreat.
The couple carried on Peter’s upbringing in the hospitality business by purchasing a hotel of their own in Tilton, which included Lake Winnisquam lakefront. When they eventually sold the hotel, they held onto the 2 1/2 acres of shoreline and dreamed of building a getaway cabin for themselves, their primary home being approximately 25 miles away.
“We decided to build a place that would appeal to others as a vacation getaway,” says Peter, “until our own professional lives slowed down considerably, enough so for us to spend a lot of time and potentially retire there.” A log cabin seemed like a good plan for their lakeshore property, a dwelling that inherently conjures up images of cozy, comfy days of rest and relaxation.
The couple contracted with Coventry Log Homes of Woodsville, New Hampshire, to build one of their Clearwater models, which feature three bedrooms, two and a half baths, an open great-room living area and large farmhouse porch. The floor plan, which accommodates up to eight guests, is ideal for families or groups of friends. Additionally, the Spanos built a separate bath house adjacent to the cabin, with an outdoor shower area, that holds another bathroom and dressing area for changing in and out of swimwear.
The rustic exterior of the log cabin belies its amenity-loaded interior. Sharon and Peter have exquisite taste in decorating and have wonderful memories of scouring the countryside looking for items that would create a blend of rustic and elegant throughout the interior of the home. Many unique furniture items were acquired from local artisans, and others were “found treasures” from estate sales and rural antique stores. One such item, used for the kitchen island, is an antique baker’s table that contrasts beautifully with the kitchen’s custom-made white oak cabinetry and light gray granite countertops.
Wireless internet is available throughout the house, and each of the three bedrooms as well as the living room and loft is equipped with its own television. But who wants to spend time inside browsing the internet or watching TV when the pristine sandy beach and lake are beckoning, literally footsteps outside the front door?
The property spans 2.5 acres, and the 250 feet of private, sandy beach is equipped with a paved boat launch, fire pit, lounge chairs and a dock with six boat slips. Guests are welcome to bring their own boats, or they can rent one from a nearby marina during their stay. Canoes, row boats, kayaks, paddle boards and life jackets are free to guests, and a sprawling wood sundeck is furnished with a well-equipped outdoor kitchen, including gas grills and picnic tables for cooking and dining.
The small town of Tilton offers additional amenities such as golf, outlet shopping, and a diverse offering of dining options. Further afield, the entire Lakes Region of New Hampshire is a beautiful area to explore, with endless opportunities for family-friendly attractions and outdoor recreational activities. The bustling urban center of Manchester, approximately half an hour south of Tilton, is the largest arts, cultural, and entertainment mecca in New Hampshire. Portsmouth and the ocean are an hour east. “The famous Polar Caves and Lost River are a must-see,” says Sharon, “and hiking and rail trails are situated within five minutes of the cabin.”
Shangri-La is available for rent year-round and is often booked up to a year in advance. Summer is the busiest season, followed by autumn, when the beautiful New Hampshire foliage attracts visitors from across the country and abroad. During the winter months the region offers a myriad of ski areas, and ice-skating opportunities abound. Natural-gas heat provides toasty warmth to guests during the cold months, and a crackling fire in the gas fireplace is available with the simple click of a switch.
“Our cabins are also pet-friendly,” says Peter. “Dogs love it here every bit, if not more, than their owners! We allow one well-behaved, pre-approved dog per stay, and most of the outdoor activities and restaurants in the area allow you to bring Fido along.”
“We couldn’t be happier with the way our dream cabin turned out,” says Sharon. “We have been welcoming guests for a handful of years now and already have some families returning annually, calling the Shangri-La their home away from home.”
The popularity of their beach “resort,” in fact, has been so rewarding to Peter and Sharon that they’ve decided to grace the property with a second Coventry cabin, making it possible for larger families to rent both. “I guess you could say hospitality is in my blood,” says Peter with a smile. “I give my parents credit for it, including the success part. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when guests arrive with excited anticipation and leave completely relaxed, with a commitment to return again to this little piece of Paradise.”
For more information about Shangri-La, go to VRBO listing: 810908.