Tuftonboro lies between Lake Winnipesaukee
and the Ossipee Mountain Range and comprises Melvin Village,
Mirror Lake, Tuftonboro Center, and Tuftonboro Corner.
Tuftonboro has the grand distinction of being the only
town once having been owned entirely by one man, John
Tufton Mason, after whom it was named in 1750. The town
was incorporated in 1795.
Mason, a native of Boston, was the great-grandson
of Captain John Mason. His wife, Anne Tufton, was descended
from William Tufton, who was a descendent of Christopher
Tufton, Earl of Thanet and governor of Barbados. The Tuftons
were related to the Wentworth governors by marriage.
John Tufton Mason inherited the claim to
the undivided lands of northern New Hampshire assumed
to be held by Captain John Mason. In 1746, he sold it
for 1,500 pounds to a group of Portsmouth merchants who
disposed of it under grants made to prospective settlers
in the years preceding the American Revolution. The town
of Tuftonboro, bordering on Lake Winnipesaukee, was laid
out to be 6 miles square, containing approximately 23,000
One of the loveliest and most peaceful retreats
on the shores of Winnipesaukee is Melvin Village, nestled
at the foot of the Ossipee Mountains. From a modest and
retiring hamlet, it has grown to become a thriving vacation
center at the northeastern end of Winnipesaukee. While
guarded by the brooding Ossipee Range, across the bay
and intervening islands of the lake, the village is graced
with a view of the Belknap Range, blue and beautiful in
the distance, and always a
dominating feature of the landscape.
From the more elevated portion of the village,
alluring glimpses of the Sandwich Range and many of the
well-known peaks of the White Mountains are enjoyed by
vacationers, while the bay itself sparkles like a sheet
of turquoise below. It is a Swiss-like scene, lacking
only the glaciers and guides, and possesses an air that
even Switzerland might envy.
Within the limits of Tuftonboro lies Mount
Shaw, the highest peak in the Ossipee Mountain Range,
rising majestically to a height of some 3,000 feet above
sea level. From the summit, a picturesque view of Melvin
Village is seen from the outreaching lowlands near the lake. Its white walls and
spires are scattered among meadows and orchard greenery,
a contrast with the blue water and the outline of hills
unseen: Dopple, Crown, or perhaps Mount Caryl, and the
low ranges about Alton Bay at the southern end of Winnipesaukee.
The southern side of the mountain was a
favorite resort for the American Indians. Their usual
choice of picturesque spots for an encampment may be recognized
upon sailing about Melvin Village, or in approaching by
the range way, the abrupt mountain-wall behind the farmlands
of the village. The precipitous face of Bald Peak, the
southernmost summit of the range, forms a background to
a most enjoyable landscape.