Anyone who lives in or visits the Lakes Region should be required to watch the 1981 film “On Golden Pond” with Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. There should be theaters at Exit 23 and 24 so anyone headed over to Squam could pull in, watch the show, and decompress before they can venture near the lake. In short, “on Golden Pond” is a story about an aging couple who have a summer cottage on Squam. Their daughter, with whom Dad has trouble communicating, is on her way to Europe for a two week vacation so she leaves her son with them while she is away. It’s an exquisitely filmed, charming, and predictable story about family relationships and aging. But it is also about a wonderful summer on the lake. You know, boating, fishing, and skinny dipping. The movie put Squam on the national map for all to see, exposing its beauty and the lakeside living we cherish so much.
There’s a new sustainable housing development called Squam River Landing that also shares some of the same values as portrayed in the “Golden Pond” experience. Home ownership on the water on Squam is a bit like belonging to an exclusive club. It can be just a bit more expensive than many would be “Squammies” can really afford. So it would seem that a community that provides access to the lake might be just the ticket for many buyers.
Squam River Landing is located on the southwestern end of Little Squam in Ashland on a 65 acre parcel overlooking the lake. You quickly realize that this community will be something special as you cross over the classic wooden covered bridge that spans the Squam River. You can’t miss the beautiful Riveredge Marina that is the community anchor and big part of the allure of living here. The project is being developed by Sippican Partners Development, LLC. Their primary goal is to encourage sustainable and responsible development alongside economic development. I think they have succeeded! This community of beautifully crafted homes has been thoughtfully planned to weave within the Squam Lake Watershed and community.
So, what exactly is a sustainable housing development? The primary “sustainable” elements of Squam River Landing are the positive impacts that this development has socially, economically, and environmentally on the area. Positive environmental impacts include high performance home designs and "green" construction techniques that not only maximize energy efficiency but also create less waste during the construction process. Additionally, the community layout was developed to protect the environment through clustering the home sites and maximizing open space, controlling runoff, and creating protective covenants to protect the woodlands.
There are 24 lots in the first phase ranging from a third to three quarters of an acre in size which are all serviced by public water and sewer. Price points vary depending on the location and views. Thoughtful placement and positioning of the homes also maximizes the privacy of the residents. Lots are defined by location within the community with lower wooded home sites followed by upper wooded sites that have gorgeous seasonal lake and mountain views. The mountain-view lots look west to the mountaintops with a few home sites that also look down on the Squam River. One can just imagine how great the sunsets are from up here! The prestigious “Lake View” sites have phenomenal unobstructed vistas of Little Squam and mountains to the North. There are only four of these home sites left in this first release of lots.
Social benefits to the area include providing access to Squam for residents who would be otherwise priced out of the market and through its affiliate, Riveredge Marina, it employs 16-20 people. Additionally, the developers are dedicated to giving back to the community through involvement with children’s programs, conservation groups, and business development initiatives. The Sippican Partners team has been directly involved with the Squam Lakes Adaptive Program which provides individuals or families that face cognitive or physical disabilities the opportunity to experience water skiing in a safe and supportive environment.
Just as importantly, Squam River Landing will have a huge positive economic impact locally by creating hundreds of short term construction jobs as well as increasing the consumer base and opportunities for area businesses and service providers to the community. The Town of Ashland will also benefit by an increased tax base with limited increase in Town expenditures. Once you have found a home site that you love (and I am sure you will,) Squam River Landing has a variety of home plans to choose from with architecture that reflects the character and style of camps and cottages that were found on area lakes in days gone by. Yet these homes are so much more. They are designed to be high performance, energy efficient, space conscious, and one with the natural beauty that surrounds them.
These homes look like they are meant to be here. Plans range from 1,380 square feet for the two bedroom “Long House” to 2,468 square foot three bedroom “Livermore House.” And, of course, you can customize your home by working with the design team to come up with something really special for yourself.
Sippican Partners Construction is the primary builder in the community and they have constructed a "Discovery Home" to showcase their green building techniques, technology, and materials. You'll really get the full picture by a visit there. To protect homeowner investments there are “design review guidelines, sustainability practices, and building methods in place to preserve the natural value in the land and enhance the value of your home.” That sounds like a good plan to me!
Getting back to one of the main reasons why you’d build here, Riveredge Marina provides you with access to that coveted Squam Lake experience. It also acts as the social center for the community and is a great place to entertain friends and family. The marina has a clubhouse, an outside deck with lake views, storage lockers, a bath house, and boat slips to rent. There are a total of 50 slips, with 30 boat houses, as well as rack storage and valet service to launch your boat. Just across the street you will have access to the beautiful public beach if you or the kids need to take a quick dip to cool off. Riveredge Marina offers complete and professional maintenance services on nearly all makes and models of boats. There is also a ship store that stocks everything from cleaning supplies and parts for your boat to water skis and wake boards. And, of course, you’ll find snacks, drinks, and ice for the afternoon cruise out to Big Squam.
So, if you are looking for that “Golden Pond” experience and want to be a part of a truly special community, you should pay a visit to Squam River Landing and Riveredge Marina and prepare to be impressed. Just tell them I sent you, or maybe that Walter told you about them. And, if you don’t know who Walter is, then you need to watch the movie… For more information you can also visit www.squamlanding.com or www.riveredgemarina.com.