Vilas Pool in Alstead, New Hampshire was built in the 1920s. Back then, it offered a swan boat, a dance pavilion, horseshoe pits, and a playground. It was a happening place, and there was lots to do.
When I was a kid, in the 90s, we’d go swimming there, and my brothers would jump off the rope swing just above the dam. Several years later, and for many years after that, the pool was deemed unsafe for swimming. The buildings and grounds fell into disrepair. But a few years ago, a committee was formed to restore the park. With help from volunteers and many donations, they’ve done a phenomenal job at bringing it back to what it used to be.
The bridge over the dam requires a bit of a strong stomach, but once you’ve crossed it, the nostalgia takes over. It still smells the same as it did twenty years ago! You have to watch your step as you make your way to the swimming area, and playground-roots from the trees stick up from the ground and threaten your safe passage. It’s okay, that’s all part of the adventure!
The park is now open Wednesday through Sunday. You can camp overnight, and there are weekly exercise classes held in the pavilion. It’s also a wonderful location for a rustic wedding.
Last weekend, my family and I attended Vilas Pool Day. It’s an annual celebration of the park with local vendors selling their wares, free face painting, great food, and even a live animal show!
I’m so thrilled that this little piece of history has been restored, so I can bring my kids there. I hear they’re even working on restoring the swan boat! That’ll be something to see.
It was rainy and a little chilly on Vilas Pool Day this year, but everyone there was in great spirits, and you could tell they loved being a part of bringing this park back to life. We didn’t get to go swimming this time, but we’ll be back!