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Be Island Bound with the Oldest Floating Post Office

In a time where it is easier to send e-mails than a handwritten letter, where the receiving time for the person on the other end could be so quick, it’s a wonder that a floating post office is still a popular icon today. Since 1892, the Sophie C. has been serving the residents and tourists of Lake Winnipesaukee with her mail service and providing spectacular views of houses and mountain ranges that are unmatched from the shorelines.

The Sophie C. makes two daily trips around the lake, stopping at four islands in the morning, and five in the afternoon, with mail delivery running from mid-June to mid-September each summer. Whether passengers are looking to use the service as a shuttle for visiting friends who live on an island, or simply to enjoy the scenery, Sophie has your ticket.

This floating mail boat serves as a full service post office, complete with stamps and postal supplies, six days a week for residents of the over 250 islands on Lake Winnipesaukee, This “Island Boat”, as some of the locals call it, can also take on freight should residents need to send or receive packages during the summer months. In a typical season, the Sophie C. can process between 36,000 to 38,000 pieces of combined ingoing and outgoing mail.

Yet to the children and campers who spend their summer months on the lake, the Sophie C. is much more than solely a post office. As the three level horn blows, signaling her approach to each island, children come running with money in hand, anxiously awaiting to see what ice cream treats she has brought today. Some children even await the arrival of the vessel just to show off the tricks that they know how to perform while simultaneously jumping off the edge of the dock for the passengers looking down.

Many times, those riding the Sophie C. will also have the chance to witness one of the many “Summer Fun with Sophie” contests, including “Crazy Hat Day” and “Island Attire”. Held by her crew for the children, these contests are an interactive way for all to enjoy the summer and for island residents and crewmembers to get to know each other. For prizes, children have the enjoyment of receiving vouchers to use for free ice cream from the Sophie’s collection, something that has become a summer tradition for all.

To passengers on board the vessel, a clear day on the lake is an opportunity to take in the views of the mountain ranges that surround the lake. The Mount Washington can be observed during the cruise, but for a spectacular sight, choose a day to cruise where there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun in shining. There is always the possibility that cruisers of the Sophie C. on these days will be able to see the steam of the Cog Railway trains as it climbs to the top of Mount Washington.

Planning a trip on the Sophie C. is easy. Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or simply at the ticket counter on the Weirs Beach boardwalk. The cruise lasts 2 hours, but families can make a day of the trip by grabbing lunch at one of the various restaurants at the Weir, playing at the arcade or a round of mini golf, riding the waterslides, or even watching a movie at the drive-in movie theater after sunset.

Whether this is your first time on board the Sophie C., or you are a frequent rider, remember to bring your camera, some sunscreen, and don’t forget to fill out a postcard from the Sophie C. gift shop to send to a friend or family member as a memento from your trip. A cruise on the Sophie C. will prove to be an unforgettable experience for adults and children alike.

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