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Remembering recreational activities of by-gone days helps paint a fuller picture of Gilford’s cultural heritage.

It is no wonder that Gilford’s long, cold and snowy winters would kindle in Gilfordites and tourists alike a special fondness for winter sports and recreation.
Vintage ice skates (handmade in 1878) are on display, as are ice-fishing gear and an 8-foot traverse sled as well as a Speedaway metal runner sled, both sleds being remnants of Arthur Tilton’s boyhood. A fur foot warmer, that accommodates two feet at one time, shows how feet could be kept warm when a person might have huddled under a buffalo robe during a sleigh ride.

The snow scene also included snow shoes, sled dog races, cross country skiing, and, of course, snow men, snowball forts, and snow angels.

A mural depicting the Cherry Valley Road site of the Gilford Outing Club, 1947-1992, where Penny Pitou and many other skiers got their start, form the perfect setting for the display of vintage skis and the Gilford Outing Club sign, as well as several items in the display case, namely an Outing Club trophy, member passes, and the cow bell that was rung to signal the last run of the rope tow for the day.
Photographs, including those taken at Gunstock and at the Olympics, recall the supportive efforts of Gus Pitou and Gary Allen, among others, and keep alive memories of by-gone days which have helped create Gilford’s image as a “sports center of New Hampshire”.

Having an ice skating rink (named to honor Arthur Tilton who championed recreation for the community) met many a Gilfordites’s desire to skate.

Sports and recreational activities were not limited to the winter time any more in the past than they are in the present. The Gilford Outing Club was part of the impetus for promoting sports and recreation year round; a Gilford Outing Club scrap-book underscores a wide variety of activities over the years from square dancing and showing movies to teenagers to hiking and climbing even New Hampshire’s highest mountains. On the other hand, members responded to the lure of Gilford Beach and the beckonings of the lake, ponds, and streams.

The role of horseback riding must not be overlooked. Not only have many Gilfordites owned horses but also organized activities have flourished. Horse shows were part of the Gilford scene over the years, first at Gary and Lucille Allan’s Potter Hill Farm and then at the Wilson Farm, thanks to POSH (People Organized to Show Horses).

Is there any wonder that Gilford has come to be considered the “sports center of New Hampshire”?