Blog :: 2019

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find information regarding market, local and Lakes Region information and events! Along with DIY projects and more! Come back often to see what's new and leave us a comment if there's something you'd like to see.

New Year's Eve Celebration!

Tuesday, December 31st

Last Night in Wolfeboro

Family - Friends - Visitors Celebrate New Year’s Eve; Scavenger Hunt, Family Crafts, Games, Face Painting, Concerts, Magic, and More!

When: 10 AM - 9:00 PM

Enter the entire link below (two lines) in your browser to view the video hosted by Brenda Jorrett and Maria Found.  Watch as they take you through all the scheduled events coming up in Wolfeboro for the annual Last Night celebration.

Fireworks Over Wolfeboro Bay - Cancelled due to inclement weather


Fireworks on New Year’s Eve made possible by these generous, proud sponsors of Chamber of Commerce Community Events:

Avery Insurance
Emma taylor…lifestyle clothing
Melanson Real Estate
The Wolfeboro Inn
And also Ashton & Company PA
Black’s Paper Store & Gift Shop
Eastern Propane & Oil
Hunter’s Shop `n Save
Meredith Village Savings Bank
Stewarts Ambulance Service





What the Heck is a "Perc Test" (and How Much Does it Really Matter)?

I found this informative article from Seth Williams.  Please read, you'll be glad you did!

If you're dropping some serious cash on a parcel of vacant land, there is one issue that may seem insignificant at first glance, but it has the potential to make or break a land deal.

The “Perc Test”.  A Perc Test (also known as “Perk Test”, and more formally known as a Percolation Test), is a soil evaluation that tests the rate at which water drains through soil. Perc tests are required in just about every civilized municipality in the world – because the results of this test provide crucial information required to design and install a septic system.

A perc test is conducted by drilling or digging a hole in the ground, pouring water into the hole and then observing the rate at which the water is absorbed into the soil. In most cases, properties can easily pass a perc test when the soil has higher concentrations of sand (because sand tends to absorb water at a much faster rate than clay or silt) and when the property is situated in an area with a low water table.

Why is a Perc Test Necessary? For all intents and purposes, a perc test (and subsequently, a septic system) is only necessary when a property does NOT have access to a municipal sewer system.  If a vacant lot is situated within reach of an existing sewer hook up, this will usually eliminate the need for a septic system altogether. For this reason, the availability of an existing sewer system can be big "perk" (no pun intended) when evaluating a property's suitability for building a dwelling of any kind.

When there isn't an existing sewer system nearby, that's when you'll need to explore the feasibility of a septic system. In order to determine if a septic system is possible, most county health departments will require a perc test.  Most of the world's septic systems are designed in a way that requires a septic drain field or "leach field" to drain away any excess water. When solid waste settles in a septic tank, the excess waste water is then discharged into the septic drain field through a network of perforated pipes.

Here’s an example of what the typical septic system and drain field looks like…

The contaminants expelled from this waste water are then trapped and eliminated in the soil. This happens primarily through the process of percolation – and also through evaporation, transpiration, consumption by plant roots and eventually, the remaining water re-enters the ground water and/or surface water.

The typical size of a drain field is determined by the expected volume of waste water to be discharged from the septic system (which is usually estimated based on the size of the proposed building).

In order to understand the importance of a perc test, you also need to understand the basics of how a septic system works. This video gives a helpful explanation on how septic systems work and how a perc test fits into the overall scheme (skip to 3:42 to see the explanation of a perc test).

How Does a Perc Test Work?

In most jurisdictions, a perc test is performed when an official from the county health department meets with the owner of the property and/or a licensed excavator to dig a hole and test the drainage rate of the soil on-site (they literally pour water in a hole and time how long it takes to drain through).

The Health Department determines and enforces the rules that govern when a property is suitable for a septic system, so it’s critical that they be present to perform and/or observe the test in real-time.

Depending on the Health Department’s requirements, the location of the property, the building plans and the makeup of the soil – a perc test can be very simple and inexpensive, or it can be somewhat complicated and costly.

Some situations call for heavy equipment, surveyors, engineers and the like, whereas other situations can be as simple as drilling small holes in the ground (by hand) and taking samples of the soil. Again, the complexity of the process has a lot to do with the Health Department’s requirements, the property location, the plans for the site and the composition of the soil.

In my experience… I’ve found that even though most county health departments adhere to the same general principles of how a perc test works, many of them handle certain aspects of the process quite differently. Just in the counties I’ve worked, each one has had notably different standards in terms of:

  • How much oversight was required.
  • How much the perc test would cost.
  • How stringent the requirements were.
  • What kinds of alternatives were allowed if the perc test failed.

Even though the same fundamental concepts apply almost everywhere, the specific procedures required in one county can be very different from the procedures of another – so it’s important to be sure the test is being done in accordance with the rules and authorities in your area.

How Important is a Perc Test?

To answer this, you’ll have to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What is my plan for the property?

People buy land for all kinds of reasons.

Some are looking for a place to hunt, farm, camp and do other outdoor activities. If this is why you’re buying land, then a perc test (for the purpose of a septic system) probably doesn’t need to be very high on your priority list.

Most people however, buy vacant land because they intend to build something on it… and even if your don’t intend to build anything, there’s a fair chance that at some point in the future, the next buyer down the line will.

The importance of a perc test depends largely on if/when a “dwelling” will ever be constructed on the property. If the answer is “Yes”, then it all boils down to this:

  • Without a successful perc test, there can be no septic permit.
  • Without a septic permit, there can be no septic system.
  • Without a septic system, there can be no dwelling of any kind.
  • If the owner can’t build a dwelling of any kind, the property’s value will diminish substantially.

Now, can a property still be usable/valuable without a septic system or dwelling on it? Of course! But in many cases, you’ll still want to be fully informed about the property’s “percability” BEFORE you invest your life’s savings into it. The last thing you want to do is make an investment decision based on false assumptions.

2. How much am I paying for the property?

Depending on the price you’re paying for a property, it may or may not be worth the extra time and trouble of performing a perc test.

As a land investor, I’ve bought most of my properties free-and-clear from sellers who were highly motivated. The typical purchase price is anywhere fom $100 – $5,000 and when you’re buying a property at this price, it’s not always easy to justify the additional time, money and hassle required to do a perc test.

Whenever I’m dealing with cheaper properties that don’t necessarily need to be built on, I’ve usually opted to SKIP this step in my due diligence process. I’ve been able to get comfortable with this because there are several externally observable factors that have given me sufficient reason to believe the property had a high probability of passing a perc test (we’ll cover more on this below).

In my opinion, if I’m buying a more expensive parcel of land (e.g. – anywhere north of $10,000), this starts getting into the territory of “it’s gonna hurt to be wrong” and I usually take the time to verify before I proceed.

3. How big of a problem will it be if this property isn’t buildable?

This one is pretty straightforward.

Whatever you plan to use this property for, whatever price you’re thinking about paying – just think for a minute about the worst case scenario.

What if you buy it, order a perc test and it doesn’t pass… then what? Does this property turn into a financial disaster or is everything still okay?

If it’s not a deal-killing issue – then it’s probably okay to forego the perc test.

However, if the property’s “buildability” is a significant contributing factor to its value (and many times, it is) and if it would be very bad to guess wrong on this – then why gamble? If you’re planning to live on this property and/or resell it as a “buildable lot” at any point in the future, then order the perc test. The peace of mind can go a long way!

Is it Worth the Time & Trouble?

To do the job properly, a perc test is always going to cost something. Depending on who you hire and how much work is required, the price could range anywhere from $150 – $1,500 (and in my experience, it’s usually in the lower end of that range).

That being said, if you’re just looking for a vague indication of a property’s ability to percolate, you don’t necessarily need to spend $1,500. Heck, if you’ve got a shovel, a bucket of water and you know what to look for, you can even do it yourself!

Of course, the only way to be 100% sure about a property’s ability to percolate is to order a perc test with the local municipality. That being said, if you’re willing to tolerate some risk in the equation, there are other clues you can look for that will give you a halfway decent idea as to whether or not you need to worry about this.

For example, here are some easily-observable factors to consider:

  • Look at the other parcels adjoining your property. Are there any houses on these adjoining properties? If these parcels passed the perc test, there’s a fair chance (though no guarantee) that yours can too.
  • Are there any bodies of water nearby? If so, this property could have a high water table, it could have wetlands, or it could be in or near a flood zone. These factors aren’t always correlated with a property’s ability to perc, but it may be reason to use higher caution (and give you some other things to investigate) when deciding whether or not to spend the money on a perc test.
  • What does the topography of your property look like? Is it up on a hill or down in a valley? Does it have a slope of any kind, with one end higher that the other? In some cases (when there is a high water table or varying soil types throughout a property), a vacant lot may not pass its perc test on the lower at the lower elevation, but it will pass on the higher end. For this reason, whenever I see a property that a clear variance in elevation, I see this as a positive, because it adds to the potential that even if the land won’t perc on the lower end, it has another shot at passing on the higher end.

Failed Perc Test? Alternatives to Consider

If your property fails its perc test, don’t panic. A failed perc test isn’t the end of the story for any property.

Start asking some questions to determine what alternatives might be available….

  • Check with the local Health Department about their records of any previous perc tests. Try to determine if they searched the entire property for a proper septic drain field (in many cases, one section of the property may fail the test, while another section of the property may pass with flying colors).
  • Ask if it’s possible to appeal the results of the previous perc test, and under what circumstances they would reconsider their original determination.
  • Find out what time of year the failed perc test was performed. In many areas, the water table is higher during certain seasons and lower in others (e.g. – winter vs. summer) – which can have an influence on the soil drainage rate.
  • If these first steps fail, it may be worth considering a modified septic system on the property. Some alternative septic systems can be reasonably priced (depending on the property’s situation and the local requirements) and even environmentally friendly. These systems can be a bit more expensive than a conventional option, but it may give you more options to work with.
  • Remember that soil types can vary across any parcel of land (and the topography of the lot can also make a big difference). Be sure to tell your excavator to try a few places – you might be glad you did!
  • Also keep in mind that in some areas, if you wait long enough, the municipal water and sewer may become available. If your plan is to buy land and hold it for a while, it could still be worth your while.

It’s also worth noting that when a property fails a perc test, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t build anything on it. In many cases, you can get around this issue if you’re willing to spend more money on an engineered system and/or add a raised sand bed to overcome the drainage issue (depending on what the Health Department is willing to allow).

And don’t forget – there are all kinds of alternative uses for properties that don’t even require a septic system. For example:

  • Storage Units
  • Pole Barns
  • Horse Stable
  • Grazing Fields
  • Crops & Farming
  • Orchard
  • Camping
  • Hunting
  • Lumber
  • Mining
  • Drilling

With a little bit of creativity (and adherence to zoning requirements and mineral rights), almost any property can be put to good use.

How to Order a Perc Test

If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to hire a pro to evaluate your property, all you need to do is call your county Health Department (just Google the county name and then “Health Department” to find their phone number) and ask them what the requirements are to properly conduct a perc test.

In some counties, the Health Department will have to perform all of the work. In others, they will require a licensed excavator to do all the digging ahead of time.

Whatever the situation – remember that the rules and regulations can be very different depending on where your property is located, so before you take any big steps forward, make sure you learn how it’s supposed to be done directly from the source. With the right information, you should be off and running in no time.

Visit for complete information.


    1. Mariam Batchelor on

      Excellent information. Thank you
      • Sally on

        Very informative!!! Thank you!
        • Einat Ben on

          Wow!! Thank you so much!!!!
          • Maria on

            Super informative. Very helpful. Thank you
            • Tina Edwards on

              Very important information. Article was well written. I had no idea what this even was. Thank you.

              Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

              May your home be filled with love and laughter throughout this holiday season! 

              From all of us at Melanson Real Estate, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



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                A New England Holiday Ice Cream Tradition

                I found this article written by Aimee Tucker with Yankee Magazine.  I agree with her, this dessert brings back many childhood memories.  Although, my memories go back a lot earlier than Aimee's - about 15 years earlier!  So if your math calculates properly, you'll see that this yummy dessert has been around for a long time.

                Friendly’s Jubilee Roll combines two kinds of ice cream with fudge, nuts, and sprinkles into the ultimate take-home treat.

                Founded in 1935 by the Blake Brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts, Friendly’s is a New England-based family dining restaurant chain that’s mostly known for its ice cream. Whenever I meet someone that has never heard of Friendly’s, I describe it as being “like Howard Johnson’s was, only without the motels.” Casual dining (think burgers and melts) with an emphasis on friendly service, and always dessert. Today, there are nearly 400 Friendly’s locations throughout the eastern United States, most of them in the Northeast.

                If you prefer to enjoy your ice cream at home, however, Friendly’s also offers take-home options, including cartons of ice cream, sundae cups, ice cream bars and cones, and novelty ice cream “rolls” like the Jubilee Roll. Popular and affordable (Friendly’s packaged ice creams are New England’s best-selling brand in grocery stores) they’re permanently linked to fond childhood memories for most former New England kids, including me. Out of the box, it looked as elegant as I remembered from nearly every Christmas (and sometimes Thanksgiving) dessert table of my 1980s childhood. A chocolate ice cream center surrounded by chocolate chip ice cream, topped with fudge, chopped almonds, red and green candy chips, and what Friendly’s refers to as “an ice cream ribbon.” I just call it “the pink part,” aka “the best part.” It tasted like ice cream and frosting had a party, but that might have just been my imagination working overtime.

                Could there be a more attractive, delicious way to both celebrate the holiday season and indulge in a little local pride? I don’t think so.

                Sliced, served, and maybe even topped with more hot fudge and a little whipped cream, it’s ice-cold Christmas on a plate.



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                Weekend Events 12/20/19 - 12/21/19

                Friday, December 20th

                A Christmas Story at Village Players Theater

                When: 7:30 PM and Saturday night too!

                Where: 51 Glendon Street, Wolfeboro

                The Village Players movie series brings this final classic movie of 2019 to the theater’s big screen. Movie tickets can be purchased in advance at Blacks Paper Store or at the door.  Cash or check required.  For more information, please call 603-569-9656.


                Saturday, December 21st

                Ugly Sweater Skate Party

                When: 6 PM - 7:30 PM

                Where: Pop Whalen Ice & Arts Center, 390 Pine Hill Road, Wolfeboro

                Wear your favorite Holiday Sweater and come enjoy a night of skating to holiday tunes.  The concession stand will be open. A small prize will be given for the favorite sweater at 7:15 PM (must be present to win)!  This is a great event to come with your family, friends, or just to get out for a nice night skate at your favorite rink!

                Regular public skating fees apply:

                • Resident $6

                • Non-Resident: $7


                10 Winter Holiday Safety Tips

                This colorful graphic tip sheet provides easy reminders for keeping safety around the house on the top of your to-do list this holiday season.


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                  Are you good at trivia? Here's an apropos brain teaser for the holidays!

                  How Many Birds Are In The 12 Days Of Christmas Carol?

                  Answer shown at bottom of page

                  Here’s the break down:

                  Day 1 – a partridge in a pear tree (1 bird)

                  Day 2 – 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (3 birds)

                  Day 3 – 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (6 birds)

                  Day 4 – 4 colly (or calling birds), 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (10 birds)

                  Day 5 – 10 birds again

                  Day 6 – 6 geese-a-laying, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (16 birds)

                  Day 7 – 7 swans-a-swimming, 6 geese-a-laying, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (23 birds)

                  Day 8 – 23 birds

                  Day 9 – 23 birds

                  Day 10 – 23 birds

                  Day 11 – 23 birds

                  Day 12 – 23 birds

                  Add all the days together and you get 184 birds!

                  Who knew??? Did you get it correct?  "Tweet" your friends and see if they can come up with the right answer! Toodles.




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                    Weekend Events 12/14/19 - 12/15/19

                    Saturday, December 14th

                    The Wolfeboro Inn partnered with the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce for the annual  event - Breakfast With Santa!


                    Wolfeboro's Annual Christmas Spirit Open House

                    When: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

                    Where: All around Wolfeboro

                    You are invited to join the tradition of this festive shopping event in Wolfeboro.
                    And Santa Claus will have his hut open for visits 2-4p.m. with Mrs. Claus joining him.
                    Participating businesses will welcome you with refreshments, and you may drop-off donations to L.I.F.E. Ministries Food Pantry.  

                    For more information, please visit or call 603-569-2200.


                    Skate with Santa Party

                    When: 2:10 PM - 3:30 PM

                    Where: Pop Whalen Ice & Art Center

                    Come on down to the Pop Whalen and skate to some holiday tunes. Santa will be popping in for a visit. Bring your camera and have your picture taken with Santa. Cocoa and cookies provided. Regular skating fees apply for this event ($6.00 for residents, $7.00 non-residents, $5.00 for skate rentals).  Call 603-569-5639 for more information.


                    Sunday, December 15th

                    Wolfeboro Friends of Music presents Jacqueline Schwab-Ken Burns' Pianist & Composer

                    When: 2 PM - 4 PM

                    Where: Brewster's Anderson Hall, 205 South Main Street, Wolfeboro


                    For the winter holidays, Jacqueline Schwab will intrigue and warm your heart with her sparkling and intimate piano selections touching on vintage Appalachian carols, North Carolina sea island spirituals, English and Scottish dance tunes, and more. In concert halls and commemorative venues across America, audiences are captivated by Jacqueline’s crisp, lilting style and her plaintive, ‘talking’ tunes. Her brief narratives prepare time and place in the listener’s mind. Ms. Schwab’s genius is instantly recognizable when you hear her solo piano improvisations that accompany sections of Ken Burn’s award-winning PBS series, The Civil War, Baseball, and The West.

                    For more information, call 603-569-2151




                    Weekend Events 12/7/19 - 12/8/19

                    The holiday season is upon us and you know what that means, right? Lots of fun and wonderful community events! There are several events happening in and around Wolfeboro this weekend. See below to name just a few... and, don't forget to visit Santa at Santa's Hut in Wolfeboro.  Have a great weekend! 

                    Saturday, December 7th

                    Wolfeboro Festival of Trees


                    The Wolfeboro Festival of Trees is a charity benefit featuring two levels of more than sixty trees decorated by area organizations, businesses and individuals. The event offers continuous live entertainment and free refreshments. The festival will be held on the weekends of December 7, 8, 14, 15, and Wednesday, December 11. Doors open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays, from noon until 3 p.m. on Sundays, and from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Admission is $7 for adults, children 8 and under $2, or $15 per family. The facility is handicap accessible.

                    For more info, please visit or call Peg at 508-596-2850.


                    New! Farmstead Christmas presented by Remick Museum & Farm

                    A DOWN-HOME FAMILY EVENT

                    When: 11 am - 3 pm

                    Where: Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm, 58 Cleveland Hill Road, Tamworth, NH

                    Admission: $5 per person, Children ages 4 & under FREE!

                    Come and experience a holiday event that’s trimmed with tasty traditions, whimsical touches, and the simple delights of a historic farmstead.

                    There’s gnome place like farmstead for the holidays!

                    A Remick gnome and friends prepare to welcome visitors to Farmstead Christmas. Starting at the Museum Center, a main feature of the event includes “Gnome on the Roam,” a gnome scavenger hunt. The hunt assists attendees in visiting each planned activity that are fun and tasty within the Center and across the farmstead.

                    For more information call 603-323-7591 or visit


                    Sponsored by Bank of New Hampshire

                    Clearlakes Chorale

                    Clearlakes Chorale proudly presents, GLORIA!

                    When: Saturday, December 7th @ 7:30pm
                                 Sunday, December 8th @ 2pm

                    Where: St. Katharine Drexel Church, Alton, NH

                    Tickets are $20 for adults/$10 for students & are available at Black’s Paper Store downtown Wolfeboro or (coming soon!) online via


                    The Third Annual Gingerbread House Jubilee

                    Hosted by Gingerbread Amy

                    When: 2 PM - 4 PM

                    Where: Barn at The General Wolfe, 518 S. Main Street, Wolfeboro, NH

                    Amy Knapp builds one-of-a-kind gingerbread houses in her workshop in the woods for more than 20 years. Swing by the Barn at The General Wolfe for complementary Peet's coffee, hot chocolate, cookies, and a chance to take home one of her adorable gingerbread cottages for your home or business.  Dozens of gingerbread cottages will be auctioned and two will be offered for sale with the best offer getting the gingerbread keys.  Bidding will start at $5 and all houses will have a $1,000 “buy it now” option available. 

                    All proceeds benefit The Lakes Region Human Society.  FREE!