The Town of Gilford is located in central New Hampshire, on the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and the northern slopes of the Belknap Mountain range. Gilford is home to Governors Island, Ellacoya State Beach, Belknap Mountain State Forest, Gunstock Mountain Ski Resort, and Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion, a seasonal outdoor concert facility.
Settled in 1778 and originally a part of Gilmanton, the town was first called Gunstock Parish. In 1812, Captain Lemuel B. Mason, who had fought in the 1781 Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina during the Revolutionary War and subsequently retired to Gunstock Parish, successfully proposed incorporation of a new town to be named Guilford after that battle. The name would later be contracted by clerical error. The original parish name is used by Gunstock Mountain and the ski resort located on it.