Not everyone who lives in New Hampshire loves it, and that is ok. Those of us who do are a rare breed. New Hampshire is a small state. Residents who live in the central part of the state can travel to the city (Boston), the ocean, or in the mountains in an hour. In three hours, after taking a left, we can be in Canada! Anyone who lives in Coos County, goes to sleep counting moose, and can be in Montreal in an hour. Living in the Western part of the states gives us easy access to Vermont and New York.
I mentioned driving three hours and taking a left. That’s something we do in New Hampshire when we give directions. We might say, go left that the rock that has “lake” painted on it. We might say, drive through “The Notch.” Before the Old Man of the Mountain fell, to many folks, there was only one notch. Those of us that are a rare breed can still see the wispy outline of that Old Man every time we drive Route 3 and look up at the rock overhang. While Franconia is one of New Hampshire’s most famous notches, our state has many others which are a joy to drive through in Autumn.
I mentioned Autumn. While New England is known for vibrant foliage, we pretty much think New Hampshire’s is the best. Those of us that are a rare breed know that foliage turns throughout New England, and in other parts of the country, and even in other parts of the world. We also know that we have the exclusive joy of seeing vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows for a few weeks a year. Last fall, because of the drought, we were able to experience four weeks of the mystery that is foliage. Being grateful for beauty that is put in front of us every fall is a gift and phenomenon we don’t take for granted.
I mentioned not taking things for granted. Those of us who are a rare breed giggle when we hear the phrase “Don’t take New Hampshire for Granite!” Yes, we are the Granite State, and there is a lot of it, pretty much around every corner. The granite wreaks havoc for companies that build roads and houses, but for the outdoorsy types and animals, it provides beauty and shelter. For artists and business people, it becomes a livelihood. Somewhere in your home, there might just be a piece of granite sitting on a shelf in the form of a clock or some other art. Maybe it is that big rock you mow around in your backyard and curse at. Whatever it may be, New Hampshire sits on a pile of rocks.
I mentioned a pile of rocks. Our greatest claim to fame is “The Rock Pile,” otherwise known as Mt. Washington. For those who are a rare breed, our mountain is the home of the “World’s Worst Weather,” and we are not ready to give up the strongest wind speed ever recorded to anyone, anywhere! Not yet! The mountain brings travelers from all over the world to our tiny state, and with them comes revenue and awe that our “little” 6,200+ foot mountain has so much history, scary weather, and the unique Cog Railway.
I mentioned weather. There is a big lake in the middle of our state, at the gateway to the Lakes Region. Lake Winnipesaukee . The lake is a tourist attraction, a summer getaway for many, home for thousands, and holds as much history as Mount Washington. Famous for the “Winni Derby,” the “Broads,” Wolfeboro, the Mount Washington (the boat, not the mountain!), and so much more. The lake hosts events that bring local folks and strangers together every season. For those of us who are a rare breed, gambling as to when ice out will happen is an annual treat!
I mentioned a treat! Maple Syrup made in New Hampshire is hard to describe unless you taste it over pancakes, in the form of sugar candy, or watch it boiling as you stand outdoors on a very cold day in a sugar shack! For those of us who are a rare breed, we are confident it is the best maple syrup in the world. We love our neighbors in Vermont, but there’s something about New Hampshire maple syrup that makes our eyes dance and our mouths water. We buy it locally, we give it as gifts, we adore it, we export it, we sell it all over the world, and we enjoy every last drop. We think it’s the best maple syrup ever!
Did I mention the best? New Hampshire is a gem of a state with so much to offer, yet there isn’t a blog long enough to list everything. The things above are some favorites. Those of us who are a rare breed know that being a native of, or moving to and living in New Hampshire offers the gift of being part of New England. Take that one step further. New England has the BEST sports teams and fans in the country! Last night we witnessed history with our beloved Patriots winning the Superbowl, for the 5th time with the same coach and quarterback. We witnessed an epic comeback and greatness in taking the high road. We watched the humble MVP putting the spotlight on his teammates, and the coach doing the same about his players. We saw people coming together from New England being good to each other.
Whether you are from New Hampshire, New England or elsewhere, if there’s a lesson to be learned in what happened last night, anyone can choose goodness, kindness, professionalism, perseverance, working together and being polite over whatever storm is brewing around us. That is why rare breeds can come from from anywhere. In this instance, I am delighted that the Patriots come from our little corner of the world!