In honor of me having achieved my goal of visiting all 50 US States, each day for the next 50 days, I will post a picture of somewhere I have visited in each state and write a paragraph or two about my experience. There is so much to see in every one of them, so I am just selecting one of my best memories.
New Hampshire aka “The Granite State” has less open spaces than Vermont, but you get a pretty good trade-off, it comes with a beach. While both states are almost equal in size (only about 260 miles different), the adjoining lands are practically a world apart. For one thing, New Hampshire has nearly twice the population of Vermont. New Hampshire is pretty conservative and Republican (at least by New England standards) while Vermont is progressive and has a Democratic-Socialist for a Senator. Both states have mountains, but New Hampshire’s are higher including the tallest mountain by prominence (distance from the base to summit ) east of the Mississippi River, Mount Washington.
Located in the White Mountains so-called because they are often snow-capped and the exposed granite faces, Mount Washington is one of New Hampshire’s most popular destinations. For those of us not athletically inclined to face the daunting challenge of climbing this behemoth, there is a cog railway that can take you to the summit. But bring your jacket because the peak is one of the windiest places on earth. For years it held the Guinness Record with a recorded gust of over 200 miles per hour.
The Railway is a lot of fun to ride, and the views will keep your camera busy. The track is only three miles long but takes over an hour. The Cog as it is referred to is the oldest mountain railway in the world and is track is the world’s second steepest with an average incline of 25% and a maximum incline of almost 40%. You can see why most people opt for the cog instead of hiking. But if you are so inclined the Appalachian trail actually includes the summit on its path. I can’t imagine hiking it even when I was in my best physical condition. But people do, and I have to admire them for it.
One thing that certainly sets New Hampshire apart from Vermont is that they have a beach. The state’s outlet to the sea is thin at only 18miles but is densely packed with beaches, hotels and sundry tourist paraphernalia. One of my favorite beaches in all of New England, Hampton beach is on this strip.
On my first night ever in New Hampshire, I stayed the night at Hampton Beach. Despite being a holiday weekend, I got a beautiful room overlooking the ocean for under 100.00$. My bedroom was located across the street from the beach and was under an Italian Restaurant. I think my room was right above the kitchen and it smelled divine. I had the beach pretty much to myself for some reason. I took off my shoes and waded in the water. I had swim trunks on, but the water was way too cold to swim in, even on Labor Day. The moon was full and floated on the horizon like a big oval frigate. It was a lovely evening until I walked back to the shore and realized that the tide was coming in and my shoes were now being buckled in the waves. On a return trip, I planned to eat at Mama Leone’s again but learned that it was now closed replaced by a massive liquor store.
New Hampshire’s diminutive size makes traversing the state easy. You can hike the mountains in the morning and have dinner on the beach. My favorite memories of the Granite State include the sheer austere beauty of Mount Washington and the quaint towns that dot the highways in the mountainous north. The lively and sometimes rowdy crowds on the boardwalk and beaches on the coast. New Hampshire gives you the best of both.