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Known for its stunning natural beauty and quaint small towns, New Hampshire is one of the most distinct states in America. The state is famous for its picturesque settings that include White Mountain National Forest spanning more than 750,000 acres, Lake Winnipesaukee, and numerous ski areas during the winter such as Loon Mountain and Mount Sunapee. New Hampshire is also renowned for hosting the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle, granting it a major role in shaping the political landscape and debate. Rich in cultural history, it is home to several historic landmarks and structures such as the Portsmouth Historic District and Canterbury Shaker Village. Not to forget, New Hampshire is notable for its lack of a general sales tax and its motto “Live Free or Die”, reflecting its emphasis on individual liberty.
Food & Drink New Hampshire is Known For
Apple cider, New Hampshire’s signature drink, perfectly embodies the essence of this charming state. During the picturesque autumn months, New Hampshire’s vibrant foliage is complemented by the rich aroma of freshly pressed apples. As a symbol of agricultural heritage and celebration of the region’s apple orchards, this delightful beverage has become a time-honored tradition. Residents and visitors alike eagerly anticipate visits to local cider mills and family-run orchards to partake in this seasonal treat, bringing people closer together as they share warm conversations and tasty beverages. In addition, apple cider often serves as a key ingredient in many iconic recipes and is used to create other delicious concoctions, such as mulled cider and New England’s famous apple cider doughnuts. With its earthy tones, soothing warmth, and undeniable connection to the region’s bountiful harvest, apple cider remains an integral part of New Hampshire’s identity and a reason for people to cherish the state’s unique character and flavors.
Steamers, a New Hampshire culinary staple, refer to soft-shell clams that are highly sought after for their irresistible taste and texture. Harvested from the tidal marshes and mudflats of the seacoast region, these delectable bivalves offer a genuine taste of New England’s marine bounty. To preserve their delicate taste, steamers are traditionally prepared by gently steaming them in their own briny juices, often with a touch of white wine or butter to elevate the dish. Their sweet, tender flesh is best enjoyed dipped in melted butter, accompanied by a tangy broth for rinsing off any residual sand—capturing the essence of the ocean in each savory bite. Widely celebrated by locals and seafood enthusiasts, this coastal delicacy is a delightful treat that establishes a strong connection between the state’s oceanic heritage and its culinary traditions. Whether served in a quaint seaside shack or an upscale restaurant, steamers have undoubtedly solidified their status as a source of New Hampshire pride and satisfaction.
Apple Cider Donuts
In New Hampshire, apple cider donuts are more than just a seasonal delicacy, they’re an essential part of the culinary tradition. These delightful pastries have evolved into a symbol of New Hampshire’s Apple Harvest Day, where the vibrant fall atmosphere is enlivened by the sweet aroma of these freshly-prepared treats. The donuts are made by reducing pure apple cider into a concentrated form and mixing it into the dough, infusing every bite with the taste of fresh apples. Once fried to golden perfection, the donuts are usually rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, creating a winning combination of tart, sweet, and spice. Each bite offers a warm, moist interior beneath a crisp, sugary exterior, providing a taste and texture that leaves locals and visitors alike longing for more. Whether enjoyed at a roadside stand, an apple orchard, or a popular bakery, apple cider donuts stand as an embodiment of New Hampshire’s rich agricultural heritage and love for flavors of the season.
Maple syrup holds a place of honor in New Hampshire, symbolizing the state’s deep-rooted appreciation for its natural resources. Known as “liquid gold,” this sweet elixir is harvested from the state’s abundant sugar maple trees during the brief thawing period between late February and early April. This yearly ritual, known as “sugaring,” involves drilling a small hole in the tree trunk and collecting the sap that drips out, which is then boiled down to create the rich, amber syrup. New Hampshire’s maple syrup, celebrated for its unmatched purity and robust flavor, is both a coveted ingredient in traditional recipes and a delicious topping for pancakes and waffles. Beyond the culinary realm, the syrup plays a central role in New Hampshire’s culture and economy, with “Maple Weekend” — a two-day event where sugarhouses across the state open their doors to visitors — standing as a testament to its importance. Whether it’s enjoyed as a breakfast treat or explored as part of the state’s heritage, maple syrup remains an enduring and cherished symbol of New Hampshire’s identity.
Venison, a culinary staple in New Hampshire, is an important part of the state’s food culture and culinary traditions. This lean, richly flavored game meat is sourced from the wild deer population that roams New Hampshire’s forests. With a strong community of hunters and a deep appreciation for locally sourced food, venison has remained immensely popular and sought after by both residents and visitors of the state.
Hunting in New Hampshire is not only viewed as a sporting activity but also as an essential component of sustainable wildlife management and conservation strategies. Responsible hunting practices ensure the well-being of the deer population and maintain the ecological balance within the state’s diverse habitats.
Venison, as a food, contributes to New Hampshire’s regional identity and culinary uniqueness. Its versatility and distinctive taste lend themselves to a wide variety of dishes, from traditional stews to innovative nouveau cuisine. Additionally, venison’s health benefits – as a lean, high-protein, and low-cholesterol alternative to other meats – further enhance its appeal among health-conscious consumers. In sum, venison has solidified its standing as a beloved and sustainable food source in New Hampshire, representing the state’s culinary heritage and respect for its natural resources.
History, Culture & Traditions New Hampshire is Known For
No Seat Belt Laws for Adults
A distinct feature of New Hampshire’s take on personal freedom reflects in its unique traffic laws, particularly the absence of seatbelt laws for adults. New Hampshire holds the distinction of being the only U.S. state that does not legally require adults aged 18 and over to wear seatbelts while driving or traveling in a vehicle. This exception aligns with the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die,” a testament to its historical emphasis on individual liberty and personal responsibility. However, it’s important to note that despite this legislation, traffic safety organizations and law enforcement agencies in the state strongly encourage the use of seatbelts to promote safety on the road. Similarly, while adult drivers and passengers are not legally bound to buckle up, New Hampshire law does mandate that all children under the age of 18 must wear a seatbelt or be securely fastened in an appropriate child safety seat.
First Alarm Clock
Levi Hutchins, a native of New Hampshire, is credited with inventing the first American alarm clock in 1787. This innovative concept was initially created as a personal alarm device, designed to wake him promptly at 4 a.m.. However, unique to its original design, Hutchins’ early alarm clock was fixed to ring only at his preferred waking time. Despite it being a personal invention, this marked a significant development from the historical iterations of mechanical alarm devices. Hutchin’s invention showcases New Hampshire’s long-standing contribution to practical innovations, setting a precedent for later advancements in alarm clock design and technology.
First Wind Farm
New Hampshire is recognized for being home to the first wind farm in the United States, demonstrating the state’s longstanding commitment to renewable energy resources. The state’s pioneering attitude toward harnessing wind power began with the establishment of Crotched Mountain Wind Farm in 1980. Located in Francestown, this wind farm initially consisted of 20 individual wind turbines, taking advantage of the brisk mountain air to generate power. Despite the farm’s limited success and subsequent decommissioning due to limited technology and high costs at the time, the effort was noteworthy for placing New Hampshire at the forefront of wind energy exploration in the U.S. Today, New Hampshire continues to utilize wind power, with several modern, more efficient wind farms in operation. The legacy of Crotched Mountain Wind Farm serves as a testament to the state’s early and enduring dedication to sustainable energy solutions.
First of Original Colonies to Declare Independence from England
New Hampshire is celebrated for its pivotal role in the pursuit of American independence, notably as the first of the original thirteen colonies to formally separate from England. Six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress in 1776, the state’s Provincial Congress in Exeter declared its own independence on January 5, thereby establishing New Hampshire as a free and self-governing entity. This bold step epitomized the colony’s spirit of liberty and determination, which is reflected in its state motto, “Live Free or Die”. By severing its administrative links with the British Crown ahead of the other colonies, New Hampshire set a significant precedent, marking the beginnings of a new era in the fight for American independence. This historic act stands as a testament to New Hampshire’s independent streak and its essential contribution to the formation of the United States.
Mother of Rivers
New Hampshire, affectionately dubbed the “Mother of Rivers”, bestows a significant contribution to the waters of the Northeastern United States. This nickname stems from the interesting geographical attribute where five of the great rivers in the region have their headwaters within the state’s boundaries. Among them are the Connecticut, Pemigewasset, Merrimack, Saco, and Androscoggin rivers, which start their long journeys from various points in New Hampshire, winding through forests, valleys, and cities before eventually meeting the Atlantic Ocean. New Hampshire’s diverse landscapes, ranging from the White Mountain peaks to the picturesque lakes and ponds, contribute to the health and vitality of these rivers. The “Mother of Rivers” therefore not only influences the ecological well-being of New Hampshire but also plays a significant role in shaping the waterways and ecology of the entire Northeast region.
Places New Hampshire is Known For
Portsmouth, nestled on the Piscataqua River in New Hampshire’s seacoast region, is celebrated for its rich history and vibrant cultural life. One of the oldest cities in the United States, Portsmouth was founded in 1623, boasting a wealth of preserved colonial buildings that offer a glimpse into its historical past. Today, it’s recognized not only for its historical importance but also for its lively dining scene, captivating arts culture, and picturesque harbor filled with working fishing boats and gleaming yachts. From exploring the iconic Strawbery Banke Museum, an interactive, outdoor history museum, to taking in a performance at the beloved Music Hall, there’s a multitude of experiences in Portsmouth that reflect its unique blend of history, culture, and coastal charm.
Concord, the lively capital city of New Hampshire, offers a harmonious blend of historical importance, civic vitality, and cultural richness. Nestled along the scenic Merrimack River, Concord’s origins date back to the 1730s, with the city serving as the state capital since 1808. The gold-domed State House, built in 1819 and the oldest in continual use in the entire nation, shines as a centerpiece of the city’s downtown district. Beyond politics, Concord is home to several cultural touchstones. This includes the cherished McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, an air and space museum named after two New Hampshire natives, Christa McAuliffe, the famed teacher and astronaut, and Alan Shepard, the first American in space. With a rich blend of historical landmarks, educational institutions, and outdoor recreational spots, Concord indisputably holds a thrilling blend of experiences for all ages.
Hanover, a vibrant, cultured town situated in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire, is renowned as the home to the Ivy League Dartmouth College. Established in 1761 and nestled on the western banks of the Connecticut River, Hanover is characterized by its educational excellence, scenic beauty, and cultural richness. The distinguished Dartmouth College heavily influences the town’s cultural scene, with significant institutions such as the Hood Museum of Art and the Hopkins Center for the Arts providing access to world-class art, music, and theater. Furthermore, Hanover’s outdoor recreational options abound, with the Appalachian Trail passing directly through the town and seasonal activities like hiking, skiing, and kayaking on offer in the beautiful surrounding landscape. The perfect blend of academic sophistication, cultural vigor, and natural beauty makes Hanover an undeniably charming New England destination.
Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, is a vibrant, diverse municipality renowned for its industrial history and dynamic cultural scene. Positioned along the Merrimack River, Manchester was established in 1751 and quickly rose to prominence as the world’s leading textile manufacturing city by the mid-19th century. Today, much of that rich history is preserved in the Millyard Museum, housed in historic mill buildings. Contemporary Manchester is bustling with energy, home to an array of art galleries, concert venues, and the nationally acclaimed Currier Museum of Art. The city also prides itself on its sports scene, where the NH Fisher Cats (a Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays) and the Manchester Monarchs professional ice hockey team keep fans cheering year-round. All these elements combined make Manchester a dynamic city with a unique blend of history, culture, and urban vitality.
Keene, New Hampshire, located in the Monadnock Region, is a historical city known for its stunning landscapes, commercial vibrancy, and educational institutions. Founded in 1736, Keene is laid out around a charming central square dominated by a historic church and city hall. The city’s Main Street is often recognized as one of the widest in the world and is lined with a myriad of unique shops, restaurants, and galleries. As the home of Keene State College and Antioch University New England, Keene exudes an energetic, academic ambiance. The culturally inclined city is also known worldwide for its annual Pumpkin Festival, a fall tradition that has set several world records for the most jack-o-lanterns lit at once. Surrounded by rolling hills and nestled near the iconic Mount Monadnock, Keene offers a mix of rich history, recreational opportunities, and cultural liveliness.
Landmarks & Attractions New Hampshire is Known For
Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire, is a radiant jewel nestled in the heart of the state’s Lakes Region. Spanning 72 square miles with 258 islands, its majestic beauty has drawn visitors for centuries. The lake and its surrounding towns are buzzing with activity year-round, offering a wealth of recreational activities, from boating and fishing in the summertime to snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter. The lake’s shores are dotted with charming towns like Meredith, Wolfeboro, and Laconia, each offering an array of dining, shopping, and cultural options. Attractions such as the lively Weirs Beach and the historical Mount Washington Cruise Ship contribute to the vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re soaking up the sun by the shoreline or exploring its serene, pine-fringed waters, Lake Winnipesaukee offers a unique blend of natural beauty and recreation that enriches New Hampshire’s scenic tapestry.
Monadnock State Park
Monadnock State Park, located in southern New Hampshire, is perhaps best known as the home to the majestic Mount Monadnock. This 3,165-foot peak attracts climbers from around the globe, earning a reputation as one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world. The park spans a massive 1,017 acres, offering over 40 miles of well-maintained foot trails, some leading up to stunning, panoramic views of the surrounding landscape at the mountain’s summit. On clear days, climbers can even see the Boston skyline. Rich with diverse flora and fauna, Monadnock State Park serves not only as a hub for hikers but also as a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers. The park is an emblem of New Hampshire’s year-round beauty, with each season offering unique experiences, from vibrant autumn foliage to snow-shoeing trails in winter, making it an integral part of the state’s outdoor landscape.
New Hampshire’s White Mountains, set in the northern region of the state, offer an awe-inspiring blend of rugged wilderness, breathtaking vistas, and vibrant local communities. This expansive mountain range, encompassing a significant part of the Appalachian Trail, is pockmarked with peaks reaching over 4,000 feet, including Mount Washington, the highest in the northeastern United States. The area is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts offering numerous hiking trails, ski resorts, zip-lining, and scenic drives, especially the iconic Kancamagus Highway. In addition to the natural beauty, the White Mountains region is home to various attractions such as the historic Mount Washington Cog Railway and family-friendly theme parks like Story Land and Santa’s Village. Whether it’s the riot of color in fall, the snow-dusted peaks in winter, the lush greenery in spring, or the sunny summits in summer, the White Mountains embody New Hampshire’s reputation for unspoiled natural beauty and outdoor adventure.
The Kancamagus Highway, affectionately known as “The Kanc,” is a scenic byway that stretches 34.5 miles through the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Named after a Native American chief of the Penacook Confederacy, it connects the towns of Lincoln to the west and Conway to the east. Driving along the highway, travelers are treated to an unrivaled vista of untouched wilderness, incorporating dense forests, crystal-clear rivers, and steep, rugged mountain peaks. Several well-marked hiking trails and picnic areas can be found along its length. The Kanc is especially popular during the autumn months, as it offers some of the best fall foliage viewing in the entire United States. Whether it’s for outdoor adventure, wildlife viewing, or a tranquil escape amidst unspoiled nature, the Kancamagus Highway embodies the raw beauty and serenity of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
Flume Gorge, tucked in the picturesque Franconia Notch State Park of New Hampshire, is an awe-inspiring natural wonder. This narrow, 800-foot long granite gorge, discovered in 1808, astounds visitors with its sheer walls reaching up to 90 feet in height. The tranquil walkway, crisscrossed by wooden bridges and steps placed amidst lush greenery and cascading waterfalls, provides visitors with stunning views of the geological formation and the surrounding woodland. At the base of the Gorge is the historic Flume Covered Bridge, a charming testament to 19th-century architecture. Whether it’s the thunderous rush of the Pemigewasset River, the ethereal echo of waterfalls, or the peaceful rustling of leaves, exploring Flume Gorge is an immersive experience in the heart of New Hampshire’s natural beauty.
Canterbury Shaker Village
Castle in the Clouds
Conway Scenic Railroad
Franconia Notch State Park
What is New Hampshire Known For Producing?
New Hampshire, aptly nicknamed “The Granite State,” has a long and illustrious history of granite production. Granite extraction and processing has been a staple industry since the 19th century when the state’s abundant granite reserves were first discovered. Across the state, numerous quarries produced the rugged, grey-hued stone known for its strength and durability. Granite from New Hampshire was used extensively in construction and monument work, both locally and across the country. Notably, it was used on portions of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Although production levels have fallen since their historical height in the early 20th century, New Hampshire’s granite industry remains active and continues to contribute to the state’s economy and identity. Today, reminders of this rich heritage can be found in the granite-filled landscapes and architectures of New Hampshire.
Velcro, although a widely used global product, holds a unique connection to New Hampshire. Velcro USA Inc., a division of the company that was originally founded in Switzerland by George de Mestral in the 1940s, established its North American headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire in 1957. Here, the company produces and distributes its well-known hook-and-loop fasteners, along with a range of other advanced fastening systems. The New Hampshire facility is not just a production hub but also home to research and development teams, contributing to new product innovations. The Velcro operation in New Hampshire has boosted the state’s manufacturing industry, provided jobs for local residents, and positioned the state as a venue for industrial innovation. Today, the ubiquity of Velcro in everyday life has cemented New Hampshire’s reputation as a key player in the global manufacturing landscape.
New Hampshire has a storied history in gun manufacturing, with roots reaching back to the early days of the United States. The state’s skilled workforce and business-friendly environment have fostered the growth of the firearms industry, turning New Hampshire into a hub for small arms production. Well-known companies such as SIG Sauer, Ruger, and Thompson/Center Arms have established their operations in various regions across the state, covering a wide range of products from handguns to rifles. The presence of these companies adds to the diverse economic landscape of New Hampshire, creating employment opportunities and bolstering the state’s manufacturing sector. Additionally, the firearms industry in New Hampshire has led to the growth of a supporting network of suppliers in metalworking, machining, and tooling as well. Overall, the gun manufacturing industry has become an important part of New Hampshire’s economic and industrial identity, contributing to both its heritage and economy.
Maple syrup production is an integral part of New Hampshire’s cultural heritage and agrarian economy, with the state’s rich maple forests serving as the setting for this time-honored tradition. Every year, as winter gives way to spring, the process of tapping sugar maple trees for sap commences, marking the beginning of the ‘sugaring season.’ The collected sap is then carefully boiled down in sugar houses, reducing the liquid to the rich, amber-hued syrup cherished in culinary creations and as a delectable topping for pancakes and waffles. New Hampshire’s local, family-owned sugarhouses and larger commercial operations work tirelessly during this period to produce high-quality maple syrup, contributing to the state’s esteemed reputation in the maple industry. Embracing its role as a major maple syrup producer, New Hampshire also celebrates its syrup-making heritage through annual events like the New Hampshire Maple Weekend, fostering a strong sense of pride and appreciation for this sweet, delicious product.
Fruits and Vegetables
Despite its long, snowy winters, New Hampshire boasts a vibrant fruit and vegetable growing sector during its summer and fall growing seasons. Apples comprise New Hampshire’s most significant fruit crop, with numerous orchards spread across the state producing a wide array of apple varieties. Beyond apples, the state also produces a handsome supply of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and other small fruits, all ripening at different times throughout the growing season.
New Hampshire’s vegetable production is equally impressive, encompassing an array of farm-fresh produce. The state’s farmers cultivate an assortment of vegetables such as sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, squashes, and greens among others. Root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and beets, which are well-suited to New Hampshire’s climate, are also prominent crops. The burgeoning local food movement in the state has shone a spotlight on the value of this diverse, seasonal bounty and has spurred an increase in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) models, farmer’s markets, and farm-to-table initiatives. These efforts have enriched New Hampshire’s food landscape while supporting the local agricultural industry.
Beef and Dairy
New Hampshire’s enduring agricultural traditions have laid the foundation for a well-established dairy and beef production industry. Despite being a smaller state, New Hampshire is home to a number of dairy farms that produce a significant volume of milk each year. The milk derived from these farms is used for creating dairy products such as cheese, butter, and ice cream, all of which hold a prominent place in the state’s gastronomic repertoire.
Beef production is another vital component of New Hampshire’s agricultural sector. Local farms rear cattle in sustainable ways, often offering grass-fed and organic options which appeal to health-conscious consumers. This attention to quality and wellness also extends to the state’s dairy production, with an emphasis placed on maintaining healthy, well-cared-for herds.
Both industries not only have strong financial impacts on the state’s economy, but also hold cultural significance, being ingrained in the agricultural practices of the state. From the rolling dairy farms to the picturesque cattle pastures, beef and dairy production play key roles in shaping New Hampshire’s rural landscape and agricultural output.
Famous People from New Hampshire
Renowned comedian and actor Adam Sandler holds strong ties to New Hampshire, having been raised in the Granite State. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sandler moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, at the age of six, subsequently spending a large portion of his formative years there. He attended Manchester Central High School, where he was known for his humor and love for basketball, both of which later played significant roles in his acting career. Sandler’s upbringing in New Hampshire often finds its way onto the big screen through references in many of his popular films, reflecting the deep impression that the state left on him. Not only does Adam Sandler showcase his talent in Hollywood, but he also consistently shines a spotlight on his New Hampshire roots, making him one of the state’s most famous ambassadors.
Acclaimed singer and actress Mandy Moore holds a notable association with New Hampshire, the state where she was born. Born as Amanda Leigh Moore in 1984 in Nashua, the largest city in southern New Hampshire, she later moved with her family to Florida. The beginning of her life in the Granite State forms part of her multi-faceted journey to fame. Though she spent much of her childhood in Florida, Moore’s New Hampshire roots are part of her story, laying the foundation for her eventual rise to fame. Moore has achieved significant acclaim both in the music industry, with her pop singing career, and in the film industry, particularly noted for her role in the popular TV show, “This Is Us”. Her early connection to New Hampshire adds to the diversity and richness of influential figures associated with the state.
Acclaimed novelist and screenwriter John Irving has deep roots in New Hampshire, a state that often serves as a backdrop for his compelling narratives. Born John Wallace Blunt Jr. in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942, Irving has maintained a lifelong relationship with his home state. His experiences in the Granite State have significantly influenced several of his works, most notably “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” Irving also attended the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, later returning as an English teacher and wrestling coach. Echoes of the Academy and its influence are found throughout his novels. Despite having lived in various places worldwide, Irving’s New Hampshire upbringing and attachments consistently permeate his rich and multi-layered storytelling, reflecting the lasting impact of his formative years.
Late-night television host Seth Meyers is a respected figure who proudly hails from Bedford, New Hampshire. Born in Illinois, Meyers moved to New Hampshire with his family as a child. He attended Manchester High School West and later attended Northwestern University. After graduation, he embarked on a career in comedy that eventually led him to “Saturday Night Live” as a writer and cast member, where he notably helmed the Weekend Update segment. In 2014, Meyers took over NBC’s “Late Night,” adding a distinctively witty and grounded voice to the late-night landscape. Despite his national fame, Meyers consistently acknowledges his New Hampshire upbringing. His unique blend of Midwestern charm and New England sensibility has undeniably contributed to his ability to resonate with a wide range of audiences and his subsequent success in the entertainment industry.