First of all: if you’re thinking about traveling to New Hampshire by yourself, with friends, with your significant other, or with the entire family in tow, then take my advice: do it! You’ll have an amazing time and create wonderful memories — and hopefully some new friendships, too — that last a lifetime. With no disrespect to other parts of the country or the planet for that matter, there is just something special about New Hampshire. It’s like a world unto itself.
Speaking of which…
How shall I put this? Well, there are some things about New Hampshire that are unique — or yes, just plain weird. Not bad weird. But weird-weird. Here are five things in particular about New Hampshire that will surprise (but hopefully not shock) you:
- The word wicked probably doesn’t mean what you think it does.
New Hampshirites often say wicked — but they don’t mean that something is evil or awful. Instead, they often use it as an adjective instead of very or really — e.g. “that truck was wicked big” or “that home run over the Green Monster went wicked far,” or “the Landmark Sign Company is wicked great.” Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it (and wicked fast, too!).
- Trees? You ain’t seen trees.
If you’re a nature lover — and aren’t we all? — then get ready to feast your eyes on a majestic array of trees that will have you wondering if you’ve stepped into a Tolkien novel (with this being said, do not — repeat, do not — refer to New Hampshire as “The Shire” unless you want to immediately reveal that you are a fish out of water). And if you’re lucky enough to visit New Hampshire during the fall, then prepare to see trees in colors that you have never seen before. It’s Mother Nature at her most glorious!
- Yeah, about the maple syrup…
You may have come across a stereotype that New Hampshirites put maple syrup on everything. Well, this is true. And while we’re on the topic: maple syrup in New Hampshire isn’t that synthetic, generic, mass-produced stuff you find on grocery store shelves across the country. It’s top-quality or nothing. Just as France has its wine connoisseurs, New Hampshire has its maple syrup connoisseurs.
- There’s nothing vain about all those vanity plates.
New Hampshire has the second-highest concentration of vanity plates (just after Virginia). But make no mistake: there’s nothing vain or narcissistic about this obsession with customized car tags. It’s rooted in New Hampshire’s fierce sense of individualism. After all, the state motto “Live Free or Die” is taken very, very seriously.
- We’re thrilled when tourists love the state.
When it comes to national (and international for that matter) media attention, New Hampshire often gets overshadowed by neighboring Massachusetts or even New York. And so, when folks pay a visit and express how much they like the scenery, the food, the maple syrup (see #1), or anything else about the state, New Hampshirites get delighted. Seriously: walk up to a New Hampshirite and say “your state is wicked amazing,” and you’ll have a friend for life!
So, there you have it: five surprising (but not scary) things about New Hampshire. Enjoy your trip. I promise that it’ll be wicked terrific!