When I moved to New Hampshire 6 years ago, it was a bit of a culture shock for me. I had spent 20 years growing up in Anchorage and knew it like the back of my hand. Moving to a smaller town on the opposite coast of what I was used to was quite the adjustment. It took a little time, but I grew to love it. I also love lists, so here are my top 5 favorite New England quirks:
1. Iced coffee: all day, every day
Listen, I get the need for caffeine. Anchorage has the 2nd highest number of coffee shops/huts per capita in the US. I love coffee, but I typically would only buy it in the morning or while catching up with a friend, and I usually only drank it hot. I moved to New Hampshire and quickly realized that iced coffee (usually from Dunkin Donuts!) was as common as an afternoon fountain soda or cup of tea. I didn’t get it at first, but then I started getting iced coffee in the morning during the summer, which turned into a mid-day iced coffee to get over the lunch time hump at work, and before I knew it I was drinking iced coffee in the middle of winter. It’s much more refreshing than I expected. I get it now and I am in full support of iced coffee; all day, everyday.
2. The New England Patriots are like a religion
And Tom Brady is their leader. I became a Patriots fan in high school before moving to the east coast. I had met my husband who like most New Englanders, was a die-hard Patriots fan. I started following football along with him right at the beginning of the Brady/Belichick era. If you’re from here, you know the Cinderella story – 6th round draft pick turned 5-time Super Bowl Champion. I can’t explain to you the dead silence I sat through in 2008 when Brady tore his ACL in the first game. If you want to make a Pats fan angry, try bringing up deflate-gate one more time. Or better yet, attempt to convince them that Tom Brady is not the GOAT. It won’t end well for you.
3. Doggie Daycare
I had never heard of doggie daycare until I moved to New Hampshire. I knew people would board their dogs when necessary while on vacation, but taking their dog to day care while they were at work? The doggie daycares here even post pictures of your dog throughout the day on Facebook or their websites so you can check in on them. I have coworkers that spend as much on doggie daycare a week as I do on my children’s daycare. It’s so bizarre and yet I kind of love the idea of it. Like I said, I already spend a ton on daycare for my kids so I can’t really swing a day care bill for the dog too but I love that it’s such a dog friendly state! Every now and then my coworker will show me photos of her snotty, drooly, happy boxer at daycare and it’s hard not to smile about how adorable the concept is.
4. Whoopie Pies
If you’ve never had a whoopie pie, you’re missing out. It’s basically like a cake sandwich. 2 cake like cookies with frosting in between. You can get all different varieties from basic chocolate and vanilla, to pumpkin, red velvet, lemon.. you name it, there’s a whoopie for it. I love all desserts so this was a great new addition for me. And I adore the old story behind the name which apparently came to be because wives would pack whoopie pies in their husband’s lunches for work and they would open their lunch boxes, see the little pies inside and yell, “whoopie!!” out of excitement. Legit? I’m not sure, but I love it anyway.
5. Trick or Treat times
Each town in New Hampshire has it’s own set trick or treat time. Sometimes it’s not even on Halloween – a lot of times our trick or treat time is the day before Halloween. Where I grew up, Halloween was a free for all. I’d get together with my friends and we’d start trick or treating as soon as it was even a little dark and we’d keep going until our curfew or people started turning us away. At first I didn’t get it but actually, it’s great as an adult to know when to expect kids to be in the neighborhood trick or treating (and when it will stop!), and then it could be pretty awesome as a kid to go town hopping to get to maximize your candy haul!
It’s that time of year… the kids are headed back to school which signals the end of summer! Here are our summer highlights:
We made the drive up to Jefferson, NH for a day of fun at Santa’s Village. It’s one of the most unique amusement parks I’ve ever been to. In case the name didn’t give it away, it has a Santa and Christmas theme. The park has plenty of rides for toddlers to grade school children which was neat because there aren’t normally a whole lot my 5 year old and toddler can ride together. We opted to skip Santa’s house due to the line (blasphemous, I know) but spent some time feeding the reindeer and decorating our gingerbread man cookie. My older son focused hard on the Elfabet University challenge where kids wander through Santa’s Village on the hunt for elves holding letters of the alphabet. The food was very reasonably priced for a park, and we were able to bring in our own mini cooler with snacks and drinks to keep us going. The highlight of the park was the Ho Ho H2O water park!
York’s Wild Kingdom
A zoo, ride, and beach combo makes this a great family outing! We started at the zoo which is on the smaller side but has a lot of great features such as an extensive petting zoo that includes deer, a rare white Bengal tiger, a butterfly house, and camel and paddle boat rides. Outside the zoo is a small amusement park with lots of choices for little ones as well as a ferris wheel overlooking the beach. Right outside the gates of York’s Wild Kingdom is York Beach which has a lot of great little shops and restaurants as well as an arcade and bowling. And then of course, the beach!
We opted to skip the more popular beaches this year (Hampton, York, etc), mostly because I hate dealing with the parking, but still wanted to have the fun beach day experience so we headed up to Weir’s Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee. The beach itself tends to be less busy and great for kids as the water is warmer and there are lifeguards on site. Weir’s Beach is a port for the Mount Washington cruise ship and a station for the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. The ship and train both make frequent passes which the kids loved! Across the street from the beach is a little strip of shops, restaurants, and a few arcades to check out once you’re all beached out.
I feel like Hilton Park is a pretty underrated spot on the Seacoast. Hilton Park is right off of the Spaulding and Rt 4 in Dover Point, NH. The playground of the park is pretty dated but if you like the nostalgia of an old school teeter-totter; this is your place. The park has incredible views of the Piscataqua River into the Great Bay and is the perfect spot for a family picnic. Down near the fishing pier is a rocky area you can go down to get closer to the water (be careful!) and go shell and sea glass hunting. We spotted several little crabs scuttling about so watch your step!
It turned out to be a wonderful summer! We will be sneaking in a few more weekend outings before summer is truly over.
Every now and then, I get to travel to little country spots set far off the cities for work. Today, I was lucky enough to spend the day out in Lincoln, Vermont. It’s home to many tight, windy roads right alongside a beautiful river. While driving along, we noticed there were a bunch of cars pulled off on the side so I needed to know where they were all going! We parked the car behind the bunch, got out, walked down a very short trail and lo and behold, an absolutely stunning swimming hole was below.
Later that afternoon we needed to find somewhere to eat so we headed to Bristol, VT just a few minutes away. Bristol is a quaint, classic New England village in the middle of the Green Mountains. We decided to go into Cubbers, a little pizza joint, to eat. While waiting for our meal and listening to those around us, you could tell this was a town where everyone knew one another. They even had a stack of coffee mugs with individual names back in the corner. There were a handful of cute shops in the downtown area that I wish we had the time to browse.
After work that evening, we headed up to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. We took the 30 minute factory tour which has a pretty neat intro video summarizing how Ben & Jerry’s came to be. After the tour, we obviously had to hit up The Scoop Shop. I indulged in this amazing, beautiful chocolate dipped waffle cone with Bourbon Brown Butter ice cream. You guys… this was delicious! If you ever head that way and try that flavor, do yourself a favor and get a cup because it’s super soft and melted faster than a lot of the other flavors. It was totally worth it though and you better believe I hung on to that incredible cone until my hands were covered in melted, sticky ice cream. As we enjoyed our cones, we wandered through the Flavor Graveyard where flavors “retire”.
I can’t wait to make another trip up North to check out more of the beauty Vermont has to offer!
Hi there! I'm Breanna, social media + event coordinator for the New Hampshire Seacoast. I am a New Hampshire transplant and have lived here for 6 years and have fallen in love with the seacoast. I love spending time with my husband and 2 rowdy boys. I am constantly plotting my next meal and love trying new places, especially if there will be dessert! I love baking, shopping, playing tourist in new towns, and coffee dates. I am excited to meet you all at our next GNO and start connecting!