Granite, Primaries, and Lakes are some of the things we instantly associate with New Hampshire, but besides these what is New Hampshire famous for?
Located in New England, New Hampshire shares internal borders with Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine to the east, and an international border with Canada (Ontario). New Hampshire is the fifth smallest state, and with roughly 1.3 million residents, it’s the 10th least populous.
Nicknamed the Granite State and the white mountain state, New Hampshire was named by Cpt. John Mason after his home county of Hampshire in England. New Hampshire is one of the original 13 colonies (the 9th to sign the Constitution) and one of the earliest to rebel against the English colonization of America.
So, let’s explore what is New Hampshire famous for!
10 Things New Hampshire is famous for
One of the things that New Hampshire is famous for is its importance in the presidential election primaries. According to New Hampshire law, the first presidential primary election must be done in New Hampshire. In fact, it stipulates that the New Hampshire primary will take place at least seven days before any “similar election” in any other state.
Due to its timing, the New Hampshire primary grabs enormous media attention and has a massive impact on the outcome of the elections. It may make, break, or revive a candidate. Despite the relatively low number of delegates, studies even show that a win in New Hampshire increases the win probability of a candidate by 27%.
We should note that in practice, the Iowa caucus is usually before the New Hampshire primary, but it is not considered a similar election as it is not a primary. It also isn’t considered a decisive test for the candidates before the action really takes off. Ex-New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu once said (joking… or not), “The people of Iowa pick corn, the people of New Hampshire pick presidents.”
The fundamental importance of New Hampshire comes from the massive media coverage it receives before the primary. It is said that New Hampshire and Iowa receive as much attention as all the other states combined.
It is there that we find candidates who do poorly and drop out, or maybe lesser-known candidates, that suddenly may get more funds, media attention, and a real chance.
New Hampshire is famously known as the Granite state because of its numerous and visible granite quarries and formations. Some say that’s also a reference to the state’s tradition and history of having a frugal government, but that’s probably a post-explanation, not the reason it earned the name.
The expression “granite state” was coined by Philip Carrigain when he wrote a piece of music in 1825. From there, the nickname started to get attention and popularity. Particularly because granite from New Hampshire was being sent to many places worldwide to be used in monumental buildings, like the Jefferson Memorial and Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the Quincy Market in Boston, Ma, or the UN building in New York.
One can also see the many granite formations and granite outcroppings when traveling through New Hampshire. Throughout the state, you will also find granite stone walls, curbs, buildings, and even a few bridges can be found.
Home to nearly 1000 lakes and ponds, New Hampshire is known for its beautiful, clean bodies of water. They are an essential part of the lifestyle, heritage, economy and a significant tourist attraction for locals and travelers.
New Hampshire’s lakes are used for swimming, boat riding, fishing, and a plethora of watersports in summer. While in winter, they typically freeze and become a popular destination for ice-skating, cross-country, and ice-fishing.
The Lakes Region in the center of the state concentrates a huge portion of lakes, and it includes some of the most popular destinations, including:
- Lake Winnipesaukee – the largest lake in the state, with 450 km of shore, many important cities, villages, and beaches. This lake also has 274 islands you can kayak or canoe to.
- Newfound Lake – the deepest lake in the state is also one of the cleanest lakes in the USA.
- Squam Lake – one of the most pristine and peaceful lakes in the state. Perfect to quietly enjoy nature and its natural beauty.
Like most of New England, New Hampshire is known for its splendid foliage that attracts thousands of people yearly. Leaf-peepers, as they are sometimes called, come to New Hampshire from across the country just to enjoy the intense and beautiful colors of the leaves during fall. Though, you do get more than just beautiful foliage in New Hampshire.
In New Hampshire, the fall foliage is usually a bit earlier than in the more southern states of New England. Though it depends on the year’s particular climate, the colorful foliage starts typically in the second half of September and until mid-October. You should also note that the colors reveal themselves from Northwest to Southeast.
You can enjoy this natural spectacle in almost all the state, but some of the most spectacular areas include the Kancamagus Highway/Route 112 in the White Mountains Region, the Lake Winnipesaukee loop in the Lakes regions, and the Moose Alley in the Great North Woods Region.
What is New Hampshire famous for? Maple Syrup, for sure! Maple Syrup is an essential product of New England (and Canada) and a significant part of its rural heritage. While it doesn’t produce as much nectar as Vermont, New Hampshire is blessed with an abundance of Maple trees.
In 2021, New Hampshire produced more than 120 000 gallons of Maple Syrup. As one average tree produces about 10 gallons of sap, and it takes 30 to 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, that’s a lot of sap and a lot of trees.
The quality and freshness of the sap and the speed of boiling define the color and flavor of the maple syrup. Pure maple syrup doesn’t have anything else added.
Besides the maple syrup, the maple trees are also responsible for the beautiful colors of the fall foliage (explained above) and excellent wood. If you want to buy New Hampshire maple syrup, we suggest stopping in one of the many local sugar houses. Besides producing and selling the syrup, many of them offer stays and tours where you can learn more about the beloved nectar.
Wilderness and abundant wildlife
New Hampshire is one of the best eastern coast states to enjoy the wilderness and wildlife. With roughly 85% of its land forested, New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the union. Only neighbor Maine has more.
With so many forests, lakes, hills, and mountains, it’s no wonder that New Hampshire has such abundant wildlife, with more than 500 native animal species. If you are lucky enough, you can even spot a deer, encounter a magnificent moose and see one of the impressive black bears, though there are so many more fascinating animals in New Hampshire.
One of the easiest ways of enjoying the marvelous New Hampshire wilderness is by driving the Kancamagus Highway. This 56.4-mile scenic road through the White Mountain National Forest has remained undeveloped, making it easy for animal spotting all year round, particularly early in the morning or the late afternoon.
If you are lucky, you can see moose, black bears, and white-tailed deer, but other smaller animals like porcupines, fishers, raccoons, and beavers are more common sights along the road.
Skiing, mountains, and alpine huts
With 505 kilometers of slopes and 127 ski lifts, New Hampshire is one of the most popular states for skiing on the eastern coast. The white mountains of New Hampshire have some of the highest peaks in the northeastern USA, which, together with the northern latitude, guarantees cold weather and a lot of natural snow.
Most of New Hampshire’s big ski resorts are conveniently located close to each other, so it is easy to try different mountains with different characteristics in one trip. Mount Washington Valley, for example, has a few resorts close by, and the town of North Conway became one of the most famous places in skiing and a tourist attraction on its own, with plenty of activities, parties, and shopping opportunities.
There are ski resorts in New Hampshire, from family-friendly skiing to the steepest slopes, and sometimes in the same resort.
Hiking, huts, and outdoor activities
In Colorado‘s article, we talked about the legendary outdoor activities in the mile-high state. New Hampshire is not Colorado, but it is almost as popular, particularly for those who live on the east coast and can reach it within a few hours.
The White Mountains are among America’s most loved and popular areas for hiking. The world-famous Appalachian trail crosses a vast area of New Hampshire’s wilderness, going over the highest peak in the Northeast USA, Mt. Washington. The alpine huts of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) along the trail are legendary. They are spaced one day apart, and hikers eat and sleep with other mountain enthusiasts. It is a paradise for hikers and outdoor lovers.
But there’s much more than hardcore mountain hiking in New Hampshire. You’ll also find plenty of easier family-friendly hikes and other outdoor activities.
Canoeing, kayaking, river rafting, fishing, SUP, or swimming are popular in NH’s waters. Ziplining, rope courses, canopies, parasailing, and mountain biking are also popular in Summer, while cross-country, snowmobile rides, and even dog sledding are available in Winter.
If you enjoy the outdoors, there’s something for you.
New Hampshire is one of the few US states that don’t have an income tax. Alaska, Florida, South Dakota, Tennessee, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming follow a similar tax policy. However, there’s a 5% tax on dividends and interests.
Furthermore, New Hampshire has no taxes on sales, capital gains, or inheritance but imposes excise taxes on goods such as tobacco, alcohol, and fuel. On the other hand, New Hampshire has one of the highest property taxes in America.
Generally speaking, New Hampshire has one of the lowest tax burdens in America, and if you are renting instead of owning a house, then it’s really low.
These low taxes mean that the state needs to make good use of paid tax dollars, and New Hampshire usually ranks among the top states in governance, socioeconomic opportunity, fiscal stability, and healthcare.
New Hampshire Fun facts and records
What is New Hampshire famous for? A lot of cool stuff, as we have seen above, but it is also home to some fun facts and fascinating records. Some of them are pretty well-known. Let’s check some of them:
- New Hampshire was the first of the original colonies to install an independent government and constitution (1776);
- The delegates of New Hampshire had the honor of voting first for the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
- Besides the Granite State, New Hampshire is also known as the Mother of Rivers: for the rivers of New England that originate there; White Mountain State: for the White Mountain Range; Switzerland of America: for the beautiful mountain scenery;
- The highest wind speed over land in the USA was recorded in Mount Washington, NH, in 1934. The wind gust registered 231 miles per hour.
- Ratified in 1784, New Hampshire’s state constitution is the second oldest in the USA.
- There’s only one state in America where adults aren’t required to wear seat belts in their cars – New Hampshire.
- With only 13 miles, New Hampshire has the shortest ocean coastline in America.
- The first alarm clock was invented in 1787 by Levi Hutchins of Concord, NH. Fun fact: it only rang at 4 am.
- The first wind farm in the USA was built in New Hampshire in 1908. It consisted of 20 wind turbines of 30 kilowatts each;
- The first US free, tax-supported library was created in Peterborough, NH, in 1833.