Among artists, poets and the occasional free spirit or two, New Hampshire has long been a place of a great inspiration. Boasting jagged mountains, scenic valleys and forest-lined lakes, this proud, rugged state is no stranger to natural beauty. Thoreau, Robert Frost, and the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens were but a few of the talented Americans who were moved by the beauty of this former English colony, and created some of their greatest works here.
Inspiration, of course, claims no master, and the great bounty of the state belongs not only to art colonies and famous writers – both still present in New Hampshire – but to anyone who takes the time to visit. Those who do will have some choices to make: great outdoor adventure lurks in all corners of the state, from kayaking the hidden coves of the Lakes Region to trekking the upper peaks surrounding Mt Washington. Seasonal pursuits include fantastic skiing and snowshoeing in winter, magnificent walks through autumn’s fiery colors and swimming in crisp mountain streams in summer. New Hampshire’s villages and historic towns likewise make for some memorable exploring. Jewel-box colonial settlements such as Portsmouth offer a window into 18th-century New England, while small-town culture lives on in charming villages such as Keene and Peterborough.
New Hampshire is the most politically conservative state in New England with a libertarian streak that runs deep. This was, after all, the last state in New England to institute a smoking ban in its bars and restaurants (in 2007) and its citizens still cling with pride to the famous words uttered by General John Stark, victor at the crucial Battle of Bennington: ‘Live free or die.’