As one of the thirteen original colonies, New Hampshire has long had an independent streak, being the first to declare separation from Great Britain. That independence is still prominent today in the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die,” a sentiment emblazoned on the state’s automobile license plates. Known as the “Granite State” for its many stone quarries, the nickname is appropriate for the steely resolve of its people as well.
The state borders Massachusetts to the south and Maine to the east, sharing an international border with the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. The vast Connecticut River forms the entirety of the border between New Hampshire and Vermont to the west, with the river’s headwaters delineating the state’s northern border with Canada as well. New Hampshire boasts just 18 miles of Atlantic coastline, with the prominent seaside city of Portsmouth among the oldest cities on the American continent.
The tallest mountain in the Northeast is located in New Hampshire’s White Mountains Presidential Range. At nearly 6,300 feet, Mt. Washington had a long heyday during the Victorian era as a resort getaway for the wealthy and famous and still draws tourists for its excellent hiking in the summer months and superb wilderness skiing during the winter. Temperatures of -47 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour have been clocked on its peak, making it the scene of some of the worst weather conditions on the planet.
The “golden triangle” formed by the cities of Manchester, Nashua and Salem comprise the bulk of New Hampshire’s population density, as well as its restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues. The capital city, Concord, boats a gleaming, gold-roofed capitol building. In the northern part of the state, the prestigious Ivy League Dartmouth College has been educating students since 1769.
New Hampshire’s bucolic lakes region boasts the beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. With more than 200 miles of shoreline, it is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States. Tourists flock to its shores in the summer, where lakeside cottages and a variety of water sports make it an attractive vacation retreat.