New Hampshire is known as The Granite State. Its motto – found on car license plates – is “Live Free or Die.”
My wife and I chose to “live free” while we were there, and we didn’t regret a single moment.
Here are five more reasons why I love New Hampshire:
Number 5: I love the beauty of the state. The most famous part of New Hampshire is the White Mountains, and we had the privilege of driving through them one autumn day. The White Mountains do not disappoint!
We wanted to drive up Mount Washington, but it was closed. Then we wanted to take a train ride up the mountain, but it cost $62 a person, so we passed … but we did manage to snap a photo of a lost tourist …
Number 4: I loved driving the back roads, even though I consistently got lost. One day, Interstate 93 backed up on my way to church, and I decided to take the nearest exit and head south, figuring I’d hit the church eventually. While I made virtually no progress and needed assistance to find my way, I loved the remoteness of so many of the houses and the feel of the woods.
Number 3: I loved learning about New Hampshire culture. For example:
*The Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and Boston Celtics are not my favorite teams … especially the Celtics … but it was fascinating hearing how the teams were covered and listening to New Englanders rhapsodize about their favorite players.
*The state does not have any sales tax or income tax. This meant that when we went to Walmart, everything we purchased was tax-free! Gotta love that … especially if you’re from California, where the sales tax rate is now 7.75% and climbing.
*All kinds of wild animals roam free, including turkeys which loved to hang around the church.
Number 2: I loved the weather … so much. While hot weather drains me, colder weather exhilirates me. During our last few weeks in New Hampshire, the temperature was in the 40s and 30s, occasionally dipping down into the 20s … and I couldn’t get enough of it … especially when I saw that the temperature was in the 90s and 100s back home.
Some friends told me that the snow gets old real fast, and I believe them. This is what the road looked like driving back to Manchester from Stowe, Vermont, one November day:
But I still loved the weather in New Hampshire!
Number 1: I loved the people of Crossroads Church in Pelham. They were so genuine … and generous … and classy … and kind to my wife and me.
I was invited to become a traditional interim pastor for the church while they sought a candidate to become senior pastor. The first night that I preached, the church had a reception for us after the service, including a large gift basket filled with goodies. People talked to us long into the night until I was advised to return to Manchester because a storm was coming.
My time there was short-lived because the church selected a candidate during my third week there, but Kim and I were the recipients of so much love that it was easy to love the people in return.
*We were given tickets to a Red Sox-Yankees game and a Celtics-76ers game.
*We were invited to attend a Chris Tomlin concert in Lowell, Massachusetts with people from the church.
*We were invited to lunches … and dinners … and after-church get-togethers … and even a meal on Thanksgiving.
*And Kim went on several excursions with women from the church, including this trip to Gloucester, Massachusetts:
Kim and I both agree: we spent three of the best months of our lives in New Hampshire.
So thank you, people of Crossroads Church, for making it all possible.
We will never, ever forget you and your fascinating state!