June 21, 2012

New Hampshire – “The Granite State”


New Hampshire summary


Just the Facts…

bird -  purple finch
flower – purple lilac
tree – paper birch
capital – Concord
union – 9th on June 21, 1788
population – about 1 1/2 million





The Basics 

New Hampshire is located in New England and has many mountains.  There is barely a place you can go in New Hampshire and not see at least one mountain!  The White Mountains are in the northern part of the state and claim to have the “world’s worst weather,” with winds reaching hurricane speed on a regular basis.  In addition, New Hampshire can have some huge snowfalls, especially if a Nor-easter winter storm hits it.

New Hampshire has the shortest ocean coastline of any state – only 18 miles!   Historically, this small seacoast has been a bustle of activity – ships were built in the shipyards, goods manufactured in northern New Hampshire were stored in warehouses and eventually loaded on ships, and fishermen brought in their daily catch to sell to the locals.

New Hampshire was named after a county located in southern England – “Hampshire.”  The Connecticut River defines the border between New Hampshire and both Canada and Vermont, and the valley surrounding the Connecticut River has fertile soil and lots of farms.  In fact, the very first potato was planted in New Hampshire!

New Hampshire has the largest population of French Canadians of any state!  Many of these people originally came down from Canada to work in the mills of New Hampshire.   Some communities, like Little Canada in Manchester, still retain their French-Canadian flavor.


Its Claim to Fame

For a long time, New Hampshire was home to a famous mountain – “The Old Man on the Mountain.”  It was a mountain that had several ledges jutting out – they were arranged in such a way that looked like the profile of an old man.  How did it happen?   Did someone carve it?  Nope – nature did it!  The huge glaciers that moved over the land thousands of years ago shaped the Old Man on the Mountain.  It was a favorite landmark in New Hampshire until, unfortunately, it collapsed in 2003.  People were so upset that they brought flowers to the site in memory of the Old Man!

New Hampshire was the first state to sign the Declaration of Independence.  In fact, New Hampshire declared itself independent from England even before that!  Later, it was the ninth state to approve the Constitution.  Two-thirds of the Colonies needed to approve the Constitution before it became the “law of the land.”  New Hampshire’s approval satisfied this requirement – our federal government was created!


What Makes it Tick

For many years, New Hampshire’s economy was similar to other New England states.   Small mills and factories lined the rivers that flowed down from the mountains.  Textiles, leather products like shoes, and lumber were produced in those small mills.  New Hampshire was also known for making ships – shipyards in Portsmouth have been making ships since the Colonial times! Now, they build and repair submarines.

Since New Hampshire is home to quaint New England towns and breath-taking landscape, it has developed a thriving tourism industry.  There are still some farms in New Hampshire, growing mostly apples, dairy products and eggs.  The southwestern tip of New Hampshire is home to quite a few high-tech companies, since it is so close to Boston.


If You Visit

If you visited New Hampshire, you would probably spend quite a bit of time outside enjoying the beauty around you – whether it is fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, or skiing – you can do it all in New Hampshire.  You might even go on a dog-sled ride in the mountains!   You could also go rock hunting.  You would probably find a lot of granite (it is the Granite State, after all).  But, you would find more than granite – there are more than 200 different kinds of rocks and minerals in New Hampshire!

While you are traveling through New Hampshire, you may see a covered bridge here and there.  New Hampshire is home to 54 covered bridges, including some of the longest and oldest ones in America.   At one point there were more than 10,000 covered bridges in New England!  They were indispensable to early American communities – connecting people that otherwise would have to travel to a ferry, and then cross the river, to visit each other.  Many covered bridges were very narrow and intended only for horse drawn carriages.  Most were not designed to support the weight of cars so they became obsolete and many were torn down.  New Hampshire state law protects the remaining covered bridges as historical sites.

In the summer, you might take a boat cruise out to the Isle of Shoals to watch harbor seals play in the ocean. The Isle of Shoals which are a group of islands off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine – half of the islands are part of New Hampshire, and the other half are part of Maine!

Want to Know More? 

Do you live in New Hampshire? Or, maybe you have visited New Hampshire?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • Where is your favorite thing about your state?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of New Hampshire to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about New Hampshire.  Visit these websites to learn more: