#OnlyInNH

Whether you’re a lifelong Granite Stater or a transplant just settling in, chances are, you’ve probably encountered a moment like this…

You’re driving along some stretch of I-93, or meandering through a trail in the White Mountains, or strolling through one of the hundreds of small towns scattered throughout the state, and you’ve noticed something that made you wonder: What’s up with that?

Maybe it’s been as simple as stopping to consider, “How did that statue get there, and what did that person do to deserve a statue in the first place?”

Or, “Why the heck do New Hampshire drivers seem to have so many vanity plates?” Or maybe it’s something a little more complicated — like, “How can the state afford to build so many liquor stores?”

No matter what you’re wondering, we want to know: What questions do you have about the quirks that make the Granite State, well, the Granite State? Send us yours, and we might be able to track down an answer. 

Large or small, silly or serious — all questions are welcome. And, chances are, yours could end up sparking a pretty interesting follow-up investigation. Sometimes the best stories are hiding in plain sight.

So, let's get started! Share your questions below... 

_

The State of The 'Free State'

Apr 13, 2018
Fyn Kyn, Flickr CC: https://bit.ly/2H0bBO8

An anarchist, a libertarian, and a Bitcoin enthusiast walk into a bar ... no, it's not a joke: it's likely a gathering of members of the Free State Project. So, just what is the FSP, you ask? It's a non-profit, a political experiment, a Libertarian mass migration movement, and a difficult-to-categorize spiderweb of connected subcultures—a group that's been confounding long-time residents and recent transplants to New Hampshire for years. 

This episode is dedicated to answering a single complicated question, sent in from a listener as part of our Only In NH series: What exactly is the Free State Project? 

For the print version of this story, featuring photos and links to more information, click here (or on the link below). 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

As part of our Only in New Hampshire series, we've been getting a lot of questions from listeners about the Free State Project. It's a movement that began almost 20 years ago based on libertarian ideas. The goal is to bring tens of thousands of like-minded people to live in New Hampshire - and influence politics here.

Related: Click here to read the long-form story What Is The Free State Project?

Our reporters have been diving into the movement and its history. For this story,  NHPR's Britta Greene talked with couple currently relocating from Indiana to join the Free State Project.

On its face, the Free State Project is pretty simple. It’s a political experiment, an organization that aimed to assemble a group of 20,000 Libertarians, and move them en masse to a single state, where they can pursue the maximum freedoms of life, liberty and property.

But if you’ve heard of the project, you’ll know that defining exactly what “liberty” and “freedom” means to the people involved can be more complicated to pin down.

LEF Foundation

New Hampshire is known for its charming small towns but some places are really, really small. Our listener Samer Kalaf wondered: just how small does it get?

Chris Jensen for NHPR

For the latest in our series Only in New Hampshire, in which we answer listener questions about the Granite State, we looked into this question, submitted by Amanda:

What percentage of New Hampshire businesses are cooperatives?

But before we dig into the numbers, we needed a clear answer on what exactly a cooperative is.

Taylor Quimby

Which of these subjects is more controversial: New Hampshire liquor laws, regional pizza preferences, or the concept of a broad-based income tax in NH?  

In this episode, we look back at some of our favorite (and most hotly debated) stories from our "Only in New Hampshire" series, where you ask the questions and we find the answers. We'll hear about a requirement that bars selling hard alcohol must also serve food. We'll find out why one style of pizza dominates the Granite State, and we'll explore how New Hampshire became known for eschewing the use of broad-based income taxes to increase revenue. Plus, some updates, listener feedback, and behind-the-scenes editorial debates that helped shape these stories.


The cemetery in New Boston, New Hampshire sits at the top of a hill, what was once the center of town. Now it overlooks Main Street and the Piscataquog River valley.

But the cemetery - and one gravestone in particular - still draws visitors.

New Boston is a small town on the Piscataquog River, a half hour drive from Manchester. It’s famous for its annual Fourth of July firing of the town’s Molly Stark cannon, perhaps the oldest cannon in the world still in use.

NHPR Photo

Robert Frost is often praised for the colloquialism of his poetry. His work is accessible, exploring complex ideas through scenes and images of rural life. Though he came to typify the region, Frost was not born in New England. 

His first years were spent in San Francisco, and his adolescence in Lawrence, Mass. In fact, frost didn’t discover rural life until his short-lived attendance at Dartmouth College. But New Hampshire stuck.

Jimmy Gutierrez for NHPR

Matthew Jones from Hudson and I share a common beef with New Hampshire: a serious lack of great pizza. Matthew reached out to us through our Only in New Hampshire project, in which we do our best to answer listener questions about quirks of the Granite State.

He wrote to us with a question (or three) about New Hampshire pizza:

Why does every town have a House of Pizza? And why is every House of Pizza exclusively the Greek style of pizza? And why is the Greek pizza so popular here?

The so-called "New Hampshire Advantage" is part of our state's branding. It's about limited government. But maybe more important, it's about low taxes.

The state has no sales or income tax, a point of pride for many residents and politicians. But is New Hampshire's anti-tax attitude really so unique?

In a word: yes.


NHPR File

In New Hampshire, it can be a balmy 52 and sunny one day and a "bomb cyclone" of snow and wind the next. It's what you grow to expect as a New Englander. But we still depend on the forecast to make our plans -- and rush to the grocery stores.

So how does that work in a state without its own weather service office?

Tink Taylor

Jeanne Sokolowski never encountered a "frost heave" before she moved to New Hampshire. The erratic spring road bumps are common here. More of a nuisance than a curiosity for most. But for Sokolowski, it wasn't just the unfamiliar topography.

The proliferation of road signs - FROST HEAVES, in blaze orange - struck her as unique. And she wasn't alone.

AP

The obituary, so stark and visceral, captured the public’s attention.

It was for 24-year-old Molly Alice Parks. She died in 2015 of a heroin overdose in the bathroom of her Manchester workplace.

The obit’s final line: “If you have any loved ones who are fighting addiction, Molly’s family asks that you do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.”

But what if you don’t? What if you’re lucky enough not to have a loved one battling this addiction?

Via Penuche's Ale House's Facebook page

Sam Penkacik looks hip enough to hang out a bar in Brooklyn, but New Hampshire enough to show up to the NHPR studio in a t-shirt, even though it’s below freezing.

Or maybe he hasn’t bought a new jacket since he moved back from San Diego.

"The bars out there - like I really got into the craft cocktail scene out there because there’s a lot to experience. I mean it’s a city, so you’re going to have a lot more options," Sam told me.

Via Etsy / https://www.etsy.com/listing/229175746/farm-to-table-sign-rustic-wood-signs

It was the mid nineteen nineties. Gail McWilliam Jellie had a new job. She just started working for the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, and part of her job was to meet with farmers and find out what challenges they were facing and how the state might be able to help.

"I was new here, and talking with farmers about what they would like to see in the marketing end of things," she says. "I heard a lot from farmers that they would love to be able to sell to restaurants."

via Giphy / https://giphy.com/gifs/leaves-PcZ5BONQbgZO0

We may have traded our rakes for snow shovels here in New Hampshire, but before that snow began piling up, many residents spent hours (or days) raking and bagging leaves to cart off to the transfer station, or to leave curbside for the city to pick up.

But what happened to all those leaves? That's the basis of this week's story for Only in New Hampshire, the series in which we tackle questions posed by listeners about their communities.


Taylor Quimby

In this episode, a look back at the most controversial stories from our "Only in NH" series, where you ask the questions and we find the answers. We'll hear about the origin of the famous "Chicken Farmer I Still Love You" rock, get an update on the health effects of inhaling wood-stove smoke, and investigate whether New Hampshire's lack of seat-belt law results in more accidents. Plus, your feedback on what we got right (and wrong) reporting each of these stories!

Via waterfrontagent.com

In our continuing series Only in New Hampshire, we tackle listener questions about the Granite State communities and occasionally get the chance to uncover a bit of hidden history.

So here’s a perfectly timed question from Katelin in Northwood. She wrote:

“I heard Northwood had some kind of important link on the way we celebrate Thanksgiving. I looked but never found it. Any ideas?”

Giphy via reddit/r/gifs

One of the most successful public health campaigns in U.S. history took the form of a nationwide decision to simply buckle our seat belts.

We formed that habit primarily because every state in the country passed a law that made it mandatory. 

Every state, that is, except one.

This week for Only in NH, the series in which we answer listener-submitted questions about the Granite State, producer Ben Henry explores our state’s staunch insistence on remaining the unbuckled frontier.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

If you’ve ever driven on Route 103 heading up to Sunapee for some swimming or skiing, you might have seen this piece of graffiti on the side of the road in Newbury.

It’s on this giant rock right off the highway and it reads: “Chicken Farmer I Still Love You” in big white letters. And it’s been there for decades.

As part of our series Only in NH, in which we answer questions from around the state about New Hampshire oddities, NHPR's Paige Sutherland tries to solve the mystery behind the chicken farmer love rock.

Summer lingered a little longer than usual this year, with a string of hot and humid days in September and October. Now, temperatures have dipped below freezing and folks are lighting up their wood stoves and fireplaces.

Which brings us to our Only in NH question this week: Evan asked “Why does no one know or care that wood smoke is as bad for you as diesel smoke or cigarette smoke?

Virginia Prescott asked Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown to help us smoke out the facts.

Bill via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2kFWk

One of New Hampshire's most sought-after animals is the moose - a giant mammal somehow able to straddle the line between majestic, and absurd-looking, with big blunt noses and comparatively spindly legs.

But beloved or not, moose aren't always easy to spot. This story from our Only in NH series sets out to answer questions submitted by listeners. This one is from Sean, who asks “Where is the best place to look for moose?”

Producer Taylor Quimby is on the case.

wine4food.com

It is that time of year when Honeycrisp apples are abundant, orchards are packed with families, and the leaves are just starting to turn. And one of the best ways to celebrate the onset of fall is indulging in New England’s seasonal food traditions.

But when it comes to regional foods, what is quintessentially New Hampshire, and what’s just New England-y? 

New Hampshire has long been graying. And without a major metro area that draws young adults, it can reinforce a stereotype of the state as that quiet, bucolic territory in the middle of New England.

With that in mind, one listener asked our Only in NH series: Why does Portsmouth shut down at 9 p.m.?

NHPR’s Jimmy Gutierrez stepped out for a night on the town looking for answers. It's a question often asked in some towns. But Portsmouth? Doesn't the Port City have a bustling night scene? 

All over New Hampshire, towns are divided into even smaller communities; Barnstead contains Center Barnstead, Barnstead Parade, and South Barnstead. There’s Conway, North Conway and Center Conway. Chocorua, South Tamworth, Wonalancet, and Whittier - are all part of the town of Tamworth.

This prompted a listener to our Only in New Hampshire series to write in and ask ,why are so many towns split up this way?

NHPR’s Molly Donahue found the answer to that question with a visit to Grafton.

Listen to the story:

mwms1916 via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/T2RUKY

As part of our continuing series Only in NH, in which listeners ask questions about the state and their communities, we sometimes hear from people much closer to our newsroom.

In this case, we got a question from NHPR's own Digital Director, Rebecca Lavoie. (And we should note, Rebecca's also a true crime author, so that may have influenced her curiosity!) 

She asked:

NHPR Staff

It's been fourteen years since the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed, but New Hampshire residents are still used to seeing him all over the state. One of listeners is asking, "Why?"

As part of our series Only in NH, in which we answer questions from around the state about New Hampshire oddities, producer Taylor Quimby tries to get to the bottom of that question.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation

In our continuing Only in New Hampshire series, we answer your questions and explore your state. Today, producer Hannah McCarthy find an explanation for what may be the state's most perplexing intersection.

Via NH DOT Facebook page

As part of our continuing series Only in New Hampshire, we're answering questions posed by Granite Staters about their communities. Producer Hannah McCarthy answered this one:

Samer asks: "Why is there no exit 21 on I-93 North?"

Via the NH Division of Historical Resources

As part of our continuing series Only in New Hampshire, we're answering questions posed by Granite Staters about their communities. Producer Molly Donahue tackled this one:

"Is it true the NH Division of Historic Resources has a secret list of archaeological site locations to protect them from looting and development?"

The short answer? Yes. (Sort of.)


Pages