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Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to New England

July 24, 2017

June 21 marked the one year anniversary of our exodus to New Hampshire from Northern California.

It’s been quite a year — we survived the winter splendidly — it was quite fun, in fact. Spring, however, was not so much fun. It was cold, and raw, and the 9th wettest May on record. Mother’s Day nearly done me in — the rest of the country (it seems) was hanging out by the pool and we were still in hats and mittens. But summer did arrive mid-June, on schedule, and we are now gallivanting around to fairs, the beach, and eating our body weight in locally produced ice cream. It’s a good life! 

For those of you who still think we are crazy to leave La Buena Vida of California…here’s a few things I’ve learned in the past year:

  • The most frequently accessed app on my phone is The Weather Channel. I am obsessed. But for good reason! Like Forrest and his box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. And just because they said that three days ago, does not mean that’s what’s going to happen today. Meteorologists around here are local celebrities; they really have to be on their toes! 
  • Having lived in Maine, I already knew that Autumn was spectacular. But it’s nice when memory doesn’t exaggerate.

  • Car seat warmers: Not a novelty. Essential to survival.
  • Mittens not gloves. If you live here, you know. 
  • Winter is a time for rest. We never had that in NorCal — when the sun was shining, we just HAD to be doing, and going. It was kind of exhausting in hindsight. When the storms roll in around here, we actually do hibernate. By the fire, in our PJs, with a good book. It’s a beautiful and refreshing thing to have permission to Just. Be. Still.

  • Wind chill is a thing. A very important thing. (And, may I repeat, mittens, not gloves!)
  • Hats are not a fashion statement, nor are they optional. After a haircut in the winter, I ended up wearing one around the house and to bed for about three days until my scalp acclimated.
  • Bluebird Days are the very best kind of days.

    noun: bluebird day: denoting or relating to a period of time characterized by sunny, cloudless weather, typically after a night of snowfall.

  • The advent of spring is very much like that part in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy leaves the monochromatic world of Kansas and wakes up in Technicolor Oz. It’s JUST LIKE THAT.
  • I’ll never buy ice cream in the grocery store again. Because locally made is a THING around here, and there are so many places to choose from. I’ve made it my personal mission to try every version of Moose Tracks that exists. So far, Richardson’s is the best, but only when it’s purchased at Stillwell’s on the Riverwalk, Exeter. 
  • Hearing the words “poison ivy” elicits the same physical response as does the word “lice.”  
  • After nearly six months of cold and freezing temps, any sunny day over 60°F is sufficient for wearing shorts and/or sunbathing. 
  • Spirea, Ninebark, Doublefile Viburnum….(flora of a truly exquisite nature I’d never even heard of before.)
  • Mosquitoes still bite even when it’s pouring out. 
  • Farm-to-table is more norm here than exception. We have farm-to-table Mexican, pizza, burgers…you name it, we got it. So much yum.  
  • Tick checks. Every. Single. Day. 
  • Baby goats are addictive. And they do not smell. They are joy, on four legs. And sometimes, two. 

  • Getting out of school in late June seems awful in theory, but given summer’s late start around here, we will be enjoying a full month of summer in August while you people are back in the classroom. 
  • If there’s not at least three festivals, fairs, parades, or cook-offs to choose from every weekend in the summer then something is terribly wrong. 
  • Traffic is not. There really is no such thing around here, unless it’s 95 at the front or back end of a holiday weekend. But that’s easily avoided. When locals complain about the “awful traffic” in Exeter, we just giggle. A whole 10 minutes! So brutal. More than three cars at a stoplight is what the locals call traffic.
  • Remember the film Doc Hollywood? The quaint, small-town life where everyone knows each other and the town parade and fair is a huge deal and it’s all so charming and story-bookish? Well, that life really does exist. Whether it’s the town’s 300th anniversary parade (yes, you read that right. Stratham isn’t as mature as most towns around here, at ONLY 300 years old….) to the Memorial Day parade, to fireworks over the river, to the Independence Day re-enactment of the delivery of the Declaration of Independence to Exeter on July 16, 1776 (complete with horseback couriers and Royalist hecklers) to the local 4H exhibits in baking and sewing and horticulture at the town fair. That life is real, and we’re now living it.

In short, as I’ve said before, I feel like I am finally home.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kendra Dager permalink
    July 26, 2017 8:30 am

    Have you been to The Big E? Truly fascinating and fun! Must try the maple cotton candy from Vermont! Delicious! Love you!

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