Vermont Vs. New Hampshire


So while there’s pressure in New Hampshire to be more like Vermont, there’s pressure in Vermont to be more like New Hampshire—just like brothers who’ve had their differences but who are getting along in years. I live in New Hampshire. Not “so I can get a better view of Vermont,” as Maxfield Parrish once said, but rather because it’s both where I work and where I want to be. Yes, it’s an exasperating sort of state. The New Hampshire state representative Deborah (“Arnie”) Arnesen of Orford describes it as having a “tax-free, self-serving, if-you-can-make-it-you-can-keep-it” economic philosophy, and there’s truth to that. As with most residents, New Hampshire makes me angry—and proud. I don’t like reading that only children under eighteen and adults “in pain” can receive Medicaid dental care. Or that New Hampshire remains the last state in the nation without mandated kindergarten. I’membarrassed that our state doesn’t recognize Martin Luther King Day specifically by name. I’m irritated at having to celebrate Memorial Day on a different day of the week from the rest of America. To tell you the truth, I’m amazed New Hampshire can see its way clear to go along with the international time zones.

But I’m proud to be a resident of a state that best exemplifies so many of the legendary characteristics of the mystical New Englander, even those not always considered by some to be attractive. I’m speaking of frugality, fierce independence, shrewd business sense, ingenuity—and not just a little pride. And to think it has all these New England qualities and more without ever being credited, as Vermont is in spades, with contributing to the New England image!

And Vermont? Well, up in West Glover I have relatives who have farm animals and tap their maple trees for the pure joy of it—and a few more in Woodstock, a town supported by (and, behind the scenes, run by) the Rockefellers. A few of my dearest New York friends have vacation homes outside Grafton, a town preserved by the Windham Foundation. A large part of the foundation’s money annually ear-marked for Grafton comes from a charitable trust established in 1962 by the family of a very caring New York society lady, a Mrs. Rodney Fiske, following her death. She summered in Grafton and was fond of describing the town as “the little village in the hills.”

Yes, Vermont is lovely. A lovely state to visit. Quaint too.