Future Return Trips
New Hampshire’s geographic location makes it one of those drive-through states (see I’ll Be Back from October 2021) that I do plan to visit again one day (maybe two). So far I’ve seen that little stretch of interstate between Massachusetts and Maine more than once. You’ll know if you’ve ever driven it. It’s the one with the liquor store exit. I am sure the Granite State doesn’t want to be known for this primarily, however it’s a safe bet that its liquor laws probably support this style of commercialism, even if this style of tourism was not what it had in mind. I also expect the bulk of the state, which I really do want to see, resembles Vermont (see Vermont from April 2020), which also deserves a return trip.
Unfortunately, most of my perceptions of New Hampshire stem from its political primary positioning, which establishes the state’s quadrennial notoriety, but offers no more aesthetically than the liquor store. I need a road trip along its length, a plan that I am formulating in the next half decade or so. Its distance from my locale makes a fly-in, rental-car, circle-tour excursion most likely. And if I’m there, I might as well make a circle loop through inland Maine, the Green Mountains State, and hell, add Quebec to my list of providences while I’m in the neighborhood. We’ll see how Canada feels about crazy Americans passing through after the pandemic strains settle down.
Serendipitous Circle Tours
We do stay the night in Manchester once. Son Number Two and I – again on the circle tour – hit up the bulk of New England from the Ocean State, pausing in Concord, overnighting in Acadia, and head home from an alternate airport in the southern end of New Hampshire. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to drop a rental car at an alternate location when all the states and airports are bunched close together. Circle tours are my thing – the loops around to Glacier National Park and the Four Corners outings – but the loop isn’t always a perfect closed sphere and this autumn outing typifies my see-as-much-as-we-can mentality, but with a different terminus. The highlights during our extended weekend add up quickly (see Penobscot Narrows from February 2015), including after the sun sets over Cadillac Mountain, we settle down at a linen-covered table for the must-have Maine meal: lobster, whole, with clarified butter at market price.
It’s not cheap, and he hesitates when ordering. No, we don’t do that. Yes, it is pricy, even this close to its source, but I do believe that in life, there are opportunities when we forego the price in exchange for the value. We immerse ourselves and live in a moment we might never repeat. (This may be the reason I cherish any return trip – I cannot believe I’ve been blessed to be somewhere remarkable twice.) He’ll recall this meal for the rest of his life. Arriving in Manchester the next evening, we have time enough to spare that we return our rental car the night before our departure, choosing instead to rely on the hotel-to-airport shuttle. The result: a reduced price in the total rental cost nearly equivalent to the crustacean delights of the previous night. Thank you, New Hampshire, for the lobster dinner and for the splash of serendipity.