Live Free or Die


Beauty and Beast


Steam engine in North Conway


Locals enjoying the river.

Early leaf.

We will be back in the White Mountains of New Hampshire by late September.

I love New Hampshire’s state slogan. It no doubt means different things to different people; therein lies its’ genius. They seem a bit laid back. We got to the Welcome Center coming in from Vermont in late afternoon, our preferred stopping time, and wanted to spend the night. We parked beside two big rigs settled in for the night. A very friendly Virginian, delivering Honda generators in the north country, told us he parks there weekly without problem. Claire hinted we wanted to stay to the Welcome Center staff, and he told her lots of people sleep there, even in cars. No worries. I remember traveling the East in college days, in my 1958 VW and (being both young and short), slept in the back seat in all kinds of places, some not so wise, like inner city Washington, D.C., but never had a problem. There is something undeniably pleasurable about sleeping in a public place; I’m sure it’s not so fun for people who have no other choice, or without the nice motorhome, but it’s fun for us.

The North Conway Chamber of Commerce visitors center was predictably more stuffy: “Definitely not.” was the answer about parking near the center-of-town playground/park. We did anyway, tucked in beside a 60’s hippie bus there for a craft fair the next day. Sometimes you just have to live free, despite the snooty minority.

The town of North Conway is chock-a-block with tourists, but we could tell there is a real town with real people raising families there. They came out on a hot Saturday in droves to splash in the innovative fountain pool and played tether ball and touch football. I thought of Moab Utah, the main street awash in tourist overload, but with quiet trails and parks and ball fields, and bucolic neighborhoods, tucked away from the noise and confusion, and as often the case with such towns, a fabulous library paid for with tourist taxes. Ah justice.

The Chamber of Commerce visitor center stirred up a topic: We have found in around 90,000 miles of away-from-home-base surface travel (bike and motorhome) in North America, that the state or provincial visitors centers are always very open and helpful, but the Chamber or Visitors and Convention Bureaus etc. seem to be only interested in directing you to their own members; any alternative or non-member queries are met with barely disguised disdain. The attitude makes us move on to a more friendly environment. It’s just business I guess; In my business, I worked on the premise that good business is being open and helpful to potential customers (everybody is a potential customer!) whether they appear to be immediately interested or not. I suppose I’m old-fashioned that way. It worked for me.

I have noticed that Wal*Mart associates are quick to tell you where to find a product that they don’t carry. That also applies to quite a few large stores like Ace Hardware. I think they have learned from Mom and Pop. The Chambers should give it a try.

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