Fresh air, plenty of fresh and salt water, and weather that’s diverse enough to keep life interesting matter.
Individualism, small and accessible government, and Second Amendment rights all figured in many people’s answers.
Many people responded on Facebook, others by email and a few took the time to write letters. In all cases, residents’ passion and love for their state shone through.
Salem resident and Lawrence native Frank Baggett wrote a thoughtful and touching letter. He and his wife bought a home and moved to New Hampshire in 1954.
Forty-seven years and seven children later, the state bought that home for the Interstate 93 widening project and the Baggetts moved to Canobie Lake.
“It is Canobie Lake that makes New Hampshire so special for us,” Frank wrote.
He went on to describe the abundant wildlife on, in and near the lake. He mentioned carrying on a conversation with occupants of a low-flying hot air balloon and their terrific neighbors on the lake.
“My wife and I are in our 80s nows and enjoying life to no end, thanks to Canobie Lake, where every day is a vacation day,” he concluded.
Some mentioned the sensory pleasures associated with the Granite State, the juiciness of a freshly picked peach, the smell of maple syrup rising from a sugarhouse, the crunch of boots on a cold January morning, the call of a cardinal from a tall pine.
Answers continue to trickle in, but we stopped the list at 603. But it’s really just a starting point for the next 12 months. In the year ahead, reporters will examine many of the reasons our readers cited and take a closer look at some.
We will try to see how these 603 reasons have shaped the state, its place in the nation, its economy, government, tourism and, in some cases, at what cost.
We’re grateful to all who responded and eager to begin the yearlong “603 Reasons” project.
Jo-Anne MacKenzie is the New Hampshire editor of The Eagle-Tribune and editor of the Derry News. Follow her on Twitter @etnheditor or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.