Infinite Best

Editor Rick Broussard

Photo by John Hession

With Curiosity Rover probing the dust of mars and three million personal computers helping seti@home scan the stars for celestial radio signals, any day now we could discover life somewhere else in the cosmos. but as of july 1, 2013, as far as we know, Earth is where it’s at.

This means that when our state’s governor declares (as they all eventually do) that we live in the best state in the best country on Earth, what he or she is technically saying is that New Hampshire is the best place to live in the entire known universe.

You won’t get any arguments from me.

It does suggest that the unveiling of this list of the best stuff in our state should be accompanied by a bolt of cosmic electricity and maybe a thunderclap or two. But the Granite State, for all its infinite significance, is a humble place (and we take great pride in that fact).

It’s also a reminder that our use of superlatives like “best” is not designed to separate us from one another but to unite us in common appreciation of our state of gracious living. After all, winning a coveted “Best of NH” window cling for your place of business does not necessarily mean that you make the best chicken wings or nachos in the universe. It does verify that you serve your most excellent products to the appreciative residents and visitors of a very remarkable place.

What makes New Hampshire so special is hard to identify. Unlike some states that are best known for a major city (or, as gambling opponents recently pointed out, for a major casino), we don’t have any single place that defines us. It’s often lamented that we have no singular natural resource or historical event that we can base a state marketing campaign around. But perhaps that missing element is really our strength.

No one ever told the Winnipesaukee Playhouse that Meredith was too far from the city to expand one of the most thriving and creative theatre companies in the state. It never occurred to Alex Ray to situate all his cleverly themed and tightly managed Common Man restaurants around the population centers in the southern tier.

Many of the best things in the state, according to our poll and editor’s picks, are in our small towns and boondocks. This is testimony to something that any keen local observer knows. The organizing principles here are variety, uniqueness, independence. 

Rather than obey the gravity of some metropolitan region, or have to live up (or down) to some preconceived notion of what it means to live in New Hampshire, here, people are free to make their own way, where they are. And when you aren’t confined to just one thing the possibilities are just about infinite.

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