Why not expand the list of state symbols?For as long as even Fritz Wetherbee can recall, New Hampshire has been sitting atop a ginormous chunk of granite. Why, then, did it take until 1985 to designate granite as the official state rock? I'm pretty sure our durably dependable bedrock has been here longer than the purple lilac, which became our state flower 66 years earlier in 1919. New Hampshire's official state tree and bird were named decades before granite got some love.Upon closer inspection of the state's 30-plus official symbols, 10 of which are songs, I decided it might be time to update New Hampshire's image by honoring a few more of our state assets. I consulted with the other 49 states to see what they have designated as their symbolic icons. The following is my report:Wyoming actually has an official state coin, the Sacagawea golden dollar. For my money, I'd like to suggest that we consider Funspot game tokens from Weirs to be the New Hampshire state coin. With all due respect, the Sac dollar ain't gonna light up a Pac-Man or Frogger video game the way a Funspot token will.Maryland lists walking as its official state exercise. New Hampshire's unofficial state exercise is running. For political office. Maryland's nearby neighbor, Delaware, has an official state star that is located somewhere within the Ursa Major constellation. After thoughtful deliberation, I've concluded that Tom Bergeron is New Hampshire's state star, located somewhere in the Dancing with the Stars constellation.The state of Alabama has designated the pecan as their state nut. Does New Hampshire have an official state nut? Yes, but I'm told I can't name names here.Minnesota has an official state drink - milk. Big deal. New Hampshire kicks it up a few notches with our official state beverage, a Puritan Backroom mudslide. Which also begs the question, does the Granite State have an official state chicken finger?Alaska's state sport is dog mushing. Even though our state sport is skiing, New Hampshire's version of mushing involves driving our SUVs to hoard emergency provisions before every blizzard. We buy batteries, beer and diapers just as soon as Josh Judge predicts he's about to add a new chapter to his next "Extreme New England Weather" book.Out West, Idaho has an official state raptor. New Hampshire once had an official raptor when Matt Bonner played for Toronto. Today he's our official state Spur since shipping off to San Antonio. Ohio lists their state song as "Hang on Sloopy." It's a shame we didn't add "Hang on Old Man" before 2003 to our list of official state songs.Perhaps the strangest official state designation is Kentucky's, which lists an official state tug of war. New Hampshire's tug of war continues with Massachusetts to see which state will be the first to build a toll booth on I-93 in either Salem or Methuen.Finally, New Jersey claims an official state tall ship. The last New Hampshire tall ship I can recall was the one I tried to climb inside at the Bounty Lounge at the Holiday Inn in Nashua. It's quite possible a few official state drinks, mudslides, were involved.
This article appears in the May 2011 issue of New Hampshire Magazine