A photo contest inspired hundreds to share their hearts with our state.The sobriquet "Granite State" may seem like a harsh and un-cuddly nickname, but that doesn't stop millions of people from snuggling up to New Hampshire and whispering sweet nothings in its ear.In fact, thanks to a contest conducted two years in a row by the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development, we not only know that thousands of people really love New Hampshire, we even know their most beloved places to be.The New Hampshire Dream Vacation Contest held this summer encouraged N.H. residents and visitors to get out and explore the state and, at special spots, snap photos with signs reading "I Love it Here" to upload to an official website.Of the hundreds of visual lovenotes posted to the site, one was picked by a panel of judges for a grand prize (a $2,500 N.H. "dream vacation" package) and five others were each awarded $500 vacations for winning the popular vote.Lorinda W. Corgino, of Bristol, R.I., won the grand prize for her photo of her husband, her 9-year-old son and their black lab, Shadow, enjoying the view atop Bobcat Trail in Pittsburg. Her husband wore the "I Love it Here" sign taped to his back. Corgino, 47, has vacationed in New Hampshire for the past 20 years and returns often with her son and husband to enjoy hiking and skiing, but she took the shot while on an outing that was part of her recovery after treatment for breast cancer."We have had a hard year," she says. "but winning this was like the angels telling me everything's going to be OK."She says her illness got her interested in scrapbooking her family outings and cherishing their time together."And having the sign really motivated me to to take more photos," she notes.
This article appears in the November 2010 issue of New Hampshire Magazine