Friday, August 1, 2008

New England Trip

My work often takes me places I would otherwise never visit.

I mean that in the worst way possible.

Yesterday I had to drive to Manchester, New Hampshire to visit one of our other offices. On the drive back I had a million jokes on how to describe New Hampshire running through my head. I realized, however, that many of the readers of this space (by many, I mean one or two; that’s many for this space) wouldn’t get these jokes since they don’t know New England very well.

Fuckin’ A, brothers and sisters. That’s where I come in. I’m nothing if not educational and learned and shit like that. Below is a brief rundown for all five New England states. What? There’s six? Oh, right. Rhode Island. I always forget about that bastard.

MASSACHUSETTS

Founded: 1620 or so. Puritans were kind of sketchy when it came to record keeping as they were busy trying to prevent people from having any sort of fun.

Name Comes From: An Indian with serious depth perception problems. Massachusetts comes from an Algonquian Indian word meaning ‘great mountain’. We can only assume the Indian who dubbed our fine state was four foot two and was looking at the Blue Hills of Dorchester. Or maybe he was drunk and was referring to his wife’s massive bosom.

Yeah, but what’s it like?: Progressive and not afraid to tell you. Massachusetts is the first state to abolish slavery, allow same sex marriages, establish free public schools (and, by extension, wedgies and swirlies) and consider the Kennedy family something above drunken fools.

Family relation: If you consider New England a family of brothers who have lived way too long in the same house together, then Massachusetts is the eldest, wisest and most respected brother who likes to rub it in all the other brother’s faces that he is the eldest, wisest and most respected brother. Prick!

Bottom Line: Generally the first state you think of when you think of New England with Boston the defining city. Lesson? Boston rules!!


NEW HAMPSHIRE

Founded: 1623.

Name Comes From: Um…England? Like New England. Hampshire is a southern county in England and a lot of English chaps came over and named this state NEW Hampshire. Like NEW England. Get it?

Yeah, but what’s it like?: Ever see the movie ‘Deliverance’? It’s like that only urban. Like they took all the rednecks of the north and put them in one place. They have no sales tax, no gun laws, no motorcycle helmet laws, no school budgets and no future. Nashua, Concord and Manchester are the major cities that nobody wants to live in.

Family Relation: The black sheep of the family. You want fireworks? Go to New Hampshire. You want guns? Go to New Hampshire. You want to ride free and risk crippling brain injury? Go to New Hampshire. New Hampshire is the ex-con of the brothers who ‘knows people’ and can get things done in a way the other brothers don't want to think about.

Bottom Line: There is a game wifey and I play and I win nearly every time. Whenever the local news has some bizarre story about how one person brutally murdered another because one owed the other $50 or how a woman drove over a group of people because they’re Yankee fans (understandable) we try to guess which city the live report will originate from. I always guess either Manchester, NH or New Bedford, MA. 80% of the time, it’s Manchester. Live Free or Die, Motherfuckers! Don’t think they don’t mean it.


MAINE

Founded: There’s some confusion about this. Some French settled in the area around 1604, but since the French don’t count the British officially list it as 1620 something.

Name Comes From: Uh, yeah…that’s another source of confusion. Most think it was named after the French Province of Maine, but again, the French are involved so that’s been questioned. We do know the first documented proof is on British papers, so fuck you, French people.

Yeah, but what’s it like?: To put it simply – rural, snowy and oceany. Maine has some of the most spectacular coastline in the country. Portland’s harbor is still hustling and bustling. Forget visiting in the winter as I’m pretty sure they don’t have snow plows. The people who live near others (approximately 8% of the population) are very friendly and many live in sprawling mansions with no discernible means of income.

Oh, they like snowmobiles and hunting. Often at the same time.

Family Relation: The autistic brother nobody talks about.

Bottom Line: Very schizophrenic. If you live along the coast, life can be sweet. If you live north or west you might as well be a hermit. Normal Rockwell’s America still lives and thrives here.


VERMONT

Founded: Yeah, no clue. It was officially founded by the British in 1724, but Samuel de Champlain (another irrelevant French dude) explored the area as early as 1608. Interestingly, the state was originally claimed by Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York at different times and all of them relinquished their claims. That’s right. Vermont is the state nobody wanted.

Name Comes From: The Green Mountains. Supposedly, Champlain dubbed it Vert Mont (which is French for Green Mountains of all things) but it got fucked up, as tends to happen, when the British took over. For the record, Vermont translates to Worm Mountain.

Yeah, but what’s it like?: Tranquil. It really is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Open land, mountain views, enormous lakes. The people are liberal and very friendly. Probably as close to a fully crime free state as is possible.

Family Relation: The hippy brother who accepts everyone for who they are and loses sleep over why the family just can’t get along despite their differences. Probably smokes a lot of weed and drives a VW van, too.

Bottom Line: Look at it as Colorado in the east. Only with way more drinking. Fantastic ski resorts make this a popular winter destination and the more bearable summers make it just as popular. Oddly, it’s more a vacation state than a ‘let’s move there and raise our kids’ state as it’s the second least populated state in the country.


CONNECTICUT

Founded: 1630s by the Dutch.

Name Comes From: The fact that it’s only purpose is to connect New York to Boston. No, not really. That’s just how I view it. It actually originated from the Mohegan word ‘quinnitukqut’ which means ‘place that connects New York to Boston’. Fine. It really means ‘Place of long, tidal river’. Rock on!

Yeah, but what’s it like?: Due to it’s ‘connecting’ status, Connecticut has had a bit of trouble establishing it’s identity. The western and southern parts of the state is considered part of greater New York. But, a lot of Boston residents are transplanted Connecticutians (????). It likes to think of itself as affluent suburban, but Hartford and New Haven are it’s biggest cities and it’s tough to take that claim seriously when you’ve visited either of those.

Family Relation: The middle brother who can’t figure out where he fits or what he wants to do with his life. Think Jan Brady with a bigger Marcia complex.

Bottom Line: Seems odd that the majority of people that live in that state tend to work in others. For example, a lot of people that work in New York will buy houses in Connecticut or that people that already live in Connecticut will find jobs in Boston. Actually, that doesn’t seem odd at all. Put it this way, the biggest draw in Connecticut is either University of Connecticut or ESPN’s studios.


RHODE ISLAND

Founded: 1614 or maybe even as early as 1524.

Name Comes From: Long story short, it was accidentally renamed by the Dutch from ‘Luisa’ (no, really!) to Roodt Eylandt meaning Red Island. So named due to the red clay that lines the shores. Or the blood that was spilt trying to reserve a hotel room on Block Island in July.

Yeah, but what’s it like?: Pleasant, but rarely note worthy. Picture Cape Cod with more history, less people though more expensive (although the Cape is rapidly catching up in that department). It’s the prototypical vacation spot with some huge mansions lining the shores where retirees and/or rich motherfuckers spend their mornings checking on their investment portfolios and drinking coffee on the waterfront porch. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Family Relation: The runt little brother that’s mentally tougher then all the others combined and a scrappy, at times, dirty fighter. All the other brothers make fun of him for being so short, but they all secretly wish they possessed his best qualities.

Bottom Line: If I ever hit the million dollar lottery, I’ll have a summer home on the shore in Rhode Island and most likely wind up spending winters there, as well.

There you go. A poor man’s lesson on New England. You can see why I hate going to Hartford and Manchester when my normal port of call is Boston.

Today’s distraction: It’s a quiz on New England. I scored perfect, but that’s because it’s super easy. No genius am I.

4 comments:

Hammen said...

I feel like I know all about Maine from reading so many Stephen King books. Also, I was laughing all the way through the description of New Hampshire. Hard.

French said...

The biggest draw to Connecticut is the casinos, man. I mean really, UConn?

No, I'm not bitter about your slandering the French here, or minimalizing the work of de Champlain. Alright, alright. In truth, he would have named Vermont "Champlainville" or some shit, had he not already used up his name on the three rivers and one lake he founded. (Impressed yet? huh? THREE rivers, bitch.)

BeachBum said...

I'm not very impressed with the casinos in CT. They're just east of West Bumfuck and I always leave semi depressed that I wasted a night in my life.

I completely appreciate the French. I was merely being sarcastic since the French seemed to do all the finding and discovering and the British just basically dismissed it all and took it as their own. Bloody English blokes are all the same.

And three rivers ain't shit. I have an entire town in New Zealand named after me. Sure it's full of alcoholics and degenerates, but would you expect anything less?

son pere said...

Don't forget that the French also gave us the "French Kiss". Many a young lad excitedly experimented with that innovation! Also, another thing the French are noted for, it is said that "only the French can f... up their eating and eat up their f...ing." Nice to be French, n'est ce pas? Sacre Bleu!