Monday, October 22, 2012

Vermont v. New Hampshire

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post comparing my home state (Florida) with Amber's home state (Ohio), and stunningly, I declared Ohio to be "better". (Note - that blog post predates, and is unrelated to, the popular Florida or Ohio blog.) Now, let's compare Vermont and New Hampshire! Because surely, spending four days in one state and one day in the other state automatically makes me an expert.

I'm going to use the same criteria as I did for Florida v. Ohio. Let's start with...

Weather - Vermont v. New Hampshire is a tougher comparison than Florida v. Ohio, because I mean, the states are right next to each other! But it comes down to this, for me. Both states are too cold, and since New Hampshire is closer to the ocean, New Hampshire is less cold. (Slightly.) New Hampshire also has the weather curiosity that is Mount Washington. Advantage: New Hampshire

Population - I gave Florida the nod against Ohio based on its upward population trend. Let's use the same criterion here. In 1870, Vermont had a higher population than New Hampshire. Since then, New Hampshire has had more decade-to-decade population growth (on a percentage and absolute basis) than Vermont, in every single decade! Today, New Hampshire's population more than doubles that of Vermont. Advantage: New Hampshire

Driving - Just like with Florida, the flip side of a higher population is more traffic. New Hampshire may have more spectacular roads, but Vermont has more scenic drives total, and less traffic on them. Also, billboards are illegal in Vermont, which is a huge plus. Advantage: Vermont

Scenery - Nothing against Vermont, but the mountains and the views in New Hampshire were incredible. Both states are beautiful places, though. Advantage: New Hampshire (barely)

Wildlife - We didn't see a whole lot of wildlife in either state during our trip, but it just seems like we were more likely to see a moose in Vermont. As in, our chances of seeing a moose were 0.0002% in Vermont, compared to 0.0001% in New Hampshire. Advantage: Vermont

Industry - Another tough call. New Hampshire's increasing population would imply that it has more jobs. However...Vermont makes lots and lots of maple syrup! And, yes, they have Ben and Jerry's, too. ... Seriously, though, I'm not sure you can base an entire state's economy on maple syrup and ice cream. (Which is very unfortunate, I must say.) Advantage: New Hampshire

Tourism - Everywhere you go in Vermont, there is something to do - a ski resort, a maple syrup farm, a nice small town, something. It's a great place to spend a week. New Hampshire isn't bad, but the tourist stuff all seems to be localized to the northern third of the state. That part of New Hampshire also seemed more "tourist trappy", if that makes any sense. Advantage: Vermont

Taxes - I had to do some research here. In terms of income percentage, Vermont has the highest local tax burden in the country, while New Hampshire has the second-lowest (source). Advantage: New Hampshire

Jokes - Hmm...I don't know any good Vermont or New Hampshire jokes. This was easier with Florida v. Ohio. Advantage: Tie

Famous natives - I don't feel like sorting through these lists, so let's narrow it down to former presidents. Vermont has two (Arthur, Coolidge); New Hampshire has one (Pierce). Advantage: Vermont

Sports - In terms of pro sports, both states are pretty much Boston territory. (By the way, if you're not a fan of New York or Boston sports, do not watch the sports report on the Burlington local news.) So to differentiate Vermont from New Hampshire, I must turn to the state universities. On one hand, UNH's hockey team has been more successful over the years than the University of Vermont hockey team, although neither has ever won a national championship. (UNH and Dartmouth are both 0-2 in national championship games.) On the other hand, in a game I remember well, Vermont did beat Syracuse in the NCAA basketball tournament several years back. Advantage: Tie

State nicknames - New Hampshire is the Granite State; Vermont is the Green Mountain State. Hmm...I knew both, but it took me longer to come up with Vermont's nickname than it did New Hampshire's nickname. Does that mean New Hampshire's nickname is better? Advantage: New Hampshire

State slogans - LIVE FREE OR DIE! Case closed. Advantage: New Hampshire

License plates - No contest. For my money, Vermont has the best license plates in the country. They're beautifully simple, yet very distinctive. Never change your license plates, Vermont! Advantage: Vermont

Proximity to Canada - This replaces the ridiculous "Proximity to West Virginia" criterion from Florida v. Ohio. You'd think this would be a draw, but if you look a map, you'll see that most of Vermont is closer to Canada than most of New Hampshire is. Or to put it another way, Vermont's Canadian border is longer than New Hampshire's Canadian border. Advantage: Vermont

Shopping - I'm adding a new category because I want to make a point here. Vermont seems to be, well, unfriendly to big box stores such as Walmart. Vermont only has four Walmarts in the entire state! And it's not just Walmart, either. Cross the border into New Hampshire, and we were instantly greeted with large grocery stores, Walmarts, and the like. In Vermont, everything is small and local, just like the old days. I'm sure that's how they like it in Vermont, and that's part of its charm. It's part of what makes Vermont, Vermont. But the fact is, New Hampshire is a better place to be if you forgot to pack underwear. Advantage: New Hampshire

FINAL TALLY: New Hampshire wins, 9 to 7! Or, to put it another way: New Hampshire is a better place to live, but Vermont is a better place to go on vacation. But if you're going to come to northern New England on vacation, you may as well visit both states. Especially if you forgot to pack underwear.

1 comment:

Aldrich Mendal said...

These are very useful points. Really New Hampshire is a better place to live.