Impressions of New Hampshire

I do not find the people to be standoffish. I expected that based on the stereotypical New Englander, but everyone I've interacted with has been friendly and open.

The environment feels good here. The air is fresh. The breeze is cool. The trees are magnificent.

It's funny. I love the forested look; the more trees the better. However, one of the real estate agents told us people here really like open fields, or meadows. I guess you can feel hemmed in by all these trees. I have yet to get to that stage.

Weather sneaks up on me here. In Illinois I could see a storm coming for at least half an hour, often longer. The lightning would be visible in the west well before you could here the thunder. In New Hampshire, because of the density of the trees and the hills, the storm is on top of you with little notice.

There is a New England Gourmet Hot Dog place in Rindge. I haven't tried it yet and I'll review it in a future post. I did peruse the menu though and there is no Chicago-style hot dog mentioned. That is an incredible omission. Don't these people know that Chicago is the center of the hot dog universe? I suspect I will have to educate them.

I have a library card. The Rindge library is very small. The adult area is perhaps not much larger than this house we've rented. However, they can order books from anywhere and because of that, it is as capable as any library on the planet. I signed up for the Friends of the LIbrary, offering to help teach people how to use computers.

We've Moved to New Hampshire!

We've moved to southern New Hampshire. Rainy got a job at Monadnock Paper Mills (www.mpm.com) as Vice President of Research & Development. We rented a house in Rindge, NH for 6 months while we look for a new house. Of course, it would be wonderful if we could sell our house in Batavia, IL first! If you want to move to the western suburbs of Chicago, check out our house at www.1141averill.com!

We live out in the country. We can't see our neighbor's houses from our house or lot. We overlook a pond, where so far I have seen deer cavorting about. It's very hilly here, far more so than where we lived previously. The area is dotted with small lakes (they call them ponds here) and occasional stunning views. (I'll try and figure out how to load some pictures to the blog at some point.)

One more observation about New Hampshire: they must have more Dunkin Donuts here than anywhere else on the planet. You cannot drive 100 yards here without running into one. I need to research this observation further.

Trip to Alaska

We got back from an Alaskan cruise last weekend (June 2, 2007). We sailed with Princess Cruises on the Sapphire Princess.

The trip started out a bit rough. We were delayed from Chicago to Minneapolis due to storms in Minneapolis and missed our connection to Anchorage. We got on a flight to Seattle, stayed in a flea-bag hotel at the airport for 4 hours of sleep, and then flew to Anchorage early the next morning. Princess came through in Anchorage by providing us with a big bus and a fun driver to catch up to our itinerary.

Our first stop was Mt. McKinley lodge, where we were treated to a spectacular view of Mt. McKinley (or Denali, as it is now called). The next day we went on a bus to Denali National Park. The weather was spectacular again, but the 5 hour bus tour of the park was not - especially after the 2 hour ride to the park.

The next day (Saturday) we boarded a train at Denali and took a 9 hour trip to Whittier, where we boarded the ship. The train ride was pretty cool. It was long, but not unbearably so.

The ship was huge - 2600 passengers and 1100 crew. We spent two days at sea prior to stops at Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. One more day at sea and we were in Vancouver - where we got off. We had something planned at each stop - bike rides and whale watching. We saw eagles, caribou, moose, whales - but no bear (probably a good thing). I left the ship's casino with a teeny bit of their money!

It was a wonderful trip and I do recommend Princess. Except for the flight arrangements (we connected both ways, when we could have flown direct) everything else was very nice.