Simply put, most people who live in the Upper Valley area of New Hampshire and Vermont consider themselves to be thoroughly spoiled. The region is rich in everything you’d ever want: small-town life, lots of four-season outdoor activities—summer’s hiking trails become winter’s cross-country skiing trails—a surfeit of culture, great food, unique shopping possibilities, intellectual stimulation, and last but not least, friendly people. Quaint little towns and old-fashioned general stores dot the region, heralding a view to a bygone agricultural era that’s still alive and kicking.
The towns that make up the core of the Upper Valley—Hanover, Lebanon, Lyme, and Enfield on the New Hampshire side, and Norwich, Hartford/White River Junction, Thetford, and Hartland in Vermont—vary widely in terms of real estate, culture and population. For instance, Hanover is home to many Dartmouth College professors, so there’s a real intellectual air that permeates the town, but come fall weekends, football fever predictably reigns. Though it’s right next door, Lebanon has more of a melting-pot feel to it demographically speaking. It’s also the one town in the region with the most national retail chains, on Route 12A in West Lebanon, which parallels the Connecticut River. Lyme boasts to numerous horse farms and second homeowners while Enfield is generally regarded as suburban. (more…)