In Free State Family, Molly and her family of five take on a new adventure each month, giving us a glimpse of life in New Hampshire.
Introducing the Monadnock Region
Settled in the Southwest corner of the state, the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire boasts beautiful scenery and tranquil living. With Massachusetts neighbors to the south and Vermont cozying up along the west side of the region, Monadnock offers quiet living and a private place to find healing.
Industry in the area is friendly towards agriculture and in maintaining a community frequented by tourism. Many people choose this area, with its endless forests and flowing rivers, as a place for second homes. There is also a draw for retirees who enjoy the quiet serenity of the area.
There are Free State porcupines scattered around the Monadnock Region, but they can be hard to find, and they tend to be just fine with that. On our visit, my family and I were hosted at the home of their Free State regional spokeswoman, Katie O’ Day. I had a chance to sit down with some of the area’s Free Staters to discuss what it was like living in this serene and somewhat isolated part of New Hampshire.
“You can breathe here,” Katie explained when comparing her life in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire to the hectic one she left behind in Los Angeles. “…in more ways than one.”
Katie shared that she did not even realize how restless busy city life in California had made her. She explained that this is common for people who find their way to the Monadnock Region. “This area draws people who have been shell-shocked by the State… We are here for recovery, respite and renewal.”
Monadnock’s Free State Community
Self-described as likely the least “sociable” of the Free State communities, in relation to the frequency of their get-togethers, the Monadnock Region does offer some community events.
The folks I sat down with on my visit to the Monadnock Region shared stories of coming across Free State neighbors they did not even know they had, striking up a conversation with someone at Liberty Forum, only to discover that they lived about two miles down the road from each other. Slowly but surely, they find each other and friendships are formed.
“We occasionally get together for potlucks, markets, meet-ups, etc.” Katie explained. However, she continued, “More than anything, this region is about putting down roots and BECOMING New Hampshirites.” This has been a fairly easy task for her and other Free Staters in the region.
The Monadnock region is naturally very liberty-minded and therefore quite friendly to FSP movers. In fact, the region is home to the town of Richmond, which had the honor of being named the most libertarian town in New Hampshire in a 2015 study done by FSP founder Jason Sorens.
There is also a homeschool community that has developed among the Monadnock Region Free Staters. Liberty-minded people who find their way to New Hampshire with the Free State Project have a natural tendency towards homeschooling as part of their break-up with the state. Meet-ups and support exist within this community, as it does among New Hampshirites in general.
Touring the Monadnock Region
On our visit, we passed several orchards and farms. We stopped at a local cheese shop in Hancock, Main Street Cheese, that operates strictly on the honor system. In a barn overlooking goats running in the back pasture, you walk in to find a fridge full of meat and cheese and a place to leave your payment. We passed properties with horses roaming and several farms with fresh eggs and dairy products for sale.
Local cafes and breweries are scattered around the region. Downtown Keene offers a scenic and historic stroll full of local restaurants and charming mom and pop stores. It is also home to a quaint candy shop that immediately caught the attention of my three little ones.
Katie described her region as having people who “…tend towards privacy and respect each other’s opinions.” The people I met on my visit were certainly a testament to this statement. They were incredibly warm and inviting and offered wonderful conversation, as I’ve found tends to be the norm among Free Stater gatherings.
If the Monadnock Region sounds like it might be the one for you, please contact Katie O’Day for information. As the Welcome Wagon team lead of the region, she is always happy to answer questions and talk about the area she loves and calls home.
See you next month, where I will stay close to home and explore the Seacoast region of New Hampshire!