I grew up in New England (specifically New Hampshire) and I attended Seminary in South Hamilton, MA near the coast. Two years ago my wife and I made a big move to the Hilton Head Island, South Carolina area and I’ve noticed some similarities between the states and some differences. I thought I’d list some of them for you.
(1) Independent Spirit – New Hampshire’s motto is “Live Free or Die”, South Carolina tends to be the state to buck national politics with the same spirit. I fit well with that. It seems like there is a strong argumentative nature in both peoples, though shaded in different ways.
(2) Beautiful landscapes – The Lowcountry of South Carolina is beautiful surrounding you in Live Oak Trees and Palmettos among gorgeous marshes. New Hampshire’s forests and mountain areas as well as coastal zones are breathtaking as well though there are probably a few more cloudy grey days up north than in the south. Seeing a pier with a shrimp boat going out is as fascinating to me as driving around Mount Washington. Not the same, but similar to me.
(3) Winding Roadways – South Carolina and New England both have very strong colonial histories. That means that old horse trails became roads and towns sprang up where the old roads met. I like the organic and sometimes confusing nature of the past. You can get lost, in a good way. Even in the country’s first planned city, Savannah GA, you have random little roads all around the city that intersect at odd points to go to the beach. If I had the time I’d get lost for days exploring nooks and holes.
What I like specifically about New Hampshire:
(1) Birch Tree Forests – kind of like driving through a barcode.
(2) Rejuvenated Downtowns with amazing Diners. Mary Anne’s in Derry, NH is the best.
(3) Plain Speaking – people who just say it like they see it and don’t warm up fast but test the individual before being steadfast friends.
What I like Specifically about South Carolina:
(1) Hospitality and kindness that welcomes the stranger in. This is not the Southern Hospitality that can be misconstrued as being nice at the supermarket, but rather, the ability to know someone deeply and giving a person a fair chance at being friends.
(2) College Sports Enthusiasm. I won’t pretend to know what everyone is talking about but the passion for college sports (akin to Red Sox fandom up north) consumes the hearts and minds of people in more ways than one. The only metaphor I can conjure is that of many Generals (College Head Coaches) leading their army (a team and their fans) to victory on a very real battlefield. In every sport category, the competition is fierce (Clemson and USC rivalry anyone 😉
(3) A Living Spiritual Heritage: People still seek God here. They don’t pretend to understand everything, but they try. People like to pray and talk about faith openly, which can get you kicked out of a coffee shop up north. Faith practically lived is a faith people see and mention. I like that you don’t have to wear a veil in South Carolina.
Overall, both areas are beautiful and full of amazing people. I am privileged to be part of both worlds and enjoy seeing how they intersect.
What would you add to the list? (comment below)