The state of New Hampshire is located in the Northeast of the United States, in New England. It's one of the smallest states in the country, with a total estimated population of 1.3 million. It became the 9th state to enter the union in 1788. This also made it the 9th state to ratify the US Constitution, which was the magic number to make the newly written government document go into effect.
Often called the Queen City, Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire and northern New England. It's nickname comes from the fact that it is larger than the state capital, Concord, with a population of around 109,000. What's so nice about living in the Manchester area is that it's so close to many different things! Boston, Massachusetts is only an hour away, as is the Seacoast Region. To the north are the White Mountians and to the east Maine is also only around an hour away.
I am in fact not from Manchester, but from a small town called Hooksett. Hooksett is squished between Manchester and the state capital of Concord.
The Merrimack River
Manchester is located on the Merrimack River and the river's Amoskeag Falls. The river and falls were important in pre-colonial times and through the industrial revolution. During the industrial revolution, the river was used to power the city's textile mills. After the mills closed at the beginning of the 20th century, the city's economy went into a sharp decline and has been struggling ever since to regain its footing. Many of the mill buildings were torn down during this period. The red brick mills that remain today line the river on both the east and west sides of city. See the History section for more on the history of Manchester!
In recent years, Manchester's downtown has come back to life. For a long time, the city was going downhill, but recent efforts have started to turn the situation around. The Manchester Airport was expanded, bringing in more business and tourism to the state.
The city also built an arena downtown were the local hockey team, the Manchester Monarachs, and arena football team, the Manchester Wolves, play. Suddenly, Granite Staters didn't have to go down to Boston anymore to see concerts and other shows. This made a big difference for the downtown, where new restaurants, pubs, cafés, and various small shops began to pop up.
The "main street" of the city, Elm Street, is essentially the whole downtown. Weirdly, both ends of the street are dead ends! Despite this weird fact, it's still a nice area to walk around in when it's not too windy or cold.
Just a few years ago now, the city also got a baseball stadium and a minor league team, the Fisher Cats. This has also helped with the revitalization of the city. Now Manchester baseball fans can have the old American past time right in their own city!
NH Primary - First in the Nation
When each presidential election comes around, New Hampshire has the first primary in the country. The primary takes place the January before the national presidential election happens in November. While Manchester is usually a quiet little city, during the weeks leading up to the primary Manchester becomes the center of the action for the presidential hopefuls. National cable networks open temporary studios in the city and overnight it suddenly seems like Manchester is exciting. You never know who you could run into: George Stephanopoulos, Charles Gibson, Viggo Mortensen, of The Lord of the Rings fame... (I'm totally serious about that one, he was supporting Dennis Kucinich during the 2008 NH Primary!). I was once awkwardly interviewed on the street by David Gregory of NBC, but thankfully it never made it on TV...
During the last primary Hilary Clinton won, shocking the nation. Barack Obama had been the favorite: it seemed that his victory assured. Later during his campaign, President Obama said that losing New Hampshire had been a wake up call for him. I guess we kept him on his toes!