Hello, New Hampshire.

Thank you for welcoming me on a rainy, cold, blustery day in early March 2011.

I remember exactly how it felt to cross over the Piscataqua Bridge, see the buildings of Portsmouth, the fog coming in from the ocean, and the banks of my new home stretching before me to the west.

And I felt so…relieved.

You see, I must tell you where I came from and how I got to New Hampshire if you are to 1) understand why I am blogging about what I am blogging about and 2) understand what makes me qualified to do it.

I came to New Hampshire because of a boy. (How many of you just said, oh, so did I? Just checking.)

I was finishing up grad school in Portland, Maine, taking my last few classes before getting my degree, and it hit me. I was entering the next part of my life. School would finally be done. I could concentrate on my career.

Oh no, I said.

And I immediately went online to do some shopping.

I went shopping for a husband.

You think I am joking, but I’m not. You can ask said husband. I was a master at online dating. I sometimes had three dates on a single day, because the end of grad school loomed in the darkness in front of me that was my future. I didn’t know what came after the end, and I didn’t want to be there alone. I needed a husband, which meant three dates a day was a practical step toward survival.

So at the end of our first phone call together, my future husband asked what I was doing that weekend. I said, oh, I will be in New Hampshire. Oh, but I can’t see you. (I had already scheduled other dates, and I wasn’t sure I would have time to fit him in.)

But I did have time. And I did fit him in. And eighteen months later, we were married.

But it’s the eighteen months in between that you must know about.

We did everything.

I mean everything.

In the first year we were dating, we went to two Renaissance fairs and an Indian pow-wow. Who goes to one Renaissance fair let alone two? And while you’re dating someone? Nothing says I want to spend the rest of my life with you like dragging your love out into the woods to watch grown ups play at dress up and sword fighting. (Actually, it was super fun. You should go check one out.) We hiked mountains that nearly killed us. We camped in places that were noisier than being at home in Manchester. We saw some great pumpkin chunkin’ in Goffstown and hunted for ghosts at the Spalding Inn in Whitefield. (If you’ve never seen the Ghost Hunters on Syfy, you should check them out. The founder of the Ghost Hunters owns the Spalding Inn, and the hubby and I would be married there less than a year after our first visit.) And we did all of this while maintaining a long distance relationship. So if there is anyone who knows about travel and adventure and getting out and doing things in this great state of New Hampshire it is, well, me.

So it is my honor to be a blogger with Stay Work Play, bringing to you a blog every Thursday that features happenings in the great state of New Hampshire. I will select three events to cover every week from around the state. Have something you want me to write about? Send me an email to fun@stayworkplay.org, and I will take a look at it. Don’t be afraid. Open up and see what New Hampshire has to offer.