NH Townies Worth Celebrating: Bethany Clarke

Meet Bethany. She’s a children’s librarian, who serves her hometown of Gilford, New Hampshire.

Her story is not unlike many other townies’—a story of a realized appreciation for her roots and of a redirected commitment to serve others.

Read on to learn why Bethany loves the Granite State, how she overcame the townie-stigma, and what advice she’d give others!

The Natural World

Growing up in New Hampshire provided Bethany with a “profound sense of [her] place in the natural world.” Bethany’s childhood experiences of hiking in the Belknap Ridge shaped her appreciation of the outdoors—an appreciation, which manifests itself in several recreations: “I hike all the time,” Bethany said, “and I love it. Just last weekend, my friend and I discovered the Hemenway Forest, a place with some of the biggest pine and hemlock trees in the state. I’m training for a marathon, and the roads and trails here are perfect for logging the long miles in beautiful terrain.”

“New Hampshire’s natural resources make it a great place for recreation any time of year,” Bethany said. “Then, when you’re done outdoor adventuring, you can find a good beer and some music that’s never too far away.”

A Valuable Role

Before returning to her hometown, Bethany had lived abroad in Galway, Ireland. And she had lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota, where she’d worked with Habitat for Humanity through its partnership with AmeriCorps. But as many townie’s know, the stigma is real: “It’s helped to have other intelligent, successful, practical friends, who are living in town again. I don’t think any of us came back intentionally… We went to school, traveled a bit, consumed new thoughts, and now we’re playing a valuable role at home sharing our diverse experiences with the people here.”

Bethany now edits an independent magazine and solicits submissions from her friends around the country. This Spring, she hopes to start a journaling workshop group for local artists.

A Fearless Ambassador

And here’s Bethany’s advice for newer townies: “Give yourself time to adjust… You can choose your story, and you can choose one that is delicious and unique… Keep chasing after new adventures, and remember the mountains always call.”

“Focus on the positive attributes of where you live,” Bethany said, “and be a fearless ambassador of your home.”

A special thanks to Bethany Clarke for her participation. If you or someone you know would like to be profiled, then contact me at townies@stayworkplay.org. Let’s continue to celebrate our living New Hampshire!

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