Is it cliché to write a blog post about what you’re thankful for on Thanksgiving? I agree that it would be awful to write this post on the actual holiday instead of sharing my thoughts directly with my family around our many-leafed table surrounded by a motley assortment of chairs. But a list so long would lead to cold sweet potatoes and my family would never forgive me.

Instead, I’m compiling my list well before we slice the turkey. I hope you notice it mirrors our organizations’ tenets. Not planned. Not planned at all.

I’m thankful that I’m staying in New Hampshire. It has meant investing all of my extra time and money into an old house (this fall it was a never-ending and stupidly-expensive foundation), but staying has reunited me with my family, friends, and community. I truly feel part of something here, part of this inclusive club that celebrates all that is great about New Hampshire – its people, architecture, landscape, beer, starry skies…you name it.

I'm thankful for this hot mess.

I’m thankful for this hot mess.

I’m thankful that I’m working in New Hampshire. People warned me that moving back to a small town here would limit my job options. It has not. Every day, I get to research and survey historic assets in our beautiful state. So far, I’ve seen hidden gems in Bethlehem, Stark, Bristol, Millsfield, Dummer, and Lancaster. More so than ever, I am committed to ensuring these landscapes survive for the next generation.

Milking the job for its perks.

Milking the job for its perks. Lancaster.

I’m thankful to play in New Hampshire. Whether it’s a bachelor party in the Whites, a sunrise hike up Mt. Cardigan, a skinny dip in the Connecticut, a production at the Barn Playhouse, or a road trip on paths less traveled, this state provides endless fodder for exploration and show-stoppin’ vistas. And it’s all in our backyard.


The terrible view from Artist’s Bluff, Franconia Notch.

Lastly, in honor of the NH Charitable Foundation’s CEO, Dick Ober, I’m thankful that I can give in New Hampshire. When I was younger, my love for my hometown and school district came out of defense. Rarely did I hear people say nice things about Grafton or Mascoma. Now, I am grateful to be part of the Grafton Historical Society and Friends of Mascoma – groups that strive to improve people’s quality of life. Along with a hectic schedule, these groups have given me pride and purpose.

I am grateful to have friends who also give in New Hampshire. They volunteer for Destination Imagination and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. They design fashion shows to raise money for the NH Breast Cancer Coalition. They sponsor families at Christmastime and spend weeknights stocking shelves at food pantries. They donate their musicality to raise money for the purchase of instruments in our school district.

This Thanksgiving, I raise my Smuttynose to those of you who also stay, work, play, and – most importantly this time of the year – give in our special state. Here’s to you.

Mascoma alumni came out in droves to raise $10,000 for an instrument bank in our school district's elementary schools.

Mascoma alumni came out in droves to raise $10,000 for an instrument bank for our school district’s elementary students.

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