We have met many people up here in the far north of New Hampshire, people who as much as anything have adapted and grown to love this giant county so far far away from the rest of the world. Interstate 91 stops at Littleton, about 90 minutes south.
That’s quite a dividing line, it’s where the nearest Wal-Mart and large stores are. It’s where you go if you have to buy something big, but for Georgia Lyons, it means she does a lot of shopping online in her jammies.
Many people here simply use Amazon and UPS and don’t bother making the long trek south. They do have a few good lumber yard/hardware stores here, since 2x4s and ladders are yet to become UPS packages.
We learned that the town of Pittsburg has the largest town area on the east coast, with only 700 inhabitants. It’s a fact that there are so few people here that the graduating class of Pittsburg high school is two or three students.
Georgia runs Murphy’s Steak House with her husband John, and she’s been up here for about 15 years. They say they love working in the restaurant that their son owns, comparing themselves to ‘missionaries for their children.’ She loves being social with the patrons, and said it’s like a dinner party every night with so many interesting people coming in for dinner. Pittsburg was always their vacation spot when their kids were growing up, and now it’s home.
Verlaine Daeron and her husband Marc Ounis own a wonderful French bakery and chocolatier called Le Rendez-Vous in Colebrook. In 2009, an article came out in the NY Times about how the town rallied to help her get her green card and not have to go back to where she born, Paris France. They make baguettes and macarones and croissants fresh every morning, and Verlaine said that after the Balsams resort closed a few years ago, business has been much slower. “People used to come from the Balsams and enjoy our products, they’d come after skiing there, and now it’s all empty.” There is talk of ski mogul Les Otten taking over the decrepit hotel and bringing in millions of dollars and rich guests from Europe to make it better than ever. But it will take a many millions because when the grand hotel closed down fixtures were ripped out and it’s in pretty bad shape.
The location up here so far away is either a blessing or a curse.