Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

US Trip to NH & WV

We took a trip this month to visit New Hampshire. Why, you ask? Did we throw a dart at a map and pick a random spot? Sounds like it, but no, actually Chad is exploring some possible employment opportunities in Hanover, NH, so we wanted to check out the area to see if we’d like to move there. It was similar to our trip to Rotterdam almost three years ago, when we came over for Chad’s interview and to check out Holland. However, it was very different in regards to the geography and the town itself (notice I say ‘town,’ not ‘city’).

Hanover is a town of just over 10,000 people. I come from WV and even I think that is small. But it’s not just the size of the town, it’s the location. It is over a 2 hour drive to the nearest large city, and to the airport in Boston. So, while I may have been to towns in WV or PA that are equally as small, they are usually just outside of a larger city. The remote location made me a bit nervous, especially on the 2+ hour drive up from Boston when all we saw was mile after mile of trees. But, I tried to keep an open mind and see what impression I would get from the area.

What Hanover does have is Dartmouth, an Ivy League school and one of the top overall universities in the country. It also has a beautiful geography of mountains, rivers, & endless trees. It reminds me a lot of WV. It’s a good thing that Chad and I are active people, because there is nothing to do in NH except outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, rowing, & skiing.

Our initial impression was that we were taken aback by the small size. We had tried to imagine ‘small’ in our heads before arriving, but we couldn’t picture small enough. Hanover & Lebanon (the neighboring city of 12,000), both basically have one main road that is 2-3 blocks long, with a couple shops and restaurants, and that is it. Then you have the residential areas surrounding.

West Lebanon has one long stretch of road where all of the chain stores in America reside, since they are not allowed to build them directly in the towns in NH. So at least we know we can get what we need from a well known store. In Hanover, the Dartmouth campus encompasses most of the city, which means the buildings and landscaping are immaculate & well kept.

After the initial shock of the small size, we had a nice 3 day visit in the area. Though, we were a bit anxious the whole time trying to imagine if we could live here, and if we could afford a house, or even an apartment. We went to the Hanover Street Fair, which is the biggest event of the year. We also drove around NH & VT in a half-hour radius to visit the surrounding ‘villages,’ which were even smaller than Hanover & Lebanon. If we were to move here, we wanted to see what other potential towns we could live in, since the cost of living in Hanover is surprisingly high.

On Monday, Chad started his 2 weeks of conferencing, and I flew to my parents’ house for a week. I had a nice relaxing week with my parents. My dad and I drove down to see Sittee, & get some great food. She is still doing great at 90 years old! In Morgantown, we went to the 6th annual Mountainfest 2010, which is a motorcycle rally with over 50,000 bikes! Lots of interesting vintage bikes to look at, great food vendors, & live music.

As Chad spent more time in Hanover, and did some of the outdoors activities that we would most likely get into, he reported back on a more positive note. Not to mention, the job opportunity he was looking into started to sound better and better. So, we will see what happens.

Is New Hampshire the next destination for the Kanick’s? Only time will tell, but we’ll keep you posted. ;)

- S

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