The Flinty Nature of New Hampshire Tourism – In Defense of the Grande Dame Resorts – by John Hendrie

The Granite State, much like the unruly Uncle at a family dinner, is sandwiched between two Northern New England states with known cachets – Maine and Vermont. Try as you might, a tourism slogan is difficult to enunciate for New Hampshire.

We might consider “Live Free or Die” (ah, those license plates made by incarcerated prisoners), or Seacoast New Hampshire (all sixteen miles or so), or the sculptured White Mountains (in the shadow of the lush neighboring Green Mountains).  Perhaps, “Tax Free” is the catch-all phrase.  But, none of these energize and capture the true flavor of New Hampshire with pockets of exceptional beauty, as well as an amazing sense of native independence, sometimes bordering on arrogance.
Other states have bounty and promote insightfully.  New Hampshire just cannot get their arms around a message.  Ultimately, it comes down to money and the penurious direction of the state government.  Talk about flinty! 
New Hampshire is one of the states with the lowest financial support of their State University, which also houses one of the oldest Hotel Schools in the nation.  Southern New Hampshire communities probably reflect the National average for unemployment, but moving Northward, the economic picture further dims quite grimly.  Watch steady traffic heading South on Route 3 or I-95 and I-93 in the morning, and you see New Hampshire residents seeking relief in the Massachusetts business environs. We are miserable, economically, and try to escape every day, but we want you to visit our fine state!
So, what to do with all this history, natural beauty and rebellious streak of the citizenry?  Perhaps, wrap your message around the jewels of the state – your Grande Dame Resort Hotels.  Embrace them, support them, and market them like crazy!  These resorts – the Mt. Washington, the Mountain View, the Wentworth-by-the-Sea and the Balsams – are New Hampshire treasures, and no other New England State can lay similar claim.
The style, the history and the tradition of these Destinations is extraordinary, and each is very unique.  The Wentworth anchors the New Castle island approach to Portsmouth, newly refurbished and expertly managed.  The Mt. Washington Hotel, situated in the Presidential Mountain range, is a wonderful four season operation, while the Mountain View on the other side of Mt. Washington, speaks to bygone elegance and service.  Further North stands the Balsams, teetering a bit now, as it is for sale, but full of history, as well as the nation’s first ballot presidential voting. 
These resorts represent another time in terms of elegance, service and exclusivity.  However, all have made the continued effort to remain pertinent in terms of amenities, activities and comfort.  They understand it is all about the Guest Experience.  Their partners in Hospitality around the State could learn a thing or two from these operations.
State tourism does have much to trumpet – the Lakes region, the Presidential Range, Dartmouth College, the history of Concord and Portsmouth, toughness and grit.  Other States have a similar portfolio.  But, what is unique to New Hampshire is the Grande Dame Resorts – savor them and promote them, too.  They bring the distinction and differentiation to your Tourism message.