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The Monadnock region is a land of opportunity


Tuesday, April 04, 2017 7:1AM

I always dreamed of buying a home, becoming part of a community, and starting a business. I also always considered myself a “city person.” But as I made my way through my twenties, jumping from city to city in search of the place where I could make these dreams reality, they seemed to move further out of reach. Then I found New Hampshire.

My fiancé is an attorney, and when we lived in Boston I had a decent-paying job in retail management. Despite the fact that we each worked 60+ hours a week, we knew we would never be able to buy a home there. With houses in the worst parts of the city starting around $400,000 (and with thousands of dollars a month going toward rent in the meantime), we didn’t stand a chance. This was a major factor in our decision to move north. With a couple years of saving, we were able to buy our own house on a beautiful piece of land.

Before I lived here, I saw the Monadnock region’s small towns as exclusive, unchanging postcard villages, presumably rigid and protective of their history. I was wrong. People do care deeply about their town’s past and are protective of the things that make them unique, but not at the expense of their future. Rather than sacrificing modernity to history, they use their deep-seated values to guide their economic development. As we begin our journey of turning a historic building in Peterborough into a craft brewery, we receive constant words of encouragement for both our preservation efforts and the new business we’re bringing to the town.

So many people here have gone out of their way to support us. Walk into City Hall in Boston and tell them you want to start a business. See how many people care. Walk into Peterborough’s Town Hall and tell them the same. Within a week you’ll have met the town administrator, the Select Board, the folks in the Community Development office, and a dozen of the town’s most involved movers and shakers, all ready to help. Actively working to entice younger residents and boost economic activity, the Monadnock region is truly a land of opportunity for industrious and community-minded 20- and 30-somethings.

We are lucky to have found our place here, and I hope that we can encourage more young people to join us. If we’re going to be successful, we need to get the word out. We do a great job promoting our hiking trails, beautiful mountain views, and “New England charm,” but if we’re looking for more than tourism, we need to broaden our conversations. We have an affordable housing market, welcoming and open-minded communities with rich histories, and limitless opportunities for new businesses. I was raised to believe that with hard work and respect for others, I could accomplish anything. In New Hampshire, that is still true.

 

Erika Rosenfeld is an entrepreneur who recently bought the former GAR Hall in downtown Peterborough, which she and her fiancé are renovating and converting to a craft brewery.