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Revealing the stars Courtesy Photo
“Nature and freedom,” says Mengwei
Zheng of Keene, were two big reasons why he chose to settle in New Hampshire.
Top: The Festival of Fireworks in Jaffrey, put on by Atlas Fireworks, will be held on August 17. Learn more at jaffreyfireworks.com. Below: Mengwei Zheng
One thing that surprised him about moving here, he says, “is that I’m able to see the stars at night.” Zheng was born in China, moving to the US at age 15 when his parents sought “a better life and better education for me,” he says. For five years he lived in Boston, then in North Dartmouth, Mass., while attending the University of Massachusetts as an undergraduate and then Northeastern University for his master’s degree in accounting. Now 25, he works as a tax analyst for C&S Wholesale Grocers in Keene. When he first heard about the company, he says, what really drew him in was the area itself with its abundant natural resources and all the sports it offers. As a nature enthusiast, the idea of being able to ski, hike and fish appealed to him. “Even though I had lived in a big city my whole life, I’ve always loved nature.” Another related perk? No traffic. “I don’t have to consider the traffic situation before I head out,” he says. The Monadnock Region is also one of the state’s big farming centers. Here, adds Zheng, he can find fresh, local vegetables at one of many farmers markets. But it wasn’t just nature that brought Zheng to his new home. As a recent grad with student debt, cost of living was a big factor. “New Hampshire’s living expenses are much lower compared to Boston,” he says. The fact that New Hampshire doesn’t have a sales or state income tax didn’t hurt either. “For a recent graduate like me, it helps me so much to get rid of my student loans and establish a good financial status at beginning of my career.” Though the practical and financial reasons are compelling, Zheng still comes back to how the state makes him feel. “I love nature,” he says. “When I was driving around in New Hampshire I felt like I was in a national park, especially during the fall — all those maple leaves gave me a unforgettable experience. There are so many things I can do in New Hampshire; I feel I’m not limited by space and traffic jams anymore.”
Destination NH | 2017
SNAPSHOT OF THE area With its beautiful fall foliage, farmland and scattered covered bridges, the Monadnock Region is the embodiment of picturesque New England. The region’s namesake, Mount Mondanock, is one of many idyllic spots for nature lovers, but culture abounds here as well. In fact, this part of the state has attracted artists and intellectuals for many years, including Ralph Waldo Emerson. The city of Keene is a vibrant college town with great food, shops, art galleries and more. Perhaps the most famous arts and culture attractions are the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough (a world-renowned artists’ retreat), the historic theatre troupe the Peterborough Players and Keene’s Colonial Theatre. In tiny Walpole you’ll find the famous chocolatier L.A. Burdick Chocolates, home to confections and a delightful restaurant. It may seem sleepy at first, but our western corner holds many surprises.
Published on May 19, 2017