Some are fond of the cliche: “Tourism is our bread and butter,” but too much bread and butter can also clog the arteries, also known as the dangerous main streets and back roads of ski country. First of all, thank you to our local police departments in Lincoln and Woodstock for keeping those arteries through town moving as best as possible. Yesterday, we even had a traffic person stopping cars for those parents and buses trying to leave school at the end of the day. Yes, those of us living here in ski country do not celebrate President’s Day. Shocking, I know. But being in school is probably the safest and least crowded spot in town honestly this week. Leaving school after the police officer left, however, was a little like playing Frogger for those of you who survived childhoods in the 70s and 80s. I took my own life along with those of my young children and placed them in God’s hands as I looked carefully to the right and then to the left and back to the right again, hoping against hope that someone might see me in my green Subaru, desperate to leave the school parking lot. Someone, anyone?
Then a miracle happened. A very kind driver in on my right stopped to let me cross the busy byway for the grocery store. A second miracle happened when the minivan on the left also stopped to let me shoot across the gauntlet. So, I began to cross slowly, when this crazy person passed the stopped car on my right, on its right and would have broadsided me had I not been driving slowly, carefully, and defensively as my dad, big Tony Ehrman, taught me back in 1990. Now, I’ll be honest, these could all have been NH drivers or MA drivers, or– even somewhere from NY, NJ or CT. I have no idea. What I do know is that two of the three of them had very good driving manners, which is probably an accurate national average given my propensity NOT to be good at math. For every 3 cars on the road, 2 will be decent drivers, who are paying attention, not on their phones, not looking to kill someone or their children, and doing their absolute best to get home to their families and friends safely.
This leaves 1 out of 3 drivers to be idiots. So, when our towns EXPLODE their populations this week in February each year, this leaves us many more travelers we need to wary of.
Using soft eyes, the driver of the black Jeep Cherokee who almost killed my family and me:
- Might have had a medical emergency? Although unlikely, since the highway on ramps to medical facilities are in the opposite direction.
- Might be late to the ice castles? Although also in the opposite directions.
- Might need to meet friends at Loon Mountain, the Bunyan Room, Babe’s, Black Mountain Burger, the Gypsy Cafe, the Common Man, One Love Brewery, (or any of our local, yummy eateries)? Although good manners would teach us that better to be late and alive than early and dead.
- Might have an appointment to the spa? I have no comment for this.
- Might need to go to the Lincoln Library? Stays open late so no need for bad driving.
I won’t blame families coming here to enjoy our awesome skiing at Loon Mountain. I won’t claim that all drivers from MA should be banned from our communities. This is not about people from MA, it’s about our manners. We need them–you– to come here, as previously mentioned, tourism is our bread and butter. I actually hate that phrase, yet I continue to say it. These second home owners and renters and hotel visitors improve our local tax base. They help to fund our schools, which are excellent. They visit our restaurants and mountains and pottery shops and real estate offices. They appreciate the natural beauty our White Mountains share with them when they visit.
But there are a LOT of tourists in town, clogging arteries everywhere we go. We exchange knowing glances the week leading up to vacation weeks, and all we ask in return is for some collective good manners, from locals and visitors alike. Come on, now, manners are not hard– not when they are expected behaviors.
- Drive carefully.
- Share the road.
- Spend money.
- Be nice to those in the service industry who make your stay here enjoyable including: bartenders, waiters, waitresses, parking lot guys and gals, mountain hosts, police officers, your children’s ski instructors, cleaning folks, neighbors who pick up after their own dogs, etc, etc…
- Smile and come back again.
One concerned public school teacher, mom, wife, friend, fellow life survivor– so far!
Remember, we are all in this thing called humanity together, and in a world where kids can sadly shoot one another up too easily, we need to be nicer– and adults need to model that first.