There are obvious differences between New England and Montana, but a recent trip brought to light some similarities as well.
My wife and her family are diehard Yanks. Their roots go back centuries in New England, and they are more than happy to tell you about it.
In fact, the first time I met my future father-in-law, he vanished for a minute and came back with a shadow-box picture frame that contained numerous Civil War memorabilia earned by his Yankee clan.
Since I was raised in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, he delighted in showing me the various ribbons and medals from the historic battle.
“Here’s were OUR people fought YOUR people,” he said with a thick New Hampshire accent and a slight smile.
“I’ll have you know, sir, that Kentucky did not secede from the union,” I reminded him. “Touchè,” he responded with some disappointment. But I digress...
Everywhere we went in New England (which covers six states at 71,992-square miles compared to Montana’s 147,040-square miles), a housing struggle seemed to exist were inventories were low and available homes were expensive. People complained about continued increasing property taxes. Decent paying jobs were dwindling or gone and being replaced by low-pay tourism-based work. Some folks were being pushed out. Nostalgia reigned.
There were also growth issues. In southeast New Hampshire, were the Yankee clan lives, former Massachusetts residents (fondly referred to as Mass-holes) are moving in for cheaper taxes and homes with a bearable commute on the interstate or the internet.
The Maine coast is dominated by “Summer People” and tourists who are “From Away.” The pair are the scorn of most Mainers. Some popular mantras in the Pine Tree State are “We like our state just the way it is. DO NOT come here thinking you can make it an extension of your state”; “It’s just a moose”; and “We love your money... but not you!”
It seems beautiful places face the same problems. And it also appears that few have a solution to find a balance, but worthy communities will not give up trying.