You spend plenty of time learning about New England in school growing up, considering some of the original colonies were in the region. But even if you have crystal clear recall of history class, this area is so rich with stories it's impossible to know everything. Here are some things you never knew about New England.
The Paper Used to Make Money Comes From Massachusetts
You've probably never heard of Crane, but you most likely have paid for a coffee with a $5 bill. Stephen Crane founded Crane Co. — which was originally called Liberty Paper Mill — in 1770. His 100% cotton paper was used for patriotic newspapers and colonial currency. Notably, Paul Revere was one of Crane's customers, who used his engraved paper for banknotes. While the company has gone through many transitions in the last 240+ years, they still create the paper used for U.S. currency as well as currency used in countries all over the world. They also have many offerings on the consumer side, such as personalized stationery and wedding invitations.
There Isn't a McDonald's in the Capital of Vermont
You won't find a McDonald's in Montpelier, the capital of Vermont. According to Business Insider, it's because Montpelier favors local businesses. Still, Montpelier is the only U.S. capital that doesn't have a Mickey D's! For those who can't resist a Big Mac, thankfully there is a McDonald's in the nearby town of Barre.
The First American Alarm Clock Was Invented in New Hampshire
You might not even own an alarm clock anymore and only rely on your phone. But before phones, and before alarm clocks, humans had to trust other methods to get them up in the morning. Thankfully (or not thankfully, depending on how much you hate getting up in the morning), Levi Hutchins invented the first American alarm clock in New Hampshire in 1787. Hutchins was a clockmaker by trade, but his invention wasn't meant to become a product he sold. He only wanted to create a device that would cause a bell to ring at 4 a.m. so he could get up and start his day before a rooster would crow. It was a long time before the invention of an adjustable alarm clock that didn't have to go off at the same time every day. But, Hutchins's creativity is still revered in the world of clock history.
New Hampshire Is Home to America's Stonehenge
America's Stonehenge is a remarkable place with many stone structures, mazes, and rooms. And as with the real Stonehenge, many people think the ancient people who built them had an accurate understanding of astronomy. The site was allegedly used, and can currently be used, to predict both solar and lunar events. The structures may not be monolithic stones like Stonehenge, but America's Stonehenge is still a fascinating display of what an ancient culture was able to create and understand about our solar system. If you're ever near Salem, New Hampshire, it's certainly worth a visit.
You Can Visit the Umbrella Cover Museum in Maine
Of all the quirky museums in all the world, the Umbrella Cover Museum is undoubtedly up there with the strangest. The mission of the Umbrella Cover Museum? "The appreciation of the mundane in everyday life. It is about finding wonder and beauty in the simplest of things, and about knowing that there is always a story behind the cover." If you're still pondering what an umbrella cover is, your first thought was probably right. It really is as simple as a display of those fabric sheaths or slipcovers you use to store your umbrella.
The U.S. Branch of PEZ Is in Connecticut
While PEZ was invented in Austria as an alternative to smoking in 1927, it didn't take long for the tasty phenomenon to make it overseas. PEZ evolved from mints in a tin to flavored candy in a dispenser, and with these changes came significant growth. You can learn all about how PEZ has changed over the years and how collecting PEZ dispensers became a big deal in the past few decades — and we mean a really big deal — at the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut. You can see the PEZ production area, plenty of displays, and the most comprehensive public collection of PEZ memorabilia in the world.
We Can Thank Rhode Island for the Term 'Sideburns'
During the Civil War, there was a pretty unsuccessful general named Ambrose Burnside from Rhode Island. Do you know what was successful? His facial hair game. With some very intense sideburns that connected to a mustache with a shaved chin, Burnside was more known for his facial hair than anything else. The hair on that part of a man's face was typically called "side-whiskers" at the time. So, you can see the natural fusion of the terms "side whiskers" and "burnside."
Maine Has a Longer Shoreline than California
When you think of spending time at the beach in the U.S., you'd be in good company if you imaged lounging in the sun in San Diego. But Maine actually has a longer shoreline than California. Maine has 3,478 miles of coastline. Only Florida, Louisiana, and Alaska have more. While a beach vacation in Maine might be a little different than one in Southern California, it will be majestic. Tourists in Maine enjoy some of the best seafood in the country, beautiful lighthouses, and jagged rock outcrops that jut into the ocean.