Does it feel strange to have to give directions to someone in this modern age? In the age of smartphones and GPS units? Well whenever I have to give directions to someone, like the gravel delivery man or a lumberyard delivery (for some reason these guys just do it old school), I have to tell them to travel through “Downtown Metropolitan Etna and then look for the SECOND Dogford Road. Not the one buy the cemetery but the one past Hanover Center green. And don’t miss it because then you’ll be cursing me when you end up in Lyme.
You see Dogford Road is a five mile loop with two entrances on Hanover Center Road. Plenty of times I’ve had a UPS driver or someone mutter under their breath about driving the long way around. Hey, at least its a scenic trip past beautiful farms and woods!
Back to Downtown Metropolitan Etna, what’s there you might ask? Why gives it such a lofty nickname. Well long before Hanover, NH became such a bustling little village with all of its stores, restaurants and Dartmouth College, Hanover Center was the center of town.
Hanover Center today is just a big white church, a green where they have Oxen pulls and charity auctions and an old car parade each summer at Founder’s Day, a cemetery and bunch of nice old houses around the green. In other words a whole lot of nothing.
Etna Center in contrast is the big city. It sports a post office inside the old school house, a branch of the Hanover library and a general store where you can get anything from a hot lunch, coffee, beer, sandwiches and even video rentals. There is also a B&B and some beautiful houses.
Etna Center also boasts a scenic farm complete with a beautiful old barn, cows, chickens and a farm stand in the summer. You can pick up fresh eggs here and gardeners can buy big old potato bags full of aged cow manure. I stop by all the time to take pictures of this beautiful spot as you can see here:
Etna, originally named “Mill Village”, is a small unincorporated community within the town of Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. It is located in southwestern Grafton County, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Hanover’s downtown and 2.5 mi (4.0 km) south of the village of Hanover Center, on Mink Brook. Etna has a separate ZIP code (03750) from the rest of Hanover, as well as its own fire station, church, and library.
Commerce revolves around the Etna General Store and the Etna Post Office for the 814 residents and occasional visitor in what a small blue-and-white sign in a yard along the main road humorously calls “Metropolitan Downtown Etna”. The Appalachian Trail passes a mile or so north of the village before it turns northeast to cross Moose Mountain on its way to Lyme. Etna can be accessed from NH Rt. 120 via the Greensboro Road or Great Hollow Road (Etna Road, north of the Lebanon exit from Interstate 89), or from Hanover via Trescott Road (E. Wheelock Street).
Every summer, the village holds the Old Timer’s fair on the Hanover Center green, 2 miles (3 km) north of the center of Etna. For many years, Dave Laware, former operator of the Etna General Store, organized a parade consisting of local residents riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles (along with the Etna Fire Department trucks and other colorful vehicles), with their children riding behind them scattering candy to the crowd. The legend “Etna General Store – Warm Beer, Lousy Food, Poor Attitudes” appeared on shirts worn by all of the riders
Notable Residents include C. Everett Koop, 13th U.S. Surgeon General, Jodi Picoult, author (My Sister’s Keeper, The Pact, and Nineteen Minutes), Mary Roach, non-fiction author, Edward Fielding fine art photographer, author The Last Resort photographs of Maui.