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Twin States Score High On Hippie Tendencies

West Lebanon — Thus far, real estate blogger Ryan Nickum said his map ranking the 50 states and Washington D.C. from “most hippie” to “bunch of squares” has not generated a ton of response — especially compared to his previous post.

“It isn’t getting as much attention as our last one that we did, which was the most taco-crazed cities in America, which was a little more controversial,” he said.

Nevertheless, the list is peppered with small surprises, especially for folks in the Twin States. Although several people said they expected the Green Mountain State to rank high on the list, many were surprised that it took the “most hippie” crown, ranking No. 1.

Perhaps even less expected were the results for Vermonters’ Live Free or Die friends to the east. At smoke shop Un-Dun’ in West Lebanon, employee Jazmyn Graf guessed New Hampshire would rank in the list’s bottom half. Employees at Folk, the clothing and gifts store in Hanover, guessed it could possibly break the top 20.

The truth, so says Nickum, is that New Hampshire ranks third among the nation’s hippiest states, just behind Northern New England neighbor Maine.

“People in Vermont probably perceive New Hampshire not being as hippie as them, which they’re not,” Nickum said. “But compared to other states, New Hampshire is probably more granola. Maybe some of it is wafting over the border.”

Nickum and his colleagues at Estately, an online national real estate search site, used four criteria to determine the list:

∎ The number of communes and “intentional communities” per capita in each state.

∎ The number of food co-ops per capita in each state.

∎ The number of local stores on Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, that sell hemp, patchouli and tie-dye products.

∎ The percentage of Facebook users who express interest in the Grateful Dead, Phish, cannabis, tie-dye, peace, LSD, Bob Dylan and hippies.

The results, Nickum acknowledges, are not based on “heavy scientific criteria,” but he said he believes that the data is useful. (Find a link to the results at the online version of this story at www.vnews.com.)

“I actually think it’s fairly accurate in terms of depicting general trends,” he said of using people’s Facebook interests.

In explanations accompanying the top 10 and bottom 10 states, Nickum wrote that “it’s no surprise” that Vermont tops the list, as it's the home state of Phish and Ben & Jerry’s, has the most communes (24) and co-ops (16) per capita of any state, and has the highest concentration of Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Phish fans.

“Basically, Vermont is not only a massive hippie retirement community for the original hippies, but it’s also a haven for the next generation of flower children,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire, he said, is “basically Vermont with deodorant on.”

After Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, the next most hippie states were Oregon, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

The least hippie states — or, in other words, the most square — were Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama and Nevada.

“If you’re looking to enjoy some great Cajun food and never see some longhairs braiding a hemp bracelet in a parking lot, then Louisiana is your sanctuary,” Nickum wrote.

Massachusetts ranked 20th and Connecticut ranked 27th.

David Heinberg, owner of the Birth of the Blues clothing store in West Lebanon, said he was surprised to find the Twin States so high up on the list. But then again, said Heinberg, who is 60: What is a hippie, anyway?

“I don’t have any idea what they’re really talking about,” he said. “I think number one, it’s a younger crowd that would apply to all those things (that were measured), the tie-dye, the Grateful Dead, all this kind of stuff, it’s people under 35, and really they’ve never even seen the Grateful Dead, so they’re just wannabes.”

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.