Lisa Q. Mathews

Directions to Cozyland

I’m looking for The Perfect Town. It can’t be too hot or too cold, too rich or too poor, too big or too small, and preferably there will be an adorable cat or dog and a plate of cookies at every house and shop. Oh, and this town must have at least one charming bookstore, multiple gourmet restaurants, a sleepy police department, and very few troublesome children. I’d like to visit the place in person, you see, but even the combined power of Google Maps, Siri and Waze can’t seem to locate it. Can you tell me how to get to Cozy Street?

Sadly, you probably can’t (but thanks anyway for your kind efforts).  Flawless towns do not exist, of course, except on the beautifully-detailed covers and within the pages of a cozy mystery novel. (And maybe on the Hallmark Channel, too, but we’re talking books here.) On the other hand, you do remember Neverland in Peter Pan, right? That whimsical place did exist, but you had to truly believe in it or you couldn’t ever go there. So that got me thinking…could I find Cozyland in my very own New England town?

 

Today was a beautiful summer day, so I decided to do a little investigating with Cozy-tinted glasses. Fly (okay, drive) with me to check out a few of the highlights…

First off, you should know that Hillsborough, NH was the boyhood home of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States (1853-1857). No one here talks about him much, and although he was apparently very charming, he is often ranked as  one of the worst and least memorable U.S. Presidents. (Luckily, politics rarely, if ever, come up in Cozyland). Anyway, Franklin’s wife hated the town, so they eventually moved. But his home remains and his portrait hangs above the bar at Tooky Mills Pub (note the Cozy-worthy purple plants):

 

Hillsborough was once a thriving mill town, but when the mills closed many of the townspeople lost their jobs. The main east-west road used to run straight through the center of town, until the construction of an ill-advised by-pass choked off the local businesses and restaurants from tourist and commuter traffic. Well, at least there are no highways in Cozyland. And we do have—quite literally—a Bridge to Nowhere. (That’s what everyone calls it.) No one is sure of its exact historical significance, but it was repaired and rebuilt a few years ago to the tune of considerable tax dollars.

bridge.nowhere

This is St. Mary’s Church. The congregation shares a priest with another parish about 20 minutes away, so he does a LOT of driving. Isn’t it charming? Definitely cozy-worthy. (People in town rise early, so we get the 8 am Mass.)

st.marys

A distance from St. Mary’s is the old mill, now converted to apartments. And across from the mill is a building that looks like it came straight out of the Wild West. It used to have a laundromat on the bottom floor, but now it, too, boasts updated apartments. Someone recently told me it was once a brothel and…the building itself has several years remaining on a 100-year permission to serve as brothel. (Oh no! Not what we’re looking for at all. But that’s okay, no one expects that kind of thing in Cozyland. And rumors play a special role in cozy mysteries, so bonus points, right? Prostitution itself is illegal here anyway, so the building deal is moot.)

laundromat

This is Butler Park in the very center of town. Right now there is controversy brewing as to whether the Boy Scouts should be allowed to build a town bulletin board somewhere in it as an Eagle Scout project. Well, heated town debates, particularly related to development projects, often swirl beneath the surface in Cozyland—SCORE for Hillsborough!!

butler.park

And here is the Fuller Library. It was once someone’s gorgeous mansion and I wish you could see the inside with its beautiful wood paneling and Tiffany windows. I have been known to write there in the summer, in tiny part because it also boasts air conditioning (not that common here in New Hampshire). I think our library qualifies as cozy, don’t you?

library

You’re probably getting tired of all this flying—er, driving, so I’ll wrap up the Cozy Tour. There’s one important factor we haven’t mentioned about Cozyland, though. Do not be fooled by all those cute cats and enticing baskets of yarn and pitchers of homemade lemonade. These perfect towns host an inordinate number of murders. In fact, in some of the most popular places, there are suspicious deaths at every holiday, major town event, and in every season. (You have heard of Cabot Cove Syndrome, I’m sure.) Well, we may not have an unusually high murder rate here in Hillsborough. But we do have a funeral home. And several very lovely area cemeteries:

 

You know what? I may not need those directions after all. Cozyland does exist–and it may be located right in your very own town. Clap your hands and BELIEVE!

Readers, would your town be the perfect setting for a cozy mystery series? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Directions to Cozyland

    • Wow,Gram, how did you know about German John’s closing? It was very sad, because the annual Schnitzelfest in Butler Park went with it.

      Like

      • I used to live and work in NH and went to Hillsborough occasionally. It is a very nice town…used to grab lunch at one place coming into town from Concord – only open in the summer – and a small store and eating place on the other side of town that had good burgers!

        Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought anyone reading this post would have been to Hillsborough! So cool. Maybe you mean The High Tide on the way into town (out of season they put up a sign that says “The Tide is Out.” And I bet you’re referring to Kat’s Corner for the store/burger place.Love sitting there at the mica counter. 🙂

      Like

  1. I don’t think mine would. However, the town next door, Oakmont? Totally. Has the historic homes, the main street of quirky shops, churches, cemeteries, a bakery full of delicious treats, and, of course, cute animals!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. OMG, what a great post! AND what a great town. Or should I say village? The St. Mary’s Mead of NH. It’s beautiful and totaly cozy-worthy. And there’s even a mystery. How indeed did Colorado-based Cynthia know about your local bakery closing? (My condolences on the loss of Schnitzelfest. That sounded delicious.)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Fun post, Lisa — and what a charming, lovely town! It almost looks too sweet, like something sinister must be lurking beneath the surface–which means it IS the perfect setting for a cozy! (I think floating under the bridge to nowhere would be a great spot for a body drop.):)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Definitely my home town (Seneca Falls, NY) is a good candidate for a cozy! After all, it’s the birth place of Women’s Rights AND the inspiration for Bedford Falls in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life. Seneca Falls is also one third of the fictitious town in my mystery series, The Penningtons Investigate. Actually, I think you’re right than many towns will work if you keep those rose-colored glasses on and sprinkle a liberal number of fictional details. I enjoyed this post and the ensuing discussion!! –kate, writing as C. T. Collier

    Liked by 3 people

  5. There is this town on the way to Charlestown WV that might make for a good setting. Hillsboro, Virginia. There is literally one stoplight in the town. It has a whole whopping 100 people living there. More houses are there for rent by the night than for living in. Personally, I am not sure why people would want to vacation there.
    As of 18 months ago, it increased from 0.1 square mile to 172 acres in size. That would be perfect for murders. You would always have to have to locals as suspects, because there are so few.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s