House in an autumn forest

New Hampshire was founded in 1776—it’s an old state. So, some of the laws and regulations may not make sense to us anymore, especially when it comes to Sundays and public spaces. If you live in New Hampshire, or are planning to move here, you will be charmed by some of these ridiculous and silly laws from a bygone era.

No person, while hunting or obviously on his way to or from hunting, may have a ferret in his possession, custody or control.

In many places in the world, ferrets are used to hunt rabbits and this was legal in New Hampshire up until 1935 when this law was passed. Since then, owning pet ferrets has been legalized and hunters have concluded that domesticated ferrets are very different from the ferrets used to hunt rabbits a hundred years ago. 

You may not run machinery on Sundays.

It was deemed illegal to operate machinery on Sundays. That means no lawn mowing, tree cutting, or ice cream making! Of course, this law is not practiced today, but it can still be found in some New Hampshire law books.

You may not tap your feet, nod your head, or in any way keep time to the music in a tavern or cafe.

This law must be broken by New Hampshire citizens daily. The source of this law is not easy to find and is not enforced today but it is fun to think about a patron being reprimanded for enjoying music! 

It is illegal to pick up seaweed off the beach

This law is more understandable because New Hampshire only has 18.57 miles of shoreline. Removing seaweed from beaches can have a pretty big negative impact on the aquatic habitat so it makes sense that New Hampshire wants to protect its valuable shoreline and doesn’t want you removing seaweed.

Illegal to build a “spite fence” higher than 5ft

Enacted in 1887, this law prohibits neighbors to build fences higher than 5ft between properties. Seems odd doesn’t it? The purpose of this law was to ban neighbors from trying to bother or spite each other with an unusually tall fence. I guess the term “good fences make good neighbors” does not apply here. 

New Hampshire and our other New England neighbors have tons of fun old quirks about them – just check out our 7 things to know about NH article. If you are planning a move to this area, contact us! We will help to make your transition smooth and give you some local pointers.

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