Brentwood magazine

What is it about New Hampshire that attracts a lot of hermits?

River Dave was just the latest in a long line of New Hampshire hermits

The news was abuzz with the events of “River Dave”, who was a well-known hermit who lived in Canterbury, New Hampshire. “River Dave” has spent the past 30 years living off the land in a small cabin. Hermit stories fascinate me as does Janice Brown of Merrimack according to She has a blog about them. There is always a story behind why people become hermits. With “River Dave”, it was the rumor of a marriage gone wrong. Most people want to ascribe a sad and romantic story to hermits, but some people just want to withdraw from society without a sad story. They just want to be alone.

Things turned out well for “River Dave”.

While fundraisers and a huge check from a millionaire changed “River Dave” who chose not to resume living the hermit life, others realized their dream of being off the grid for years. I’ve always dreamed of being able to live off the grid, but my wife says you have to be a handyman and I’m outgoing, so I guess I’m not cut out for that sort of thing. I am also a very picky eater. I don’t like to be too hot and the bugs freak me out, so I guess living off the grid is out of the question for me.

Other famous hermits in New Hampshire

While “River Dave” is getting all the attention, don’t forget some of the other hermits in our area. One is Perley Swett. According to, Janice Brown from Merrimack blogged about local hermits on her blog Janice was visiting Perley Swett before his death at the age of 85 in 1973. I can’t imagine an 85-year-old living alone in the woods with no heat during those New England winters. Although I may dream of living off the grid, I’m afraid that air conditioning, hot showers, and fresh food will keep me from fleeing society.

Well so much for being a hermit, River Dave is now a celebrity. He had a meet last weekend at Warner NH. Speaking of celebrities, check out this list of superstars spotted here in NH and Maine.

26 celebrities spotted in New Hampshire and Massachusetts

25 real crime scenes: what do they look like today?

Below, find out where 25 of history’s most infamous crimes took place – and what the locations are for today. (If they remained standing.)

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes

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