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Friday, October 7, 2011

Living in New England: vanity license plates

There are many aspects of life here that are so unique from other parts of the country, and I want to share those things with my family, and perhaps with you- if you have never been here. I thought it might be helpful to do some posts called : "Living in New England" that highlight quintessential New England sights, events, situations, and experiences.

I also know of many people who have lived here, in New England, their entire lives and perhaps don't realize that some of the events and sights that I will describe don't happen elsewhere in the country. Or, maybe you are originally from New England, but have moved away...  I hope these posts will bring back some fond memories for you. In any event I wish to share New England with you through the eyes of this Southerner.




More accurately this post should be entitled "Living in New Hampshire," as New Hampshire has the second highest number of personalized/vanity license plates in the country (per a 2007 survey based on percentage of registered motor vehicles that are vanitized.)  Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont also ranked in the top ten, hence the NE connection.
Having moved here from Texas, which has the lowest rate of vanity plates in the country this has been quite entertaining!
Vanity plates are everywhereI really can't express to you how many you see while driving, even on cars that you think could ill afford to pay the extra $40 per year for the privilege.  If you see 10 cars you'll see 7 vanity plates!   Sometimes they are funny, sometimes cute, sometimes odd, sometimes you can't figure out what they mean, and sometimes, okay a lot of the times, they are just plain odd!  We often say to one another " Now, why would someone want that on their license plate?" !
Did I mention they are everywhere?!!

 It does makes for some interesting "reading" while stopped at a light!









50 comments:

  1. That is so weird!!! You are right...many odd ones I can't figure out! I have never had vanity plates and don't want one! Do they pay $40 extra every year to keep the same plates?

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  2. I would never have imagines this many plates...you are correct some are strange. I never really understood the idea behind that but maybe I am strange.

    Now I will be on the lookout in my own town.

    Have a great weekend.

    Elizabeth

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  3. I live in NH by Manchester and I had no idea we had such a high percentage of vanity plates! Interesting post. I do not have one so I guess I am in the minority. Love your blog and your home.

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  4. 6th one from top - Hokey Dad or Hunky Dad?

    Pretty funny!

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  5. My Maine-iac sister agrees. I wonder how much time it takes for one to come up with something which will fit into the letter restraints!
    The things that make ya say hmmmmmmm.

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  6. Yep there are some funny ones here. I have my business name on mine and thankfully when I've been pulled over by the police, three times, it's because they can't figure out my license plate. When I tell them it's my business name and French they say I cheat...lol. Small town so getting pulled over to chat with the local police is actually normal!

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  7. now let's see...you could have one that read...4luvofa...surely everyone in new hampshire would know it was you...and silently add to themselves "house"...

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  8. I guess New Englanders are vain! :) This Mainer is admitting to having a vanity plate, and on a car you would say looks like can't afford it! It was $20 or $25 here when I got it, and now it's increased. But it's a small price to pay for the ease of identifying my car in a parking lot :)

    There's a book on Maine vanity plates that has the stories behind the plates...it's really interesting! Maybe you should write one for New Hampshire. http://themaineplate.com/themaineplate/

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  9. Wonderful pics! The best one I ever saw was on a very large RV when we lived on the Oregon Coast and it read "WE GO" and the VW Bug that it was towing read "ME TOO"...I always thought that was cute! I hope you are having a great Fall, we had snow yesterday here in Colorado!

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  10. Joan,
    I'll bet California was in the top 10. As a SoCal gal I see tons and like you, sometimes they're clever, sometimes indecipherable and sometimes just odd. :-)
    Karen

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  11. these are cute joan. i wonder where cali rates in vanity plates b/c there are tons of them here too.

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  12. Surprisingly, California was not in the top ten:
    Virginia has the highest U.S. vanity plate penetration rate (16.19%), followed by New Hampshire (13.99%), Illinois (13.41%), Nevada (12.73%), Montana (9.8%), Maine (9.7%), Connecticut (8.14%), New Jersey (6.8%), North Dakota (6.5%) and Vermont (6.1%). Texas had the lowest vanity plate penetration rate (0.5%)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_plate

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21742618/ns/us_news-weird_news/t/va-drivers-vainest-them-all-their-plates/

    Linda- Yes, in NH you pay $40 extra each year!

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  13. Being a native New Hampshire gal myself I had no idea vanity plates were so uncommon in the rest if the country. I've had several different vanity plates over the years. Right now I have my initials. Frankly I don't care about the extra cost. I like being just a bit different ; )

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  14. I've never had a vanity plate, but I do like to figure them out on the road when traveling. This was an interesting post, Joan.

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  15. Virginia is very big on vanity plates also and I think at a reasonable price. It is easier to find your car. Of course if you are into "no good" or are being stalked, having vanity plates aren't a good thing :)

    It's fun trying to figure out what the plates mean.

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  16. As a young teen in VT in the early 90's I even started to keep track of all the ones I saw! Even then I couldn't believe how popular they were.

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  17. Holy moly you weren't kidding, there are A LOT of them!! I mean I guess its fine if thats what really excites you, but there is a point and limit to everything. Around here I have a red mercedes with and I kid you not "size 5/6". Now THAT is going too far:)

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  18. My fave is itcbtc on the Minnie Cooper. We could use the extra revenue here in California!

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  19. I think it's crazy they can use symbols here too!

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  20. As someone who lives in Los Angeles, I've definitely seen my share of vanity plates. Some of which are rather annoying.

    ♥ sécia
    www.petiteinsanities.blogspot.com

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  21. Tina- now that's a "vanity" plate;)

    NH Gal- yes, I did read where most states don't allow the use of symbols.

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  22. As someone who lives in Maine, I can relate and I thoroughly enjoyed this post! In fact, my most recent post highlighted our vanity plates. You know what they say about great minds. . . ~Lili

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  23. Wow...you managed to find a lot of plates!! I like when they make me smile or catch my attention in slow traffic. Vanity plates are super expensive here in Illinois so you usually only see them on really nice cars!!

    XO,
    Jane

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  24. No!!!!!!!!!!! You could blow me over with a feather! I never thought outside of the big vain towns of the U.S. we would see these stupid plates. What a surprise. Lets just go back to the New England I want to dream about....... please. but thanks anyway this really is real life isn't it?

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  25. As a Floridian that visited NH for many summers, I was always struck by the number of vanity tags there. I always thought that figuring out a good tag was a way to spend those long winter nights!

    I was once rear-ended by a drunken driver who left the scene of the accident. If he had had regular tags I don't think it would have registered with me in time but since he had vanity tags, the police nailed him within five minutes!

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  26. My dentist back in the Northeast US had TOOTHDR on his plates, on a Porsche which I thought was rubbing it in .. if you know what I mean ..

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  27. much older sister SusanOctober 7, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Mine would say 'I Luv Boxers'

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  28. I love trying to figure them out! I think the ITC-BTC tag on the Mini Cooper is itsy-bitsy. We just returned from vacation in Seattle, WA and couldn't believe the Minis we saw there. This was a very interesting blog! Thanks!

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  29. Love it.
    The only time I've been tempted by a vanity plate is one I saw for sale years ago 'Psycho'. I didn't buy. xx

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  30. We moved to NH from SC. We've also noticed the vanity plates and wondered why there were so many. I'm not at all surprised to find that NH has the 2nd highest rate.

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  31. Hi Joan - wow! That's quite a collection of vanity plates! I love that you took pictures of them! Growing up in New England I don't think I ever realized how common they are, and that other parts of the country are not quite as populated with the vanity plates - what's with us New Englanders?? (I don't have one just for the record!)
    Fun series! Hope you enjoy this beautiful weekend - there is no better place to be on a sunny October weekend!

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  32. I'm picturing the plates many years from now being sold in a vintage shop. A bit different than the plates off of an old Ford that we see in the shops now.

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  33. This is so interesting to me ~ who'd have thought? I'm curious about the moose on some of them-- do y'all have a lot of moose in NH?? Just curious ;-).

    Happy weekend, Joan~
    Heidi @ Show Some Decor

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  34. hi Heidi- Good eye and good question! Yes, New Hampshire is known for its moose! There is a road in the northern part of the state known as "Moose Alley" and is supposedly the best place to spot them! I have spoken to natives here who have never seen one. Here is a post on one that was in our back meadow! It is the only one we have seen so far- and trust me we are always on the lookout!! You see "Moose Crossing" signs often around here!
    http://fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com/2010/03/there-was-moose-in-our-backyard.html

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  35. Our last car in the US.. was purchased the summer that John Kennedy Jr died.
    We got our non-vanity plates about a week later .... JFK39 ...

    People thought we were Kennedy groupies ~

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  36. HA! Gotta admit, a few stumped me. Onr of the fave ones I have ever seen was a Hummer with a plate that said 1MPG!

    True Dat!

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  37. I reckon you guys get a good deal, we pay $120 pa for set of personalized plates! For an additional 100 bucks we can have South Australia-The Wine State emblazoned on our plates, which is better than our neighbours in the state of Victoria who get Victoria- A State Of Excitement, whether they want it or not!
    Millie xx

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  38. Virginia girl posting in here...we have Vanity plates on 3 cars, and on our Harley! We love them!

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  39. I grew up in Upstate NY where vanity plates were definitely a luxury, but now I live in VA and we even have one now since it's only $10 per year!

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  40. Hi there! I just stumbled onto your blog and had to laugh at the vanity plates! I see you left Dallas (the capitol of vanity plates...lol). I guess some things are constant no matter where you live! I am a newbie to blogging and your newest follower. I hope you will follow back! Many blessings to you!

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  41. As an ex-New Englander now living in Virginia, I can vouch for our abundance of vanity plates. I've noticed that the group with the greatest amount of personalized plates are transplanted Texans! Yup, they love to identify themselves and their Texas pride on their license plates. Every iteration of Lone Star, Texas Pride, I'm a Texan that you can think of are on our roads!

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  42. @Cathy - I think that one means Hockey Dad.

    Yes, lots of vanity plates! I love looking for them and trying to figure out what they're saying

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  43. That's right, I forgot all about the vanity plates out there. You see some out here from time to time but usually I can't figure them out!
    xoTrina

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  44. My Jeep has a "Yippeea" on its tag. Being from Oklahoma now living in Kansas for over 37 years, it's my tip of my hat to my native state. Although, I've had quite a few people ask why I put Y pee ya on my car

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  45. So funny! Some of them I still can't figure....Personalised plates are also quite popular in England...but with less creative names! xv

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  46. Hello ...that is one clever post...you my friend have patience and a good eye..you also have a cute dog friend...I am a new follower...I will be back...blessings Karena@A Loblolly Life

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  47. so funny! I thought this was a Southern thing!

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  48. Love this post. Haha! Wow, I never knew people paid so much for them.

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