There's a saying that goes, "The road to a friend's house is never long."
I have another saying: "The gate at a friend's place is never a puzzle."
I get a certain satisfaction, when I arrive at a friend's yard, in being familiar enough with their gate to breeze through it, no matter how persnickety the latch may be.
Sometimes you have to lift and pull, or push and jiggle. You only learn these things through experience- coming and going over time, visiting, dropping off muffins, returning a book.
It seems to me that gates and latches in New England are particularly quirky- just like my wonderful friends.