Southeast and Seacoast Information
Southeast and Seacoast Information
Real estateGenerally speaking we found the real estate in the southeast part of New Hampshire to be way too expensive to suit us. Some towns are somewhat less expensive than others but Salem was particularly expensive and even the more 'country' feeling areas around Salem (Pelham, etc.) were very expensive. Here's a couple examples of what we found:
Pelham - $370,000 (or maybe $390,000), 3 bed / 2 1/2 bath, unknown address. We drove by a nice, fairly new colonial on what appeared to be an acre or two of land listed for sale. There was no literature but we called the realtor and determined the listing price may have been $370,000 (could have been $390,000, I don't recall) for a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath home. It was in the country on a small two lane road not near anything in particular.
Salem - $559,000 to $799,000, large houses on Hall Ave. There were two homes on this street. The first was a very nice home that I would call upper middle class but is probably really upper class. It's a 10 room, 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home with about 3400 sq. ft. on 1 1/2 acres in a development with comparable homes. It has a 3 car garage and is within a couple of miles of I-93. It's listed at $559,000. The second was an even larger home that looked more upper class to me. It has almost 4,000 sq. ft. plus 1,250 sq. ft of lower level living space with 12 rooms, 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. It was listed at $799,000.
There was another home we got information for much closer to the seacoast that was also in the mid $300,000 range which was much smaller and not as nice as those listed above. We didn't look at other properties because we couldn't find any worth looking at in our price range. The whole area is very expensive. We did, however, spend some time at Eric Knight's house which is (or at least was) for sale. I believe he is asking $275,000 for it in Derry and it is a 3 bedroom on a nice lot. I don't recall the exact square footage but I'd guess somewhere around 1800 or so. My guess is that is a reasonably good deal for that kind of house in that area but it is too small for us. We didn't do any real estate shopping in the Portsmouth and surrounding areas.
Commerce and Restaurants
Some parts of the southeast part of New Hampshire feature the best
shopping and eating in the whole state. A particular standout in
this regard is Salem. Right on the MA border on I-93, it has all
the big chain stores (even a CompUSA) as well as a mall (or I think two)
with more upper class shopping (I think the anchor was a Macy's as I
recall). It reminded me a lot of home as far as the variety of
things available, though the size of the town is far less than the 1/2
million or so in Fresno.
Outside of Salem, the variety of shopping and commerce seems to be about on par with the rest of the smaller towns in the state. A short drive to Salem or Nashua will provide all you would need. Because we didn't spend a lot of time driving around this part of the state, I don't have a whole lot to report here.
I suspect Portsmouth would have most everything a person would need but we only drove through briefly so we didn't get any information about it.
ChurchesWe drove by several churches in Southeast New Hampshire and went in and visited one. We stopped in at Granite State Baptist Church in Salem and took a tour. One of the pastors was kind enough to take some time and show us the facilities and tell us some things about the church. They have a nice and well used (in a good way) facility there which also serves as a school. The main sanctuary seats a couple hundred or so and they have three services. Based on the variety of instruments on stage, I presume they offer a mix or more contemporary style of worship. They have a moms play group that meets several days per week, numerous classrooms (used by the school during the week), a gym, and (of course) some office space. The people we talked to there were extremely nice and helpful. They hadn't heard of the Free State Project, so I took the liberty of filling them in ;)
We also drove by a few churches in the seacoast / east central area. We drove by Dover Baptist church. It looked to be a medium sized church building (by New Hampshire standards) near the downtown area. We also drove by Durham EVFree Church though we didn't see it well because it was getting dark. They have a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and the building looked new and was 'in the country'.
OtherDrive times can be found on the statewide page. We were unable to do much timing of various drives since we did most of this touring on one day and stopped many times. We did make it from Manchester to Derry in, as I recall, 15 or 20 minutes, though we didn't time that accurately.
We drove the entire New Hampshire coastline which didn't take us very long at all. Most of the seacoast area was 'deserted' for the winter. Many buildings were boarded up but it appeared as though the place probably comes alive in the summertime. The drive was pleasant (we stayed in the car) and some of the houses were downright impressive. There were also many houses that needed work and I wondered what the building restrictions were in that part of the state (I suspect substantial).
Overall, I enjoyed the southeast part of the state, probably more than the western part, however, real estate is extremely expensive and, as a result, we didn't focus much effort there. It would be an easy commute from many parts of southeast New Hampshire to the Boston metro area for jobs. The drive times would vary based on where you are and where you're going but generally wouldn't be much more than an hour and a half even in rush hour (assuming good weather). We made it from Nashua to the Logan airport in about 90 minutes on a weekday morning with construction on 3 for most of the way.
Copyright 2003 Varrin Swearingen - to reproduce in any way (in whole or in part), please contact the author at: varrin at varrin dot com.