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Old 05-03-2006, 07:28 AM
Location: North of Boston
2,939 posts, read 4,919,404 times
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Originally Posted by pixieshmoo
...we'd be interested in the Greater Portsmouth area (Portsmouth, Greenland, Newington, Rye, North Hampton). What opinions can I get about these places? What do these towns/cities look like (clean/dirty, rich/poor, built-up/boondocks)? What about the school systems? Job opportunities? Crime/safety? And so on.....thank you!!
Although I live in MA, I know the Seacoast towns of NH very well. My mother used to live in Portsmouth and I lived across the border in the Newburyport, MA area for 6 years. I'm not sure I would agree with some of the other posters that Maine is a more expensive place to live than NH. For retirees, Maine is probably a better destination.

Regardless of that issue, the towns you have mentioned above are all very nice. Very expensive too. Where in NJ are you coming from? What price range do you have in mind for a house? FYI, Rye is the most expensive town in all of NH. You will be hard pressed to find a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house for under $500K in any of the Portsmouth suburbs. If you can spend $600K or more you can get in to some decent homes in the towns you have mentioned.

Most of the schools in NH are part of regional school districts and some are notably better than others. Generally each town has 1 or more elementary school and then students go to a regional high school.

For example, Greenland, Newington and Rye are part of School Administrative Unit (SAU) 50 but they have different school programs for their youth. Greenland has a K-8 school and students then attend Portsmouth High School. Newington has a K-6 school and then students attend Portsmouth Middle School and High School. Rye has its own K-5 elementary school, 6-8 Junior High School and 9-12 High School.

I guess if I were looking to relocate I would find a job in the region first and let that drive my decisions about which towns I would then choose to live in, taking in to consideration commuting distance, schools, etc.

Feel free to ask more questions!
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:52 PM
Location: Jersey
2,098 posts, read 5,782,313 times
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Default gf2020

Well, I'm from northern NJ (Essex County), so I am not shocked by your description of what expensive is. Unfortunately, that's pretty much how things are here, although the price range can go even a little higher in some areas. However, our property taxes are AT LEAST 2 to 3 times more than what I've seen on properties in NH. Not every home gets a lot of property here either. Depending on what town you're in or what neighborhood, some of those prices get you a house with a walkway to the garage, no yard...nothing. I also live in one of the highest taxed counties, where we are also one of the most expensive on auto insurance in the state (maybe one or two counties are tied or higher than ours). With that, we are also about 2-3 miles outside of the most populated, largest city in NJ (Newark) also one of the most dangerous as far as crime and drugs (Camden is worse, then again Camden has been reported to be the murder capital of the country, fun right?). So I think that although we may have to rent first or buy a smaller/cheaper house, the move may still be worth it considering what I'm leaving. The only thing to miss here is family and friends, everything else that was beautiful isn't anymore. Thanks for the info!!!
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Old 05-05-2006, 08:50 AM
Location: Jersey
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I'm also looking for opinions from people who have school aged children (no matter what grade they're in) or people who are in school or have recently graduated. I'd like to get a first-hand opinion of the schools there. Also, considering it's everywhere nowadays, how concerned do I have to be regarding crime, drugs, gangs, in that area or anywhere in NH? How is job-placement when someone graduates college or what are the statistics of someone graduating and being able to make a life in NH without having to move to a metro area such as NY....I'm also curious about the ocean. Here in NJ, we are in the ocean most of the summer (well, when it's free of jellyfish and contaminated debris), but rumor has it that on Maine's seacoast, you can take a very quick dunk if it's extremely hot, but that's about it. Is NH like that considering it's a stone's throw from Maine, or can the kids actually enjoy going to the beach like they do here?

In reference to what gf2020 has stated about regional schools, is that something that is agreed with or disagreed with? What I mean is, obviously if your area does that, you don't have much choice other than a private school maybe, but it doesn't mean you have to like it. Do the people who have children going to regional schools agree or disagree with that? Do they/you find it better that the children are combined with other towns or worse? I'm asking because here in NJ, we do have that in some places but not everywhere. Out of the places that do require a regional grouping for education, some towns love it and others have a higher crime or drug problem because some "not-so-nice" areas are mixed with better ones.

As for looking for jobs first, can you tell me where to look online (aside from Monster.com)? Are there NH newspapers that we can search online also? What about unions (laborers' union, pipe-fitters' union, etc.) does anyone have info. on those?

Seriously, I will take absolutely any and all info. I can get, so keep it coming!!!!

It's me again!!!

I was also wondering about hospitals there. I doubt I'll have more children after I move there, but I would be interested in knowing how their maternity care is. Also, more of a concern is how are the pediatricians, how are the hospitals rated, which and where are the best ones, are there trauma centers close by, etc.? I don't want to be somewhere where we need a helicopter to get to a good hospital...for any reason.

Also, just based on opinion, which is the better area to live (if one is actually better than the other)...the seacoast region or merrimack/monadnock regions? And why?

Last edited by Marka; 05-05-2006 at 11:53 AM.. Reason: merged
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Old 06-14-2006, 08:50 PM
41 posts, read 109,134 times
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Pixieshmoo, I can almost garauntee that NH will be better for you then NJ. My hubby is from NJ and he moved up here (Im in VT) about 7 years ago. When I go down there to visit family I see the sign for Del Water Gap. Rt 80 I think it is. I can honestly say for me that I love going there because it is different from up here, but I would not want to live there. I wish you all the luck in NH. My mother in law says that she loves it here and would never go back to NJ. For me, I want to get out of here, although I am thinking of not going that far.

aec, can you tell me more about Keene. We do not have children yet but I would say no more then 5 more years and we will. I love going to Maine for vacation, and Keene is not that far from me. The only problem I see would be going over the mountain to visit family, and/or wroking.

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Old 06-26-2006, 01:19 PM
Location: Jersey
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Yes, you are correct, the Delaware Water Gap is route 80. And that is probably one of my biggest reasons for not wanting to leave NJ, I love it there. I grew up going there my whole life, every season, hiking, camping, hunting (well, my dad called it hunting...we walked around all day in orange hats...aka "goop-a-leens"...LOL). That's where I became a tomboy as a kid!!! However, even that isn't the same anymore, I barely even bring my kids there because people have come to ruin the mountains as well as our beaches and city. I think I could live with just visiting though, I could live anywhere I think, but leaving the family is what's hard.

I recently was pregnant with our third child and we lost the baby on father's day...that's probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me (as well as losing my parents...yeah, I've been there and back at 31) but my family has been wonderful and now that puts a damper on my wanting to move...what would I have done if I had lived so far away and didn't have them nearby to give us support, emotionally, physically and mentally, in a situation like that? I'm second guessing moving now and the worst part is I can't imagine having to grow old for the next God-knows-how-many years in this **** state as well as raising my kids and them raising theirs.

However, I think if we were to move in the future, I'd probably go with NH vs. ME. As gung-ho as I was about ME, I've learned that making a life there is much easier if you're retiring as opposed to working, and retirement is pretty far off for us. I get the impression that NH would be an easier transition as well, like it's a little more similar to NJ than Maine would be. So I think I would fear a culture shock a lot less in that case.

Last edited by pixieshmoo; 06-26-2006 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 06-27-2006, 08:21 PM
Location: Nashville, TN
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I don't have kids, but my sister has two in grade school in the Manchester/Concord area. They send them to private school. I don't know if that means the schools are not good or if my sister just has unrealistically high expectations.

As far as real estate, the seacoast area will set you back a few bucks. I'd expect about the same home prices you mentioned in an earlier post. Move inland a bit and you should see the prices come down a little. Keep in mind though, we're in a bubble right now and the bubble is slowing deflating. Prices in two years should be much lower. I know a number of people who sold thier homes for 2-3 times what they paid less than 10 years ago. They are renting for a year or two waiting for the bubble to burst.

Taxes in NH can be high. It depends on the town. In an effort to equalize the school systems in the poorer towns, the state has come up with a system where towns are either donor or recipient. A wealtier town will be a donor town. What that means is that a portion of the taxes you pay go to the state and are distributed to the poorer recipient towns. The problem was that the poorer towns with lower populations needed to charge rediculous money for taxes to pay for schools and such where as the richer, more populated towns could have lower taxes because they have more of a tax base.

Basically, you have to shop around. Here in Sunapee the tax rate just went down to $11.66/thousand. Last year it was over $28/thousand. What they did was re-assess the entire town. There were so many lake homes that were assessed so low that the town was able to lower the tax rate, assess to fair market value and increase tax revenues by a large factor.

I was re-assessed from $112,000 to $199,000, but since the rate went down by more than half, my taxes actually went down. There is a property on the lake that was previously assessed at 1.4 million. They re-assessed him at 34 million. How'd you like to have that tax bill. That's $396,000 per year. He was paying about $34,000 per year before the re-assessment.

Last edited by rossc; 06-27-2006 at 08:23 PM..
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:24 AM
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I'm only 17, so I dont have quite as much experience as many people here do with money and buying houses. However, throughout my life I have moved about 9 times, and I have found that the best place to live for me was New Hampshire. Right now I'm still in high school, and I go to Epping High School. The school, as of right now, needs some improvements, but the elementary and middle schools are great, with a new middle school scheduled to be finished in about a year and a half. Parents are very involved, and the school is very small, about 400 students, which means individual attention for all students. Epping is right next to Stratham, and is in the Seacoast region. My parents bought my house for around $250,000 two years ago, it has seven acres and enough room for in the house for seven people to have their own rooms, and right now the house value as been estimated at $450,000 and we haven't done much work to the house at all. I think you'll find that Epping and the surrounding towns are great for you. 45 min from Boston and the Mountains, 30 min to Manchester, 25min to the beach, and easy access to all commercial centers. The schools are great, and are improving rapidly, and I can say that because I actually have gone to the schools. The town has a population of about 6,000, is safe, with very nice and friendly people. The town is also growing, and is doing so approprietly. So, just so you have some personal oppinions, if you are moving to this area, deffinitely pick NH, and deffinitely pick a town on the Seacoast like Epping. Stratham is a great pick too, its a lovely town, and you get to send your kids to Exeter High school, which is a great school, but also has great teachers and students. Other towns that are great picks too would be Hopkinton, Concord, Bow ( not in the seacoast), or Durham and that area. Good luck though.
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:15 AM
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I'm new to posting, but I thought if you were still interested i could offer some help.

I am from the "greater Portsmouth area" (Greenland) and I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE it. I love travelling and have not found another place quite like it anywhere. Besides the fact that it is very expensive, the portsmouth area has a lot to offer. My friends and I like to call Portsmouth the "biggest little city" because it acts as an urban area while only having a population of not much more than 20,000. Downtown Portsmouth, which is not just for tourists, has wonderful restaurants and shops, parks, and anything else. Outside downtown, whether on route 1 or in Newington are all of the other chain restaurants and stores, many in the Fox Run Mall. There are also plenty of job opporunities in the seacoast, and (to some) we are within commuting distance of Boston.

I attended Greenland Central School (which is now probably twice the size it was when I attended it) and then spent 4 years at Portsmouth High School. I couldn't have asked for a better public education. Ok, maybe a little. But the fact is that you don't feel like you HAVE to send your kids to a private school because of problems at public schools. GCS is great, good sized (400 or 500 maybe?) and so is PHS (1,200.) There are plenty of private schools if that is the route you would like to go, but public schools are also a good option.

Another thing is the location. I live right off of I-95, so it takes me about 45 minutes to get to Boston, 35 minutes to Manchester, 60 to Portland, and about 75 minutes to get to the mountains. It's perfect if you need to travel, there are also two great airports close by in Boston and Manchester, though most would agree that Manchester Airport is much more convenient than Logan.

If you're thinking about moving to the seacoast area, I'd recommend towns like Greenland, Stratham, or North Hampton. You probably want to stay to the south of Portsmouth, because driving into Portsmouth from cities to the north like Dover and Rochester can sometimes be tricky due to the heavy volume on the Spaulding Turnpike. The towns to the north are cheaper, but in my opinion not as nice. Plus, once you get outside of the seacoast area (North of Rochester, west of Exeter) things get a lot more rural. If you're looking for more of a suburban feel WITHOUT being congested, this is the area for you.

I also feel that the people are friendly here. I've been to the south, and being a New Englander, I do understand that people are more friendly down there. However, people are not "cold" here or anything like that, it is a very accepting area with a great arts scene and I haven't seen any sort of discrimination. I feel very lucky to have grown up in an area that has low crime, and is very accepting. It is the perfect area to raise a family, and to spend the rest of your life.

I hope this helped.
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:57 AM
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Default Nh >> Me

I grew up in Concord, NH and went to school in Arizona. My wife and I moved back to NH and we could not be happier!

Last year, Maine was the most heavily taxed state. People complain about the property taxes in NH but compared to State income taxes and local/state/county sales taxes that I was used to in AZ, NH has it much better. (If ME is worse, taxwise, than AZ, I can only imagine the horror.)

I went to Concord High and I have to say (after meeting people in college from around the country) that we have a very good high school. Many of my friends went to Ivy League or Ivy Leagueish schools. All of them went to some form of college or military.

I live in a very small town now, if we decide to have kids, I do not see us sending them to public school here but in the bigger cities, they are much better.

As for crime, I wouldn't worry about it. AZ's crime is horrible and getting worse all of the time. NH, well we are a lot more lax about keeping the house buttoned up. (Of course, having a good sized dog helps =) ) Most parts of Maine that I have been in seem very safe, I don't think you can lose either way with those states. I would steer clear of Manchester, NH, however, never had a good feeling walking around that city.

Job Market
My wife and I found jobs within 6 weeks of moving here. The job market is very good (I'm a programmer and she is a admin assistant). Maine's job market appears to be centered around a few of the larger cities.

As for people treating you like an outsider, well I think that northern New England in general is guilty of that. If you don't have 3+ generations in a town, you will always be an outsider. Alternatively, people are extremely nice and once you warm up to them, they will help you with anything.

I would say that you cannot go wrong with either, but I would personally lean towards NH =)

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Old 07-31-2006, 11:05 AM
Location: Jersey
2,098 posts, read 5,782,313 times
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Thank you all...you have definitely been a big help!! We've put the idea of moving on hold for now (at least for the next two years), but ultimately we still want to leave here. And with all that "wonderful" news each day on tv, the New England states are definitely the least talked about (which is great) so I don't see us suddenly heading south or west. However, all of your states are appealing so that's where the decision making gets tough. I thought about MA and CT because it would be closer to NJ and may not be AS big of a transition or culture shock. Who knows. I think I like the sound of NH better than ME as far as being able to make a life and find work. ME might be a place for us to retire to when the kids are all grown. But the towns/areas all of you mentioned regarding NH are definitely the areas we would be considering. I like being close to a city but not directly in it. And I love the seacoast!!!

Thanks for the help!!
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