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Old 01-08-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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Can anyone tell me about the school systems in any of these towns. We currently live in the seacoast about 25 mins. outside of Portsmouth. We love the seacoast but it's a bit pricey. I've found some really nice properties in Farmington, Strafford and Barrington but am curious as to what the schools are like, how far of a drive they are from Portsmouth and if they're close to grocery stores, shopping etc. My Husband loves being out in the woods and I'm a city girl but don't need to be right downtown somewhere but would like to be able to get to a store in 10 mins. or so. Any info. anyone can give on any of these towns would be very helpful.
thanks
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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DD lives in Farmington and she loves it. She purchased a brand new home on Chestnut Hill and has a view to die for... It's a small town with about 5,000 residents, but the community on Chestnut Hill is all new.

Her kids are in the elementary school system and the classes are small with a lot of individual attention per student. They have their own high school of roughly 300+ students and it DOES have a football team. Middleton students also attend Farmington schools.

She is 5 minutes from the supermarkets of Rochester and 30 minutes from Portsmouth via the Spaulding Turnpike.

Lots of shopping in Rochester - K-Mart, Kohl's, Lowe's, Home Depot and a variety of other stores plus 3 or 4 supermarkets.

I don't know about the other two towns, but based on her opinion, I can recommend Farmington!
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:12 PM
 
Location: So Cal
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I have a friend that just bought a new home in Barrington and seems to like the area a lot. Not sure what school his son attends though.
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Barrington, NH!
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Go to greatschools.net and enter each town into the search tool. You'll see all the schools in each town and their ratings. Their ratings are based on test scores - I know there's more to a school than just test scores, but it gives a decent indication of the overall quality of the school. I grew up on the seacoast (Kittery, ME) and after I retire from the AF, I will be relocating to within 45 minutes of Portsmouth.

I have a brother in law that lives in Barrington and loves the schools there. Their kids are in junior high now. Barrington schools are pretty well rated from what I remember on greatschools.net. For high schools, I believe Barrington has a choice between Dover High (rated 6) or Oyster River High (rated 10) in Durham. It's good to have choices. Barrington is high on my list, as my son will be 8 when we relocate.

I don't know much about Strafford, other than it's more rural and less convenient of a commute to the seacoast. They have a K-8 thats rated well, and they send their students to Coe-Brown Academy in Northwood, which I've heard is an outstanding school (rated 10 on greatschools). I'd consider Strafford for my retirement. Even though it's a little further out than I'd like to be, the land is a little cheaper and the schools seem great.

Farmington? I know buck naked recommended it, but I looked into Farmington as a retirement location and have decided against it. Their schools aren't rated very well (yes, I know there's more to it than test scores), and their high school is rated a 1 out of 10. I knew kids who went there when I was in high school, and back then (late 80s) it was known as a rough place. Farmington (and Milton and Rochester, for that matter) did not have good reputations as good towns to raise your kids in. I haven't lived in the area for about 10 years, but I don't think these towns (with the exception of Rochester, maybe) are on the upswing. Maybe my perceptions of these towns are clouding my judgement, but as a local growing up nearby, those towns were not considered great places. I'd do a lot more research before committing your kids to the Farmington school district. I tend to weight the high schools more heavily in my evaluation, and I'm leery of Farmington HS. Disclaimer - I haven't been to Farmington in a while, so I may be basing my opinion on old info, but the ratings on greatschools.net match my (dated) experience with the town.

I'm considering Rochester as a retirement location even though their high school is also rated a 1 out of 10 (matches my experience with Rochester from the past). Their elementary and middle schools are rated OK. My reasoning for considering it even though it's HS is not rated well - I'm willing to bet that by the time my son gets to high school, Spaulding HS will be at the level that Dover HS is now. When I was growing up, Portsmouth was the place to be. Dover was a crappy mill town with a bad reputation. Portsmouth got too expensive, so people started moving to Dover. Dover got better, and Rochester became the crappy mill town with a bad reputation. As Dover is getting more expensive, I see people moving to Rochester to purchase more affordable housing and still be within commuting distance of Portsmouth (seems to be some nice subdivisions sprouting up in Rochester). I believe this migration will improve Rochester overall, especially it's schools. Just my opinion, but I've seen how those three towns have grown over the last 25 years or so. I'd hedge my bets on Rochester to become the next Dover, just like Dover became the next Portsmouth 15 years ago. I'd definitely move to Dover in a heartbeat if I could find some good land to build on. Farmington and Milton? I think it will take a lot longer for those areas to improve. I'd consider moving there if I didn't have kids in school. I just don't think it's a good bet for me at this point.

Hope this helps - I'd like to hear what other people think, as I'll be ready to pull the trigger on a land purchase this fall with market conditions as they are. I want to have it payed off by the time I retire in 5.5 years and start building my house. Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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check out the multiple new subdivisions in Farmington and Milton - you may be surprised at how much those towns have changed in recent years. Take a ride up Governors Road. It's all beautiful homes now where there were only two farms once upon a time. There's a new road also off of Governors Road with even bigger new homes on 2+ acre lots. Very nice.

There has been an influx of professionals and artists to the area and it's great that Rochester is so close for shopping. Farmington has nothing for stores.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:26 AM
 
Location: "FV" (most can't pronounce it)
1,187 posts, read 2,254,451 times
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I agree with Steve on most points...except Milton LOL.

To rank on my order of preference (and this is based on over 35 years of living in and around these towns)...

1. Barrington! Move there in a second (behind Dover 1st)
2. Strafford
3. Farmington - for all the reasons Steve stated.

Somersworth and Rochester aren't all bad, just some bad spots.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:12 AM
 
Location: NH. NY. SC. next move, my ground condo
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hey stay away from famington unless you are way up by bluejobe mt.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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DD is on a little finger of Farmington that sticks out between Milton and Rochester. Beautiful place and she likes the town.


I've heard there is a criminal element with the entire area, especially Rochester, but she hasn't had any problems to date. Knock on wood.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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I live in Rochester..grew up in the area. Farmington isn't talked about highly...the small town looks kind of rough and so the story goes for all these years. Anyplace away from town is nice, but normally when you tell someone you live in Farmington it seems they look down upon you....due to the towns bad rep all these years. Barrington is nice, more spread out. Shoppping isn't far from any of these towns. Rochester isn't bad...I don't recommend the middle school or high school (pretty rough). The first day my children went there, the high school, someone was stabbed. The school system is aweful. They say they're trying to change it but I don't think they care enough about the kids to do so. Dover is nice....
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:17 AM
 
Location: NH. NY. SC. next move, my ground condo
3,541 posts, read 9,081,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by styxx7 View Post
I live in Rochester..grew up in the area. Farmington isn't talked about highly...the small town looks kind of rough and so the story goes for all these years. Anyplace away from town is nice, but normally when you tell someone you live in Farmington it seems they look down upon you....due to the towns bad rep all these years. Barrington is nice, more spread out. Shoppping isn't far from any of these towns. Rochester isn't bad...I don't recommend the middle school or high school (pretty rough). The first day my children went there, the high school, someone was stabbed. The school system is aweful. They say they're trying to change it but I don't think they care enough about the kids to do so. Dover is nice....

do you still live in rochester ? i just moved from there 8 years ago.
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