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Author Topic: What towns do you recommend?  (Read 6021 times)

beechrose

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What towns do you recommend?
« on: June 14, 2008, 01:25:13 pm »

Hello all, I am new here.  I live in Florida at the moment, with a 10-year-old son with special needs whom I homeschool. I am a single parent and work out of my home as a freelance web developer so I can, essentially, live anywhere.  The little guy's dad is in Boston and we have decided that we should move back up north so he could be closer to his dad (we are friends on good terms etc).  I do not want to live in Massachusetts for many reasons - expense, politics, and their ridiculous over-the-top homeschooling laws, and I vehemently support the FSP, so we have agreed for me to move to NH. NH is not as good as FL on the homeschooling front, but superior in almost every other respect.

Because my business is completely virtual, I can live anywhere; my ex has agreed to help me look for a decent place to rent or buy anywhere in NH that I want. I lived in Boston for 11 years but I'm just not that familiar with the area. I intend to move in May or June of 2009 to give me time to save up at least 2 months' worth of expenses.

My requirements:

Must have widespread high speed internet infrastructure (ie no place that isn't wired for broadband yet)
Should have a visible sizable homeschooling community
Should be accessible to some family-friendly events and locations like museums and parks, maybe a YMCA and sports, so my kid does not die of boredom :D
Needs to be easily accessible to Boston - I have a car that I will be towing up there but the ex does not, and plans to visit often
Needs to be relatively near an airport - my FL-loving parents will be flying up at least twice per year

Prefer:
A place with a decent arts community, i.e., museums, theater, live music, etc
A bike-friendly place with lots of things within walking distance
Some modicum of public transportation - again, i have a car but the ex doesn't
A good library system
Somewhere with a lot of small businesses (the niche market I work with)
A lot of religious diversity (we are Christian and would like to find a church home)

Thoughts/ suggestions?  I very much look forward to moving there and meeting lots of politically active fellow libertarians! They are, as you can imagine, few and far between here in south FL. :) Now I just have to figure out where in NH we will be moving to. Right now we are looking at Nashua and Manchester but I'm open to researching other locations as well. Thanks in advance for any advice!
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MaineShark

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2008, 12:26:32 pm »

Not sure about meeting every one of your preferences, but it sounds like you should look at the Seacoast area.

Joe
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margomaps

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2008, 02:57:37 pm »

Not sure about meeting every one of your preferences, but it sounds like you should look at the Seacoast area.

I agree.  Reading through the requirements, the Seacoast meets them (not so much re: museums, but various outdoor activities abound here).  And the Seacoast does pretty good on the preferences as well.  If I had to guess, I'd think you'd be most happy in or around Portsmouth.  Portsmouth has a lot of good amenities, but it's rather pricey compared to other NH towns.  If you can tolerate a more rural lifestyle, you might move west a bit.  As you get maybe 1/2 hour from Portsmouth, taxes and home prices can get substantially lower, and you'll be closer to Manchester (airport + a variety of small-city amenities).
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beechrose

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 12:30:41 pm »

Thank you! I would love to live on the coast somewhere.  Nothing in New Hampshire is pricey compared to Miami, FL, where I currently am, trust me :)  I prefer that it not be TOO rural - my son has special needs, and I'd be all by myself and my car is kind of ancient, so I prefer that it not be too solitary or spread out in case of an emergency.

My two main concerns are that we have an active homeschooling community so that we have people to connect with right away, and that it be accessible to Boston via public transportation/ trains/ busses - my son's Dad lives in Boston and doesn't drive, but intends to visit frequently.

Nashua looks decent in both these regards - I think there is a way to get from the Lowell commuter rail to Nashua via bus or train and has an airport? Or am I mistaken?
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MaineShark

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 12:41:47 pm »

Thank you! I would love to live on the coast somewhere.  Nothing in New Hampshire is pricey compared to Miami, FL, where I currently am, trust me :)  I prefer that it not be TOO rural - my son has special needs, and I'd be all by myself and my car is kind of ancient, so I prefer that it not be too solitary or spread out in case of an emergency.

My two main concerns are that we have an active homeschooling community so that we have people to connect with right away, and that it be accessible to Boston via public transportation/ trains/ busses - my son's Dad lives in Boston and doesn't drive, but intends to visit frequently.

Nashua looks decent in both these regards - I think there is a way to get from the Lowell commuter rail to Nashua via bus or train and has an airport? Or am I mistaken?

Nashua is commutable to Boston, although I don't know the passenger rail situation there.  Portsmouth has Amtrak or bus access to Boston.

Having lived in Nashua, I would not say that it much of a walking city.  Downtown Portsmouth is definitely designed around pedestrians, to a large extent.

I'm not sure about the homeschooling situation in either.  Cities will tend to have less of a homeschooling community than rural areas.  I tend to think that the Seacoast has more homeschooling support than the Merrimack area, but that's just a feeling, from folks I've talked to.

Joe
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Fishercat

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2008, 01:01:08 pm »


Nashua looks decent in both these regards - I think there is a way to get from the Lowell commuter rail to Nashua via bus or train and has an airport? Or am I mistaken?

I don't know about getting to the Lowell commuter rail from Nashua purely via public transportation.   If possible, it could require transferring between the city bus systems of several towns in MA and NH.

However, there is a bus from Nashua into Boston.

http://frontpage.concordtrailways.com/boston_express/boston_express_home_page.htm
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error

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2008, 01:02:09 pm »

There are buses which take commuters from various New Hampshire cities, including Nashua, to Boston.
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anon37268573

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2008, 02:39:04 pm »

Hello all, I am new here.  I live in Florida at the moment, with a 10-year-old son with special needs whom I homeschool. I am a single parent and work out of my home as a freelance web developer so I can, essentially, live anywhere.  The little guy's dad is in Boston and we have decided that we should move back up north so he could be closer to his dad (we are friends on good terms etc).  I do not want to live in Massachusetts for many reasons - expense, politics, and their ridiculous over-the-top homeschooling laws, and I vehemently support the FSP, so we have agreed for me to move to NH. NH is not as good as FL on the homeschooling front, but superior in almost every other respect.

Because my business is completely virtual, I can live anywhere; my ex has agreed to help me look for a decent place to rent or buy anywhere in NH that I want. I lived in Boston for 11 years but I'm just not that familiar with the area. I intend to move in May or June of 2009 to give me time to save up at least 2 months' worth of expenses.

My requirements:

Must have widespread high speed internet infrastructure (ie no place that isn't wired for broadband yet)
Should have a visible sizable homeschooling community
Should be accessible to some family-friendly events and locations like museums and parks, maybe a YMCA and sports, so my kid does not die of boredom :D
Needs to be easily accessible to Boston - I have a car that I will be towing up there but the ex does not, and plans to visit often
Needs to be relatively near an airport - my FL-loving parents will be flying up at least twice per year

Prefer:
A place with a decent arts community, i.e., museums, theater, live music, etc
A bike-friendly place with lots of things within walking distance
Some modicum of public transportation - again, i have a car but the ex doesn't
A good library system
Somewhere with a lot of small businesses (the niche market I work with)
A lot of religious diversity (we are Christian and would like to find a church home)

Thoughts/ suggestions?  I very much look forward to moving there and meeting lots of politically active fellow libertarians! They are, as you can imagine, few and far between here in south FL. :) Now I just have to figure out where in NH we will be moving to. Right now we are looking at Nashua and Manchester but I'm open to researching other locations as well. Thanks in advance for any advice!

It sounds like the Seacoast is best.   There is a lot of activity there.  But, it is still close enough to Boston that you could easily work with all the Mass. companies and enjoy the big metro museums, libraries, theater, and live music.  The area is also served by the "DownEaster"  Amtrack train.  Alternatively, Nashua has a massive number of small businesses.  It is still with in easy commuting distance to Boston, but going by train requires some driving.   Additionally, I think Nashua is just a nice little city and a good place to raise kids.  In Nashua, as far as public transportation, there is a local bus system and a private bus that runs from the NH Welcome Station on RTE 3 to South Station on the Boston Subway RedLine.  It currently costs $5/per person/per trip.  It's subsidized by the city.  So, it might go way up, or just go away all together. Finally, the Salem area may also be good.  I don't think it's as good as the other two.  But, it's a little cheaper to live in and still in easy commuting distance.  There's a lot less small companies and not much in terms of cultural stuff since it, and the small surrounding towns are mostly Boston commuters rather than true locals.   The closest large airport to the Seacoast would be either Portsmouth or Boston/Logan.  Near Nashua and Salem is the Manchester airport.  All three should have cable modem, ADSL, and I think Nashua and Salem have Verizon Fios.

You can find an idea of housing prices for all areas by going to http://nneren.com/ which lets you search the area MLS.  To find an apartment to rent and get an idea of rents, the local newspapers are best.  You can also search http://nh.craigslist.org/  But, be careful.  The police in NH and MA have been arresting people for posting fake apartment ads on craigslist, taking a deposit from a would be renter, and then disappearing.

If you feel ready to start working on stuff up here, already, send me a pm and I may be able to send some stuff your way.  I'd need to see some examples to make sure your work is professional grade and a couple references to make sure it's delivered on time, but I'd go out of my way to work with a fellow free stater.  I own a Linux based  web hosting and internet services business based out of Nashua.  I could send you some design work and I pay commissions on hosting accounts that developers bring to me.  I have very little business at this point, because I'm just getting started (slowly).  But, I think things will pick up for me and finding capable web designers will be my bottle neck.
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J’raxis 270145

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2008, 04:09:33 pm »

Welcome!
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margomaps

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2008, 04:57:36 pm »

Thank you! I would love to live on the coast somewhere.  Nothing in New Hampshire is pricey compared to Miami, FL, where I currently am, trust me :)  I prefer that it not be TOO rural - my son has special needs, and I'd be all by myself and my car is kind of ancient, so I prefer that it not be too solitary or spread out in case of an emergency.

My two main concerns are that we have an active homeschooling community so that we have people to connect with right away, and that it be accessible to Boston via public transportation/ trains/ busses - my son's Dad lives in Boston and doesn't drive, but intends to visit frequently.

Nashua looks decent in both these regards - I think there is a way to get from the Lowell commuter rail to Nashua via bus or train and has an airport? Or am I mistaken?

Just for clarification: "the Seacoast" part of New Hampshire includes many towns which may be 1/2 hour or so from NH's tiny coastline.  According to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seacoast_Region_(New_Hampshire)

Anyway, if you're going to take a trip to NH to scope out the area, I'd focus the triangle formed by Nashua, Seabrook, and Dover.  There are a lot of towns in there, and being the most densely populated part of the state (though far less densely populated than just about any true urban area), you're not going to really see rural areas that are "too" remote.  You will, however, see many rural areas that feel almost like you're out in the country, but you're actually 15 minutes or less from a bunch of small city amenities.  That's one of the reasons the Seacoast appeals to me.
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beechrose

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2008, 08:08:35 pm »

thank you all soooo much for all this information!!! It has been INCREDIBLY helpful.  I have been researching the Dover/ Newmarket/Portsmouth area and that's probably where I'll be concentrating most of my effort. it appears to be brimming with a lively arts community, there are over a dozen homeschooling support groups in the area, it's near an airport, and Amtrak has a train that goes back and forth to Boston's South Station for around $30.  Thank you all so much, and anon, I will PM you straight away, as I have been looking for a reliable web host to refer my clients to!
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margomaps

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2008, 10:28:49 am »

thank you all soooo much for all this information!!! It has been INCREDIBLY helpful.  I have been researching the Dover/ Newmarket/Portsmouth area and that's probably where I'll be concentrating most of my effort. it appears to be brimming with a lively arts community, there are over a dozen homeschooling support groups in the area, it's near an airport, and Amtrak has a train that goes back and forth to Boston's South Station for around $30.  Thank you all so much, and anon, I will PM you straight away, as I have been looking for a reliable web host to refer my clients to!

For your criteria/preferences, those areas are very good choices IMO.  You'll probably find a greater concentration of statists in those towns than in the rural areas, but you're close enough to the important things you want (homeschooling folks, good transportation to/from Boston, some arts, etc.) that I think you'd be happy there.

FYI, some friends living in Newmarket say that the town's tax situation is intractably screwed up.  The town keeps voting to spend obscene amounts of money on all manner of construction projects, schools, etc.  I've heard rumors of people selling their houses in a hurry to get out of there.  But, the same probably happens in any number of towns.  If you visit Newmarket this summer you'll notice that the entire main street area is being ripped up.  There's a big construction effort underway to add sidewalks, street lights, parking, bury the utilities underground, shore up the infrastructure that was damaged in some recent major flooding, etc.  I'm sure main street will be more beautiful and more walkable when it's all done, but apparently at an enormous expense to the taxpayers in the town.  Interestingly, if you walk up and down main street a good percentage of the businesses are selling these "Newer Newmarket" t-shirts that advocate the ongoing renewal of the main street business area.  Big surprise  ::) , as the businesses are arguably the ones who will benefit most from the sidewalks and expanded parking.

Anyway, Newmarket, Dover, and Portsmouth all have great walkable downtown/mainstreet areas (in order of increasing greatness).  If you can get over the self-righteous tax & spend statists in the area, I think you'll like it quite a lot.  I've probably made it sound worse than it is -- it's almost certainly less bad than any major metropolitan area like Miami.  :)
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beechrose

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2008, 11:38:46 am »

No no, that is all good info to know, and you haven't made it sound bad at all!  To be honest, I will almost certainly be renting a place instead of buying - the move itself will be a huge expense for me as it is, and then I'll probably be moving somewhere where I'll be living for a long time - don't want to keep uprooting the kiddo - so it's important I pick the right place. 

It's funny, I keep seeing people say that Portsmouth is "very expensive." While it's true that it seems a lot more expensive than Nashua and that area, it is also true that even on high-end rental sites, the cost of renting a huge 3BR home with a lot of land near a lot of stuff is the equivalent of the average rent here in Miami for a tiny 1BR apartment in a halfway decent area, so maybe it's relative :)
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djlong

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2008, 01:35:05 pm »

Just a few notes.

Portsmouth may be close to Pease AFB, there really isn't any passenger service from there.  The most convenient airport, as far as departures is concerned, would be Manchester's airport.

I don't know how far Verizon got with spreading Fios (fiber-based broadband) through NH before selling to Fairpoint.  I have it at my house in Hudson and my girfriend has it in Nashua but not every neighborhood in Nashua has it.  Fairpoint will hok you up if the line runs in front of your place but they're not stringing new fiber.

There's a lot of rental property available now with the foreclosure crisis.

Also, Amtrak's train, the Downeaster, runs to Boston's NORTH Station, not South Station.  Not the most convenient place depending on what your child's special needs are.  There are connections to everywhere from North Station but Logan Airport isn't easy to get to that way - you'd probably want to take a bus from a city here in NH.  IN the near future, Boston's commuter rail is going to be extended from Lowell MA up to Manchester with stops in Nashua and Bedford (with a shuttle bus to the airport from the rail station)

And I know of a 3BR house with lots of yard for rent off Exit 7 in Nashua - feel free to PM me so that I'm not doing too much commercial stuff (I don't own the house but I know who does).

Personally I like this area for a LOT of reasons.  Manchester's growth has resulted in lots of new options, what with the new arena and new ballpark.  I mean, heck, even names like Elton John are now performing in Manchester when they go on tour.

I moved to this area in 1974 and it's changed a LOT but it beats a lot of the other places.
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ny2nh

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Re: What towns do you recommend?
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2008, 01:48:30 pm »

My knee-jerk reaction was Portsmouth - so it sounds like you are looking in the right area! Manchester has many of the thiongs you are looking for as well - along with two major hospitals, a baseball stadium, semi-pro hockey, and the airport. The seacoast might be easier for travel to/from Boston though.

Good luck in your search!
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