New London NH or Lebanon/West Lebanon NH ?
July 1, 2009 6:50 PM   Subscribe

My spouse works at Dartmouth College in Hanover NH, since April. We are therefore going to be moving from coastal Maine to the Upper Valley and we're having a hard time finding affordable housing that's within walking distance of a decent town, one with at least one good coffee shop, a number of useful stores, public library, banks, pub, and ways to meet other people like bookgroups, classes, informal gatherings. Being near good public transit (to Boston, e.g.) would be nice, too. ...

... My question is, should we try to live close to Hanover, close to New London (which is 35 mins south of Hanover but has a good coffee shop and very cheap and interesting classes through the college there!), or perhaps try another town? We've ruled out Claremont, White River Junction, Wilder, Windsor, Eastman, and the rural areas for various reasons after spending time house-hunting in all of them. We've looked for something near the green in Lebanon but nothing has come on the market that matches what we're seeking and is within 3/4 mile of the green.

There are houses in West Leb (1 mile from D'mouth) and New London that we are currently considering but we can't decide on location. Spouse doesn't mind the NL commute (had similar one in Maine) but I might mind the distance to get to Dartmouth for plays, music, restaurants, etc. Would New London offer enough?

posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
I live in Randolph Vermont, sort of the far edge of the Upper Valley. My family and boyfriend live in MA so I'm down there a lot. If you want an easy public transit path to Boston and you've ruled out White River Junction, Hanover or West Lebanon are really going to be your only decent options. There's a nice bus, Dartmouth Coach, which goes to South Station in Boston as well as Logan Airport. Hanover also has what's arguably the best public library in the state of New Hampshire, or one of them. I can't speak to the New London aspect of your question, but I just wanted to mention this part.
posted by jessamyn at 7:11 PM on July 1, 2009

I went to Dartmouth as an undergrad and lived off campus for a few years both in Hanover and across the river in Vermont.

I would suggest that you choose to live closer to campus (West Lebanon) because that will mean that you can get to campus more often for events, restaurants, etc. I'm not familiar with New London but I'm imagining that the greater Hanover area would provide more people to interact with for the bookgroups, classes, informal gatherings, etc.

Also, you can become a member of the Dartmouth Outing Club and rent cabins if you like that sort of thing.
posted by gen at 7:22 PM on July 1, 2009

Also did you see this?
posted by gen at 7:23 PM on July 1, 2009

My partner and I are moving to the Dartmouth area because of a new job this September, but we are housesitting for someone in her department so we haven't done much research about real estate in the area. We're living in East Thetford, which is several miles up the river near Lyme. But from what I can tell, based on the little time I have already spent there, it sounds like you want to live in West Lebanon, where free public transportation will get you anywhere you need to go if you don't want to drive, including the Amtrak station in White River Junction. As far as I know, this is something you won't find in New London.

Do you and your spouse have access to the Dartmouth faculty housing list? I'm surprised you can't find something near the Lebanon green.

Anyway, hello future neighbor!
posted by billtron at 7:44 PM on July 1, 2009

I know you're coming from Maine, but New London will seem pretty far away in the winter. Hanover/West Leb is your best bet for the requirements you've posted (though I would caution that there aren't great coffee shops anywhere around; it's not really a part of the lifestyle). However, West Leb. itself is without many charms, if you ask me. Are you opposed to living on the Vermont side of the river? You didn't mention Norwich or Woodstock; they seem like they might suit you.
posted by B-squared at 6:32 AM on July 2, 2009

I would contact someone at the real estate office rather than simply going off of the listings. They may have additional information about what's coming on the market.

Norwich is essentially the same place as Hanover. It has a coffee shop, (as jessamyn notes) the Hanover library is great, and there are innumerable events and activities surrounding the college that you are eligible to participate in (often at discounted rates) because your husband is an employee. There is also a free bus (advance transit) that operates in the Upper Valley that makes all of the nearby towns more convenient. And the Co-op/grocery store is fantastic.

I will say, as a note of caution, that it's somewhat difficult to get a sense of the area without actually living here. Real estate doesn't turn over that much, so you might be better-off renting until you find something you love.

(I think your Realtor is overly temperamental about traffic in and out of Woodstock.)
posted by B-squared at 2:17 PM on July 2, 2009

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