What's the most high-felutant town or city in New Hampshire?
April 15, 2010 4:22 PM   Subscribe

What's the most high-felutant town or city in New Hampshire? I need to find a affluent area in NH which is wealthy, family orientated, lively and culturally rich...where a life-long New Yorker would find absolutely blissful for he, his wife and toddler.

New York City has served us well and growing up in Manhattan was truly fun and amazing. My wife and I are in our mid-thirties and we have a 2 year old boy and other on the way. We don't care for the hustle and bustle which we once enjoyed about NYC. Moving to New Hampshire would give us that picturesque and tranquil life which I think would be a welcomed change...cleaner living so to speak.

However, we don't want to be in the boondocks, devoid of culture and excitement. We still would desire a place which is adequately posh, modern, with a nightlife worth mentioning and where we would gel with other like minded professionals who are relatively well off. Are there places in NH which would be similar to say Greenwich, CT or the Hamptons on Long Island. I've only done a cursory bit of research...but I really don't know where to look and need help. Rye, NH did come up during my search but I could really use some advice. Thanks.
posted by lorebella to Society & Culture (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rye is the only place really on the water, if I recall correctly, and there are lots of snazzy homes there. The vibe isn't "Hamptons" though, more understated and authentic. I think a lot of other people with your mindset have moved there for exactly the reasons you list. And Boston isn't that far away so if you are going nuts you can always trek down there.
posted by teedee2000 at 4:36 PM on April 15, 2010

You'd probably do best to stay within the Boston metro area of NH, although I can't advise on anything specific. The awesome thing about most of the state, in my opinion, is that it's wonderfully NOT like Greenwich or the Hamptons.
posted by smalls at 4:37 PM on April 15, 2010

Newcastle. Very close to fine dining and semi-culture in Portsmouth, surrounded by water, an hour to Boston, and ultra-quaint. Nobody low falutin' can even afford to pass through.
posted by quarterframer at 4:41 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

A friend's New York banker parents retired to New Hampshire, and he (New York banker himself) bought a house in the state. I will ask for his insight next time I see him.
posted by grobstein at 4:49 PM on April 15, 2010

Response by poster: *Smalls* Allow me to rephrase what I meant when looking for a place similar to Greenwich and the Hamptons. It's the well-kept nature of those towns and its homes along with its strong infrastructure which I was referring to that we're looking for...minus the stuffiness and private country club types.
posted by lorebella at 4:50 PM on April 15, 2010


Kids these days…
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:51 PM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Portsmouth is lively and culturally rich, with a mix of wealthy and hippies, and of course, wealthy hippies. I think the communities surrounding Portsmouth are wealthier, but they have less of a "stuff happening down the street" vibe.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 4:53 PM on April 15, 2010


Portsmouth, NH has some hiiiigh falootin' sections.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:58 PM on April 15, 2010

I assume you're choosing New Hampshire either for the ocean proximity, tax reasons or maybe family reasons, but you might want to peek as some enclaves in Vermont such as Woodstock, Charlotte or Bennington or the areas around those places. More New Yorkers in the area so you might find things that are more familiar.
posted by jessamyn at 4:58 PM on April 15, 2010

High falutin'

I am a born/bred New Englander (Litchfield, CT). One thing to realize about the region, especially northern N.E. (N.H., Vermont and Maine) is the adage: "In New York they wear their money. In L.A. they drive their money. In New England they hide their money."

That being said, I suggest that you consider the North Shore of Boston (the "Gold Coast"): Marblehead (where I once lived and commuted daily to Boston), Manchester-by-the-Sea, etc.
posted by ericb at 5:01 PM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Rye, Portsmouth, or Hampton Falls.
posted by kmavap at 5:12 PM on April 15, 2010

For cultural aspects, etc. you might want to consider Hanover NH -- home of Dartmouth College and #2 ofn Money magazine's 'Best Places to Live: Top 100 (2007)' list.
posted by ericb at 5:14 PM on April 15, 2010

ericb, thank you for the saying about New Englanders... I think that is kind of what's breaking my brain about the question. There's really nowhere in New Hampshire that strikes me as posh and modern. It's almost an oxymoron, at least in my experience.

However, I would agree with what others wrote about Portsmouth - it has the best restaurant scene in the state.
posted by smalls at 5:23 PM on April 15, 2010

New Hampshire does seem like a strange choice for what you say your criteria are. Assuming that it has to be NH for some reason, I think Hanover is not a bad idea at all, especially if you want a place that will see your kids through grade school and high school without them being bored out of their gourds. It's also not too far from Woodstock, Vermont which was another good suggestion.
posted by BibiRose at 5:40 PM on April 15, 2010

Hanover doesn't have much in the way of nightlife unless you like frat parties. There are plays and concerts and evening talks galore, and the D-plan means sophomores are on campus their sophomore summed ("Camp Dartmouth"), so the campus doesn't shut down. But nightclubs and cocktail bars, not so much.
posted by rtha at 5:57 PM on April 15, 2010

Portsmouth or Hanover.
Either one works, but I think you may prefer Portsmouth. Hanover is probably wealthier and has a very quaint, ivy league type feel to it. It has the cultural amenities that an ivy league college brings. It's very close to mountains and lakes (Mt. and Lake Sunapee, for example). The problem with Hanover is that once you leave town the nearest big city excitement is Boston (2.5 hours) or Montreal (3 hours or so).
Portsmouth is also very wealthy, but the poor do exist there. The benefits there are proximity to the ocean, substantially more night life, and proximity to Boston (45 minutes to an hour). Portsmouth is quaint, but is less ironsided New England.

You may find epodunk.com useful as you explore the possibilities.

All this information is guaranteed accurate unless you're a Yankees fan. If that's the case, I think you'd like Berlin, NH. ; )
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 6:06 PM on April 15, 2010

Came in to nth Portsmouth.

I also love the Hanover area and would live there in a minute, but I grew up in the woods, so what Quizicalcoatl mentions about being aways from a big city isn't a big deal for me.

Stay away from the Nashua/Salem area. Though they are nice in their own way, they are mostly bedroom communities for folks who work in Boston.
posted by chiefthe at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2010

I grew up in New York City and then lived in NH for 10 years and I'm nthing the Portsmouth area. Portsmouth is a small city, but in many ways it is head and shoulders above any other NH city. The quality of life in the area also makes it a good place to raise children. If you need additional culture you are also not too far away from Portland, Newburyport, Boston, etc.
posted by fx3000 at 9:01 PM on April 15, 2010

Portsmouth is like someone took all the quaint, old buildings in Boston, then added a bunch more, turned them into boutique stores, coffee shops and restaurants, and placed them at the entrance to Maine. It's walkable like Boston, it's possibly one of the most picturesque cities in this country. And I have been everywhere.

The one thing it's lacking is cultural diversity. But I think Joe comes back for the summer, so things should be getting spicy soon!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:45 AM on April 16, 2010

Why not Maine? Kennebunk sounds like it would suit you.
posted by miss tea at 5:03 AM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you for all the great advice and for sharing your experiences with us. We have decided to visit Portsmouth next weekend. We just finished reading a great deal about the area online and viewed many beautiful photos of the town and harbor. We were thinking of staying at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside. It is close to the enough to Market Square? Thanks again.
posted by lorebella at 10:09 AM on April 16, 2010

However, we don't want to be in the boondocks, devoid of culture and excitement.

Spent ages 10 - 18 in NH. I can pretty comfortably say you're probably not going to find what you're looking for there. /new hampshirist
posted by SassHat at 11:42 AM on April 16, 2010

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