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New Hampshire's first settlement was in the Seacost region. Europeans arrived in 1623 at Odiorne Point, now a State Park site in Rye.

By 1640, there were four towns: Hampton, Exeter, Dover and Portsmouth, all located on Seacoast rivers adapted to maritime uses. Today they still thrive as centers for business, recreation and commerce.

Portsmouth, an important working port since colonial days, was once a hotbed of Revolutionary fervor. Today you can see how residents lived through the centuries at Strawbery Banke; take a whale watch or islands cruise; browse through shops as you walk cobblestone streets and Market Square; or catch a wave at Water Country, New England’s largest waterpark.

The harborfront area of Portsmouth is an area best toured on foot. The Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce offers guided tours on weekends in July and August and provides a brochure for self-guided tours year-round. Those who prefer to strike out on their own shouldn’t miss Prescott Park, with its extensive flower gardens and annual summer-long Arts Festival; and Strawbery Banke, a 10-acre historic site across the street from the park that recreates life in the Puddle Dock neighborhood of Portsmouth over its 300-year history. For a look at Portsmouth, the working port, take a walk down Bow Street to Ceres Street. You can see tugs and other boats come in; a fine selection of restaurants and shops is there, too.

Hampton, just a few miles down the coast, is a vibrant beach resort with a full calendar of seasonal events.

Nearby Durham is a bustling university town, with all the sports, special events and cultural opportunities you’d expect at a major university.



  
Seacoast Communities  Seacoast Communities Minimize

Seabrook
Seabrook is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the state of Massachusetts on the south. Bordering towns are: Salisbury, Massachusetts, Hampton Falls, Kensington and South Hampton, New Hampshire. Seabrook has excellent highway access with Routes 1-95, 1-A, Routes 107 and 286.

Barrington
Barrington bears the family name of the English governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Samuel Shute of Barrington Hall, whose brother was Viscount Barrington. It was once the third most populous town in the state. The smelting of iron ore was at the time the area's primary industry.

Dover
A city of some 25,000, Dover's downtown area reflects the city's mill heritage. The Cochecho River graces the banks of the downtown. Members of the community hustle by on shopping or business trips.  Dover is nestled between the mountains and the ocean. The community is close to the University of New Hampshire, Pease International Tradeport and a local airport. The city is a short drive to the Port of New Hampshire, the state's only deep water port, scene to industrial barges escorted by tugs, importing and exporting goods to and from the Granite State. Dover is a quick commute to the metropolitan area of Boston, and less than an hour's drive to Boston's Logan International Airport. In addition, there is easy access to rail and highway transportation routes.

Durham
Durham is a community of about 12,500 permanent residents and another 12,000 students who attend the University of New Hampshire. The town boasts a wealth of natural resources and ecological diversity with spectacular open spaces, beautiful coastal frontage and riverlands, and ample forested areas. The active downtown area is composed of businesses that primarily cater to the student population. Durham has no strip commercial development and its voters have taken measures to  to protect and preserve the town's heritage and resources.  The town is always busy during fall and spring semesters and relatively quiet during the summer months.

Lee
Established in 1765, Lee was one of the last among the 129 towns chartered by Governor Benning Wentworth. Named for General Charles Lee, friend and kin of the Governor, who had fought with George Washington and others during the French and Indian Wars. Lee also fought under Washington during the American Revolution, and in doing so, forfeited estates in England.

Madbury
Madbury is situated on the southeastern section of New Hampshire, comprising about 7,600 acres. It is bounded on its northeast border by the City of Dover; on the southern line by Durham and Lee, and on the west by Barrington. The Barrington line is slightly less than three miles long; and from the corners of this line, the Madbury town lines converge to the southeast until they reach tidewater --a distance of about seven miles to form a wedge shaped triangle, whose base is at Barrington and apex is at a point adjacent to the spot where the Bellamy River enters Little Bay. This location has been variously known as Cedar Point, Tickle Point, and Hill's Neck. The Bellamy River is the only one of any size in Madbury and, until the Bellamy dam was built, Barbadoes Pond was the town's largest body of water. Although it has always been in the center of an industrial area, Madbury itself has always remained rural in character. There was never a village or hamlet in the town. For years lumbering and agriculture were its mainstays. However, quite recently it changed to what is primarily a residential town, and furnishes homes for many whose income is derived from adjacent areas.
 
Somersworth
Somersworth began as a parish of Dover, named Sligo after the Irish county which was home to an early colonial governor. Later, it was called Summersworth, which was contracted to Somersworth when it was incorporated in 1754. It was incorporated as a city in 1893. Situated on the Salmon River, Somersworth has been home to many gristmills, sawmills, and cotton and woolen making establishments.

Rochester
Rochester, known as the Lilac City, is located in southeastern New Hampshire. With a population of almost 31,000, Rochester is the largest city in the seacoast region and fourth largest city in New Hampshire. Encompassing 48 square miles of rolling hills and rivers, Rochester is conveniently located only a short distance from New Hampshire's famous Lakes Region, the White Mountains with its ski resorts and the Seacoast with its superb beaches. Whether covered with its famous lilacs in the spring, flowers blooming in the summer, spectacular autumn foliage or fresh-fallen snow, the Rochester area is a scenic delight.  One of Rochester's many attributes is its excellent air, highway, rail and water transportation connections. Major highways include routes 11, 108, 125, 202 and the Spaulding Turnpike (Route 16), a four lane, limited access highway with six exits to the City. This expressway provides easy access to Interstate 95, the Pease International Tradeport, Boston's Logan Airport, Manchester International Airport, the Portland International Jetport and the Port of Portsmouth. The New Hampshire Northcoast rail line and Skyhaven Airport also serve Rochester.

East Kingston
Once a part of Kingston, this area was called Kingston East Parish. It was granted a separate charter in 1738 after some residents petitioned Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusetts that its location was too distant from the Kingston school and place of worship.

Epping
Granted in 1741, Epping was the last town chartered by Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher prior to the establishment of New Hampshire as an independent province. It was at one time a part of Exeter, and was named for Epping Forest, a suburb of London.

Fremont
Once a part of Exeter known as Poplin, after an English mill town. The town was renamed Fremont in 1854, after General John C. Fremont, who was the first candidate of the Republican Party in the presidential election of 1856. Benton, in Grafton County, bears the name of Fremont's father-in-law, Senator Thomas Hart Benton.

Greenland
Visions of a quiet, picturesque New England town come to life in Greenland, New Hampshire. Bordering the waters of the serene Great Bay, this residential community is located just beyond the Portsmouth city limits. Greenland's 13.4 square miles are dotted with many 18th century homes and colonial farm houses including an inn and tavern, visited frequently by George Washington in his travels up and down the coast. Greenland is convenient to both Portsmouth and Exeter.

Hampton
During the summer months Hampton Beach is alive with events and activities with over 80 free evening concerts, weekly fireworks displays and the ever popular Hampton Beach Casino. Some of the more notable events are the Masters of Sand Sculpting competition, the Miss Hampton Beach competition, the  Hampton Beach Idol competition and the annual Seafood Festival held towards the end of the summer season. For families, check out the Hampton Beach Children's Festival held in mid August.

Hampton Falls
Hampton Falls is primarily a residential community that clings proudly to its rural roots. Route 1 provides a small business community which includes Dodge's Agway, a country store, furniture stores, a Shopper's Village, restaurants and numerous antique shops. Applecrest Orchard is located on Route 88. Applecrest is one of the oldest working apple orchards in the country; as well as one of the town's largest employers and taxpayers. Horse farms are also abundant and operating in Hampton Falls. The building inspector's office still receives requests for permits to build barns. Many residents commute out of town to work. Boston is 45 miles away and Route 95 is easily accessible from town. Portsmouth is 15 miles away. Commuting residents can escape to a small rural town after an easy commute to the cities.

Kensington
Kensington, a small rural community of approximately 1800 people, is situated in southeastern Rockingham County, about 8 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Kensington remains a community of farms, woodlands & pastures, and wetlands; and the roads have names like Stumpfield, Wild Pasture, Drinkwater, Hemlock, Juniper, and Muddy Pond. Approximately 12 square miles in size, Kensington has four state owned roads running through it: Routes 84, 107, 108, and 150. The downtown, though small, serves the needs of the community well: a Town Hall, an elementary school (grades K-5), a library, two churches, Fire Department, Police Department, and a cemetery. Two restaurants, a convenience store, and James R. Rosencrantz form the commercial base of Kensington, with Exeter & Hampton Electric the primary industry in the town.

Kingston
Kingston was the fifth town to be established in New Hampshire, made possible by peace treaties with the Indians following King William's War. The settlement, known as King's Town, was probably named by residents originally from Kingston, Massachusetts. Kingston was once home to Dr. Josiah Bartlett, president of the state from 1790 to 1794, delegate to the Continental Congress, first signer of the Declaration of Independence, and founder of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

New Castle
The largest of several islands at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, this town was originally known as Great Island. New Castle is unique in the state, being the only town made up entirely of islands, connected to the mainland by bridges. The smallest town in New Hampshire, which covers .8 square miles, or 512 acres. The town is composed of one large island and several smaller islands, and serves as a scenic residential and recreational community. New Castle is home to the Historic Wentworth By-The-Sea Hotel. The town is served by nine (9) full-time and two (2) part-time employees, aided by volunteer boards and fire department personnel. New Castle houses a U.S. Coast Guard Station at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, Fort Constitution and Fort Stark which are Historic Sites under the direction of the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development. Also in the SW part of town, are the state owned Leach's and Clampit Islands. These five properties combine for a total of 65 acres.

Newfields
Located along the west bank of the Squamscott River, Newfields is bordered by Newmarket to the north, Exeter to the south, Stratham to the east, and Epping to the west. Newfields is accessible principally via Route 85, which runs northeast between Routes 101 and 108, and via route 87 which runs east from Route 125. The town is 31 miles from Manchester, 12 miles from Portsmouth, and 11 miles from Hampton. The village of Newfields includes a historic country store, a town hall, a public library, two churches and a post office, all within close proximity along Main Street. The elementary school and fire department are nearby on Piscassic Road, on the east side of the village. The center of Newfields remains a tightly clustered village composed of a mix of antique colonial and federal homes on the side of a hill overlooking the waterfront where the town landing, shipyard, and various workshops and mercantile businesses once thrived. With the increase in population and economic vitality in the seacoast, NH region, Newfieldswith its country charm and attractive natural landscape, has become a popular bedroom community. While significant land development and construction of new homes in the last decade has brought many new residents to the town, along with a corresponding expansion of services and facilities, Newfields retains its proud historic character in large part because all of its residents, both old and new, appreciate and respect its heritage.

Newington
Newington is situated in New Hampshire's Seacoast Region, sixty miles northeast of Boston, and sixty miles southwest of Portland. The town is bordered on three sides by the Piscataqua River and the Great Bay Estuary. The first European settlers arrived in the 1620's. Newington's residential district features many historic homes, open fields, and sweeping vistas of Little Bay and Great Bay. Despite the town's comparatively small land area, Newington has more publicly owned conservation land than any other municipality in southeast New Hampshire. Protected tracts include the 120 acre Fox Point which juts far into Little Bay, and the spectacular 1,100 acre Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge which accounts for six miles of shoreline along the Great Bay Estuary.

Newmarket
As a small but vital community of about 7,000 located in the seacoast of New Hampshire, the town of Newmarket continues to retain its character as a scenic mill town along the banks of the Lamprey River and Great Bay. Newmarket's historical past as a New England river town saw the growth and changing of it's mills from early sawmills to a thriving textile industry which has in turn given way to new venture high tech companies and dozens of smaller businesses. The Lamprey River, winding through the town, plays a special yet changing role in the town's life. Formerly serving as a major water transportation link connecting the inland regions with Portsmouth harbor and the Atlantic ocean, the Lamprey is now appreciated as a significant recreational asset to the region with its opportunities for fishing, boating and access to the larger Great Bay tidal basin area.

Newton
The sixth town to be granted from the Masonian land purchase of 1746, Newton was originally part of South Hampton. A number of the residents felt they were too far away from its church for their convenience, and the town was incorporated as Newtown in 1749 simply because it was a new town. In 1846, the New Hampshire legislature voted to contract the name to Newton.

North Hampton
First settled in 1639, this town was a part of Hampton known as North Hill or North Parish. Residents began petitioning for separation from Hampton as early as 1719, but township was not granted until 1742, following separation of New Hampshire from Massachusetts. North Hampton was the birthplace of General Henry Dearborn, commander-in-chief of the American forces in the War of 1812, for whom Fort Dearborn (Chicago) and Dearborn, Michigan, were named.

Northwood
First settled in 1763, Northwood separated from Nottingham and was incorporated in 1773. The town was also known as North Woods and Northwood Narrows, a name still used. At one time, there were some 12 sawmills in the town, five of which were replaced by shoe factories. More recently, the town has been a popular vacation spot, being home to ten lakes, including Bow, Pleasant, and Harvey Lakes.

Nottingham
Nottingham was named in honor of Daniel Finch, second Earl of Nottingham. The Earl was a close friend of Samuel Shute and Joseph Dudley, Governors of Massachusetts when New Hampshire was under that province's jurisdiction. Among the grantees was Peregrine White, descendant of Peregrine White of the Mayflower, the first child of English parentage born in New England.

Plaistow
Once part of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Plaistow was named in 1749 when it was set aside to be an English plaistowe, meaning an open space or greenwood, near the center of a village where the maypole stood and where sports at holiday times were carried on. Other places in and around the town were named Timburlain, Policy Pond, Spicket Meadow, and Amesbury Peak.

Portsmouth
First settled in 1630 as Piscataqua, the settlement was soon named Strawberry Banke. The name Portsmouth was adopted in 1653 to honor the colony s founder, John Mason, Captain of the Port in Portsmouth, England. Portsmouth became the New Hampshire province s capitol in 1679. It was home to many famous colonials, such as William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence; Governor John Langdon, first US Senate president; and John Paul Jones, naval hero. Portsmouth was incorporated as a city in 1849. The original Strawberry Banke settlement has been preserved as an example of a colonial American town.

Raymond
This town was first settled by families from Exeter as a parish of Chester, known as Freetown, because it was exempt from the usual obligation of reserving its tall pine trees for masts in the royal English Navy. In 1764, the town was named Raymond for Captain William Raymond, who had raised a company of soldiers to fight in the war against Canada. Land in Raymond was granted to soldiers from Beverly, Massachusetts, and it was also known as Beverly-Canada.

Rye
The first settlement in New Hampshire, established by David Thompson in 1623 at Odiorne's Point, and named Pannaway. Originally part of Portsmouth, it was incorporated as a parish of New Castle in 1726. The town is named for the borough of Rye, a flourishing English Channel town. Rye's eight-mile length of coastline is dotted with old names such as Wallis Sands, Jenness Beach, Locke's Neck, Ragged Neck, Rye Harbor, and Odiorne Point. In 1876, four of the Isles of Shoals were annexed to the town, the only New Hampshire town with Atlantic islands. The remaining five islands belong to Maine.

Sandown
Once part of Kingston, Sandown was incorporated as a separate town in 1756. It was named for picturesque Sandown on the Isle of Wight. The first minister of Sandown, Reverend Joseph Cotton, built the Sandown Church in 1773. The church had an eleven-foot high pulpit and marble columns supporting the gallery, and is still an excellent example of early New England church architecture.

Seabrook
Seabrook was first settled in 1638 when it was part of Hampton. It was incorporated as a separate town in 1768, and named Seabrook after the Seabrook River. The boundary between Hampton and Seabrook was subject to periodic dispute for nearly two centuries, and was finally settled by court decision in 1953. Seabrook is now home to the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, itself source of much dispute and controversy.

South Hampton
One of the first towns granted by Governor Benning Wentworth, South Hampton was chartered in 1742 from parts of Amesbury and Salisbury, Massachusetts. Over the years, the town lost territory to Hampton Falls, Seabrook, and Newton, but gained territory from East Kingston. At one time, the town was home to over twelve different religious sects.

Stratham
Settled in 1631, this area, called Winnicutt by the Indians, was known as Squamscott Patent or Point of Rocks because of its location between the Great Bay and the Squamscott River. The sixth town to be incorporated in New Hampshire, the town was named for a friend of Governor Samuel Shute of Massachusetts, Wriothesley Russell, Baron Howland of Streatham.

Brentwood
Originally known as Brentwood Parish, a parish of Exeter. This and several other towns were separated from their parent communities due to overpopulation. The name was taken from Brentwood, England, a suburb of London containing the king's forest, the burning of which gave it the name Burnt Wood.

  
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