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5 Great Towns In Rockingham County

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Rockingham County in southeast New Hampshire has 300,000 people in 800 square miles, of which 99 square miles is water. The area is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, forming the state's only seacoast, and Massachusetts to the south. One of the five original counties settled by the English colonists of Plymouth Colony, residents are primarily of European or French Canadian ancestry. Out of 36 towns, find out which are the five greatest towns in Rockingham County based on a combination of crime rate, income, education level, interesting places and activities.

1. Windham

A bedroom community for those who work out of town, Windham has 13,600 residents. Known for the Searles Castle (1915), this structure was designed after a castle in England. Its over 20 rooms are currently rented out for special events. The Searles school, town center and Armstrong Memorial Building round out the historic landmarks. Lacking public transportation, there are large open spaces and rural lands amid the developed subdivisions. Windham's many parks, a beach on Corbetts Pond, boat launch, golf courses, tennis courts, youth programs, snowmobile transits, and bicycle/walking trails provide outdoor fun.

2. Stratham

Stratham, with a population of 7,200, is located in the northeast portion of the county. Bound by the Squamscott River to the west, this small town has both the Timberland Corporation and a Lindt and Sprungli factory. There is a town faire each year, parks and a very low crime rate. The town is within 60 miles of three cities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

3. Hampton

Hampton's 15,000 residents and many tourists enjoy Hampton Beach on the Atlantic coast. Summer fun in the sun and sand include restaurants, shops, seasonal home rentals and bountiful beaches. Within 60 miles of Boston, Massachusetts, the town has a beach state park, Tuck Museum where historical structures, monuments and artifacts are displayed and a rare 1723 first colonial period home (James House).

4. Kingston

Kingston's 6,000 people enjoy small-town living, many historic structures, Kingston Summer Festival (held the first weekend in August) and parks. Country Pond offers boating and beaches. Of special interest is the Josiah Bartlett House, which was home to the second signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The town also has the Nichols Memorial Research Library, unique to a town of its size.

5. Derry

Although given an Irish name, Derry was originally settled by Scottish immigrants. Spacetown, as it is known, is the birthplace of the first U.S. space astronaut, Alan Shepard. Derry is a town that has over 34,000 people with an inland location. It also claims to be where the first potato was planted in the U.S. Now a high school, Pinkerton Academy (1814) is the oldest-running private school still in existence in the U.S. and is where poet Robert Frost taught in the early 1900s. His home is a state park where cultural events, poetry readings and tours are given. Derry boasts an opera house for fine and performing arts, a children's museum, state parks and a recreation trail.

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