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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Exeter, New Hampshire

New England is full of old, picturesque towns, and Exeter, New Hampshire (population 15,000) is one of them. Along the Exeter River an hour north of Boston, it was first settled in 1638 as one of New Hampshire's original four townships and as a shipbuilding center. Today it is home to the prestigious, private Phillips Exeter Academy (PEA), established in 1781.

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Exeter is a quiet place, rich in Colonial history, Yankee practicality and understated prep school ambiance. Forty-two percent of locals are age 45 or better, and politics lean to the left. Crime is practically non-existent. Forty-six percent of residents hold at least a four year college degree. Racial diversity has not yet arrived.

The median home price is $450,000, which reflects a 19% increase over a year ago. Housing includes bungalows, Cape Cods, saltboxes, ranch ramblers and others, many in leafy neighborhoods with white picket fences. Sterling Price is a small 55+ condominium community.

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The Park and Recreation Department stages a summer concert series, and the American Independence Festival celebrates Exeter's place in the country's early history. A farmers' market runs throughout the summer, and the annual Andover-Exeter football game brings alumni and others to town each fall.

Exeter has also attracted aliens. In September of 1965, in what has become known as the Exeter Incident, two police officers and a local teenager witnessed a large, red glowing object hovering in the nearby woods. The incident remains unexplained by the U.S. Air Force to this day and is celebrated with the annual UFO Festival each September.

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The walkable downtown is small, historic and cute with higher-end shops, bookstores and a few restaurants. Several downtown structures, including one where an original, unsigned copy of the Declaration of Independence (known as a Dunlap broadside) was discovered in 1985, now comprise the American Independence Museum. The Museum showcases the lives of one of Exeter's most influential early families, the Gilman Family, and presents tours and exhibits.

The Exeter Public Library presents a summer music series, book discussion groups and a quilters' club. The city also has a strict and extensive recycling program.

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The Exeter Senior Center is managed by the Parks and Rec Department and offers a variety of services, including computers with Internet access, exercise classes, scheduled shopping trips, Meals on Wheels and trips to Martha's Vineyard, New York City and Boston to watch major league's baseball Red Sox play.

COAST provides bus service, making 13 stops in Exeter and then traveling to outlying communities.

This is a town that thrives on volunteerism and actively recruits members for its boards and committees, which include the Christmas Parade Committee, the Exeter Arts Committee, the Historic District Commission, the Recreation Advisory Board and many more. Joining a board is a fast way for newcomers to jump into civic life.

Exeter Hospital has 100 beds and is award-winning. It is accredited by the Joint Commission, and Medicare patients are accepted. More very good medical facilities are just an hour away in Boston.

Winter is long and brings temperatures in the teens, 20s and 30s. Skies are often overcast, with 56 inches of snow falling each year on average. Spring is quick, if it comes at all, and summers are short with temperatures in the 70s and 80s and 50 inches of rain on average. Autumns are crisp and cool with breathtaking colors.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is New Hampshire Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes

Long winters might be a drawback for some, but New England charm, lots of history, very safe neighborhoods, a good hospital and glorious autumns are reasons to consider this little hamlet for retirement.

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New Hampshire:

New Hampshire became a state in 1788 and was the first one to have its own constitution. It was also the first state to have a free public library.

The New Hampshire coast is the shortest in the nation, with just 18 miles of shoreline.

Scottish settlers planted the New World's first potato crops in New Hampshire in 1719.

The top of Mt. Washington is said to have the worst weather on the planet and holds the record for wind speed at 231 mile sper hour.

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