We are looking to relocate temporarily to New Hampshire so I can complete graduate school in Keene. My husband will ne working at either Logan or Manchester Airport and we would prefer to live somewhere closer to his work since he will be commuting daily and I will only attend classes two days per week. We have two small boys and are interested in settling into a community with progressive schools preferably with environmentally-focused programs and an overall eco-minded consciousness (think Portland, Oregon!). In my search for the perfect place, I have come across both Keene and Portsmouth and the surrounding seacoast towns (Durham, Hampton, etc.). I would love to hear from folks who live or have lived in any of these areas and can offer a comparison of these two towns in terms of what they offer to a multicultural family relocating from the motro New York area. We are looking for a small town with big values. Any thoughts on these two contenders?
I live not too far from Portsmouth and I have a limited knowledge of Keene. Here are a few random thoughts:
Keene Pros --Small college town, very pretty area, housing is probably relatively inexpensive
Cons-- Very remote, for some reason that area always gets a ton of snow, Keene to Boston would be a long commute. Oops I just reread your post and see that you'll be going to school in Keene. Portsmouth to Keene is a long drive with no direct route. Any chance you can complete your degree at UNH in Durham?
Portsmouth Pros-- Very eco-minded, the downtown area can be lively, lots of great restaurants. I don't know about the schools.
More of a city feel than Keene, very close to the beaches
Cons -- Housing is expensive compared to the rest of NH (but not compared to NY!)
I'm inclined to think that Portsmouth probably has more of what you're looking for, although I admit I don't know that much about Keene...
Good luck in whatever you decide : )
We live in Durham and our oldest son is a first grader in one of the (2) elementary schools in our district. I would be happy to answer some questions and talk more if you want to PM me. There are pros and cons to everything, IMO, but we have been very happy with our experience overall. Best of luck!