New Hampshire offers charming rural New England living at a relatively affordable cost. While the cost of living is 18% higher than the national average, compared to other Northeast states the Granite State has much lower expenses and tax structure. The median home price was $221,000 in 2015, higher than the U.S. average but lower than New York and Massachusetts. The state income tax of 5% applies only to dividends and interest, not to pensions, Social Security benefits, IRA distributions, or salary. There is also no state sales tax, estate, or inheritance tax.
Property taxes are high – the third highest per capita in the nation. Overall, though, New Hampshire has the seventh lowest tax burden of any state. Residents over age 65 get a partial exemption from the income tax and also from property tax. Recently, Forbes magazine cited New Hampshire as among the best states for retirees from a tax perspective. Kiplinger has also listed the state as a tax-friendly place for seniors.
Two other pluses for retirees are the low crime rate and quality healthcare. The state has the nation’s lowest murder rate, just 1.1 per 100,000 people, and its violent crime rate was the third-lowest in the nation in 2012. New Hampshire also scores highest in the nation for availability of quality healthcare.
If you’re looking for year-round sunshine, however, New Hampshire may not be for you. The climate is humid-continental, with mild summers and cold winters with frequent snowstorms.
Overall though, New Hampshire scores high as a retirement destination. In 2014, Bankrate.com rated it the 13th best state for retirees, taking into account local weather, cost of living, crime rate, healthcare, tax burden, and senior residents’ well being. Another plus is the laid-back lifestyle. The overall community atmosphere is casual and friendly, and residents are free-spirited but maintain a strong connection to traditions.
Although much of the state consists of georgeous small towns, the big city is not far away. In fact, southern New Hampshire is sometimes considered a suburb of Boston, and New York City is just a few hours drive away. In the north, there’s the rugged White Mountains with great hiking, skiing, golf courses, and crystal clear mountain lakes and streams for swimming and boating.
Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in the Northeast, and world famous Lake Winnipesaukee is a popular tourist attraction. The central Lake Region boasts over 250 lakes and ponds for boating and fishing. The mountain forests have 1,200 miles of hiking trails, and for skiiers, there are over 200 trails in the White Mountains.
Here are several retirement destinations in New Hampshire worth considering.
Hanover is a small (population 11,000) college town located on the Connecticut River in the southwest part of the state. CNN and Money magazine rated Hanover the sixth best place to live in America in 2011 and the second best in 2007. A CNN Money report said “few communities are as welcoming to retirees as Hanover.”
Dartmouth College in town offers retirees the opportunity to attend classes, and there is first-rate health care at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The beautiful college campus is also a scenic place to visit, and the Baker-Berry Library on campus is a state-of-the-art library with many historical displays, paintings, and murals.
The Hood Museum of Art has 60,000 works of art and artifacts from various cultures and historical periods, while the League of NH Craftsmen Gallery has interesting collections by local artists. The Hopkins Center for the Arts has performing arts, film and fine art exhibits.
Those looking for less traditional exhibits can visit the Main Street Museum and its eclectic displays. If you want to travel comfortably to New York or Boston, the Dartmouth Coach offers luxurious bus transportation with wifi, movies, snacks, and water.
Located in northeast New Hampshire, Portsmouth was named by AARP as among the “10 Great Small Cities to Retire” in 2013. AARP called it “a quintessential New England town near mountains and the ocean for retirees,” as well as “one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country.”
As a seaport town facing the Atlantic Ocean, Portsmouth has a relatively mild climate. Summers are moderately warm (around 80 degrees in July) with winter days averaging around the freezing point.
Attractions in Portsmouth include the John Paul Jones House, dating to 1758; USS Albacore Museum & Park – a museum featuring the USS Albacore, a decommissioned U.S. Navy submarine used for testing; and Strawbery Banke Museum, a neighborhood featuring several dozen restored historic homes in Colonial, Georgian and Federal styles of architecture.
There are several artistic venues in town, including the Music Hall, a 900-seat theatre that hosts musical acts, theater, dance and cinema; New Hampshire Theatre Project, a non-profit theater organization producing contemporary and classical works; Pontine Theatre, which produces original theater works based on the history, culture and literature of New England; and Seacoast Repertory Theatre, a professional theater troupe founded in 1988.
Prescott Park is on the banks of the Piscataqua River, close to downtown and the Market Square, and is the site of outdoor music, theater, and dance performances in the summer.
The capital of New Hampshire is a city of 43,000 but with a strong sense of community among its residents. The city caters to seniors with the Centennial Senior Center, which has events, trips, and classes ranging from oil pastel painting to tai chi. Concord Hospital has specialty centers in cancer, heart, urology, women’s health and orthopedics, and is becoming an all private-room facility.
Concord has many historical landmarks and other attractions. The New Hampshire State House, constructed between 1815 and 1818, is the oldest state house in which the legislature meets in its original chambers.
Directly across from the State House is the Eagle Hotel, which was open from 1827 to 1961 and has been a downtown landmark. U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison all dined there, and Franklin Pierce spent the night before departing for his inauguration. Other noted guests have included Jefferson Davis, Charles Lindbergh, Eleanor Roosevelt, Richard M. Nixon (who carried New Hampshire in all three of his presidential bids), and Thomas E. Dewey.
South of the Eagle Hotel on Main Street is Phenix Hall, whose auditoriums are used for political speeches, theater productions, and fairs. Abraham Lincoln spoke at the hall in 1860, and Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.
Beaver Meadow Golf Course, located in the northern part of Concord, is the oldest golf course in New Hampshire. Other sporting venues in Concord include Everett Arena and Memorial Field. Performance venues include the Capitol Center for the Arts, a 1,310-seat theatre designed with an Egyptian motif and equipped to host major Broadway shows.
The SNOB (Somewhat North Of Boston) Film Festival, started in the fall of 2002, is an annual event that provides a forum for local filmmakers to display their films. SNOB Film Festival is hosted at Red River Theatres, a locally owned, nonprofit, independent cinema.
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