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Photo Travel Essay of Downtown Exeter,
Article and photo by Eric H.
Downtown Exeter, N.H., has that effect on us, and, up until now, I had no idea why. Putting on my better-late-than-never thinking cap on and pondering why Exeter seems like a hometown to people like us from another area, I first thought of the mix of tree-lined streets, the charming hodgepodge of municipal and commercial buildings, the quintessential New England town gazebo, the leafy feel of Phillips Exeter Academy (a private university/preparatory school) and the locally-owned shops and restaurants that residents come out in large numbers to fully utilize. Back where I come from, people don't utilize the downtown because the strip malls, superstores and other elements of town perimeter gentrification make things more convenient. That's not a bad thing, but it shouldn't be the only way. How nice it is to stroll downtown and take pride in a thriving central district where you can have a cup of coffee (in my case, tea), say hello to people passing on the street, and know you are in a one-of-a-kind place that has been well-preserved and enhanced with a vision. That's the Exeter way, and we look forward to fully exploring this gem of a town in southeast New Hampshire.
In the New England town I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, it was a lot like Exeter. You could could see your neighbors right in the heart of your own community, not in a stretched out town where you have to drive to everything. You simply don't see too many towns like Exeter anymore -- developed but ultimately sleepy and "small-townish". Exeter makes us glad that we can travel from our home to arrive "home." Beautiful, authentic New England place, indeed!
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