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Downtown Hanover, N.H.: One of New England's Nicest Central Districts

Downtown Hanover NH

Downtown Hanover, N.H.

by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/07/16

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Hanover, N.H., has as one of the nicest small town downtown districts in New England, and it's not strictly "academic."

Home to Dartmouth College, the Hanover downtown district, from some perspectives, centers around campus life with the five acre "The Green" common and classic Ivy League 19th century buildings. Upon closer inspection, however, the downtown could hold its own anywhere. Wide sidewalks, a great mix of shops and restaurants with excellent signage and lighting, hanging flower baskets in the summer and benches along the way create this downtown bliss. I think if appointed, elected and volunteer downtown economic developers had to choose a prototype as a model to help improve their own downtown districts, Hanover would be the place.

I wouldn't even call Hanover a "college town." Yes, you'll see students frequenting the downtown, but plenty of locals also embrace this district. It's easy to see why: create a pleasing atmosphere with many of the elements that bring people in -- books, ice cream, coffee, a movie theater (Nugget), performing arts center (Hopkins Center), several good restaurants (try Lou's or Anything but Anchovies) and an overall setting that feels so welcoming. This is one of the few small town downtowns in New England that has remained thriving without selling out to chains and other generic shops and restaurants! 

Downtown Dartmouth, New Hampshire town green

Downtown Dartmouth town green with a Dartmouth Colle building providing additional charm.

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