The Nicest Place in New Hampshire: Pembroke
NICEST PLACES IN AMERICA 2019 FINALIST
"Where Neighbors Become Family"
We have a collective image of the perfect 1950s era town—pretty, tight-knit, caring. Some people call it Paradise. Others, Pembroke.
When Kellie Cholette moved to this former mill town on New Hampshire’s Suncook River, she was taken aback by how warm and welcoming its 7,000 residents were. Everywhere she went, she was greeted cheerfully. During the Old Home Day fireworks show, her new neighbors set out lawn chairs for her and her fiancé because the view from their lawn was better.
“This is just a very tight-knit community,” she says. “Everyone I’ve met has been the nicest people.”
There’s an 80-year-old man who, on mornings after trash pickup, rolls his neighbors’ garbage cans back up their driveways for them. There’s a couple who adopted two neglected boys from a Ukrainian orphanage, helped them overcome severe developmental challenges, and then went back and adopted two more. There’s a lawn-care professional who learned of a single mother battling cancer and adopted her as a client (mowing in the summer, plowing in the winter) while refusing to ever accept a dime from her. That’s a whole lot of kindness for such a small town.
Even the local high-school basketball team is known for its unselfishness. Despite a roster of strong shooters, the team is entirely lacking in ball hogs. “We’ve got four or five guys who can put up 20 shots in a game,” player Sean Menard told the Concord Monitor, speaking of his teammates’ tendency to pass the ball. “But we like to give up shots for the other person.”
Maybe there’s something in the water. When the high school’s cross-country coach was diagnosed with cancer, her runners took it upon themselves to organize a 5K fund-raiser to help with her medical bills, which they did annually for three years until her passing.
Or maybe the air is just right. When a Pembroke family lost their home in a fire back in May, local donations poured into a GoFundMe page that exceeded its $15,000 goal by nearly $5,000, in just 24 days.
The people here are very friendly and helpful. They are ready to give the shirt off their back to anyone in need.
During our first few months in Pembroke, NH, we were greeted warmly by everyone. In August they hold a “Old Home Day” celebration, which includes live music, hay rides, inflatable slides, bouncy houses, games, arts and crafts, food, mini golf, tractor pulling, basketball tournaments, antique cars, and fireworks. My fiance and I were having a hard time viewing the fireworks from our house; our neighbors spotted this and instantly got chairs out for us to sit with them! We also have an old man about 80 years old that goes around streets near him and takes out your trash barrels if you forget and then will put them back once the garage men come around! This town is just a very tight-knit community and everyone I’ve met has been the nicest people!
This nomination came through ourpartnership with Nextdoor, the world’s largest social network for neighborhoods.