Rye, New Hampshire

Best Places to Retire in New Hampshire


Rye (population about 5,300) is an historic fishing village that extends along eight miles of New Hampshire’s beautiful coastline, from the inlet to the Piscataqua River, south to the community of Hampton. In addition to its coastline, Rye also encompasses four of the Isles of Shoals – Star Island, White Island, Lighthouse, and Lunging Island, which is six miles offshore. Its coastline includes locations called Wallis Sands Beach, Jenness Beach, Locke’s Neck, Ragged Neck, Rye Harbor, and Odiorne Point. http://www.town.rye.nh.us/

The first settlement in New Hampshire, called Pennaway, was at Odiorne Point in 1623. Originally part of Portsmouth, the town is named for the borough of Rye, an English Channel town. Rye’s early citizens fought the Indians and the British, and declared their independence in 1785. Eighty-six men from Rye served in the Civil War, and in 1874 the first trans-Atlantic cable came onshore at Rye.

Nearby Portsmouth is the metropolitan hub of the coastal region. It sits along the banks of the Piscataqua River a short distance from its mouth. This small city offers many amenities including good shopping, an abundance of dining choices, many boutiques, shops, galleries, antique shops, museums, and many civic activities. There is live theater and entertainment, music, and a number of active arts organizations. In addition, the University of New Hampshire at Durham offers collegiate sports, performing arts and special events. For shopping there are outlet malls in North Hampton, Newington and Kittery, Me. – all close by.

Arts & Culture

Seacoast Science Center in Rye is located on 136 acres where you can explore coastal habitats. The Center offers year-round programs including naturalist-guided or unguided tours. http://www.seacentr.org/

The Rye Historical Society operates the Rye Town Museum. Opened in 2002, it offers special exhibits and regular programs that preserve and promote an understanding of the local history. Exhibits include extensive historic photos, historic clothing, maps, genealogical research, and extensive news clippings. There is also a research library. http://www.ryehistoricalsociety.org/

Rye Public Library — http://www.ryepubliclibrary.org/

Seacoast Repertory Theatre is a professional theatre and school for the performing arts. It’s home, the Bow Street Theatre in Portsmouth, was originally constructed in 1892 as a storage building for beer and grain. The theater has frequently been cited as the “Best Year Round Theatre.” http://www.seacoastrep.org/

The Music Hall is a beautiful 900-seat opera house that first opened its doors in 1878 near Market Square. In its early history, it was lighted by a gas-lit chandelier with 150 gas jets. In the early 1900s it hosted performances by George M. Cohan, Al Jolson, and many others. The theater closed its doors in the mid 20s and didn’t re-open until 1945, when it became The Civic Theatre. It prospered until 1971 but was closed once again. In 1987, it was revived under its current name and has become Portsmouth’s premier venue for live entertainment and film. http://www.themusichall.org/

The New Hampshire Theatre Project is a resident company at the West End Studio Theater, Portsmouth. It offers a professional series that includes classics and also showcases original works. The theater is an intimate, 50-seat black box theater. http://www.nhtheatreproject.org/

Player’s Ring Theatre in Portsmouth is located in a 19th century building which features a black-box theater with seating for 75 persons. Since its creation in 1992, over 30 local production companies have presented plays. http://www.playersring.org/

Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra welcomes members of all ages from the surrounding area and performs several concerts throughout the year. http://www.portsmouthsymphony.org/

Pontine Movement Theatre offers all original works created by the artists, and features expression through movement as a primary dramatic vehicle. http://www.pontine.org/

Garrison Players is a local community theater group that has been performing since the 1950s. http://www.garrisonplayers.org/

Portsmouth Men’s Chorus —

Yankee Clipper Barbershop Chorus — http://www.yankeeclipperchorus.org/

Portsmouth Percussive Dance Festival is held annually near the downtown waterfront at the end of June. http://www.jazzandtap.com/ppdf/index.shtml

Prescott Park Arts Festival has been presented for more than 30 years to an estimated over 3 million people. It is located on 3.5 acres in downtown Portsmouth. The festival features music, art, theater and dance. http://www.artfest.org/

The Portsmouth Athenaeum is both a museum and a membership library. Its primary mission is to collect and preserve materials relevant to the history of Portsmouth and the Piscataqua region. http://www.portsmouthathenaeum.org/

Portsmouth Historical Society maintains the John Paul Jones House Museum and conducts activities and programs that increase public understanding and enthusiasm for local history. http://www.portsmouthhistory.org/

Strawbery Banke Museum (named after the first settlement on the site of present-day downtown Portsmouth) conducts educational programs and cares for the museum’s collections http://www.strawberybanke.org/

The Children’s Museum of Portsmouth — http://www.childrens-museum.org/

Other active local arts groups include Seacoast Guitar Society. http://www.seacoastguitar.org/pastevents.html. Is dedicated to preserving and fostering their particular art form.

The Art Gallery at the University of New Hampshire in Durham (16 miles) is the premier art museum of the region. It offers exhibitions, music lectures, poetry readings and receptions. Its permanent collection includes over 1,500 historical and modern works. http://www.unh.edu/art-gallery/

The University of New Hampshire Department of Theatre & Dance produces five or six shows in its annual main stage season at its Johnson Theatre and Hennessy Theatre. http://www.unh.edu/theatre-dance/

Alabaster Blue is a UNH Co-ed A Cappella Group that performs both on campus and in the region. http://www.unh.edu/ab/

Whittenmore Center at the University of New Hampshire is a major venue for college sports, special events, shows, and entertainers. http://www.whittemorecenter.com/

University of New Hampshire Library — http://www.library.unh.edu/


The town recreation department offers a number of educational and recreation programs from lectures and guided seacoast walks to tennis lessons and yoga. http://www.town.rye.nh.us/

Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye is a beautiful sandy beach with generous parking, showers and restrooms. http://www.nhstateparks.com/wallis.html

Janness State Beach, Rye offers swimming and picnicking. http://www.nhstateparks.com/jenness.html

Rye Harbor State Park, also called Ragged Neck, offers scenic views of the Atlantic, fishing and picnicking. http://www.nhstateparks.org/state-parks/alphabetical-order/rye-harbor-state-park/

Ordiorne Point State Park offers picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, a nature walk, and cross country skiing. It is a 331-acre site on the oceanfront and on Little Harbor. http://www.nhstateparks.com/odiorne.html

Recreation and sites of interest in the area are many. These include historic Fort Constitution in New Castle; Four Tree Island, which offers picnic areas and fishing, and Fort Stark in New Castle with ocean views; Great Island Common, also in New Castle, with a beach and picnic facilities. Hampton State Beach offers two beach locations with swimming, picnic sites, an amphitheater and band shell. Another beach is North Beach in Hampton. The nearby Maine coast offers many recreational sites, all within a reasonable driving distance.

There are more than 15 golf courses within easy driving distance. http://www.golflink.com/golf-courses/city.aspx?dest=Portmouth+nh

The University of New Hampshire offers the opportunity to see intercollegiate games in all the major sports, except baseball. Both men’s and women’s teams compete in 10 or more sports. http://www.unhwildcats.com/home.shtml

Nearby ski areas (within 60 miles) include the following:

Blue Hills, Canton, MA — http://www.ski.bluehills.com/
Bradford, Haverhill, MA — http://www.skibradford.com/
Gunstock, Gilford, NH — http://www.gunstock.com/
King Pine, East Madison, NH — http://www.kingpine.com/
McIntyre, Manchester, NH — http://www.mcintyreskiarea.com/
Nashoba Valley, Westford, MA — http://www.skinashoba.com/
Pats Peak, Henniker, NH — http://www.patspeak.com/winter_fun.htm
Ragged Mountain, Danbury, NH — http://www.ragged-mt.com/
Tenny Mountain, Plymouth, NH — http://www.tenneymtn.com/
Wachusett Mountain, Princeton, MA — http://www.wachusett.com/
Ski Ward, Shrewsbury, MA — http://www.skiward.com/


University of New Hampshire in Durham (about 16 miles) is a part of the University System of the State of New Hampshire. It is a liberal arts college that dates to 1866. UNH offers over 2,000 courses in more than 100 majors. Student enrollment is nearly 12,000 undergraduates and about 3,000 graduate and professional students. http://www.unh.edu/

Franklin Pierce College of New Hampshire in Newington is one of six satellite locations where on-line courses are offered. The main campus location is in Rindge, NH. (Rindge is 100 miles from Portsmouth.) http://www.franklinpierce.edu/

Hesser College in Portsmouth offers 25 certificate, diploma, associate or bachelor degree options. http://www.hesser.edu/

Senior Programs

The town provides a number of services for senior citizens, including transportation, a daily call program, and a “Senior Services Resource Book.” http://www.town.rye.nh.us/seniorservices.htm


Portsmouth Regional Hospital is an acute care hospital licensed for 143 beds. http://www.portsmouthhospital.com/


Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (former Pease Air Force Base) is operated by the state and offers scheduled passenger service. http://www.peasedev.org/pease/airport.asp

Manchester Airport (47 miles) – http://www.flymanchester.com/

Boston’s Logan International Airport is about 50 miles south of Rye. http://www.massport.com/logan/default.aspx

Portland International Jetport is located 60 miles north in Portland, Me. http://www.portlandjetport.org/


The average temperatures for January are a high of 34 degrees and low of 15 degrees. The averages for July, which is the warmest month, are a high of 83 and a low of 59 degrees. The average precipitation for January is 4.2 inches, and for July, 3.4 inches. http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=rye+NH


Portsmouth Herald — http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/index.htm

Property Taxes


State Taxes


Chamber of Commerce

Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce serves nine communities, including Rye. http://www.portsmouthchamber.org/

State Aging Agency



Portsmouth, NH – 4 miles
Greenland, NH – 4.5 miles
North Hampton, NH – 4.9 miles
York, ME – 15 miles
Durham, NH – 16 miles
Haverhill, MA – 27 miles
Manchester, NH – 39 miles
Portland, ME – 57 miles
Boston, MA – 53 miles
Nashua, NH – 52 miles
New York City – 262 miles

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