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NH Students Ranked Tops in Nation

May 16, 2014:

Study: NH's Students scored the highest on standardized tests.

schoolschoolsEducational data collected by shows that Granite State students scored the highest on standardized tests.

"A new map compiled by research engine "FindTheBest" shows that when it comes to American students' standardized test scores, the North clearly reigns over the South. The students with the best scores hailed from states that include New Hampshire, Minnesota and Massachusetts. The worst scores came out of Arkansas and Mississippi.

To create the map, researchers looked at each state's scores for the SAT, ACT, AP and National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. They sourced this information from each state's department of education." (Huffington Post)

When "FindTheBest" tabulated the data, New Hampshire's students received the highest rating, a 5. school

Students in Massachusetts and Minnesota received a 4.92 rating. Students in Connecticut, New Jersey, also received high ratings.

Politico names New Hampshire as #1

nH-LightbulbIn January, Politico named the Granite state number one in the United States. Why would they choose New Hampshire?   "Politico Magazine rounded up 14 different state rankings from reputable sources like the Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI, and on important factors such as high school graduation rates, per capita income, life expectancy and crime rate. Then we averaged out each state's 14 rankings to come up with a master list--atop which sits none other than New Hampshire. The approach isn't scientific or comprehensive (hey, neither was Mencken's), and not all states are created equal--California's economy is the world's eighth largest, for instance, and Texas's population outranks that of most countries. We also hold no grudges against the State of Mississippi, which came in last not just overall but on four of the individual lists, and certainly don't attribute its woes to "hordes of barbaric peasants," as Mencken did. But given that eight of the lowest-ranking states on our list overlap with the bottom 10 on his, maybe less has changed in the past 83 years than you'd think."

The Concord Monitor may have discovered why New Hampshire ended up on top. According to studies by the U.S. Census, the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Economics and Peace, a new Gallup poll and the Kaiser Family Foundation, here are the findings about the state of the state:

LIFE EXPECTANCY | 8TH: New Hampshire's average life expectancy is 80.3 years.

FITNESS | 17TH: The New Hampshire obesity rate is 25.1 percent.

HOME-OWNERSHIP | 7TH: The home-ownership rate in New Hampshire is 72 percent.

FREEDOM | 4TH: This is determined by issues of personal freedom, government regulation and fiscal policy.

HAPPINESS | 8TH: Considerations included exercise,  and smoking, access to health care and food, and overall life satisfaction.

SAFETY | 3RD: Determined by homicides and violent crimes, incarceration rate, number of police employees and availability of small arm.

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION | 5TH: New Hampshire has a graduation rate of 91.4 percent.

WEALTH | 7TH: New Hampshire is in the top 10 wealthiest based simply on per capita income.


Windham NH Named one of Nation's Best Small Towns by Money Magazine

Windham NH, was ranked 30th out of 50 of the "Best Small Towns" in the United states by Money Magazine. They noted that Windham "attracts professionals who want to live near Boston (just 35 miles away) while enjoying New Hampshire's tax structure (no sales or income taxes) and quaint atmosphere."  They also noted that, "natural beauty abounds" and mentioned the fact that the town offers waterfront living on Cobbett's Pond and Canobie Lake as being major attractions. Also mentioned was the 1,500 acres of conservation and recreation land. Windham with a population of about 13,599 people has a quite town center and very little commercial development. Money also noted the drawing power of Windham's new state of the art high school.

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We would add that Windham offers distinctive neighborhoods, with upscale homes at a fraction of the cost of the town and cities that surround Boston. Interstate 93, which is being widened to 3-4 lanes will provide better access to the city and 128 with scheduled completion around 2015.

There is a town beach on Cobbetts Pond available to town residents a boat and canoe access toCanobie Lake. There is also the Windham "Rail Trail" that is an incredible community resource which connects many neighborhoods and offers walking and biking on about five miles of paved trail.

Of course, the biggest attraction in Windham is the incredible people that reside in town. It is a place where you can easily become involved in the community.

Check out our Windham NH pages on

Windham NH Community Information

Windham NH School Information

November existing Home Sale Rise

November Existing-Home Sales and Prices Maintain Uptrend

WASHINGTON (December 20, 2012) - Existing-home sales continued to improve in November with low inventory supply pressuring home prices, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November from a downwardly revised 4.76 million in October, and are 14.5 percent higher than the 4.40 million-unit pace in November 2011. Sales are at the highest level since November 2009 when the annual pace spiked at 5.44 million.

Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said there is healthy market demand. "Momentum continues to build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation," he said. "With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes. Areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy show storm-related disruptions but overall activity in the Northeast is up, offset by gains in unaffected areas."

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from November 2011. This is the ninth consecutive monthly year-over-year price gain, which last occurred from September 2005 to May 2006.

Distressed homes3 - foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts - accounted for 22 percent of November sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were short sales), down from 24 percent in October and 29 percent in November 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in November, while short sales were discounted 16 percent.

"The market share of distressed property sales will fall into the teens next year based on a diminishing number of seriously delinquent mortgages," Yun said.

Total housing inventory at the end of November fell 3.8 percent to 2.03 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.8-month supply 4 at the current sales pace; it was 5.3 months in October, and is the lowest housing supply since September of 2005 when it was 4.6 months.

Listed inventory is 22.5 percent below a year ago when there was a 7.1-month supply. Raw unsold inventory is now at the lowest level since December 2001 when there were 1.89 million homes on the market.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.35 percent in November from 3.38 percent in October; the rate was 3.99 percent in November 2011.

NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., said there's been speculation of a rise in short sales before the end of the year with pending expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. "However, there's been no movement in short sales, their market share is staying in a narrow range, and they're still taking much longer to sell - typically three months," he said.

"The fact remains it is extremely difficult to expedite a short sale, and banks' response to client urgency is only starting to improve. However, we're hopeful that the act will be extended before it expires on December 31 so sellers don't have to pay taxes on forgiven mortgage debt, which would be unfairly treated as income for owners who are selling under duress," Thomas said.

The median time on market for all homes was 70 days in November, slightly below 71 days in October, but is 28.6 percent below 98 days in November 2011. Thirty-two percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month, while 20 percent were on the market for six months or longer; these findings are unchanged from October.

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in November, down from 31 percent in October and 35 percent in November 2011.

All-cash sales were at 30 percent of transactions in November, up slightly from 29 percent in October and 28 percent in November 2011. Investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in November, little changed from 20 percent in October; they were 19 percent in November 2011.

Single-family home sales rose 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million in November from 4.21 million in October, and are 12.4 percent higher than the 3.95 million-unit level in November 2011. The median existing single-family home price was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales jumped 9.1 percent to an annualized level of 600,000 in November from 550,000 in October, and are 33.3 percent above the 450,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $181,000 in November, which is 10.6 percent higher than November 2011.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 6.9 percent to an annual rate of 620,000 in November and are 14.8 percent above November 2011. The median price in the Northeast was $232,900, down 2.0 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 7.2 percent in November to a pace of 1.19 million and are 21.4 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $141,600, which is 7.0 percent above November 2011.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 7.9 percent to an annual level of 2.04 million in November and are 17.2 percent above November 2011. The median price in the South was $157,400, up 10.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 0.8 percent a pace of 1.19 million in November and are 4.4 percent higher than a year ago. With ongoing inventory constraints, the median price in the West was $248,300, which is 23.9 percent above November 2011.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from multiple listing services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. A rebenchmarking of home sales is done periodically using other sources to assess the overall home sales trend, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales differ from the U.S. Census Bureau's series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger sample - about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month - and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to a seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if more data is received than was originally reported.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR's quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR's Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at

4 Total inventory and month's supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month's supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

The Pending Home Sales Index for November will be released December 28 and existing-home sales for December is scheduled for January 22; release times are 10:00 a.m. EST.

First Floor Master Bedroom Suites

First floor master bedroom suites are becoming very popular with home buyers in southern New Hampshire. This trend is seen with both new homes and resales. Many people like the convenience of living on one level. Others like the idea of having the master bedroom as a private retreat with the other bedrooms located on the second floor.

In Spruce Pond Estates, in Windham New Hampshire, more buyers are inquiring about first floor master bedrooms. There is currently a very distinctive home nearing completion that features an open floor plan with a first floor master bedroom suite.  Brian Harvey of H & B Homes sees the first floor master suite as a trend that is growing in popularity.  H & B Homes has first floor master plans available in different sizes and price ranges. 

A newly listed home in our office is a custom home that is loaded with exterior curb appeal. It features a first floor master bedroom suite and an open floor plan with a great room and vaulted ceilings. It has the convenience of a two car attached garage. There is also a seperate office on the first floor. The home has a large footprint and also includes a bayfront formal dining room and livingroom on the main level. Three additional bedrooms are located upstairs. Priced at just $429,900. It is located in the desirable Jackman Ridge neighborhood in Windham NH.

If you are looking to make a first floor master bedroom suite part of your lifestyle change the Realtors at Prudential Dinsmore Associates can help you find the home in southern NH that best meets your needs.

Windham NH Cemetery Walk

Cemetery W A L K



The friends of the Windham NH Historic Commission will be hosting a cemetery walk to benefit Searles School and Chapel on October 11th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Local residents will play the roles of those buried beneath the ground. Among those portrayed will be David Greg who was killed by Indians near Golden Brook in 1740 when he was just nine years old. Tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for children under 18. Why not come and find out who lays slumbering in the dust in the Cemetery on the Plain in Windham NH.

Gravestone EPITAPHS


For those of you who plan upon your death to have your body placed in the cold, still, earth rather than the more free spirited spreading of ashes, the question becomes how will you mark your grave? Today people have their faces and their Harley's etched on their head stones.  In the past, the historic stones have reflected the inevitability of death and how best to approach it.

    Many years ago, before I was married, my wife and her cousin Sue Alosky stopped by my house after they had just walked through the "old" Cemetery on the Plain. They recited the following epitaph to me.  

"As you pass by remember me, As you are now so once was I, As I am now so you must be, Prepare for death and follow me."

 A few weeks ago, my wife and I walked through the "old" cemetery again and found the stone and the epitaph. This particular verse is very popular and is found on several grave stones in town.  We also noticed that many of the stones are becoming very difficult to read which is sad because they have stories to tell. Take the stone of Hannah Campbell who died in March of 1789. On the stone with her are the names of four of her children who died before the age of four and of another infant who was still born. Her epitaph reads:

 "Tis God that lifts our comforts high, Or sinks them in the grave, He gives and blessed be his name, He takes but what he gave."

The epitaph on the stone of Lieutenant Jeremiah Hills sums up the eternal question;  Why am I here, what is the meaning of life, is there a God and if there is a God am I a part of an eternal future beyond death. People who live to find out often leave with more questions than answers. Lieutenant Hills epitaph: 

Tis a point I long to know, Oft it causes anxious thought, Do I love the Lord or no, Am I his or not?"

Many of the stones reflect the belief in the resurrection of the body. Jennet Park who died at 81 in 1830's has on her grave,:

 "These ashes poor, this little dust, Our father care shall keep, Till the last angel rise and break the long and dreary sleep."

 Mary Meeker who died in March of 1836 at the age of 19 indicated that her spirit will be in heaven to be rejoined later by her body:

"Let all who now behold me here, be faithful till the Lord appears, Farewell dear friends, a short farewell, Till we shall meet again above, I go from you to heaven to dwell, To realize a Saviors love. Though friends and kindred weep around, my body slumbers in the ground, Till the last trumpet shall bid it rise, To meet the Savior in the sky."

 Nancy, the wife of Isaac Cochran, who died in 1826 has a stone that states:

"From husband torn for friends and family dear, At life's bright moon of death laid her body here, So let it rest from joys and sorrows driven, Till Christ shall call her sleeping dust to heaven."

Deacon Samuel Morrison who died in 1816 at 69 has an epitaph that reads:

"Forgive, blest shade, the tributary tear that mourns thy exit from a world like this, Forgive the wish that  would have kept  thee here, And stayed thy progress to the seats of bliss"

NEW DATE!!!!! So see you on October 11th...there is no telling what you might find among the stones.

History of Big Island Pond in New Hampshire

Big Island Pond is a 532 acre lake located in the towns of Derry, Hampstead and Atkinson New Hampshire.The lake has a long and varied history going back to the aboriginal peoples and the possible settlement nearby of Irish Culdee monks over 1,000 years ago. Chief Escumbuit's life from 1665-1727 intertwines with the history of the Big Island Pond. Into the twentieth century there was even a brothel located near the pond called "Laverne's Place." All of the interesting history is available in the book "Legends of the Pond, Stories of Big Island Pond, Atkinson, Derry and Hampstead"  by Alfred E. Kayworth. Mr. Kayworth's book gives a fascinating look at the pond and the people who have lived nearby.

One interesting character on the pond was George Eli Whitney.  "Derry from Turnpike to Interstate,' says that  "For nearly fifty years a steamboat provided enjoyable trips on its waters. It was unique in that the man who built the boat in 1900 operated It for forty eight summers. He was George Eli Whitney, a descendant of Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin. No Sunday school picnic or family reunion at the pond was complete without a ride on Whitney's steamboat. At a certain point along the way, in a shaded cove, Whitney always stopped the craft for a few minutes while he related a fanciful tale about pirates. Adults might smile, but the children listened eagerly."  According to Hayworth the boats name was the "Ida F." Whitney built steam yachts and launches in Boston. He designed and built a small steam engine for automobiles for the Mason Regulator Company. It was one of the first production engines for automobiles. Soon after Whitney was building steam automobiles of his own design. Whitney was an early resident of Big Island Pond and lived at what is stilled remembered as Whitney's Grove.

Today, I wanted to share with you to beautiful old photographs of Conley's Grove on Big Island Pond. These photographs were identified by the original photographer as "Westville, N.H. which was the mailing address for Atkinson at the time.   Conley's Grove and pavillion were both located in Atkinson,  New Hampshire. Hayworth says that, "By the end of the Roaring Twenties people began to explore the world beyond the ethnice neighborhoods of the city. As more and more people bought automobiles, the unerringly headed for the seashore and the country in their time off. The "Big Band" era was in full swing and the dance halls located at lakes and ponds were a strong draw for city-bound people. Big Island Pond features two dance halls; one was built on the shore at Conley's Grove and the one at Chases Grove is still active. Working class people were able to afford the cost of a mass produced automobile and people were no longer limited to electric trolleys. Big Island Pond with its scenic beauty and its dance halls became a big draw."  The cottages pictured at left were owned by Elsie Lippold. The descendants of the Lippold family still live in Conley's Grove today.

Big Island Pond is a beautiful lake with a beautiful shoreline and water depths that reach up to 70 feet. Governor's Island is "the big island" in the middle of the lake for which the name is derived. If you want more information about real estate for sale on Big Island Pond please follow this link.

On one of the signs at the front of the pavilion is the name "Jack Mills ___ Orch."  Jack Mills Company represented many orchestras in the twenties including Duke Ellington. Another sign on a tree advertises "Bathing suits and boats to let."