With close to 14,700 residents, Durham is located in Strafford County, bordered by Great Bay to its east, Newmarket to its south & Dover to its north. It is home to the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and has been bestowed with many accolades in recent years. To name a few, Durham was named the best place to live for young families in NH (Nerdwallet.com), the second safest town in NH (Safe Choice Security), and a great place for the young at heart (Boston Globe). Its school district, the reputable Oyster River School District, is home to 2 elementary schools (Mast & Moharimet Elementary Schools K-4), 1 middle school (Oyster River Middle School 5-8), and Oyster River High School, which was ranked national under Newsweek’s top 2000 high schools in 2013. The real estate market is healthy and growing, with affordable condominiums and homes around UNH and higher end luxury properties and estates scattered along Oyster River & Great Bay.

Walking, Biking & Driving

Amtrak stops in Durham-UNH, which is convenient for students looking to travel to Portland or Boston. Like other Seacoast towns, Durham actively preserves historic & farm land, and thus, Adam’s Point, Oyster River Forest, West Foss Farm, & Doe Farm are all great areas to visit, walk or explore a trail. Emery Farm and Wagon Hill Farm are popular with families for sledding and pumpkin/seasonal picking. UNH’s athletic center is great for swimming, tennis and other sports and it is open to the public.

The Scene

With UNH nearby, the scene in Durham somewhat revolves around college events. Locals catch a UNH game at the new Whittemore Center, attend lectures or seminars on campus, and enjoy using its campus athletic and scholarly facilities. Outside of the university, highlights of the town include Emery Farm for cider donuts & coffee while pumpkin picking and taking a wagon ride, and Wagon Hill for sledding. Restaurants include Young’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop, Bella’s Restaurant, Lexie’s, The Juicery & UNH Dairy Bar for smoothies, sandwiches and salads. Stay at the 3 Chimneys Inn.


It was originally called Oyster River Plantation since it sits at the mouth of Oyster River off Great Bay Estuary. The town name was suggested by Reverend Hugh Adams at General Assembly in 1738. But Durham was originally part of Dover, which was founded by the Hilton family with roots in County Durham, England. Because Durham’s land was highly suitable for farming, it developed into a farming town, and to this day, it is home to numerous farms. University of New Hampshire was officially founded in 1923, prior to it being a NH college for agriculture and mechanic arts.