New Castle, New Hampshire
As you’ll see from the sign that greets you when you drive into New Castle, New Hampshire, you're driving onto a very quaint and charming island, dating back to the early 1600's. There are a good number of homes on this cluster of small islands that date back to the 1600's that are being lived in still. From the narrow winding streets, you'll see some really stunning antique homes, gorgeous water views of the Piscataqua River or the back channel, and a slightly modern day view of what life back then might have been like.
New Castle Island waterfront from Portsmouth Harbor & the Piscataqua River.
New Castle was originally known as "The Great Island", being the largest of several islands in the mouth of the Piscataqua River. The Piscataqua River is the dividing line between New Hampshire and Maine, and has the third fastest river current in the world.
New Castle is the smallest town in New Hampshire, covering only .8 square miles, which is roughly 512 acres or so, and the only town in NH located entirely on islands. Surrounded by water, New Castle is connected to the 'mainland' via the causeway to Portsmouth and a drawbridge to Rye, both taking you over water and offering up even more delightful views of our great Seacoast here in New Hampshire.
The current population of New Castle NH is about 1,100 residents, giving it a population density of about 1,276 people per square mile. The island residents love seaside living, and get to enjoy a wonderful ocean side park owned by the town, "Great Island Common".
"The Seaside Artist" is a popular sculpture located at Great Island Common.
Great Island Common is a 31 acre ocean side park, open to local residents for no charge. Non-residents, during the summer season have access for a small charge. What a great place for family gatherings, picnics, swimming, and more. New Castle Beach is right next to The Common, making it a perfectly relaxing place to spend the day with friends and family. Because it's tucked away like it is, very few of the summer tourists that descend on the area find their way to this quiet relaxing spot of seaside serenity.
New Castle, NH Schools
New Castle residents have their own elementary school, Maude H. Trefethen Elementary School, for the town's children to attend. They move on to Portsmouth for middle school and high school. Children from kindergarten through 6th grade in New Castle attend this school.
The stunningly renovated Wentworth-by-the-Sea Hotel is located on New Castle. This hotel is on the National Register for Historic Places, deservedly so. The "Hotel Wentworth", as it was originally named, was built atop a hill in 1874, and has fabulous views of the Little Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. The 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War, was negotiated here by President Theodore Roosevelt.
A quaint quiet fishing village for most its existence, New Castle has played an important role in our country's history. Home to an actively operating Coast Guard Station, New Castle is also home to the historic Fort Constitution site and to the historic Fort Stark site.
Fort Constitution overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Piscataqua River, and was originally named Fort William and Mary. This fort played a great role in the Revolutionary War. Fort Stark was one of seven forts built to protect the Portsmouth Harbor. Originally these forts were built to protect the colonists, but as the area's importance in the ship-building industry grew and as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard grew, the importance of these forts grew as well, and they all underwent major fortifications.
If you're a history buff, be sure to check out the links on these forts. You'll find some fascinating history there, as well as additional information on other forts in the area, and the roles they played, not just for this area, but for our country as well.
New Castle, New Hampshire is such a charming seaside town. If you're looking for island living and you want to be close to everything, you just might want to consider making New Castle NH your next home.
Portsmouth lighthouse sets on the tip of New Castle Island and guides ships safely into Portsmouth Harbor.
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