Grafton County among top rural areas

For the second year, Grafton County has been ranked as one of the best rural areas in which to live by Progressive Farmer magazine.

Cited for its scenic views of the White Mountain National Forest and as home to Dartmouth College, Grafton ranked fourth on the 10-location list, best epitomizing the concept of “New Ruralism,” the growing trend of out-migration from urban areas to rural towns, the magazine says.

“Each month, Progressive Farmer takes an in-depth look at rural America — its homes, farms, and its lifestyle in general,” said Editor-in-Chief Jack Odle. “And over the years, we’ve seen a vast change in the face of rural America. Now we see all kinds of people — executives, celebrities and average Americans yearning for more simplicity in their lives — purchasing a second home in the country, or making it a primary residence for their families.”

Counties are chosen based on population, cost of living, crime rates, air quality, access to health care, education and leisure activities as well as others such as scenery and quality of life.

The editors mentioned the Grafton County towns of Bristol, Plymouth, Littleton and Hanover as communities “reminiscent of fictional Mayberry … the kind of town where residents come to the local barbershop just to watch hair getting cut.”

In the end, Steve Epstein, executive director of the Grafton County Economic Development Council, said it’s the people of the county that make it so special. “The people have a very strong work ethic. They’ve been through some tough times, but have chosen to stay and work,” he said.

The other top five counties chosen by Progressive Farmer were: Ontario County, N.Y.; Union County, S.D.; Oconee County, Ga.; and Kendall County, Texas,

The magazine also ranks the top 20 counties by region. Three more Granite State counties placed in this division: Belknap County (9); Merrimack County (14); and Carroll County (18), — CINDY KIBBE

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