Why on earth would anyone consider moving to Haverhill, MA?
If you are considering relocating to Haverhill in the near future, make sure you read this article first! After all, you want to know what you’re getting yourself into, right?
As a transplant myself, I will give you my unbiased opinion of Haverhill and its neighborhoods. Scroll to the bottom of this page if you want to skip to the part where I talk about what I hate about Haverhill.
Before we get into the Top 7 Reasons for Moving to Haverhill, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way.
Population: 60,879 (2010 census)
Median Home Prices (for a single family home, April 2020): $381,875
Closest Major Airport: There are 2 close major airports nearby. Haverhill is a 35-minute drive from the Manchester Regional airport in New Hampshire and a 40-minute drive to Logan Airport, the closest international airport in Boston.
Commute to Boston: 40 minutes driving by car or 60 minutes by train / commuter rail. Haverhill has easy access to major highways (I-495 and I-93) and the city has a train station stop that takes commuters directly into Boston (North Station).
How Far Is The Beach? Salisbury Beach is a 25 minutes drive. Plum Island Beach is a 34 minute drive.
Schools in Haverhill: There is an abundance of public, private and Montessori elementary and middle schools in Haverhill. At the high school level, students can attend the public school or a vocational technical school in which students can learn a trade along side their traditional coursework.
City / Town Info: https://www.cityofhaverhill.com/
Towns neighboring Haverhill:
North Andover MA
West Newbury MA
What is living in Haverhill like?
Haverhill is on the river so there are several scenic spots to look out at the water. I like the boardwalk at Harbor Place, where they’ve hosted a number of outdoor summer fitness classes, such as yoga and kickboxing. The downtown area could use updating to look less run down, but it has been undergoing a revitalization process. Harbor Place is one of those new, innovative buildings replacing a 40-year abandoned department store, known as Woolworth’s. There’s still a lot of evidence of Haverhill’s rich history through its architecture and mill buildings.
The Bradford Rail Trail is also a nice walk along the Merrimac River. It’s a mile stretch of flat sidewalk lined with benches and sculptures. It’s an easy walk and the trail conveniently starts (or ends– depending which way you start) with one of Haverhill’s many Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shops. Like they say, there’s a Dunkin’ on every corner in New England. Haverhill has nine locations! Coffee fans need not worry.
So without further ado…
The Top 7 Reasons for Moving to Haverhill
Haverhill Reason #1: Thriving Farmer’s Market
Haverhill is home to many small family farms that provide fresh, local produce in the warmer months at the Haverhill Farmer’s Market. This market has picked up momentum in the last couple years after relocating to its downtown location. There’s a variety of arts & craft vendors, such as this local Alpaca-loving couple. You can finish your morning trip by grabbing a bite to eat from one of the diverse food vendors. Egyptian food or fried fish sandwich, anyone?
Haverhill Reason # 2: Ski and Snowboard in your Backyard
Growing up in a small, Michigan town meant that I was already accustomed to cold winters when I moved to the Boston suburbs. I still don’t love the cold, but learning to snowboard has made winter more tolerable and even…dare I say…enjoyable.
If you love skiing or snowboarding, you don’t need to drive hours to get to the nearest ski resort. No time is wasted traveling to Haverhill’s very own Ski Bradford. It’s no massive mountain, but the 13 trails are short and easy. It’s perfect for anyone learning the sport, yet still fun for the more advanced with its terrain park, which includes a mini half-pipe and rails.
If you’re interested in hockey or figure skating, you’ll love knowing that Haverhill has not one but two ice rinks. They are a great resource for the town, and a great way to bring the community together. I put together a video featuring the Veterans Memorial Rink here:
Haverhill Reason # 3: Diversity
Diversity is one of Haverhill’s greatest asset. There are many ethnic cultures represented in this quiet, but somewhat densely populated city. Feel like tasting some food from Greece? No problem. You’ll find it at the annual Greek Festival. Word on the street is that there is an annual Haverhill Multicultural Festival in the works. Ask me how I know. (Hint: I’m part of the planning committee!)
Not only is there diversity of cultures, but there’s diversity in landscape. One minute you’re in downtown, the next minute you’re in the countryside. Many small family farms provide fresh, local produce in the warmer months.
With great diversity, comes our next reason for loving Haverhill.
Haverhill Reason # 4: Awesome Restaurant Scene
If you’re a foodie, you’re going to enjoy all that Haverhill has to offer! The downtown area in Haverhill is full of local restaurants, cozy cafes and boisterous pubs. Texan, Italian, Sushi, Mexican, Asian or American– Haverhill has it. Talk about diversity. There’s also a fun young adult night life. Eat and drink unique flavors on restaurant decks with views of the river and town. What’s not to love?
Haverhill Reason # 5: Home Affordability
This one might come as a surprise given how expensive everything around Boston is. I hear from my friends in Michigan buying up new McMansions for $200,000, but hear me out.
If you’re going to move to the Boston suburbs, then relatively speaking, Haverhill is actually one of the more affordable cities in the area. The median sales price for single family homes in Haverhill is $381,875. Compare that to $623,682 and $743,266 for the bordering town of North Andover or nearby Andover, respectively. Speaking of neighboring towns, here’s a perk: Tax-free shopping is less than 10 minutes away in New Hampshire.
Haverhill Reason # 6: Castle and Old Stuff
Not all towns can say they have a castle, but Haverhill can! The Winnikenni Castle was built in the late 1800’s and today serves as a favorite landmark for community events, such as concerts, plays, workshops and festivals. Doesn’t the brick stone walls of the castle look beautiful against the surrounding nature? Speaking of nature, the castle has miles of hiking trails around it and Kenoza Lake, as well as a tennis court and children’s playground.
If you’re into history, you may also appreciate learning about how Haverhill got its nickname as the “Queen Slipper City” by visiting the Buttonwoods Museum. There you’ll see a collection of shoes and shoe-making tools that put the city on the world map for its large shoe manufacturing back in the day. The city is also the birthplace to American poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier. His Haverhill home currently serves as a museum.
Haverhill Reason #7: Family-friendly Festivals
Nothing brings people together like festivals do. Haverhill knows how throw several annual events.
Here’s a short video I made about the annual Kids Festival:
One of my favorites is the Christmas Stroll, a downtown event that draws residents and business owners each year to see Santa and the Christmas tree lighting. Additional activities include cookie decorating, writing letters to Santa, and a giant life-size snow globe! Haverhill sure does enjoy Christmas festivities. Don’t forget about the Haverhill Santa Parade, a completely separate event of its own.
I can’t forget to mention the River Ruckus festival, which features live music, vintage cars, Kids Zone, food vendors and a fireworks show. Speaking of which, the 4th of July fireworks in Haverhill is AH-mazing! There’s no bad view and it’s easy in and easy out compared to Boston where you have to reserve a spot hours in advance. I’ve literally shown up 10 minutes before showtime and had a great experience.
There’s also the annual Tattersall Farm Day, the Children’s Halloween Party at Winnekenni Castle…..the list of festivities goes on and on. It’s a lot!
So there you have my favorite reasons for moving to Haverhill. So let’s get into…
Cons of Haverhill MA
#1 Con of Haverhill: Too Many Hills
I’m not exactly certain how Haverhill got its name, but it was named appropriately and there must be a reason why residents in the town are called “Hillies.” As the name suggests, Haverhill has a lot of hills… rolling hills. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it adds to the beautiful landscape and views. The hills are only an issue when you’re trying to drive on them during the winter– in the snow. New England can get a lot of snow (hello Nor’easter!), and Haverhill is no exception. Having a vehicle with all-wheel drive is helpful if you’re thinking of moving to Haverhill. The city does try to keep up with street plowing for the most part, and you can certainly get around the city by avoiding the hilly parts. Aside from the Ward Hill business area, it’s mostly residential areas where you’ll see the steepest of hills.
#2 Con of Haverhill: Run Down Areas + Businesses
I can certainly appreciate old architecture, but some of the buildings or storefronts appear overdue for a re-haul. It’s not a pretty sight driving in from Exit 49 off Highway 495 to downtown Haverhill. You’ll see rundown rental homes owned by landlords who don’t keep up with curb appeal. I can’t say I get a good feeling when I drive past that area, especially Welfare Records– which is a legit store! Now don’t get me wrong. There are some stunning neighborhoods in Haverhill that belong in a magazine and then there are some neighborhoods where I wish the homes would be knocked down and built from scratch. There. I said it.
I hope the city continues its trend of remodeling downtown to attract quality businesses .I’m hopeful seeing the changes in recent years that the city is heading in a positive direction. As I write, there is a 10-story, luxury mixed use building being built in downtown Haverhill that will house luxury apartments and a culinary arts center for the Northern Essex Community College.
Final Thoughts on Moving to Haverhill
Whether you’re definitely moving to Haverhill or just considering it, you can see now why Haverhill is the great place to be live, work and play in. It’s an awesome city for everyone: young people, families and older folks.
If you’re seriously thinking about moving to Haverhill, or just have a few more questions about the area, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Shoot me a text at 781.864.7372. I can provide you information on anything, or at least point you in the right direction.
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