As fate would have it, Newfields has remained the quaint and quintessential village it is today because it was bypassed by bridge builders in 1775. The original settlement, which sprouted up along either side of an ancient Squamscott Indian trail, was sidestepped when a bridge was built to link the Newfields and Stratham sides of the Squamscott River, thus shortening the journey to Exeter. Today Newfields has noticed little change, even with the expansion of Route 101 and growth along Route 108. It continues to preserve its traditional village center, comprised of a scenic main street lined with stately maples and attractive, well-maintained colonial and federal homes.
This tiny town has a distinctive identity, gained in part by a rich history, a thriving commercial component - especially for a town its size - and a group of citizens dedicated to preserving their little corner of the world. In fact, to see more than the small slice of Newfields visible from the main roads, you must leave the beaten path and explore its meandering back roads.
Located on a map, Newfields appears as a slim band sandwiched between Newmarket to the north and Exeter to the south. The entire village encompasses only 6.6 square miles, with the village center and most of its population at its eastern end, leaving miles of rural, forested town land to the west. Winding and wooded, Piscassic Road runs east-west through the middle of this countryside, passing occasional homes that run the gamut from contemporary construction to historic farm homes.
It's easy to discover the Newfields village proper by leaving Route 108 at Route 85 and crossing the short bridge over the Boston & Maine railroad tracks. The photogenic, tree-lined town square is edged by the town office, police station, post office, churches, war memorials, village store and library. The town's elementary school and fire station are just up Piscassic Road.
The meandering Squamscott River defines the town's eastern boundary for miles. Residents enjoy boat launching and mooring privileges on the river, which leads north to saltwater Great Bay, further to the Piscataqua River and, after a 45-minute boat ride, to the city of Portsmouth and the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout Newfields' past, the river played an important role in its economic survival; now it's the dwelling place of waterfowl, fish and all types of watercraft, from sculls, kayaks and canoes to motorboats.
The privately-run Newfields Youth Athletic Association is responsible for organizing most of the recreational activities in town, including soccer, baseball and family-oriented holiday parties. Newfields' youngsters also are welcome to participate in activities sponsored by the Exeter Parks and Recreation Department.
For such a tiny town, Newfields has an unexpectedly diverse range of commercial enterprise from a large manufacturing facility to a century-old bottling company. Tucked along the Piscassic River is a campground that brings visitors each season. But all this activity still can't spoil the peaceful lifestyle Newfields residents have come to enjoy and expect.
For further information, visit www.newfieldsnh.gov.
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