Best Places: Yarmouth

One smart town.

Photo by Sara Gray</5>
Population: 8,431
Median household income:$76,777
Percent of families below poverty level:1.7%
Median home sale price: $349,255
Median age: 46
[T]he two most obvious reasons people are attracted to Yarmouth are its lovely village district and its excellent schools. Yarmouth is the only residential suburb of Portland with a distinct and intact downtown village. And the high-performing school system not only provides superb college preparation for Yarmouth students, but also creates property value for homeowners.

Yarmouth schools are among the state’s best. The Maine Department of Education gives straight As to Yarmouth Elementary School, Harrison Middle School, and Yarmouth High School. GreatSchools, which gathers information on the country’s public, charter, and private schools and whose online ratings are used by many prospective homebuyers, gives Yarmouth High its top grade of 10. And both U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek have rated Yarmouth High the second best high school in the state behind the Maine School of Science & Mathematics.

“The best thing about Yarmouth isn’t its beautiful river or downtown, it’s the people. The schools are so strong because teachers, coaches, and volunteers all care so much about the kids and community. It’s just a great place to grow up.” — Kathleen Fleury, Down East Editor in Chief

Beyond cosmetic and academic distinctions, people who move to Yarmouth discover neighbors generous with their time, talent, and treasure. Yarmouth’s motto is “Our Latchstring Always Out,” meaning that people are always welcome and locals are willing to help. And Yarmouthites put their money where their motto is.

Yarmouth citizens have invested tens of millions in their educational and cultural facilities in recent years — $20 million to renovate and build new schools, $2.5 million to renovate the Merrill Memorial Library, and $1.25 million to build the Yarmouth History Center. Hundreds of residents volunteer at the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival, which raises funds for all the booster groups, churches, and civic groups in town.

And though Yarmouth is an affluent community by Maine standards, not everyone is wealthy. So the town funds a fuel assistance program, and some 70 families a month benefit from contributions to the Yarmouth Community Garden and local food pantry.

“Yarmouth is quite blessed, not simply with relatively abundant resources, but more importantly with people who are willing to share and help if they know how,” says town manager Nat Tupper. “The town has a track record of many individuals, businesses, and small organizations who can and will marshal time, volunteers, and finances to address community needs.”

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