A southern Maine gem at the intersection of nature and history.
The scenic Salmon Falls River separates South Berwick from Rollinsford, New Hampshire. Photographed by Rob Wright.
It’s just an hour from both Boston and Portland and 10 miles north of comparatively bustling Kittery, but South Berwick still feels plenty rural (so do its home prices). Downtown overlooks the Salmon Falls River, which divides Maine from New Hampshire, and it’s abutted by the Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region, a 30,000-acre expanse of low hills and coastal forest with 60 miles of trail, views of Mount Washington, and a claim to more plant and animal diversity than anyplace in Maine. The whole village center is on the National Register of Historic Places, as it’s dotted with neat old homes, including the Federalist mansion known as Hamilton House and 19th-century author Sarah Orne Jewett’s old place. In recent years, the once-sleepy Main Street has acquired some new energy — enough that farm-to-table restaurant Thistle Pig, which opened six years ago, just expanded its schedule to seven days a week. “The best part of running the business down here is all the familiar faces you see,” says co-owner Jen Fecteau, who’s lived in South Berwick almost a decade. “You see everyone everywhere. It has that quaint, small-town vibe.” If you want to visit this place for touristic purposes, you may want to buy a new camera.