Philips Exeter Academy

Above, an early morning view of Philips Exeter Academy, a short walk from Downtown Exeter

Exeter, New Hampshire, founded in 1638, is a quintessential New England town of about 15,000, located in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region, and the home of Phillips Exeter Academy, one of the oldest secondary schools in the United States, renowned also for its grand Georgian architecture. 

Exeter is steeped in American history and possessed of an understated charm that comes from its combination of history, culture, and natural beauty.  Central Exeter, with its picturesque and eminently walkable downtown, featuring an array of boutique stores, art galleries, and local restaurants, also features a well-preserved blend of architectural styles, from Greek Revival mansions to Federalist and Victorian styles; many buildings display historical plaques that narrate their past.

One of Exeter’s key historical sites is the American Independence Museum (pictured at right), which houses an original copy of the Declaration of Independence as well as other displays chronicling the town’s involvement in the Revolutionary War.

Three US Presidents, Franklin Pierce, Chester Arthur and Grover Cleveland attended Phillips Exeter Academy

Exeter is an easy day-trip from Boston, (MAP) about an hour by car, or a one-stop ride on AMTRAK from Boston’s North Station, and truly a must-see destination (less than 15 minutes from Hampton Beach and 20 minutes from Portsmouth) for any visitor to the New Hampshire Seacoast with even a passing interest in history and half a day to spare. 208