Orford, New Hampshire

Orford, New Hampshire and Fairlee Vermont

Orford, NH and Fairlee, VT (Photo credit: redjar/flickr)

Traveling north along the Connecticut River on Route 10 (Dartmouth College Highway) from Hanover, you’ll pass through Lyme and then into Orford. As a quiet Upper Valley town just south of Piermont and on the other side of the Connecticut River from Fairlee, Vermont, Orford, NH is situated on 48 square miles and is home to a population of just more than 1,200 people.

Orford is crisscrossed with a wonderful landscape of mountains and waterways and home to vast amounts of forest as well as plentiful farmland. Located along the Conn. River makes for easy access to interstate 91 in Vermont for an easier commute to Norwich, VT, Hanover, NH to the south or St. Johnsbury, VT to the north.

Town of Orford, New Hampshire

History of Orford

Orford was once a mecca of industry. In the 1850’s, Orford had a higher population than it has today with more than 1,400 residents. Located in Orford during that time was businesses such as a tannery, many sawmills, a starch factory, a sash, blind and door factory, a chair factory, more than one shoe and boot making factory and a gristmill. Orford was once a booming river town with many opportunities as a new settlement.

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, by Arthur Pond

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Originally referred to the Number Seven fort town along the Connecticut River, Orford was subsequently named after Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford. Robert Walpole was also England’s first Prime Minister, who led the government of Great Britain from 1721 to 1742.

Orford was settled by Daniel Cross from Lebanon, Connecticut in 1765 after being Chartered  along with many of the Upper Valley Towns by Gov. Wentworth in 1761.

Orford, NH Today

The town of Orford, New Hampshire is well known for its historic “ridge” homes, small businesses and family farms. The ridge homes, Built between 1773 and 1839 are wonderful examples of Federal Style homes.

Orford is located about 18 miles north of the Hanover, Dartmouth College area of the Upper Valley. It’s a nice easy drive to the Hanover area as well as a pleasant drive to several other destinations in New Hampshire. Franconia Notch State Park offers lots of outdoor adventure from hiking to camping, snowshoeing and much more.

Also just an hour drive from Orford is the Kancamagus Highway. This highway is a drive that will bring you up through the scenic White Mountains – from Lincoln to Conway. It’s best known for its fall foliage views and is designated as an American Scenic Byway. The Kancamagus rises to an elevation of just under 3,000 feet at its highest point on the flank of Mt. Kancamagus near Lincoln, NH.

Orford, New Hampshire Farms

Much of Orford is forest land which provides residents and visitors with a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hunting and much more.

The Orford boat launch, located on the Connecticut River was refurbished and reopened in 2012. It was previously a gravel ramp with little appropriate access or parking. Now able to host up to 20 vehicles and 10 trailers, the Orford boat launch is a Statewide public boating access point.

Your family can also enjoy the beaches in Orford which include Indian Pond Beach and Upper Baker Pond Beach. There is boat access at Lower Baker Pond as well. If you’re looking for a local hike, Orford plays host to a section of the Appalachian trail that passes through town as well as other area hiking trails. If you’d like more information about any of these activities, contact the town clerk.

Orford, NH Hiking Trail

Image credit: Michael Tsai

Orford’s landscape boasts Mount Cube, Sunday Mountain and Cottonstone Mountain which are homes to local farms and an abundance of hiking trails, some easy and some more challenging. Check out the list of hikes in and around Orford here.

The Vermont towns of Vershire, Fairlee and West Fairlee joined together with Orford, New Hampshire to form the Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade school system known as the Rivendell Interstate School District. This is the public school system which children from all the towns listed above attend.

Orford; A Place To Call Home

Living in a place with a diverse landscape such as Orford has many benefits. Those who enjoy outdoor activities will be immersed in nature, enjoy hiking, biking, summer and winter sports. While those who like a small town community feel will be right at home.

The median home value in Orford, NH is about $202,000. While this is a modest number, like many towns in the Upper Valley, Orford offers plenty of housing options well below and well above the median value. There truly are homes available to fit all budgets from modest, and occasionally multi-million dollar estates show up on the market.

Bountiful amounts of outdoor adventure, small town community feel make the perfect mix for a place to call home. Beautiful homes, newly built and historic homes scattered across town, make Orford a desirable town in the Upper Valley. Orford, NH is a great place to raise a family or hang up your boots during your retirement. There really is something for everyone here in Orford. It is a wonderful place to call home.

Orford Town Website »

Andrew Eaton

Andrew is a New England native and has spent the past 15 years in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont. He is a marketing guru and freelance blogger who loves all things Upper Valley.

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