Keene, NH and the Monadnock Region

Keene is located in the southwestern corner of the state of New Hampshire in what is known as the Monadnock Region. As a hub for smaller communities, Keene’s residential population of 23,000 swells to an estimated 60,000 during the day filling the city with workers, students, shoppers, and diners. Still, Keene retains its historic, small-town charm with sophisticated cultural attractions, access to an extensive array of outdoor activities, and highly advanced social and educational resources.

The region is considered something of a hidden treasure in northern New England with fascinating historical landmarks and a lively spirit that peaks several times a year during community events.

For more information about the City:

Main Street

Keene is known for its views of Mt. Monadnock (the most climbed mountain in the world where one can see Boston on a clear day) and its picturesque Main Street that starts with a white, steepled Church overlooking Central Square ringed with Callory Pear trees and stretching down three retail- and restaurant-lined blocks. The “widest Main Street in America,” as it was termed at one time, is still the heart of the city and a pleasant walk during any season. A stroll of the street will reveal locally-owned businesses from boutiques and consignment stores to coffee houses, galleries, artisan marketplaces, and restaurants featuring a variety of fare from elegant Mediterranean to casual home-style, intimate Thai to raucous brew pub.

Big city entertainment is also close-at-hand at Main Street’s Colonial Theatre, which schedules a varied lineup of independent films, plays, ballets, operas, and live musical events ranging from classical orchestra to acoustic rock.

Vision 2020

The Vision 2020 initiative was set in motion by Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene, the City’s main healthcare facility and strives to make the greater Keene area the healthiest community in the country by the year 2020. With the help of people like Anne Nordstrom, MBA candidate and Vision 2020 project director, as well as many other business, community, and municipal leaders, the effort has gained momentum and is close in completing the first of its three phases.

Keene Students Are Encouraged to Stay

Recruiting and retaining skilled, educated young people in the Granite state is the mission of a new incentive called Stay Work Play. This incentive encourages businesses to help pay down student debt in return for a four-year commitment to their organization.

Quality of Life

As a community, the citizens of Keene rank quality of life issues as high priorities. In 2003 a committee commissioned by the city was charged with defining Community Goals to ensure that the city’s quality of life would continue to be focused upon the areas of environmental quality, economic vitality, and social equity.

The community’s efforts in historic preservation, environmental sustainability, economic growth, land use management, cultural diversity, healthy living, and community vitality have been honored time and again. Keene has been recognized as:

  • The 3rd least economically vulnerable micropolitan town in America by Forbes magazine in November 2008
  • Among “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2003.
  • One of the top 10 Great Places to Raise a Family by Parenting Magazine in their tenth anniversary issue (May 1997)
  • The 10th best small city in the East (tied with Cortland, NY) in a book titled, The New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities by Kevin Heubusch (Prometheus Books, 1997)

Making Keene Green

Keene has long held environmental sustainability as a guiding principal in the formulation of its Community Goals. Currently the City is focusing its efforts on climate protection, conservation, and community action.

  • The Cities for Climate Protection Committee was “Created to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect the viability of the community and to protect public health, safety, and welfare.”
  • The Conservation Commission was “Created to promote the development of natural resources in the City and the protection of watershed resources of the City.”
  • The 10% Challenge is spearheaded by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (of which Keene is a member) , Clean Air-Cool Planet, and Keene’s Cities for Climate Protection. It is a “voluntary program to help small businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10%. The Challenge provides businesses with the tools and the information necessary to conserve energy in the workplace.” Katie Stoner and Sarah Harpster, both AUNE students and Municipal Climate Fellows at Clean Air-Cool Planet, worked to implement the Challenge. Read about their experiences.

Geographically situated in the heart of New England, residents and visitors have easy access to and from several popular metropolitan areas including Boston, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Montreal, Canada, Portland, Me., or New York.

Keene is the regional center for commerce, employment, and entertainment. The business community represents the full spectrum of enterprises from family-owned companies to world-wide leaders in industry.

While Keene is safely nestled in the quiet corner of New Hampshire, it enthusiastically offers residents and visitors a wide range of cultural and educational opportunities. A visit to an art gallery or museum, attendance at a play or musical performance, and fine dining all have their place on an agenda for a Saturday night.