South Berwick was settled as part of Kittery’s North Parish in 1631 and shares a history with Berwick until its incorporation in 1814.
The area was known for the large straight white pines that were highly valued for the ship masts of the British Navy, and a sawmill was in early operation on the Salmon Falls River. Abandoned in 1690 after the town was razed by natives, the town was resettled in 1703 and was called Newichawannock, the Abenaki word for “river with many falls.”
South Berwick was successful in milling as well as shipping, and its prosperity in the 1700s is evidenced by the many large Colonial era homes set on broad lawns. An example is the Federal style Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center, circa 1774. The house overlooks the village center, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another example is the Jonathan Hamilton House, a classic Georgian mansion built in 1785, which sits on a bluff overlooking the Salmon Falls River. Owned by Historic New England, the house is a museum and is open for tours and events in the summer.
South Berwick is growing--the population has increased 8% since 2000 to approximately 7,500 and home values in that time have more than doubled. Crime remains significantly lower than the national average, and unemployment is low.
Bordered by New Hampshire and Eliot Maine, South Berwick provides an easy commute for work and is only a short distance from the Maine coast and some of the most beautiful beaches in the state.
Recreational opportunities abound, as the town boasts terrific hiking at Vaughn Woods State Park and the 171-acre preserve of Orris Falls. Hot summer days feel much cooler when you launch your boat from the small dock near the Counting House Museum and spend the day on the river! When the snow flies, skiing or tubing down volunteer-run Powderhouse Hill is a hit with South Berwick residents of all ages.
School in South Berwick is shared with Eliot, and the Marshwood High School is ranked eighth in Maine and received a National Silver Medal from U.S. News & World Report. Since 1791, South Berwick has also been home to Berwick Academy, a private prep school.
On the last Saturday in June, South Berwick hosts the Strawberry Festival, which includes shops, food, games, and trolley rides. In September the town hosts the Pumpkinman Triathalon and Running Festival, with a harvest feast on the last day. There are many fine restaurants in the area, but if you ask a local In South Berwick where to go for dinner, you will often be told Fogarty’s. This family-run restaurant has been an icon in the town for over fifty years.
South Berwick is a small, friendly town near the coast in southern Maine. It boasts excellent schools, easy commutes to points north and south, and abundant recreational opportunities. Explore homes for sale in South Berwick by clicking on the town link below, then give us a call and we'll show you around this great community!
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