Wenham is even better the third time around.
“We love Wenham so much, we moved here three times,’’ said resident and town official Michael S. Lucy. Lucy and his wife, Patricia, have lived in Wenham since 1990 (with brief stints in Canada and Annapolis, Md.).
“We fundamentally prefer lobster over crabs and the Red Sox over the Orioles,’’ Lucy said. “It’s pastoral and lovely and quiet. It doesn’t have the bustle of nearby, more commercial areas. But that’s OK,’’ because when you need a grocery store or a pharmacy, you don’t have to go far.
Wenham, a town comprising roughly 8 square miles north of Boston, is nestled amid bigger communities like Danvers, Topsfield, and Beverly. Wenham has preserved much of the rural New England charm that existed when it was settled in 1636 (think antique homes, stone walls, and miles of scenic, tree-lined country roads). Residents, however, enjoy many 21st-century perks, too: Wenham’s jewel box of a town center is less than a mile from the Hamilton/Wenham commuter rail station and about a 45-minute drive to Boston.
Now “basically retired,’’ Lucy is chairman of the Finance Committee and is on the board of trustees at Wenham Museum. He also helps maintain the museum’s extensive collection of model train layouts.
He and his wife enjoy the town’s proximity to Boston (their two grown daughters live there), as well as the “wonderful cross-section of people’’ who live in Wenham.
“Different backgrounds, different ages,’’ he said. “Whether it’s economy or estate living, there’s a range. It’s really quite good that way.’’
Michael S. Lucy
The time after which, according to Wenham’s bylaws, “No child under 16 years of age shall be, loiter, or remain upon any street, highway, or place in this town … unless accompanied by or under the control or care of a parent, guardian, or other adult person.’’
Acres of parks, playgrounds, and recreational land within town lines.
Amount of scholarship money awarded since 1950 by the Wenham Village Improvement Society, a philanthropic organization that also owns the historic Wenham Tea House.
It’s greater than the sum of its parts
Wenham’s partnership with neighboring Hamilton has produced the esteemed Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District. In 2014, Newsweek placed the district’s high school 107th nationally. The two towns also share a state-of-the-art library. Both the school and library are located in South Hamilton.
Wenham’s 2015 residential property tax rate was $16.25 per $1,000 of assessed value — not the highest in the state, but certainly not the lowest.
Small-town life can be isolating unless there’s a sense of community. With its miles of sidewalks and cohesive, adorable town center, Wenham has it in spades. In just a couple of blocks, you’ll find the Wenham Museum, a favorite of children and adults for its collection of dolls and working model trains, a women’s multibrand retailer (Viola Lovely), cafe (Grassy Roots), spa-salon (M. Lekkakos), and the Wenham Tea House.
Sarah Skeie Adams is a freelance writer on the North Shore. Send e-mail to Address@globe.com.