Jeff Novotny’s parents moved to Nashua in 1972 after his father’s company set up shop in Chelmsford. In looking for a place to raise their three sons, they couldn’t resist settling just over the New Hampshire border, where they’d enjoy the benefit of no sales tax and the bonus of being within an hour’s drive to beaches, mountains, and cultural centers like Boston.
Novotny recalls that no matter what time of year it was, he and his brothers would spend their days outside with other neighborhood kids, either in their own backyard, which was the perfect size for baseball games and therefore a main gathering spot, or at the nearby playground. “We were outside all day every day. Even if it was bad weather, we were out,’’ he said.
It was all they needed. “It’s amazing, when you’re a kid, your world is so small.’’
Now, as an adult, Novotny is rediscovering the city as a mail carrier for the US Postal Service — and it’s a much bigger world than he once thought. Not only is he finding neighborhoods and streets he never knew existed, he’s seeing just how much the city has changed. He particularly enjoys when he is sent out on a route that brings him to the renovated mill buildings downtown, where he can look at photos displayed in the lobby of them in the 1800s, when the Merrimack River helped power the city’s booming textile industry.
He’s also a fan of delivering in his old neighborhood and running into former classmates.
“I like the nostalgia of delivering to the house I grew up in. I like seeing the names of people I went to school with, knowing it’s their parents and they’re still around,’’ Novotny said.
And this daily, on-the-job trip down memory lane has brought him back to his youth in more ways than one: Once again, even when the weather is bad, you’ll find him outside.
Nashua’s ranking on a list of the most racially diverse places to live in New Hampshire, according to US Census figures.
The number of children born in the United States in 2006 who were named Nashua — the year of its highest popularity, according to ourbabynamer.com. It was the 11,633rd
most popular boy name in 2016.
How many minutes MapQuest says it will take you to get from Nashua to Boston at non-peak traffic times
The number of times Money magazine named Nashua the Best Place to Live in America. (The city won in 1987, the first year Money did the rankings, and again in 1997. In 2016, Nashua was No. 16.)
The year the town of Nashua divided into two townships because residents north of the river were enraged over plans to build a town hall on the south side. The state Legislature approved the chartering of a new town north of the river, calling it Nashville. Eleven years later, the two towns resolved their differences and came together as the City of Nashua.
Job opportunities . . . and shopping
The opioid crisis
Nashua has not escaped the national opioid epidemic. In fact, it was recently the setting of a Washington Post story that examined the crisis’s grip on New England. But Nashua’s mayor, Jim Donchess, has been aggressive in addressing the issue, forming a task force two years ago and launching the Safe Stations program, which has been credited with helping get more than 1,000 people into treatment.
Chris Morris, the Globe’s Travel and Food editor, can be reached at [email protected]. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp.