My family moved to the Seacoast in 1986, and it dawned on me that in 36 years, I have never met a single person from Newington, New Hampshire.

I’ve spent a LOT of time in Newington. Whether it was shopping, going out to eat, or bowling with friends, Newington has always been a part of my life.

That said, I’ve never met anyone, not a single person, who actually lives there. Newington almost seems to be a giant airport terminal; a place where you meet people from all over, except that place.

I never played against any basketball, baseball, or soccer teams from Newington when I was growing up. And a strange thing happens when you bring up Newington as well: people say “Oh, you mean Portsmouth.”

No, I mean Newington!

“Isn’t that a part of Dover?” responded someone new to the area.

I don’t even know anymore!

So, I did some research. According to the 2020 United States Census, Newington has approximately 800 residents. No disrespect, but you’ll probably run into more people at Best Buy on Black Friday. You know, the one in Newington.

Wait a minute...

Is that what Newington is?? A front settlement to house malls and stores? Are these 800 “residents” just the Geek Squad and a seasonal mall Santa?

Is it possible that "Newington" was quietly established so Portsmouth (its real identity) would not encroach on local businesses when the Newington Mall was built in the '70s?

Also, just look at its name! You need to come up with a name for a new town on the spot. "Hmmm...something that says 'New 'n' town.' Newington!!"

I’d only driven through Newington once, and I did see some houses, but no people. Not one. Nobody jogging, nobody sitting outside their house. It was like an empty studio backlot, where I was tempted to walk up to a “house” and push to see if it just fell over.

Just before hitting the publish button on this article, I drove over there again. And guess what? Nobody. Dead silence. I even got out of my car just to check. Nothing.

And then, a police officer pulled up on the other side of the road. Clear as the setting sun, "Newington" was painted along the side of his cruiser.

He asked if everything was okay, and I said it was. But it was strange. He seemed more startled to see me than I did to encounter a police officer. As you would a town of 800.

So many memories have been made in Newington, whether it was people enjoying the late Newington Mall, or walking their dogs around the Fox Run Mall. And who can forget the epic music that emanated from Chuck E. Cheese's classic cover bands?

And yet, none of those who shared their memories were actually from Newington.

After all this time, perhaps Newington is no different than Mandrake Falls.

Move aside, Devil Monkey of Danville. Newington is New Hampshire’s greatest unsolved mystery.

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