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Old 11-24-2010, 09:00 AM
170 posts, read 373,585 times
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My husband will begin a new job in the Seaport District next month. It's just the two of us, plus our medium sized dog. We are open to renting something within an hour commute of South Station but have no idea where to start. Our budget is $2000-2500 for a 2-3 bedroom rental. We'd prefer the lower end of our budget but this is Boston, after all, and we want to keep our options open.

We currently own a home in a quiet neighborhood in another state. Having lived there for nearly 6 years, it's going to be an adjustment to live in an apartment again. However, we're excited about the new experience & are considering urban living as well as the outer suburbs. We are most concerned with living in a safe area (we are used to an upper middle class neighborhood where we regularly walked the dog at 10 pm). Because this is what we are used to, we've considered living in an apartment that's in a neighborhood--perhaps a subdivided house or a duplex or townhome. We'd have the familiar feel of the neighborhood with a price we could afford. But commute times would be longer & we aren't sure what areas would be a good fit for us.

There are some new apartment buildings in the Seaport area. They are sort of pricey but would be walking distance to work for my husband. That could be a nice perk but he feels like he might prefer living in an area that is more appealing for the non-work parts of life (closer to grocery stores, restaurants, library). So we're back to square one...where should we live?!

The flip side is where shouldn't we live. What areas would you say would not be a good fit for a 30 something couple who is used to a nice & safe suburban neighborhood? Moving to a big city is already a stretch for us so we're a bit apprehensive of anything that's too up-and-coming.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:39 PM
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How freaky is that, I just accepted a job in the Seaport District. It's just the two of us in our 30's, only difference is we have a cat. We are also moving from an extremely safe area as well. That's one of our main goals is to find an area that we can walk around without looking over our shoulder. Our budget is the exact same, the scary thing is how little you get!.
Your right there are some nice apartments in seaport, we plan to get a loft space. We looked at a couple and the extra ceiling height makes the transition from a house to an apartment more bearable. One thing I would say about Seaport though, is that it gets very quiet at night. We were walking across the bridge into that area at about 7pm and we were literally the only ones there, weird.
Keep us up to date regarding your search, we are moving hopefully early next year.
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:29 AM
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Have you looked at the North End or next door to it, the Waterfront? It is safe, about 200 Italian restaurants in an 8 block radius. It is a 15 min walk to Seaport's main street (depending on where your spouse works). There are nearby T stations (Haymarket Green line) for quick commute. You'll find several dog owners there too, and parks along the way. Try to rent from a condo to avoid college student crowd who rent in older tenement homes; they are both a blessing and curse (noisy at night in some blocks). Would def recommend calling realtors who specialize in the area.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:15 PM
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Are you guys using a broker? Have you looked at any apartments yet? We too are moving to Boston from out of state and looking for a similar set up and I do like the Seaport area.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:09 PM
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Would your husband be taking the silver line from South Station? Because South Station isn't all that close to most of the Seaport District. If you're looking to get to South Station that puts you squarely on the red line and commuter rails.

The only livable area within easy walking distance of South Station is the Leather District. It has one or two streets with restaurants, and a lot of fancy new lofts. This area is still gentrifying though - I wouldn't walk alone there at night. Another poster mentioned the North End - great area, but it's a bit of a walk to South Station, much less the Seaport District. The area I like best for access to South Station is called the South End. No, it's not "Southie" (South Boston). The South End has greatly gentrified over the last 10 years and is now an interesting mix of yuppie, gay yuppie, and upscale public housing. There are a ton of restaurants and a performing arts center on Tremont Street - more of a 30-something crowd. The South End is totally safe, except along Massachusetts Ave and further south along Albany and by Boston Medical Center. Prices range greatly depending on the street, but I've definitely seen 2-bedrooms in the $23-2500 range. Cheaper places are further south, along Washington and Shawmut. More expensive along Tremont and Columbus, because they're more centrally located. The silver line bus runs along Washington Street directly to South Station. If you find something close to the Back Bay T, your husband can catch the commuter trains that stop there on their way to South Station (best of all, the trains are free from Back Bay to South Station, so you have zero commuting costs).

The Red Line
The red line stops in Boston are either not very nice or are out of your price range. Once you get across the river, however, things open up a lot. If you're looking for a safe place with a neighborhood feel, I think Davis Square is a great option. It's the Tufts crowd, but it has a lot of young professionals as well. It's pretty safe and it has amazing food options, a cute movie theater, and decent nightlife. Porter Square is also very nice - kind of a Harvard grad student crowd, but professionals as well. If you choose something just over the line in Somerville (as opposed to Cambridge) the price drops significantly. Porter itself is pretty quiet - there's a big shopping center with a grocery, a gym, etc. - but it's less than a mile walk to Harvard Square, which has a lot of food options and a movie theater, but can be overwhelmed with Harvard kids. As for the other stops - Kendall is business oriented without much neighborhood feel, Central is hipster with great bars and nightlife but can be sketchy late at night, Harvard is out of your price range and overrun with college kids, Alewife has a big commuter parking lot and some shopping - I don't know it that well.

The Commuter Rail
The nicest suburbs feeding into South Station are Newton, Wellesley, and Natick on the Worcester line; Hingham and Weymouth on the Greenbush line, and Needham on the Needham Heights Line. Unfortunately, I have no experience with the Boston suburbs, so I can't comment on prices. I have also heard that Canton, Abington and Dedham are nice and probably less expensive, but they're farther out, too.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:40 PM
Location: Brookline, MA
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Look into Brookline, specifically near Coolidge Corner (my neighborhood), Washington Sq. or Brookline Village. I have to run, but I'll try to get back at a later time to explain more. Do a search on this site; the area gets discussed often or perhaps someone else can fill you in.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:23 PM
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We have been driving around and looking at lots of towns. Today we made it to Brookline and really loved it. I'm currently doing some searches about the area but would appreciate anything you have to add, Shiver!
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:13 AM
Location: Brookline, MA
613 posts, read 1,965,593 times
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Sorry about leaving you hanging. Holiday parties and all that. I think Brookline is a good fit because there is T access (C and D lines on the Green Line) and good bus access. Parts of it are very walkable with loads of shopping and restaurants and amenities. It's a nice range of people - some undergrad students, but more graduate types (read: less rowdy); Brookline has one of the best school districts around so lots of families; the nearby Longwood Medical areas attracts lots of medical types; and plenty of long-established residents.

The caveats are that there is no overnight parking allowed so you have to make sure you have an off-street spot/driveway/garage which isn't always included. But parking will be an issue if you move anywhere within the city. If you live near the city, you won't need 2 cars. Also, don't be surprised when you have issues because of the dog. Apartments in and around Boston (inc. Brookline) aren't always the most dog friendly. Sometimes you can negotiate around this (offer more rent, dog interview, etc.)

One place I would warn against is the Dexter Park building off of St. Paul. While it's a nice luxury building (concierge and all that) and allows dogs, BUT, a lot of BU undergrad students whose parents have money live there because it's so close to Comm Ave and BU. It can get noisy and annoying.

Feel free to ask any questions!
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:06 AM
170 posts, read 373,585 times
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Shiver, thanks for the warning about the Dexter Park building. It's a place that I had bookmarked as "possible" last night.

That brings me to my next question...where are there fewer students? We don't mind a few students but we are in our 30s (and have been homeowners in another state) so we're really not interested in having drunk college kids as neighbors or coming home to loud parties on any day of the week. Are we likely to run into that a lot in some areas over others? Where is the cut-off between a more professional area of Brookline & the more college oriented area of Allston-Brighton? We want a safe area that is walkable to the restaurants and other things of Beacon St but we don't want it bad enough to put up with crime or a lot of noise.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:51 PM
Location: Dallas
4,625 posts, read 8,530,078 times
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Right around the corner from the Seaport is City Point in South Boston. Lace Curtain Irish. Former Mayor lives there and walks with family around Castle Island every night. Castle Island is one of the best places on the planet to walk your dog, take your kids to play, etc. Very family friendly, we went there 2-3 times a week (but not in the winter!).

Castle Island Pix:

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