U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 06-25-2011, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
124 posts, read 230,920 times
Reputation: 96

Advertisements

I am considering moving to the Bay State in retirement and living among the cultural splendors of the Boston area. Perhaps unrealistically, I want the best of two worlds: to live in a relatively serene village setting while having the ability to walk or bike around the neighborhood, shop locally, and get downtown without getting in my car. I appreciate the vitality and convenience of Cambridge (and here I want to acknowledge the tremendous help that Goy Guy and others have been in answering my questions about Cambridge), but think that it might be too much of a good thing in my later years.

I have the impression (based solely on book-learning and map browsing) that living near a Green Line station (D-line) in Newton (e.g., Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, or Waban) might come closest to what I’m looking for. Is my idea realistic? Would another area be more suitable?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-25-2011, 10:43 AM
 
132 posts, read 446,191 times
Reputation: 115
Reviews of the Green Line:

Green Line MBTA - Back Bay - Boston, MA
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2011, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 11,146,619 times
Reputation: 1494
Would it work to have a car, but not use it very often? I'm not sure I'd want to live in Newton entirely car-free, but maybe that's just me. It can be done.

As I'm sure some of those Green Line reviews point out, it can be a crowded, sluggish ride to Boston on the Green Line at times, particularly at rush hours and when Red Sox home games begin or end. That said, it's not THAT bad. From where I live, I usually take the commuter rail, which has the advantage of speed (15 mins to Back Bay, 20 to South Station) but the disadvantages of a much more limited schedule and a higher cost per trip. But when there's no commuter train coming at a convenient hour, I'll take the Green Line and it will get you there without too much trouble.

Along the Green Line Newton Centre really is the only place with enough shops that you could consider living there car-free. Newton Highlands has some but nowhere near as many. Waban's got a cute commercial district but it's a short block in length. Having a car at your disposition makes it possible to get to many more places, but you can use it sparingly.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2011, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Newton, MA
324 posts, read 945,087 times
Reputation: 272
The green line is the least reliable of all the subway lines, BUT, if you have to be on the green line, then the D branch is the least horrible, since it doesn't run on the street level. The other saving grace of the green line is that it's above ground, so if/when you get stuck on the train, at least you're not in a dark tunnel (unless you're between Kenmore and Govt. center).

If you're using the green line for "fun", rather than for commuting to work, you'll probably be very happy with it.

You can live in Newton Center relatively car free. I'd still want to have a car for weekend trips and the occasional big grocery store run, but you can definitely do day to day things in the center and/or on the T.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2011, 11:20 PM
 
132 posts, read 446,191 times
Reputation: 115
In case you're thinking of driving in the area, you'll need this (read the reviews):

Amazon.com: The Boston Driver's Handbook: Wild in the Streets--The Almost Post Big Dig Edition (9780306813269): Ira Gershkoff, Richard Trachtman: Books
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2011, 11:41 PM
 
49 posts, read 137,464 times
Reputation: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallop the Spot View Post
to live in a relatively serene village setting while having the ability to walk or bike around the neighborhood, shop locally, and get downtown without getting in my car.
Brookline Village and Newton Centre are the only two places along the D line that will meet all of those requirements. Both have nice neighborhood feel with lots of shops/eateries right around the T-stop. Both are relatively sedate in terms of residents... mostly professionals, some families (a lot in Newton Centre), some elderly, not a lot of loud college-aged kids. Brookline Village is a lot more limited than Newton Centre in terms of businesses, but still offers a lot more than Newton Highlands and plus it's only a 15min walk to the bustling Coolidge Corner that has everything you need. I will point out that neither has a large supermarket in the immediate vicinity. The closest one to Brookline Village is a Stop'n Shop about 10min walk. The closest one to Newton Centre is a Whole Foods probably about 15-20min walk. I think it's a lot to walk >10min with bags full of grocery in your retirement years.

As others have stated above, Waban and Newton Highlands will not be good options for you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-26-2011, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
124 posts, read 230,920 times
Reputation: 96
Thank you, all, for the helpful replies. On my next trip to Boston, I'll take a good look at Newton Centre and Brookline Village.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-26-2011, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,765 posts, read 11,566,728 times
Reputation: 6533
A more feasible alternative to Newton - where the scale and price of houses both tend to be oversized - could be Arlington. The section between the high school and Arlington Heights is home to both "major" (Stop & Shop) and "local" (Foodmaster) supermarkets. And for yuppie food shopping there's a Trader Joe's that shares a parking lot with a Walgreen's just before the Lexington border.

Arlington Center has somewhat evolved into a dining and entertainment destination thanks to the relaxation of "blue laws" a few years back to allow for liquor sales in restaurants. In addition to more sushi joints than can probably be sustained in the long run you'll find everything from Argentinian to "Himalayan" for "ethnic" eats as well as yuppie magnets like Flora and Tryst. The Capitol Theater shows an appealing mix of first- and second-run movies, while the Regent now mainly focuses on live shows and can be counted on for good "obscure" acts from time to time. (I've caught once-hot comedienne Paula Poundstone there, and '60s rockers Vanilla Fudge, among others - you get the picture.)

Although Arlington is fairly spread-out, as all suburbs are, the 77 bus line stitches it together nicely with its frequent runs along Mass. Ave all the way from one end of town to the other. It originates in Harvard Square, so can also be used to go to and from many Cambridge destinations. Following the same route to the Cambridge border is the 79, which then goes southwest to serve the Alewife terminus of the Red Line. There are several additional bus routes that originate at Alewife or Harvard and wind up in other parts of town; see MBTA.com > Official Website for Greater Boston's Public Transportation System.

There's good "culchah" in Arlington beyond its theaters, with active groups like Arlington Friends of the Drama and the local Historical Society. Although it's nowhere near the "Friday Night Lights" hysteria of Texas, local boosterism for the awkwardly named Spy Ponders is strong compared to many of the nearby towns and cities. The teams rarely have championship (if even winning) seasons, but the support's there anyway and I think that speaks well for a community.

An acquaintance who's "80-ish" recently sold her Arlington home of a half-century and now lives in an apartment near the center of town. She hasn't driven for many years, so between that and my own experience I know for sure that car-free living there is a viable proposition. The same can't be said for Newton by and large.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top