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Old 09-05-2013, 05:57 PM
Location: Boston
7,394 posts, read 15,382,792 times
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I think Versau hit the nail on the head. Cliff and Bob gave great insight into the Mass resident's perspective on things.

In general, things are far more condensed in the Boston area than they are in the DFW area which is sprawling. Dalls, for example, has 1.2 million people living in an area of nearly 400 square miles. Boston has 640,000 people living in fewer than 50 square miles. As you can tell just from glancing at the numbers, Boston packs far more people into a smaller area. You'll notice this almost immediately when viewing places to live near Boston. While the DFW area sprawls further than the Boston area, you'll find that you need to live a bit further from downtown Boston to find the same level of "space" thay you find in many Dallas neighborhoods. The two areas are developed entirely differently.

I tend to agree that Route 128 (it's also route 95 for the same stretch, so don't be confused when people use them interchangeably) forms the boundary of the "inner" suburbs. Those are the older, more urban suburbs of Boston. If you were to overlay a map of Dallas on that area, just about everything inside of Route 128 would be within the Dallas city limits.

I-495 does form what is generally viewed as the boundary for Boston's suburbs. Most suburbs in this area are lower density and you'll find a higher percentage of newer homes in this area. Still, there are urban pockets in and on the i-495 boundary, and many of the suburbs here were originally old, independent villages before the Boston suburbs expanded to include them. It's an interesting juxtaposition where a very old historic village becomes the center of a sprawling suburb. As a result, many suburbs have small, walkable town centers. These are in high demand.

I would add that 3 "satellite" cities form the boundaries of what most consider the extent of the Boston area. to the North, Manchester NH, to the West, Worcester MA, and to the South, Providence RI. These cities are secondary urban hubs on the periphery of the Boston area. Many people live in and around these cities and commute to Boston although the commute is rather lengthy (Providence and Worcester have both commuter rail and Amtrak service. All three have bus service). Once you move beyond those cities, you've really left what is considered reasonable for a Boston commute.

Also, highways and secondary roads are not in as good of condition or as easy to navigate as roads in Dallas. While you may find that a community is a similar distance from Boston as a community you lived in down in the DFW area, the commute may be far more difficult by car than the Dallas commute. Definitely try the commute at rush hour to see what you're in for before you commit to a place.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:14 PM
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Thanks, Irfox. Great insight. I think "condensed" was the perfect word to describe what I've been thinking. Everything is there just on a smaller scale. Most things in DFW are huge and built for convenience but very little is built with any real significance. You can drive with ease for miles and miles on one of the glorious 10 lane highways but it's hard to tell you've moved because the scenery never changes. It's an endless strip of cookie cutter suburbs.

We vacationed in Scituate a couple of years ago and the area has really stuck with us. So much character and charm and the fact that you can't go two feet without tripping over history really brings out my inner dork.

The COL is slightly terrifying and would be a difficult adjustment. The rent is so much higher along with basic food and household items and the utilities are just strange. And what's up with that state income tax thing?! Wow! I'm thrifty though and would not miss too many of our disposable income indulgences which usually stem from boredom anyway.

I don't think the climate change would be that hard. I can't say I'm a fan of the cold and I've never been properly snowed in. I do have a nightmarish vision of a long drawn out episode staring me and my 4yr old bundling up and trekking through the snow to buy milk at a tiny little market way down the road. If I can make it through the 6 scorching months of living in Satan's butt crack during a Texas summer. I can handle a few flakes.

I know this sounds like I'm trashing my homeland but that's not my intent. I love being a Texan but I think I could love Boston too.
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:47 PM
Location: Dallas
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OK, the outer limits of Metro-Boston are always debatable. Some folks will say Boston ends at Mass Ave and then you're in Roxbury. But people are still wearing Red Sox hats all the way from Martha's Vineyard to Pittsfield to the Canadian border. I used to live in Providence and commute to work in Boston everyday. It was 45 minutes optimally. I had friends who lived in Maine and worked in Boston. In fact, I knew one lady who lived in NEW JERSEY and worked in Boston!

Definition of suburb. Yes, your perspective on that will change. From my POV, Dallas is one big suburb with no city except a few blocks in Downtown. Everything else looks suburban to me. Boston is very dense and very urban.

Rural? Well I see rural areas in Plano and McKinney. Big empty tracts that do not exist anywhere in New England east of Worcester. But that's because New England is more like Europe - laid out like hamlets - due of course to the fact it developed long before the automobile. So there is space between the towns - but never any truly empty space. No huge farms. No vast grazing lands. You have mountains to the west and north then ocean to the south and east.

I disagree with DWP btw. Asking about Boston suburbs is perfectly proper here.

Boston is definitely bursting with history and culture. I spent 15 years exploring it. It's a fascinating place. You got Algonquins, Vikings, Pilgrims, Puritans, Witches, Revolutionaries, Abolitionists, Academics, Immigrants, Mobsters, - you name it. Bostons thick rich history can be sensed and felt every step of the way through town. In just a few minutes you can get off Washington's bar stool, Walk past Mary Chilton (Mayflower), Sam Adams and Paul Revere and go sit in the oldest pvblic park in the USA (Boston Common).

One of the huge advantages to Boston is the wealth of natural amenities. You can stroll by the Charles. You can go enjoy a walk by the Ocean every day (except winter) at Castle Island. There are interesting hills in Brookline and Mt Auburn. Tranquil to lively seaside resorts in every direction. Mountains to the north and west. And when you get up to Montreal, you actually discover some flatlands similar to the midwest.

Boston has high energy high density areas that don't exist in Texas. Like Harvard Sq, Newbury St, Boston Common, Quincy Market etc. These areas have no rival for human energy except NYC, the Loop during the workday and SF. At the same time, you can get away from it all in quiet oceanside locations and quaint little places.

Dallas is this kinda constant medium. No matter where you go from Plano to Ft Worth - it's pretty much all the same. That's due to the fact everything was built in the past 50 years. There's a lot of variety in New England. Whole neighborhoods each built in far different eras - from the 1600's to present. And BOS also has distinctive ethnic character to various neighborhoods which is fun.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to Boston is the location in the very densely developed part of the country - the Bos-Wash Corridor. I'm planning a trip to New England next month and this time I'm landing in DC. I'll spend a couple days biking around Georgetown and the national Mall and visit the Museums. Then I'll catch the Megabus to NYC for $11. Then I'll transfer to go to Dad's house in Albany for $1. Hang w Mom for a while then go meet the wife and kids in Boston Logan and spend some time in the Hub before I go back to Western Mass for a wedding. So it is entirely possible to be in DC, NY, and BOS all in the same day. Not to mention if you have a little more time, Philly, Baltimore, Montreal, and Toronto are not far either.

But yes, cost is an issue. It is simply not as cheap as Dallas. You can get to Dallas prices about 50 miles out from BOS - Worcester in the west, Salisbury north, and Attleboro south. You don't get the bang for the buck for your real estate, but what you do get is a wealth of natural resources and public amenities. Just the public parks there are wonderful - the Emerald Necklace, the Esplanade, Castle Island, the endless little gems along the seashore. Not to mention you are about 4 hours closer to Europe. The access to to the immense wealth of NYC could never be understated. A stroll in Central Park on a whim is an option not available in Texas.

Now if you just want to live in your backyard flipping burgers, DFW is better. But if exploring someplace different - more connected to history - well BOS is a good option.

I find the Dallas summer just as awful as the Boston winter. I' haven't sat out for a month, and I'm getting weary of this. Looking forward to the last 90 something day. You'll get weary of the below freezing weather up there too.

You'll also be challenged by the high level of competition up there. Dallas is a moderately paced society. Boston is high pace and high competition. It's just a factor on density of people competing for the same resources. They rush and push.

Interestingly, they don't wreck on the highways like they do down here. I assume that is because they don't drive as much, so people aren't fried from it. Nor are they complacent. People in dallas are complacent drivers. If you drive complacently in Boston, you'll kill somebody early on.

Well anyways. I wish I was in the Hub right now sitting out on Castle Island rather than under my ceiling fan.

Last edited by xS☺B☺s; 09-06-2013 at 08:05 PM..
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:15 AM
1,705 posts, read 3,233,845 times
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Terrific post (as usual), sX!
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