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Old 04-21-2009, 05:17 AM
 
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Without me divulging too much about what we're looking for in a new neighborhood--other than the fact that we are looking to buy a house or brownstone--can you please compare the following areas as to their sense of community, the "type" of person best suited to live there (basic demographics and personality type), and general ethos: Concord, Lexington, Belmont, Arlington, Winchester and Medford. Thanks!
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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If you go to boston.com/realestate/community you can type in a town name and view demographic information. I think it's really hard to say what the ethos of a town would be without large generalizations. There was a funny article about this in Boston Magazine last year describing different towns' "personalities" but I take it as a bit tongue in cheek: The Best Places to Live - Boston Magazine (http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/the_best_places_to_live/ - broken link)

For the most part I'd say Concord, Lexington, Belmont, Arlington, and Winchester are areas with a well educated population and relatively high income (although perhaps more mixed income levels in Arlington than the others). I hope that's a bit helpful!
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pineforest View Post
Without me divulging too much about what we're looking for in a new neighborhood--other than the fact that we are looking to buy a house or brownstone--can you please compare the following areas as to their sense of community, the "type" of person best suited to live there (basic demographics and personality type), and general ethos: Concord, Lexington, Belmont, Arlington, Winchester and Medford. Thanks!
Hmmm. I agree it's hard to generalize about the ethos of a town, but it's kind of fun to try. Here's my take:

Concord: A liberal and genteel population, not necessarily snobbish but somewhat more standoffish than some other places. Concord Center always struck me as one of those pristine places where a Burger King (which probably wouldn't be allowed anyway) would have to set up shop in a white clapboard building and have a tasteful wooden sign. It's the most rural town on your list by far.

Lexington: Also predominently liberal. The second-most rural town on the list, but considerably denser than Concord. Larger Asian and Jewish populations, a lot of doctors and academics live there. Pretty good sense of community; a lot of town-sponsored activities. Lexington is interesting to me because, while there are some gorgeous old New England houses in the center and some beautiful country roads passing through, a lot of homes in the town were built post-1950's and in some of the little developments off the main roads it feels like a suburban anytown, not one of the most historic and famous towns in New England.

Arlington: My hometown, and a mixed bag. It is much, much denser than Lexington or Concord. It's also where most of the fighting on April 19, 1775 took place, but doesn't get the credit. Arlington used to have a lot more blue-collar locals than today, but you still have people matching that description in certain parts of town. East Arlington, on the side nearer to Alewife, is mostly two-family houses and you're seeing young and crunchy Cambridge folk moving there for cheap rent. Arlington is attractive to a lot of city-oriented professionals who want better schools than in Boston or Cambridge, but don't want to be out in the boonies like in Concord. There are a lot of commuters and a much trendier restaurant scene than in 1985 or even 1995.

Belmont: My 50% home sweet home these days, and another mixed bag. I kind of see it as three towns. First, the denser 2- and 3-family houses along the Belmont St/Trapelo Rd. corridor, which offer a good amount of space for decent rents. One need not be a millionaire to live in Belmont. Believe me, I know. Second is the estate area up in Romneyland west of Pleasant St. Between those two is an area with a lot of lovely and pricy 3-, 4- and 5-bedroom single family homes with tiny little yards. We pack them in on the east side of Belmont. Belmont, despite being Mitt's home, went 2-1 for both John Kerry and Barack Obama. Historically it was an affluent WASP-dominated town and I'd venture that the people moving to from the city out to Belmont are less Prius- or organic-minded, and a bit less hip than those moving to Arlington

Medford: The most urban of the towns. There is a significant blue-collar townie population in Medford, and more black and Latino residents than the other towns (but that's not saying much). West Medford and the area near Governors Av have some very nice single-family homes that sell for much less than those in Winchester or Arlington, largely due to concerns about the schools.

Winchester: A very, very nice town. I lived there for a year and a half and it struck me as much more affluent than the Arlington of the 1980s. Winchester is, though not exclusively, a town that is home to a lot of financial executive types. Winchester residents came out for Kerry and Obama at pretty high rates too (60% or so), but it's not as solidly liberal as Lexington. Though homes are perhaps more modest heading up toward Winchester Hospital, I really can't think of a run-down or ugly area in the whole town, while I can think of such areas in Arlington, Belmont and Medford. Winchester has always struck me as a kind of pristine and prosperous place.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:09 AM
 
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Thanks to you both. This information is very, very useful!
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