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Old 04-14-2010, 02:14 PM
 
325 posts, read 573,227 times
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Default Where to live for commutes to Cambridge (Kendall) and Billerica

I'll be moving to Boston/Cambridge area with my husband soon for a new job that I'm starting with a company in Cambridge (near Kendall T area). My husband's job will require him to commute to a company in Billerica. We are going to rent for awhile, and eventually buy. We are in our early 50s and no kids - so schools are not an issue. We are looking to rent a single family home and had been thinking about Arlington, Belmont, Watertown and Newton. Would any of these towns be more amenable to the Cambridge/Billerica commutes? (We'll probably both be driving to work.)

I have Newton on the list as there seems to be alot of single family homes for rent and there is also the T going into Boston - might be convenient for when we want to go to concerts or go into the city for other events not to have to drive.

Thank you!
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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Me again ... so in mapping this out, it seems like our best options would be either Arlington, Arlington Heights or Winchester. Can anyone compare these communities regarding commuting, town centers with restaurants and shopping, grocery stores, ease to get both into Boston for concerts and other activities, and ease of meeting other people (considering we don't have kids.)

Thank you!
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 7,723,367 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breezy1 View Post
Me again ... so in mapping this out, it seems like our best options would be either Arlington, Arlington Heights or Winchester. Can anyone compare these communities regarding commuting, town centers with restaurants and shopping, grocery stores, ease to get both into Boston for concerts and other activities, and ease of meeting other people (considering we don't have kids.)

Thank you!
Arlington Heights is section within Arlington. Arlington Heights has a small downtown area (Mass Av and Park Av), and Arlington Center is a bigger downtown.

Arlington is now a somewhat trendy kind of place (for a suburb) with a burgeoning restaurant scene and a lot of young couples and families who like to take advantage of Cambridge and Boston, but may be priced out of there or had school worries. Let's say it wasn't so much like this when I was a kid there. It was more blue collar then. That feel remains in some parts of town, but not in most others.

Winchester is, on the whole, more upscale and expensive than Arlington. It has a nice downtown as well, maybe smaller than Arlington Center. Kind of an executive town, and the young families there tend to be quite affluent. Without kids, it may be harder to meet like-minded people there.

To get to Boston or Kendall from Arlington, you can drive in (25-30 mins w/o traffic on Fresh Pond Pkwy/Storrow Drive) or take the Red Line from Alewife, at the end of the line. There's a garage there ($7 a day) or a bus to the station.

From Winchester, it's a very quick drive into Boston on 93 (when no traffic), or there are commuter rail stops at Wedgemere and Winchester Center, under 20 mins to North Station. Winchester to Cambridge, including Kendall, is a little more circuitous.

To Billerica, assuming a drive on Route 3, it's the same difference unless you live in Winchester right off Route 3. That's an expensive area with few rentals anyway. If you do it from Arlington, it's better to learn back roads to Route 3 and avoid Pleasant St (Route 60) in Arlington Center.
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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I agree that Arlington might be a good option for you. Cambridge and Billerica are in such different areas that there really isn't a perfect in between spot. The closest inbetween options are probably Arlington, Lexington and Winchester. The other poster is right that you can take a back way from Arlington that leads you to Rte 3.

The commute to Cambridge from Arlington isn't far in miles, but the traffic can hold you up. Stop lights, pedestrians, busses everywhere. It actually might be just as easy to park at Alewife T station and take the Redline a couple of stops to Kendall, unless your job is providing a parking space right in Kendall (Note: Parking garages are very expensive.)

One other area I'd suggest is West Medford, which borders Arlington. Sometimes you can find single family houses for rent there too. Not a lot of them but it's another option in the same general area.

As far as meeting people, I wouldn't worry. There are lots of activities to get involved in where you are bound to meet people.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Thank you for all the information - it's very helpful! We are leaning towards Arlington or Arlington Heights. Winchester sounds nice, but we ideally want to be in a more "trendy" area close to restaurants and shops. I could be wrong, but I get the sense that Winchester may be more oriented towards upscale families? We do want to be around more like-minded people (as one poster put it), but we do want to be in an area that is very nice and with somewhat of an upscale feel to it.
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:53 PM
 
Location: North of Boston
1,485 posts, read 2,074,877 times
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I would think you want to be along the Route 3 or 93 corridor so I would say Burlington or Woburn would both be likely towns to find a decent stock of rental properties.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:49 PM
 
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Burlington or Woburn aren't exactly what I'd call "trendy," however. The locations would be better for the commute to Billerica than for getting to Kendall Sq., though a commute to Kendall Sq. would be sort of okay from those towns. Burlington and Woburn are classically suburban towns, though. Doesn't sound like what the OP is looking for.

Breezy1, you have it about right about the general tone in Winchester. Arlington (including Arlington Hgts.) sounds like the best bet for a somewhat more trendy feeling with a decent commute to both locations. The only possible downside is that the first part of the trip from Arlington to Boston by public transit would be by bus. The bus will get you there, but may be slowed by traffic.
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:19 PM
 
325 posts, read 573,227 times
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How about Newton - What would commutes to Billerica and Cambridge be like from there? It is more mileage than Arlington to Billerica - but I suppose that more depends on traffic patterns rather than mileage.
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