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Thread summary:

West / South of Boston: reasonable commute, ethnic mix, residential suburb, yard, schools

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Old 08-14-2007, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Palm Coast, FL & Floral Park, NY
563 posts, read 2,398,676 times
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Hello everyone--

I am looking for some quick advice. I feel like I am in limbo and not sure where I am going to wind up in the near future. I am familiar with the Northeast and all things associated with it (ex. weather, cost of living, taxes, etc), having grown up on Long Island. I am currently teaching high school in Northeast Florida, after teaching for a few years on Long island. My fiancee is currently a nurse on Long Island and we have been discussing where we may want to set our roots after we get married next year. Florida is out of the question. She has no desire to live here. As she stated, its a nice place to visit but she does not see herself living here. I am pretty much open to all possibilities. I never planned to live in Florida forever, and I do miss the four seasons of the northeast. We have discussed living on Long island, considered CT, looked into NH, and she has had this fascination with Massachusetts and working in the Boston area for as long as I can remember (we are high school sweethearts). So, long story short, we are going to have one day this weekend to kinda take a brief but quick tour of some of the surrounding suburbs and towns to the west and south of boston. A few towns on the list to just see what they are all about are Newton, Franklin and I think she mentioned Easton. Any feedback on these towns? Any info or suggestions on any other places we should check out? Basically, we are just going to wander and see what vibes we get from the surrounding areas and then come back to the area when we have more time to do some better research and exploration. This is just more of an out an about scouting mission. Any information any of you may have would be greatly appreciated. I have read a lot through out all the different state forums and threads. There is a wealth of info on here and I am sure this thread will be just as helpful. Thanks in advance for any info or feedback anyone can provide.


PS.
If its any help, 30-40 mins outside of Boston from a commute standpoint would be what she would consider acceptable if she worked in the city. Thanks again
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:49 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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I would offer to help, but my knowledge of Massachusetts is limited to areas north of the city (Cape Ann and points north). I have a client, also a nurse (@ Mt. Auburn Hospital & Lahey Clinic) who had considered staying in Mass to be closer to work, but settled in Londonderry NH for quality of life, schools, etc.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:54 PM
 
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Default What characteristics do you want in a town?

People could help more if they had some idea what characteristics you're looking for in a town (whether you want a town that's suburban, kind of in the country, a little more urban; how much shopping and entertainment you want nearby, and what kinds; whether quality of schools is important; how much you can spend on a house; how long a commute you can handle; whether you have any preference regarding political leanings, socio-economic and ethnic mix, etc.).

Of the towns you mention here, I'm most familiar with Newton. I have a general picture of Franklin, and am unfamiliar with Easton. Franklin is out a good distance from Boston. It's probably close to an hour's drive away even when traffic is light. Franklin has grown a lot since the '80's, and so has kind of a new suburban feel about it. Newton is close to Boston, an older, very established community, residential suburban with a touch of urban character as well. It's largely residential, with one-family houses, a lot of well-kept older houses, but generally not especially large yards. It's a larger town, with a population of 80-90k, but is divided into distinct sections, referred to locally as "villages." Newton has no large central downtown area. Rather, each of the "villages" has its own small business district, so that each "village" has the feel of being its own separate small town, each with its own character.

Again, more details on what characteristics you'd like to find would help people tell you whether the towns you've mentioned sound right for you, or suggest other places you might consider. Good luck.
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:55 AM
 
Location: Palm Coast, FL & Floral Park, NY
563 posts, read 2,398,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
People could help more if they had some idea what characteristics you're looking for in a town (whether you want a town that's suburban, kind of in the country, a little more urban; how much shopping and entertainment you want nearby, and what kinds; whether quality of schools is important; how much you can spend on a house; how long a commute you can handle; whether you have any preference regarding political leanings, socio-economic and ethnic mix, etc.).

Of the towns you mention here, I'm most familiar with Newton. I have a general picture of Franklin, and am unfamiliar with Easton. Franklin is out a good distance from Boston. It's probably close to an hour's drive away even when traffic is light. Franklin has grown a lot since the '80's, and so has kind of a new suburban feel about it. Newton is close to Boston, an older, very established community, residential suburban with a touch of urban character as well. It's largely residential, with one-family houses, a lot of well-kept older houses, but generally not especially large yards. It's a larger town, with a population of 80-90k, but is divided into distinct sections, referred to locally as "villages." Newton has no large central downtown area. Rather, each of the "villages" has its own small business district, so that each "village" has the feel of being its own separate small town, each with its own character.

Again, more details on what characteristics you'd like to find would help people tell you whether the towns you've mentioned sound right for you, or suggest other places you might consider. Good luck.


Thanks for the reply ogre.

Even though its all preliminary you are right, narrowing it down would prob help. I would say I have no interest in urban living. I pretty much see the city as being a place I will only go to if I have a reason to. Being only 15 minutes (no traffic) outside NYC, I was never a fixture there. I would prefer it if houses were not on top of each other. If I had to peg a price range now, 350K-400-425 is prob my comfort zone. Not sure how that compares to areas. Living in Queens and on Long Island I have had my share of being able to pass something out my kitchen window to my neighbor so I guess you could say a more suburban, semi rural feel would be more appealing at this point. I would like a yard. Im used to driving around, so regular shopping that is within 15-20 minutes is fine by me. Schools are important. I know the economic make up of an area usually dictates you get what you pay for regarding schools and such. If I had to guess, about a 45 minute commute is prob going to be what the fiancee is going to find tolerable. I drive 35-40 mins to work now, albeit with no traffic. I go 30 miles. In NY, I drove 8 miles and it took the same amount of time for the afternoon drive home. Without getting into the dreaded politics topic, and for lack of better words, I would prefer to not live in a very liberal, hold your hand for everything area. Hope this helps a bit. Thanks again for the quick reply.
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Old 08-15-2007, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
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It sounds like Newton is out of your price range and except for the outer fringes, is very congested. Franklin is within your budget, has lots of transplants, and doesn't have the wierd politics. Easton is a nice town too, but there is almost nothing in Easton itself and some of the adjacent towns are really not the best (Brockton, Stoughton). Mansfield might be a possibility in that general direction.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:05 AM
 
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Some suggestions:

Millis
Medway
Franklin
Walpole
Norwood
Canton

None of these towns have stellar school systems so if you are thinking of having kids down the road, you will probably want to move. But these towns are popular, nice, low crime, etc., and might fit the bill.

I've only been to Easton once or twice and it seemed run down and really out off the beaten path. JMO
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
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Nah, Easton isn't run down, it's just that you wouldn't necessarily see all the nice neighborhoods at first glance because they are off these winding country roads (which would be no fun to drive in the winter) which are not lighted and very narrow. There really are some very nice homes there, and Borderland State Park is beautiful but it's not the kind of town that would leap into my mind as a suggestion for a young couple that are new to the state.
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:13 AM
 
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Holliston or Hopkinton might be nice for your price range, though the commute might extend to an hour during heavy traffic times. There's also a commuter rail station on the Southboro/Hopkinton line.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:58 PM
 
5,776 posts, read 14,462,820 times
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Your price range probably puts you outside of the suburbs really close to Boston. There, could be some exceptions, though, if you do a careful search. Most suburban towns are fairly mainstream politically. Given your preferences in that regard, mostly you'd want to avoid certain towns that are especially well known for leaning way to the left, and so far I haven't seen any of those suggested here. Franklin might fit pretty well in most ways, but it's outside the commuting distance you prefer.

A few more suggestions:

Nice towns, fairly close to Boston, where median house costs are above your price range, but a thorough search could turn up something: Westwood, Lynnfield, Bedford. (If you look at Bedford be careful what part of town you look in. There's an Air Force base there, and from what I understand it can be noisy in the adjacent neighborhoods.)

Nice town overall, within your commuting range, schools are pretty good overall, but not always outstanding (I hear that the middle school is the weakest link): Natick.

Somewhat of a compromise in quality, but still basically okay towns, not slums by any means: Dedham, Burlington.

The other towns suggested on this thread look good. Holliston and Hopkinton may be a little beyond the desired commute time, but may still be workable if you can have some degree of flexibility there, and both are nice, pleasant, neighborly towns, with open land and plenty of properties where you can't reach across from your kitchen to the neighbor's to loan a cup of sugar, but would actually have to walk across the yard!

Last edited by ogre; 08-15-2007 at 07:59 PM.. Reason: spelling correction
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Palm Coast, FL & Floral Park, NY
563 posts, read 2,398,676 times
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Thanks for all the advice and suggestions everyone. You've all been very helpful. We will use them as a little map and take a look when we drive around. Thanks again for all those who responded. Much appreciated
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