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Old 04-06-2012, 07:55 PM
 
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My wife and I will be retiring this summer and want to move from Tucson to the Boston area. I've been reading lots of posts here, but haven't found any that address our situation specifically.

After doing a lot of research, it appears that the northern or northwest suburbs of Boston will best meet our needs. We're in our late 50's and are in good physical shape and have plenty of energy.

We'll be looking for a house with a yard in a nice neighborhood in the low $400's hopefully. (We know that we'll be spending significantly more for housing than we do now in Tucson.) We're hoping to find a nice, charming town with decent restaurants and shopping nearby, low crime, and a friendly place with a sense of community. We also would hope to go on a lot of day trips to interesting historical/cultural/natural points of interest.

Any suggestions welcome. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:55 PM
 
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If you're okay with having a pleasant but not so active residential neighborhood as your immediate surroundings and driving a fairly short distance for shopping, restaurants, history, etc., you might check out Littleton and Acton. This also depends how far out from Boston you'd like to be, as those towns are out a fairly good distance, though not so far as to make Boston inaccessible by any means. Both towns also have commuter rail access, which enhances the options for getting into Boston.

I suggest these two towns because they have some relatively--by the standards of the Boston area--modest prices on many properties, and are close to Concord, which has more in the way of shopping and dining than most other towns in that vicinity in NW exurbia, and of course Concord has some, um, reasonably well known historical and cultural sites. I'd suggest Concord itself, but housing there is on the expensive side. If you were to find a property to fit your budget in Concord, it would be worth checking out for sure, but finding this in Concord would probably be a long shot at best.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:49 AM
 
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Ogre has the right idea. It surprised me a bit at first, but you run into a fair number of retirees around Concord (one couple moved up from FL to be close to grandkids and loves it). If you truly want a SFH with a yard, I would suggest nearby Maynard. It was a former mill town that's gone more white collar (the mill now holds everything from Powell Flutes to Monster.com). It has a nice downtown and it's affordable for the area (its schools aren't upper echelon so it helps keep the prices down).

The other option is townhouse-like living in Concord. These are in West Concord but there are condos in Concord Center (things typically get more expensive as you get closer to Concord Center). Otherwise, it will be difficult to find a SFH in Concord around $400k. Good luck.

Last edited by CaseyB; 04-07-2012 at 08:29 AM.. Reason: realtor listing
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:03 AM
 
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I would go for Beverly, you don't care about the schools, live near the ocean! Woods are everywhere but the coast is not. Learn to sail. Beverly is charming and somewhat diverse and has a small town vibe but with an artsy feel with restaurants and shops and two small colleges. For more of an artsy vibe but further north on the coast you can try Newburyport which has stuff to do but is more isolated.

You will have years to drive the 40 minutes to Concord to look at history and walk the trail but you don't need to live there. Maybe that is just my retirement dream, I would choose 5 minutes to the ocean and 40 minutes to "history."

There are many north shore towns with small town vibes and a couple of restaurants, they should all be relatively affordable since they don't have great schools (mostly). Beverly is the closest in and most bustling (other than Salem) and has proximity to the North Shore mall for retail and possible some big box stores in Danvers.

Last edited by SoFresh99; 04-07-2012 at 08:15 AM..
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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In the north shore, I would pick Gloucester, Ipswich, Newburyport, or Rockport (in increasing expense). Rockport is probably too expensive. Gloucester is similar to my previous example of Maynard but it was a fishing town, not a mill town. Ipswich might have the best balance of cost and amenities; it would be my choice in the area. Cheaper alternatives to Newburyport are nearby Amesbury, or if you want something bigger, Portsmouth (NH). Salem is historic and has a great funky vibe, but I wouldn't call it the safest or idyllic for retirees. Beverly is boring.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFresh99 View Post
You will have years to drive the 40 minutes to Concord to look at history and walk the trail but you don't need to live there. Maybe that is just my retirement dream, I would choose 5 minutes to the ocean and 40 minutes to "history."
Yes, if you prefer to live a somewhat secluded life on the ocean and only want to do "touristy history" once in a while, there are plenty of affordable options in coastal New England. The misunderstanding by transplants and even locals is that Concord is for visiting the Old North Bridge, Walden Pond, Minuteman Park, and the different houses owned by the literary giants. This is understandable as this is the famous, public face of the town.

What people can't experience during a weekend visit from a place like Waltham or Beverly is the year round fabric of the town. Concord's touristy past is celebrated (tolerated by the more curmudgeony locals), but it's not Williamsburg or Sturbridge and it doesn't try to be. It's a living, breathing, ever evolving town full of artists, modern literary folks, entrepreneurs, etc. This is why people stay even into retirement age, not for Walden Pond and Old North Bridge (though they are appreciated and conserved with vigor). It's invigorating to live in a town that cherishes its past but looks to the future. Local writers want to be inspired by Emerson, sculptors by French, conservationists by Thoreau, etc. Sounds simple, but most towns either don't have a deep past, don't treasure it when they do (at least when it counts), or have perverted it for profit to the point of losing its appeal for locals not turning a profit.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:51 PM
 
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Thanks for all the great ideas.

How big of a deal is it to go to Boston to enjoy the museums, sports, entertainment, restaurants, etc., from the North Shore? Is it too big of a hassle except on weekends or if we were able to stay overnight?
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:37 PM
Status: "hibernating" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: New England
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It's easy--most towns have a train station.

I would recommend Newburyport but if you don't care about ocean it doesn't matter that much and you could go anywhere.

Newburyport is a fun place with tons of shops and lots going on. A wonderful library too. It seems to have a somewhat older vibe, not a kiddie place. The homes are to die for -- if you appreciate old sea captain mansions on picturesque streets and all sorts of beautiful Victorians.

You can easily get to New Hampshire for some more rural areas and tax free shopping. You can get to Boston on the T (train.) It's surprising what Newburyport has to offer even though it's surrounded by little rural beautiful towns. In Amesbury, to the north, there is a lot of alternative culture and in Salisbury there is Blue Ocean Music Hall with shows where you sit overlooking the ocean.

I think Newburyport has more newcomers than a lot of places and might be easier to make friends and break into the goings on. It's good for walking and if you go to nearby Plum Island you have natural beauty and you can walk to your heart's content, also bike and swim, birdwatch, and take photographs of nature.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:07 PM
 
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Here is the transit service page with the commuter rail map and links to the timetables: MBTA.com > Commuter Rail Maps and Schedules. The Newburyport/Rockport line serves most North Shore towns that are actually on the coast.

Even driving to Boston does not have to be limited to weekends. Traffic is usually light to moderate in the evening, and even during the daytime is not discouragingly heavy as long as you stick to midday hours.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:59 AM
 
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If willing to live in a very nice condo or townhouse as opposed to SFH, I'd happily recommend Concord for every reason- a lovely town to live in and walk in, restaurants pretty handy, and a quick jump into Boston/Cambridge by train or car (where, I will confess, there are endless restaurants of interest).
I think the main thing is how the OP plans to spend their average day, as "going somewhere" is likely to be not an everyday thing. People do tend to end up spending more time in their own neighborhood areas than than on the road for everything.
If insisting on a SFH, I agree that Acton or Littleton would be fine. However, they'd be driving for most or all interests, even if it is a short drive. (Believe me, I know where every decent restaurants is in that area).
Best wishes on the move!
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