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Old 06-28-2012, 11:36 AM
 
12 posts, read 33,868 times
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I was recently offered a legal job in Fall River. I've been reading quite a few threads about Fall River and it sounds like a terrible place, but the pictures I've seen online aren't bad - it just seems like an old city.

I'm looking for a place to live that has access to trails for running, is scenic, has at least a few fun things to do at night and access to shopping. The size of the city isn't very important to me - I like small towns, I like big cities. I will only be making $40k/year and with my loan payments can only afford to spend about $600/month on an apartment. I'd like to limit my commute to 25-ish minutes each way (I loathe commutes).

My primary concerns are that I can find an apartment that doesn't have bugs or rodents, in a decent area of whatever town I live in. I'm not REALLY concerned about crime rates because I went to school in Washington, D.C. and know how to take care of myself. I don't particularly like suburban areas - they kinda make me claustrophobic. I'd rather live rural or urban.

My boyfriend lives in DC and I'll be flying down there at least once a month, so I'm also looking for someplace that is airport-accessible.

Would I be insane to live in Fall River? Is it a really horrible place, or does it simply have "character"? I'm not looking for something incredibly nice, but I also don't want to have bugs and peeling paint and garbage everywhere.

Edit: for more context on what I'd consider livable, I spent the last three years sharing a 1br apartment in a 50-year-old building in DC. I currently live in Duluth, Minnesota, which is an old mining town with old buildings. I actually prefer old buildings and cities with character over fancy brand new buildings and cities, as long as they're livable.

Last edited by jurisdoctorette; 06-28-2012 at 11:57 AM..
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:36 PM
 
3,244 posts, read 6,670,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurisdoctorette View Post
I was recently offered a legal job in Fall River. I've been reading quite a few threads about Fall River and it sounds like a terrible place, but the pictures I've seen online aren't bad - it just seems like an old city.

I'm looking for a place to live that has access to trails for running, is scenic, has at least a few fun things to do at night and access to shopping. The size of the city isn't very important to me - I like small towns, I like big cities. I will only be making $40k/year and with my loan payments can only afford to spend about $600/month on an apartment. I'd like to limit my commute to 25-ish minutes each way (I loathe commutes).

My primary concerns are that I can find an apartment that doesn't have bugs or rodents, in a decent area of whatever town I live in. I'm not REALLY concerned about crime rates because I went to school in Washington, D.C. and know how to take care of myself. I don't particularly like suburban areas - they kinda make me claustrophobic. I'd rather live rural or urban.

My boyfriend lives in DC and I'll be flying down there at least once a month, so I'm also looking for someplace that is airport-accessible.

Would I be insane to live in Fall River? Is it a really horrible place, or does it simply have "character"? I'm not looking for something incredibly nice, but I also don't want to have bugs and peeling paint and garbage everywhere.

Edit: for more context on what I'd consider livable, I spent the last three years sharing a 1br apartment in a 50-year-old building in DC. I currently live in Duluth, Minnesota, which is an old mining town with old buildings. I actually prefer old buildings and cities with character over fancy brand new buildings and cities, as long as they're livable.
I don't like to slam towns/cities too badly, but Fall River/New Bedford, and a bunch of others (like Providence) aren't the best places in the world.... (though you wouldn't be far from the Cape, if you like the ocean).

Flying to DC is easy out of Boston, if you live anywhere in the greater Boston area, though I think you will hate Logan Airport, as the last time I was there it was a circuitous maze, and parking was a fortune, but it is really the best way to get down to DC. The Acela train is good too (goes 150mph! and has wi-fi), but expensive, and it stops at Washington Union Station. (Having gotten lost in DC a year or two ago, because the GPS kept messing up, I will agree that there are some really rough places there )

I know Minnesota well! Was in Center City.... don't as why.

$600/month is going to be tough, unless it is in a questionable area....
Haven't lived in New England for a couple years, and I imagine prices have fallen, but still, it is not a cheap place to live.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:26 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,280 posts, read 17,324,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurisdoctorette View Post
I was recently offered a legal job in Fall River. I've been reading quite a few threads about Fall River and it sounds like a terrible place, but the pictures I've seen online aren't bad - it just seems like an old city.

I'm looking for a place to live that has access to trails for running, is scenic, has at least a few fun things to do at night and access to shopping. The size of the city isn't very important to me - I like small towns, I like big cities. I will only be making $40k/year and with my loan payments can only afford to spend about $600/month on an apartment. I'd like to limit my commute to 25-ish minutes each way (I loathe commutes).

My primary concerns are that I can find an apartment that doesn't have bugs or rodents, in a decent area of whatever town I live in. I'm not REALLY concerned about crime rates because I went to school in Washington, D.C. and know how to take care of myself. I don't particularly like suburban areas - they kinda make me claustrophobic. I'd rather live rural or urban.

My boyfriend lives in DC and I'll be flying down there at least once a month, so I'm also looking for someplace that is airport-accessible.

Would I be insane to live in Fall River? Is it a really horrible place, or does it simply have "character"? I'm not looking for something incredibly nice, but I also don't want to have bugs and peeling paint and garbage everywhere.

Edit: for more context on what I'd consider livable, I spent the last three years sharing a 1br apartment in a 50-year-old building in DC. I currently live in Duluth, Minnesota, which is an old mining town with old buildings. I actually prefer old buildings and cities with character over fancy brand new buildings and cities, as long as they're livable.
Fall River's not too bad. You hit the nail on the head with "it's an old city." It's old. It has also lost its manufacturing/textile industry base which was the backbone of its economy. The result is high unemployment (2nd highest in MA) and a fairly uneducated population. You'll find this to be more of a burden (even if you are employed) on a daily basis than you will crime. It's not a "dangerous city." It has a reputation of being rough, but it's not bad, especially compared to the worst of DC (I lived around Fall River and lived in Kensington, MD for a while). There isn't a single neighborhood where I'd be afraid to walk during the day and only a handful that I'd try to avoid at night.

I think the biggest issue with Fall River is the lack of education. The high school dropout rate is high and very few people have anything beyond a high school diploma. It may be almost snobby to say it, but having a degree in Fall River (even an Associates) is a rarity. It can be a cliquey place (many people grew up there and have never left the area) and that can really be a pain. However, "danger" isn't really an issue (except, of course, for the suburbanites who fear anything even remotely urban... they can't escape the irrational fear that setting foot in an urban area will only end in assault/robbery/murder). Most neighborhoods are perfectly OK, even if they're not what you'd describe as "beautiful" or "charming."

While the buildings may not be pretty on the outside, bugs and rodents aren't really a problem in Fall River. We dealt with roaches in the DC area and I lived in a pretty nice area. Even the bad spots in Fall River don't have bugs like we saw in DC. Rodents aren't really an issue, though mice aren't uncommon. You can easily get rid of them though.

Fall River may have nearly 100,000 residents, but it feels quite a bit smaller. It's obvious that it's a second tier city in terms of nightlife, shopping and dining (though there are some real gems... especially if you're into Portuguese cuisine). Most of the nightlife takes place to the West (Providence), East (New Bedford) or South (Newport RI). Shopping is mostly closer to Providence although there are a few malls within 10-15 minutes (Swansea, Dartmouth, Taunton, and Providence Place). FR has a few decent bars (St. James, Tipsy Seagull which is seasonal, Belmont, Taphouse, Barrett's, Battleship Brewhouse and a handful of others), but a VERY limited selection for a city its size.

If you're looking for rentals, especially in the $600 range, you're going to find them in more urban areas. MA really just doesn't have too many rentals in rural (or even suburban) areas. In Fall River, the Highlands area (a large swath of land North of downtown and 195 along Highland Avenue and Rock Street) is the nicest urban area (and it's more streetcar suburb than it is urban). It has a great historic housing stock and it's pretty safe. Very few neighborhoods are "dangerous" but I'd avoid the South End (at Sunset Hill), or Flint (though parts of it are OK). There are a few others that are iffy, but those are two of the big ones to skip. Everything else will be OK even if it doesn't look beautiful.

New Bedford will be fairly similar to Fall River (except with a MUCH nicer and more vibrant downtown area) in that a lot of it isn't pretty, but most of it isn't real dangerous. You should be able to find reasonable rentals in NB too. Concentrate on apartments near downtown as most of that area is nice. Good little nightlife scene (for a small city) and surprisingly good dining for a small city. It's an under the radar city as far as entertainment goes.

Providence is close enough (and will have all of the amenities you're looking for... it's a great little city), but $600 is going to be tough to find in a good area. I'd stick to the East Side, Federal Hill and a few other residential areas. Much of South Providence can be rough, so avoid it if you can.

You're not insane to live in Fall River (although scared suburbanites may disagree). It's perfectly fine and you've managed to solve the toughest part (you have a job!). The housing stock is older and you will find a lot of "character" in the city.

Fall River is accessible to the Providence airport (TF Green... 25 minute drive) and Boston (just under an hour). Both cities have a number of daily flights to DCA and BWI which should make getting to DC easy. Also, Providence has Acela Express service on Amtrak and Megabus (as little as $1 each way) if you want to meet your BF in NYC for a weekend. Airports aren't a problem but you will want a car.

If you can make the money work, Providence is the best place to be. It's central and it really has a lot more going on. We moved up here from the DC area and found Providence/Fall River/New Bedford to be MUCH smaller and insular. Nowhere near as bad as locals made them out to be (though Providence has gained favor over the years even locally). Still, you're in for an adjustment. If you set your expectations, it shouldn't be bad. I'm actually fairly fond of the Fall River/ New Bedford (especially NB) area now.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:25 PM
 
12 posts, read 33,868 times
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Thank you both for your opinions! I really appreciate it and the information is exactly what I wanted to know. I will likely live in Fall River for at least a year or two because of my low salary and consider Providence when I get a raise. It certainly doesn't sound like the end of the world. My job would be entirely direct client contact with people who are likely to be uneducated and/or indigent, so it's also not a bad idea to live in the same city as my clients if it would enable me to help them more.

One last question - I'm not very familiar with the south coast area. Are there decent dirt hiking trails/rural camping/outdoor activities and forested areas within easy driving distance? (i.e., less than an hour from FR?)
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:44 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,280 posts, read 17,324,582 times
Reputation: 10920
Quote:
Originally Posted by jurisdoctorette View Post
Thank you both for your opinions! I really appreciate it and the information is exactly what I wanted to know. I will likely live in Fall River for at least a year or two because of my low salary and consider Providence when I get a raise. It certainly doesn't sound like the end of the world. My job would be entirely direct client contact with people who are likely to be uneducated and/or indigent, so it's also not a bad idea to live in the same city as my clients if it would enable me to help them more.
Yeah, I think that's a good decision. I think you'll find that Fall River natives tend to have a tainted perspective of those from the outside (and understandably so given the outside's general perception of Fall River). Again, I actually really like a lot about Fall River and if you dig, there is a lot to appreciate in spite of all of the city's problem. If you look in the right neighborhoods (i.e. the Highlands), you may even get more bang for your buck than in almost any city in New England (updated unit, historic building, view, etc). Fall River is also a great jumping off point for the rest of the region. If you can get over some of the insularity, it may end up being even better than just "not the end of the world." Maybe not; but I certainly admire someone willing to try to make it work.

As a side note, Fall River schools are pretty terrible. If a family is in the immediate future, a move outside of the city or private schools (there are many options) is a good way around this.

Quote:
One last question - I'm not very familiar with the south coast area. Are there decent dirt hiking trails/rural camping/outdoor activities and forested areas within easy driving distance? (i.e., less than an hour from FR?)
Yes. There's actually quite a bit to explore on the South Coast. Within the Fall River city limits, you have the S.E. Mass Bioreserve/Copicut Woods and Freetown-Fall River State Forest which are connected. Combined they account for thousands of acres of walking/hiking trails, bike trails, and little watering holes to explore. Myles Standish State Forest is also another one with good walking trails and some camping. It's worth noting that "camping" at Myles Standish is more along the lines of campground camping and not wilderness camping. Horeseneck Beach State Resevation has camping (it MAY be only for trailers and RVs) and great coastal walking (Gooseberry Island is my favorite spot there). Lloyd State Park and the Lloyd Center are great (the center is geared towards children, but the location is nice). I also really like Allen's Pond in Westport. Blue Hills is a great place to hike (wooded, large hill with awesome views of the Boston Skyline) and that's only around an hour (less on weekends w/ no traffic) away. A little over an hour you'll find good hiking in New Hampshire and Central and Western Mass. There's plenty accessible. Maybe even more so than from the DC area.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:30 PM
 
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Fall River is not that bad. It's also not that nice. It is what it is, a city along the south coast that has undergone a transformation over the last 20 plus years. If you like Portuguese food, namely Azorean, there isn't an area in the country that will be better.

There are plenty of nice towns that are close to it. Rehoboth, Swansea, Berkeley and Freetown are just a few. They are certainly smaller than Fall River is. But Swansea for example, is located right on route 6 which has a lot of commerce on it. Seekonk is also very close and it has pretty much any store you can think of.

As far as flying down to D.C., both TF Green and Logan offer good air service. Logan, which is not nearly as bad as an above poster mentions, has more airlines that fly down there and more frequency of flights. However, You would have to live north of Fall River, along 24 to make the commute up there and to work an easy one. Logan can be reached via public transportation.

The nice thing about living down in that area is the fact that it is very close to the nice coastal areas of Rhode Island (Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton, etc) and also to Cape Cod.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:15 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
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Great post, I agree with everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TAM88 View Post


As far as flying down to D.C., both TF Green and Logan offer good air service. Logan, which is not nearly as bad as an above poster mentions, has more airlines that fly down there and more frequency of flights. However, You would have to live north of Fall River, along 24 to make the commute up there and to work an easy one. Logan can be reached via public transportation.
Definitely agree. My parents live in Freetown (I used to live there too) and we always preferred flying out of Logan. Flights are almost always cheaper than T.F. Green, there are more flights and there are a number of public transit options to get you to/from the airport. The Silver Line is actually free now from Logan to South Station. Providence is closer and can be more convenient, but the best fares and most options are out of Logan. People around here love to hate on Logan, but it's improved quite a bit in the past decade or so. It's far more accessible (before the Big Dig you had to go into downtown Boston to get the tunnel, now there's the Ted Williams Tunnel which is an easy exit off of 93) and far easier to navigate.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:18 PM
 
374 posts, read 554,985 times
Reputation: 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by jurisdoctorette View Post
I was recently offered a legal job in Fall River. I've been reading quite a few threads about Fall River and it sounds like a terrible place, but the pictures I've seen online aren't bad - it just seems like an old city.

I'm looking for a place to live that has access to trails for running, is scenic, has at least a few fun things to do at night and access to shopping. The size of the city isn't very important to me - I like small towns, I like big cities. I will only be making $40k/year and with my loan payments can only afford to spend about $600/month on an apartment. I'd like to limit my commute to 25-ish minutes each way (I loathe commutes).

My primary concerns are that I can find an apartment that doesn't have bugs or rodents, in a decent area of whatever town I live in. I'm not REALLY concerned about crime rates because I went to school in Washington, D.C. and know how to take care of myself. I don't particularly like suburban areas - they kinda make me claustrophobic. I'd rather live rural or urban.

My boyfriend lives in DC and I'll be flying down there at least once a month, so I'm also looking for someplace that is airport-accessible.

Would I be insane to live in Fall River? Is it a really horrible place, or does it simply have "character"? I'm not looking for something incredibly nice, but I also don't want to have bugs and peeling paint and garbage everywhere.

Edit: for more context on what I'd consider livable, I spent the last three years sharing a 1br apartment in a 50-year-old building in DC. I currently live in Duluth, Minnesota, which is an old mining town with old buildings. I actually prefer old buildings and cities with character over fancy brand new buildings and cities, as long as they're livable.
There are no suitable running trails within the City of Fall River.
Outside of Fall River you will discover the area is more rural than suburban. Even Fall River has some rural areas.

It is not a good idea to live anywhere in FALL River, PERIOD. I have been to MN. I know FR. They are not the same. In some ways New Bedford is a lot better than FR. The inside joke is that FR is the most insular city. There are lots of people in FR that have never left FR. There is quite a bit of corruption within the City. Things have moved at a snail pace. Little progress has been made to improve the economic viability of the community.

The biggest things that happen are often completed by the state. The State built a new Courthouse. Several new restaurants have opened in the vicinity of the Courthouse. 2 are already on tough times. One seems to be making a good time of it. The City has come up with silly plans in regards to the highway. Apparently, the state is just ignoring them for the better.

The food selection in Fall River is very limited. You have very little dining that can be considered excellent. Most places are extremely slow, and they think that they are fast. Most of my friends like to joke about how none of these people would survive as restaurant operators in Boston for more than a month.

I would look for apartments in the surrounding communities of Westport, Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven, or Freetown.

I would avoid Swansea or Somerset.

Are you taking a DA job?

bill
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:19 PM
 
374 posts, read 554,985 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
Great post, I agree with everything.



Definitely agree. My parents live in Freetown (I used to live there too) and we always preferred flying out of Logan. Flights are almost always cheaper than T.F. Green, there are more flights and there are a number of public transit options to get you to/from the airport. The Silver Line is actually free now from Logan to South Station. Providence is closer and can be more convenient, but the best fares and most options are out of Logan. People around here love to hate on Logan, but it's improved quite a bit in the past decade or so. It's far more accessible (before the Big Dig you had to go into downtown Boston to get the tunnel, now there's the Ted Williams Tunnel which is an easy exit off of 93) and far easier to navigate.
In a way Logan is easier to reach various places. Going to Boston is not so bad. The traffic on I-195 is not necessarily fun.

Bill
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:27 PM
 
1,072 posts, read 2,649,119 times
Reputation: 1293
I think you'll be perfectly fine in Fall River to start. If my job was based there I would absolutely consider living there. I don't know the city as well as some of the poster here (though it sounds like they have offered solid advice). Having lived in D.C. you will likely feel perfectly comfortable in Fall River. I was in DC for 9 years and have yet to find ANYTHING in New England that compares to some of the areas of DC. Everything is relative. I haven't spent much time in Fall River at night, but I've been all over the city during the day and have never felt even the least bit unsafe. You have a better chance of finding something in your budget in Fall River than other areas. It is small and economically depressed, but you can find things to do.

Boston and TF Green are both reasonable airports. TF Green to BWI is almost always dirt cheap via Southwest. Otherwise I switch back and forth between the two airports depending on prices. The upside to TF Green is off site parking is available for $7 or $8/day, so if I don't have a ride to the airport and I'm only going for a few days, I typically fly out of TF Green.
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