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Old 12-13-2013, 07:58 PM
 
6 posts, read 8,719 times
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We are moving from Seattle in June. Husband will commute to Lawrence just near N. Andover.
We want to be closer to Boston than Andover and he will tolerate a 30-40 commute and is also open to the train, which is a block from his office in Lawrence.

We have an incoming freshman that is not a straight-A student. Not a big jock either (soccer/ultimate not football) Concord, Acton, Bedford, Westford all have great schools but we like more of a neighborhood setting with less land, more cul de sacs and kids playing hoops in the driveway. My mom grew up in West Newton and that was what I was hoping for, but am I correct that outside of Boston proper, this "feel" is still in the 950-1.2+ range? Lexington & Winchester are lovely but expensive and probably too competitive for us with housing & HS (so many comments about being pressure cooker).

We're both reasonably athletic (bike centuries, tennis, golf) and Arlington seems close to the trail network (forgot name). Arlington (via Forum) also appears to come across as having a lot community spirit and a good high school. Decent prices with more house & less land which is preferable.

Burlington sounds like it has a good school with lots of places to shop and dine but I can't seem to find a thread related to what it's like to live there. There are plenty of posts about having a job there and what town to live in BESIDES Burlington! Assuming we had a budget of $700-850K which would you recommend?

If it was just a 5-8 year plan, does Arlington or Burlington have consistently better real estate ROI? I've looked at Melrose, Wakefield, etc. but they have considerably lower HS ratings. If I'm missing some gem of a community or haven't given Winchester a fair look (seems out of our league) let me know. Thank you. Hard to navigate through so much from so far away!
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
6,269 posts, read 8,155,000 times
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Burlington is very spread out. In my opinion, not a very friendly town. I was thinking myself before you posted how odd it is that there are so few posts about it.

Reading would probably fit kids playing B-ball in cul-de-sac, white picket fence feel better than Burlington.

Arlington has many educated residents, with pockets of townies. It is similar to West Newton/Newtonville/Nonantum. Many of the streets are very busy so you will see many groups of kids walking around the town centers but not many streets with small children riding bicycles.

Arlington is much more similar to West Newton than Winchester.
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:56 PM
 
6 posts, read 8,719 times
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Should I give Melrose another look, too? People seem to love it and it does have the Haverill/Melrose line for my husband's work. I will be going back out there in March to drive around, but it's nice to get some local opinions to narrow the scope. Thank you so much for your contributions to this forum. I see your great input everywhere!
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
6,269 posts, read 8,155,000 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon Rowley View Post
Should I give Melrose another look, too? People seem to love it and it does have the Haverill/Melrose line for my husband's work. I will be going back out there in March to drive around, but it's nice to get some local opinions to narrow the scope. Thank you so much for your contributions to this forum. I see your great input everywhere!
Thanks Sharon. Yes, I think Melrose could be a good town for you. It has something of that West Newton feel you are looking for. Actually more enclosed neighborhoods with sidewalks than Arlington. The downtown just opened a new bubble tea place and has many nice parks. I was also going to suggest Belmont, but that may be too much of a commute for your husband. Inventory is low these days so it is probably good to have at least two or three favorite towns.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:16 PM
 
Location: North of Boston
3,329 posts, read 5,998,627 times
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If your husband is commuting to Lawrence then you want to be closer to route 93 than route 3. The commute from Arlington would be lousy. I would look at Reading, Lynnfield and even Winchester with a budget to $850K.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:58 PM
 
6 posts, read 8,719 times
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Thank you GF2020. Good to know about Rte3. We will check Reading & Lynnfield out. Lynnfield did seem a bit rural to me from looking at Google Arial Maps, but maybe it will feel different on the ground in person.
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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What about Stoneham?
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:58 AM
 
5,331 posts, read 3,797,548 times
Reputation: 7413
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon Rowley View Post
Burlington sounds like it has a good school with lots of places to shop and dine but I can't seem to find a thread related to what it's like to live there. There are plenty of posts about having a job there and what town to live in BESIDES Burlington!
Personally I have always considered Burlington to be one step down from Lexington or Winchester. I am not sure why Burlington is ignored on C-D but one downside I can think of off the top of my head is traffic. I commuted to Burlington for five years and the traffic was horrendous. As a commuter I could not wait to get out of that place each day. I wonder how I would have felt living there.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
6,269 posts, read 8,155,000 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtkinsonDan View Post
Personally I have always considered Burlington to be one step down from Lexington or Winchester. I am not sure why Burlington is ignored on C-D but one downside I can think of off the top of my head is traffic. I commuted to Burlington for five years and the traffic was horrendous. As a commuter I could not wait to get out of that place each day. I wonder how I would have felt living there.
Burlington has much tension between the long time residents who live in moderate homes and the newer arrivals, primarily from Southeast Asia who live in newer homes and tend to be more educated, with higher paying jobs. The local Burlington people are unfriendly and even hostile to all outsiders due to this.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
Burlington has much tension between the long time residents who live in moderate homes and the newer arrivals, primarily from Southeast Asia who live in newer homes and tend to be more educated, with higher paying jobs. The local Burlington people are unfriendly and even hostile to all outsiders due to this.
I lived in Burlington for several years and this whole statement could not be further from the truth. One, I never saw any hostility towards the residents from Southeast Asia. Nor would I say it is an accurate statement to say the Burlington locals live in more moderate homes. In fact, the majority of the Southeast Asians living in Burlington live in the various apartment complexes.

Yes, traffic can be an issue, but you have to ask yourself if the free services (trash, school sports, free buses, every kid gets an IPAD, etc.) are worth the trade-off. For us it was, until we had an opportunity to go back home to Arlington. Another thing to consider it that all of that traffic is on one side of town. No one really lives over there.

As for the schools, I would say it is close but would lean towards Arlington High. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not the extra amount you will pay for your house in Arlington is worth the potential slight difference. For us, it was a no-brainer because we were able to get an awesome deal on a relatives house. Plus, we wanted to go back home.
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