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Old 05-04-2018, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Stillwater
78 posts, read 98,606 times
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I am making a visit soon to Dartmouth, MA for a job interview and I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the area ahead of the trip. I would be relocating by myself temporarily and then would bring my family with me at some point in the next year. I have two kids that are middle school/junior high age currently. It seems like Dartmouth has ok schools. Others on here have informed me that New Bedford or Fall River schools aren't highly regarded.

What else should I know about the region and surrounding towns? Do most people who work at UMass D live in New Bedford or is Dartmouth its own little bubble? Is it easy to get in and out of Boston from this area or is that more of a weekend only type thing?

Driving distance from Providence into Dartmouth seems reasonable but I have no idea how that commute really looks for a daily driver. Is that drive impossible during winter time?
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:47 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,465 posts, read 28,469,943 times
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I have two friends in Providence/Pawtucket that work at Umass D and they don't seem to mind it.
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Old 05-04-2018, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
8,250 posts, read 12,452,213 times
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You don't want to have your kids in New Bedford, Fall River or Providence schools, believe me.
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:08 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,289 posts, read 17,335,061 times
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Stay out of FR and NB public schools. If you want to live in either of those cities, look at private schools. There are OK neighborhoods in both, but you’ll find both to be economically depressed. Downtown NB is nice, both cities have good waterfronts and some neat places. But if you live in Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Somerset, etc. you still have access to all of that.

Providence is a fine alternative and 195 is a major highway. You’re fine year-round except during a major snowstorm in which case, you’re not likely heading to school anyway. Traffic can be an issue in Providence, but your reverse commute will alleviate some of that. Providence is a good city and your best bet for urban living with a commute to Dartmouth. I think it’s plenty doable.

UMass Dartmouth employees live all over the region. Short term do trend towards Dartmouth, but also NB and FR (though again, avoid public schools). Many establish roots and live anywhere from Marion/Mattapoisett to Providence or even up toward Bridgewater. It’s a nice region. The coast and beaches are great. Lots of little harbor villages too (Marion, Mattapoisett, Padanaram, Westport Point, etc.). It’s not over developed, so there’s a lot of nature and scenic farmland as well. Downtown New Bedford is pretty neat with good dining and some shopping and a lot of history. Boston is an easy day trip. I actually commuted daily between Dartmouth and Boston for work for over a year (would not recommend it). But on a weekend it’s an easy drive or bus trip. Plymouth, Cape Cod, Newport, Stonington and Mystic CT, etc. are all great day outings from Dartmouth. NYC, the Maine Coast, the White Mountains and Vermont are all easy weekends from Dartmouth (4 hours or less). Even Montreal is driveable for a weekend. So the location is great.
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:20 AM
 
6,298 posts, read 2,489,180 times
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Nicest part of Dartmouth is Padanaram Village. Best parts of town are the southern end away from NB. Town is very large land wise.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Stillwater
78 posts, read 98,606 times
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Thanks for the feedback all. I am excited for my trip out in a few weeks.

I've been to Providence before and really like the city, and am a little interested in living there and commuting in, but I also feel like Dartmouth has a lot to offer with its location. We are flying into Providence and getting a rental car so I will see what that drive feels like and if I really want to consider it. I also plan to spend a few hours driving around New Bedford to get a feel for it.
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Old 05-08-2018, 05:37 PM
 
17,473 posts, read 9,766,613 times
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I’m a Dartmouth native and own a summer house there. Dartmouth is a socioeconomically mixed town. The Bliss Corner part near New Bedford is working class. That contrasts with multi-million dollar oceanfront homes in gated communities. Even Padanaram Village at the harbor has some small houses with middle class owners among the larger houses owned by professional people. The school system rating on GreatSchools reflects that diversity. It’s not a professional bedroom town enclave with the ultra competitive school system. Marion and Mattapoisett elementary schools are like that but they are in a regional middle and high school with demographics more like Dartmouth. The closest place to UMass Dartmouth like that is Barrington RI and even that is nothing like a top-10 Boston suburb.

No suburb is going to have much rental housing stock. It would be dumb luck to find a single family home as a rental.

I’m from there. I am used to the grittiness of parts of New Bedford and Fall River. You kind of have to embrace the multicultural aspect. Your favorite pizza topping becomes linguica. You like malasadas from a Portuguese bakery better than Dunkin Donuts. If you opt for Dartmouth, get into boating or sailing. The town beach is ok. It’s great bicycling since so much of the town is semi rural. The region is a backwater since it’s a soul crushing commute to the Boston job market but it’s easy access outside of rush hour and you have Providence 30 minutes away. At UMass Dartmouth, you’ll have some intellectual stimulation that is otherwise mostly lacking in the rest of the town. I’m on the fringe of Padanaram and the college is invisible. Not much town-gown going on.
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:36 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,289 posts, read 17,335,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el gato bandito View Post
I also plan to spend a few hours driving around New Bedford to get a feel for it.
It certainly doesn't hurt to get a feel for it, but just be prepared - the majority of it is a gritty old mill town where major industry has long since left. I grew up in the region and that scenery is is what I'm used to, but it can be pretty shocking for newcomers. Especially since it contrasts with the stereotypes of coastal Massachusetts (cute, pristine, quaint, etc.). New Bedford has nice pockets. Downtown is pretty and walkable. The area along Hawthorn St. between Buttonwood Park (especially closer to County St.) has some really nice old homes. Rodney French down by Ft. Taber has some great views. But I doubt you'll be impressed with the bulk of it. It's nice to have it nearby for some decent dining and activities when you don't want to drive to Boston or Providence, but it's not a great place to live if you don't have to or you don't have any particular attachment to it. I wouldn't spend "hours" driving around it. I'd drive from the North End to downtown along Acushnet Avenue, stop downtown for a bit and walk. Drive up Hawthorn (or up Union and down Hawthorn) to Buttonwood park, and then drive down to Ft. Taber along Rodney French. You'll get the idea by then.
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:30 PM
 
17,473 posts, read 9,766,613 times
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A tour of the third world isn’t what you want to be doing. Grab a bite to eat at Bayside in Westport and stroll the Allen’s Pond bird sanctuary along the shore afterwards. Hit Padanaram for a coffee or lunch at Farm & Coast. The bridge is closed for another 30 days and the final paving hasn’t happened yet but you can check out the harbor. Drive around and do the Smith Neck Road to Little River Road loop. Stop along Smith Neck Road at the Cornell Farm for a walk. An ice cream cone at Salvador’s. Check out the Round Hill town beach. Westport Point and the Back Eddy. With middle school age children, they’re not going to be living in New Bedford. You don’t send them down Ashley Boulevard or Acushnet Avenue. The coastal and semi rural parts of Dartmouth and Westport are really nice. Ditto Little Compton. Mattapoisett. Marion.

I use New Bedford all the time. The Zeiterian Theatre is a real gem. The Whaling Museum and the cobblestone streets around it. Some pretty good restaurants. Live music. I ride my bike on the hurricane ****.

UMass Dartmouth is next to Mall Hell. If you don’t get to South Dartmouth, your impression will be that brutalist architecture campus and a sea of big box retail.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:48 AM
 
8,911 posts, read 2,956,470 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el gato bandito View Post
I also plan to spend a few hours driving around New Bedford to get a feel for it.
Not the best idea and it would likely be a waste of a few hours.

New Bedford is a dump. It's not a safe place, and you don't want your kids going to school there.
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