U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-01-2014, 07:43 AM
 
6 posts, read 8,539 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

Hi everyone! I've been finding some helpful information on previous threads, but thought I would post my own question too. I will be attending grad school this fall, at Harvard, and I was wondering about places to live. I am in love with Salem, but I know that might be an expensive and awful commute.

So, I think we (a female couple) are looking for a 1 Bedroom (or 2 if possible!), no more than $1400 (less is better). I would like to keep my commute under about 30 minutes, and it would be nice if it were even less than that! I am coming from NYC so I am used to commuting on the subway about 45 min each day to work and school. We probably won't get a car right away, so somewhere within a reasonable walking distance to the T or bus would be ideal. Although a car is definitely doable, I just would rather not drive into Cambridge every day, unless I got a decent deal on a monthly parking spot!

We are looking for a safe and charming area, with charming architecture and a nice vibe. We don't need a lot of nightlife, pubs, etc., but it would be cool to find a place with a nice outdoor market in the summers, used bookshops, etc. I am not terribly familiar with Boston, so I'm sorry if this seems scattered or unrealistic. Ideally we would like to find a nice apartment in a house or brownstone, and be in a tree lined area, maybe with a few parks... I realized I have basically just described several of the areas I have lived in in NYC, and I am really trying not to compare the cities but it's' hard! I am so excited to move to Boston, I just have no clue where to focus my search!

So far we have looked into: Arlington, Watertown, Somerville, and I just started looking at Brighton today. Like I said, we are both so in love with Salem. How do you think that commute would be via public transport? Too expensive with the monthly commuter rail pass?

Anyway, I know this is long, but I would appreciate any insights!! Thank you!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-01-2014, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Everett, Massachusetts
316 posts, read 657,859 times
Reputation: 569
Salem is a great city, but it is much too far for a regular commute to Harvard. You'd soon regret your decision. Save it for day trips on weekends

I think that you're right to focus on the cities and towns you've chosen. When I first started reading your post, I was thinking either Watertown or Arlington. Somerville is great, but it's quite active and busy, perhaps a bit too much so for your tastes, although there are quiet parts of town. You'd get more space for your money in Watertown (most easily accessible via the #71 bus, though parts of it are close to the #73 as well) and Arlington (bus #77 from Harvard takes you up Mass Ave, though there are other busses connecting Harvard Sq with other parts of Arlington - check out the MBTA's website to get a sense of bus frequency and maps for different areas.)

I'd also throw Belmont into the mix; the parts along the Belmont St/Trapelo Rd corridor in that town are well-connected via bus (#73) to Harvard and have plenty of shops and little restaurants. It's even quieter than Watertown, but it's near everything you'd need.

Brighton is somewhat accessible via bus from Harvard Sq and has many nice sections, but I'd try to stay on the Cambridge side of the river for the sake of convenience if I were you.

As for charming architecture, used book stores, etc, you'll find little pockets of those here and there all over the place in the Cambridge area. If you lived in an apartment in a plain two family house in Watertown for example, you'd still be 10-15 minutes by bus from Harvard Sq, where you can find all sorts of restaurants and shops. In other words, the geographic scale here is quite small, so even if you ended up in a quiet place, you're still near all kinds of fun things. Welcome to Boston!

Last edited by professeurpablo; 02-01-2014 at 10:19 AM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2014, 01:52 PM
 
95 posts, read 255,323 times
Reputation: 215
I can second Watertown/Belmont area, mostly because I myself live here and can attest to the ease of access for both Harvard and Cambridge more generally. My only suggestion would be to try and move in some proximity to one of the many little 'squares' that dot the long roads on which the 71/73 buses run (Mt. Auburn & Belmont/Trapelo) as this will allow you to feel like you are not out in the middle of a heavily suburban area, which some of the further-flung areas in Belmont and Watertown can feel like. There is the main square in Watertown, which is a giant cluster of intersecting streets and is decent, but isn't really my favorite area. I live in proximity to Coolidge Square (not to be confused with Coolidge Corner - two totally different areas), and like this the best. I am equidistant to the 71/73, near a number of smaller markets (mostly Armenian), restaurants, and basic shops like a hardware store, laundromat, etc. as well as in reasonable walking distance to the much larger Star Market on Mt. Auburn. It takes me about 25-30 min on the bus to get to Harvard when it is near rush hour, and more like 10-15 when it is not. The price might a bit tough within a 30 minute commute window in any direction. You may need to bump it up to 1500 unless you are ok with a very small 1 BR or something slightly less desirable (e.g. you will see 1BR places in the 1300-1500 range for Watertown/Belmont, but they will tend to be things like converted attics with pitched ceilings that feel a bit cramped, raised basements, or alternately might be off the beaten path a bit which might put you into an area that feels too sleepy or suburban). I am not sure about Arlington here, though I suspect it is pretty similar.

There aren't many brownstones outside of Boston proper, in the super-pricey areas like Back Bay and such. Most of the apartments are either in smaller multi-unit buildings, or houses broken up in various ways. Watertown/Belmont is probably closer to some of the near suburbs of Westchester County if we're comparing things to NYC area - fairly dense housing stock, though with plenty of backyards and space between houses. There are parks around, and the Beaver Brook Reservation up at the end of the 73 bus is a nice space. If you decide to look more into the areas either message me or post again here and I am glad to go into more detail on these areas.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2014, 02:15 PM
 
6 posts, read 8,539 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you both so much for the replies, they are very helpful! I think I will stick to Arlington, Watertown, and Belmont areas, and maybe keep my eyes open for any deals that might pop up in Somerville. It's still hard to let go of the Salem dream though, since it seems like you can get so much space for the money! And it's such a great town... but yes, I think the reality of a daily commute to Cambridge would make me miserable in no time.

Having lived in Westchester Co, and also Queens, I prefer to be within a closer distance to a more vibrant scene: markets, shops, etc., but still in a safe, quiet, and clean area (I know, I am asking for so much on such a low budget!).

I also know it is really early to be looking, but I am going to be abroad all summer, so will likely have to find a place over the internet, sight unseen. That makes me a bit nervous, so I am doing my homework now!

Thanks again, I really do appreciate this. I might have a few more questions as the months go by!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2014, 02:28 PM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
40,707 posts, read 33,033,153 times
Reputation: 38754
I would just stick to Arlington along Mass Ave. Arlington Center probably. I think a one bedroom can be had for 14OO. The 77 runs super frequently and is a straight shot to Harvard Sq. There is more shops in that area than Waverly section of Belmont and it is a bit closer time wise than Watertown Center. Plus, Davis Sq is half way between and they have lots of festivals, etc there.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2014, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
6,300 posts, read 8,911,595 times
Reputation: 4780
Quote:
Originally Posted by timberline742 View Post
I would just stick to Arlington along Mass Ave. Arlington Center probably. I think a one bedroom can be had for 14OO. The 77 runs super frequently and is a straight shot to Harvard Sq. There is more shops in that area than Waverly section of Belmont and it is a bit closer time wise than Watertown Center. Plus, Davis Sq is half way between and they have lots of festivals, etc there.
Second this, Arlington is a bit more architecturally pretty than Watertown and Waverly Square. Belmont is fairly suburban. The town center is not too lively at night. And Arlington has many "female couples" like yourselves. If you stick fairly close to East Arlington or the Center, you could easily walk or cycle on the bike path to Alewife right into Harvard Square.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2014, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Everett, Massachusetts
316 posts, read 657,859 times
Reputation: 569
I actually respectfully disagree with the above two posts - I see the two options as somewhat even. While Arlington does have much more of a restaurant selection than Watertown/Belmont, it is also a more congested bus journey up Mass Ave if one opts for public transit and potentially a longer trek via bike, especially if you end up in Arlington Center or the Heights rather than East Arlington. The #71 and #73, which serve Watertown and Waverly Squares, respectively, are a bit faster in my experience than the #77, which is the bus serving the Mass Ave corridor in Arlington.

In any event, for Belmont, I was referring to the corridor along Trapelo Road/Belmont Street, which is much more densely populated than the rest of the town and offers a few shopping and dining options and transit access amid peaceful surroundings. And Watertown does have some nice little pockets of activity, especially around Coolidge Square, which AbrasaxEos alluded to above. Focusing in area of Strawberry Hill in Cambridge on out past the Shaw's supermarket on Mount Auburn and a few blocks up either Mount Auburn or Belmont Street into either Watertown or Belmont offers a pretty good-sized catchment area that is accessible to both the #71 and #73 bus as well as shopping and eating options, all in a location that's less than 15 minutes from Harvard Square.

In summary, I don't think you could go wrong with any of these towns really - might just be a matter of personal preference, but it doesn't hurt to have options to consider.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2014, 07:35 AM
 
7 posts, read 17,681 times
Reputation: 15
Look in the Medford Hillside neighborhood and South Medford. This town is much closer to cambridge, has commuter rail into the city, a whole foods, Tufts University..it's not gentrified yet so the prices are still affordable but it's VERY close to everything.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2014, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Everett, Massachusetts
316 posts, read 657,859 times
Reputation: 569
I agree that Medford is another place that could work for the OP. Especially accessible is anywhere along the #96 bus route, which runs between Medford Sq and Harvard Sq. The travel times can be longer than the other towns that have been suggested, but you would definitely get a bit more space for your money.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2014, 07:44 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
40,707 posts, read 33,033,153 times
Reputation: 38754
The West Medford commuter rail doesn't stop in Cambridge, going into North Station than having to get back out would not be great, IMO.

I lived on the 96 for a couple of years and had to depend on that when I worked in Cambridge. I personally wouldn't want to do that again. Doesn't run nearly as frequently as one would hope. Nothing like the 77.

There is a good reason you get more for your money in Medford.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top