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Old 07-24-2008, 10:28 PM
13 posts, read 26,192 times
Reputation: 10



I currently live in McLean and work in Arlington. I am looking for feedback from people who moved from the NoVA to Boston.

In McLean we have good public schools with foreign language immersion, my commute from McLean to Arlington is not bad at all ~20-30 minutes. We are currently renting a nice 5 BR house in a nice neighborhood for $2500. The good food is expensive but we can save money.

Can we find the same way of living around Cambridge, MA? What is the differences with:
- Schools
- Commute
- Houses
- Cost of Living

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Old 07-25-2008, 01:20 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,862 posts, read 12,894,263 times
Reputation: 6837
You probably won't have to look beyond Cambridge for what you seek. The "Amigos" school within the public system has the dual-language curriculum you're after. Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (CRLS - the origins of its name are another story for another day) has a wealth of academic offerings, a broadly diverse student body in every sense, and is nationally one of the best-regarded public high schools within a large city. That may seem like faint praise, but its college placement record stands up well against those of the affluent suburban districts.

Housing costs have reached a plateau here, and in many cases are coming down. I don't see $2500 as an unrealistic rent amount for a large house. That wouldn't go far in some neighborhoods, but around - say - North Cambridge it'd be more than sufficient. There are quite a few converted or never-were duplex homes, consisting of 2 1/2 stories and built (to last) in the early 20th Century, throughout the city. Also here and there are some bungalows and "worker's cottages" whose exteriors belie the spaciousness within.

Those in the know buy their groceries (in these parts, we call it "food shopping") at the no-frills regional chains called Market Basket and Foodmaster. Three, count 'em, Whole Foods Markets are in Cambridge; here again, savvy health-conscious cooks prefer the Harvest Co-op in Central Square. For non-essential purchases we have our own Trader Joe's on Memorial Dr. Food costs are noticeably higher in this area because of all the shipping that has to be done. Another way around this is to haunt the local farmers' markets, set up weekly in local parking lots on a given day.

Commuting around Cambridge is a breeze, between the Red Line subway which bisects the city and numerous bus and trackless-trolley lines. I didn't replace my car when it "died" ten years ago and have no regrets. Try to find a house with off-street parking, if wheels are a must, because otherwise you'll have to buy a resident parking sticker, remember to keep off one side of the street for street cleaning one day each month "in season," be mindful of snow emergency routes, etc.

Also, this may be apropos of nothing, but here in Cambridge we have an excellent and fun - non-audition - Community Chorus. (cambridgechorus.org) Tenors, basses, and first sopranos are always in demand. Our 19th annual performance of the complete "Messiah" will be happening in December. Hook up with us for good music and good people - you'll feel settled in no time.
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