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Old 11-07-2008, 12:40 AM
Location: Exeter,NH
80 posts, read 275,071 times
Reputation: 41


Sorry for the long post, but I desperately need help/advise!

My husband just accepted a job (tentatively) today.... we can move anywhere in the New England region - Maine, Vermont, Conn, RI, NH & Mass.... as his business will be conducted in all of those locations and he will set up an office near where we settle.

We grew up in the San Francisco bay area, have lived in Seattle, Portland,OR., Colorado & now So.Cal.... every other time we moved we either didn't have children or our kids were babies.... now they are in 2nd grade, so this move is nerve racking.

Schools & safety are a priority. However, we miss city life & want to live in the city.

I have read as much as I can on this forum, although I couldn't make it through ALL of the postings.... but from what I have gathered, the schools in Boston aren't so great, everyone suggests living in outlying suburbs & I cannot find any information on private schools (in Boston) for little ones (only private high schools) nor can I find info about living in Boston with children.

So, my questions are as follows...
*Is it a bad choice to live in the city of Boston with children? (in your honest opinion)
*Are there private elementary or k-12 schools in Boston?[/SIZE]
*Is it possible to live in a loft/high-rise condo other than right in Boston?
*I've read that car insurance costs are high. Can some one give me an example of what you pay for car registration & insurance?

Obviously a trip is in order - we have only been to NYC & that is our only East Coast experience. We are traveling out there in 2 weeks to spend a week or so "experiencing New England" & to try an narrow down our search to one locale...any advice is appreciated as well as suggestions either outside of Boston or outside of Mass. completely (although everything I have researched is directing us to Mass.)

I also forgot to add, that we have done the salary calculators and are aware of the high cost of living. Even though we would be renting at first, we would still only like to consider areas/ neighborhoods where we could get at least a 2 bedroom condo for under $650k.
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:55 AM
639 posts, read 3,518,314 times
Reputation: 539
What about the town of Brookline, MA? It's in Norfolk county, directly beside the City of Boston, so close, that the MBTA subway system connects it for really quick access right in to the City. Brookline always had really good schools in the town thru the years. You could find a condo or a house for under your price range, BUT something to keep in mind? This town always had the highest property taxes in the country, not just in Massachusetts!


Next in my opinion, If you wanted to stay directly within the City of Boston itself? Remember there are tons and tons of private schools right in the City of Boston as well as surrounding towns that you could consider sending your kids too instead of having them attend the schools right within the Boston Public School System, so remember that one, while you're investigating all of this information.

Check out the neighborhood of West Roxbury that's within the city of Boston when you are here! It was always nicer than other parts of the City (IMHO!) It's pretty close to Brookline, so you could see both parts of these areas when you are here visiting. That's when I'm sure you'll really get a good idea of these places I'm telling you about!

the City of Melrose is a great place that you should check out, because it's only 7 miles north of Boston, so it's pretty close to downtown Boston via the MBTA subway system's orange line:


The key is to be close to the MBTA subway system, so remember that.

It always had really good schools here thru the years too by the way! The Melrose School district has several schools including five elementary schools (Lincoln, Roosevelt, Winthrop, Hoover, and Horace Mann), the new Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School, and Melrose High School. The city also has a private elementary school, St. Mary's, run by one of the city's Catholic churches.

There's convenient access here to Rte 1 - Saugus, I-93 in Stoneham, Rte 128 in Wakefield. It's also served by the MBTA, like I said, with 5 various bus routes as well as 3 commuter rail stations, (how convenient is that!).

The neighborhoods in Melrose consist of the following areas:
Cedar Park
Downtown Melrose
East Side
Melrose Highlands
Mount Hood
Oak Grove/Pine Banks

One last town that I'd check out if I were you? Is Belmont. It's convenient to downtown Boston & quite nice in my honest opinion. Read about it on Wikipedia here:

Belmont, Massachusetts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Good luck with your decision. I think if I were you? I'd also want to be near the City of Boston too BUT not right directly within the city limits if I had kids, unless they went to private schools, I'd be the same way! The key is to check towns out that are pretty close by though, you know what I mean? You want to be surrounding the City of Boston for quick access in. Towns that have the MBTA access to zip you right in to the City, that's where you want to be! Especially with our winters we have these days! On the south side of Boston, for instance check Hingham out, it's always been an ideal community:

Hingham, Massachusetts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One thing about this town? You'd have a commuter boat that would get you right in to the City in no time; as well as the MBTA system, the buses that would take you right in via the subway system to South Station where the Financial District is located.

You have to think of the winter months in New England. You want to live as close to stores, to the medical facilities, all kinds of cultural activities and events for quick visits and especially be near a lot of the schools for easy access to them. Ideally these are just some of the better communities in my mind, where I'd check for residing in, also check NEWTON or Newton Highlands out too!

Just my two cents! The best of luck to you and your family with your decision, it's a huge one! Keep checking back, I'm sure there will be more opinions and suggestions for you!

Last edited by CaseyB; 11-07-2008 at 07:18 AM.. Reason: Links Only. Do not copy and paste.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:31 AM
Location: Cambridge
82 posts, read 286,853 times
Reputation: 90
In addition to Brookline, Cambridge is also a good choice, but the school system isn't so great anymore. There is a good Montessouri school and several excellent private schools in Cambridge. Some of them off the top of my head are Buckingham Browne Nichols (BBN), Cambridge Friends School, Shady Hill School, and the Fayerweather Street School.

The more family-oriented neighborhoods in Cambridge are West Cambridge, Avon Hill, Agassiz and the area outside of Harvard Square. You can walk everywhere in Cambridge, and the Red Line subway runs throughout the city and into Boston. There are Green Line stops in East Cambridge, and they are planning to extend it further into Somerville. There are tons of cafes, restaurants, Whole Foods markets etc. I agree with CityGirl52 that you have to keep in mind the winter months here in Boston. You absolutely want to have a parking space vs. on street parking because of snow emergencies, and also because Brookline doesn't allow overnight parking.

Cambridge is also very diverse and there are lots of cultural activities due to the presence of Harvard University and MIT. The architecture here is quite beautiful and very old, especially compared to the West Coast. If you loved the Bay Area, you will love Cambridge or Brookline!
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:15 PM
Location: Exeter,NH
80 posts, read 275,071 times
Reputation: 41
thank you both so much! that gives me a great start!
Is it possible to find high-rise/lofts in Brookline & the other towns you mentioned? It seemed like Cambridge was more expensive rent wise - do you know if that is truly the case?

Also, this might be a silly question but considering my experience living in the snow is limited to suburban places - do people still walk to locations within Boston when there is a lot of snow? Everything i have read has mentioned making sure you live by mass transit...is it difficult to drive/walk during the worst part of winter?

Also, in your honest opinion is Mass. the best state in New England? We are pretty sure Boston is where we want to be...I looked into Portland as well but Maine seems to have way higher taxes.... All of the places seem to offer something... if you could live anywhere in the northeast where would you go?

14 days and counting until we get back there & have to choose a moving destination, YIKES!
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:32 PM
2,312 posts, read 7,497,027 times
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High rises and lofts in Brookline.... There are a few loft buildings, one near me on Rt.9 called Cypress Lofts. It might be in your price range. While Rt. 9 is a busy road, it's not a six lane highway. I have a friend who lives there and it seems like a really well constructed building. Your kids would go to Lincoln School across from Rte. 9 (unless it's a buffer zone and classes are full there the kids will go to Pierce in Brookline Village).

There is a fancy apartment complex called Longwood Towers. I believe that would be in the Lawrence school district.

There are a more than a few large apartment buildings in town, some really beautiful like the Beaux Arts masterpiece on Beacon St. near Washington Square (Runkle school?). There are also plenty of triple deckers with very pretty old fashioned apartments, some divided houses, etc. Extremely varied housing stock for condos and apartments.
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:36 PM
967 posts, read 4,769,817 times
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There are some pretty lofts in Brookline for sale and rent (although a few of the rentals I've seen are very small - upgraded but tiny).

People do still walk to locations in the snow - but get some very warm, waterproof boots. You'll need them! I find living near public transit alleviates stress during the winter because after living here for most of my 39 years I still am terrified of driving in the snow. Some people get used to it, but I guess I never have.

As far as the best place to live, I think Boston has a lot to offer in terms of things to do, history, excellent medical care, etc. I've heard lovely things about parts of Vermont and that appeals to me as well because they seem more environmentally-conscious but having never lived there myself I couldn't say for sure what it's like. Anyhow, I hope that's somewhat helpful!
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:49 PM
639 posts, read 3,518,314 times
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I myself would live in either one of the surrounding greater Boston communities that I mentioned or right in the City itself. I'd live in South Boston personnally, it's ideal with Carson beach right there. Its great & SO wonderful to walk/run/jog any time of the year too! It's only around 2 miles from downtown Boston's financial district down Summer Street, you'd have the City Point bus OR the Copley #9 bus for the Back Bay going thru that neighborhood all the time. OR like I said before to you? Definitely check out the neighborhood of West Roxbury too! Another place is the town of Brookline that would definitely be ideal in SO many ways! Especially raising kids. Their school system alone would be fantastic having it right there....it's endless for where you want to be.

You know, I commuted for years & years from southern NH, (do you know how many cars I went thru? How many snow storms I got stuck in? I won't go there now, okay?, not right now!) so I can tell you in all honesty that you don't want to have to do that and you wouldn't want your husband doing that all the time either, it ends up killing you and him physically in the long run. It's the main reason why I have osteoarthritis w/degenerative bone loss in my hip right now, due to commuting in all those winter storms we endured thru the years here in New England. If I had to do it over again? I'd live closer to the City of Boston, as close as I could get. I'm serious, it's less stressful and why put that on yourself if you don't have to. Listen to me good with this one, I know snow, wind, rain, sleet, slush, ICE & it's not much fun when you have to drive in it day in and day out. Start out in New England living closer and you'll appreciate it in the long run I guarantee it!

I remember when I lived in the City and how easy it was to get home! It was SO great getting out of work early and only having to go 2 miles to where I lived back then! It was like a breath of fresh air being that close after commuting and getting up at 4 AM and all that....I'm telling you, listen to me good, I'm like every ones aunt back east, you won't regret it in the end! LOL! Live close to where you can hop on the MBTA, either a trolley, an MBTA bus or the subway (the train). It's ideal...expensive to live? But SO worth it...I can tell you SO SO many scary stories of driving late at night in the snow to get home! It's brutal. If you end up living further from the MBTA? Then make sure you have 4WD at least? It's psychologically helpful, believe me, it's insane NOT to have it around here with our winters. You will love being near the "T" and you'll appreciate it in the end SO much, I'm telling you right now, listen up good with this one!

My nephew moved to Vermont a few months ago due to a job offer. It's great for him, he's single and has a lot of friends up that way. I have a relative that ended up moving down from the northwest part of Vermont because his kids wanted to be near Boston when they eventually got to be in their early 20's! I wanted to make sure you knew that these kids of his were bored silly living up there! It's like they died and went to heaven now that they're living closer to Boston, they're SO much happier, it's written all over their faces! So something to think about with this move! Every ones different though, so it depends on attitude, lifestyle & every ones disposition with this big move too....

Good luck whichever town or city you end up moving to! It's a huge decision coming from California I bet!

Last edited by CityGirl52; 11-07-2008 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 11-08-2008, 06:39 PM
1,989 posts, read 4,448,145 times
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If you want to live IN the city, but not downtown, check out Jamaica Plain. It's very politically active, liberal and one of the physically greenest neighborhoods in the city, with a pond, arboretum, picnicable historic cemetery, LARGE park w/golf course, etc.

Near public transportation.

Connected to some of the "better" public schools in Boston.

And there's a condo tower that overlooks the pond: Jamaicaway Tower

There may be lofts in the area, too, since there is a lot of "artist" housing. Not sure about that.

Lastly-- are you aware that if your children test well in the 5th grade, they will place in to Boston's public Latin School, which is academically one of the best in the country? Check it out.
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Old 11-09-2008, 03:36 PM
Location: Exeter,NH
80 posts, read 275,071 times
Reputation: 41
I was not aware of the placement into Boston's public Latin School, I will have to check into that, thanks Codane!

Also, one thing I did not add to my inquiry is the fact that yes, where we decide to locate my husband will open a local office.. However, no matter where that is, his business will be conducted in ME, VT, NH, Conn., MA, RI, parts of ne NY & very eastern Penn..... and not one given location will be more frequented than another so, that said does it change your opinion on an ideal location?
I personally think someplace in or around Boston is best because if he is traveling I think I would feel less isolated with such a plethora of things to do in a relatively small radius. Not to mention Boston just seems like a fantastic city!
By the way how is the weather around Thanksgiving usually?
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:12 PM
967 posts, read 4,769,817 times
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If you end up choosing Boston I've heard there's an excellent Quaker school in the city. You don't need to be Quaker to attend - it's supposed to be a very welcoming environment and well regarded.
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