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Old 02-14-2010, 10:04 AM
 
4 posts, read 16,267 times
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Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster. I'm looking to move out of Cambridge and I'm hoping your collective wisdom can help me find a place that fits!

I moved to MA to work near Kendall/MIT last November. I live in Porter right now, but as much as I love my short commute and all the conveniences of Porter Square I resent paying so much in rent ($1600/mo!) and I want to be someplace less urban.

I'm a single female twentysomething so safety is my number one priority. I'm looking for someplace cheaper and less crowded than Cambridge where I can go for a walk around town and see something - trees, water, chirping birds, whatever - besides concrete, cars, and buildings built right up next to each other. A downtown area with coffee shops and restaurants would be great, but I don't care so much about night life. Rail access into Cambridge would be a must to avoid the hassle of driving in every morning, though. And I'd like to keep my commute under an hour.

I love the ocean (more coastline than beaches) and I love winter sports (mostly skating, but I would like to spend these long New England winters working on skiing/snowboarding/snowshoeing - a big part of why I want to move someplace cheaper so I can afford a car!). And in the spring and summer I like to sit near the ocean or hike and swim and snap pictures of whatever wildlife I can find. So at the end of the day I'd like to have easy access either to mountain areas or to the coast. I'm assuming it's more expensive to live along the coast than it would be living inland but maybe there's an underrated hidden gem of a coastal town someone can recommend?

In my absolute ideal world I would find a cheap apartment in a safe area near the coast with a cute downtown area just a short drive away from some sort of mountainous area and a short train ride away from Kendall/MIT. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Seriously, though, I do want to move someplace cheaper and less crowded but I don't know where to begin looking. I've heard some good things about Salem in this forum but I have no idea how well that would fit. I don't care about school systems or property taxes but I do care about safety, affordability, outdoor opportunities (though this would probably be less of a concern once I have a car), and having a reasonable commute. Any and all ideas are welcome, but if you do recommend someplace please let me know why you think it might be a good fit. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 11,762,324 times
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I like Salem, but the downtown area (where the train and places to go out are located) is fairly urban. There are some sketchier pockets in Salem as well. It also would lengthen the commute. Salem is about 35 mins from North Station by train. Then you have to get to Kendall from there, which is two subway lines or a walk to Charles/MGH. There was some kind of shuttle at some point but I don't know what the deal is or if it even goes near Kendall. Swampscott is a bit closer but still a train to North Station. Marblehead is beautiful but an even worse commute, since there's no train at all. There is a bus but it's pretty slow.

I don't think it's generally more expensive along the coast. To buy a mansion in a tony coastal town might set you back a lot, but even buying a home is not categeorically more expensive in coastal towns. There are may very expensive inland towns (Weston, Lincoln, Dover, Sherborn, Concord, Lexington, etc.) and coastal towns can have more affordable homes than many of them, as well as reasonable rentals. From much of the coastline, your bigger problem is commute for the reasons I just identified.

It may not be the coastline of your dreams, but maybe Wollaston in Quincy? Red line access and generally cheaper than Cambridge.

You could look in Arlington, which would require a bus to Alewife or Porter/Harvard, then Red Line to Kendall.

The Fitchburg line on the commuter rail goes to Porter, where you could switch. Towns include Belmont, Waltham, Lincoln, Concord, Acton, etc.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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I think there's a LOT of green space in nearby towns that are more affordable than Cambridge. You don't have to go far, unless of course you want to. Check out Arlington, Medford, Winchester--all 3 have tons of parkland that you might miss if you don't know to look for it, plus fairly walkable areas (depending on where you are in the town). A bit further out, towns like Melrose and Wakefield have a bunch of green space to offer, as well.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:42 PM
 
4 posts, read 16,267 times
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Thank you for the ideas! Now I at least have a starting point to do some research. I hadn't realized towns as close as Arlington and Medford would be more affordable and have more green space than Cambridge, so I will definitely look into them. I do still like the idea of living near the water, though. Does the area around the Lechmere station get sketchy at night? It's about as far from my job as the Kendall stop is, but it seems a lot more isolated and I've never walked over there when it wasn't daylight.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 11,762,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OutdoorsyLady View Post
Does the area around the Lechmere station get sketchy at night? It's about as far from my job as the Kendall stop is, but it seems a lot more isolated and I've never walked over there when it wasn't daylight.
It's not so isolated along First St near the mall until after the mall closes.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Quincy, MA
385 posts, read 1,383,163 times
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I think Arlington would be a good choice, if you could deal with a bus. It does have a cute downtown area and some nice nature spots like Spy Pond. And, as a "semi-dry" town, there are no bars, so it's quiet at night.
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