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Old 05-04-2010, 05:17 AM
 
2,202 posts, read 5,363,281 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tooldude View Post
Boston Latin is overrated anyways. Even if it's a good school, there are bad students that go there. I've heard some of the students get in trouble for dealing drugs and getting into fights.

Imagine that.....smart teens who do dumb things.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:24 AM
 
5 posts, read 45,452 times
Reputation: 13
I appreciate everyone's help with this. To clarify a bit more:

* Work would be in Wayland
* I know it is trite to say, but we are looking for the best education for our daughter at a price-point we can afford.
* We have searched the internet exhaustively and, obviously, are confused by the conflicting info out there (i.e. "Newton is good, Newton is bad", "Natick is good, Natick is bad").
* One criteria I forgot to mention is that we love, love, LOVE our current location where we can walk to library, restaurants, movie, etc. It is not a requisite, but would be great to still be in a walking neighborhood.
* We actually are ok with a condo. We don't have to have the single family home.
* Want to be within 30 minutes of Boston.

Really, really appreciate all the thoughtful responses. Please keep them coming and ask me any questions you may have that would help you reply.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:44 AM
 
2,202 posts, read 5,363,281 times
Reputation: 2042
Quote:
Originally Posted by konafamily View Post
* I know it is trite to say, but we are looking for the best education for our daughter at a price-point we can afford.
* We have searched the internet exhaustively and, obviously, are confused by the conflicting info out there (i.e. "Newton is good, Newton is bad", "Natick is good, Natick is bad").
* One criteria I forgot to mention is that we love, love, LOVE our current location where we can walk to library, restaurants, movie, etc. It is not a requisite, but would be great to still be in a walking neighborhood.
* We actually are ok with a condo. We don't have to have the single family home.
* Want to be within 30 minutes of Boston.

Really, really appreciate all the thoughtful responses. Please keep them coming and ask me any questions you may have that would help you reply.

You're not trite at all. You're looking out for the best interest of your family.

You will always get conflicting reports. My suggestion is this: narrow down your choices based on how those towns fit your criteria and facts (MCAS scores, housing price trends, tax rates, crime etc), not opinions. Then, look at opinions. Throw out the glowing reviews and the horrendous reviews and look for those that give pros and cons. Find a realtor who lives/works in the area you have chosen. They can be a wealth of information. When you have it narrowed down, if at all possible, visit these towns at different times and at different events (I found school sporting events to be VERY telling). Go to small local restaurants and shops and speak to people who live and work in town. It's time consuming and at times frustrating but you will be thankful later that you put the effort in to pick a community because that's where you will make a home, not just buy a house.

Keeping your options open to purchase a condo will be extremely helpful in your search. You will have more opportunity in more high end, better school district communities with more walkability.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 12,310,483 times
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I don't know who told you "Newton is bad," or why, but it seems like a potentially good fit for what you want. You should be able to get a condo in Newton for $400K or so, and it offers (a) great schools, (b) walkable neighborhoods (not as much as Boston or Cambridge, but more so than more outlying towns), (c) a quick and direct "reverse" commute to Wayland, and (d) proximity to Boston.

West Newton has a downtown area with a cinema, restaurants, etc. Newtonville, Newton Centre, and Newton Highlands are other "villages" of Newton with walkable downtown areas.

Belmont and Arlington may fit your needs as well, but the commute to Wayland is a bit less direct from there.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
12,889 posts, read 22,063,020 times
Reputation: 14145
I would also suggest Newton. Potentially Brookline, but you may have more trouble at your price point there. Otherwise, Brookline is as good a choice as Newton. Arlington works too (though as Holden mentioned, the commute is longer). I know nothing of Belmont, but would take Holden's word for it. Newton and Brookline are on both commuter and light rail lines which make access to/from the core of the city quite easy.

If you change your mind and would prefer a single family home, Sudbury, Concord and Lexington would work, but you'd be pushing (or exceeding) that 30 minute drive into Boston. You'd also be getting away from the walkable neighborhoods.

I suggested Sharon earlier, but for work in Wayland, that's not a good fit at all.
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 12,310,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
Arlington works too (though as Holden mentioned, the commute is longer). I know nothing of Belmont, but would take Holden's word for it.
Arlington once was more blue collar than it is today, and some aspects of that remain. But it's become a prime spot for people who prefer to be closer to the city but are priced out of Cambridge or Boston, and/or want good public schools. There's a burgeoning restaurant scene and a good number of young professional families. The schools are well regarded, especially my alma mater, the Brackett School, which is considered one of the top elementary schools in the state. And which sits across from a park with a great view over Boston.

Robbins Farm Park and Playground on Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeyhall/2376217704/ - broken link)

Arlington was the scene of much of the fighting during the British retreat from the misnamed Battle of Lexington and Concord, and has a Patriots Day parade to commemorate. It's also alleged to be the hometown of the original Uncle Sam.

Belmont, right below Arlington, is a little bit different. Its reputation is that of a high end, country-club kind of town. In reality, it's not monolithically wealthy at all. I like to think of Belmont as three different places. The NW corner, Belmont Hill, is very affluent, with mansions running in the millions. Near Waverley Square, and along the Trapelo Rd. and Belmont St corridor, are side streets with a lot of 2- and 3-family houses. This area (home to my humble abode) has many rentals and condos in your price range. The rest of the town is a fairly upscale inner suburb, with a lot of lovely and fairly large single family homes that sell for $650-900K.

The Belmont schools are very good, probably a bit higher than Arlington's in terms of test scores, etc. In the interests of full disclosure, the middle school recently had a mini-scandal involving students sending inappropriate pictures on cell phones. This is the kind of thing that, these days, could happen anywhere, but it did happen in Belmont. That could actually be a good thing for you-perhaps since it's already happened, people will be less likely to let it happen again.

Neither of these towns has the population, and thus the extra-curriculars, that the Newton schools (or those in Lexington offer), but they both offer very good schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
If you change your mind and would prefer a single family home, Sudbury, Concord and Lexington would work, but you'd be pushing (or exceeding) that 30 minute drive into Boston. You'd also be getting away from the walkable neighborhoods.
I haven't looked lately, but it seems it would be tough to find a single family for 400K in those towns. They're pretty upscale. It's definitely true that they are less walkable and a bit farther from Boston.
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:11 PM
 
5 posts, read 45,452 times
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Again, the advice on this board is greatly appreciated. We will be coming out in late June to scout neighborhoods, so this will give us a good jump on where to search.

If there is any other info I can provide to help with recommendations, let me know and I will be glad to assist. Thanks again!
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
3,973 posts, read 5,779,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tooldude View Post
Boston Latin is overrated anyways. Even if it's a good school, there are bad students that go there. I've heard some of the students get in trouble for dealing drugs and getting into fights.
Oh but you'll get those kids everywhere in all types of schools. Someone told me that Newton South is the drug capital of Mass and that there are cokeheads at Lexington High School. Lexington and Newton are not what I consider to have bad reputations either.

I definitely had classmates back at BLS who smoked pot, drank to get drunk (including an incident at the semi-formal), slept around, etc. And yes there are bullies, snots, jocks, freaks, geeks, etc as well. Hey, its a public school after all.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
12,889 posts, read 22,063,020 times
Reputation: 14145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
Hey, its a public school after all.
Exactly. It would also be pretty ignorant to presume those things don't exist at private schools too. My sister went to an "elite" private school in MA where her friends *gasp* drank alcohol did drugs (a lot of pot, ample cocaine), slept around and caused trouble.

Her school also had the bullies, the freaks, the geeks, the jocks, the preps, the nerds, etc. A uniform and higher tuition doesn't make the normal teenager any different.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:10 PM
 
2,312 posts, read 7,530,511 times
Reputation: 908
You could get a *basic* 2-3 bedroom condo in Brookline at your price, and have good schools, walking distance, and be close to Boston.
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