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Old 04-08-2013, 12:17 PM
 
6 posts, read 12,205 times
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I'm currently renting in Lexington and my lease ends soon. It's looking like buying in Lexington, Winchester or Concord is not going to be an option. Unfortunately I'm not as familiar with other suburbs as I should be and so I am looking for some advice from people with experience. I've been doing my own leg-work (visiting, etc) but I'm wondering if I am overlooking any towns that might fit the bill for me. I am looking for a town with good schools (I have two young children) but I am also looking for one that is "walkable" and not too rural. Do Sudbury, Acton and Westford have any sort of town centers? From my limited experience they all seem very quiet and a bit rural (at least Sudbury does) but I suppose I may be missing certain areas or neighborhoods. I like West Concord but it sounds like there are some environmental issues there. Needham looked great, however I can't be south of the pike (my husband commutes to NH and Boston). I've heard that Andover has quite a bit going on, but that would be going more North than I was planning. I am open to hearing more about that option though. Are there any places that I am missing that might fit the bill? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
6,300 posts, read 9,033,221 times
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Acton (I live here.) has several centers and business districts. Acton last week voted a major initiative on Kelly's Corner (route 27 and 111) at town meeting. That will include sidewalks. You can check out Acton 2020 to learn more or better yet become part of it if you move here. West Acton is the more historic quaint side of town, very walkable. Town center is where the library and town hall are. There is parking behind town hall. The neighborhoods around the center, notable for the obelisque are highly walkable. The North side of town has most of the eating places and shopping. It is not currently too walkable.

Acton has a unique school system that caters to the abilities and interests of each student. There are five elementary schools each with a unique teaching philosophy.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:43 PM
 
2,414 posts, read 4,457,056 times
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Natick has a walkable center--it's a bit south of the Pike but may fill the bill otherwise. Maynard and Hudson are small walkable towns but they lack the high school rankings people with children crave. The thing is that nothing walkable has been built since cars became the dominant means of transport and gave people an alternative to walking. Most of the desirable suburbs outside 128 were farming towns back then. For walkable you have to find something older, either a pre-automobile suburb like Needham or Winchester, or an old mill town that's since regenerated, like Maynard, or a market town for the gentry, like Concord. Walkable towns are more common along the coast because the towns there developed early for fishing or maritime trade. Concord is a rare inland exception in having a well developed walkable center that isn't a former milltown. Marlborough's center could be walkable but seems to be run down, same with Framingham.

All the towns you mention have abundant places for recreational walking-- they have parks, historic sites, nature preserves, forest trails, and the like, many of them well used so that you're not the only ones out there. Some of the least walkable towns--in the more familiar sense of walking to shops, restaurants, bookstores, post office--have extensive public lands and path systems. I'm thinking of Lincoln, Sudbury, Carlisle, Weston. Concord is blessed with walkability of both kinds. But in most cases, while there's plenty of walkability in the recreational-nature walking sense, you still have to drive to get anywhere.

Glad to hear that Acton is getting a bit more walkable. It already has many other advantages for families.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:12 AM
 
79 posts, read 211,013 times
Reputation: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Materlova View Post
I'm currently renting in Lexington and my lease ends soon. It's looking like buying in Lexington, Winchester or Concord is not going to be an option. Unfortunately I'm not as familiar with other suburbs as I should be and so I am looking for some advice from people with experience. I've been doing my own leg-work (visiting, etc) but I'm wondering if I am overlooking any towns that might fit the bill for me. I am looking for a town with good schools (I have two young children) but I am also looking for one that is "walkable" and not too rural. Do Sudbury, Acton and Westford have any sort of town centers? From my limited experience they all seem very quiet and a bit rural (at least Sudbury does) but I suppose I may be missing certain areas or neighborhoods. I like West Concord but it sounds like there are some environmental issues there. Needham looked great, however I can't be south of the pike (my husband commutes to NH and Boston). I've heard that Andover has quite a bit going on, but that would be going more North than I was planning. I am open to hearing more about that option though. Are there any places that I am missing that might fit the bill? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Most of the Metro-West towns with good school namely Lexington, Weston, Bedford, Lincoln, ...etc will carry a premium on their real estate. If you would considee Andover, why don't you check out Lynnfield? It is definitely more affordable than Lexington while still has a pretty good school system. Is there any reason you need to stay inside of hwy495?
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:04 AM
 
17,843 posts, read 31,226,304 times
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I always vote for Littleton along with Acton. It's not walkable, but that's because of its rural nature, not because it's some big suburb, and it's a very nice, unpretentious community with a couple of great lakes, cohesive town, and lots of conservation land (most deeded to the town by deceased owners- lots of civic feeling).
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:31 PM
 
6 posts, read 12,205 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
Acton (I live here.) has several centers and business districts. Acton last week voted a major initiative on Kelly's Corner (route 27 and 111) at town meeting. That will include sidewalks. You can check out Acton 2020 to learn more or better yet become part of it if you move here. West Acton is the more historic quaint side of town, very walkable. Town center is where the library and town hall are. There is parking behind town hall. The neighborhoods around the center, notable for the obelisque are highly walkable. The North side of town has most of the eating places and shopping. It is not currently too walkable.

Acton has a unique school system that caters to the abilities and interests of each student. There are five elementary schools each with a unique teaching philosophy.
Thank you very much for all of this information about Acton! I didn't know there were multiple neighborhoods. I plan on checking them out in person this weekend.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:36 PM
 
6 posts, read 12,205 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
Natick has a walkable center--it's a bit south of the Pike but may fill the bill otherwise. Maynard and Hudson are small walkable towns but they lack the high school rankings people with children crave. The thing is that nothing walkable has been built since cars became the dominant means of transport and gave people an alternative to walking. Most of the desirable suburbs outside 128 were farming towns back then. For walkable you have to find something older, either a pre-automobile suburb like Needham or Winchester, or an old mill town that's since regenerated, like Maynard, or a market town for the gentry, like Concord. Walkable towns are more common along the coast because the towns there developed early for fishing or maritime trade. Concord is a rare inland exception in having a well developed walkable center that isn't a former milltown. Marlborough's center could be walkable but seems to be run down, same with Framingham.

All the towns you mention have abundant places for recreational walking-- they have parks, historic sites, nature preserves, forest trails, and the like, many of them well used so that you're not the only ones out there. Some of the least walkable towns--in the more familiar sense of walking to shops, restaurants, bookstores, post office--have extensive public lands and path systems. I'm thinking of Lincoln, Sudbury, Carlisle, Weston. Concord is blessed with walkability of both kinds. But in most cases, while there's plenty of walkability in the recreational-nature walking sense, you still have to drive to get anywhere.

Glad to hear that Acton is getting a bit more walkable. It already has many other advantages for families.
This is great information. It's interesting to hear why the towns have developed the way they have.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 12,179,977 times
Reputation: 3748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Materlova View Post
I'm currently renting in Lexington and my lease ends soon. It's looking like buying in Lexington, Winchester or Concord is not going to be an option. Unfortunately I'm not as familiar with other suburbs as I should be and so I am looking for some advice from people with experience. I've been doing my own leg-work (visiting, etc) but I'm wondering if I am overlooking any towns that might fit the bill for me. I am looking for a town with good schools (I have two young children) but I am also looking for one that is "walkable" and not too rural. Do Sudbury, Acton and Westford have any sort of town centers? From my limited experience they all seem very quiet and a bit rural (at least Sudbury does) but I suppose I may be missing certain areas or neighborhoods. I like West Concord but it sounds like there are some environmental issues there. Needham looked great, however I can't be south of the pike (my husband commutes to NH and Boston). I've heard that Andover has quite a bit going on, but that would be going more North than I was planning. I am open to hearing more about that option though. Are there any places that I am missing that might fit the bill? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Look more northwest. Along I93, Andover, North Reading, Wilmington,
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:25 PM
 
1,768 posts, read 3,043,095 times
Reputation: 1582
Reading is not in the same league as Lexington or Concord, but has very good schools, family oriented community, many shopping options and also many very walkable parts of town.
It is near intersection of 93 and 95 and could be ideal for your husband commute.
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