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Old 10-29-2013, 05:16 AM
 
15 posts, read 76,221 times
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It appears we will be moving our family (2 children who are 5 and 9) to the Boston area for a job in Cambridge. I'm hoping to commute in from a smaller town. Looking for help finding a town with a laid-back family friendly vibe (think artsy and fun, but not uptight) that is close to nature, with good schools. Prefer more rural with larger lots (>1 acre) over the more urban areas (0.25 acre) and a maximum of 800K.

Must Haves:
-Good Schools (but not pretentious)
-Commutable to Cambridge (about an hour, ideally by train if possible)
-Near Nature (Ocean, river, or large park systems)

We have started researching and North Shore towns keep coming up (Swampscot, Beverly, Topsfield, Rockport, Reading, Gloucester, etc) and a few others not on the North Shore area (Carlisle and Needham). Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:05 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
41,936 posts, read 37,075,799 times
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What part of Cambridge?
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:31 AM
 
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The Kendall Square area. Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Needham, MA
8,547 posts, read 14,075,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flytyer View Post
We have started researching and North Shore towns keep coming up (Swampscot, Beverly, Topsfield, Rockport, Reading, Gloucester, etc) and a few others not on the North Shore area (Carlisle and Needham). Thanks in advance for your help!
My wife commutes from Needham to Cambridge and it takes her about 35 minutes, but she drives off hours. Regardless, the commute from Needham to Cambridge is not a bad one. However, I would cross the town off your list if you're not flexible on your lot size requirement because you have very little chance of finding a 1+ acre lot for $800K or less in this town. Predominantly the lots in this town are 0.23 acres. It's not impossible to find, but it's not highly likely either. The one house I can think of right now that has that size even close to that price has electrical wires running through the back yard.

Concord, Carlisle, and Acton would be good towns for you to look into. A lot of my wife's co-workers live along Rt. 2. Lexington is lovely as well, but has pretty much the same lot size problem as Needham.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:59 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
41,936 posts, read 37,075,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post

Concord, Carlisle, and Acton would be good towns for you to look into. A lot of my wife's co-workers live along Rt. 2. Lexington is lovely as well, but has pretty much the same lot size problem as Needham.

I'm thinking this, as MikePRU suggested. You could take route 2 to Alewife and then Red Line to Kendall, so to avoid driving all the way in. Route 2 has lots of traffic though so it isn't a cake walk and there is a substantial construction project going on that I think will take years.
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Boston
102 posts, read 451,551 times
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How about Walpole? You have about 2,000 acres of publicly accessible land, including the 89-acre Bird Park, 350 acre Adams Farm, 300-acre Walpole Town Forest as well as Turner Pond for ice skating in the winter (there's even a lodge with TV, hot chocolate, couches and a fireplace!). They are all beautiful places with some spots defying the fact that urban Boston is only 18 miles away. It's also a close-knit, family-friendly community with a quaint downtown (but not boring with seven full-service restaurants, a coffee shop and frozen yogurt place and various mom and pop stores) and off-the-charts community involvement and events, including a fabulous recreation department. There's also a fabulous new public library, downtown.

The schools are solid, most notably because of the community of teachers, staff, students and teachers working together to make the overall academic experience better. The school performance stats, although quite good, might not be that of the self-perceived elite towns but there's more to school than stats. I believe 94 percent of grads go onto college, although I heard another stat of 89. Either way, these are great numbers. Walpole is also on the commuter rail and you can also drive to Cambridge in under an hour.

There is a noticeable lack of pretension in the town and you can easily find newer or historic homes with lots of a quarter to half acre -- and in many cases, even more. I am not in real estate, but know that there is a home on High St. with 3.83 acres for just over 800K, another house with .93 acres on Bubbling Brook Rd. for 699K and on Brush Hill Rd., a home on 1.8 acres for 509K. These are just a few examples of what you can get for the money in Walpole, I recommend you check out a real estate site if you'd like to see these homes online and several others that fall into your home price and acreage criteria.

Here are some photos of Bird Park, Adams Farm, Walpole Town Forest, Turner Pond and also Willett Pond (just had to include this photo!)...











And here is more on downtown Walpole: Travel Photo Essay of Walpole, MA. Hope this all helps and good luck in finding the best place to live for your family!

Last edited by Eric H.; 10-29-2013 at 08:03 AM..
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:19 AM
 
15 posts, read 76,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post
Concord, Carlisle, and Acton would be good towns for you to look into. A lot of my wife's co-workers live along Rt. 2. Lexington is lovely as well, but has pretty much the same lot size problem as Needham.
Thanks Mike. We plan to be flexible on lot size as long as we are near some open space and within a good school district. Will look into all of the towns you have mentioned. Appreciate your recommendations!
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:31 AM
 
15 posts, read 76,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric H. View Post
How about Walpole? You have about 2,000 acres of publicly accessible land, including the 89-acre Bird Park, 350 acre Adams Farm, 300-acre Walpole Town Forest as well as Turner Pond for ice skating in the winter (there's even a lodge with TV, hot chocolate, couches and a fireplace!).
Thanks Eric! I must admit that Walpole wasn't even on my radar but it is now. Looks like a nice community and thanks for sharing those great photos!
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:34 AM
 
15 posts, read 76,221 times
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Default North Shore options...?

Does anyone have thoughts on options in the North Shore area? We listed a few that looked lovely based on some initial research, but i hear the commute can be a challenge.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Needham, MA
8,547 posts, read 14,075,507 times
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Honestly, nothing against Walpole I have friends that live there and love it, but I would cross it off the list. It's not really the ideal commuting location to Kendall Square. There are other similar towns in the area that would offer better commuting options for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by flytyer View Post
Thanks Mike. We plan to be flexible on lot size as long as we are near some open space and within a good school district. Will look into all of the towns you have mentioned. Appreciate your recommendations!
A lot of the 'burbs around here have multiple parks, walking & biking trails, and a ton of town sponsored activities. The nice thing about living near Boston is that in about an hour you can be in the mountains of New Hampshire, Vermont, Western MA, or Maine. In about the same amount of time you can be on the beaches of Cape Cod or riding on your bike down the Cape Cod Rail Trail. So, even if your town doesn't offer the vast areas of parkland you seek there are places to go within a reasonable drive.
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