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Old 08-28-2016, 08:36 AM
 
1,478 posts, read 2,409,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCMA View Post
I like that Central and Western MA are not touristy or artificially quaint. Berkshires aside, you're dealing with very real small towns full of very real and down to earth people often living in scenery to die for. The living is affordable (if can find a job), people look out for each other, and there's not much in way of pretension. Check out towns like Ashburnham, Barre, the Brookfields, Granville, Northfield, and Whately for what I'm talking about. Unfortunately the cities and larger mill towns in the region are our state's equivalent of the Rust Belt and while they are not absent of charm, are very overwhelmed with socioeconomic problems. Northampton and Amherst are the only semi sizeable towns in the region that are thriving and it's all because of the colleges.

In contrast places like Woodstock VT or Stockbridge MA give me the creeps. Full of wealthy tourists in Jaguars shopping for artisan soap and trinkets. For better or worse, Central and Western MA (minus Berkshires) generally only has those types passing through and maybe stopping to gas up the Land Rover, twitching in disdain at the little people in their mud huts, taking a picture at the French King Bridge, and moving along to their third home somewhere vetted by the lifestyle magazines. We who live in the lesser places at least get to keep our scenery to ourselves (pssst, there are a thousand equal to better views than the French King if you bother to get off the main roads!)
Well said! This is why I am glad I marrieds north shore girl. Though Essex county is Boston centric it has a feeling of real to it. I grew up going to the cape which is about as fake as fake can be. I lobe towns like Ipswich Essex newbury And Marblehead where people Actually live and is not a fake imagined image like the towns you mentioned. It's also refreshing to see kids wanting to return to the town they grew up in after college.

I hope I am wrong but I do feel Northampton west is getting a little fake. But not
To the levels of the other places.

One day I will buy my land somewhere off of rt 2 past the quabbin.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:12 AM
 
6,688 posts, read 5,842,699 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
I like seeing that Mattoon St is still looking good. It was revitalized back in the '70s.

And that is Classical High School??? A bit over the top in decor for me but nice to see that it's still there and people pay big bucks to live there. What a great location.
(My dad went to school there a long, long time ago--I thought they were going to demolish it at one time, thought it HAD been demolished.)
Yes that is classical high. It actually isn't that much to live there. I've seen condos from $50-150K. HOA fee about $300 a month. Now there is parking assured. Matton might be better given that if you buy it there's no HOA fee and the taxes probably aren't as high as that annually. Having said that it is a historic district and if you try to change anything you are a bit limited.

There might be some debate about Brightwood. It's going to be replaced and take about five years. Personally I don't know if plans are to demo it or sell it off etc.

In six acres/corners they are demoing an old nursing home that's been empty for 20 years. Gradually I think empty buildings are going to be demoed and more redevelopment.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:20 AM
 
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
24,039 posts, read 23,493,178 times
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I hope I am wrong but I do feel Northampton west is getting a little fake. But not
To the levels of the other places.


Northampton is kind of over the top, gone too far, imho. It's the NYers who started it in the first place. A few of them bought out some businesses and built (was it condos?) back in the late '70s. Before that N'ton was mainly a run down shadow of what it must have been before. A dusty, boring, almost backwards kind of place. The downtown had Ann August department store, a five and ten, and McClellans (?) not sure of the name but it was a mid range or even low end store that had clothing and lots of other things.

When the NYers first came in with their big money, the changes were dramatic and exciting. Thornes Market was one of the first innovations and it was the incubator for tons of new businesses that would start out small and then move onward and upward and out. It seemed like every DAY a new store would open or a new restaurant would spring up. In the '80s it was great, by the late '90s it was getting to be a bit too much.

By the late '90s you'd sit in the latest trendy N'ton restaurant and have to endure arrogant NYers conversing loudly about money, their latest investment, their (expensive) car, and latest and greatest plans to develop more property.

In winter you'd see clusters of rich NYers standing around on the downtown sidewalks wearing ostentatiously expensive jackets and boots, speaking in loud voices, probably bragging about their expensive winter vacation in (fill in the blank) and always crowing about how great it was to be way out here "in the country." Country?

No one you talked to was from Northampton anymore. People would always ask where you were from as if everyone came from somewhere else. To a large extent, that was usually the case. It was enjoyable meeting transplants from all over the country but it felt strange when someone would say (with lightly veiled disdain), "You're actually FROM here?" Makes you feel like a freak.

Graffiti would protest "gentrification" but that did little good. Locals (always looked down upon by NYers) were priced out and many had to leave. Northampton is still a great place with a lot to do and the surrounding area is still pretty but it's become too "cutsie" and, as people used to say, "You can't buy a spool of thread or a shoelace on Main St anymore but you can buy..."

Still, this person is going back and has always gone back. Driving down the Mass Pike (the ONLY time I ever use the Mass Pike) you eventually see the hills of home in the distance. When you get there you take the good with the bad. It's still nice to visit but I wouldn't want to live there anymore.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:59 AM
 
513 posts, read 633,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by massnative71 View Post
Well to be fair, there are literally people in Boston who think Framingham is in Western Mass. LOL.
This is true, lived in Marlborough MA and all the Boston and Quincy kids would say I was from western Mass. Pretty strange
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Old 08-29-2016, 01:01 PM
 
Location: North Quabbin, MA
939 posts, read 1,225,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.M.M View Post
This is true, lived in Marlborough MA and all the Boston and Quincy kids would say I was from western Mass. Pretty strange
Ah yes those who don't hail from the dark heart of Massahole nation are clearly from the vast jungle that must, to those of this mindset, begin immediately west of the Blue Hills / 128. After all, who can be bothered to differentiate MetroWest from Western Mass?

I mean it's all faahms out there and I can't stand faaahms, my cousin went to Marl-bro and South-bro once and told me it's wicked sad and pathetic out they-ah because it's the country and they's nothin but faaahms, like can you believe she saw a COW? I'm such a city guy - I'd be like where the f--- am I? There were like trees and more cows than people. I couldn't even stand that, sort of like that time I got lost off 93 in Canton I was like dude where's the packie? but out theyah she couldn't find a Dunkies for TWO miles! Can you imagine being that faaah from civilization?
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:35 PM
 
7 posts, read 4,750 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by massnative71 View Post
^Some places like Athol and Ware are debatable, but I dont think anyone in the area would consider Gardner to be anywhere but Central Mass.
Gardner is the last bastion of civilization before Western MA.

After that, darkness.

said as a Fitchburg resident
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:30 AM
 
Location: North Quabbin, MA
939 posts, read 1,225,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TunaPower View Post
Gardner is the last bastion of civilization before Western MA.

After that, darkness.

said as a Fitchburg resident
However west of Gardner up until Orange, the vibe and commuting patterns still very much lean east to Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Worcester - as an obscure appendage of Central MA. Orange west is where it really begins to tip in to Western Mass. But from the Fitch perspective, and an eye to population density patterns you are about right.
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