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Old 03-22-2021, 12:12 PM
 
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Help..... I am so overwhelmed looking at these various towns and the competition on houses is crazy. This is a big investment, looking for any insider knowledge..

Looking to buy a home in a progressive and down to earth town ideally within 45 minutes to Waltham and around an hour to Providence and an hour to Boston... Does such a place exist? Extra points for some hippie dippie elements (i.e Northampton/Portland, Maine)

Considering - Northborough/Shrewsbury/Southborough/Westboro/Acton/Ashland/Hopkinton/Stow/Bolton .. any feedback on these or suggestions for others?

Basically I looked up schools and a map and guessed on towns that might fit the bill.

Budget 500,000-750,000 (TOP meaning including the crazy bidding over asking) hoping for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a decent yard

Any insights super appreciated!
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Old 03-22-2021, 12:34 PM
 
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That will be a very tough combination to find. And what do you mean by "progressive"? Maybe Upton (although that's pushing the 45 minutes from Waltham (rush hour pre-Covid forget it)? Other places with a laid back/hippyish vibe are either well outside your commute range (Harvard/Groton), or they have only average schools (Maynard/Hudson).
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Old 03-22-2021, 02:29 PM
 
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Thanks for the feedback! Much appreciated. Hmm by progressive, I guess I mean generally socially liberal (i.e. pro lgbtq rights) If we extended commute time, would Harvard/Groton be the best bet?
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Old 03-22-2021, 03:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JuliaGreaterBoston View Post
Hmm by progressive, I guess I mean generally socially liberal (i.e. pro lgbtq rights)
I mean, how many towns in MA are majority socially conservative?
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Old 03-22-2021, 03:39 PM
 
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Fair point! Perhaps not many. So if socially liberal is a given, what towns have the other elements?
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Old 03-22-2021, 03:55 PM
 
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These towns are mostly going to be New England moderate, indifferent to those social issues. Don't push your views on others, they will give you the same back in return. If you are looking for rainbow and BLM flags flying on your neighbor's lawn, out of your list I hear Acton has quite a bit of that. But it's the loud virtue signalling kind, not "laid back" at all which is what you seem to be more seeking. You're definitely not going to find anything like Northampton or Portland, ME in the 495 belt. It does sound like you might be best off in one of the semi-rural "crunchier" towns like Harvard, Groton, or Upton. Or Maynard or Hudson if you can accept "not the best" schools but are willing to be active in your kids' education and still probably get a good outcome. I know people who are quite happy in those towns.
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Old 03-22-2021, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Hoboken, NJ
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I grew up in Northborough, and went through the public schools (shared w/ Southborough). I'd consider North/South/Westborough and probably Shrewsbury as all very similar. If you live in one you'll be running errands back and forth between them, mostly to Westborough which is the commercial center of the area.

- They're all nice if fairly mundane suburban towns, with great schools (I graduated in the 90's, and this was as true then as it is now)
- Nicely located at 9/90/495 intersection which puts in a good commuting for either closer to Boston, up or down 495, or out to Worcester.
- They are all what I'd describe as liberal'ish - nobody will mistake them for Somerville, but you're probably talking ~60% Democratic voting, which probably describes most of Eastern Massachusetts (in other words, less liberal than the more $$$ blue ribbon suburbs 20-30 minutes east, and more liberal than the towns around Worcester)
- There is nothing remotely hip/hipster/hippie/whatever about any of them (although my HS parking lot was a bit like a Phish concert, does that count ha?!?!)
- Southborough is the wealthiest of the 4, by quite a margin (the others are a blend of mostly Upper Middle Class with a small amount of remaining Middle Class). It is also the easiest & most direct commute to Boston; The other 3 I'd say are roughly equivalent these days
- Housing stock ranges from 3/4 cape post-war blahs to 1700's era colonials to 1990's-2000's McMansions, depending on the neighborhood; This is knock on the area, imo as it's pretty haphazard (Southborough has nicest housing stock)
- Can't comment on current real estate market except to say I'm not envious of having to by a place right now ANYWHERE
- It was, overall, a pretty nice place to grow up.

I've never lived in other areas (although somewhat familiar with Hopkinton as it was pretty close by) so will defer to others here.
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Old 03-22-2021, 04:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dcb175 View Post
- They are all what I'd describe as liberal'ish - nobody will mistake them for Somerville, but you're probably talking ~60% Democratic voting, which probably describes most of Eastern Massachusetts (in other words, less liberal than the more $$$ blue ribbon suburbs 20-30 minutes east, and more liberal than the towns around Worcester)

Not quite true. Those towns have all elected Republicans in recent years (as well as Democrats, depending on the race). I think we both agree that they are overall pretty moderate. Everything else you said sounds pretty accurate.
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by massnative71 View Post
These towns are mostly going to be New England moderate, indifferent to those social issues. Don't push your views on others, they will give you the same back in return. If you are looking for rainbow and BLM flags flying on your neighbor's lawn, out of your list I hear Acton has quite a bit of that.
I am not pushing anything. I understood OP wanted a town where there is no (or minimal) antagonism to LGBTQ issues and similar (and that is many many town) and not a town where people fly the rainbow flag.
You can be socially progressive without flags, in fact that is most of the socially progressive people, even in Cambridge.
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by massnative71 View Post
Not quite true. Those towns have all elected Republicans in recent years (as well as Democrats, depending on the race). I think we both agree that they are overall pretty moderate. Everything else you said sounds pretty accurate.
I think everyone knows that voting a republican mayor is really not the same as voting for a congressman/woman, senator or president.

For instance Baker barely lost in Boston in 2018 and won in almost every town, including Newton, Lexington, or Harvard. Warren won in Harvard by a similar margin as she did in Westboro.
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