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Old 07-05-2009, 10:42 PM
Location: Chatham, MA
3 posts, read 14,226 times
Reputation: 10


I am originally from Northwestern, CT. Went to school in RI and now I have been living and working on Cape Cod for over 4 years.

We recently had a baby in December 08 and instantly my priorities have changed. I want to live closer to family in CT and VT and I want to have the room to lead a somewhat responsible and sustainable existence. I'm talking about gardens, chickens, bees, root cellars, green houses that kind of stuff.

The Cape is beautiful and that is about all I can say about it. My fascination with the ocean and my job has kept me here too long. We are in the market to buy our first home and I want it to be in an area that I can see our future and the Cape is not it.

Pioneer valley seems fitting for us because it happens to be a convenient half way point for both sides of the family. I am an outdoorsy kind of girl but I like a night on the town every once and a while. I love the arts and continuing education. I am a construction manager, have a MA Construction Supervisor License and extremely interested in green building.

Although I want and need it to happen, I am overwhelmed with the whole concept of relocating. Finding a town, finding a neighborhood, finding a home, finding a job for myself and fiancee, finding daycare, worrying about the school systems.

Any guidance on where I should start or what towns I should look into would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:14 PM
1,270 posts, read 5,222,310 times
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Default Some towns to consider for Pioneer Valley-Berkshires

What about Sturbridge MA?
it has good schools, is close to Both Hartford , Worcester, and Springfield and not even far from Boston-Providence
Old Sturbirdge Village is out there too

Another option might be in Conn.

like Stafford Springs


Ashford CT

Granby CT

Suffield / West Suffield CT

Windsor CT

In Mass.

you might look at




if you dont mind a 40 miles commute --from Western MA via the Mass Pike to Springfield
you could even live out in Lenox or Lee Mass.
nice berkshire towns

other options close to I-90 within commuting distance (under an hour from Springfield) would be






Great Barrington


N orth and W of springfield would be













EAST Of Springfield would be





West Brookfield

(the Brookfields)





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Old 07-06-2009, 07:34 AM
Location: Central MA
65 posts, read 223,073 times
Reputation: 27
Honestly, my suggestion would be to find a job first and go from there.

My husband is a g/c and construction is dead right now. The further West you go from Worcester, the worse the construction industry is and there will be very little commerical work, let alone residential. With a small child, you don't want a 2 hour commute going East for work.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:29 PM
5,817 posts, read 15,261,514 times
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Hi Apond00. Yeah, funny how certain events in life, like the arrival of the next generation, suddenly change your whole outlook. So, where do you go to live with that new outlook? I'm with Concepts on the idea that you might look generally around the areas of central MA or north-central CT for a job, then consider specific towns that would be near your work. Another life stage that has a profound effect on you view of the world is when you start paying the bills. Since it sounds as if you've been doing that for some time, I'm sure you get what I mean when I say that the best place to live has to include a source of income.

If we assume hypothetically that you could find work anywhere, like Dreamworks, I thought first of Sturbridge. Not quite as far west as you're talking about, but still out toward the general area you're considering, and a nice town, fairly close to several cities. You said you like some city activity, so keep in mind that if you get out much west of Worcester you may have to adjust your expectations of city life. Springfield is the largest city in the Pioneer Valley, and Springfield is not a really big city. It's also generally pretty run down, though there are some nightspots scattered around the area.

Up the road from Springfield, the larger town that is a center for nightlife is Northampton. Depending on how much city activity you want, Northampton could be all right. It has a bunch of restaurants and bars and such, and the local area affords the opportunity for classes, and some exposure to arts and speakers and such events, because of the colleges in the area, but Northampton is pretty heavily oriented toward the college crowd. This college atmosphere shows up in the nightlife especially. That's something to keep in mind about the Pioneer Valley, because sometimes those accustomed to more of a mature entertainment scene can find a world dominated by college students to seem a bit surreal. Nice area aesthetically, however, and there are those cultural amenities you wouldn't always find in a rural area like much of the PV. Some towns Dreamworks suggested, like Wilbraham, would be farther west than Sturbridge, and more family-oriented and suburban.

So, a lot depends on how much nightlife and city living you want, how far west you really need to be to visit family, and the kind of character you would want in your local community.

Last edited by ogre; 07-06-2009 at 10:38 PM..
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:15 PM
Location: Springfield and brookline MA
1,347 posts, read 2,935,431 times
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have you ever been to the pioneer valley,for the most part it is urban with the core of it being hamden county(which has roughly around 450-500 thousand residents) Northampton is the largest city in Hampshire county which is mostly rural with itself and Amherst being the exception. as far as wilbraham goes in my opinion it is a decent little town but very costly to live in. for what the OP has described i think the berkshires or franklin counties would be more of what she is looking for. with access to rt 91 and the pike from both counties work in the springfield /hartford area is not a unreasonable commute.(springfield /hartford area together is roughly around 1.2 million people so i think you could find work here,and yes there is life and construction past Worcester)
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:56 PM
Location: Chatham, MA
3 posts, read 14,226 times
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Thanks all that have replied. North & West of Springfield seems to be sparking an interest. Thanks Dreamworks for the suggestions. Ogre - I will check into Sturbridge this is the first I have really heard about it, other than the village. I grew up in CT and would like to stay away from the Hartford area and city life is really the last on my list of priorities.

I have been searching for jobs in the PV area with not much luck. I know the construction industry is taking a beating right now and I am thankful for the job I have on the Cape. I think the Green Building Industry is up and coming. With the unstable markets I have found many people investing their money in their homes - additions, remodels and efficiency upgrades. I am hoping to find a custom residential company that has benefit from this trend. If I knew the area better I would consider starting my own business. One thing at a time... Any good job search engines out there? Local paper listings?
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:16 PM
44 posts, read 145,965 times
Reputation: 38
As a previous poster suggested, it would be best to find a job and let that drive your decision of town. Still, I think you really would be happy in the general vicinity of Northampton, MA, or the towns to the north (I live in that area). It will depend on how close you want to be to night life, how close you need to be to shopping, and how important schools are to you. Northampton itself has a vibrant night life that, while popular with students, offers a lot for everyone and the nearby universities draw a diverse range of talented speakers, artists, musicians, etc. I wouldn't describe it as a college party town, just an active artsy town, great restaurants, lots to do. As for responsible and sustainable lifestyles, Hampshire and Franklin counties will suit you well. Every shade of green seems to exist here, depending of how aggressively "granola" you are. If you can find a job, it's a high quality of life here. You might consider Sunderland, Deerfield, Shelburne, Leverett, Ashfield, Hadley... all have their charms and distinct character. Best of luck!
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:08 AM
1 posts, read 5,823 times
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Any advice on Palmer Ma?
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:29 PM
Location: Quiet Corner Connecticut
1,335 posts, read 3,169,388 times
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Originally Posted by new2ma View Post
Any advice on Palmer Ma?
It's halfway between Worcester and Springfield, on the Turnpike.

Care to be more specific in what you're looking for?
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:12 PM
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
26,069 posts, read 26,166,814 times
Reputation: 48729
Any advice on Palmer Ma? You probably would want to stay away -- old paper mill town, run down. How about Belchertown? It's on rte 9 not too far out from Amherst where all the action is. It's near Mt Holyoke College, UMass, and Amherst College and the school system seems to be pretty good. It has experienced a huge building boom so there could be construction jobs there. It's a countrified town, for the most part, and they FINALLY have a grocery store so people don't have to drive to get to one. It seems to be a lot of youngish families with a good mix of young and old. It has an old fashioned feel to it, but you'll be used to that since you're from NW CT. You'd be not too far from the Mass Pike for getting to CT. For getting to VT you'd take rte 9 and then take I-91 north. Officially, it's not part of the Pioneer Valley but socially, it is.
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