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Old 03-06-2010, 06:38 PM
 
3 posts, read 7,191 times
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We have been looking for a house for several years and haven't bought one because we can't commit to a town. We lived in Jamaica Plain for several years before selling our condo and loved it. We are searching for a town with nice people, good but not uber-competitive schools/sports, a little downtown with a train, decent highway access, and a decent commute to Boston (less than 50 mins ideally). Proximity to water or a pond/lake (like JP pond!) is a bonus. We've considered Andover, Lexington, Reading, Concord, Hingham, Cohasset, and Scituate. The zinger is our budget: $450k tops and we'll only consider a single family. We don't mind a fixer-upper/small house in a town with a nice downtown but would it be terrible to be the least affluent (to say the least) folks in town? We have looked at other towns (Wakefield, Canton, Natick) but are not excited about the feel of the quality of the downtowns. I know we are shooting for the moon - no need to tell me that - but we just keep wondering, are we missing something? Is there a perfect town in MA?

Thanks so much.
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Mass.
83 posts, read 325,112 times
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Have you looked at Melrose?
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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I don't know how important access to a train is to you, but be aware that Lexington, one of the towns you said you're considering, has no commuter rail.

I don't know Melrose very well, but second that suggestion based on what I do know. If you're thinking of commuting by train, another town within your preferred 50-minute commuting time which comes to mind is Beverly. If a town without a lot of sparkle, but still a solid place, could work for you, then you might take a look at Waltham.

Maynard could be another possibility, if a town with a bit of a faded appearance could work, although Maynard is iffy based on your criteria. Its schools have had something less than a stellar reputation in the past, though I've heard that there may be some signs of improvement as the town has been discovered by young professionals who are pushing for better schools. Maynard also does not have a commuter rail station right in town, but there is one very nearby in South Acton, though this is located a few minutes outside the fifty-minute range. Maynard may not fit your crieteria perfectly, but could be worth placing on your initial list of possibilities.

Last edited by ogre; 03-06-2010 at 08:11 PM..
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:31 PM
 
406 posts, read 1,496,833 times
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I definitely suggest Melrose as well--it has a lot of families priced out of Cambridge (etc.) moving in, a nice walkable downtown, good schools, lake access, the T and commuter rail, a vibrant arts community, and lovely victorian housing stock similar to JP.

For 450k, especially if you don't mind a smaller home, you could find something in Arlington, which would give you all of the above and border Cambridge and Somerville to boot. I've seen some great values in Arlington lately!
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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Wakefield is the perfect place for you- close to the train, lake, nice, safe, great food nearby and very close to all the major highways.
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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Thank you all so much for your suggestions. I had thought briefly about Melrose, Maynard and Wakefield but was worried about the schools (and for Maynard was worried about commuting ease). I'll look again at Arlington too - had thought we were priced out. I'll dig deeper on those, thanks again! I'd appreciate any thoughts from others too on schools in Melrose, Wakefield and Maynard.
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Beautiful New England
2,412 posts, read 7,177,662 times
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Franklin, though it might be a bit far.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:14 PM
 
278 posts, read 1,063,950 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professorsenator View Post
Franklin, though it might be a bit far.

Ditto for Franklin, at that price point.
Nice town, good mix of white & blue collar folks--we all get along.
2 train stations, nice library, 3 nice ponds & a state park with walking trails...nice Common with farmers market spring thru fall.
The commute by train is an hour.
Good luck!
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:21 PM
 
18,725 posts, read 33,390,141 times
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Melrose and Wakefield have very well-regarded schools.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:29 PM
 
304 posts, read 774,434 times
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My family goes to the Melrose schools (elementary schools so far) and I think they are great. There are lots of different types of housing stock in Melrose, big houses, small houses, condos, rentals, so it is a little more economically diverse than some other towns which is probably why the test scores don't rank as high as other wealthy towns - but they have 3 new schools, a wonderful middle school, tons of parks, playgrounds, family activities - it is a wonderful town to raise a family.
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