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Old 03-27-2010, 08:07 AM
 
14 posts, read 87,660 times
Reputation: 13

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Thanks everyone for answering my previous post about suburbs north of Boston. Since I will be commuting into Back Bay, one of the prior posts opened my eyes to suburbs south of Boston.

Can someone help me out with information on the following places:

Dedham
Westwood
Canton
Norwood
Any other suburb w/ a good commute into Back Bay

I am looking for a place with good public schools. Also, I am trying to keep rent to around 1500-1600 for a 2 bedroom apartment. I am flexible as far as an "urban" or "suburban" feel, but I want to keep my commute to 30-45 minutes.

Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
3,970 posts, read 5,762,977 times
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All great suburbs with great schools. All four also have commuter rail service that goes straight to Back Bay but check to see which stations have parking lots in case you don't lie near a station.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:10 PM
 
14 posts, read 87,660 times
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Thanks for the response. What am I to make of the greatschools.org ratings of these suburbs. For example, Westwood is ranked all 9s and 10s, whereas Norwood is ranked 6s or so. Is there that much of a difference between the two, or is that just the greatschools.org system being based strictly on numbers, etc.?

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:23 PM
 
Location: In Exile
107 posts, read 287,166 times
Reputation: 142
greatschool.org rankings are based largely on parent say so. To get an idea of what the philosophy and academic leanings of the schools may be check these out:

www.norwood.k12.ma.us

www.westwood.k12.ma.us


best of luck,
gracie
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Boston
142 posts, read 660,519 times
Reputation: 72
Of the four towns you mentioned, Westwood has the most reputable school system. It's one of the best in the state. There's probably not a lot of difference between the other three. However, the other three towns have more options for traing service downtown. What's your priority?
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
5,037 posts, read 6,918,347 times
Reputation: 5961
I think that Westwood has the best reputation for schools--whether that means that the schools are genuinely better or that school rankings just track pretty closely to median income is up for debate. I disagree that the other towns have better access to commuter rail--all four towns have two commuter rail stations, but Westwood is the only one on two different lines. I think the general mark against Westwood with regards to commuter rail is that both of the stations lie pretty far from the town center--not true for Norwood or Canton, but certainly the case for Dedham. If you want to, though, you can live in Westwood and very close to commuter rail stations.

I think the real problem you'll find with Westwood is that there just aren't many apartments. A quick search on Craigslist shows none currently listed (although there are some houses for rent just outside of your listed range) in Westwood.
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:22 PM
 
22 posts, read 90,255 times
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Dedham-most urban, multiple neighborhoods closest proximity to Boston but not so in terms of train time,3 train stations, solid public schools,mostly white with a little racial diversity( growing lebanese population), CHEAPEST! 35-40 min ride on T. Safe but does have quite a few rundown , not so nice areas, multiple "downtowns" or "centers", multiple bus lines

Canton-Most Spread out in terms of overall land mass but littered with office parks, golf courses, ponds/lakes ect, very Suburban with some more urban-type neighborhoods off downtown, Very Good schools, MOST DIVERSE( Mostly white but now has 20% black population and a noticable amount of hispanic's and Brazilian/Portuguese(compared to most other Boston Suburbs)), Large Jewish Population, 2 1/2 train stations, 20-30 min ride on T, bus system right to Mattapan Square in Boston Somewhat Expensive, Mostly Safe with some Sketchy areas, walkable depending on neighborhood

Westwood- very suburban with rural feel to it, two T stations 20-30 min ride, GREAT schools, NO DIVERSITY( WHite,catholic,white Catholic), EXPENSIVE, VERY safe, no real downtown, not walkable,

Norwood- Suburban but with Urban feeling in certain neighborhoods, Good Schools, VERY WHite ( but apparently a growing Indian Population), 40-45 min T ride. a bus line to boston, great downtown area, vert walkable


In a Snapshot:

Dedham: Cheapest, Average Schools, Urban, Walkable, not the nicest of the group, 3rd Longest T ride, some diversity

Canton: 2nd Most Expensive,Suburban, Very Good Schools, Most Racial and Religious Diversity, Shortest T ride( along with Westwood)

Norwood- 2nd Cheapest, Suburban, Longest T ride, Great downtown, little diversity, Good Schools

Westwood- Most expensive, Suburban, Short T ride, kind of snooty, NO diversity, Best Schools, not a real downtown

ALL HAVE EASY HIGHWAY ACCESS!

My Choice if I were YOu:

Canton or Norwood
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:58 AM
 
14 posts, read 87,660 times
Reputation: 13
Wow, thanks everyone! That is some great info. As far as pjscdn's question, my priority is split between commute and schools. I want my daughter to have the best school possible, but I also do not want to be commuting for over an hour each day. Each of these places seems like it would fit as far as keeping my commute to under 45 min or so.

Jayrandom is dead on as far as finding an apartment in Westwood. I have been looking around and have yet to find much of anything.

Finally, Bostonsteve77, thanks for the breakdown. That really helps a lot.

Are there any areas in the south suburbs/south of boston that I am missing as far as my criteria goes: good schools, decent commute, not overly expensive?

Thanks again it is much appreciated.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
10,006 posts, read 15,647,185 times
Reputation: 8644
You might have a look at Walpole as well.
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:02 AM
 
138 posts, read 339,706 times
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When I lived in Dedham I just drove to Forest Hills and found parking off street or in the lot, it was a lot quicker than taking the train or waiting for it. The drive down Washington St. or Hyde Park Ave to get to the station is not that bad.
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