Boston area - nice towns for families

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Isabelle77
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Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:49 pm

It looks as if my husband may have an offer coming in a week or so from a company in Newton, MA. It's a great move for him, and frankly necessary, as he is likely to be laid off in the coming months from his current position. While I have family in Winchester and Needham, we can't really afford to live in those towns and they seem a little high strung for our west coast kids.

We're setting our housing budget at around 800K could stretch to 900K, so I thought I would ask this wise board where we can get the best bang for our buck within commuting distance to Newton? I've been told Medfield? Maybe Westwood? Holliston? Looking for good schools but not pressure cookers, our kids have grown up in the PNW and are laid back. They'll be in 8th and 10th grade respectively which is going to be super hard as it is.

Thanks in advance!

dbapaddy
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by dbapaddy » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm

watertown, brighton

BeneIRA
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by BeneIRA » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:04 pm

Depending where you are in Newton, there is a lot of public transit if that's your thing. Those areas are kind of in different parts of Eastern Mass. Westwood is fine. Lexington and Arlington are good, although can be expensive.

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:06 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:04 pm
Depending where you are in Newton, there is a lot of public transit if that's your thing. Those areas are kind of in different parts of Eastern Mass. Westwood is fine. Lexington and Arlington are good, although can be expensive.
The office is right on the Needham border if that helps, Newton Highlands I guess? I haven't looked at Arlington but Lexington is too expensive.

middistancerunner
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by middistancerunner » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:12 pm

West Roxbury might meet your needs, if you want to be more in town.

Even more in town is Jamaica Plain. Beautiful, and kinda west-coast-y in spirit and style. The reverse commute would probably be ok, but I'm not 100% sure. I also think you'd probably find stuff in your price range, though I don't know how big you're looking for.

I have less knowledge of the further-out burbs. As you've seemingly gathered, all the near-town burbs (Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Newton, Needham) are well known for a certain kind of educational experience.

jodydavis
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by jodydavis » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:13 pm

Heading west from Newton would give you some affordable options (and a pretty easy commute). Maybe Natick, Framingham? Parts of Wayland? If you want to be closer to Boston, then maybe Watertown, West Roxbury, JP.

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:18 pm

Thanks all, to add more info if it helps, we would rather be more rural than close to Boston. We live in a smallish suburb of Portland now and our kids are more comfortable with chickens than subways :)

Natick seems like it may be a good option. To clarify on schools, we do want good schools, just not cut-throat competitive schools. It seems going a little farther out may make that more feasible?

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by BeneIRA » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:29 pm

Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:18 pm
Thanks all, to add more info if it helps, we would rather be more rural than close to Boston. We live in a smallish suburb of Portland now and our kids are more comfortable with chickens than subways :)

Natick seems like it may be a good option. To clarify on schools, we do want good schools, just not cut-throat competitive schools. It seems going a little farther out may make that more feasible?
If you want more rural, than West Roxbury, Watertown, Belmont are all out. I would take Natick over Framingham in a heartbeat, but you would be looking at a 40 minute or so commute in the morning and probably around the same back. For the Boston area, that's not bad, but is a dealbreaker for some. Natick is definitely not rural, though, but none of the places listed really are.

middistancerunner
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by middistancerunner » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:30 pm

Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:18 pm
Thanks all, to add more info if it helps, we would rather be more rural than close to Boston. We live in a smallish suburb of Portland now and our kids are more comfortable with chickens than subways :)
Pourquoi pas les deux? :P

https://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2 ... n-farming/
City dwellers can house chickens in their backyard—roosters (male chickens) are strictly prohibited, but hens (female chickens) are allowed. But even if you were interested in having chickens in your backyard—we’re looking at you Jamaica Plain residents—where would you begin?

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Christine_NM » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:43 pm

Hi Isabelle -

I'm a product of the Natick school system and I've done OK. :happy Natick schools are/were good and would look even better if not next to Newton et al. pressure cookers. Natick is big on both sports and academics, and there is a brand new high school. The town seems to maintain a balance of affordability and history -- in boosting its town history it perhaps unknowingly taught kids like me an appreciation of the uniqueness of all localities.

Natick is typically where people go if they can't afford the inner suburbs. South Natick is the nicest, and the priciest. I lived in East Natick. The house I grew up in now sells for $665k according to zillow. It now has 5 beds/3 baths (it started with 2 beds/1 bath). It backs up to a woodland/pond area so it's not surrounded by other houses and yards. It is typical of wartime housing in the area. My parents bought it in 1943 for $7k :shock: .

Good luck. Keep hunting, there are dozens of small towns around Boston, but I wanted to reassure you about Natick since you brought it up.
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by veggivet » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:49 pm

Have you considered Sherborn?
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by aspirit » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:56 pm

Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:49 pm
It looks as if my husband may have an offer coming in a week or so from a company in Newton, MA. It's a great move for him, and frankly necessary, as he is likely to be laid off in the coming months from his current position. While I have family in Winchester and Needham, we can't really afford to live in those towns and they seem a little high strung for our west coast kids.

We're setting our housing budget at around 800K could stretch to 900K, so I thought I would ask this wise board where we can get the best bang for our buck within commuting distance to Newton? I've been told Medfield? Maybe Westwood? Holliston? Looking for good schools but not pressure cookers, our kids have grown up in the PNW and are laid back. They'll be in 8th and 10th grade respectively which is going to be super hard as it is.

Thanks in advance!

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:59 pm

aspirit wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:56 pm
Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:49 pm
It looks as if my husband may have an offer coming in a week or so from a company in Newton, MA. It's a great move for him, and frankly necessary, as he is likely to be laid off in the coming months from his current position. While I have family in Winchester and Needham, we can't really afford to live in those towns and they seem a little high strung for our west coast kids.

We're setting our housing budget at around 800K could stretch to 900K, so I thought I would ask this wise board where we can get the best bang for our buck within commuting distance to Newton? I've been told Medfield? Maybe Westwood? Holliston? Looking for good schools but not pressure cookers, our kids have grown up in the PNW and are laid back. They'll be in 8th and 10th grade respectively which is going to be super hard as it is.

Thanks in advance!

It’s unfortunate how children’s comfort surpasses realistic pragmatism these days. 8-)
Not just for the kids. I'm not at all interested in living in a high-pressure environment either. Thanks for your valuable input.

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:59 pm

veggivet wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:49 pm
Have you considered Sherborn?
Sherborn looks very pretty, thanks for the suggestion!

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:00 pm

Christine_NM wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:43 pm
Hi Isabelle -

I'm a product of the Natick school system and I've done OK. :happy Natick schools are/were good and would look even better if not next to Newton et al. pressure cookers. Natick is big on both sports and academics, and there is a brand new high school. The town seems to maintain a balance of affordability and history -- in boosting its town history it perhaps unknowingly taught kids like me an appreciation of the uniqueness of all localities.

Natick is typically where people go if they can't afford the inner suburbs. South Natick is the nicest, and the priciest. I lived in East Natick. The house I grew up in now sells for $665k according to zillow. It now has 5 beds/3 baths (it started with 2 beds/1 bath). It backs up to a woodland/pond area so it's not surrounded by other houses and yards. It is typical of wartime housing in the area. My parents bought it in 1943 for $7k :shock: .

Good luck. Keep hunting, there are dozens of small towns around Boston, but I wanted to reassure you about Natick since you brought it up.
Thanks Christine, this is great info on Natick!

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simplesimon
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by simplesimon » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:11 pm

How long of a commute are you looking for? All driving?

$800k is definitely doable going west.

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:20 pm

simplesimon wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:11 pm
How long of a commute are you looking for? All driving?

$800k is definitely doable going west.
Up to around 45 min at rush hour. Driving is fine, while we'd love to be near mass transit, it seems like that adds quite a bit to the housing prices and it isn't a necessity in this case.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by CyprusAvenue » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:25 pm

I live in Needham. Very good schools and good place to live. While the high school is a competitive school (as is everything around here), the principal actively tries to tamp down the pressure and stress.

South Natick is great. Natick high school is also very good. Natick Center is cute (has improved a lot over the years).

Medfield is a nice town. It has had a huge influx of people priced out of closer-to-Boston suburbs (but not immune to stress/pressure). It and Sherborn would be the longest commutes. (Holliston would be worse. I would skip that, tbh.)

Dover has a very rural feel and is closer (but more expensive) than Sherborn. If you can afford Dover, that would be a great choice. (I am not sure what the housing market is like there.) You might also consider Westwood and Norwood. Westwood especially would be a better commute than the other towns (except Needham).

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:41 pm

CyprusAvenue wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:25 pm
I live in Needham. Very good schools and good place to live. While the high school is a competitive school (as is everything around here), the principal actively tries to tamp down the pressure and stress.

South Natick is great. Natick high school is also very good. Natick Center is cute (has improved a lot over the years).

Medfield is a nice town. It has had a huge influx of people priced out of closer-to-Boston suburbs (but not immune to stress/pressure). It and Sherborn would be the longest commutes. (Holliston would be worse. I would skip that, tbh.)

Dover has a very rural feel and is closer (but more expensive) than Sherborn. If you can afford Dover, that would be a great choice. (I am not sure what the housing market is like there.) You might also consider Westwood and Norwood. Westwood especially would be a better commute than the other towns (except Needham).
Great info, thanks. I'll cross off Hollistion :) I think Dover is out of our price range, unfortunately. I haven't looked at Norwood at all, I'll do that. Thanks again.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by chw » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:00 pm

Of the towns I think you are considering, Sherborn, Westwood, and Needham are generally a bit pricey, and you will get less bang for your buck than other towns in the area. They tend to be "elite" type towns/school districts- not necessarily bad choices, but it seems you are trying to avoid these type of school environments for your kids. Some "average" middle-class like towns are Natick (as already suggested), Norwood, West Roxbury, Dedham, Canton, and Walpole. All of these towns are commutable to Newton, though Walpole may be a little further, but is a great middle class family oriented town, and is a bit less congested than some of the other towns mentioned.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by pshonore » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:34 pm

Christine_NM wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:43 pm

Natick is typically where people go if they can't afford the inner suburbs. South Natick is the nicest, and the priciest. I lived in East Natick. The house I grew up in now sells for $665k according to zillow. It now has 5 beds/3 baths (it started with 2 beds/1 bath). It backs up to a woodland/pond area so it's not surrounded by other houses and yards. It is typical of wartime housing in the area. My parents bought it in 1943 for $7k :shock: .

Good luck. Keep hunting, there are dozens of small towns around Boston, but I wanted to reassure you about Natick since you brought it up.
Just so there's no confusion, I believe South Natick and East Natick are "villages" within the Town of Natick. A common way of naming things in New England.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Bogle7 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:42 pm

I grew up in Wayland. My parents lived there for 56 years.
I lived in Watertown for 5 years and Sudbury for 3.
I spent some time recently in the area as my parents' lives ended.

My advice.
Really think about his commute.
Commuting is brutal as the narrow New England cow paths (AKA roads) have not really changed since the 1800s.
The kids will be fine. I moved at ages 4, 8, 10, 13 and enjoyed each new place.
Last edited by Bogle7 on Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

BeneIRA
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by BeneIRA » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:44 pm

You can probably break this out into tiers:

Norwood, Dedham, Walpole, Sharon: All very close to one another. Not as expensive as some of the other choices.

Natick: Compromise between more expensive and less expensive and the top end range of your commute, about 40 minutes.

Westwood, Sherborn, Dover: More expensive than the other options. Westwood is near Norwood and Dedham, so that commute is similar.

All are probably good choices. I will say especially for Norwood and Dedham, it varies wildly depending on where you are. Dedham includes Legacy Place, a big outdoor shopping area and I wouldn't want to live near there. Norwood has some big variances, too. Stay away from Route 1 if you go with either of those.

Hopefully you have some time to come out to Massachusetts and stay in a hotel, Airbnb, or something for a week or two to see the differences and see what you prefer. Towns have different vibes. Sharon always strikes me as very peaceful and not much going on. There aren't a ton of businesses. Norwood is a business-oriented town where the population during the workday is much higher. People commute into Norwood. Natick again, feels very much like a compromise out west, but that also varies with its different areas, South Natick arguably being the most desirable.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by CyprusAvenue » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:07 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:44 pm
All are probably good choices. I will say especially for Norwood and Dedham, it varies wildly depending on where you are. Dedham includes Legacy Place, a big outdoor shopping area and I wouldn't want to live near there. Norwood has some big variances, too. Stay away from Route 1 if you go with either of those.
This is a good point. There are some beautiful, quiet (even rural) parts of Dedham, but there is also a lot of commercial and not-as-nice parts of Dedham. Of all the towns we've mentioned, my guess is that Dedham has the worst schools. (But that is a guess and you should research that!)

Wayland, which was mentioned above, is a great town. If you live on the side of town closer to Wellesley/Natick (near Route 9), the commute actually would not be so bad.

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:15 pm

You guys are great, thanks! I have some research to do but it looks like we'll have a good list to start with. My husband is out there for a few days next week and then (assuming the offer is good) I'll come out after we have a contract on our house here. He'll be in temporary housing until school is out anyway so we'll have some time. Hopefully, our home here will sell quickly and we will have some inventory to choose from.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by nimo956 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:56 pm

I mainly know south along 95, but you can check out, Norwood, Dedham, Canton, and Sharon. Sharon has top school systems, but may also be pricey.
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UcHusky
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by UcHusky » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:06 am

I’d suggest looking at Canton. Good schools, great tax rate and location is excellent for commuting in general. There is a mix of rural-ish areas, sidewalked neighborhoods and upscale cul-de-sac’s. If you like the outdoors, Blue Hills is a 5 minute drive. If you like beer, the Trillium Brewery is one of the best in MA. You’re close to large outdoor shopping centers (legacy place and university station). There are multiple commuter rail stops. 800k can get you a fairly nice house there as well. Sharon has excellent schools and is more rural, but it’s filled with small old overpriced houses, tax rate is high and commute would be longer. Westwood is great but expensive - if you’re looking 3/2 2500 sqft you won’t have many options in your price range.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:07 am

Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:49 pm
It looks as if my husband may have an offer coming in a week or so from a company in Newton, MA. It's a great move for him, and frankly necessary, as he is likely to be laid off in the coming months from his current position. While I have family in Winchester and Needham, we can't really afford to live in those towns and they seem a little high strung for our west coast kids.

We're setting our housing budget at around 800K could stretch to 900K, so I thought I would ask this wise board where we can get the best bang for our buck within commuting distance to Newton? I've been told Medfield? Maybe Westwood? Holliston? Looking for good schools but not pressure cookers, our kids have grown up in the PNW and are laid back. They'll be in 8th and 10th grade respectively which is going to be super hard as it is.

Thanks in advance!
Find a good realtor.
There are plenty of good towns in that area.

But there are many variables that will make a town acceptable or unacceptable for your particular situation. Polling for towns on the internet won't really help you much if at all.

bluebolt
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by bluebolt » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:57 am

You could also add Sudbury to the list. Good schools and about 30 minutes from Newton during the commute (though may be a bit longer depending on specific start & end points).

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by moshe » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:10 am

You might consider adding Stoughton to your list if you are interested in a bit more diverse social / educational environment for your kids. Strong schools, strong music and sports programs, a new high school is set to open next year, a revamped public library opened this year, modest housing costs and property taxes, a diverse community, MBTA commuter rail station, many private gyms in town including a YMCA, active houses of worship in the immediate area.

I always thought that it was a benefit for my kids to be exposed to the fact that not everyone is well off. It made explaining Bogleheads values much easier. Let me know via a PM if you need a local RE agent and i would be glad to introduce you to the woman that helped us a few years back and AFAIK is still active in the area (Stoughton, Canton, Sharon)

BTW my kids graduated from the Stoughton public schools and are now in top science and medical programs.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by jharkin » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:47 pm

I live in one of the H towns (not the one the marathon start in). I commute to Natick currently (15-20min), I used to commute to Needham (30-40).

If your work timing is flexible, Natick, Sherborn, Holliston, Sudbury, etc commute to Newton can be under 30 minutes - HOWEVER - that means commuting before 7am or after 9am. If you are fighting the schoolhouses at 8am, double that number. In the afternoon the time will run 40 min to an hour depending on time. Peak seems to be earlier than it used to be , it gets busy as early as 4~4:30pm.

Your budget will afford Hopkinton and Natick no problem, parts of Sherborn (its a small town and has lots of multi-million estates however). Natick in particular is a big town and there is a lot of variation in price and quality of home depending if you are on the Sudbury/Wellesley end of town or the Framingham end near the mall.

You are probably priced out of Dover and Weston (lots of C-suite homes in Weston). In Newton proper, Wellesley, etc you will find a house but its going to be small - my BIL lives in Wellesley and paid 1.2 for <2000sq.

Holliston, Ashland, etc you could get a 4000sq+ new construction McMansion for those prices. Outside 495 you could buy a small estate.


You can also look north of the pike - Sudbury, Wayland, etc are all very nice towns and an easy drive on Rt 30.


Bottom line, decide how much commute you can tolerate, draw a circle and go tour. Lots of folks (me included) dont like long commutes - but a big percentage of professionals I know in these town commute all the way into Boston (an hour+ on train + transfers) every day... Even people outside 495 do (yuck).

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by jharkin » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:57 pm

pshonore wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:34 pm
Christine_NM wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:43 pm

Natick is typically where people go if they can't afford the inner suburbs. South Natick is the nicest, and the priciest. I lived in East Natick. The house I grew up in now sells for $665k according to zillow. It now has 5 beds/3 baths (it started with 2 beds/1 bath). It backs up to a woodland/pond area so it's not surrounded by other houses and yards. It is typical of wartime housing in the area. My parents bought it in 1943 for $7k :shock: .

Good luck. Keep hunting, there are dozens of small towns around Boston, but I wanted to reassure you about Natick since you brought it up.
Just so there's no confusion, I believe South Natick and East Natick are "villages" within the Town of Natick. A common way of naming things in New England.
Correct, and to add to the confusion, both East Natick and South Natick are on the "east" and of the town. South Natick is the SE corner that borders Wellesley, Dover and Sherborn (centered around a Rt 16 intersection where there is a Dam on the Charles river). East Natick is the NE corner along Rt 9 that borders Wellesley and a bit of Wayland.

SoAnyway
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by SoAnyway » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:18 am

OP, you've gotten great advice in this thread. I live in an "N town" and am very familiar with all the towns mentioned, esp. the "W towns", "M towns" and "H towns". In addition to your VERY legitimate concern re. the social/academic pressures when moving an 8th and 10th grader (:o), I second Bogle7's advice below. Commuting in this geography has gotten completely out of control (think: Los Angeles) due to crazy growth in certain industry sectors. The trick to commuting in this geography is knowing the backroads and having quick access to the Waze app, but both of those take time to learn. The trick to finding a good school system for your kids that suits your values/what they're used to is even tougher - There's a reason that some well-publicized parents in the Boston/LA areas are now appearing in federal court in Boston, under indictment or entering plea deals for what they did to get their kids into selective colleges. SoAnyway....

Is there any possibility of doing a commuter marriage for a year to keep the kids where they are; allow DH to get the lay of the land/learn where colleagues whose values align with yours live/ etc.? I gather that you're from here, so you understand the provincial nature of New England. If commuter marriage for a short while is off the table (I "get" that it's never ideal), maybe the family can rent a home for a year in an attractive area first?
Bogle7 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:42 pm
My advice.
Really think about his commute.
Commuting is brutal as the narrow New England cow paths (AKA roads) have not really changed since the 1800s.
Nothing in this post constitutes legal or medical advice. | Consult your attorney or physician to verify if/how anything stated might or might not be applicable to your specific situation.

MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:30 am

Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:59 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:49 pm
Have you considered Sherborn?
Sherborn looks very pretty, thanks for the suggestion!
Houses in Sherbon and neighboring Dover are typically large and quite pricey.

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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:46 am

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:30 am
Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:59 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:49 pm
Have you considered Sherborn?
Sherborn looks very pretty, thanks for the suggestion!
Houses in Sherbon and neighboring Dover are typically large and quite pricey.
There are also more affordable options in those towns, within the OP’s budget. Sherborn’s property taxes are higher than many other local towns. The schools, IMO, are first rate without being pressurized, but ymmv.
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:27 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:46 am
MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:30 am
Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:59 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:49 pm
Have you considered Sherborn?
Sherborn looks very pretty, thanks for the suggestion!
Houses in Sherbon and neighboring Dover are typically large and quite pricey.
There are also more affordable options in those towns, within the OP’s budget. Sherborn’s property taxes are higher than many other local towns. The schools, IMO, are first rate without being pressurized, but ymmv.
Since local taxes support schools, there is a direct link between the quality of schools and how expensive the town/city is. Those with excellent school systems are all expensive; Lexington, Newton, Brookline, Weston, Wayland, Sudbury, Wellesley, Dover, Sherbon, Andover,..., compared to neighboring towns. Unfortunately, that is what it is and there is no escape from the harsh reality. There is no magic bullet and OP has to set the priority. A modest house in those towns may be within OP's budget. As in investment, the market is efficient.

Johnfmh
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Johnfmh » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:19 am

Bedford, where I grew up and attended elementary school. Nice suburb and cheaper than Arlington, Lexington, amd Concord.
Milton, where I attended high school. Both Milton Academy, where I went, and Milton High are fine schools.

The Wizard
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by The Wizard » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:48 am

SoAnyway wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:18 am
OP, you've gotten great advice in this thread. I live in an "N town" and am very familiar with all the towns mentioned, esp. the "W towns", "M towns" and "H towns"...
This is starting to get ridiculous and isn't helping to clarify things for the OP.
Just say the names of the towns.
I, for instance, live in Reading (not an "R town") and it's a fine place but too far from Newton for routine commuting...
Attempted new signature...

blackhawkfan
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by blackhawkfan » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:56 am

My family and I live in Medfield MA. We also moved from CA to here when our kids were in elementary and middle school. My wife is an ex elementary school teacher and did a deep dive into the schools in this area, including the ones you mentioned as possibilities.

We are very happy with the education our kids received in Medfield. The town is very kid centric with activities, sports teams, etc., but what really impressed us has been the school system. Compared to CA, we felt like we had died and gone to heaven as they say. The focus and structure of the schools are among the best she has seen. She has substitute taught in the system and is even more impressed having seen the school system from the inside.

I cannot compare Medfield to the other towns you are looking at as we have no experience with them. I can only write from experience and say that the Medfield schools have been outstanding for us. The drawbacks are of course higher taxes, pricier homes and fees that you might not see in other towns. We consider the costs to be worth it for having our kids in great schools. We even had an out of state college recruiter tell us that because of the Medfield schools reputation and the high ranking of the high school, many colleges feel the kids are well prepared for college and will take that into consideration when looking at college applications.

As for living here, I tell people it's like living in Mayberry (Andy Griffith show). Quiet, well managed, friendly for the northeast, close to most things and an overall great family experience. There is also a lot of housing turnover as most families move out as soon as their youngest graduates HS to save taxes so the streets are always turning over.

Good luck to you in your search. One last bit of advice, decide how you want your house heated (oil, gas, propane, wood) and how old of a house you want before starting your search.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:00 am

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:27 am
Since local taxes support schools, there is a direct link between the quality of schools and how expensive the town/city is. Those with excellent school systems are all expensive; Lexington, Newton, Brookline, Weston, Wayland, Sudbury, Wellesley, Dover, Sherbon, Andover,..., compared to neighboring towns. Unfortunately, that is what it is and there is no escape from the harsh reality. There is no magic bullet and OP has to set the priority. A modest house in those towns may be within OP's budget. As in investment, the market is efficient.
I understand the relationship, everything else equal, between taxes and schools. However, as so often happens, everything isn't equal. Sherborn and Dover share a lot of school infrastructure, and the middle and high schools are shared by both towns. One can argue that their schools are of equal quality. However, Sherborn's tax rate is ~$19.5 per thousand and Dover's is ~$13 per thousand. There are many reasons for this difference, and they are off topic for this thread, but I wanted to point out that the "direct link between the quality of schools and how expensive the town/city is" has many wrinkles. I do agree that the towns you listed are all relatively expensive, but there are differences in housing cost, taxes, etc. between them.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Latestarter
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Latestarter » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:18 am

aspirit wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:56 pm

It’s unfortunate how children’s comfort surpasses realistic pragmatism these days. 8-)
I would reframe this and reverse the conclusion: What's really unfortunate is that relentless achievement pressure surpasses concern for children's emotional health and interest in learning.

JoeRetire
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by JoeRetire » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:30 am

SoAnyway wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:18 am
Commuting in this geography has gotten completely out of control (think: Los Angeles) due to crazy growth in certain industry sectors.
I agree.
Is there any possibility of doing a commuter marriage for a year to keep the kids where they are; allow DH to get the lay of the land/learn where colleagues whose values align with yours live/ etc.?
I think it would be a huge mistake not to do as you suggest, or to alternatively rent for a year until you understand the area well enough to choose a town that suits you.

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Isabelle77
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:35 am

Thanks again everyone, I appreciate the help. I think we have a good place to start. My husband will likely be in temporary housing for a few months so hopefully that will give us some time to make a clearer decision.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:45 am

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:27 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:46 am
MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:30 am
Isabelle77 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:59 pm
veggivet wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:49 pm
Have you considered Sherborn?
Sherborn looks very pretty, thanks for the suggestion!
Houses in Sherbon and neighboring Dover are typically large and quite pricey.
There are also more affordable options in those towns, within the OP’s budget. Sherborn’s property taxes are higher than many other local towns. The schools, IMO, are first rate without being pressurized, but ymmv.
Since local taxes support schools, there is a direct link between the quality of schools and how expensive the town/city is. Those with excellent school systems are all expensive; Lexington, Newton, Brookline, Weston, Wayland, Sudbury, Wellesley, Dover, Sherbon, Andover,..., compared to neighboring towns. Unfortunately, that is what it is and there is no escape from the harsh reality. There is no magic bullet and OP has to set the priority. A modest house in those towns may be within OP's budget. As in investment, the market is efficient.
Out of your list I recognized three places, Andover, Brookline, and Sudbury. I love Andover, Brookline is closer to subway or train, more covenient, and I used to work in Sudbury.

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Cycle
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Cycle » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:01 am

I would look within a 1 mile radius of work (walkable), and exclude everything outside that ring. Might consider within 5 miles if there was a substantial cost savings.

ubermax
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by ubermax » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Our daughter , SIL, and our two grandchildren live in Newton and have very short commutes - a couple of years ago I thought those towns , i.e. Newton, Wellesley, Lexington , etc. etc. were fast approaching a housing bubble but the proximity to well paying jobs continues to apparently support the rise in home prices - for comparison , our son lives in Vegas and you get twice the house for half the price and similarly here in CT .

Some towns that come to mind from discussions at family gatherings are Hopkinton ( school system rated pretty high ) , Medway , Franklin, and Medfield (my SIL's hometown ) .

Good Luck !!!

JoeRetire
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:05 pm

Cycle wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:01 am
I would look within a 1 mile radius of work (walkable), and exclude everything outside that ring. Might consider within 5 miles if there was a substantial cost savings.
That's a pretty tough standard in the Boston area.
In many parts, it's completely impossible.

Johnfmh
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by Johnfmh » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:22 am

One key take-away from this thread is that there are many decent towns for families in the Boston area. Some complain about Massachusetts being a high tax state but the taxes are nowhere near as high as certain New York or California towns and with MA, you get what you pay for: decent schools and public services for the money! Public higher education also is admirable. Umass Amherst has risen quite a few notches on most rankings and is expanding with a satellite campus in Newton. Traffic can be a pain but it’s no different from many other metro areas across the country. Enjoy your move. You’ll love it wherever you end up.

mrmass
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by mrmass » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:06 am

If you like walkable a friend of mine is selling a 3 bed, 2.5 bath townhouse 2 car garage in Somerville, walkable to Davis and Porter. On the bike path.
Close to the Red line, and future Green line.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Boston area - nice towns for families

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:15 am

Johnfmh wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:22 am
One key take-away from this thread is that there are many decent towns for families in the Boston area. Some complain about Massachusetts being a high tax state but the taxes are nowhere near as high as certain New York or California towns and with MA, you get what you pay for: decent schools and public services for the money! Public higher education also is admirable. Umass Amherst has risen quite a few notches on most rankings and is expanding with a satellite campus in Newton. Traffic can be a pain but it’s no different from many other metro areas across the country. Enjoy your move. You’ll love it wherever you end up.
+1. We moved to MA from NJ. What an upgrade!
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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