Which Boston suburb to settle?

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Valuethinker
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

just frank wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 6:06 am I grew up in the Boston suburbs in the 70s and 80s, and have since lived in several places around the US in the midwest, midatlantic and west coast.

You could not pay me to live/work in the Boston area. I have enjoyed every other place I have lived.

Of course I have a fondness for my childhood home, and enjoy visiting my family there, and summer trips to the Cape. A nice place to visit, as they say.

The reputation of the place is that it is not welcoming to outsiders. Generalizations are certainly limited, but I think there is not a culture of people moving away and other people people moving into New England, as there is in many other regions.
Certainly taciturn. And I live in Britain, so when I say it reminds me of here, that's really saying something. Taking New Yorkers or Californians on the opposite polarity.
The politics there are also peculiar (if OT here). I'm a lifelong liberal, and while Mass has a reputation for liberalism, I do not find it to be so in reality. I have also witnessed more intolerance and harassment there (as a visitor) than I have anywhere else in the country.
I suspect the rest of the USA, if they knew Mass, would be surprised at how "small c conservative" it is in terms of values and officialdom. The liberal notion is mostly about the Electoral College and particularly McGovern in 1972 (only state which voted for him?). I cannot speak to intolerance (I come from one of the most diverse cities in North America, and I am quite frankly shocked at some of the things people say on Facebook (old photos of the city group) -- so it's hard to throw out the word "intolerance" at anyone else).

One exception is likely the city itself, and its professional and academic circles, where people are likely more cosmopolitan, with a mix of folks from around the country and world. But the 'townies' of the suburbs not so much.

If OP is bent on moving there... I suggest renting and exploring. A lot. I am sure there are pockets with more professionals and immigrants that would create a more welcoming and vibrant area. They might even be more affordable.
This is it. My impressions of the city are very "St Elmo's Fire" but fast forwarded 40 years. Hard not to stand in Harvard Yard and not think "this is diverse". The postgrads I imagine even more so.

But it seemed to be a very pocketed city, and one would need to know which pockets to live in.
bgoodrich86
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by bgoodrich86 »

If you’re bidding on a house in one of the nicer towns, particularly inside the 95 beltway, expect to pay substantially over asking and be prepared to waive all contingencies (we even had to waive our mortgage contingency). You’re up against many buyers paying all cash. We bought in Lexington in 2020 and it’s only gotten more competitive and expensive since then
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

Valuethinker wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:16 am
Although "Whitey Bulger" was a saga that ran on into the 2000s, didn't it?

Before the OP is scared off of Metro Boston altogether, Whitey Bulger went (as they say) "on the lam" in 1994. Thirty years ago. He was caught and went to prison in 2011 where he died 7 years later.

As a practical matter, even when he was alive, Bulger had the same effect on most people's lives as Jack the Ripper had on Hawaiians' lives. None.


Valuethinker wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:18 am
Northeastern winters are not to be underrated. For the sense of being trapped indoors for months at a time.

Metro Boston is not the Arctic Circle and no one needs to feel "trapped indoors for months at a time." Our winters have gotten milder and snow removal is much improved. Better outdoor wear is a big plus too.

Some people like the genuine 4 seasons and opportunity for hygge they would not have the same way in, say, San Diego. Also as to Texas summers, my husband lived in Texas a boy and we have visited Texas in the summer. Talk about "trapped indoors for months at a time"! That heat is beyond intense!

But I bet there are Texans who like their summers just as there are Canadians who like their winters - both WAY more extreme than anything we see in Metro Boston.

Come rent for a year, OP, and do a lot of driving around looking. You'll know soon enough whether or not this is a place you want to live long-term.
Last edited by PeninsulaPerson on Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:09 am, edited 4 times in total.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by SmileyFace »

nptit wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 9:30 am
I appreciated both of your views, I will take it with a grain of salt.
Please do - and make sure you do proper research. The amount of misinformation in this thread is overwhelming. Although I hate seeing misinformation on Bogleheads and always feel compelled to respond/correct - the amount in this thread is getting to be too much. (e.g. "Trapped indoor for months at a time" - we just enjoyed a February weekend in the 50s.).
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:00 am
nptit wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 9:30 am
I appreciated both of your views, I will take it with a grain of salt.
Please do - and make sure you do proper research. The amount of misinformation in this thread is overwhelming. Although I hate seeing misinformation on Bogleheads and always feel compelled to respond/correct - the amount in this thread is getting to be too much. (e.g. "Trapped indoor for months at a time" - we just enjoyed a February weekend in the 50s.).

Exactly!

Well said!

(And it was a lovely weekend, wasn't it!)
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

PeninsulaPerson wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:03 am
SmileyFace wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:00 am
nptit wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 9:30 am
I appreciated both of your views, I will take it with a grain of salt.
Please do - and make sure you do proper research. The amount of misinformation in this thread is overwhelming. Although I hate seeing misinformation on Bogleheads and always feel compelled to respond/correct - the amount in this thread is getting to be too much. (e.g. "Trapped indoor for months at a time" - we just enjoyed a February weekend in the 50s.).

Exactly!

Well said!

(And it was a lovely weekend, wasn't it!)
It was a lovely weekend, but it woke up the ticks! When will they develop a vaccine for Lyme?
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
CloseEnough
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by CloseEnough »

60 degrees this past weekend, in February. First significant snowstorm predicted for this week, not exactly the hard winters that Boston used to have. Weather has changed. Can be very gray, however, I think more like Seattle now, with the occasional snow.

As for the unwelcoming closed people, and conservative comments, there is some truth to that, although I think it may be changing, even in the suburbs. There does tend to be people that have lived in the area forever, with family ties, which can make building community more difficult.

If I was looking, I'd be checking out Newton, Arlington, Lexington, Westwood, Somerville.
ThankYouJack
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by ThankYouJack »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:00 am
nptit wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 9:30 am
I appreciated both of your views, I will take it with a grain of salt.
Please do - and make sure you do proper research. The amount of misinformation in this thread is overwhelming. Although I hate seeing misinformation on Bogleheads and always feel compelled to respond/correct - the amount in this thread is getting to be too much. (e.g. "Trapped indoor for months at a time" - we just enjoyed a February weekend in the 50s.).
It seems like "trapped indoors for months" is a strawman's argument which there's a lot of on here but maybe you misread or misinterpreted what was said?

If one feels trapped indoors in Texas during certain times of the year, my feeling is they could feel trapped indoors in Boston during certain times of the year (not every day for months straights). I think that is worth considering

The OP's hobbies are tennis and swimming. I enjoy tennis too but IMO it's definitely not nearly as fun to play around freezing temperature (or high winds) because the ball doesn't bounce as well.

Looking at the Boston 10 day forecast, it's not good tennis weather coming up: https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/9e ... e3a0632ba0
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SmileyFace
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by SmileyFace »

ThankYouJack wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:33 am
SmileyFace wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:00 am
nptit wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 9:30 am
I appreciated both of your views, I will take it with a grain of salt.
Please do - and make sure you do proper research. The amount of misinformation in this thread is overwhelming. Although I hate seeing misinformation on Bogleheads and always feel compelled to respond/correct - the amount in this thread is getting to be too much. (e.g. "Trapped indoor for months at a time" - we just enjoyed a February weekend in the 50s.).
It seems like "trapped indoors for months" is a strawman's argument which there's a lot of on here but maybe you misread or misinterpreted what was said?

If one feels trapped indoors in Texas during certain times of the year, my feeling is they could feel trapped indoors in Boston during certain times of the year (not every day for months straights). I think that is worth considering

The OP's hobbies are tennis and swimming. I enjoy tennis too but IMO it's definitely not nearly as fun to play around freezing temperature (or high winds) because the ball doesn't bounce as well.

Looking at the Boston 10 day forecast, it's not good tennis weather coming up: https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/9e ... e3a0632ba0
Sure - last 10 days were nicer so next 10 days may not be as nice. That's how Boston weather works.
I used quotes - I didn't misread - I quoted EXACTLY what had been stated.

Of course everyone has different desires when it comes to weather. I personally agree with OP that Boston is a step up from Texas in terms of weather - I don't like the extreme heat at all. I would never move to the Southeast for the same reason.
CloseEnough
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by CloseEnough »

ThankYouJack wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:33 am I enjoy tennis too but IMO it's definitely not nearly as fun to play around freezing temperature (or high winds) because the ball doesn't bounce as well.
I have heard there are plenty of excellent indoor tennis courts in the Boston suburbs where the ball bounces just fine, and there is no wind :happy

Really not an issue. Same for swimming. As someone pointed out up thread, every area has its issues. Fires, snakes, alligators, high heat, freezing conditions, hurricanes, sharks, floods, obnoxious people. All pros and cons. You can enjoy it all with the right attitude. Oops, left out mud season, even though more of a Vermont thing.
ThankYouJack
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by ThankYouJack »

CloseEnough wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:01 am
I have heard there are plenty of excellent indoor tennis courts in the Boston suburbs where the ball bounces just fine, and there is no wind :happy

Really not an issue. Same for swimming.
Yes, but you're still indoors ;) IMO it's not as fun playing tennis or swimming indoors and if I was the OP, I would research wait list length, court/lane availability, cost, how close the indoor clubs are to neighborhoods, etc.

Agreed that every place has plusses and minuses. I still think the OP should open up their search beyond Boston
Valuethinker
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

PeninsulaPerson wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:54 am
Valuethinker wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:16 am
Although "Whitey Bulger" was a saga that ran on into the 2000s, didn't it?

Before the OP is scared off of Metro Boston altogether, Whitey Bulger went (as they say) "on the lam" in 1994. Thirty years ago. He was caught and went to prison in 2011 where he died 7 years later.

As a practical matter, even when he was alive, Bulger had the same effect on most people's lives as Jack the Ripper had on Hawaiians' lives. None.
I took him as an exemplifier of a sort of gangland culture. I expect, like the Sopranos (in real life "the 5 Families") they have gone "legit"?

I do remember Boston -- never a particularly unsafe city by American standards - reputation for car theft. I suspect that it is more, now, that other places have "levelled up" rather than Boston has declined in this regard. (Car theft really dropped off when engine immobilizers etc came in - but I think it has been rising again, as the industry "adapts". People with £100k Land Rovers & Range Rovers here are being quoted £30k pa for insurance).

Valuethinker wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:18 am
Northeastern winters are not to be underrated. For the sense of being trapped indoors for months at a time.

Metro Boston is not the Arctic Circle and no one needs to feel "trapped indoors for months at a time." Our winters have gotten milder and snow removal is much improved. Better outdoor wear is a big plus too. [/quote]

The 2nd last time I was in Boston it was about 0 F. That may have skewed my impressions. I grew up somewhere that gets the good side of the Great Lakes (moderates the Continental Climate) & I might be reasoning by false analogy. Boston does get it sometimes, though -- I can see that on the weather maps. At least it seems to usually avoid the worst of the heat New York City gets.

Winter sports are great. If you grew up with them. Winter driving is not great - particularly not when you share it with a couple of million other drivers every day. I do think a lot of people really suffer in winter (Seasonal Affective Disorder etc).
Some people like the genuine 4 seasons and opportunity for hygge they would not have the same way in, say, San Diego. Also as to Texas summers, my husband lived in Texas a boy and we have visited Texas in the summer. Talk about "trapped indoors for months at a time"! That heat is beyond intense!
I came away from Denmark convinced that I didn't really know what hygge meant. Copenhagen seemed to be a city where every person looked very similar, and everyone had a raincoat.* And rode bicycles.

Agree re Texas. The heat. But also the humidity (in the eastern parts of the state, at least). Or as a friend of mine put it "people complain about the temperature. But actually every day is 72 degrees" ;-).
But I bet there are Texans who like their summers just as there are Canadians who like their winters - both WAY more extreme than anything we see in Metro Boston.
Depends which Canadian winter. Montreal has a pretty brutal winter - but it's such a great city that I think you look through that. Ottawa has too much winter - you really need to love winter sports & activities. Winnipeg? Edmonton? When people say "but it's a nice dry cold" you know they are reaching for excuses ;-).
Come rent for a year, OP, and do a lot of driving around looking. You'll know soon enough whether or not this is a place you want to live long-term.
I think this is very good advice.

* or in other words, people looked a lot more alike than they do in London or Toronto. You'd have to get to quite a small place in Britain for that kind of homogeneity in appearance & dress - and even then, there's a broader range of humanity.
Valuethinker
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

ThankYouJack wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:25 am
CloseEnough wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:01 am
I have heard there are plenty of excellent indoor tennis courts in the Boston suburbs where the ball bounces just fine, and there is no wind :happy

Really not an issue. Same for swimming.
Yes, but you're still indoors ;) IMO it's not as fun playing tennis or swimming indoors and if I was the OP, I would research wait list length, court/lane availability, cost, how close the indoor clubs are to neighborhoods, etc.

Agreed that every place has plusses and minuses. I still think the OP should open up their search beyond Boston
To me, they are really describing the Mid Atlantic. Somewhere in northern Virginia? I recognise if their goal is great schools, that might not be as good. But there are (?) great schools most places in America. OK the summers are pretty hot, but you get those long spring and fall, and most of the time not an overly severe winter?

Since New England's reputation post high school is largely about private colleges (?), I don't see it matters so much where the OP chooses to live in terms of their kids' post-secondary education. Unless they have a realistic shot at getting into, say, UCLA or UC Berkeley at California state tuition.
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

CloseEnough wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:01 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:33 am I enjoy tennis too but IMO it's definitely not nearly as fun to play around freezing temperature (or high winds) because the ball doesn't bounce as well.
I have heard there are plenty of excellent indoor tennis courts in the Boston suburbs where the ball bounces just fine, and there is no wind :happy

Really not an issue. Same for swimming.

Exactly!

Plus the OP is about to be the father of 3 kids under the age of 5, living in a new area. Tennis & swimming might be fond memories for a while for him.


As to how friendly the people in Metro Boston are or are not, except for some places (like - possibly - the Villages), most people are busy with their own lives whether they grew up here or moved here. They tend to be friendly with people they share interests with, just like anywhere.

The "townies of the suburbs" -- OP, unless you stay where YOU are a "townie of the suburbs," you will have to make new friends. It's as possible in Metro Boston as anywhere. For adults, it takes some work because it's just not as easy as it is for 8-year-olds. A friendly attitude and the time and determination to be a joiner will go a long way anywhere, including Metro Boston.

Tons of people are moving here. Many many many many Asians. If the OP can afford Lexington (and God bless him if he can!), there are so many Asian families there and a very significant Asian culture developing that -- guess what -- we're all benefitting from, even people who are not Asian! America & Boston have always been a great melting pot and the benefits flow many ways!

Bear in mind that it's easier to move to places where there is a lot of new construction. Metro Boston has been significantly built up for decades. There's not a lot of developable land here. But the housing prices are still skyrocketing up. There are A LOT of reasons why!
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

Valuethinker wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:30 am
* or in other words, people looked a lot more alike than they do in London or Toronto. You'd have to get to quite a small place in Britain for that kind of homogeneity in appearance & dress - and even then, there's a broader range of humanity.

Not sure what you mean there, Valuethinker.

And I think we will have to agree to disagree.

There is a very broad range of humanity in Metro Boston. Very broad. It's great! Lots of diversity in "appearance & dress." Lots! And in ways of thinking too. In ways of being. Diversity in everything, really.

The OP might prefer some other part of the country, sure. But as a lifelong Massachusettsan, I hate to see an important part of our state dragged through some historical/semi-fictional mud this way. We're not all gangsters. We're not all white. We're not all undiscovered math geniuses. We're not all taciturn. We don't all love winter but we get through it. Some people are SAD in the middle of summer! Some have strong family ties and other friends too. Some have no family to speak of at all. We're just people - just like other people in other places.

Yeesh. It would be one thing if current residents had reservations or concerns for the OP - people who know what's going on here now. But how Metro Boston seemed to someone from books and/or movies and/or half a century ago just does not seem fair ..... to the OP who is looking for current information to make an important current decision.
gogleheads.orb
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by gogleheads.orb »

WarAdmiral wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:01 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:30 am While it's not the place here to "discuss further" I feel the need to jump in and point out to the OP that this is no longer the 60's and 70's. A lot has transpired in 50 years. As someone else already pointed out - you/WarAdmiral are incorrect - your/WarAdmirial views are many decades out of date.
Couldn't help but notice WarAdmiral's city is set to Rayleigh - yet makes claims of racism in current day Boston suburbs.
Note the title of this thread is "Which Boston Suburb to settle" and not "If you were once a tourist in Boston would you mean to a Boston suburb" :D
Thanks for the feedback but i lived in one of the suburbs mentioned in this thread for 20 years and very recently moved south. I absolutely stand by my opinion and feel like OP should know both pros and cons of living in a Boston Suburb.

For Starters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtUgq2Q1ivA
Which suburb?
ThankYouJack
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by ThankYouJack »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:52 am
I used quotes - I didn't misread - I quoted EXACTLY what had been stated.
Oh ok, since you didn't use the quote feature I thought you were misquoting me. I went back in the thread and saw where it was said. I just read it as the poster exaggerating, not as someone trying to spread misinformation that everyone is actually trapped indoors for months in Boston.

Most of the people I know in New England aren't fans of the winters but everyone has their own preferences and experiences. I loved living in the Boston suburbs for 6 years but would never want to move back.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by SmileyFace »

ThankYouJack wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:23 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:52 am
I used quotes - I didn't misread - I quoted EXACTLY what had been stated.
Oh ok, since you didn't use the quote feature I thought you were misquoting me. I went back in the thread and saw where it was said. I just read it as the poster exaggerating, not as someone trying to spread misinformation that everyone is actually trapped indoors for months in Boston.

Most of the people I know in New England aren't fans of the winters but everyone has their own preferences and experiences. I loved living in the Boston suburbs for 6 years but would never want to move back.
I know a lot of folks like to complain about the weather here but they would complain no matter where they lived in many cases. It seems like it's a fun thing for a lot of people to do. Like going to Seattle and having folks say the sky does change color - it can be light grey, medium grey, or dark grey (last time I was out there it was blue all week). Also - those that live in other places think we get a lot of horrendous weather because the only time they hear about our weather is when there is a snow storm and all the media outlets like to report it. Everyone will hear about tomorrow's snow but no one heard about last weekends 60 degree weather. Thus - if you live in a place (such as London) - have only visited a few times but watch a lot of news and watch a lot of movies your viewpoints become very obviously distorted.
Last edited by SmileyFace on Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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just frank
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by just frank »

The weather in Boston is really lovely. Four seasons. Not too hot. Not too cold.

When it snows, it gets cleared. Folks know how to drive in snow. I've never had a problem with the weather there.

Older folks tend to seek sunnier climes when they retire, but that happens in lots of places.

But the people there DO have a bit of a reputation. And the folks that have lived there all their lives don't seem to 'get it'.

Not a reason to not move there (if you have a good reason), but something to be aware of, and a good reason to be choosy regarding where you settle down.
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nptit
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by nptit »

I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.
Another problem I have with Texas is that we are kind of on an island if we want to vacation/travel we need to fly as driving is too far. You can drive 2/3 hours from Boston and see/explore a lot.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by onthenorthshore »

I was born and raised in CA/SF Bay Area, lived there the majority of my adult life, and moved to the Boston area 6 years ago to be closer to my wife's family. We are also a mixed race couple (east asian / white) with two kids under 5.

In our time in MA, we've lived just south of the NH border in MA (Amesbury/Newburyport), and now live in Middlesex County less than a 20 minute drive from Boston. Thought I could add one additional perspective.

On the climate/weather: I believe that when people think of New England winters, they think of winters that folks in Vermont/Maine/Western MA get. As others have mentioned, in the past few years there are probably 3-5 snowstorms per season in the coastal MA region that cause a minor inconvenience, but roads are cleared quickly, and it's outweighed by my kids' love for playing in the snow. As long as you invest in some good winter clothing, it's barely an inconvenience. I've learned to enjoy the peacefulness of a walk outdoors just after snowfall. I've also learned to enjoy the seasons as nice markers for the passage of time. Lastly, I think winter sports are more financially accessible in MA vs. CA. We've found the beaches are far more young family-friendly in MA.

On schools: My sense is the median school in MA is better than the median school in CA. We were in a good school district in CA so the quality of schools was not a consideration for our move. However, our neighborhood in the Bay Area was full of retirees, and it may just be personal experience, but in MA both of our neighborhoods have been filled with young kids that play out in the street with each other. The latter is a big draw for me to stay.

On diversity: I would consider the NH/MA border area far less diverse than the Boston metro area (esp southern NH). We often went into NH to shop. Even there, I never thought our mixed race was ever an issue. The only con of the area was that it was at least a 30 minute drive to authentic asian restaurants, but we made up for it by learning to cook more ethnic food at home + stocking up during biweekly trips to HMart. I know this thread is not about SF v. Boston, but I think it’s worth noting that I prefer the economic diversity in MA vs. the SF Bay Area.

Other thoughts:
1. We've really liked the health care system in MA compared to other places we've been. Besides the quality, we find that wait times are shorter, with better follow ups on the admin side.
2. Travel: a lot to see and do within a relatively short drive. Western Europe is a reasonable long weekend flight away. We've done road trips to New York, DC, Delaware.

To sum up my thoughts, I think the SF Bay Area is a great place to start a tech career. I think MA was a good move for us once we were more established with a young family, with the option to go remote. Boston's tech ecosystem definitely does not compare to CA (the only hard con for me), but it's good enough, and we've found that the family-friendliness (relative to CA) more than makes up for that.
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

nptit wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:04 pm
I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.

Another problem I have with Texas is that we are kind of on an island if we want to vacation/travel we need to fly as driving is too far. You can drive 2/3 hours from Boston and see/explore a lot.

It seems to me that other cities are just as nice as Boston - just as wonderful as this general area. BUT here you have 5 other states to explore -- and that's "just" the rest of Massachusetts ... :wink:. (Massachusetts is a tiny place that's actually about 6 distinct areas.)

Then there are the other New England states to explore.

There's the ocean - which is a monster draw to many.

There are mountains. There's the train to NYC. There's Logan Airport.

Excellent medical care - including the incomparable Children's Hospital (of which I was once a patient).

And much more. The history! All in one easy-to-get-around package.

There is a reason why houses around here continue to go up year after year and decade after decade - specifically, a lot of people who grow up here want to stay and a lot of people who go to school here or visit here want to live here. And they aren't making any more land here.

But no one is saying you have to live "in" Boston. As was mentioned above, Newburyport is a beautiful, wonderful, unusual place that is still close to everything else. There re a lot of places like that in this area.

OP, I hope you come here and take a year to truly explore your options. As I said above, you might find you fall in love with Connecticut or Rhode Island or - who knows? - Buffalo, NY. But Metro Boston is a great jumping off place for exploration.
Valuethinker
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

PeninsulaPerson wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:30 pm
nptit wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:04 pm
I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.

Another problem I have with Texas is that we are kind of on an island if we want to vacation/travel we need to fly as driving is too far. You can drive 2/3 hours from Boston and see/explore a lot.

It seems to me that other cities are just as nice as Boston - just as wonderful as this general area. BUT here you have 5 other states to explore -- and that's "just" the rest of Massachusetts ... :wink:. (Massachusetts is a tiny place that's actually about 6 distinct areas.)

Then there are the other New England states to explore.

There's the ocean - which is a monster draw to many.

There are mountains. There's the train to NYC. There's Logan Airport.

Excellent medical care - including the incomparable Children's Hospital (of which I was once a patient).

And much more. The history! All in one easy-to-get-around package.

There is a reason why houses around here continue to go up year after year and decade after decade - specifically, a lot of people who grow up here want to stay and a lot of people who go to school here or visit here want to live here. And they aren't making any more land here.
But surely you remember the New England property recession of the early 1990s? Houses crashed (along with everything else) and then did nothing for years? That was to do with the tech recession (the collapse of the minicomputer companies like DEC and Data General in particular) and also a property-financial bubble (Bank of New England in particular). And New England went through this before - the loss of the old milltowns (shoes and textiles) and their industries in the 1950s and 60s.

Nowhere is guaranteed. The ability to work from home more increases the "footprint" of a place like Boston - more exurbs. In theory it could wipe out the whole value of place & location altogether - we see a lot of financial services moving from New York to Miami, for example. In practice it probably won't. If you are going to set up a medical/ biotech company, Boston area is still probably a good place. But the new chip makers are in Arizona, not New England.

The problem (see Edward Gleaser, the Harvard economist who is the doyen of urban economics) is that new housing construction is restricted. There's a long term flow of people in America from "Zoneland" - places where new housing supply is constrained by zoning and other policies - to "Flatland" - the states and localities where this is not the case. So Arizona, Texas, Florida. Employers, seeking a labour force, follow this or lead it - depending.

Also construction in Boston is heavily unionised, as I understand it, and therefore expensive. It's an expensive place to do business, and companies can readily relocate (typically to southern states).
But no one is saying you have to live "in" Boston. As was mentioned above, Newburyport is a beautiful, wonderful, unusual place that is still close to everything else. There re a lot of places like that in this area.

OP, I hope you come here and take a year to truly explore your options. As I said above, you might find you fall in love with Connecticut or Rhode Island or - who knows? - Buffalo, NY. But Metro Boston is a great jumping off place for exploration.
Buffalo has a lot to say for itself. Its decay is rather sad to see, and revival is only nascent. And you still have the Lake Snow Effect, and that really is no joke.

I agree there's a lot to like about New England -- particularly if you are the sort of person that likes Olde England ;-). And the right years for Fall Colour, when it comes. Oh and maple syrup - not much in the world is not improved by a spoonful of maple syrup.
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ccf
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by ccf »

Before I had kids, I liked Somerville and Cambridge best. Now square footage, trees, and my budget compels me and I like the North shore towns.

I like having easy access to nature and all of the neighboring towns with something to offer add up to a larger whole. Some of the places mentioned seem so far away to me. I would not want to live more than 20 or so miles from the city. I don't work there but I visit frequently.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by just frank »

@Valuethinker beat me to it.

Real Estate in Mass has a history of being more volatile than the rest of the country. It has had bigger crashes than elsewhere in the Northeast or midatlantic, after scaling higher highs.

Real Estate is on my private list of topics where I think Mass folks have an atypical viewpoint. They tend to have an attitude that RE is the best long term investment, never goes down (they're not making more land) and to justify sudden price surges with odd logic (Mass in 'Silicon Valley East', so we should be as expensive as SanFran). I have heard that last one a couple times and it still makes me chuckle (as a person who has been to and lived in California).

In reality, the rate of new construction and the age of the housing stock and the rate of population influx is _very similar_ to other Northeast and MidAtlantic states, which do not have these sudden RE manias.

The OP would do well to be more cautious about investing in Mass RE than in other areas of the country. Look at recent appreciation history.. how a town fared in 2005-2009, etc.

Other (minor) non-RE things on my list:
--Our weather is more volatile than elsewhere (vs tropical downpours and sudden hailstorms/tornados in the midwest).
--Our weather is colder and snowier than elsewhere (versus midwest (cold) and mountains/buffalo (snow)).
--I NEED to own a 4 wheel vehicle, preferably a Subaru, just in case.
--OIl heat is the best heat.
--Electricity is supposed to cost $0.30/kWh
--Some OT stuff re politics...
Last edited by just frank on Tue Feb 13, 2024 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

By the way, the storm that was supposed to be our most snow in 2 years has moved to a more southern and off shore direction, and is expected to “blanket” us with 1-3” rather than the 12” the newscasters were breathlessly predicting.

I think the weather reports have become a conspiratorial alliance between broadcast TV, the schools who preannounced remote learning, and the grocery stores which were packed yesterday.

It’s too bad for me, who wanted to introduce our new 6 month old rescue dog to serious snow. I guess she’ll have to wait until next year.

OP, we moved to a rural area near Boston in 2018 from NJ. We wish we had done it much sooner.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by ThankYouJack »

nptit wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:04 pm I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.
I was one of the responders who asked why Boston. It wasn't a knock on Boston, the US is just such a big country with so many great areas that I was wondering what made Boston the only place on your list.

I'd also look into some areas in California, North Carolina, Virginia, maybe the mid-Atlantic, maybe Colorado, maybe the Midwest.


Comparing K-12 schools is tough. For example, the first town I looked up (a town I like that was recommended in this thread - Newburyport, MA) gets 4/10 for the elementary school on Great Schools - https://www.greatschools.org/massachusetts/newburyport/

(It's also ~93% white - https://datausa.io/profile/geo/newburyport-ma/ so not sure if you're looking for more diversity?)

It's better IMO to dig beyond the online school ratings but not sure the best way to do so efficiently.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

To talk about airports, this is a very strong point in the suburbs west of Boston. Where I am, I have the choice of Logan in Boston, Manchester, Providence, Bradley, which is between Springfield and Hartford, CT and the smaller Worcester airport. This makes comparing pricing and routes much better. All of these airports are within an hour and a half of my house.

I have to laugh at the thought that we stay inside all winter. We're at the start of a snowstorm with a few inches on the ground and both my kids (23 and 27) have already been outside and I'll be out when I finish my breakfast. I remember a movie filmed in Buffalo, NY with Sally Field and Burt Reynolds where Sally and her mom go out with 4 foot high snowbanks and a raging snowstorm to go shopping. This happens. I ran out of mushrooms making my omelet this morning so after I get the snowplow on my Jeep, I'll take a 5 mile ride to Stop & Shop and cruise by with the radio on. (old timers will get the reference).

I've worked for companies based in Dallas and outside of Phoenix and when in both cities have been outside asking myself "why the bleep do people live here?". I'll take snow any day. Easy enough to layer up and stay warm.
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just frank
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by just frank »

ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 7:17 am
nptit wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:04 pm I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.
I was one of the responders who asked why Boston. It wasn't a knock on Boston, the US is just such a big country with so many great areas that I was wondering what made Boston the only place on your list.

I'd also look into some areas in California, North Carolina, Virginia, maybe the mid-Atlantic, maybe Colorado, maybe the Midwest.


Comparing K-12 schools is tough. For example, the first town I looked up (a town I like that was recommended in this thread - Newburyport, MA) gets 4/10 for the elementary school on Great Schools - https://www.greatschools.org/massachusetts/newburyport/

(It's also ~93% white - https://datausa.io/profile/geo/newburyport-ma/ so not sure if you're looking for more diversity?)

It's better IMO to dig beyond the online school ratings but not sure the best way to do so efficiently.
Indeed. I live in a very nice suburban community outside Philly. Our public and private schools are outstanding, our home prices are 50-60% of the price in Boston metro, the local homes and gardens look like they came out of a magazine (comp Milton in Mass). Philly is 30 minutes away by car or commuter train, has an amazing food, BYOB and beer scene, museum, theater and other culture that IMO is better than Boston. I can drive to Manhattan in less than 2 hours (making day trips easy), and DC in 2.5 hours. I'm about 90 minutes to nice beaches (NJ or DE shore) or Pocono Mountains. And I'm 20 minutes from a major hub airport that offers cheap fares all over.

I have four seasons, fall foliage, winters that are about 3-4 weeks shorter than Boston, temps run about 4°F higher year-round.

Lacking: proper skiing, quaint architecture and cedar siding, dry Yankee humor, and fun accents.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

PeninsulaPerson wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:47 am
Valuethinker wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:30 am
* or in other words, people looked a lot more alike than they do in London or Toronto. You'd have to get to quite a small place in Britain for that kind of homogeneity in appearance & dress - and even then, there's a broader range of humanity.

Not sure what you mean there, Valuethinker.

And I think we will have to agree to disagree.

There is a very broad range of humanity in Metro Boston. Very broad. It's great! Lots of diversity in "appearance & dress." Lots! And in ways of thinking too. In ways of being. Diversity in everything, really.
Sorry to be unclear. I was referring to Copenhagen, and not being sure what hygge meant.
The OP might prefer some other part of the country, sure. But as a lifelong Massachusettsan, I hate to see an important part of our state dragged through some historical/semi-fictional mud this way. We're not all gangsters. We're not all white. We're not all undiscovered math geniuses. We're not all taciturn. We don't all love winter but we get through it. Some people are SAD in the middle of summer! Some have strong family ties and other friends too. Some have no family to speak of at all. We're just people - just like other people in other places.

Yeesh. It would be one thing if current residents had reservations or concerns for the OP - people who know what's going on here now. But how Metro Boston seemed to someone from books and/or movies and/or half a century ago just does not seem fair ..... to the OP who is looking for current information to make an important current decision.
Fair points about stereotypes and caricatures and out of date impressions.

I found Boston loveable in a very olde-worlde kind of way. Anarchic. Rude even. I liked it for that and it reminded me of Dublin or London or Glasgow in that (having grown up in a very diverse city, but one that still wears the shell of tidy-minded Victorian Methodist religion, linear street grid etc) - but other American cities that I have visited (primarily East Coast) are less that way.

25 years of North American winter was enough for me. I don't miss it. Those cold grey skies.

New York was just a special case - of everything. I've only experienced its like in Asia. And no place is really like New York.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Valuethinker wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 8:01 am I was referring to Copenhagen, and not being sure what hygge meant.
Hygge is possible in Boston!!!!
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by bluebolt »

just frank wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 6:08 am Real Estate in Mass has a history of being more volatile than the rest of the country. It has had bigger crashes than elsewhere in the Northeast or midatlantic, after scaling higher highs.
During and after the global financial crisis, MA real estate had lower volatility than many places. It had not had as big a run up before (like FL, Las Vegas, Phoenix, etc) and it did not have as big of a downswing. In some of the more desirable suburbs, prices leveled off rather than declining.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by nptit »

ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 7:17 am
nptit wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:04 pm I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.
I was one of the responders who asked why Boston. It wasn't a knock on Boston, the US is just such a big country with so many great areas that I was wondering what made Boston the only place on your list.

I'd also look into some areas in California, North Carolina, Virginia, maybe the mid-Atlantic, maybe Colorado, maybe the Midwest.


Comparing K-12 schools is tough. For example, the first town I looked up (a town I like that was recommended in this thread - Newburyport, MA) gets 4/10 for the elementary school on Great Schools - https://www.greatschools.org/massachusetts/newburyport/

(It's also ~93% white - https://datausa.io/profile/geo/newburyport-ma/ so not sure if you're looking for more diversity?)

It's better IMO to dig beyond the online school ratings but not sure the best way to do so efficiently.
Thank you! We've explored California, North Carolina and Colorado. My family travelled to California(Bay area) and North Carolina, we focus on neighborhood exploring, so mostly just parks, kids activities in town. Here are high level summary of why we don't think California/Bay Area and North Carolina don't fit into our needs:

Bay Area:
Obviously, it is very expensive, but we might still able to afford a okay house if both of us stay employed. The biggest concern to us is the peer pressure for kiddos, if you look into us census data, some cities have 75%+ Asian population, and schools have 80%+ Asian.If you happen to know, Asian kids are super focus on academy and they are very good at it. It puts a lot pressure on kids.
Although we would like to explore southern California such as Irvine sometime this year.

North Carolina:
In fact, this is our most interested states, we looked into Raleigh, Cary, Apex area. The thing is in these cities, even you get a super good school district house, you are NOT guaranteed to be enrolled in the zoned schools because schools are overflow.

Colorado:
DW used to travel to Denvor for work, she doesn't like the dryness in Colorado.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by nptit »

just frank wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 7:37 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 7:17 am
nptit wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:04 pm I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.
I was one of the responders who asked why Boston. It wasn't a knock on Boston, the US is just such a big country with so many great areas that I was wondering what made Boston the only place on your list.

I'd also look into some areas in California, North Carolina, Virginia, maybe the mid-Atlantic, maybe Colorado, maybe the Midwest.


Comparing K-12 schools is tough. For example, the first town I looked up (a town I like that was recommended in this thread - Newburyport, MA) gets 4/10 for the elementary school on Great Schools - https://www.greatschools.org/massachusetts/newburyport/

(It's also ~93% white - https://datausa.io/profile/geo/newburyport-ma/ so not sure if you're looking for more diversity?)

It's better IMO to dig beyond the online school ratings but not sure the best way to do so efficiently.
Indeed. I live in a very nice suburban community outside Philly. Our public and private schools are outstanding, our home prices are 50-60% of the price in Boston metro, the local homes and gardens look like they came out of a magazine (comp Milton in Mass). Philly is 30 minutes away by car or commuter train, has an amazing food, BYOB and beer scene, museum, theater and other culture that IMO is better than Boston. I can drive to Manhattan in less than 2 hours (making day trips easy), and DC in 2.5 hours. I'm about 90 minutes to nice beaches (NJ or DE shore) or Pocono Mountains. And I'm 20 minutes from a major hub airport that offers cheap fares all over.

I have four seasons, fall foliage, winters that are about 3-4 weeks shorter than Boston, temps run about 4°F higher year-round.

Lacking: proper skiing, quaint architecture and cedar siding, dry Yankee humor, and fun accents.
Mind share which suburb? We didn't pay attention to Philly. Thanks for bringing attention.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by just frank »

nptit wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:49 am Mind share which suburb? We didn't pay attention to Philly. Thanks for bringing attention.
Look at Main Line: Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Radnor, Berwyn. Also Media, Swarthmore.
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by gatorking »

A shout-out for Bedford MA, one of the smaller suburbs north of Boston. One advantage I see is the school district - there is only one school at each level so kids know each other from K through 12 (assuming they stay in Bedford). Other bigger towns have multiple elementary schools that feed into 1 or 2 middle schools and then 1 high school.
Minuteman bike trail starts in Bedford, a big plus if biking is your thing.

p.s. I don't live in Bedford.
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

nptit wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:46 am
Bay Area:
The biggest concern to us is the peer pressure for kiddos, if you look into us census data, some cities have 75%+ Asian population, and schools have 80%+ Asian.If you happen to know, Asian kids are super focus on academy and they are very good at it. It puts a lot pressure on kids.


When you mentioned "diversity," it seemed like maybe you wanted more Asian culture.

If you want somewhat less, Lexington Mass. might not be for you. I mean, it's not the Bay Area with its Asian population but a lot of Asians live there because of the great schools (I believe) and also because it's a beautiful, historic, very convenient town generally. Very close to an H-Mart (in Burlington) which is super-popular.

Good luck with your search - it seems like you are going about it quite thoughtfully, which usually leads to good outcomes.

(P.S. I don't live in Lexington. I wish! Bedford is another very good town. Not sure of housing prices there.)
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by abner kravitz »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 6:13 am By the way, the storm that was supposed to be our most snow in 2 years has moved to a more southern and off shore direction, and is expected to “blanket” us with 1-3” rather than the 12” the newscasters were breathlessly predicting.

I think the weather reports have become a conspiratorial alliance between broadcast TV, the schools who preannounced remote learning, and the grocery stores which were packed yesterday.

It’s too bad for me, who wanted to introduce our new 6 month old rescue dog to serious snow. I guess she’ll have to wait until next year.

OP, we moved to a rural area near Boston in 2018 from NJ. We wish we had done it much sooner.
Definitely the most snow in a long time on the CT shoreline. The dog does love it, me not so much. Heart attack snow, not going anywhere until the plow man comes.
Old Guy
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Old Guy »

My wife grew up in Holliston, which was very small and semi-rural. Her family were among the original settlers of Framingham. We visited Holliston a few years ago, and the downtown looked to be almost the same as the 1970s. In those days it was as working-class WASP as you could get. Marie is Mayflower Society at least four times and maybe six times. One grandfather commuted by train to work in a shoe factory in Boston. One of her grandmothers ran the fourth class post office at the rr station.

What’s it like now, and why hasn’t any mentioned it?
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by ThankYouJack »

nptit wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:46 am
Thank you! We've explored California, North Carolina and Colorado. My family travelled to California(Bay area) and North Carolina, we focus on neighborhood exploring, so mostly just parks, kids activities in town. Here are high level summary of why we don't think California/Bay Area and North Carolina don't fit into our needs:

Bay Area:
Obviously, it is very expensive, but we might still able to afford a okay house if both of us stay employed. The biggest concern to us is the peer pressure for kiddos, if you look into us census data, some cities have 75%+ Asian population, and schools have 80%+ Asian.If you happen to know, Asian kids are super focus on academy and they are very good at it. It puts a lot pressure on kids.
Although we would like to explore southern California such as Irvine sometime this year.

North Carolina:
In fact, this is our most interested states, we looked into Raleigh, Cary, Apex area. The thing is in these cities, even you get a super good school district house, you are NOT guaranteed to be enrolled in the zoned schools because schools are overflow.

Colorado:
DW used to travel to Denvor for work, she doesn't like the dryness in Colorado.
Sounds like climate is quite important and if you prefer Boston over Texas weather, NC may be too hot and CA may be too dry / mundane. Seems like you'll be able to narrow things to a few areas if you want a specific percentage of Asian diversity, New England type weather and your other criteria. Good luck with the search and have fun exploring!
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by WarAdmiral »

nptit wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:46 am
North Carolina:
In fact, this is our most interested states, we looked into Raleigh, Cary, Apex area. The thing is in these cities, even you get a super good school district house, you are NOT guaranteed to be enrolled in the zoned schools because schools are overflow.
If this is the only reason you are leaving out NC, then think again. Only some of the middle and elementary schools are capped. High Schools which matter the most are NOT capped. Also, your kids are young, once you buy a house and get on the waiting list, you are likely to get into your neighborhood schools. btw, unlike other places in the US, many many families send their kids to private ($6K annual tuition.LOL) or charter/magnet schools. Apex, Cary are in WAKE county which is very good school district. Unlike Boston, here education is county based and not town based. Also taxes in NC are half of those in Boston.

Too many choices!! Good Luck!
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by GoldenFish »

Younger millennial Vietnamese-American here who lives in Malden, MA (just north of Boston and is the most diverse city in Massachusetts :happy). I'm a transplant who moved here for college; my childhood was spent moving a lot, from SoCal to Oklahoma City to Denver then to Houston, which I mention to say that I wish I had grown up in metro Boston instead of any of those places. I have access to public transportation, good biking, walkable to everything except my job, easy driving to northern New England and the North Shore, and the weather kills bugs.

With regard to safety, last year when I was still renting, I parked my Prius at a major intersection in my apartment complex's open parking lot and I still have my catalytic converter :D Within metro Boston, I'd say the only truly unsafe areas in metro Boston are, within Boston, the intersection of Massachusetts Ave and Melnea Cass and the part of Blue Hill Ave north of Franklin Park Zoo, and parts of Lowell, and maybe also bits of Framingham. And even these "unsafe" places would make actual unsafe places laugh. As for Whitey Bulgar, that era is a distant memory at this point.

[Unnecessary comment removed by admin LadyGeek] For food, H-Mart in Burlington and India Market and Patel Brothers in Waltham are the bigger markets in the burbs to the west of the city where you're looking. My only gripe is that I have to cobble together things from East Asian or South Asian markets, go into Boston, or pay higher prices at the local Vietnamese corner market for southeast Asian cooking. (Although I haven't yet experimented with biking up to Lynn for the Cambodian markets...)

I've never had difficulty making friends when I wanted to, although I'll agree with people that not everyone, particularly locals, wants to make friends. It's easier when they're fellow transplants, but I naturally had it easier having gone to school here.

Roads are cleared fine, so just avoid driving the day of a snowstorm, which it seems like you can do. Snow tires can help, although I've never had them, and at the rate our winters are going, I may never need them :shock: I-95 and I-495 are also convenient snow boundary lines; inside I-95 is milder than between I-95 and I-495, and immediately west of I-495 it gets pretty snowy. Something to keep in mind if you don't like shoveling :D

I don't have kids, so can't speak to that, but for Malden specifically, the schools are fine and better than I grew up with going to public school in
Houston, but there are obviously better rated school districts. There is a charter school, my feelings about them are very mixed. Nearby cities with good school reputations are Melrose, Medford, and Winchester. Boston as well, honestly, with the exam schools, although I gather that's a whole process and could also backfire. I'd avoid Everett for the schools, they're always in the news, but the restaurants are great.

Malden specifically does fit in your budget for a single family place (I have a condo myself), but it's definitely a "streetcar suburb" and not a more typically American-style suburb. That plus the schools might be a dealbreaker. Again, they're fine, but if you're going to move all this way...
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Isabelle77 »

I'll go ahead and add our Boston metro experience since we're piling on :)

We moved to Medfield in 2019 from the PNW. We moved back to the PNW a year later. Most of that was because my husband just hated his job. I believe there's a post from me somewhere trying to figure out how to get out of his relo payback. In any case, if you don't live currently in the Boston area here are my thoughts as a (mostly) west coaster.

We thought the people were actually really nice. I like a little brashness and found the Boston area people very nice and ready to be our friends. My son had a medical emergency early in Covid days and my neighbor was an ER doc and ran over when she saw the ambulance. We found our neighborhood to be very kind and we sent our younger child to a little catholic school that was an absolute gem. My southern husband found Bostonians difficult to work with, but again, he hated his job.

It's funny someone talked earlier about Boston being kind of conservative and we did find it that way. There was a big dust up in Medfield when we were there about building high end apartments in town, I think a percentage of them had to be under a certain cost or something. We couldn't believe how outwardly people were protesting against it. Here in the PNW no one would ever state publicly that they don't want affordable housing in their town, they might think it but they wouldn't say it. We found the area a little provincial too. The family we bought our house from was more interested in finding a buyer "from the town" which I think is illegal? And most people we met had grown up in the Boston area, moved away for a few years and then moved back.

The schools are fabulous as long as your kids are bright. I have one child who has a learning disability and the schools weren't so great. BUT, for my gifted kid, amazing schools, far superior to the schools our kids attended on the west coast. We did find the parental pressure around academics kind of nutty. The 7th grade parent meeting was all about college. We thought it was weird.

Boston is a great town and we had a pretty warm winter when we were there. Lots to do and public transportation!

A lot of New England is really inconvenient if you're used to easy drives. The towns in NE are so picturesque and adorable but they also don't have a lot of conveniences. It was 30 min on winding roads to get to any kind of big box store. I thought it wouldn't be an issue when we moved there (hey I use Amazon Prime!) but if you need something at Lowe's it's a whole thing to go and get it and watch out if you forget anything, there's your whole day. I was used to taking exercise classes, that were now an hour away, etc. Hopkinton would definitely have this issue. Logan is a nightmare.

Terrible, crowded grocery stores.

I know most of the northeast is this way but we didn't care for the low ceilings, the oil fuel, the septic tanks, the boiler. I know, not a reason to not move somewhere but you're spending a fortune on a house and it has a tank under ground for fuel. It was bizarre for us and we've lived a lot of places.

Ultimately, it wasn't the place for us. Too high strung for my husband and my child with learning issues. Too inconvenient for me.
Isabelle77
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Isabelle77 »

Old Guy wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 11:29 am My wife grew up in Holliston, which was very small and semi-rural. Her family were among the original settlers of Framingham. We visited Holliston a few years ago, and the downtown looked to be almost the same as the 1970s. In those days it was as working-class WASP as you could get. Marie is Mayflower Society at least four times and maybe six times. One grandfather commuted by train to work in a shoe factory in Boston. One of her grandmothers ran the fourth class post office at the rr station.

What’s it like now, and why hasn’t any mentioned it?
We looked at Holliston, there's a lot of new building happening there, a little more reasonable than many suburbs but I wouldn't call it working class. Good schools, but pretty remote.
Valuethinker
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

just frank wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 10:08 am
nptit wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:49 am Mind share which suburb? We didn't pay attention to Philly. Thanks for bringing attention.
Look at Main Line: Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Radnor, Berwyn. Also Media, Swarthmore.
These are, by all accounts, very nice places. Expensive but maybe that's a relative comment (relative to that area) rather than absolute?
Valuethinker
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

nptit wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:46 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 7:17 am
nptit wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:04 pm I have seen some people reply if you could work remote and live somewhere else why choose Boston? I am curious what other cities specifically one would live in then that meet the priorities of kids/public schools, weather, house around 1.5 MM.
I was one of the responders who asked why Boston. It wasn't a knock on Boston, the US is just such a big country with so many great areas that I was wondering what made Boston the only place on your list.

I'd also look into some areas in California, North Carolina, Virginia, maybe the mid-Atlantic, maybe Colorado, maybe the Midwest.


Comparing K-12 schools is tough. For example, the first town I looked up (a town I like that was recommended in this thread - Newburyport, MA) gets 4/10 for the elementary school on Great Schools - https://www.greatschools.org/massachusetts/newburyport/

(It's also ~93% white - https://datausa.io/profile/geo/newburyport-ma/ so not sure if you're looking for more diversity?)

It's better IMO to dig beyond the online school ratings but not sure the best way to do so efficiently.
Thank you! We've explored California, North Carolina and Colorado. My family travelled to California(Bay area) and North Carolina, we focus on neighborhood exploring, so mostly just parks, kids activities in town. Here are high level summary of why we don't think California/Bay Area and North Carolina don't fit into our needs:

Bay Area:
Obviously, it is very expensive, but we might still able to afford a okay house if both of us stay employed. The biggest concern to us is the peer pressure for kiddos, if you look into us census data, some cities have 75%+ Asian population, and schools have 80%+ Asian.If you happen to know, Asian kids are super focus on academy and they are very good at it. It puts a lot pressure on kids.
Although we would like to explore southern California such as Irvine sometime this year.
Nods. I don't know if you considered Seattle which certainly has large Asian population and great access to the outdoors. However the climate is viewed by many as quite depressing - so that's definitely a factor to consider.
North Carolina:
In fact, this is our most interested states, we looked into Raleigh, Cary, Apex area. The thing is in these cities, even you get a super good school district house, you are NOT guaranteed to be enrolled in the zoned schools because schools are overflow.
There's comments here about schools. It is certainly one of the key places in the "south" that northerners move to. Research Triangle Park has the highest concentration of Phds in the USA, I believe?

Washington DC stands out as another possible place. Very congested in terms of traffic. High housing prices. But certainly a mostly nice climate (too hot and humid for me in summer, but you get glorious spring and fall, and a mostly mild winter). I would imagine there are great schools - but you might not be able to afford to live in that school district. Certainly cultural and intellectual resources. There is a choice between Virginia and Maryland, which are quite different in some ways.
Colorado:
DW used to travel to Denvor for work, she doesn't like the dryness in Colorado.
Unless you are very winter sports & hiking oriented, you might not find "enough" in that area. I don't perceive it to be "high culture" and I am not sure about schools.
Tramper Al
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Tramper Al »

Brookline resident here. We have also lived further out in Westboro and Shrewsbury in the past.

Brookline might be a challenge for $1.5M, but it depends on just what sort of "house" you require. You do get great public schools for sequestering capitol in your housing fund. Many people rent instead. The town is great in many ways, and much of it has great access to public transportation into the city, and for kids to get around. (Most of) it also features a population that is quite diverse both ethnically and economically - as I think you are looking for. My bias is that you may find this is not so much the case in some of the suburbs further out. There are plenty of public tennis courts and a big town pool, as well as exclusive and expensive private clubs for same, if you are so inclined.

If you are not needing to drive to commute, I don't think I'd worry too much about lacking experience on snow. You'll stay home during the storm (as public safety officials advise anyway) and school will be cancelled as well. Trader Joe's gets a little busy the day before, and then the roads are pretty well cleared by the day after. You seem to know that winter roads can be slippery and really that puts you ahead of 80+% of drivers moving from someplace without proper seasons.
Valuethinker
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by Valuethinker »

Tramper Al wrote: Thu Feb 15, 2024 7:17 am Brookline resident here. We have also lived further out in Westboro and Shrewsbury in the past.

Brookline might be a challenge for $1.5M, but it depends on just what sort of "house" you require. You do get great public schools for sequestering capitol in your housing fund. Many people rent instead. The town is great in many ways, and much of it has great access to public transportation into the city, and for kids to get around. (Most of) it also features a population that is quite diverse both ethnically and economically - as I think you are looking for. My bias is that you may find this is not so much the case in some of the suburbs further out. There are plenty of public tennis courts and a big town pool, as well as exclusive and expensive private clubs for same, if you are so inclined.

If you are not needing to drive to commute, I don't think I'd worry too much about lacking experience on snow. You'll stay home during the storm (as public safety officials advise anyway) and school will be cancelled as well. Trader Joe's gets a little busy the day before, and then the roads are pretty well cleared by the day after. You seem to know that winter roads can be slippery and really that puts you ahead of 80+% of drivers moving from someplace without proper seasons.
Like a lot of "streetcar suburbs" (built when the streetcar was the predominant form of urban transport in America) Brookline looked like heaven on Earth - -my mother lives in another such in a different city and they have retained their appeal since they were built in the first 30 years of the 20th Century.** Very much not cheap and I have no idea how competitive it is to get into the right schools ("very" would be my guess)? But I had English friends who lived there (from Notting Hill in London - which is super affluent but cheek by jowl with very poor, and everyone sends their kids to private schools) and they loved it. By British standards they had a huge house (you could have probably dropped my ground floor, here, into their kitchen-dining space).

I got the impression real Bostonians think Brookline is a bit "upper class"? Snobby.

OP wants more space and a big house and that may not be affordable in Brookline. But I remember thinking "If I lived in Boston, I would want to live here". Which just shows I have expensive tastes :wink:

One learns to handle snow, and yes, when it's bad, it's best not to go out in it. Other than to shovel it ;-) ***

** Shaker Heights in Cleveland is the canonical one, I believe - according to urban historians. There may be equivalents in Chicago?

*** My father viewed having sons as a cheap snow shovel-enabled labour force ;-) :happy When we all were old enough to move out, he bought a snowblower.
GoldenFish
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Re: Which Boston suburb to settle?

Post by GoldenFish »

Note for the OP that northern Brookline (north of Route 9) is the streetcar suburb area, with high walkability and access to the Green Line, whereas south of Route 9 it's more American-style suburbs along with the country club. I don't think 1.5 million single family homes exist south of Route 9 though. (I don't think they exist north of it either, but a townhome might be possible)
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